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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Live Review: Slow Warm Death, Ultramantis Black, Fake Cult, War Emblem, Manbeast (12/28/13)

The final show I happened to see this past year, also happened to be the final show for two very talented groups. One of my favorite bands (who won the top spot in my year end list), Slow Warm Death headlined what would be their last show for some considerable time, as frontman John Galm is moving out west. Hardcore band Fake Cult, who were a local favorite disbanded after their energetic set.

Taking place in a small, local fire hall in Bethlehem, PA, the show kicked off with a rousing set from Manbeast, who's unforgiving thrash style of hardcore was relentless for the length of their set. War Emblem took the stage next and played a fantastic set of traditional hardcore music, featuring a variety of new songs off of their upcoming record. Fake Cult played after, and while I had never seen them play before, I was able to appreciate their talent and following during their final show.

What occurred next was something that took everyone by surprise. While every other band on the bill were smaller, locally based groups, Ultramantis Black is something a bit larger. Featuring the synonymous  professional wrestler as frontman, who lead the band through some of the best hardcore music I've heard in a long time. Full of energy and leadership, he captivated the crowd and put on a jaw-dropping performance.

To cap off the night, Slow Warm Death set up for the last time. A somber mood was in the air as John Galm, a long-time Bethlehem native prepared to play his last hometown show for quite some time. Playing a set consisting of almost their entire full-length album, plus the "soon to be released on a 7" " track "Madonna," Slow Warm Death became one with the crowd, as the fans and band morphed into one. During "Sleep," the entire crowd crooned the intro before the band kicks, and during "Kill You," the entire room seemed to pulse with the sludgy-rock beat.

While I can only hope that someday Slow Warm Death will play again, they ended the first part of their life as band on a extremely high note with a performance I'll never forget.

Setlist:

1. Alone
2. Liar
3. Conversation
4. Kill You
5.Holy Ghost
6. Sleep
7. Crack
8. Madonna

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