Just like the snow, rust, poor employment options and general attitude prevalent in our city, Cleveland metal is a constant. Abrasive, humorous and incredibly exceptive, the scene has developed only in it’s company; shit still sounds like it did when Bill Peters created Auburn Records but the cast of characters continues to grow, making a cle metal show like a class reunion consisting of all of the drop outs.
WJCU hosted yet another killer benefit show at the Jigsaw the other night. I’ve had the pleasure of playing one of these Peters’ organized events and they rarely fail to make me fall back in love with our fucked up town. The crowd often looks like the hangers-on outside of a WASP show at the Cove in Geneva but you’re not going to a local metal show to get laid. No, you’re looking for booze and chops, both of which were in abdunce on said night.
These type of showcases have tight schedules; sadly I missed the first few bands but wandering into a packed bar while Wretch is on stage is a welcome sight. Colin Watson is Cleveland’s Ronnie James Dio; the man could easily be the darkest part of your nightmare or the highlight of your weird hobbit/Tolkien dream. As punishing as the music was, Watson scored major points with his power-metal vocals reaching the kind of heights that blew off long-thought-dead rounds in some dudes bullet belt.
The guys in Ground Zero surprised with an intense set of thrash; comparisons to early-nineties Megadeath were made through out the set. Ken Duggan could learn a thing or two watching the film Rockstar, his killer vocals and bass lines were only hampered by his lame and reserved plugs for the bands myspace page
(www.mypace.com/groundzerometal). Whatever, ‘T.K.O.’ alone sent me for a loop. A song about fighting with a full-on boxing promo playing over the PA before the song started? Not evil but tough enough to excuse any softer moments. ‘Crush, Kill, Destroy’ was an pulverizing end to the set that brought even the worst Cleveland drunks away from the bar and into a goat-horn frenzy (yours included). Even with a strong history in glam metal, I tend to dismiss any band that offers a call and respond session with their audience (this holds especially strong in local scenes) but Ground Zero made it work, or at least they had a bunch of dudes saying what they are always dreaming of doing….crushing, killing, destroying (again, yours included).
Fucking, Soulless. Wander into the Jigsaw on any given night and you will see these guys holding court over a sea of empty pint glasses and maybe an order of pierogies. If Colin Watson is our Dio, Jim Lippucci is our Henry Rollins, Ozzy Osbourne and Andrew Dice Clay. Drummer and Cleveland scene mainstay, Chris Dora spent as many moments handing out drum rolls as blast beats, but that’s not to say the band didn’t slay. Close your eyes at one moment and we could be witnessing the birth of hardcore in the early-eighties, the next would be the dawn of death metal in Florida. With a new record on its way, (‘Remember records? They were devices used to transport music’-Lippucci), Soulless lead us through an epic journey through the woods, past the crashing shores and into the belly of the beast, burning as bright as the flames of LTV past. The night ended with a heart-felt chant for more. It was over for the evening but the future is bright. Steel plants go out of business but pentagrams burn forever (as long as we’ve got the people to keep lighting shit on fire). --Chernus