Skip navigation

The Unholy Devastation Benefit Festival
Underground Death & Black Metal bands, United to help the NYC Fund / Victims
Rube’s; Harvey / Chicago, IL – November 2-3, 2001

Formerly a benefit for Chuck Schuldiner, this show was changed to benefit victims of the Sept. 11 New York / D.C. terrorist attack tragedy. Organized by the staff of Rube’s and the guitarist Blake from Nachtmysticum, the show seemed to go off without a hitch (other than starting late on Friday). The venue is donating the money to the charity.

A couple of bands cancelled, but as predicted, it was a welcome happening. The extra set time, and later start time were appreciated.

I can only comment on what I experienced, although I can also provide anecdotal review-type material about bands I did not see .. Anyway, I flew in on Thursday. Worked my ass off on Thursday, and then bode my time until Friday night. Went to the show Friday night. The venue was 45 min. away from the North side of Chicago, which is a little like how far Lorain, OH is from Cleveland .. so the drive wasn’t all that short, but it was worth it.

We [this being me and friends] got there about 2 hours late, only to find we’d missed one band (who apparently were not too good). The second band to perform was Enmortem, who were 10 zillion times better this time than the last time I saw them, which was in 1998 at Uncle Snorky’s. (that show was so bad that Chicago band-guys still have in-jokes about it). Enmortem thrashed the house, blazing through about 7 songs. Nobody fell off the (8 inch high? and poorly lit) stage, or broke any strings or anything .. so it was just good, evil thrash with darker overtones. A great way to start the evening.

The second band was Enforsaken. They had a really “quiet” stage sound – I had to get like really close to hear the musical intricacies going on. The music was very melodic, European-sounding metal.

After Enforsaken, we all realized we’d forgotten vital stuff. (Advil, food, etc!) So we left. I missed Reprobation, which severely bummed me (and the guys in Reprobation!) out .. but apparently they had a kickass set without any casualties, so it’s all good. All’s well that ends well.

No afterparty! So, onto Saturday. We [this now being me and members of Disinter] again made the trek down to Rube’s, this time not late or early or anything. It was a 2-vehicle caravan, and both vehicles managed to get lost in rather unsavory parts of town .. *hehe* The venue had a better crowd already, plus a bunch of band-people milling around out front.

Bands I witnessed on Saturday (in order): Veneficum, Nachtmysticum, Manticore, Corpsevomit, Disinter. It was a killer lineup .. quite evil with a good, flowing mood.

I don’t know .. Veneficum sounds better on CD. Maybe the vocals were messed up for them too or something, but they just seem to have so much more impact in a room without other noise interference. Lots of keyboards in their sound (live).

Nachtmysticum apparently had a great first show. The medievally-dressed, mace and staff bearing vocalist sang (well, screamed and sounded evil) in Polish. I just thought he was singing in gibberish or something, so I walked up to some random hot dude I’d seen the day before and asked him, “what the hell is that guy saying?” and turns out, the dude I asked, was a Polish guy, and he translated everything for me! VERY cool. “No bread for the Christians..” was the phrase which sticks in my mind. Now that’s “kult”. The impression was very positive with the heavily Polish metal scene in Chicago .. many brownie points to Nacht. Set was good .. lots of candle flicker, and visual eye candy.

Oddly, this is the first time I’ve seen Manticore. The band hails from Cleveland and have played here 3 times – I’ve missed ’em every time. Finally got to see them in Chicago in front of a proper, appreciative audience. The crowd stuck around to watch – not because of the bloodletting (woohoo! It’s the first time I’ve seen that in ages! Dave needs an X-Acto endorsement), but because of the raw, evil, angry music. I had a feeling they were going to wipe the floor with just about every other band that played (with the exception of the 2 to follow). There were a few little sound glitches but the overall effect meant to be delivered, was.

How Corpsevomit manages to pull off their 4,250 riffs per 6 minute song material, so intoxicated, and so damn active!, I will never figure out. They kicked ass. They thrashed around like maniacs with 110% energy. They always kick ass though. Matt could fall over backwards and play laying down and they’d still kick ass (and be hilarious too). Highlight of the set – Matt told the crowd to be quiet. After repeatedly shushing the crowd (who screamed every time he shushed them), he screamed ‘SHUT UP!!’ and I about fell over laughing. I believe the song after that was ‘Gather the Chemical Children’ or something. The set was long, and it appears that the crowd was made up primarily of people who paid $ 10 to get in, just to see them devastate. Not that I blame them! 7 songs of evil were executed.

Why the venue told people they closed at midnight, when they actually closed at 3 am (on Saturdays), is beyond me. It was 11:50 when Corpsevomit left the stage. So there was a fan exodus, which unfortunately was not informed in time to keep some of them from returning .. Oh, and one other minor gripe: They say that 2 brains are better than 1. Why TWO sound guys couldn’t balance a vocal level, when everything else was set at 1.5 to 1.6 (stage volume) is beyond me. Every other band (with the exception of Veneficum) had good vocal sound. *sigh*

Poor lighting, vocal sound that cut out for about 2.5 songs, and the venue’s error in “we’re closing” [thus half the crowd they should have had] didn’t stop Disinter from kicking just as much ass as I figured .. The entire front of the venue was a mass of swirling hair, thrashing out in the much-preferred old school style. I more than happily stood next to some guy who didn’t stop thrashing through the whole 9-song, pounding set .. I kept getting hit with his hair, but that’s a hell of a lot cooler than getting hit by some 15 year old “moshing”. The band grabbed on, and didn’t let go, from the Slayer [cover, Show No Mercy] intro to the bitter end .. Highlights of the set included the new ‘Demonic Portraiture’ (a very melodic, somewhat slower song with acoustic interludes and a crushing tone with tinges of bitterness, anger, sadness, and torment, and of course, a whole bunch of balls-out agression!), a medley of old material all bled into one [‘Suffer, Tortures, Battle’], and of course the At The Gates cover – ‘Blinded By Fear’. Ow, my neck. OW, MY NECK! Killer set – tight, high-energy, well-done and well-designed, spanning all releases.

Then there was the afterparty (until 5 am). Much debauchery and hedonism. Highlights included the use of a compound bow with a BROOM as an arrow, watching people do shots of Polish moonshine (apparently better made, purer, and faster acting than Redneck moonshine), watching people sniff what was described as “Vicks” smelling tobacco powder (yeah, call me isolated or something but I didn’t know they made tobacco powder), and listening to the new Rammstein. All the short-haired lamers fell asleep. Very cool and a fitting way to close out a kickass metal vacation.
– Melanie