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Hal Daddy's; Baltimore, MD; 04/21/01

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Deep in the heart of the gritty streets of East Baltimore lies a little club that caters to the expansive plurality of the mid-Atlantic music scene - that club is Hal Daddy's.  Hal Daddy's, like most other clubs in Baltimore, is really nothing more than a converted rowhouse that serves as a gathering place for minions who seek comfort by moonlight and cathartic music.

The young ruffians of The Karma Payment Plan opened the proceedings and played a quick 25-minute set that managed to mix noisecore within a variety of other extreme music styles.

Tortured have been playing around the Baltimore area for a few years now.  Blending death metal with metalcore, Tortured's 30-minute set mixed these two styles into a unique package.  "Perfect Scar" is a excellent example of how Tortured are able to combine the death metal and metalcore styles into potent hybrid.

Having arrived on American shores for the first time, Holland's Severe Torture played a blistering set of gory death metal in the vein of Cannibal Corpse.  However, Severe Torture lean more towards a technical style which is always more pleasing to my ears.  A cover of Cannibal Corpse's "Hammer Smashed Face" fit very well into the band's style. Overall, Severe Torture was well received by those in attendance despite their relatively unknown status on these shores.

Baltimore's own death metal stalwarts Pessimist are riding huge waves of positive press and acclaim.  Fans and critics alike are abuzz about Pessimist's recent performances at Metal Meltdown (NJ) and the Hardcore and Metal Fest (MA) in early April.  The song "Summoned To Suffer" will appear on the compilation CD for the #17 issue of SOD magazine.  If all that weren't enough, Pessimist also have "Summoned To Suffer" on and it quickly went Top Ten on the death metal charts.  Spearheading these events are Kell McLauchlin and his new band mates - this is a lineup that is sure to command attention during the course of 2001 and beyond.

Pessimist ripped through mostly new material that is likely to be on their next full-length CD "Slaughtering The Faithful" on Lost Disciple Records due during Fall 2001.  Minor technical difficulties during the first two songs aside, it was obvious nothing can hold Pessimist back from claiming their rightful spot amongst the death metal elite. Pessimist plowed sacred ground until they were forced to stop their set; it seemed apparent that Pessimist were prepared to play all night if they had to.  

Pessimist's newest guitarist Bill Hayden continues to impress with his multifaceted and aggressive soloing style.  Hayden and McLauchlin form an impressive duo and will do wonders for the band's continued success.  The rhythm section of Ralph Runyan (bass and lead vocals) and John Grden (drums) were solid throughout. 

Overall, Pessimist seemed to be in a lock-step groove all during their performance.  Pessimist's highly tight performances only lend more credence to their growing legacy.  Pessimist's use of minor and diminished sounds only gives the music an even darker and mysterious tone.  Thanks to Pessimist, the East Coast death metal style is in good hands.

Hail to Hal Daddy's for showcasing metal!!

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.