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April 28, 2000; Rumors; Baltimore, MD; 04/28/00

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

As the near-full moon shone its ominous light upon the gritty streets of southeast Baltimore, the fresh air of the Chesapeake Bay mixed with industrial odors into a curious amalgam of purity and contamination.  The faithful gathered at Rumors, a haven for provincial talent, to witness a trio of metal acts take their domain under dark skies. Like a howling wind calling the spirits of the hallowed night, the eviscerated remains of the day bled into wispy nightmares.

FOG opened the show with seven new songs of extreme and intense atmospheric death/black metal. Breathing new life into the extreme underground scene, FOG are determined to make their mark. I have no doubts as to this band's dedication; if the new material is any indication we'll all hear more about FOG very soon.

John Child, the tortured voice of FOG, summoned an entire spectrum of feelings as the corrosive metal maelstrom of his bandmates swirled around him. The new songs incorporate an even wider range of metallic influences into a satisfying mix of gothic metal and death metal.  Incorporating additional influences into FOG's sound has proven to be deft and challenging. The new material will be a great addition to the catalog of local heavy metal, but also to the entire metal scene. 

Soul Atrophy play a nu-metal style that incorporates the gut-wrenching soul bearing of Korn and Deftones into a hard rock package that doesn't forget torment as an emotion we all experience whether we like it or not. Soul Atrophy seemed a little out of place on this bill with the other two more extreme bands, but that didn't stop them from making the best of the situation. With enthusiasm and cheer Soul Atrophy blasted through a quick set of songs that included one song from their mini-CD release and four new tunes sure to be on the streets sometime in the Year 2000. 

Season Of Fear stuck with the precision of a venomous viper. Playing old-school heavy metal with aplomb, Season Of Fear tread waters not often heard in these parts. The dual guitarists played old-fashioned lead guitars in a vein that recalls Slayer with modern, percussive updates along the lines of Fear Factory and Pantera. A cover of Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask" left no doubts about their influences.  Blessed with three people who can sing lead vocals, Season Of Fear can deploy their vocal abilities to cover a large swath of material. Season Of Fear's brash confidence is a necessary weapon as they are sure to be ridiculed for plying the trade of '80s heavy metal. It probably doesn't matter to them, because their conviction is worth more to them than most people will ever know. 

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