Pasadena Napalm Division, deadhorse, Dykes on Bikes, Beyond All Deception, Deathrazor Scout Bar September 13, 2013
It seems like the most obvious pairing in the world, really. The only question is why they didn't get together sooner. Three or four years ago, some of the guys from local '90s metal legends deadhorse started jamming together again. When they decided their little crossover thrash band needed a singer, there just so happened to be another local luminary hanging around town who was available -- D.R.I.'s Kurt Brecht.
So they all got together south of Houston, put together a self-titled album's worth of the heaviest skate-thrash imaginable and released it earlier this year. They call themselves Pasadena Napalm Division, and on Friday night set their bomb sights on Scout Bar.
There would be a deadhorse appearance, too; more on that later. But first, the cagey veterans let the youngsters soften the crowd up. On first were the aggressive young thrash bands Beyond All Deception and Deathrazor, which inspired much headbanging in the front row.
Ears pricked up further when Dykes on Bykes made a dramatic entrance, welcomed to the stage by the strains of Alex G's delightfully scatological "Trans Am." Clad identically in biker cuts and white Kurt Cobain sunglasses, the band had barely begun to rev up their punky, trashy bar-rock when technical difficulties threatened to toss a stick in their spokes.
"Anybody got a guitar?" Four words no audience wants to hear, but the Dykes soldiered on as a three-piece while guitarist Farrell Jeppesen worked to get his rig working again. It was a futile effort, but the band sucked it up nicely and kept right on rocking. It wasn't thrash or even metal, really, but the music was hard and loose enough to draw a strong response from the crowd. Hope to see them again soon when they've got all cylinders firing.
As the clock crept past 12 a.m., roughly equal measures of family, friends and fans clustered in tight for PND. After plugging in nonchalantly, the band exploded with tremendous force on the whipping "Spell it Out." The shirts came off in the mosh pit in a flash as big, sweaty dudes started going off hard. Suddenly, the floor wasn't so safe for women, children and photographers, but we all hung in there, anyway.
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PND really lucked into snagging Kurt Brecht. If you want to play hyper-speed skate-thrash, his is the voice you need. His distinct vocals, half-shouted and half-sung, seem to make thrash harder all by their lonesome.
"South of Houston!" hollered Brecht on "100 Beers With a Zombie." "That's the place to be!"
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Nobody argued with him as the band pounded away with mechanized precision. The rest of Pasadena Napalm Division is pretty much just deadhorse at this point, what with bassist Allen "Alpo" Price having joined the fold. Just to drive that point home, deadhorse singer Mike Argo joined the group onstage for a suite of horsecore classics in the middle of PND's set. As you can imagine, the crowd tolerated this quite easily.
The horse even delivered a new song to the faithful: "A Loaded Gun." It was a chugging slab of (surprise!) thrashy metal that featured a few deathly growls from Argo and a rather savage guitar solo from Scott Sevall. The band has been threatening to record some new material recently, and certainly sounded well-rehearsed. The very idea of a 21st-century deadhorse album is pretty mind-boggling, I plan to keep an ear out for more.
When Brecht returned, the band lit into "Silent Spring," the chunky riff-fest he recorded some years back with Dave Grohl for the Foo Fighter's Probot project. More songs from the group's debut followed. "Cemetary Mass," was particularly nasty, propelled along by drummer Ron Guyote's primitive blast beats.
When it was over, my ears were ringing mightily, and they didn't stop. With D.R.I., deadhorse and Pasadena Napalm Division all active and energized in 2013, it could be quite a while before they do.
Personal Bias: I own a flip-brim cap, and I think I'm pulling it off.
The Crowd: Black T-shirts.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Fuck, that dude's hair got in my beer."
Random Notebook Dump: That was my beer, dammit.
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