Show Review:
Conquest for Death CONQUEST FOR DEATH, a bi-national quintet that features three-fourths of late-90s bandana-thrashers What Happens Next? plus the drummer for Japan's Assfort (whose vacant shoes were filled by his "understudy" Zak), moderated their harsh socio-political crossover with an odd Plasmatics cover and some tongue-in-cheek shtickery. Guitarist Craigums, a former US Air Guitar Champ who competes under the name Hot Lixx Hulahan, and Alex expressed "disbelief" at the virtuosity of each other's speed-metal shredding when they weren't head-banging in sync. I found none of this amusing, preferring biting sarcasm to pseudo-ironic camp and having little appreciation for metal outside of Motörhead. Vocalist Devon's kung fu-mosh stage moves were impressive though - he executed roundhouse kicks over his bandmates' heads - and hirsute bassist Robert's burly basslines could have definitely been worse.


CRIMINAL DAMAGE lived up to the favorable reviews I've read in print and online that compare them to an American version of Voice of a Generation era Blitz. Stoic, husking vocalist/guitarist Paul Burdette, better known as the drummer for PDX d-beat standard-bearers Tragedy and past crust-core outfits His Hero is Gone and Deathreat, castigated US media coverage of the Iraq war, PC mudslingers, the ever-growing rich-poor gap and alcohol-assisted "escapism" beneath a gritty hail of second generation UK-inspired punk/oi!. Raven-haired drummer Crystal Fisher's thick-as-a-brick back beats nudged the dancefloor into bouts of slamming while Crim Dam's second guitarist, Tom Wassum, employed up-tempo leads on "Power of Fools," "Everything That Bleeds" and "The Choice is Clear" as melodic ballast.

The SUBHUMANS - possibly due to road-lag from touring the UK, Europe and North America - started their set on an uncharacteristic bum note and flubbed the first song, "Parasites", twice in succession. They picked up where they left off after a brief pause, however, and continued without further mishaps. Newer material such as "This Year's War" garnered a favorable response from the crowd but older classics "Mickey Mouse is Dead", "Work-Rest-Play-Die" and "Religious Wars" incited tumultuous free-for-alls. Guitarist Bruce's bristling scales underscored the vigorously bawled left-anarcho-centrism of vocalist Dick as the backline, bassist Phil and drummer Trotsky, incorporated reggae, hardcore and post-punk rhythms into a moody, volatile mix. The much-demanded encore was preceded by a self-described "punk off the street" climbing onstage to denounce the SFPD in an unintelligible drunken slur. Bemused, Dick toasted him with a bottle of water, shrugging, "I didn't understand a word, mate, but cheers."

All words © Dave Negative
Edited by Julie Cohen
Photo Credits: Conquest for Death, Karoline; Criminal Damage, Zak Again; Subhumans, Molly Magdelane

HTML by Sharla Cartner

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