Saturday, and we’ve come too far to back out now. There is only Hell’s Headbash, and we will see it to the end if it fucking kills us. On either side of one’s life is a sea of vicious live music. The night promises a wide array of rare treats, too—Deceased, Deiphago, and of course Satanic Warmaster. Yeah, you could drink water in the room all day, or you could get to the Agora and sweat it out during Embalmer over a whiskey-ginger. Count your blessings—whoever’s responsible for the massive hole in the wall in the third floor hallway is probably having a worse morning than you are. What a beautiful day to be alive. Oh look, a used condom!

Everyone must be having too much fun, because the venue has taken everything up a notch today. According to the signs on the door upon arrival, there’s No Re-Entry for the next eleven hours, and as such Embalmer is sadly missed will Scab hunts down food that’s not from a truck (there’s only so much Gyro George one man can gruffle, and luckily Biggie’s Food Mart down the street delivers a well-made greaseball cheesesteak). Security guards flank the outdoor area, presumably trying to keep people from smoking weed. Guess last night did get a little crazy. Excuse me, sir, is this by any chance related to the giant hole on Three?

Thankfully, Hellvetron are taking the stage upon my return, and their nihilistic black metal crushes the venue in an epic shockwave as the band sway in front of their candle-covered altar and fire mushroom clouds of fake smoke into the air. The Haunting Presence are up next, and are expectedly scathing and shadowy. Evil Army are everything you expected, toxic speed metal with a built-in circle pit, and the thrashers eat them up. Sacrocurse, though, are much more what everyone wants, and the crowd goes apeshit as they storm through a fiery set of warlike black metal. I feel sorry for the couple whose wedding is in that church between the Agora and the hotel.

For some reason, I thought I didn’t like Deceased, but I must be mistaken (perhaps a Head Shots examination is in order[Yes, please!—Ed.]), because the guys just fucking rule, dumping sweaty death-thrash on eager heshers. Then comes Perdition Temple, who sound as hungry and tyrannical live as they do on their new record, The Tempter’s Victorious. Deiphago of the Fillipines are impressive in their speed and brutality, but shine in their riffier moments, as do Destruktor from Australia, who are best when showing their thrash influences. Both bands are perfectly timed, though, and the sweating and stoned audience are 100% behind them. Sadly, word gets around later that Deiphago guitarist Sidapa knocked out a woman backstage. Always a bad look for that kind of band.

Wait, now there IS re-entry? Dammit, and I missed “Blood Sucking Freaks”.

It’s always good to remember that despite their shady political history and their more egregiously-psychotic fans, Satanic Warmaster is just a black metal band, and a relatively talented one at that; the fact that they're on all these bigoted compilations wouldn't be important if the band weren't good. Even a diehard bleeding heart like myself ends up bobbing his head and tapping his foot while they play; as far as battle-obsessed death march music goes, this stuff is all right (though one of their background projections does sort of look like a bunch of swastikas). The crowd responds in kind--the pit section is packed, mostly with dudes whose band shirts involve a lot of clean lines and neat fonts if you know what I'm saying. The night closes with none other than Profanatica, and the trio of hairy bishops take things in a weirder direction, focusing more on atmospheric horror than the spoils of war. The giant-dicked Cupid hanging over them is an especially nice touch.

Tonight’s the night to party. Everyone’s out, packing the venue, the hotel, and the streets in between. We’re all yelling, calling after people in a van attempt to discover where the fucking party’s at. The halls of the University Hotel & Suites become one loud bacchanal that rages until the early morning. At some point, there’s a gunshot. The hole in the wall is fixed. Guess we’ll have to do it again tomorrow.

 —Scab Casserole



More From Invisible Oranges