Antichrist Siege Machine and Miasmatic Necrosis w/ Thantifaxath and Blackwell | 12.13.22, 7:30pm | The Sinkhole, 7423 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63111 | All ages | $15-18
This Tuesday, Antichrist Siege Machine and Miasmatic Necrosis will bring their aptly named Apex of Filth Tour to The Sinkhole. The show is being promoted by Midwest Metal Punks, a booking agency that organizes events at The Sinkhole and other venues in the city.
Formed in Richmond, VA in 2016, Antichrist Siege Machine (ASM) is one of the preeminent acts in the modern “war metal” scene. War metal can be generically described as black metal played in the style of death metal: it typically combines the intentionally lo-fi production and blasphemous lyrical themes of the former with the chugging riffs and relentless percussion of the latter. What makes ASM notable, other than the quality of their music, is the fact that the band has only two members: drummer Scott Bartley and guitarist Ryan Zell.
“A typical ASM show is an onslaught of violent and chaotic energy,” Bartley told The Arts STL. “We attempt to push the limits of our instruments in alliance. I do the majority of the vocals while drumming, but there are certain parts where Ryan takes over.”
Before forming ASM, Bartley and Zell both had significant experience playing in other East Coast metal and hardcore acts, including Cellgraft, Left Cross, and Sacridose. According to Bartley, ASM distinguishes itself from other acts in the war metal scene through their emphasis on percussion, as well as the sheer intensity of their performances. “Compared to my previous work, ASM is a much more violent force. Much of that can be attributed to the songs being written from a drummer’s perspective. Ryan has an uncanny ability to push the percussion even further through his playing, and the band has become a sonic jackhammer!”
The band released their most recent album, Purifying Blade, through the label Stygian Black Hand in October 2021. They have been touring across North America since the album’s release, including appearances at several prominent metal festivals: Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, Total Death Over Mexico in Mexico City, and Psycho Festival in Las Vegas.
ASM is currently on a co-headlining tour with Miasmatic Necrosis (MN), a “goregrind” band based in New York City and Baltimore. Goregrind is a subgenre of death metal that usually features extremely fast tempos, short song structures, and lyrics concerned with gore and pathology. Many in the metal community regard British death metal pioneers Carcass as the original goregrind band, with modern bands frequently taking direct inspiration from Carcass’ early material.
MN released their 2020 debut album Apex Profane through Goatgrind Records, a Swiss label that, according to their website, specializes in “gore death grind shit.” Although MN shares a similar clinical subject matter as other goregrind bands (sample MN song titles: “Festering Carrion Transubstantiation,” “Septic Expulsion of a Collapsed Cavity,” “Engorged Trachea Purulence”), the band contrasts their gore obsession with cryptic religious imagery influenced by Esoteric Christianity.
“There’s always been a certain level of goofiness or a tongue-in-cheek element to the [goregrind] genre, which we aim to eliminate completely,” said MN vocalist Evan Harting. “In the current day, there aren’t as many goregrind bands around, but it seems that the ones who are most popular fall into the more extreme end of goofiness. Miasmatic Necrosis strives to bring a level of seriousness and terror that is rare to the genre. No toilet humor, sexual themes, gimmicks or ‘fun.’”
“We aim to highlight the contrasts of the most gross elements of physical reality as a human being, and the inseparability of our cosmic nature through the lens of the ancient Catholic church.”
This Tuesday’s show at Sinkhole will be MN’s first time performing in the Midwest. They spent much of the past year touring in both North America and Europe; like ASM, they played at this year’s Maryland Deathfest, as well as NYC’s annual Necrofest. The idea for the current co-headlining tour with ASM came from their representative at Heavy Talent, an independent booking agency that primarily represents North American metal bands (ASM is also represented by Heavy Talent).
Enigmatic Canadian black metal band Thantifaxath (another Heavy Talent artist) is the supporting band for the Apex of Filth Tour. Named after a demonic entity from the Kabbalah, the band strives to cultivate an aura of mystery: the members’ names are not published online, and I was unable to locate any interviews with them (they also did not respond to my own requests for an interview). They are known for performing in heavy hooded robes that cover their faces; most recently, they performed at Decibel Magazine’s winter 2022 Metal and Beer Fest in Denver, CO.
To this date, Thantifaxath has released one full-length album, Sacred White Noise (2014), and two EPs: Thantifaxath (2011) and Void Masquerading as Matter (2017). Their music is notable for its use of sophisticated compositional techniques, such as dissonance and chromaticism, that are uncommon to the black metal genre. There is a clear emphasis on creating an unsettling and esoteric atmosphere on their releases, with nods toward the avant-garde not often seen in metal. The title track to Void Masquerading as Matter memorably features an a cappella chorus in the manner of 20th Century classical music.
St. Louis black metal band Blackwell will be the opening act for the Sinkhole show. Formed in March 2018, the three-piece band consists of guitarist Arsonist, bassist Regurgitatör, and drummer Spaz. The band released their demo Subterranean Force earlier this year (which is freely available through their Bandcamp page) and are currently recording their first full-length album, which is being produced by Markov Soroka of Tchornobog fame.
Blackwell has played at Sinkhole several times, notably opening for Cleveland, OH death metal band Nunslaughter and experimental grindcore group Cloud Rat. Beyond the release of their demo, the band considers the upcoming show at Sinkhole to be their proudest moment.
“Antichrist Siege Machine has always been an influence on our music,” said Blackwell. “We hope to one day get signed to Stygian Black Hand, which puts out [ASM’s] stuff.”
ASM and MN both expressed an enthusiasm for bringing their brand of metal to St. Louis, a city that extreme metal bands often overlook on their national tours.
“We enjoy playing shows in the Midwest because the supporters seem to be genuinely grateful that we are there,” said Bartley of ASM. “Much of our kind of music does not make it towards the center of the country, and we primarily are performing either within the I-95 corridor [interstate highway that links the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard] or on the West Coast.”
“December 13 at the Sinkhole in St. Louis will be a night of total blasphemy and maniacism!” raves Bartley. “Even if you are not familiar with our respective acts, you will be able to appreciate the raw barbarity on display between us and our cohort. Attendance is mandatory!” | David Von Nordheim
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.