Antichrist Siege Machine and Miasmatic Necrosis w/ Thantifaxath and Blackwell | 12.13.22 | The Sinkhole, 7423 S Broadway
Last week, war metal stalwarts Antichrist Siege Machine (ASM) and goregrind evangelists Miasmatic Necrosis (MN) brought their co-headlining Apex of Filth tour to the Sinkhole. Thantifaxath, a progressive black metal troupe from Toronto, was the supporting band for the tour, and local black metal act Blackwell was the opening act for the Sinkhole show. Each of these bands plays a distinct style of metal and has a dedicated fanbase of their own. Many attendees cited the diversity of the performances as the draw of last Tuesday’s show.
Taelor Beeck, owner of booking agency Midwest Metal Punks, was responsible for persuading ASM and MN to bring their latest North American tour to St. Louis. “I am actually friends with Scott [Bartley] and [Ryan] Zell from Antichrist Siege Machine,” said Beeck, “so we were extremely stoked to be working together, and they knew they were in good hands.
“All of the bands were extremely kind and easy to work with, not to mention that they absolutely melted all of our minds with their performances. I think we also stunned them with the energy we brought. They said it was definitely one of the best and craziest shows of the tour.”
St. Louis-based black metal band Blackwell was the local support for the evening. The band’s sound and appearance harken to the titans of black metal: they perform in corpse paint makeup while wearing threatening spiked gauntlets. The members prefer to go by their aliases: Arsonist (guitarist and vocalist), Regurgitatör (bassist), and Spaz (drummer).
“I put Blackwell on as local support because they are my favorite band in Missouri, and [were] a perfect fit for the show,” said Beeck. “They also happen to be my close friends, and I knew how much playing with all of these bands would mean to them.”
“We knew attendance would be decent, but we were surprised at how many people came out on such a cold, rainy Tuesday night,” Blackwell guitarist Arsonist told The Arts STL. “We would’ve been happy just to see the other bands play, but to meet them and share the stage was nuts.”
Blackwell played material from their demo EP Subterranean Force, released earlier this year, and also debuted new material from their forthcoming LP, which they are currently writing and recording. Arsonist cited their opening performance at last Tuesday’s show as the band’s proudest moment yet. “We’re coming off this gig feeling invigorated and hungry. This upcoming year is a big one for us, with a full-length album and some other fun shit we can’t talk about yet. Expect to see more of us.”
For the more avant-garde minded, Thantifaxath was the clear highlight. The band is known for implementing compositional techniques that are uncommon to metal music, such as chromaticism and the use of a cappella vocal choirs. The members of Thantifaxath have remained steadfastly anonymous throughout their career, and rarely (if ever) grant interviews to music press.
“Thantifaxath was my favorite performance of the night,” said Jasnaam Singh of Creve Coeur, MO. “I’m not familiar with their genre [black metal], but it definitely felt darker and more hypnotic than the other performances. Really cool riffs and all three members wore hoods, which added to the mystique.”
“I’d say Thantifaxath is proggy without being pretentious,” said Eric Barnes of Florissant, MO, who came to the show specifically for Thantifaxath’s set. “They do some chord progressions that remind me of King Crimson. I wasn’t sure how they were going to [sound] live, but they were great. The drums came in a lot clearer than their recorded stuff, and it just made everything way more intense.”
Miasmatic Necrosis, whose members hail from Baltimore and New York City, was the third act of the evening. The band performed material from their debut full-length album, Apex Profane(2020), although with a rearranged setlist that differed from the album’s track listing. Like many bands in the goregrind genre, MN’s lyrics and song titles are preoccupied with gore and pathology, although they combine this with cryptic religious imagery, making them distinct in both sound and subject matter from other acts in the scene. They are known for their relentless live performances, which match the speed and intensity of their recorded material.
“Miasmatic Necrosis killed it,” said Martin Ruppert, an attendee of the show and a vocalist for several St. Louis metal bands, most notably Polterguts. “They filled the whole room, and everything sounded so rotten and filthy but in a good way.”
“Miasmatic Necrosis seemed to be the crowd favorite of the night,” said Singh. “Intense performance, and the growls from the vocalist and lead guitarist were otherworldly. The mosh pit got wild!”
The final act of the evening was co-headliner Antichrist Siege Machine of Richmond, VA. Since releasing their demo EP in 2016, this band has become one of the most popular and well-regarded acts in the war metal subgenre. The band is notable for having only two members, drummer and vocalist Scott Bartley and guitarist and backing vocalist Ryan Zell. For their live performances on this tour, Zell has been running a bass amp in tandem with his guitar amp, allowing them to create a full and dynamic live sound.
According to Beeck, Tuesday’s show brought one of the best crowds she’s seen since she began booking acts at the Sinkhole and other venues throughout the city. Other notable metal shows she’s booked this year include Kenyan experimental grindcore act Duma, also at Sinkhole, and black metal artist Hulder with crust punk band Devil Master at Off Broadway.
“There were about 70 people [at last Tuesday’s show], which is a full room at the Sinkhole,” said Beeck. “I’d say it was a pretty comparable turnout to most of my shows there, but the energy was unmatched. The crowd was more alive than I’ve ever seen at any other show there.”
“It was truly a perfectly evil evening. Maybe even the show of the year.”
“All of the shows on the tour had great turnouts, but the St. Louis show had the wildest crowd,” said Evan Harting, vocalist for Miasmatic Necrosis. “This one was the most DIY style venue, without a raised stage, [with the bands] playing on the floor, but the crowd reaction was one of the most intense we’ve had so far. Hope to be back some day.”
The next Midwest Metal Punks show will be on New Year’s Eve at the Sinkhole, and will feature performances from Sarkatha of Lawrence, KS, as well as St. Louis bands Trashgoat, Nite Sprites, and Mindclot.
After last week’s St. Louis show (12/13), the Apex of Filth tour continued with dates in Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C., before ending with a homecoming show in ASM’s hometown of Richmond, VA on December 18th. | David Von Nordheim