(Ben Hoagland, Ryker Morrow & Jared “Jay Sweeps” of Extortionist)

So, I roll up in Bremerton at the Charleston, or “the chuck,” as people call it. It’s an old movie theater turned into a venue. That’s tight. The bands and a few early arrivals are outside just sort of hanging out. I get a cool vibe off the city, it being my first time here and all.

The show starts off with a band of younger guys, probably ages 15-17. They were called temptress. Their first track was a groovy “djent,” if you would, song. It was just guitar and drums. That was their only original song. It was pretty good, but a little generic. They covered two motionless in white tracks, whose names I forget. They cover a skillet song, and stricken by disturbed. They’re a talented group of guys but I feel that they honestly shouldn’t be doing shows if they don’t have at least a set list of original songs. Covers are just redundant, and honestly it was just a weird opener. I’m stoked to see what they’re up to, musically, though.

Next up was Groundfeeder. Let me say now, that I’m really into Groundfeeder. They played all the tracks from their 3 track demo, and a few unreleased ones. And holy fuck. They’re like sworn in/barrier on a combination of coke and steroids. Their drummer held it down, and was able to do some guttural type vocals while playing. The guitar & bass were tight together and with the drums, and they were still getting rowdy on stage. Their vocalist, a shorter guy, has the loudest & most projected voice I’ve ever heard. He has a high-ish hardcore/shout vocal that he does most of the time. He dropped the mic and was yelling at the crowd and it was still super loud. His lows are super good too, not as loud as his shouts, but fucking sweet. Their set was a constant wall of sound that you couldn’t help but hate mosh too. They set the bar for the rest of the show.

The third band was umbra. They’re really fucking heavy. If you could mix djent and beatdown, they did it, and super well. Their first track was Blackheart, which they released back in July of 2014. It’s a banger, and the pit opened up right as the eerie intro started. They have a lot of hardcore influence too, their vocalist does mostly hardcore type vocals. I dig it. Their instrumentation was pretty tight, but it could’ve been more together, especially the leads and the breakdowns. Their set got slower and heavier with every song, and I loved every second of it. They got less tight during the slow stuff but that may have been purposeful, because it sounded super nasty and heavy.

The band up after Umbra was Prometheus. Definitely one of my favorite locals. They have a straight up deathcore sound that’s just too fucking heavy. Their vocalist gets up on stage after their eerie intro, and starts yelling a bunch of pissed off shit about back stabbers and such, which seemed to get everyone going. Then the music really started. They started off with a super slow, nasty breakdown. Gets everyone riled up. They go through their set, which consists of a wall of I Declare War caliber heavy noise. Their instrumentation was the one of the tightest bands at the show. They had a few passages of softer stuff where some Middle Eastern scales were utilized, which is the dopest thing in heavy music, in my opinion. Their vocalist has some of the gnarliest gutturals I’ve ever heard. He mixes them will mid-range shouted vocals and a few highs. Their set was fucking awesome, over all.

The 3rd to last band was Projections. They had a super aggressive style of metalcore. Usually that’s not my type of music, but damn. They had a really tight set. Their guitar & bass tones were dialed in really well, and their playing was, again, one of the tightest bands of the night. The vocals, all be them solid vocals, were sort of uninteresting to me. Basic low throated metalcore vocals. They sounded good with the music, but if he had mixed it up a bit more I would’ve been into the vocal parts. Over all, they’re a solid band. Really fucking heavy and easy to throw down too. The crowd response was insane. 

Next up was We Rise the tides. They have a really melodic style of metalcore that would drop into some of the gnarliest breakdowns of the night. Their instrumentation was very calculated. The tightest band of the night, instrumentation/togetherness wise. They had a few clean singing parts, but they weren’t bad at all. Usually I can’t get into clean singing in metal, but the guy had a really full voice. It was in a good range too, that matched the music. One of my biggest pet-peeves is vocals that don’t match the music, such as high vocals and low-mid guitars. There was definitely a lot of thought into their music. Really solid band. 

The last band of the night is a personal favorite of mine. Extortionist, from Idaho. They’re the perfect mix of hardcore, beat down and deathcore. Their music is too good. I expected a lot, and frankly I was a little disappointed. They had two fill in drummers. Their normal drummer had some life stuff going on, and I hope he’s doing well again. The guitars and the vocals were on point, just like I expected. The fill in drummers, from Groundfeeder and Projections, did a pretty alright job, they had their moments but it was just off and they had to cut their song Dead ends short. At the end of the set, everyone was yelling “come on one more” “encore,” and stuff like that. So the drummer of Groundfeeder rushes the stage and practically throws the drummer of Projections off the kit, as the guitarist breaks out into the beginning of The Black Sheep, the title track of their debut EP. That song was the tightest song of their set. Ben even handed the mic off to me for the end of the song, where Dan Watson is featured on the EP. It was sweet. Overall, I’d have like to have seen the normal drummer play instead of the fill ins. but hey, life happens. Their set was very energetic, which made up for the lack of togetherness in the instrumentation. A lot of people grabbing the mic and yelling the words back at the band. A guy even got knocked out in the pit. It was craziness.

The night closed out with Crimewave. Crimewave is a rap project led by the guitarist of Extortionist Jared, or more commonly known as “JAY SWEEPZ.” He got up there, and did his thing. Rap has never been my music, but I definitely could see the talent it takes to rap, for one, and all the time it took for them to make the background beats and such. People were getting into it, it was cool to see a bunch of hardcore & metal kids dancing to rap. The stage antics were interesting. There were two guys in ski masks yelling some of the lines with Crimewave. The lyrics were interesting. A lot of talk of recreational use of marijuana, having relations with other guys’ women, etc. not my cup of tea, but interesting. Crimewave had a guest come on, who went by the stage name ghoulish, if I remember correctly. I needed some air during ghoulish’s first song, but I heard the second one. It was about performing oral sex on a woman’s back door… if you catch my drift. I didn’t know how to feel about that, honestly, but again; talent and time are things I can respect in the music. It was a good way too cool off after losing my shit to extortionist, and just cooling off at the end of the night in general before I had to make the journey home all the way to Seattle.

The show was fucking awesome, all things considered. Although extortionists set wasn’t perfect, neither was anyone else’s. I dig the vibe of The Chuck, being an old movie theater and everything. Apparently, during Prometheus’ set, some guy was going ape shit outside, running from the cops.. I dig the excitement. I’ll definitely be returning for more shows.