Brooklyn Bazaar is closing at the end of this month (November 2019). It's another in a string of venues forever opening and closing in New York City. When I saw that Exhumed and Gatecreeper were making a stop there in its final days, I knew I had to go. A chance to catch a legendary death metal act at a peak in their renaissance and a vital act beginning their ascent up the ladder to legendary status, and catch one more show at the Bazaar? Sign me up.
Not to mention the opening acts, Judiciary and Necrot. Putting in the work and getting the crowd's blood pumping before the double headlining bill. Judiciary play a thrashy kind of metallic hardcore that’s good for the soul. Necrot play a down and dirty kind of death metal that’s good for shredding the soul.
Exhumed are showmen. They bring a big room flourish to this small venue with theatrics and props. A blood covered surgeon starts their set by opening two cabinets to reveal televisions dripping with gore. He pops in some VHS tapes and a loop of horror movie clips begins.
Exhumed take the stage and begin their full death metal assault. Newish addition to the lineup, Sebastian Phillips is astonishing to watch. He brings an energy and flair to his playing that make him a young guitarist to keep your eye on. Exhumed are a party band and they know exactly what kind of party they are throwing. Loud, fast, sweaty and wild. Standout track Naked Bloody And Screaming from the new album, Horror, had the floor moving and when they hit some classic Gore Metal tunes in their setlist the crowd was frenzied.
The ghoulish surgeon appears multiple times during their set. Using a grinder and plate he shot sparks off a guitar. He fed us popcorn. Crowd surfed with a revving chainsaw. And hosed down the crowd with blood from a severed head.
Best hypeman in the biz.
Then Gatecreeper came out. Compared to Exhumed they are a positively lean outfit, letting their gritty death metal speak for itself. The members of Gatecreeper positively own that stage, they have the swagger of a band that’s been performing for sixteen years, not six. They're also touring in support of a new album, Deserted, which is possibly my favorite death metal release of the year. It's so heavy and textured. Really well mixed with a cavernous, epic vibe. Deserted also features a lot of catchy, big hooks. “Catchy” and “hooky” for a band with no clean vocals and lyrics about melting bodies.
They rock your face off and then you thank them, they thank you. It’s a beautiful process. Everyone is lathered and dazed when it's over. From The Ashes and Boiled Over seem to be crowd favorites from the new album, everyone went bananas for those tracks. They closed with fan favorite, Flamethrower from their awesome debut Sonoran Deprivation.
There is really only one thing to say about Gatecreeper, they are a mean ass band live.
Seeing them in one of my favorite Brooklyn venues as the last show I’ll see there will go down as a highlight. Hoping the managers find a new strategy and open again soon. We could always use spaces for awesome death metal shows. Especially venues with insanely overpowered sound systems like BKBazaar had.
RIP Brooklyn Bazaar. You lived your life like a candle in the wind.
Review and photo by Billy Devine