Day Of Havoc Fest Year 2 Post Wrap Up

Let’s face it, fans of extreme metal make up a very small percentage of the general population. Out here in the Midwest, our low population density results in us being overlooked by a lot of big tours and festivals. But, in one town with a population under 25,000, in more or less the middle of nowhere, the torch of brutality burns steadily.

The second-annual Day of Havoc Fest was held Saturday, May 30th, at The Depot in Norfolk, NE. This show is proudly one of’s premier events, produced in conjunction with Marcus Schwager of Architect or Arsonist.

Columbus, NE’s Drowning in the Platte was up first. DITP flies the grindcore flag high. This drums-and-guitar two-piece brings the pain, with a wall of blast beats and tremolo-picked guitar. I’ve seen these guys play in different configurations through the years, and it seems like they are getting better all the time. The low growls of guitarist/vocalist, Tard, really impressed me at this performance. He’s got a TON of power in his voice, especially for not being a big guy.

Drowning in the Platte plays all over the Midwest on a pretty regular basis. In fact, they are headed to Des Moines for the Hell Over Iowa Festival this coming weekend. If you are an Iowan, you’d probably better make plans to go.

Day of Havoc marked record releases for two bands on the bill. The first band with a new CD was Primal Waters from Lincoln. This four-piece played their new album, Recrudescence, in its entirety. PW’s low end is usually held down by Chuck Fleming, also of A Different Breed, but on this occasion, John Kingsley of Faith Buried in Flames joined the Schoenberg brothers on stage for the first time in a long time. From the crowd at the show, and the social media wake that followed, it seemed like people were excited by this guest appearance.

Primal Waters blasted through their set of thrashy tunes, punctuated by moments of sludge and pre-recorded sound effects. Their musical performance was accompanied by some added visual effects, coming through on the promise of “Thrash, Lasers, and Smoke” that was declared on their album release poster. These guys have a few more shows celebrating the release of their new record, check out their facebook for more details.

Next up was Architect or Arsonist, who released their debut album, Anthropomorphism, at Day of Havoc. AoA plays a powerful blend of grind and death metal, and the Norfolk crowd ate it up. The pit was filled with headbangers when the hometown heavy-hitters took the stage. The band played well, delivering breakneck brutality, and then seamlessly slipping into larger-than-life breakdowns that made the gathered mass of metalheads erupt.

I snagged a copy of Anthropomorphism, and it does not disappoint. Recorded by John Kingsley at Northeast Community College, and mixed and mastered by “Metal” Sean “The Wizard” Joyce, it sounds great. It can be difficult for a band, especially one as brutal as AoA, to get a good recording their first time in the studio, but these guys did a great job.

The band released their first music video a few days before the release, for their song “Paradox.” Watch here, and when you’re done with that, head over to the band’s facebook and see how you can get your hands on Anthropomorphism.

Closing out this night of heavy music was Ghosts of Ruin from Omaha. GoR plays modern, American metal. It seems like these guys take a bunch of sub-genres and cram them together in their songs. Maybe that’s why they use the word “progressive” on facebook to describe their music. I thought that word was just code for djent.

Ghosts of Ruin was the only five-piece of the night, and The Depot stage seems a lot smaller when you’ve got five guys up there. Darwin Murillo’s kick drum was the best sounding of the four bands that played. Whatever you are doing dude, it works!

I reviewed a video from GoR back in February, click here to check it out.

So even if you are stuck in a small midwestern town, keep an ear to the ground, for there is probably metal to be found!

…get out and pay some cover charges!