(Note: On Friday, September 4, the White Rabbit hosted the third annual Rick Sciaraffa birthday scholarship show. Sciaraffa, before his death in 2007, owned the club and played an instrumental role in establishing the local metal scene as we know it today. It is fitting that a collection of San Antonio’s hardest acts comes together every year to pay tribute to Sciaraffa, and raise money for the San Antonio College Music Scholarship Fund in his name.)
Among the heaviest acts on a heavy bill, local band Blood of Our Enemies takes the stage at around 10 p.m. Singer Joey Viesca slips off his shoes and begins riling the crowd, chanting various mosh come-ons while the band plows through opener “Dead in Hell.” The band is short a guitar player tonight, leaving guitarist Mark Denkewalter to carry the heavy-metal load alone. David Castillo is a machine behind his drum kit, effortlessly shifting between Fear Factory-esque breakdowns and furious blast beats on “You Ain’t Shit,” while bassist Gabe Espada is losing his damn mind.
Viesca pauses before the band’s third song to announce the winners of a raffle for Born of Osiris tickets and a White Rabbit T-shirt. Shortly after, the bands jumps into their most technically impressive song of the evening, “Iron Fist.” The lyrics seem to suggest some amalgamation of violent Alexandrian conquest and Disney’s Sword in the Stone. None of it matters, though, as Viesca’s scream renders most of it unintelligible. The closer, “A Breath Away From Murder,” wanders through fluctuating time signatures and violent metal chug. I started to walk away as the band thanked everyone for sticking around, but I turned back toward the stage when the encore breakdown began. Having moved from the comfort of the corner of the stage, I was now in the middle of the room, left with no choice but to get involved in the insanity around me. After a few “floor punches” I was thoroughly exhausted and ready to call it a night.
The metal-core genre has become incredibly stale over the past few years as bands seem to have simply run out of ideas. Composing songs that string eight breakdowns together with bits of predictable guitar harmony, and attempting to create metalicized interpretations of Mega Man 2 midis has become the defining quality of the genre. Though Blood of Our Enemies don’t do much to turn the genre on its ear, they do provide an entertaining take that caters to their audience’s base desire for more danceable metal.