Saturday December 19th the Dayton Metal Family celebrated a milestone of one of their own. Tammy Hampton proved good, loud, heavy music keeps us young and eternal in heart and spirit as the packed crowd at Hanks Pub celebrated her birthday. The bands were handpicked by Hampton bringing together a plugged in acoustic performance by members of Jacobs Dream and Letters to the Blind forming the one night moniker Vicious Symphony. Black Cloud Syndrome, Letters to the Blind and the mighty Forces of Nature brought the DMF out as the icy cold chill of late December fell after dark.
Though Jacobs Dream’s bombastic, powerful sound was simplified, sometimes all you need is a guitar and a strong voice to deliver the power at its core. It was still heavier than when Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora did it and Wanted Dead or Alive was not played or hinted at. They did however play a set of JD covers, and some BioGenesis tune, proving that metal’s power and emotion can translate into a simple two man performance.
The heavy rocker “Handful of Dust” translated well to the single instrument. Pre-arranged keyboards created the opening mood of the melodic, medieval sounding manifesto “Tale of Fears.” Chaz Bond had to hit some high notes as the song flirted with Operation Mindcrime atmosphere. They played the first BioGeneses tune “Never,” and an offering from the Dominion of Darkness album “Don’t Talk.” People say they love you but don’t treat you that way and want to change you. The opening notes of “Stain” summoned the innovator of the horns, our Holy Father, Dio.
“Beneath the Shadows” brought the electric out of the acoustic strings. They finished “At the Gates” and recommended sticking around for Forces acoustic set.
Making their official debut at Hanks, Black Cloud Syndrome popped their cherries in front of the DMF with grungy rock tunes about aliens and government cover ups and a special 80’s tribute to the lady of the evening. It’s a rarity for a metal band to cover Cindy Lauper but it was her night so they played “Time After Time.” Unfortunately the song from The Goonies was excluded.
They played “Break It,” in a year of political maneuvering and “Revolution Rising.”
Letters to the Blind came on like a tidal wave conglomerate of Fear Factory, Dragonforce and Queensryche. Bond made his return to the mic for part 2.
The beginning cybertech guitars and beats of “Once” echoed the walls with Bonds power metal delivery. “Suffocate” started with a technical display of black metal chords and a Killswitch flavor. The solo flexing fingers of Blaine Gordon flowed with technical knowledge as the piano keys progressed into the Maiden-like Iced Earth’d “Generation Sin.” “Colors Fade” setup the kill-shot engaging in some classic Killswitch on “My Curse.”
They cranked out the “Creed of Honor.” We’re all bonded by the metal mission statement and the power of electricity. Band credo “Letters to the Blind” wrote intricately noted prose down the neck with thrash and techno thought patterns. They played the wonderfully conflicted mind-storm of mixed personalities. Jekyll and Hyde reside between “Beauty and Chaos.”
The metal culture is often misunderstood and stigmatized. If you’re not part of it, you probably wouldn’t understand. A metal head never “Bows to the Machine.”
Anyone unaccustomed to the forces of nature that mix the best bulldozing parts of Pantera and Slayer with vintage S.O.D. haven’t experienced one of Dayton’s solid building blocks. Known by many as Forces, the two screaming straight jacket guitars, rabid-growling bass, vocals to scare demons away and the kit pounding loudest maiden in Dayton bring the devoted for loud worship and praise.
The always faithful wall puncher, “Magnus Lee” opened past the midnight hour. “Mary” is still one angry, self-hating bitch. The smell of death’s quite enchanting in the “Forest of Corpses.” A “Rotten Tooth” never stopped anyone from partying till they woke up not remembering last night.
They are the soundtrack to every crash, street fight, cage match compilation “As Seen on TV.” They played a new one dedicated to fellow local fallen metal brother Dean Maiden. The Forces were strong with him and his love of the D.M.F.
The dark, melodic ill intent of the “Dark Carnival” filled the room. Guitars and bass played out the symbolic smells of stank beer, rotten cotton candy and the unspoken secrets of what happens in dark corners when the final curtain goes down under the big top. The foot stomper, fist cranker “Nevermore” quoted the evening off with the chugging solid pacer “Devices.”
Images by Mike Ritchie