Last Friday night, the Talent Farm of Pembroke Pines hosted a celebration of the new guard of thrash metal. A virulent display of chugging guitars, screaming vocals, and hectic mosh that served as much as a barometer of the strength of South Florida's own metal and hardcore scene as it was an opportunity to bang heads and churn the pit with a band that will most definitely not be seen in a venue so intimate again. Texas' rising heroes of thrash, Power Trip.
The local openers that kicked off the show did South Florida proud, leading one bystander to decree (maybe a tad overzealously) that the locals on the bill out shined the touring acts. While we humbly disagree with that statement, the youth were represented well by Jungle Law, a Pines-bred thrash beast that provided what was without question the most refreshingly fun opening set we've seen kick off a show in a long time. Jungle Law opened to a packed house that entered into a mosh frenzy early on. Between the band's home team advantage and spot-on Nuclear Assault cover, the young thrashlings of Jungle Law set the standard for the evening extremely high.
Palm Beach was represented by Shovelhead, a band that made its way on to several of our best of the year list with its debut EP, Suffer in Life, and a band that delivered on the promise of the album's post-Entombed death-thrash with an ignorant metal assault that brought the crowd to a boil. Duo Gibson Explorers chunked and harmonized to scramble the audience into a fit of rage and we seriously can't help but feel bad for anyone down here still sleeping on this band.
Iron Reagan was the first of the bill's touring acts to take to Talent Farm's stage. The band features members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour and was as solid as the members of list would suggest. The band made mention of the split they have coming out with the gore-mongers of Exhumed (who coincidentally played the Culture Room last night) and described the album as a "69" between the two bands. Iron Reagan's set was fun, though a whole lot less cartoonish than what Municipal Waste fans have been conditioned to expect.
Mammoth Grinder was the odd group on the tour sonically, straddling the line between early Corrosion of Conformity hardcore and sludgy death metal. However, the anticipation felt in the room prior to the trio's set was a tangible entity that we half expected to materialize into a human being (possibly Vigo, Scourge of Carpathia) and hit the pit with the rest of the crowd. The band released a shriek of feedback and lurched into thundering gallop that unchained the mosh beast within all present. The set was void of banter. It was a completely singular set in which crowd and band were both engulfed in the glory of oppressively loud metal and one which will not soon be forgotten.
Power Trip set up slowly, giving Mammoth Grinder frontman, Chris Ulsh, a minute to breathe before transforming into Power Trip drummer, Chris Ulsh. The band eased into the set with the low slung churn of "Drown" and the crowd wound back up for another spell through the massive pit that grew in the middle of the Talent Farm's carpeted innards.
The title track from the bands critically acclaimed debut, Manifest Decimation, signaled the begin of the complete insanity that would characterize the rest of the set. Bodies launched from around the venue, off the stage, and into one another. Before "Crossbreaker," Power Trip frontman Riley Gale gave a shout out to Axis, Palm Beach's current hardcore heroes, reminding us once again that Florida's scene is back in the national spotlight with a serious vengeance.
The highlight of the night was "Hammer of Doubt", the song that put Power Trip on the road to success when it appeared on Triple B's America's Hardcore compilation in 2010, and the song which left a hole in the Talent Farm's wall from a stage diver's foot. An ideal ending for a night built on thick riffs and hectic pits.