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Green Death/Nukem
Dive Bar, Las Vegas
Oct 21, 2015

Photography: Torchwield photography (2015)

Green Death, the boys from Des Moines, Iowa are on their way to California to add to the insanity that is Knotfest and they’re doing shows on the way. It’s October 21, 2015, at The Dive Bar in Las Vegas. It’s been a long time coming, but finally the band that hit me like a ton of bricks is here and I am ready to get an ear-full. You have probably read the reviews on their two records The Deathening and the new release Manufacturing Evil. Both albums are very heavy and different from each other, in style and songwriting, while still having a punk and progressive metal influence.

On this night, they bring along a band with a big sound. Nukem, a three piece outfit from El Cajon brings the good old fashioned California beat down as Steven Brogden lays down Hetfield style rhythms and Mustaine like leads. He also has a flavor for “sweeps”, a guitar technique that is not easily mastered and he makes it look so easy! Bandmates, Norm Leggio on drums and Don Lauder on the Spector bass kill it as a rhythm section with heavy tones and non-stop riffs. Although Nukem has three songs on their EP; (“Nukem All”, “WarWolf”, and “TV Crimes” a Black Sabbath cover), their set was not short. They are all about action and barely spoke in-between songs, and their songs are thrashy as they come. They put the early 1984 Metallica and Megadeth styles together with finesse and grace adding in the aggression of Dimebag Darrell. The vocals are gritty and angry like Udo Dirkschneider from Accept, only with a deeper tone. The depth of Nukem’s music pounds like a sledge hammer to the chest, even the tone of the disc is thick. So if you don’t have the best speakers in your car, you will still feel every down beat. Don’t miss a chance at seeing them live and find a way to get their EP! Right now they are recording their debut being mixed by Ulrich Wild ( due out the first quarter of 2016.

“Everyone shakes their fists as we sing along.”

Next, my main attraction, Green Death takes the stage. High with anticipation and eager to finally hear the songs that made my ears bleed while reviewing their music, so I watch as five guys start cramming the “soap box” style stage with their gear and begin sound check. I waited through five other groups including Nukem, and the anticipation is killing me. Sound check done, the intro begins and they crush through the songs, “Creature Feature” and “Manufacturing Evil”. Sol Bales on vocals sounds crystal clear, Mark Reinking and Erich Tran on guitars bring the monster distortion and blistering leads, and drummer Ryan Berrier murders the kit while Parker Willis’ flawless bass playing thumps along with vigor. “Gates of Hell” seems to be the fan favorite of the night. Its borderline death metal vibe and thrash attitude is nothing short of intense. Everyone shakes their fists as we sing along.

It’s amazing how these five guys thrashed about the small stage like maniacs that had just broken out of their strait jackets. Even though Green Death’s set was a little over half an hour and the crowd was fairly thin, they gave everything they had and put on a great performance. I would have liked to have heard “Split the Basket”, but it wasn’t in the cards. Sol’s microphone stand was a shovel. I have never seen that before, so I asked him about it and he said, “Green Death’s slogan is: ‘We’re so underground, you’ll need a shovel’”. Well, soon the Underground will rise and Green Death and Nukem will be the forerunners.

Check out Green Death here. You can find Nukem on Facebook. Special thanks to Sol Bales for putting me on the list and Steve Brogden for the guitar pics and disc. You all made the evening a memorable one and I look forward to the next time.

Tim Duran, HMS

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