The 2017 Summer Slaughter Tour delightfully brutal at the Agora Ballroom!!!

Article written and all photos taken by Shannon “Hammy” Hamilton/




The Agora Ballroom in Cleveland played host to the 2017 Summer Slaughter Tour on August 26th. The lineup was headlined by death metal veterans, The Black Dahlia Murder and Dying Fetus.

To say the fans came out in droves would be an understatement.  A throng of people amassed outside the historic venue as early as 2:30 in the afternoon. Lined from the doors making its way to the back parking lot, the crowd was swelling with anticipation by the minute waiting for the show to begin.

AngelMaker, a six piece band out of Vancouver, British Columbia opened the show when it was finally time for the first note. It was the first opportunity for me to check out the melodic death core gang and lets just say I’m glad the chance came. They were full of high voltage energy and were the perfect choice to get the crowd going. Dual front men Casey Pearce and Mike Greenwood provided superior vocals while Colton Bennett and Matt Perrin provided a heavy undertone sound with their guitars. Bassist Cole Rideout and drummer Jesse Price were like jackhammers with the rhythm.

Paris, France’s Betraying the Martyrs were next to throw down on the stage. These guys have become a driving force for death metal in Europe they showed why as the Agora crowd were tearing up the pit crowd surfers galore were keeping security busy. Aaron Matts served up a delightfully thrashing vocal set with the help of Victor Guillet (keyboards). Babtiste Vigier and Lucas D’angelo served up crushing riffs on the six strings with Boris Le Gal (drums) and Valentin Hauser (bass) brings things all together.

Random photos of Summer Slaughter Tour at Agora Ballroom. All photos taken by Shannon 'Hammy' Hamilton/

A heavy metal foursome out of New Jersey, Lorna Shore, kept the crowd pumped up a blistering raucous set. Vocalist Tom Barber let it rip as the group featured tunes from their latest release, “Flesh Coffin”. Drummer Austin Archey along with guitarists Adam De Micco and Conner Deffley provide outstanding backup.

Rings of Saturn followed with their unique style aliencore, true death metal sound. Hailing for the Bay Area in California, this thunderous quartet is a must see if you love death metal. They’re fast and aggressive with Ian Bearer unleashing boisterous vocals. Lucas Mann does the thumping of the bass with Dimitri Baker tickling the twine with a heavy hand. Aaron Stechauner is an absolute beast on the kit.

Performing tunes from their newest Nuclear Blast Record release, “Unparalleled Universe” which hit the shelves in June, Origin pounded the stage next. Frontman Jason Keyser was in total command as he hearken the Agora mob to get up and begin moving. Paul Ryan (guitar), Mike Flores (bass) and John Longstreth (drums) make up the rest of the death shredders.

Chicago’s Oceano delivered a monstrous set, so much so that the pit became engulfed in an enthralling frenzy. In fact the rage created the night’s first accident victim with a mosher busting a tooth. But that didn’t put a damper on the evening with the fan immediately returning to action. With Scott Smith on guitar, Chris Wagner manning the bass, Matt Kohanowski assaulting the drums and Adam Warren on vocals, Oceano is a combustible force to be dealt with.

The Faceless continued to bring the brutality as the second victim falling prey to their visceral offering. This time it was a broken nose. Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron delivers the heavy vocals for this Sumerian Records artist from Los Angeles. Michael Kenne is haunting with his clean vocals and impresses with amazingly heavy riffs on the guitar. Original bassist, Brandon Giffen, is masterful on bass with Justin McKinney doing the same on rhythm guitar. James Knoerl completes this five-piece death metal quintet by aggressively unloading with the sticks.

Dying Fetus during the Summer Slaughter Tour at Agora Ballroom. All photos taken by Shannon 'Hammy' Hamilton/

With 26 years of death metal experience and eight albums under their belt, Dying Fetus was met with a clamoring of ovation by the masses when it was their turn to grace the stage. DF went full throttle out of the gate which created an explosion of the crowd surfers. I had one eye looking back at all times to avoid being landed on from my perch in the photo pit. Dying Fetus was spot on with the presentation of songs from their latest Relapse Records’ CD “Wrong one to F–k With”. For a three member technical death metal band Sean Beasley (bass, vocals), John Gallagher (guitar, vocals) and Trey Williams (drums) were ferociously vicious and gave the fans exactly what they came for.

Finally it was time for the tour headliner, The Black Dahlia Murder, gifted the anxiously awaiting horde with the playing of their album “Nocturnal” in its entirety in celebration of its 10th year anniversary. The pit became savage as the Detroit natives detonated the fuse to a tumultuous revelry. It was so inviting that at one point a penguin decided to partake in the crowd surfing and of course the pit claimed yet more victims. Trevor Strnad and Brian Eschbach (guitar) share vocal duties for the Metal Blade Records signee while Brandon Ellis holds down the guitar slot. Alan Cassidy (drums) and Max Lavelle (bass) form the rhythm section.

The Black Dahlia Murder headling the Summer Slaughter Tour at Agora Ballroom. All photos taken by Shannon 'Hammy' Hamilton/

The Black Dahlia Murder shows no signs of slowing down as they continue to tour until November. I highly suggest you grab a ticket and get out to a live performance If that isn’t in the cards at least do yourself a favor and purchase a copy of their upcoming release “Nightbringers”, due out October 6th.

I want to thank the folks at Metal Blade Records and the Cleveland Agora for having me out to the show. It was truly an epic night. 


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Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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