Whitechapel headline the Metal Blade Records 35th Anniversary Tour at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California.

Home to some of the biggest and most influential bands in the world of metal, Metal Blade Records has released more than a handful of essential records over the years. From the Metal Massacre compilations to Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth to Slayer’s Show No Mercy, the label has left its boot print all over the history of extreme music. So when the time came to put together a tour celebrating thirty-five years of existence, Metal Blade brought together a package that shows that they are still a crucial component in today’s world of Heavy Metal, and will not rest on their laurels.

Headliners Whitechapel, hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, walk onto the stage to a crowd that has already been given their moneys worth by the four other bands on the bill. Opening with “The Saw is the Law,” the band are bathed in strobe lights that at times reveal only silhouettes of its members.

Highlighted by the three guitar attack of Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder, the band delivers a surgically precise execution of “Elitist Ones,” “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation,” and “Eternal Refuge,” to name a few, that whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Direct support band Cattle Decapitation take the stage this evening and deliver a 40 minute set of no-frills Grindcore. Frontman Travis Ryan spews out the lyrics with a visceral scream, while the band play at breakneck speed. Highlights from their set include “Manufactured Extinct,” “We Are Horrible People,” and “Circo Inhumanitas.”

Third, on the bill this evening is Goatwhore, and the New Orleans based band does not disappoint. The room is now filled with their blackened thrash metal. The band generate the biggest reaction from the crowd thus far, as they tear through their all too brief set, which is accentuated by the guitar riffs of Sammy Duet, and the growls of vocalist Ben Falgoust II.

Opening bands on this tour include both Allegaeon and Necromancing the Stone, both of whom put on solid sets as the crowd filter into the venue.

Showcasing some of the most prominent bands on their roster, with this tour Metal Blade shows that although they have quite a storied history, they still have the ability to champion the bands that are the future of extreme music. Here’s to another 35 years, Metal Blade.

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Cattle Decapitation
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Necromancing the Stone
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Metal Blade Records
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The Fillmore
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About The Author

Raymond Ahner is a professional freelance photographer residing in San Francisco, California. Growing up in the Bay Area, Raymond was lucky enough to witness both the Punk and Thrash Metal scene of the 1980's explode literally right in front of his eyes. It was a pretty special time in his life, and is what instilled his love for live music. Over the years Raymond has been fortunate enough to combine his passion for live music with his love of photography. And although he will always love shooting the big arena Rock show, it is in a tiny, packed to the rafters club were he his most at home with his gear.

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