Cell Block Earth throw a metal blowout in Ypsilanti for the release of their new album, Spastic Rants.

The Maidstone Theatre became a heavy metal showcase as Cell Block Earth brought along a cadre of fine Michigan bands to celebrate the release of their outstanding second full-length album, Spastic Rants.

The night starts out with Traumatize from Detroit. This band embraces the roots of American speed and thrash with a sound that calls up memories of Pantera, Ride The Lightning-era Metallica, and Slayer. Speaking of Slayer, the guys in Traumatize kick out a mean cover of “Dead Skin Mask” and “Seasons in the Abyss.”

Screaming from the start, Awaken Astraeus unleash metalcore fury with an intense rhythmic attack coupled with guitars on overdrive. The band utilizes one vocalist handling all the screams and growls while the other manages clean chorus vocals. The effect of the two vocalists creates dramatic tension within the music. It is great to see a young band creating heavy music with such passion.

Flint, Michigan has been hammered with adversity for years producing a fertile soil for uncompromising extreme metal bands like Demise of the Enthroned. Manic single note riffs, battering drumbeats, and daring bass runs compile into songs that explode with rage and disgust. The ferocity of the music is written on the face of each band member as they thrash about the stage. The audience is up front and actively engaged with the band as they tirelessly wage their metal onslaught.

“Spastic rants” is an excellent way to describe the balls out thrash of Cell Block Earth. Blending the best of D.R.I, Suicidal Tendencies, and Nuclear Assault, this band is aggressive and plays with intensity from the moment they take the stage.

Mike Stein’s guitar tone is perfect with crunchy mid-range and enough low-end to make every riff sound monstrous. With his feet flying on the kick drums, Larry Gallerani punishes the rest of his kit as the band crushes a new song called “Space Invaders”. Mark Lindsey’s bass is popping and adding a pant load of bottom end to each tune. Like a psychotic drill sergeant chastising his troops, Chris Sterritt makes the music come alive with his vocals that radiate with anger.

Batting cleanup on this metal night at the Maidstone is Detroit’s metal titans, Hate Unbound. With mushroom clouds of fog exploding in the background and lights flashing, this performance is as visual as it is audible.

New music dominates the set list and features the mesmerizing guitar playing of Daryl Mitchell and Will Cundiff. They turn the fretboard into a playground with head-splitting riffs and death defying solos. New bass player Sean Demura fits right in with the rest of the band and is more than able to keep up with the rapid fire riffs and crushing drum work of Danny Kendall. As always, Art Giammara’s vocal roar gives the music a fiery intensity that defines Hate Unbound.

This magnificent night of Pure Michigan Metal is a testament to the quality of musicians in this area. Keep your eyes peeled for more shows as these bands tour the area spreading the gospel of metal music.

Cell Block Earht
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Hate Unbound
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Demise of the Enthroned
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Awaken Astraeus
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Maidstone Theatre

About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.

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