We knew we were in for one hell of a journey when we arrived at The Electric Factory to find the stage and surrounding areas covered in plastic sheets like a scene from one of Dexter‘s kill rooms. Everything- The stage, monitors, speakers, and barriers all wrapped up in black plastic ready for a healthy splattering of GWAR slime.
It’s something of a miracle that the show was even able to take place as it’s been quite a tumultuous month for these intergalactic showmen, having found their longtime friend and guitarist “Flattus Maximus” (born Cory Smoot), dead on the band’s tour bus as they prepared to cross into Canada following a gig in Minneapolis on Nov 4.
At this time, the cause of death still remains unknown and something of a mystery as the band members are not known for being excessive partiers or risk takers.
Lead singer Dave Brockie, known as ‘Oderus Urungus,’ said in a official statement:
It is with a sense of profound loss that GWAR must announce the passing of their long-time guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot, also known to thousands of metal fans worldwide as Flattus Maximus..At this point we are just dealing with the loss of our dear friend and brother..Please give your thoughts and your prayers to Cory, his family, and all the people that love him.
Apart from his musical contributions as one of the top guitarist in modern metal, Smoot also lend his talents as a producer on GWAR albums War Party, Beyond Hell, Lust in Space and the band’s current LP, Bloody Pit of Horror. Smoot also delivered vocals on popular GWAR track ‘Release the Flies.’
Since Smoot‘s passing, GWAR has officially retired the character of Flattus Maximus and continued on with the tour. This Electric Factory performance on Nov 26, 2011 marked the final night that Buffalo’s favorite metalcore sons Every Time I Die and supporting act Warbeast would should share the stage together.
Warbeast got the crowd moving early with their patented blend of classic-metal-meets-modern-thrash in support of their latest LP, Krush The Enemy on Housecore Records. Featuring singer Bruce Corbitt of the infamous 80’s thrash act, Rigor Mortis– Warbeast delvier an authentic thrash sound that comes from having lived and breathed the original wave of American thrash.
Warbeast originally formed under the moniker Texas Metal Alliance with plans of only playing one benefit show for Hammer Witch bassist/vocalist Wayne Abney. Abney had suffered a near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 2006. After moving on from covers of the members’ previous projects, a demo of original material eventually found its way to Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Arsen Anthem) who almost immediately signed the band to his new imprint, Housecore Records.
Last Saturday’s performance found the band as enthusiastic and on point as ever with a plethora of fans that showed up early to support this lineup of thrash veterans.
Every Time I Die hit the stage next with a blistering set that featured a slew of songs from their second and breakthrough album Hot Damn!. Having recently reintroduced longtime bass player Stephen Micciche back into the mix, their choice of song selection surely may have been inspired by his recent re-addition.
This reviewer could not have been happier, as Hot Damn! will forever rank as one of my top picks to bring along if I am ever stranded on a desert island. ETID tested the waters with one new track from an untitled forthcoming album, as the band continues to support their 2009 release of their fifth studio album, New Junk Aesthetic, which marked the band’s first release on Epitaph Records and made an impressive #46 debut on the Billboard Charts. Their set was filled with raucous energy that was even able able to capture the attention of hordes of GWAR fans dying to be splattered in intergalactic slime. No small feat, as many an opening act has been shunned by GWAR‘s notoriously loyal followers who sport bright white T’s just itching to be dosed in fake blood and sticky goo.
GWAR finally took the stage after an extended intermission and brought the fucking house down. With a rotating roster of various slime throwing creatures, last Saturday’s performance found the band as sharp and poignant as ever. And while they undoubtedly hit the stage with a sense of sorrow for their fallen comrade, they did make reference to his loss in character and as they continued to pummel the crowd with shredding tunes and gallons of slime projected in every imaginable trajectory. The pictures tell more than a thousand words, so without further ado…
UPDATE 12/06/11: Revolver Mag Reported on the official cause of Smoot’s death.
Stated North Dakota coroner William Masselo, MD:
“We have finalized the autopsy report and death certificate. I have determined that Cory died from a coronary artery thrombosis [a heart attack] brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease.”
Metal Blade and GWAR have since set-up the Smoot Family Foundation to raise funds for Cory’s wife, Jaime, and their unborn child. Donations can be made right here. Also, at The Canal Club in Richmond, Virginia, on January 7, there will be a record release show, featuring Mensrea, Cannabis Corpse, DBX and more, for Cory’s solo record, When Worlds Collide, which he had completed working on just prior to his death. The album will be released early next year, with all proceeds going to the Smoot Family Fund.
Words and pictures by Joshua T. Cohen.