Santa Cruz, CA's Decrepit Birth is the only notable band who played early on, with Canada's own technical death masters Beneath the Massacre performing midway through the day. The latter's set was short, but incredibly intense with strong performances of "Reign of Terror" and "Our Common Grave" from their latest release Dystopia.
Following BTM was the most brutal, and hence, the best performance of the night by Topeka, KS's Origin. Led by chief of gutturals Paul Ryan, Origin blasted through numerous tracks from their latest effort Antithesis, including "The Aftermath," "Finite" and "Wrath of Vishnu." But the band also managed to throw in classic track "Portal" from 2002's Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas for their adoring fans.
An impressive set followed by the youngsters in Born of Osiris. Although their sound leans towards metalcore, they have the musicianship to back it up and played tunes from their recently released full-length Higher Place. But the same cannot be said by the next band up, Winds of Plague, whose generic deathcore approach was gimmicky and borderline Bleeding Through, and our metal world definitely does not need another Bleeding Through.
Over the course of event, it was Darkest Hour that got the best audience reception of the night. The band's energetic stage antics (including a three-man human pyramid and stage dive) definitely entertained while they blazed through tunes from their six-album catalogue. While their fans formed the night's biggest circle pit, DH dynamically played "A Sadist Nation" and "Deliver Us," as well as "No God" from their latest release The Eternal Return.
Finnish folk metal outfit Ensiferum followed and seemed very out of place on this tour as their set dragged on. Thankfully, Germany's definition of technical death metal, Necrophagist, brought things back up to speed. Led by mastermind Muhammed Suicmez with powerful death vocals and highly proficient guitar work, the band closed the night on a high note. To no one's disappointment, they performed their signature melody-meets-technical-death-metal tracks from their last two albums, 1999's Onset of Putrefaction and 2004's Epitaph, as well as a new song from their upcoming effort.