If Exodus first gave headbangers a lesson in violence close to two decades ago, the rippers that make up the bill for Long Live Cleveland Metal are here to offer the CliffsNotes on pummeling '80s thrash. Expect plenty of feverish, caffeinated leads, stampeding rhythms, and some choice upper-register wails that'll have every hound in the neighborhood running for cover.
Topping the lineup is man-metal authority Boulder, whose coarse charge is equal parts Thin Lizzy, Saxon, and Slayer. Boulder frontman Jamie Walters has become the de facto curator of Cleveland metal, putting together this show with an impressive mix of old and new school. The only other taste of the latter comes from Abdullah, whose svelte riff rock has both groove and girth to spare.
As for the other bands on tap, they promise to recall the heyday of speed metal, back when Hirax had posers in their short hairs and Roadrunner was more about Razor than rock radio. The hellions in Kratos were actually signed to that label, though they were dropped shortly thereafter due to their lack of a bassist. The group is reuniting just for this show, playing cuts off their self-released 1995 12-inch "Iron Beast." One of the highlights of that offering is the band's melodic, menacing "Chainsaw," which sounds like Jesse James Dupree getting shoved into a wood chipper.
Also making a special appearance is Synastryche, whose galloping trad-metal is like Iron Maiden on amphetamines. The group, which hasn't performed in three years, is sure to be a rare treat for metal diehards. As will be a set from Destructor, another late, great local thrash contender, whose Maximum Destruction LP is one of the better albums of its kind ever to come from these parts. Cleveland metal lives, indeed -- though the same can't be said for subtlety.