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New Jersey Deathfest Day One: Return of the Living Death Metal

“You people look f—ng dead. Looks like New Jersey to me,” Animal Killing People vocalist Eston Browne said Oct. 16 at Hartley’s. Animals Killing People were the first of many bands to play the first night of the first New Jersey Deathfest, a series that concert promoters Gutterchrist and Necroharmonic plan on making a biannual event.

At 6:30 PM, the small North Jersey suburb bar slowly filled with people in Dying Fetus hoodies and Devourment T-shirts — two bands responsible for inspiring slam metal, a genre that has instantly become synonymous with the Garden State.

While N.J. Deathfest was a fun, yet long weekend, it was more of an educational experience for this Noisecreep writer. Every illegible band logo taught me about a band and scene I had never encountered, nor ever read about. Every shared band member reminded me that no matter what, death metal remains a closely-knit community of musicians.

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New Jersey Deathfest: Day One
Day One: Saturday October 16, 2009 live at Hartley’s North Arlington, NJ
Justina Villanueva for NoiseCreep

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Sexcrement was the first band to have their vocalist utilize the floor space instead of the stage. With a raging drummer that had more personality on stage than his Kiss shirt, their DIY feel made me at ease.

Some other highlights on day one were marked with a relentless chuggy death metal band called Abacinate, a blackened death trio from Boston called Blessed Offal and show closers Lividity, old-school pornogrinders who had the crowd turning Hartley’s upside down.

“This is the underground. Right here in New Jersey,” mad man — and Lividity guitarist — Dave Kibler assured everyone. He was right, the underground had tucked itself into a nice nook in New Jersey. It was the perfect start to a weekend for any bored 16-year-old. But, better than having that much fun at 16 is having it when you’re 40.

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