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Kill Ritual/Archer at Count’s Vamp’d
Las Vegas March 24, 2016

Oh, thrash, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, Archer Nation, second, Kill Ritual, and third the ultimate whiplash that comes with a great thrash show.

Things usually end late when you’re rockin’ at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, but I wasn’t gonna’ miss this punch in the throat show on a perfect Thursday night. Count’s Vamp’d, owned by Counting Cars star Danny “Count” Koker, is host to many concerts featuring icons such as UFO, Y&T, and George Lynch. Locals also come in and rip the place apart like Leona-X, Tail Gun, Outta the Black, Sweet Home Alabama and many others.

Tonight, David Reed Watson of Sweet Home Alabama (Lynard Skynyrd tribute band) heads up the ultra thrash and roll band, Kill Ritual. They’ve joined forces with California thrashers, Archer Nation, to melt the faces of the club flies that brave the mid week late night venture.

Archer Nation is no stranger to Vegas. I last saw them when they opened for the mighty Doro Pesch the previous year. The guys in Archer have grown stronger in stage presence and performance. This has a lot to do with their non-stop tour schedule that took them all around Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

When Archer Nation goes on, it feels like giants have taken the stage. The sheer strength of the lyrics generates passion in songs like “Culling the Weak” and “The Day that Never Came” and they are thrash to the core. Throughout the set, they’re a frenzy of whiplash as Dylan Rose, (guitar and vocals) David DeSilva, (bass) and Keyhan Moini (drums) whip their hair and headbang with each song faster, the pinnacle being “Tornado of Souls” by Megadeth. Dylan tells the crowd they don’t get to do covers very often, but Vamp’d gave them extra time. Flawless and done with style, the three brought it like the five piece mega-thrashers.

“Things usually end late when you’re rockin’ at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas...”

Next, Kill Ritual; let me say that again, KILL RITUAL. These guys don’t fool around when it comes to thrash and roll. David Reed Watson, singer extraordinaire, fronts this group of seasoned musicians as they take you into the metal abyss. Byron Nemeth and Steve Rice serve up hefty guitar action, DieTrich Thrall (with his gothic presence and back length dreads) shredded on bass, and Alexis Von Kraven pounded the crap out of the house kit. I was surprised it was still a five piece set and not in a thousand pieces by the end of the night. Tonight, Kill Ritual ends their month long tour and gears up to lay down the fierce groove in support of their Karma Machine record.

Starting with “Just a Cut”, it left an open wound for more infectious thrash to get under the skin. The dual guitar action between Steve and Byron, both intensely riffing and trading solos, burned holes in the ears of every bystander. DieTrich massacred the drums as David leaned toward the crowd with a stare that pierced your soul. The band continued their barrage of musical notes that shot out like missiles exploding like a nuclear holocaust with “Karma Machine” and the song inspired by David’s roommate, “Kundalini”.

The highlight for me was when they removed the gloves and hit the people with “Enemy Inside”, “The Key” and my personal fave, “Rise”.

Every tune from both bands left my ears ringing, like a good rock show should. When opportunity arises, see Kill Ritual and Archer Nation. If you’re lucky you might see them on the same bill.

Tim Duran, HMS

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