Material: A modern metal band from Hollywood, Kings of Carnage comprises military veterans whose songs are a reflection of their lives in the service. Their live set is mainly limited to the songs on their recent debut album, The Crimson Stone, featuring the single “Broken Soul,” which was created while the band members were deployed in Afghanistan.
Musicianship: Kings of Carnage are a work in progress, but have a mainstream metal style that has potential. Vocalist Micah McCullough is the band’s brawn. He matches the aggressive, heavy, speedy riffs with his fluid melodic vocals. McCullough presents a patterned vocal range and timbre akin to many other metal bands, including Avenged Sevenfold.
In contrast to McCullough’s exceptional vocals is drummer Nate Kotur, who’s an underdeveloped musician with a stock playing style, often straying little from a basic 4/4 beat. The guitars and bass are the muscle of the band. Both guitarists Zach Fenimore and Jason Dutton share similar capabilities and often harmonize and solo together.
Bassist Aaron Mercier is the glue that holds the unit together. The most mature musician in the band, he led with groove-heavy and refined bass lines and added some flair to an otherwise generic metal band.
Performance: Considering the constraints of limited stage space, Kings of Carnage performed a lively, physical show to a packed house, near capacity for the venue. The band and audience shared each other’s verve.
The musicians also interacted well with each other, moving across the stage, leaning in and head-banging together. The night came to a close when the band performed a fun arrangement of Devo’s “Whip It,” a true crowd-pleaser.
Summary: Kings of Carnage have stage presence and they know how to generate performance energy—invaluable assets to any live act—but those qualities will never be able to cover up the band’s Achilles heel: uneven, inept musicianship. When they can match their tenacity with tight, consistent musicianship, there’s no telling how far these Kings could go.
Players: Micah McCullough, vocals; Nate Kotur, drums; Jason Dutton, guitar; Zach Fenimore, guitar; Aaron Mercier, bass.
Venue: The Viper Room
City: West Hollywood, CA
– Macie Bennett