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Thursday, July 14, 2005 06:35 am

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Chainsaw Homicide

What makes for a great death-metal band? The vocals — guttural roars and growls — are savage. The lyrics are painfully dark. The tempo is abrupt, the guitar-play fast and complex. And the guy on the drums is a human battering ram.

Springfield gets a rare opportunity to sample some of the region’s best death-metal bands at Viele’s Planet this Saturday. The Slam Fest lineup includes these metal masters, among others:

• What Thou Will — The best death-metal band to ever come out of Springfield. (OK, they’re the only death-metal band to come out of Springfield.) Listen for killer cover versions of such metal giants as Slayer and Death.

• Divulsion — This St. Louis band performs a 10-minute epic called “Rise of the Unholy Messiah” that’s become a crowd favorite this year.

• Cast the Stone — If you like guitar shredding, you will love this band, also from St. Louis.

• World Divine — This Decatur band wears corpse paint and uses keyboards to create an eerie yet melodic, atmospheric black-metal sound that will appeal to fans of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir.

• Chainsaw Homicide — The name fits: This group plays brutal death metal in the vein of Cannibal Corpse and Deicide. Listen for classic death-metal themes such as serial killers and gory love songs.

• Chaos Order — The band has been described as a cross between Pantera and Meshuggah mixed with Fear Factory.

Keep in mind, the bands may sing about murder, mutilation, and decapitation, but just as in the movies, everyone goes home safe and sound and wearing a smile. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good these bands really are.

Slam Fest starts around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at Viele’s Planet, 126 E. Jefferson St., 217-544-0598; www.geocities.com/slamfestival/.

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