Metal cage match: As Halloween approaches, which Vegas-bound band is the scariest?

Jason Scavone

The season is upon us. As Halloween approaches, there’s only one appropriate response: metal. Blistering, black, doom-laden metal. But what metal, you ask? There’s plenty to go around. That’s why we’re going to sort this out in the most Manowar-approved way possible: with a Metal Cage Match. That’s a cage match for metal bands, not a cage actually made of metal. Let’s just get into it.


Ghost: Linköping, Sweden

Meshuggah: Umeå, Sweden

Cattle Decapitation: San Diego

Advantage: No land that produces the Red Hot Chili Peppers can ever lay claim to being a metal stronghold, no matter how many Metallicas it looses upon the world. In a battle of Swedish bands, always go for the more exotic diacritic. Meshuggah


Ghost: Literally led by an evil pope.

Meshuggah: Like … baseline blasphemy for a Scandanavian metal band? Responsible for at absolute most, one slightly singed church. Coulda been blasphemy, coulda been bad wiring.

Cattle Decapitation: More songs about cannibalism than Albert Fish’s iPod, but using those tunes to push veganism? Believing in things is so un-metal.

Advantage: Evil pope? Evil pope. Ghost


Ghost: “Per Aspera ad Inferi.” Vaguely menacing Latin? Check. Reference to Hell? Check. Makes no sense when you think about it for more than a second? Check and check.

Meshuggah: “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance.” Pit-fiend name-check and a journey to the wildly underrepresented paranoid wing of metal normally held down by Ministry and Megadeth.

Cattle Decapitation: “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat.” Oh hey, it’s that song about the living, breathing piece of defecating meat.

Advantage: Any song title that can make the guys in Cannibal Corpse mad they didn’t think of it first is such a metal move you spontaneously grow a leather jacket and ratty Pantera T-shirt. Like an exoskeleton. Cattle Decap


Ghost: A shadowy Papa Emeritus rises over a cathedral like the night itself falling on Catholicism. But his armpits are made of bats. It’s a little distracting.

Meshuggah: The titular colossus revealed in an intersecting web of bronze snakes and lines is at once abstract and vaguely mystical. It also kind of looks a little like an evil clown, so props for that.

Cattle Decapitation: It’s a half-flayed dude with butcher markings on his remaining skin, holding a platter of his own guts, which, logistics aside is, definitively, the most metal of all entrees.

Advantage: Distributors in Germany refused to move units of To Serve Man, and if you can unnerve the Germans, you’re doing something right. Cattle Decap.


Ghost: Unknown

Meshuggah: Seven

Cattle Decapitation: Six

Advantage: You know with a bunch of anonymous Nameless Ghouls, Papa Emeritus can be a total diva and fire drummers at will for showing up to practice late or not shining his pope hat to a fine sheen. Ghost


Ghost: “Believe in one God do we/Satan almighty/The uncreator of heaven and soil.”

Meshuggah: “Disciples, come join with me to save a failed humanity/Follow the god of cyanide into the new eternity/Behold a sacrificial raze a cleansing worshipping of pain/The new millennium Christ here to redeem all from lies.”

Cattle Decapitation: “God damned this world that is if God exists/God hates this world left his son tied to a stick/God as sadist this is the portrait you paint/God is within and we ruin everything/Leave no trace, eliminate the human race”

Advantage: At least Ghost has the courage to commit. You can’t sell your soul for rock supremacy if all you’re going to do is whine about how there is no God. Ghost

Meshuggah with Avatar. October 20, 8 p.m., $33-$45. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695..

Cattle Decapitation with Brujeria, Pinata Protest, Mynas. October 20, 8 p.m., $15-$17. LVCS, 702-382-3531..

Ghost Marissa Nadler. October 22, 7 p.m., $32-$275. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695..

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