The Summer Slaughter Tour kicked off at the beginning of July and has continued to tear through the US for the last five weeks. The annual run, now in its 12th year, has continued to deliver on its promise to be the “most extreme tour of the year.” We caught up with the tour in Berkeley, CA on August 10th to check out this year’s stacked lineup and to see if that claim still holds true.

This summer’s lineup brought a lot of new faces to the tour. Entheos, Terror Universal, Allegaeon, and The Agony Scene, bands that this year marks their first time on Summer Slaughter, opened the show for the crowd of dedicated fans that came out early. This was the first time I had ever seen all four of these acts and I was impressed with the energy and variety of heavy tracks that successfully set the tone for the evening.

Dude, ERRA’s “Disarray” song and video are freaking dope.

By the time people started piling into the venue after getting out of work, Erra took to the stage. Celebrating the release of their newest album Neon that same day made the Berkeley stop extra special. There have been a couple albums this year that I was super-excited for that ended up falling flat, in my book, once they finally dropped. But that was not the case with Neon and it has held up to the hype! Erra has continued to push their sound in a refreshing way and brought us a truly fantastic new album. The short Summer Slaughter set meant we only got to hear a couple new tracks live – but here’s to hoping we get a headline tour to support the release before the end of the year!

Next up the bill were Summer Slaughter veterans Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris. I can’t put a finger on it exactly, but there’s something about these two bands that makes them a great pair for touring together. Even with minor technical difficulties during set up that threatened to put a damper on a key part of their sound – Joe Buras’ keyboard – Born of Osiris hit the ground running at the start of their set and delivered their signature high energy performance from the first note to the last.

Check out The Summer Slaughter tour trailer.

As a thick screen of smoke rolled onto the stage from both sides, Between the Buried and Me took to the stage to close out the evening. I’m slightly conflicted on if I felt that they fit in well with the rest of the bill. Their unique sound is heavy, but in a way that is very different from that of the others on the lineup. Regardless, I’m always excited for the opportunity to experience them live. Since the last time they took a spot on the Summer Slaughter Tour was in 2012, it was great to have them back this year. With an extensive discography to select from, you’ll always get something different from this crew. Between the Buried and Me does a great job of seamlessly stitching songs together between albums to bring out a cohesive listening experience for a live show.

Year after year, this tour has stood out as one you ought not miss. There are only a couple of dates left on this year’s trek, but you can bet that once summer comes around again next year that so will Summer Slaughter!