Happy New Year!

Just a quick update to wish everyone a Happy New Year. One of my resolutions is to update more often, despite the fact that 2011 looks to be busier than ever! I received a few interesting gifts that will bear mentioning later, and of course – more concerts are on the horizon too.

Anyhow, be safe and enjoy bringing in the new year!

Concert Review: Dimmu Borgir – Newport Music Hall – 12/09/2010

Norway’s symphonic sons of Satan (that is, Dimmu Borgir) returned to America with the ‘Darkness Reborn Tour’ & we were lucky enough to get it here in Columbus – versus all the times I’ve had to drive to Cleveland to see this band. Or not see them, as once they canceled on the day of the show due to bus problems. Accompanying them for the duration of the tour was Enslaved, Blood Red Throne & Dawn of Ashes.

First up were the masked ghouls known as Dawn Of Ashes & I gotta say, I really liked ’em. I’ve always said there needed to be a masked band that looked like they walked straight out of a haunted house, but sounded like pure Death Metal brutality. Vola – I have my wish! Ok ok, DoA is more Blackened Death (if we’re gonna get caught up in genre names) but their mixture of Symphonic Black Metal with Grand Guignol is a logical progression of both the Death & Black genres. They look like what I always thought Cannibal Corpse should – bloody & creepy as hell. Some of my buddies thought there was too much similarity to Slipknot, but if you watch the video below I think you’ll agree that although the influence may be felt, DoA have gone in a much more macabre direction. My only regret is I didn’t pick up a CD at the time.

Blood Red Throne followed with a more traditional Death/Black Metal set including galloping rhythms, blast beats and the sepulchral vocal stylings of Vald (himself, quite the bad-ass onstage). Very oldschool minus all the corpsepaint, but a real group of asskickers that were completely worthy of their opening slot.

Enslaved were next, yet another ‘bucket list’ band as me likey the Viking Metal very much. But unlike their peers such as Amon Amarth, Enslaved didn’t come out with horned helmets or standing on a dragon ship (which still would’ve been cool!) nor did they bore us with lengthy folk epics about their love for dead, hairy women. What we got was uptempo, guitar driven Folk/Black metal played tight & loud and with a bit of showmanship by vocalist/bassist Grutle Kjellson. Loved hearing ‘Ethica Odini’ live, hell – their entire set was way better than I feared. Was also impressed to see guitarist Ivar Bjornson double-fisting rum & cokes after their set – that’s a real man for ya’!

Dimmu Borgir then took the stage with an impressive, state of the art setup that included spotlights mounted like fingers on outstretched hands to either side of the rear stage & enormous digital control boards for both sound & lighting – nifty! Despite being down two pivotal members (bassist/vocalist ICS Vortex and keyboardist Mustis both having been fired about a year ago) the band still had the amazing, swelling orchestral sound for which they’re known. Truly awesome! In fact, the only noticeable difference that I found was vocalist Shagrath having to sing both parts on songs like ‘Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse’, which he did by utilizing vocal filters when covering Vortex’s part of each song. Not as good as when ICS did it, but a suitable substitution I think. Songs included ‘Xibir’, ‘Spellbound by the Devil’, ‘IndoctriNation’, ‘Dimmu Borgir’, ‘Gateways’, ‘The Chosen Legacy’, ‘Chess With The Abyss’, ‘Born Treacherous’ (which I really enjoyed, BTW), ‘A Jewel Traced Through Coal’, ‘The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance’, ‘Vredesbyrd’, ‘The Serpentine Offering’, ‘Puritania’, ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’, ‘Mourning Palace’ & ‘Perfection or Vanity’.

As always, Dimmu delivered an epic show which is why, despite the seemingly endless line-up changes, they continue to be one of my favorite bands. But now, here’s one of my NEW favorites, check out Dawn of Ashes video below for the song ‘Transformation Within Fictional Mutation’. Love it!

Concert Review: Overkill – Newport Music Hall 11-17-2010

Last stop of what I’ve been jokingly referring to as the ‘Reverend Mortis Tour 2010’, was the Overkill headlined tour Killfest 2010. Gonna be brief for this one as the tour is over at this late date. Here’s my thoughts;

Bonded By Blood – Old fashioned Thrash Metal like you heard 20 years ago, but performed by a band whose median age is 18! Obvious Exodus & early Thrash influences made for a decent opening performance.

Ireland’s Gama Bomb followed, a Punk/Thrash crossover with a healthy dose of humor injected both lyrically & on stage. I found vocalist Philly Byrne’s falsetto screams a bit tiring after awhile, but otherwise enjoyed their set.

Evile – were next up, a promising Thrash outfit from the UK. Fast paced & melodic, they reminded me of early Metallica (vocalist Matt Drake has a similar voice to James Hetfield). Definitely a band to watch for in the future – this being their first American tour.

Bay Area legends Forbidden took the stage next, another ‘bucket list’ band that I’d always wanted to see live. They served up oldschool Thrash just like I like it – was great to hear ‘Infinite’ performed in person. Vocalist Russ Anderson is considerably heavier than he was in the 90’s, but still has the pipes, thankfully. Glad that these guys are still going strong!

Last on the bill, Overkill came out & just destroyed – as usual. Most amazingly for me, after all these years, and having seen the boys play about 6 or 7 times, I FINALLY got to hear ‘Horrorscope’ live! Unbelievable as it may seem, it was a running joke with my friends & I that whenever I went to Overkill, they didn’t play my favorite song. That streak of ill luck has finally ended. Time to buy a lotto ticket!

The band was awesome and I’ll list the songs here in a second but have to relate one last tidbit. I respect roadies; they have a tough & often thankless job. I try to always remember that, and treat them with respect whenever I meet one. HOWEVER, this time Overkill had a guy (not sure if he was just a local hire or not) that upon seeing a group of us waiting by the stage at the end of the night in hopes of free swag, held up about 4 of Derek “The Skull” Tailer’s picks, smiled and walked away with them. Dick move, dude. Like the song says, “Thanx For Nothin'”. It all ended well – another roadie saw what happened & handed me a set list. Rock on! And here it is;

  • The Green and Black
  • Rotten To The Core
  • Wrecking Crew
  • Infectious
  • Bring Me The Night
  • Hammerhead
  • Ironbound
  • Necroshine
  • Thanx For Nothin’
  • Give A Little
  • Hello From The Gutter
  • Where It Hurts
  • Oldschool
  • Horrorscope (!!)
  • Elimination
  • Fuck You/Overkill

Looks like the songs didn’t change night to night, so head over to Setlist.fm if you want a refresher on any of those tracks.

Concert Review: Cannibal Corpse – Skully’s, Columbus Ohio 11-16-2010

Show #5 of the Reverend on Tour – Cannibal Corpse. This was a true bucket list show, as I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see the mighty Cannibal Corpse in concert but had never made it to a show. I mean, who am I to argue with Jim Carrey, right?

First up was Devourment out of Dallas, Texas. Brutal & pummeling (as was everyone on this bill), Devourment reminded me a lot of early Cannibal Corpse with their incoherent, gargling vocals and guitar riffs that drop like concrete. Sludgy & molten heavy – an excellent example of Death Metal-y goodness.

The unholy Vital Remains were up next, unfortunately sans Glenn Benton who was in the studio with his OTHER band (Deicide!). Playing Blackened Death with intricately woven layers of guitar pyrotechnics, Tony Lazaro & co. blasted a mind numbing set both uncompromisingly dark & intensely powerful. Live vocalist Scott Wiley had the unenviable position of filling in for Benton, something I think he did as well as anyone could. As a whole, the band were simply amazing. I’ve thought ‘Dechristianize’ was a veritable opus since the first day I heard it, was blown away to see it performed live (even with sound problems, which made Tony just shake his head when I talked with him later).

Next up, and quite possibly stealing the show, were the incredibly noisy threesome known as Dying Fetus. Folks, these boys took no prisoners with excruciatingly heavy riffs, bludgeoning drum beats and alternating vocals between guitarist John Gallagher (no relation to the bros. in Raven) and bassist Sean Beasley. What I think makes Dying Fetus stand out from so much of the Elmer Fudd – grade Death Metal are very strong & melodic grooves, a musical sensibility that transcends the uber-heavy nature of their genre. DF proves you can be heavy as fuck but still produce songs that make people tap their feet without thinking about it. Don’t take this the wrong way, but they were almost ‘danceable’. I became an instant fan!

Last to take the stage were the gorehound’s poster boys – Cannibal Corpse. Often imitated, inspiring legions of followers (Dethklok’s animated lead singer Nathan Explosion is based on vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, for example) – and I’m happy to say I was witness to them living up to every bit of the hype. George was menace incarnate as he vomited guttural vocalizations, pin-wheeling his hair with his trademarked (and spine snapping) moves. Backing him (no pun) was the most stable Corpse line-up in years; guitarists Pat O’brien & Rob Barrett, bassist Alex Webster and drummer extraordinaire Paul Mazurkiewicz. Face meltingly brutal but played proficiently, fast & tight, we were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of Cannibal Corpse hits; “The Time To Kill Is Now”, “The Wretched Spawn”, “Evisceration Plague”, “Priests of Sodom”, “I Will Kill You”, “Make Them Suffer”, “Death Walking Terror”, “I Cum Blood”, “Devoured By Vermin”, “Shatter Their Bones”, “Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead”, “Hammer Smashed Face” (OF COURSE!) and “Stripped, Raped & Strangled”. I probably missed a few in there but WHOA, what a set list. Totally awesome! I will NOT miss a Corpse show again when they next come to town, but honestly the entire night’s lineup was just freakin’ amazing.

As an aside, I’d like to mention how impressed I was with a buddy of mine – Jeff, who made out with a young lady for 2 complete songs during Cannibal Corpses’ set. It’s not just any couple that finds the vocal stylings of Corpsegrinder as . . . romantic. Especially standing that close to the pit! Well done!! To celebrate, I give you “Priests of Sodom”. . .