Concert Review: Possessed-Marduk-Withered, Alrosa Villa 11-05-2010

Does it seem like I’ve been on tour? It does to me, but perhaps that’s because I will have been to 6 shows in a 2 week period (a personal record, I think). Mushroomhead was the first in the series, now we’re up to number #2 (as opposed to taking a #2, but I digress). The Blackest of the Black tour MINUS Danzig & Toxic Holocaust – who chose to skip Columbus this go ’round, for whatever reason. We get a lot of that these days.

First up were a few local bands, most notably Rim Of Hell endorsed Locusta, part of the N.W.O.C.H.M.  – that would be ‘New Wave Of Columbus Heavy Metal’ to you uninitiated folks. Thought that was a clever reference when I found it.  Anyhow, despite monitor issues the guys played a killer set with the technical mastery and murky, classically influenced rhythms we’ve come to expect. Not as strong a set-list as the last time I saw them (no ‘Betrayed By The Sea’ sadly) but still a well executed, musically proficient show. I continue to look for big things from this band. You should too.

Also opening up & hailing from Columbus was Bless The Child, a Death Metal/Hardcore hybrid boasting 3 guitarists (for a total of six members on that small stage). Like Locusta, these guys had a very professional sound – so much so that I thought they were part of the national tour until I did my research. Very brutal, blasting metal with sharp, growling vocals and churning guitar licks. They remind me of Amon Amarth quite a bit, which isn’t a bad comparison by any stretch. Especially like the song ‘Flooding the Acheron’ which you can hear on their Myspace page if you follow the link. Very Good Stuff!

Withered were next, a Doom Metal outfit from Atlanta.   Or Tortured Blackened Doom, if you go by their ads.  These guys were the heaviest band on the bill, drudging up concrete slabs of sonic goodness and dumping it into our ear canals (which wasn’t as painful as it sounds).  A bit tedious at times, but it did stir in me the desire to hear their studio efforts as they seem a band that you wanna clamp onto with your headphones, sinking into your favorite chair and just let them transport you to the darkest corners of Hell. A white knuckled ride indeed.

The notorious Marduk were next, perhaps the evilest thing to ever escape from Sweden (other than ABBA). A perfect case study of classic Black Metal, Marduk erupted upon the stage like Linda Blair’s lunch, with passionate & brooding melodies replete with frenetic, treble heavy guitar, thundering double pedal bass drums and Mortuus’ angry, rasping vocalizations. I’ve long wanted to see these guys live & was thrilled at the opportunity – especially since they definitely lived up to the hype! Probably the strongest audience reaction all night went to Marduk.

Headlining the bill were the Death Metal legends – Possessed. Many believe Possessed were THE original Death Metal band & much evidence supports this theory as a lot of early bands site them as an influence (including Death founder Chuck Schuldner). A few years ago, I thought I’d never get to see them live after vocalist Jeff Becerra was left wheelchair bound following a brutal robbery. Surprisingly, Becerra is the only original member remaining from the ‘Seven Churches’ days – the other positions being filled by members of LA’s Sadistic Intent. The result is a highly energized, tight sounding outfit which has Becerra zipping around the stage, thrashing like a madman despite any physical limitations you might assume. From opening song ‘The Exorcist’ (my personal fav), these guys never let up & even Rick from the Alrosa joined us in the pit for a while. At the risk of sounding syrupy, it was truly an inspirational show. Chatting briefly with Becerra afterward, I found him to be appreciative of his fans & a very genuine dude. When I mentioned that he and I were both Oldschool, he corrected me by saying “Nah man, we’re Preschool”! Assuming he meant we were still young at heart, I can’t help but admire his positive outlook (especially considering the dark nature of his music).

So overall, a highly recommended show if you can catch it. Here’s a clip of the reformed Possessed at Wacken Open Air performing ‘Confessions’. Enjoy!

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