Venue: Blender Theater at Gramercy (New York, NY)
Opener: Goatwhore, Krisiun, The Berzerker, Warbringer
Label: Candlelight Records
Whew! What an interesting week this had been so far and we were only at Tuesday if you can believe it. For me it started last week with the “Hard Drive Live” tour that put All That Remains and Lacuna Coil together, and then I let my weekend slide me into the Metal with a rock solid dose of Kittie, Soil, Arkaea and Straight Line Stitch. Given this was a Sunday show, I had to say that it was an interesting way to kick off ones week and that was one hell of a show even if the roster of the bands was a little strange to me. That would prove to be a proper warm up for the NYC return of Floridian Death Metal masters Obituary who were back once again and bringing a solid support structure for their manner of devastation. I last caught Obituary over at B.B. King’s at around the same time of last year, but tonight’s gig would find me at The Gramercy Theatre – a space where more of the Metal shows of this kind seem to be happening of late. This gig made a lot more sense when reviewed on paper and then brought to life as it would be started off by Warbringer and Berzerker and then the main talent would come via Krisiun, Goatwhore and the main act. Such a healthy roster meant this show would start earlier and on time and we just made it inside the venue when Warbringer was hitting their first notes. Here are some thoughts about the evening in the event that you missed it.
Warbringer: I admit that I was ready to start my narrative with words about how tired I was in finding Warbringer being on bill after bill like we used to find happening with their label mates Into Eternity. The guys do deliver a no-nonsense degree of Thrash Metal and they manage to get the crowd going based on their overall delivery and I had to say that this evening they impressed me much more than the last time around. The set was a blend of material from their two CD’s and they are showing to be growing in popularity more and more as each regional gig happens. Singer Kevill was as animated as always and the one main difference was the shift in lineup in the area of the bass guitar where guitarist John’s Brother Andy is now handling the role. He did rather well if you asked me, and I am sure the sibling connection makes their interaction all the more tight. Next up, The Berzerker……….
Berzerker: I had to admit that I wasn’t even aware of these guys being a part of the festivities but then again my own participation in the fun was very last minute and I had not been following news of the tour in the first place. Given that premise, the Melbourne, Australia act was an interesting surprise and one that I did not have a lot of background on. Simply put they delivered a very aggressive set and did a form of Extreme Metal with a healthy mix of Grindcore tossed into the mix. Lead singer Luke Kenny appears to be a bit of a maniac up on the stage and that makes sense given the brand of Metal that they play up there. It’s an unrelenting form and it hits you hard with note after note of absolute intensity. Some of the crowd was getting into them but others were not sure what to make of it and that happens from time to time. According to some later research the band used to wear masks on stage and while this is no longer done I would have liked to see what that presentation was like. They have five albums out which include a live release and a comprehensive DVD so if Extreme stuff is your candy then I suggest looking into them. Krisiun would take the stage almost immediately after they had finished.
Krisiun: These Brazilian purveyors of that which be Death Metal had just visited NYC a couple of months ago when Destruction had made a long anticipated visit and they were the bands direct support. Tonight they would be dead center between the lead off bands and direct support and deliver the crushing as only they can. The set sounded very similar to the one that they played that last time with some minor deviation but since nothing was on the stage to capture in image, I was at a loss for exact titles after the gig had finished. Needless to say it was another righteous smiting at the hands of one of the heaviest of hitters for the Death Metal genre. These guys mean business and clearly take no prisoners with their set. Their most recent effort is “Southern Storm” and some stuff was played from the release which comes to number ten in their catalog. Apparently there were members of both Suffocation and Immolation in the crowd this evening and singer Alex Camargo would send a shout out to them and as a closer told the audience to keep supporting the Metal and keep smoking the weed. Now it was time for Goatwhore.
Goatwhore: I had also caught Goatwhore when they were direct support for a show that was headlined only a couple of months ago by Abigail Williams and like many of you who shake their head at that premise, for yes while I agree that while AW is a fine band, the mighty Goatwhore should have been the headliner on that “Conquer And Curse” tour but that is an argument about a different concert report. Finding a powerhouse like Goatwhore opening up for Obituary makes a lot more sense and the band hit the ground running as usual and from beginning to end there was just something so much “better” about how they were delivering their set. It seemed rather lengthy when I caught first sight of it, but sadly a number of the tunes would be omitted and this was probably due to curfews being kept by the venue staff. Fronted by Ben Falgoust, there was a certain majesty to how he was commanding the crowd and I had to say that the band has not failed in impressing me in the live sense yet. If there were ever champions in the American brand of Blackened Death Metal, then Goatwhore are the reigning players. Sammy was doing some serious guitar work this evening and perhaps even a little bit more fluidly than the last time as now the band had James Harvey on the bass from beginning to end. The last show I witnessed appeared to be one of the first after Nate Bergeron opted to leave the group and they had a rotating guest from the other bands which doesn’t not lend any levels of ease to ones own set since you are making sure they know your melodies properly. Welcome to the pack James, do some good for the band. The Goatwhore set was originally listed as fourteen numbers but this would be cut down to eight and from this batch they would present a strong concentration from their latest release “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” and do six numbers from the album. No one seemed to be complaining about that even though I am sure that they would have appreciated a little longer set from them. Time to close out the night as only Obituary can.
Obituary: Continuing their dominance on the US Death Metal scene, Obituary has maintained course and had been reminding the fans of this genre about just how important they are again and again. It’s not the Extreme end, or the super Technical aspect of it, but a pure dose of that which will throttle you and leave your neck wrecked from all the head banging. Tonight the crowd would appear to be larger than that show at B.B. King’s last year and that makes a little sense since this particular bill was a tad stronger than the other show had been. The band’s own return from hiatus in 2003 seems to have found them inspiring a whole new crop of Metal fans that were unable to appreciate them at the time of their earliest inspiration and that’s a good thing in my mind. The band had been relentlessly touring in support of their latest full-length album “X-ecutioner’s Return” and yet despite this tonight would only do two numbers from that recording. My guess is that they felt it necessary to indulge their fans with more of the classics and a couple of surprises because songs like “Internal Bleeding” and “Dying” were delivered and believe it or not a cover of Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor”. They did justice to the tune and it’s pretty cool to see one legendary band delivering the music of another high ranking official for the genre. Their newest release is entitled “Darkest Day” and only came out a few months ago and as result would find the band delivering three numbers from it. In my opinion that was enough to give us a taste because there are other tunes in the bands catalog to be presented based on their status and you don’t want to disappoint a crowd like this.
Throughout the whole show singer John Tardy’s mane of blond hair swayed like it had a life of its own and moved to the music making for a very dramatic visual. The crowd was going crazy in the circle pit and by flying over the protective barricade into the waiting arms of security personnel. Another highlight was guitarist Ralph Santolla, who while only in place as a fill-in guitarist, has been doing so for many, many months and proving to be someone that really works well with the group. Without any disrespect to guitarist Allen West, I really hope we find Santolla sticking around a lot longer since he brings so much to the table for the band.
In the end this was one of the better of the Death Metal shows that I had attended and the crowd seemed to agree with me. Thanks to Obituary for keeping the true fires of Traditional Death Metal burning strong in 2009. Here’s to whatever is coming next.
Goatwhore Set List:
1. Bloodletting Upon The Cloven Hoof
2. Provoking The Ritual Of Death
3. God Guilt Eucharist (omitted)
4. The All-Detroying
5. Confines Of Defilement (omitted)
6. Apocalyptic Havoc
7. Sky Inferno (omitted)
8. Invert The Virgin (omitted)
9. Shadow Of A Rising Knife
10. Carving Out The Eyes Of God
11. Perversions Of The Angry Goat (omitted)
12. In A Storm Of (omitted)
13. In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath
14. Alchemy Of The Black Sun
Obituary Set List:
1. List of Dead
2. Blood to Give
3. Internal Bleeding
4. On the Floor
6. Threatening Skies
7. Forces Realign
8. Face Your God
9. Dethroned Emperor
10. The End Complete
11. Final Thoughts
12. Evil Ways
13. Slowly we Rot
Official Website: http://www.obituary.cc
Official Website: http://www.goatwhore.net
Official Website: http://www.krisiun.com.br
Official Website: http://www.berzerker.com
Official Website: http://www.warbringermusic.com/