Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Jungle Rot, Gigan, Immolith
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
It’s always great for the Metal fans when the mighty Immolation sets their sites on the Big Apple as they continually deliver a crushing experience that throttles the senses and leaves you screaming for more. You might remember that the band delivered “Majesty and Decay” back in 2010 and did some short touring in this region. We caught them at The Studio at Webster Hall and it was great but we prefer to see a band like this on a larger stage and that made The Gramercy Theatre the perfect choice of venue for the gig. The tour would find them being joined by Jungle Rot and Gigan and also feature the local talent of the New Jersey based Black Metal band Immolith. Having only a small background on all of the openers, I made sure to get into the venue in time to see this show from just after it began. Here is how the night went down if you were stupid enough to miss it.
Immolith: There was a discrepancy about the actual start time and that found my friends and I arriving just towards the end of the apparently crushing set being dished out by Immolith. Without sounding like a prima donna, I am almost always unimpressed by the local openers these days because so few of them possess the necessary fire that will lead them to future greatness. This was not the case when it came to Immolith. As a Black Metal outfit the band was suitably made up in the pre-requisite Corpse Paint but their overall tunes were what was selling me. It appeared to be solid and very frenetically paced stuff that I knew I wanted to hear more of. Sadly the guys didn’t have any music for me to indulge in and if they did I didn’t see it before it was too late. Watch out for this band if you like Black Metal, I think we shall be hearing a lot about them. Gigan was up next.
Gigan: I’m guilty of thinking that this band was going to be focused on some of the Japanese Kaiju mythology since their name is Gigan after all and he caused a bit of a ruckus in the life of Godzilla. Kaiju by the way means “Strange Beast” in Japanese and it’s the term often used for the giant monster protagonists. Anyways, this did not seem to be the case outside of the name and instead they are a tightly wound Technical Death Metal machine that is the brainchild of Eric Hersmann. They performed a solid set but I was totally in the new on their material so could not offer up any of the songs they played. I was impressed just the same and think that fans of this kind of Death Metal will enjoy catching them in concert. They also had some cool merchandise to indulge in. The band is currently signed to Willowtip Records and their latest release is entitled “Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes”. Now onto Jungle Rot.
Jungle Rot: I’m going to say that I have seen Jungle Rot before but it had to be a very long time ago in my music scribe adventuring because I felt that I was really seeing this band for the first time tonight when they started to do their thing. The band is now signed to Victory Records which they were speaking very highly of at the merchandise table and before the show, like the guys in Immolation, you would actually find the guys selling their own stuff and speaking to fans. This should illustrate just how hard it is to do this stuff since you are not only performing but need to keep the hustle going to get to the next town. If you are on the new side to Jungle Rot, you should know that they are an impressive unit and were hitting the assembled crowd hard with their brand of Death Metal punch. I was assuming that they were delivering more new stuff than old and this might be interesting to the new fans, but the band has been around on recording since about 1996. There have been a steady amount of lineup changes and it appears as though founding guitarist/vocalist Dave Matrise and guitarist Geoff Bub have been the longest standing continuous members. As I watched the crowd, I enjoyed seeing that they were into the presentation and that is always good to observe. Too many times I have watched talented bands making no difference in the eyes of the fans in front of them. Let’s keep this kind of ideal in play shall we. The Jungle Rot set was not a long one and now it was time for the one and the only Immolation…….
Immolation: As I mentioned briefly in my intro paragraph, the legendary Death Metal band from Yonkers had performed in July of last year if memory serves me correctly and at the time their album “Majesty and Decay” was still rather new to the ears of their ardent fans. Tonight they would have their work cut out for them of course because not only was the “new album” still being supported but there was also a brand new EP of material called “Providence” that had come out care of the folks in Scion A/V. This was available first as a free digital download, but tonight they had some at the merchandise table so everyone could take home a physical copy. They could even get it signed since the band was hanging around their merchandise table before and after the show. The guys hit the stage with the title of the recent album and let’s face it, “Majesty and Decay” is a great way to kick the set into gear as it properly showcases their intensity and skill. Singer/bassist Ross Dolan brings you right into the mix of their sound from the get go as he growls and snarls their very well composed melodies and all the while offering up significant head banging with the floor length mane of hair that he possesses. I can tell you that it makes for a great visual when you watch these dudes.
We would only appear to get a second song from the last full length release and three from the new “Providence” EP which I felt was on the awesome side. It let the fans know firsthand just how powerful this new treat was since they were not only getting a copy of it when the show was over, they were also hearing some of this stuff live for the very first time. Immolation as a live band is a force of Metal nature. Guitarist Bob Vigna has one of the most unique guitar playing styles to watch from any vantage point. Now mind you, he is a great player as well, but the manner in which he attacks the instrument and moves with his playing makes him very interesting to watch. The bands rhythm section is sound and consists of Bill Taylor on guitar and Steve Shalaty on drums. Technically speaking, Shalaty is the bands newest member having been on the kit since 2003. Taylor beats him by two years. Looking over the set list in a composition sense, the band surely aimed to please everyone because they have a lot of ground to cover. No one seemed disappointed in what they were delivering if I had to form an opinion. The show also showed us the personal side of the band as Dolan continually thanked the crowd for their support over the years and even sent some shout outs to friends in Metal that had attended and he had known since their early days. That’s always good to see. It shows a level of grounding but I have known this kind of stuff about the Immolation guys since I run into them at many heavy shows and they are always glad to meet fans and chit chat with them for a little while. The set felt like it ran just under 1.5 hours and that was fine with me because there is such a pummeling drive to their show that the human body cannot take much more and be alright for the next go round. The crowd that was here tonight was an ardent one but there could have been more of them in the venue. Some friends who had met me there said that they felt too many dates of this tours run were in spaces too close to others and that it kept people in their own regions instead of adventuring out. I cannot say that I disagree with him on that but I do think that even if fans go to other shows that they should always try to hit the NYC one since its often the one that is most observed given its market. After the show the guys had assembled at the merchandise table and tried to put some really affordable schwag into the hands of their fans. Make sure you see Immolation the next time they happen to visit, because if you enjoy the Death Metal vibe you will not regret your decision.
Closing up I have to say that this was a great way to lead off a very active week. Every one of the bands this evening were impressive and what better way to prepare myself for a cornucopia of Metal and Media activity. I would actually be returning to this venue two more times this week as both Steel Panther drops in tomorrow while on Wednesday we have the Firewind/Arsis show. These three shows will lead me into four days of covering the New York Comic Con so I guess that sleep will be a luxury. Stay tuned for more adventures and thanks as always for listening.
Immolation Set List:
1. Majesty and Decay
2. Swarm of Terror
3. Under the Supreme
4. What They Bring
5. Close to a World Below
6. A Token of Malice
7. No Jesus, No Beast
8. Power & Shame
9. Dawn of Possession
10. Still Lost
11. Den of Thieves
12. Sinful Nature
14. Into Everlasting Fire
15. World Agony
I think it’s great to see the guys name up in the bright lights and here is the visual of the venue’s marquee for the show for those who are too far away to see it for themselves. You want it heavy? Then get yourself inside this venue because this show was also going to feature some other amazing bands that you do not want to miss. It was not a bad way to spend a Monday night.
Immolation had a lot of cool shirts on sale this evening and they were doing this the smart way – they were keeping them on the cheap for the fans. Yep, most of the shirts were a mere $15 beans and this reporter noticed how the fans were purchasing two as opposed to one. More bands should endeavor to keep this kind of stuff down so it gets into more hands. I know this is how they make a core amount of money as a touring outfit but half the battle is keeping the name in the public eye and I give a kudos for this mindset.
Not only were shirts presented high up into the venue skies but there was a lot of available music for the fans to take along with them. When I say “take” I mean this in the literal sense. What is better than Metal? Well, Free Metal is surely a win win situation.
I mentioned in a posting of its own about Immolation’s new EP “Providence” being available thanks to the fine folks at Scion A/V. This is a free download for all to enjoy but if you were lucky enough to be in the audience at one of the shows you would even be able to snare a physical copy of this EP. I thought that this was super cool when one considers how much more into the digital age we are moving with music. I guess you can fault me for being one of the Old Guard and a person that loves to take the disc out of the packaging and put into my stereo more than just clicking around some of my applications. Click the album art below to download this smoldering EP and then by all means share the hell out of it since its legal to do so in this case scenario.
The guys in Jungle Rot and the openers also had merchandise but we only snapped photos of the Jungle Rot stuff and the clever tip jar for the guys in Gigan. Some fans might wonder why the bands are even having tip jars at their merch tables and its generally because these gigs are not making a whole lot of money and doing this helps them with gas or can be tossed in some percentage to the friend who donated their time to make sure their products were reaching you.
Here are the shirts that Jungle Rot was interested in you purchasing.
That’s it for the blog presentation and if you have not checked out the full on concert review and photo galleries yet, please click HERE to do so.