Necrophagist @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (7/19/2009): Summer Slaughter

Logo - Necrophagist

Artist: Necrophagist
Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Suffocation, Ensiferum, Darkest Hour, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Blackguard
Date: 7/19/2009
Label: Relapse Records

Last summer the Big Apple hosted the Summer Slaughter tour which found an incredible sampling of Heavy Metal’s finest delivering the goods for one long day of Metal. It was a show that presented relative newcomers to the public eye with bands like Psycroptic, Whitechapel and Born Of Osiris while also delivering the growing in popularity groups such as Despised Icon, The Faceless and The Aborted. The heavy hitter portion of the night came via Cryptopsy, Vader and Kataklysm with the whole shebang being headlined by the Black Dahlia Murder. “Whew” was all that many of the Metal faithful could muster after being a part of this almost eight hour event at the Fillmore NY. The show was great for the most part and we reported on it in full, but even that lineup found us realizing that there were several faults along the way. For starters it might have been smart to sacrifice at least one band to allow for an extra song from each of the groups as opposed to the uneven nature in set times that we got. The numerous bands found the first grouping playing for just about thirty minutes if not less. We also would have switched around the roster a little bit for while we love what The Black Dahlia Murder does, we did not feel that they should have been headlining over the might of bands like Vader and Kataklysm. Believe it or not, Vader actually only played about 20 minutes while we got over an hour of the BDM. Clearly something was wrong but that is a tale for another review. The 2009 edition of Summer Slaughter would present the might of a headlining Necrophagist with direct support from Suffocation. Also on the bill were Viking Metal titans Ensiferum, Darkest Hour, Winds Of Plague, Dying Fetus, Born Of Osiris, Origin, Beneath The Massacre, After The Burial, Decrepit Birth and Blackguard.

As you can see this gave the fans two more bands than that massive lineup from last year and while it seemed like a lot to take, they gave the people of New York City the choice of two different nights to see the bands by splitting the roster up across a Sunday and Monday show. Necrophagist would still close out each of the performances, but only the Sunday gig would feature Suffocation, Blackguard and Origin so it was that one that I wanted to be at most and as result our coverage of the evening will only discuss those bands that were here for this particular show. Blackguard would get it all started tonight and we had some familiarity with them. Here goes….

blackguard, blackguard concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Blackguard by Ken Pierce (2009)

Blackguard: I caught the band Blackguard from Montreal when they were a part of the second “Paganfest USA” tour that was held back in May of this year. They impressed me quite a bit and since that time I have been enjoying their CD “Profugis Mortis” very much. Newer fans might not be aware that this album title is actually the bands original name and while they are more of a Pagan or Folk Metal group, they are certainly heavy enough to merit inclusion on the Summer Slaughter Tour. They really kicked ass here this evening despite the genre label being different from the rest of the mix and they were surely happy to continue their touring efforts over here in the USA. I found that they went over very well with this crowd and once again all tunes seemed to come from the “Profugis Mortis” CD which remains a recommendation for all. I was already a believer in the band after one gig a few short months ago and it seemed like the folks around me were getting into them enough to make them fans as well. I was a little sad that they went on first and didn’t have the full venue at their command but oh well, they are going to come back again and again and if you know what’s good for you, you will arrive early enough to be a part of their rising in the Metal concert community. Nice work once again Mes Amis. Decrepit Birth would come up second.

decrepit birth, decrepit birth concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Decrepit Birth by Ken Pierce (2009)

Decrepit Birth: When you think you have seen too many bands in a row you start to confuse one name with another one and somehow or other I had thought that I caught Decrepit Birth a long time ago but I was wrong. Tonight would be my first time catching these newly signed to Nuclear Blast Records Metalists, and they definitely put on an impressive show. The main person to watch in the band is singer Bill Robinson who seemed to be “feeling” the music and working with it emphatically throughout their whole set. It was something else to watch I will say that much. The band was tight and it’s nice to see such a Death Metal outfit coming out of Santa Cruz, as it puts that region on the map in terms of rising stars in the genre. The band also features three members from the band Odious Mortem who I must admit I have never heard a note from. Their debut on Nuclear Blast Records will be released sometime in early 2010 so watch out for it, I know I will be doing the same.

origin, origin concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Origin by Ken Pierce (2009)

Origin: A few months ago I was supposed to catch a Metal combination platter that featured Origin, Obscura and Abysmal Dawn all in one place for the legions to enjoy but something happened along the way that found the show never reaching our area as was intended. Fast forward to this evening and we were able to be treated to an absolutely smoldering set of material from this Topeka, Kansas based band. Nothing about their set was disappointing and it seemed as though a strong part of what was being played was coming to us from their album “Antithesis” and it’s really one of the better Technical Death Metal releases from a band who is considered to be a part of the current providers of such stuff. I believe the genre is in good hands with Origin on its side but they would be finished before they really got the place worked up to frenzy. It was almost immediately when I found Darkest Hour raring to go.

darkest hour, darkest hour concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Darkest Hour by Ken Pierce (2009)

Darkest Hour: The band has a new album on Victory Records entitled “The Eternal Return” and I had to admit that while they are a growing favorite upon the Metal scene that I have not paid sufficient attention to what they are up to. They hit the stage with a great level of energy and lead singer John Henry is a dynamo in his delivery. They were fast and frenetic at what they were doing and I really have to get my hands on this album and absorb it for what it is worth. The crowd was awake for sure thanks to the other bands who had just performed but a great amount of the younger fans seemed to be all about Darkest Hour and going the craziest for them. Among the many highlight viewed from the stage was the brief cheerleader pyramid that the guys formed. It was amusing to see them do this and still play at the same time. It’s safe to say that Darkest Hour is impressive at their craft and I think that I will be following along a little better from this day forward. Now it was time to ready my sword because Ensiferum was back for the attack.

ensiferum, ensiferum concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Ensiferum by Ken Pierce (2009)

Ensiferum: The band Ensiferum had been here twice before and the first go round was for the Paganfest that happened in 2008 and then later in the year they appeared with Amon Amarth. Good shows without a doubt so tonight I was expecting to be entertained by them once again. The issue was that their gear had not yet arrived from the previous stop on the tour and that meant no intro music for them and that they would be using the Blackguard gear and Decrepit Birth drums. It seemed like a few bands were working that kit and that made sense since lugging eleven drum sets around would not have been easy logistically or economically. It’s great that a tour like this finds all of the bands working together for a common goal as opposed to otherwise. With no introduction of epic scale the singer just told us what was coming and handled himself very well. The band sounded great and did a healthy amount of tunes from the stellar “Victory Songs” which was to be expected. After “One More Magic Potion” the drummers own pedals arrived so they paused to swap them so “Deathbringer From the Sky” would be a little quicker and more comfortable for him. “Ahti” is also a favorite of mine and it reminds me just a little bit of Children Of Bodom for some reason. After their set we learned that they would be coming back later in the year as a headliner and bringing a great amount of interesting support bands along with them. Now it was time for Suffocation and the venue was at its most crowded.

suffocation, suffocation concert photos, summer slaughter 2009
Suffocation by Ken Pierce (2009)

Suffocation: The band Suffocation are really one of the true greats for the Extreme Death Metal legions and they never fail to impress those who choose to follow them. Tonight their singer Frank Mullen would announce that they would be playing songs off of “Effigy” and their new CD “Blood Oath” along with some of their other classics. The band had recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records which I think will be a good home for them and if my timing is correct the new release is coming or had just come out. They have been doing this for twenty years and they really command the stage. Frank is normally a complete maniac on the stage and he is always very outspoken when he talks to the crowd. He said during the time they had been a band that they watched many bands come and go and that’s because some of them just can’t hang and handle it. To him this was a Death Metal Stimulus Package and with it he mentioned how he had taken an oath to always play brutal music. He was not going to try and “sing” since he cannot “sing” and of course he is talking about implementing clean vocals into their brand of brutality. Frank said some cool things to the crowd this evening and before “Infecting The Crypts” he told people that if you are in the pit and someone goes down you pick them up and that is important to do. He preached a little bit before “Jesus Wept” and then drummer Mike Smith spoke for a couple of minutes about being in this for so long. Suffocation had actually opted to be the direct support for these shows since they knew the younger audience members might have to go home and they didn’t want them to miss the set since many had expressed interest in them. As it stands this would be a smart idea because as soon as Suffocation had finished a healthy number of the youngest of these fans headed for home. That was a shame for them to miss Necrophagist but there will be other gigs in the future for them to attend as they get older and no longer have to worry about personal curfews.

Necrophagist: I had only caught Necrophagist once before and it was actually at the same Carcass performance where I last caught Suffocation in action. I was looking forward to seeing them play a little longer because they really bring a lot to the table with their level of technical expertise. Even though I had limited live experiences with them one could tell that their set would be less about crowd banter and refection about time in the game and more about fierce levels of Metal being thrown at you with great precision. The band is led by Muhammed Suicmez who handles guitar and vocals while Stephan Fimmers plays bass and Sami Raatikainen provides lead guitar. Drums are adeptly delivered by Romain Goulon who was a proverbial monster this evening and that was not easy to say after watching Suffocation’s Smith. Musically this was a tightly woven set and it would feature primarily music from the bands release “Epitaph” which was their 2004 release. It’s been awhile since we got new music from them and to sate this hunger they would deliver one new song. It will be sometime in 2010 when this finally reaches the hands of the bands fans.

From beginning to end I thought that this Summer Slaughter was an interesting night and one that brought a knock out punch to the faces of the fans. Seven bands is more than enough if you ask me, and while there would be some repetition tomorrow and some bands missed since they were scheduled for that show, I really felt that we had the better or at least more powerhouse show this evening. If they do this festival again next year which I am sure that they will, one can hope that it continues the level of excellence in band selection and that they don’t overdo it by scheduling too many performers. The fans of Extreme Metal had another show to go to tomorrow but we would be passing up on that one since we had another show to hit on Tuesday and then it would be the “Conquer And Curse” tour with Abigail Williams and Goatwhore later in the week over at Gramercy Theatre.

Full Blackguard Photo Gallery:
Full Decrepit Birth Photo Gallery:
Full Origin Photo Gallery:
Full Darkest Hour Photo Gallery:
Full Ensiferum Photo Gallery:
Full Suffocation Photo Gallery:

Ensiferum Set List:
1. Hero In A Dream
2. One More Magic Potion
3. Deathbringer From The Sky
4. Token Of Time
5. Into Battle
6. Ahti
7. Iron
8. Victory Song (partial)

Suffocation Set List:
1. Liege Of Inveracity
2. Habitual Infamy
3. Blood Oath
4. Infecting The Crypts
5. fJesus Wept
6. Come Hell Or High Priest
7. Catatonia
8. Cataclysmic Purification
9. Effigy Of The Forgotten

Necrophagist Set List:
1. Stabwound
2. Only Ash Remains
3. Intestinal Incubation
4. Epitaph
5. Diminished To B
6. Foul Body Autopsy
7. To Breathe In A Casket
8. Extreme Unction
9. Ignominious and Pale
10. The Stillborn One
11. Fermented Offal Discharge

Metal fans that have an interest in our views and photos from the previous year’s Summer Slaughter tour can relive the event by clicking HERE.  As expected we were sure to offer up commentary on every band and snapped photos of all of the performers as well – all ten bands.  That was a long, long night.

Before we close up, we wanted to share another graphic with you and that is for the tour program that the kind folks of Decibel Magazine had left around for us to enjoy.

Decibel Tour Program: Summer Slaughter 2009
Decibel Tour Program: Summer Slaughter 2009

It was mostly advertisements for the various labels and enterprises that were sponsoring the tour and that was to be expected.  However, there was also a little something about every band that performed on this tour and we also got photos of them.  That’s not a bad deal for free is it.

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