Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Decrepit Birth, Augury, Warbringer, Swashbuckle,
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
The last time Vader had toured in the USA they were participating in the Summer Slaughter Tour and were sharing the stage with Kataklysm, Black Dahlia Murder and Cryptopsy along with a host of other up and coming powerhouse Metal bands. The band sounded fantastic but would only play a meager twenty minute set and this left the audience screaming for more and also a little bit cheated since many had actually come to the show exclusively for the Vader appearance. Since that time the band has joined up with Nuclear Blast Records and just recently released their latest album “Necropolis” and armed with this would embark on the Masters Of Death tour with label mates Decrepit Birth, Warbringer, The Amenta, Augury and Rose Funeral. That was a seriously heavy roster and we were happy to be a part of it. Here is how the night went down.
Rose Funeral/Augury/The Amenta: New Jersey’s Pirate Metal mavens Swashbuckle were originally listed for this show and upon my arrival I discovered that the band had been replaced by Rose Funeral who had already left the stage. I had been detained a little based on the travel and timing of some friends getting together and would get there just in time for the Black Metal sonics of The Amenta who were almost done with their set. That means I missed Augury as well, but they will be back I am sure since their finding themselves on solid bills. What I saw of The Amenta was impressive and I would like to check them out again. Warbringer was up third this evening as opposed to being one of the earlier running bands.
Warbringer: As the set from Warbringer began it started to become very clear to me that the band was slowly creeping up on my tally of total number of times that I had caught Into Eternity in concert and while this could be a good thing for them it can also be a little bit bad. Warbringer has been on so many bills one wonders if the fans will start to grow tired of how they do things because from beginning to end they are a pure Old School Thrash Metal outfit as delivered by the New School of Artisans. The difference between them and IE is that much of their material follows a common theme and does not span a wider number of genres. They are too energetic and enthusiastic about their shows to find this happening so I hope they realize that more gigs are not always the best course of action as opposed to “key” gigs. Despite my own reservations it seems as though the crowd didn’t agree with me and were loving the band from the second that they came out. The chants of “War-bring-er” were very loud and just added to the bands level of performance energy. Good for them. They would play tunes from both of their Century Media Records releases and I had to say that “new” bassist Andy Laux was fitting in good with his brother John in the lineup making one part of the group “Laux-bringer” in a manner of speaking. The great thing to observe is just how much fun singer Kevill has up there and the same can be said of drummer Nic. Adam is probably having a blast as well but keeps the mood serious up there. I’ve come to appreciate them more than on my first go rounds, but really do want to see them change some of their musical game around to make it a little different and keep it interesting for the long haul. Decrepit Birth was up next.
Decrepit Birth: The glory of Decrepit Birth eluded me until Summer Slaughter 2009 where I finally caught this band that a number of my friends had been speaking of for some time. I had originally planned on catching them with a Black Metal show that was hitting B.B. King’s some time ago, but I would miss my chance based on an earlier than expected start and then I say fast forward to the Slaughter event of the summer where the guys came out very early but still blew everyone away. They are an impressive band and there is something epic about the way their particular Death Metal feels. Their lead singer Bill Robinson is someone to pay attention to during the set because he is totally feeling all of the melodies and moving very expressively through each and every number. They had recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records but despite this fact would play material from their previous releases for the most part. I don’t know if any new and unreleased material was showcased but in comparing the notes on the set list done can state that the band delivered tunes from both “And Time Begins” & “Diminishing Between Worlds” this evening. Bill would speak to the crowd often and he even sent a shout out to one of the dudes pressed against the barrier citing how he sees this guy at so many shows that he deserved the thanks for the support and belief in the band. It’s nice to see such action recognized from time to time. The bands new album is said to be called “Polarity” and will come out some time in 2010 on Nuclear Blast Records. This was a great set for the band and I am sure that anyone who was unaware of them was going to be looking a little more into them going forward. And now, the moment that all had been waiting for………..the mighty Vader………..
Vader: It was very late in the evening by the time that Vader took the stage but when they did it was pure Polish Death Metal brutality and finally back in NYC to a great crowd. I had wondered how this would do in terms of numbers because it was effectively the third show in as many days, but in the end a very different one from the Thursday Trivium show and last night’s Eluveitie fun. Founded and fronted by Piotr Wiwczarek, Vader now finds the talents of Decapitated’s “Vogg” offering up lead guitar support for the tour. It was an interesting thing to observe because while a technically proficient musician in his own right, Vogg was not stepping into the role we have long enjoyed of him and instead doing all of the tasks at hand to make the Vader material stronger than ever. The band would open up with one of the new songs from “Necropolis” and it was nice and heavy. I have not actually perused the full release yet but knew it would be something good because Vader are one of the true leaders in this genre and it would not be like them to disappoint their fans. Peter smirked a little sly smile and spoke to the crowd with a gravelly voice and said “at long last Vader is back in New York City” and the audience was crazy at that fact. There was not a whole lot of talking going on and it really seemed as though the set was blasting by us which is possible since Vader material is not all that slow in the first place. I really liked what Vogg was bringing to the Vader songs and this was probably a once in a lifetime kind of gig for us to see with him being a part of the lineup based on the fact that he had officially announced he was rebuilding Decapitated and hoping to bring their sound to the Metal legions as soon as humanly possible. When Peter announced the names of the lineup this evening, he got to Vogg’s name and the entire venue responded with chants of “VITEK” over and over. This clearly seemed to move the guitarist who in some sense might be happy to know how fondly his deceased brother impacted the Metal scene. In truth none of us shall ever forget his influential style of drumming and I was glad to see him brought up this evening.
This was a really good show but I would have liked to see it in another venue like The Fillmore NY or perhaps even the Nokia Theatre but in all honesty there were still plenty of seating spaces that made me feel this particular show did not completely sell out. It seems as though Vader didn’t play to any “new” fans this evening and while everyone in the place was a diehard, one does want to gain new bodies in the Metal army with the shows that they do. “Preaching to the choir” is not always a good thing when one has a Metal band to sell over and over and many diehard fans choose to keep the band as their own as opposed to making them more known. Next year the guys in Vader are set to support Overkill on that bands world tour and that should definitely bring in a horde of new bodies to their cause. Joining in on that fun will be God Dethroned and several others. Be sure to watch out for the new Decrepit Birth and pick up a copy of “Necropolis” by Vader while you wait anxiously for some new throttling Metal from Decapitated.
Decrepit Birth Set List:
1. The Living Doorway
2. The Infestation
4. Condemned To Nothingness
5. Diminishing Between Worlds
7. Prelude To The Apocalypse
Vader Set List:
3. Rise of the Undead
4. Never Say My Name
7. Between Day And Night
10. Black to the Blind
11. Silent Empire
12. Dark Age
13. This Is The War – encore