Friday, September 19, 2008

Exhumed To Consume!!! I Die For Metal!!!

Exhumed To Consume Tour

Bands: Carcass, Suffocation, 1349, Aborted, Rotten Sound

Venue: House of Blues, Sunset Strip

Date: September 18, 2008

Oh, you know that this one was on my list! Just about everyone else’s list, as well, as the beyond sold out HOB Sunset Strip was just jammed for the biggest death metal concert outing of the year. A veritable who’s who of the L.A. extreme metal community was in attendance: Dino Cazares, Shane Embury, Joe Payne, the bands Sothis, Asesino/ Divine Heresy, Possessed, etc; all were lined up for this show as fans. Just about everyone that I know in the area was present, and the atmosphere was one of pure death metal bliss throughout the evening.

Finnish grindcore sensations Rotten Sound got things started with a 25 minute set starting around 7pm or so. The HOB was filling up fast as they blew through a taut set that won the respect of the crowd, although it was pretty obvious that Rotten Sound are relatively unknown here. This would be Rotten Sound’s last stop on this tour, and they celebrated late in the evening by getting falling down drunk near the merchandise tables.

Aborted were up next, and, although they more or less played the same set from a few months back during Summer Slaughter, I felt that they were much better this time around. They seemed a bit tighter, although I did hear a few people grumbling about the band’s recent change in direction.

The main acts began with the always mind altering experience of 1349. Playing as a quartet with Tony Laureano on drums, 1349 were focused for their set, although I must say playing as a quartet with only a single guitarist somewhat mutes the band’s sound. Still, 1349 remain one of my favorite live acts and I greatly anticipate the band’s next full-length.

Suffocation are always a fantastic band in a live setting with the inhuman dual guitar work and the drumming of Mike Smith. In addition, Frank Mullen is always entertaining as a front man, although he recycles his jokes. No matter, though, as Suffocation’s set was fantastic and book ended by “Liege of Inveracity” and “Bind Torture Kill”. Fans were also given a peek at a new track from the upcoming full-length entitled “Blood Oath”. Awesome!

The main act, Carcass, was really everyone’s reason for attending, and Carcass did not disappoint with an excellent show replete with gore-laced, blurred out, pathology/ dissection films and photographs projected onto a screen above the band for the duration of the huge 90 minute set. I can’t say for certain as it has been awhile, but I believe that “Necroticism…” and “Heartwork” were played in their entirety, as well as a few cuts each from “Symphonies of Sickness” and “Reek of Putrefaction”. You simply couldn’t ask for anything more as Carcass just ruled the stage this evening. Wow!

The pictures...

Rotten Sound





The video...




The t-shirt haul, front and back..

Next up (probably)...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Two Cents...

Everyone else is chiming in (I’m surprised that McCain and Obama haven’t put out statements), so I might as well do the same. Yeah, I was 14/ 15 years old in ’82 and ’83 when “Kill ‘Em All” hit the streets; yeah, I was the first kid in my high school to have a vinyl copy of the album, which I clutched as if it were some precious heirloom; yeah, the relationship only blossomed with “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”; yeah, I felt the pain of Burton’s untimely death (had he lived, I’m convinced that Metallica would be a very different band today), was mildly let down by “… And Justice For All”, and all my fears of sell-out were realized with “Metallica”, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Fast forward to ‘08 and I haven’t seriously paid attention to Metallica since ’91 or so. I’m sort of proud to say that I’ve not heard one song off of “St. Anger”, and I intend to keep it that way. However, you couldn’t have avoided hearing through the grapevine about the supposed return to form, an album that will hark back to the ‘80s, an album that should’ve been made after “Justice”, and so on about “Death Magnetic”. I guess deep down, like a lot of us in my age bracket, we all sort of hoped that there was a chance that the last 17 years were some sort of bizarre experiment perpetrated by Ulrich and Hetfield, and the band really never forgot their roots. Yeah, most of you will say “get over it, get a life, asshole” or some such, but that’s the way a lot of old timers feel.

At any rate, like a lot of others, I’m underwhelmed by the album, which mostly comes across as a mediocre, sort of average thrash metal album which just sounds tired (probably, in part, due to a surprisingly bland production courtesy of one that we wouldn’t have suspected it from). Yes, there are some good riffs, one or two pretty good songs, some bursts of speed and so on, but the passion and post-adolescent rage that fueled the band’s first three full-lengths is dead and buried, only to be replaced by the encroachment and complacency of middle age. If there ever was a band now content to rest on their laurels; that is, their back catalog, Metallica is that band.

I’m revealing my inner geek here, but, as I’ve listened to the album over the last couple of days, I can’t help but compare this album to the Star Wars prequels. Thirty and forty somethings, do you recall the sheer excitement you felt as the release of “The Phantom Menace” approached, only to nervously glance at each other with apprehension as you left the theater after seeing that movie? “Death Magnetic” feels the same way. Hetfield and Ulrich have become George Lucas.

I’ll end up continuing to listen to “Death Magnetic” for the next few weeks, and, you may be surprised to hear, I’ve bought a ticket for Metallica’s show at The Forum for December 18th (Cosmo will laugh uproariously, but my feeble excuse is that I want to see The Sword; yeah, I picked a lousy way of doing so). But, whatever excitement I felt is fading (hoping against hope to recapture the feeling of a 14 year old). To me, the experience is the same as buying the prequel trilogy in widescreen, only to watch it once in a great while. I’ll stick to the original trilogy if you know what I mean.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obituary DVD Review (a little late)...

Obituary- Frozen Alive DVD

(Metal Mind Productions)

This DVD was released by Metal Mind Productions in late 2006 and now winds its way into my mailbox, although the DVD has been long since reviewed at Live 4 Metal. Metal Mind from Poland always does a slick, professional job of shooting concert footage with clear sound and multiple camera angles including close ups, long shots, views from behind the kit, and a camera affixed to a boom that sweeps out over the audience. That high quality is present in spades on "Frozen Alive".

Obituary’s first foray into an official DVD release took place after the band’s reformation and during the touring cycle for “Frozen In Time”. Filmed in Poland in August of 2006, 21 songs covering the band’s discography are depicted, along with two intros, with the aforementioned top notch production values from Metal Mind. The footage does a good job of capturing the crushing intensity of Obituary on stage, and serves to increase my enthusiasm for the band’s upcoming gig with Unleashed at the HOB Sunset Strip.

As you would expect, there are some extras including two separate interviews. The first is conducted with the Tardy brothers, who come off as well spoken and genuinely seem glad to be able to do the interview. Although two years old at this point, the interview allows the Tardy brothers to discuss the band’s freshness and enthusiasm after the reformation. The second interview is conducted with Frank Watkins and Trevor Peres, who allow the fans a peek at the band members’ lives away from Obituary.

Other extras include two video clips, “Insane” and “On The Floor”, as well as a Donald Tardy drum solo from Romania, some backstage footage, and a throwaway documentary about the making of the video for “Insane”.

Overall, Obituary has released a good DVD that’s well worth the price for the concert and the interviews. I do wonder, however, how the band members may have come off differently after the events surrounding Allen West’s departure from the band and the subsequent recruitment of Ralph Santolla.

You can read Chris Davison's original Live 4 Metal review here.

Special thanks to Clint Weiler.

Metal Mind

MVD Audio/ Visual

There is still progress in the world, I eagerly await data reduction in early 2009...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Three Blasts From Pulverised Records

Three promos from Pulverised Records, a Singaporean label with which I'm not familiar, arrived in my mailbox not too long ago. Unfortunately, all three albums were already covered by other writers at Live 4 Metal. So, here's my brief take on each.

Impiety- Dominator

Naturally, I'd expect Impiety to be a part of Pulverised Records' roster, given that the band is a well established act from Singapore (and with some past connections to Mexico). At any rate, Impiety have always been a ferocious beast with their version of dirty, blackened war metal. "Dominator" is the new EP from the band and is the first release of original material since their last full-length, "Formidonis Nex Cultus", from 2007.

I sort of lost track of Impiety after the classic duo of "Skullfucking Armageddon" and "Kaos Kommand 666". Both albums are blistering and "Dominator" certainly continues that trend with a 5-song EP that doesn't let up for a moment. A masterful cover of "Black Vomit" by Sarcofago is included. Hmmm... it's time to track down Impiety's releases since "Kaos Kommand 666"...

Here's Crin's review of the EP.

Impiety Official

Netherbird- The Ghost Collector

Next up is Sweden's Netherbird with "The Ghost Collector", the band's debut full-length. Essentially a melodic, symphonic black metal band with Gothic overtones and a bit of a doom/death base, Netherbird very much reminds me of early Cradle of Filth (well, that's the only Cradle of Filth with which I have any familiarity) with high pitched, screeched vocals, keyboards, melodic guitar work, and variations in tempo. The album, to me, seems a bit under produced for the requisite bombasity of the style, and is not really my thing, anyway. However, for the genre, "The Ghost Collector" seems to be well-written. Judge for yourself below.

You can read Crin's review here.

Netherbird Official

Those Who Bring The Torture- Tank Gasmask Ammo

The last of the promos is from Swedish death metal act Those Who Bring The Torture with their second full-length, entitled "Tank Gasmask Ammo". An unrelenting slab of war themed death metal with elements of grindcore, Those Who Bring The Torture combine all out blasts with catchy, slower tracks with a bit of a Sunlight Studios sound. The result brings to mind, to these ears, "Harmony Corruption" from Napalm Death. An excellent album from some veterans in other Swedish acts.

You can read Sam Thomas' review here.

Those Who Bring The Torture Official

Sorry, songs removed.