The Morbidfest poster should be a salivating proposition to any Metal fan, with the tour comprising pretty much the cream of Death Metal. Old-school Death Metal, yes, but with each band having its own distinct take on the genre. So it was with a palpable sense of anticipation that I descended into the appropriately-named ‘Underworld’.
The first band on, however, wasn’t one I was expecting…..
Before tonight I was blissfully unaware of Nahemia’s existence…so obviously I didn’t know what they sounded like before they hit the stage. Of course that wasn’t necessarily a problem, it only meant I was approaching the band’s show unfettered by preconceptions.
It turns out the Nahemia are a local band inspired by Scandinavian-style Black Metal. Besides the standard corpse-paint, the stage props included 2 pig heads mounted on spikes at the front of the stage and dripping with blood throughout their show. Nice. Nahemia certainly know how to get your attention.
To be honest, they weren’t bad…in fact I felt the band showed potential. Even the vocalist of Vital Remains, later in the evening, expressed his appreciation for the band’s show. Amongst a handful of original numbers, Nahemia also covered Mayhem’s ‘Freezing Moon’ during which the band’s vocalist proceeded to rip a Bible (or was it a Koran?) to shreds. The recently-released single ‘World Annihilation’ also found its way into their set.
I’m not sure I liked Nahemia’s set well enough to go out and buy their releases but, as hinted earlier, I can’t say I disliked their show either.
Having high expectations often increases the likelihood of disappointment – so did my overdue eagerness to see these Italians end up badly? Thankfully it didn’t!
Sadist took a couple of songs to get into their stride and from then onwards had the audience in their grips. Predictably the recent “Spellbound” album was showcased but I was happy to hear them play ‘Sometimes They Come Back’, one of their earliest numbers. On the other hand, I was slightly disappointed with the absence of the “Tribe” album from the setlist but as band mentor Tommy Talamanca told me before the gig, choosing setlists is tricky now that the band has 8 albums under their belt.
Bassist Andrea Nasso joined Sadist just before this tour and considering the complex nature of Sadist’s music, I was sceptical he would fit in at such short notice. However not only did he fit in but I was impressed with his skills as a bass player. In fact I was impressed with the abilities of all the band members. Trevor Sadist, the band’s imposing frontman, dressed akin Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ films, gave the horror-themed songs a more visual quality.
That Sadist had great material in their repertoire I had always known but tonight the band also proved to be a very good live band.
Click/Tap the above link to listen to a brief interview with Tommy Talamanca, guitarist/keyboardist/composer with Sadist.
It’s hard to pin down the sound of Atrocity – the German band has straddled between Thrash and Death Metal and even flirted with Gothic sonorities. Tonight, however, they should be focusing on the recent “Okkult II” album as well as early material. So it should be Death Metal aggression all the way. As it turns out, I felt they sounded a bit too flat in context of this bill.
But I don’t want to sound too negative because there was lots to enjoy. ‘Necropolis’, from the band’s “Todessenshuht” album of 1992 sounded amazing. ‘Death By Metal’ proved to be a crushing Metal anthem. Atrocity even gave a rare delivery of ‘Blue Blood’, one of the band’s very first releases.
Oddly enough Atrocity played without a bass player (well, at least without a physically present bass player) and this might partly explain why they sounded a bit flat. If I may add one final gripe, the Atrocity symbol atop Alex Krull’s mic stand kept covering his face and in a venue like the Underworld (with a smallish area In front of the stage), this was sometimes annoying.
An enjoyable, if inconsistent, performance.
Vital Remains (https://www.facebook.com/vital.remains.official/)
Vital Remains were the aural equivalent of an atomic bomb ripping the venue apart. The band gave one helluva killer show. For a start there was the first wall of death I’ve ever seen at the ‘Underworld’, besides stagediving and crowdsurfing galore, including by Brian Werner, the band’s singer. In fact Werner was very much responsible for inciting the high levels of crowd violence – he is for me the quintessential Death Metal frontman.
As a single unit Vital Remains were powerful but always immensely tight. I was also impressed by guitarist/shredder Caio Kehyayan. After the gig I saw online clips of him covering Guthrie Govan and Vinnie Moore and, well, you really have to check those out for yourselves, dear readers.
Vital Remains always had a Black Metal edge to them and the stage antics reflected this, particularly in the last song……while the soundtrack from Bram Stoker’s Dracula blared from the speakers, Werner poured fake blood from a goat’s skull over himself.
In a way Vital Remains bridged the gap between Nahemia and I Am Morbid. Speaking of which…..(scroll down)
I Am Morbid
I Am Morbid were formed by David Vincent to perform material from the Morbid Angel albums that he had played on before his most recent split from that band. If Vincent wanted to prove he can still play that material then there’s no doubt to my mind that tonight he succeeded.
The numbers were performed in an almost chronological order of their release. The more aggressive the number, the better the band sounded. Just before the tour kicked off, Kelly McLauchlin (ex-Possessed) was drafted in as a replacement for Ira Black on guitar. Tim Yeung (ex-Morbid Angel) remains the band’s drummer as does Bill Hudson, playing guitar.
Not too long ago, I had seen (also in London) Vincent play several of these numbers with Morbid Angel. Of course I’d prefer him in context of Morbid Angel but, performance-wise, tonight’s show was as great as the MA show I had been to. I Am Morbid delivered what was expected of them and how it was expected.
I Am Morbid
Click/Tap the above link to listen to a brief interview with David Vincent, bassist/vocalist with I Am Morbid.