Concert Reviews

Vader - Gorguts - Divine Empire
March 5th 1999

Part of the International Extreme Metal Festival. Four Bands, one very small and cramped venue with nothing but standing room. A smaller yet crazed crowd. A more personal night of metal. The evening started with a forgettable local act (so forgettable, I forgot their name), so no more on that.

Divine Empire was next. This band consists of Jason Blachowicz, Derik Roddy, and J.P. Soars, all formerly of Malevolent Creation, and they played a smoking set. I won't go through the track listing, basically they played all the songs off their debut album. Jason did his usual brutal vocals, and his bass sound was intense, incredibly distorted with lots of high end, but still plenty of punch in the lower register, which caused some interesting vibrations in the body of a friend of mine. J.P also did some vocals, although his guitar sound was too low in the mix. And Derik on drums. There are no words to describe this guy. His blast beats were super fast and completely accurate. And he's a one footer (as in, instead of alternating at half speed on two bass drums during blast beats, he does them all with one foot on one drum). A very professional drummer, the bass drum was a little low in the mix, but you could clearly see his feet hammering at warp speed. And there were plenty of fills and complex rhythms to keep me astonished. They played for about 40 minutes, and I came away impressed.

Next was Gorguts. I won't review them again, I had seen them recently with Cryptopsy and Oppressor, and they played pretty much an identical set.

Last was Vader. There were obviously some Poles in the crowd, they brought giant banners and screamed "Va-der, Va-der!" followed by "Pol-ska, Pol-ska!" Vader took the stage, and started everything off with 'Sothis'. But something was wrong, the bass drum wasn't there at all! Maybe someone forgot to plug in the microphone. Anyways, after the first song, they fiddled for a minute, and then boom, boom, the bass drum and all the mikes on the drum set where active again. Excellent. The band then proceeded to hammer through all kinds of great songs from all their albums, such as 'Carnal', 'Silent Empire', 'Black to the Blind', 'The Red Passage', 'The Crucified Ones', 'Distant Dream', 'Blood of Kingu' and 'Reborn in Flames'. The guitar sound was clear, although one thing I love about Vader's albums are the holes, when the band disappears, and you have a single guitar in one channel playing a fast riff. The same holes were not there live, either because of sloppiness or because of a feedback problem. The punches just weren't as impressive. The vocals were great though, even though the ultra violent moshing caused the mike to get knocked down several times. Doc on drums, well, not much to say there except he fucking rips. That was the loudest bass drum I've ever heard, and each kick was as loud and accurate as the next, no matter what speed he played at. They really cut through the mix and made your body shake. Same with the blasts. And he played the entire show with a T-shirt on. You'd expect him to get hot with all the intense movement. Anyways, another great set, the crowd really went crazy for these guys, and with good reason.

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