Concert Reviews

Suffocation - Cryptopsy - Aborted - Despised Icon
Oct 14th 2005

The Pound, San Francisco, CA, USA

It had been awhile for me concert wise, and I'd had very little sleep this whole week, but with such a powerhouse lineup of my favorite bands (and I hadn't seen Suffocation since their breakup in '98), I had no choice but to go.

We missed the local opening opening act Light This City, so no comment there. First up for me friday night at the Pound was Despised Icon from Montreal. They're certainly a young looking band (I'm soooo old), but did a decent job of mixing things up. They had a bit of a rarity going on, 2 vocalists, neither of which played an instrument. One tended to do the more hard core yells while the other did more of the low dying-fetus vocals. Both paced the stage like caged animals while the band backed them up with some reasonably tight songs. Excellent vocal delivery, they weren't just standing there, they really got into it, twisting their bodies into all sorts of pain stricken poses. Unfortunately the band suffered from opening act syndrome, basically they're new so many people hadn't heard their cds yet and it was early so people hadn't drunk enough yet, so the crowd wasn't 100% into the act. But with the energy the band has, it's plain to see that as they get more experience, more people get to know them, and as they move up from the opening act they'll be quite a force to reckon with live.

Next came Aborted from Belgium, more people were into their performance. The sound was ok, but a little sloppy during the fast parts, thankfully the band does have some nice slower chunky parts which came across real well, and the moshing really started. The vocalist was also hard to hear, so while the band did a good set with songs like 'The Saw And The Carnage Done', 'Dead Wreckoning', 'Gestated Rabidity' I think they suffered from bad sound which detracted from the performance.

Cryptopsy was next to strike, and while Flo took a sizable amount of time to set up his drum set (technical difficulties?), I took up a vantage point to the side of the stage (The pound is a one floor no balcony room with a very low stage, so to see the drummer you need to be up close). Suddenly, I heard the cry "The singer needs to sing! The singer needs to sing!" And a roadie makes his way through the crowd with the famous Lord Worm in tow, holding his golden challis. There's something inherantly creepy about this guy, I mean, he's probably a cool dude if you're chatting with him, but he definitely has an eerie presence. The room goes quiet, and the band explodes on stage with songs like 'Mutant Christ', 'Cold Hate, Warm Blood', and 'White Worms'. During 'We Bleed', Lord worm brings up the challis and lives up to his namesake, eating live worms. He then proceeds to feed the crowd. They also played several songs off their new cd like 'Carrionshine', 'Frantic Pace of Dying' and 'Adeste Infidelis', and despite the fact the cd isn't out yet, the crowd got into them as though they were old classics. The band was tight, and holy fuck is Flo crazy on drums. I mean, his speed is just stupendous, his standard blast beat is just insanely fast, his wrist a blur most of the time, and just to push things even further, during 'Carrionshine' he does one of those vibration blast beat things which is just unbelievable to watch a few feet in front of you. He's also a real hard hitter, I didn't realize just how how he hits those drums, you'd figure with that much speed you'd have to hit on the light side. The band ended with 'Phobophile' to a huge audience response.

And last, one of the greats, Suffocation, takes the stage. My first impression was the band was actually a little quiet, but maybe it was just their sound was clearer and so didn't sound as loud. They hammered the audience with many of the classic songs, 'Catatonia', 'Deceit', 'Pierced From Within', 'Thrones Of Blood', 'Surgery Of Impalement', 'Infecting The Crypts', 'Effigy Of The Forgotten', 'Torn Into Enthralment', 'Breeding The Spawn'. Frank's vocals were plenty loud in the mix, and he was really into it, the crowd responded with some of the most intense pits I've seen in quite some time (and I saw more ejections than I think I've ever seen from a concert of people getting too rowdy). There was certainly plenty of banter between songs, although not so much as to be distracting, Frank was very gracious to the other bands who performed, and to the venue and to the fans, as he said at one point "This is the best fucking job, I get to play the music I love to the people who love it." There was plenty of funny bits too like "This next song is, well, it's about killing people of course". Terrance was in good form on guitar, and newcomers to the band Guy and Derek did a fine job. Again, one of the things I most distinctly remember about the band is how absolutely tight they were, when they cut off a note, it was just gone, and this concert was no exception, they really do play with one mind up there. Drummingwise, Mike did generally a fine job, but this is the first Suffocation concert I've seen without Dave Culross on drums, and while Mike can do some fast and complex stuff, his doublebass just isn't as fast and so he simplified several of my favorite songs, which really annoyed me. Like for example, in "Breeding The Spawn", in the middle while the guitars go really slow and the doublebass just goes crazy underneath, that's one of my favorite bits from their "Pierced From Within" album and Mike simplified it to the 16th notes from the "Breeding The Spawn" album. Arrrr! The same with the concert closer 'Funeral Inception', a lot of blasting parts were changed. Ah well. The band promised they'd be working on a new album this winter. The show was also being recorded for their DVD, and with the absolute insanity of the crowd and a good performance I'm sure the Pound SF crowd will make a fine addition to the recording. Overall, a fantastic event, definitely go see them when they come through your town, even if you're like me and have had no sleep. Sleep later, don't miss this concert.

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