Concert Reviews

The Faceless - Dying Fetus - Beneath The Massacre - Suffokate - Enfold Darkness
Dec 13th 2009

DNA Lounge, San Francisco, CA, USA

After releasing a fantastic new album this year, I decided it was high time for me to go see Dying Fetus again, it had been well over 13 years (see my first concert review). I was pretty surprised though when I found out there were actually playing BEFORE The Faceless. Don't get me wrong, The Faceless is a great band, and are well deserving of a headline spot (or co-headlining, as this tour seems to be), but they've been around for maybe 4-5 years, Dying Fetus has been doing their thing for close to 2 decades, there's no question whose the senior band here.

We arrived part way into the first band, Enfold Darkness. They were decent, but the music lacked variety, and so live didn't really come across all that well. To my surprise though, there was already some moshing going on, which I've found to be rare, usually people just stand there for the earliest opening acts.

Second up was Suffokate, a local band from Oakland, and they were young. As in, I met one of the band member's parents standing in line to get into the show :) They had a good strong contingent of friends at the concert, and they put on an intense show, the vocalist especially was energetic. Music wise, they're a deathcore band, which isn't quite my thing. I appreciate the breakdowns in terms of the chunkiness, heaviness and moshability. But I much prefer death metal style breakdowns, the deathcore stuff gets kinda monotonous since they generally only hit a single note again and again.

Next came Beneath The Massacre, I'd heard of them but didn't know their music. Quickly I discovered they're a bunch of French Canadian guys from my hometown of Montreal, a few yelled phrases in Quebecois French was all I needed to hear. I'd have to label them as deathcore with some extra flavor. I loved the faster parts, they played some really intense riffs not unlike Origin in terms of technicality and precision, but then we'd get those deathcore breakdowns, the same note, hit again and again, and it just wasn't as interesting.

Finally Dying Fetus took the stage, and commanded the crowd for a good solid hour. Soundwise, having only the single guitar really helped the clarity of the music. And John's guitar and Sean's bass were really tight together. New drummer Trey Williams also did a fantastic job, he had certainly some of the loudest double bass I've ever heard, as well as a super loud snare sound when blasting, no question he was hitting that thing hard. Songwise, they played a good mix of material. They played my favorite Fetus song 'Intentional Manslaughter', at breakneck speed. They also played my favorite song off their newest album, 'Shepherd's Commandment'. I just love the second riff, it reminds me a lot of material from their first album. If they'd played 'Your Blood Is My Wine', it would have been perfect, but you can't fit all your greatest stuff into a 1 hour set. They also played songs such as 'Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog', 'One Shot, One Kill', 'Justifiable Homicide', 'Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses)', 'Grotesque Impalement' and 'Pissing In The Mainstream'. Crowd reaction to this set was insane! I don't think I have ever seen such an intense moshpit. People were just flying everywhere. There was one guy in the pit who looked like Bull from Nightcourt, and there were also these tiny blond girl (may have been twins) who jumped into the pit, and the bouncers had to pull them out to avoid them getting crushed. People slammed around during the fast bits, but then when the more moshable slower riffs came, that's when it got really nuts. I always hate using silly catch phrases like "This band totally killed", but you know what, Dying Fetus totally killed, the show was intense, loud, tight and punishing, and the crowd loved every moment of it.

After such a crazy set, there's just no way the pit could have matched or surpassed itself for The Faceless. The band is a more cerebral band anyways, as opposed to a band you just want to slam to. They opened up with the instrumental 'Akaldema', the same as they did for the show earlier in the year with Meshuggah. It's sort of an odd choice to start the show, since it's a slower more melodic song, but it does give a good contrast to the faster stuff to come. The band then proceeded to shred through their entire "Planetary Duality" album in its entirety. Highlights from that include how tight the band was during the end portions of 'Xenochrist', and the main heavy riff in 'Sons Of Belial'. The sound was good, my only critique would be that the vocals were kinda mixed too low. Also, while the band is really tight, there were a few muddier parts, I don't think the mud was due to sloppy playing though, I think it was just mixed a little too loud, and so you got interference between instruments in the PA system. The crowd did some more moshing, nothing as intense as the Dying Fetus stuff, but no question people dug these guys as well. After they finished the album, they played 'An Autopsy' from their first album, and that ended the show (again, the same way they ended their Meshuggah show). Would have loved to hear a few more songs off their first album, but hey, we'd gotten 4-5 hours of music, so I guess it was time to call it a night.

When this bill comes through your town, definitely go check it out, a lot of good variety in metal styles, The Faceless are a really tight band and Dying Fetus truly lives up to their legendary name.

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