Concert Reviews

Suffocation - Cattle Decapitation - Krisiun - Visceral Disgorge - Wolf King
Nov 4th 2018

Oakland Metro Operahouse, San Francisco, CA, USA

Well, it's finally here. After 30 years of touring, Frank Mullen, vocalist for the mighty Suffocation, is calling it quits. Having seen the band 3 times during my nearly 25 years of concert going, there was no way I was going to miss this final farewell.

I arrived at the Oakland Metro Operahouse as the local opening act performed, Wolf King. Their music was a little less death metal and more hardcore, but still they did a decent enough job. The vocalist was particularly energetic, with some severe headbanding.

Next was Visceral Disgorge, who was replacing Soreption on the bill (who couldn't get a work visa in time to join the tour). Hadn't heard of them before they joined the tour, and had taken a quick listen to their album online before the show, which seemed a little generic to me. But live they actually worked quite well. Brutal Death metal with lots of slams, blasting and fast double bass, think Dying Fetus mixed with a slower Disavowed, and a little bit of Devourment. Think I'll pick up their CD after a strong performance.

Krisiun was next, I had seen them 20 years earlier, and little has changed with the band. While the drumming has a little more variety to it than that show long ago, for the most part it was an unending barrage of double bass and blasts. The band is certainly intense, the whole set was just an exploding ball of energy, playing through mostly newer tunes (sadly, no material off my favorite album of theirs "Conquerors Of Armageddon"). But their newest album is a strong one, so it was still plenty enjoyable. Their set was surprisingly short, maybe they were trying to rush a bit since it looked like the show was going to go late.

Cattle Decapitation was next, and while I do like the band, I felt their music didn't go over as well live. Just too many time changes and spastic starts and stops. While there was moshing, they just didn't have the same reaction as some of the other bands due to the complexity of the music. The vocalist certainly gave it his all, from fierce screams to those crazy "pirate vocals" he's known for. But overall they may be a better listening to on a CD band than live.

Suffocation hit the stage, and it was all about Frank. And why not, it's his last set of shows, the man is a legend, inspiring so many death metal vocalists over the years. The set was all his favorite songs, and all the classics were played, 'Breeding The Spawn', 'Jesus Wept', 'Effigy Of The Forgotten', 'Pierced from Within', 'Thrones of Blood', 'Liege Of Inveracity', 'Funeral Inception', and many more. Between songs was plenty of Frank banter about his desire to retire and start getting his seniors discount at Denny's. I have to say his voice was in fine form, the man went up there and belted through over an hour of intense music, he is going out on top, no light hearted final performance, it was like he's taking every last bit of his death metal energy and using it up on this tour. Maybe after the last show he will just go mute. And of course, the rest of the band, who will continue on after Frank is gone, was their usual stupendous selves. Terrance still has it, and every time the band cut off a note, it was perfect silence. Every note was perfectly hit with razor sharp precision, their sound was just as clear and powerful as any performance on their CDs. The new drummer is decent, although I found his double bass to bit a bit weak sounding (but his cymbal work and blasts were near perfection). He's still pretty young, will be interesting to hear how he develops. I'm pretty sure all of the songs were played at 1.5x normal speed, and the breakdowns were played at half speed, so a huge contrast to be enjoyed. I am sad to see Frank go, but the whole band really showed the audience why they are one of the most classic and hard working death metal bands, and I really can't think of a better send off than this show. Only 2 weeks of shows left, if they're coming to your area this is not to be missed.

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