Concert Reviews

Deathcrusher Tour (Carcass - Obituary - Napalm Death - Voivod - Herod)
Nov 4th 2015
Review By: Stefan Raspl

What a package! One sure can't complain about a lack of value for money with this touring package and its reasonable ticket prices! Consequently, the 1,500 capacity LKA Longhorn was nearly sold out.

Due to traffic, I arrived too late to see Herod, but eye witnesses told me that they played 4 songs and were "OK - well, barely OK. Oh, and those were 4 looong songs."

Next up were Voivod. Though I'm aware of the band, I never really got into them. They got Michel Langevin on drums going for them, playing impressive parts rather effortlessly and providing a good variety of beats. Gladly, his drums were loud and clear, in contrast to the guitars, which were buried somewhere in the mix at first. Otherwise, their material was OK to me, but not much more. However, fans may forgive me, but their biggest turn-off was their vocalist - he came off more like a random member of the crowd with a good buzz going, rather than a front man. They ended their set with their signature song "Voivod", which finally gave them some sympathetic crowd response.

The mighty Napalm Death were next, which surprised me a bit - I was assuming they'd be much bigger than Obituary, playing second to last, but they merely filled an approx. 45 minutes slot. But, boy, did they deliver! They blasted through each and every song like it was the encore of a 90 minutes set in front of 5,000 fans! Barney looked younger than what I remembered him, and was his animated self as ever. In between songs he mixed his political banter with some mild jokes and even some sympathetic German, which by far exceeded the standard "Guten Abend" that seems to be the pinnacle to most bands, and helped win over the crowd. Mitch is still sitting out tours, and Barney humorously introduced his dreadlocked replacement as "Munky of Korn". Not only played he the (allowedly simple) parts flawless, he also did most if not all of Mitch's high squeals. Danny on drums also did a good job, but it felt like he briefly jolted a few times at the tempo shifts. Although Napalm omitted their entire "experimental" phase that started with Diatribes, they still managed to deliver a varied set that didn't leave room to breath for one second, with tracks ranging from their most recent work (e.g. "Smash a Single Digit") to their debut's title track "Scum". Third time that I've seen Napalm Death live, and although this was only an opener slot, it was almost their most impressive performance I've seen, and to me the most surprising band of the evening! Though the first mosh pits of the evening arose, crowd reaction was nowhere near adequate to their energetic set.

Obituary started out their roughly 60 minutes set with an instrumental and atmospheric lighting. The crowd exploded, and one could see folks headbanging even in the last rows. Not being familiar with their music, I realized that I was totally wrong when I thought Six Feed Under played simple, old-school death metal. Obituary plays _really_ simple, old-school death metal! The riffs are simple enough to bang along to almost instantly, which is really easy, as guitars and bass play the same parts. A lot of fun at first, but I found myself checking my watch increasingly often after 30 minutes. The fact that they only seem to have two different tempos for their songs (slow and fast) doesn't help, as does the lack of any notable stage acting. Plus their set didn't have any surprising elements, so I kept watching the drummer, who also seemed to be the most stand-out musician. As far as crowd reaction is concerned, they were easily the winners of the evening. But the contrast of their overly simple material with the rather complex material of Napalm Death and Carcass couldn't have been bigger. Disappointing to me, but I seemed to be a tiny minority.

Finally, Carcass started their set with "Unfit for Human consumption", quickly followed by the regular opener "Buried Dreams". They had great light, great sound, and shredded absolutely flawless and scarily tight through their impressive catalog. Though they only played for well over an hour, they played (to me) hit after hit, performing some of their tracks only for a few seconds (e.g. "The Sanguine Article" - one of the highlights of their set) and still leaving out some of my favorites, which speaks for their legacy. To my surprise, Bill Steer did his deep grunts not only during his signature "Exhume to Consume" slot, but also in a couple of other spots - though by far not all parts, e.g. still skipping "Corporal Jigsore Quandary". Anyway: Glad to hear more of his vocals, as the dual-vocal approach of their earlier records still has a lot of appeal. They cleverly structured their set, e.g. launching into "Genital Grinder" right before the extensive solo part of "Captive Bolt Pistol" would have started. Just when I started to wonder whether they were wimping out of the double leads solo, sure enough they resumed "Captive Bolt Pistol", ripping through all solos with ease. Jeff Walker, never exactly shy in the first place, has grown a lot as a front man, easily controlling the crowd with his tongue in cheek banter. Their encore started with the 8+ minutes "Mount of Execution" played in its entirety, which grows a lot live, before ending the show with "Heartwork". Easily the winners of the evening playing-wise. During the songs, the crowd reaction was mixed, which I'd attribute to the frequent tempo changes in their songs. However, the applause after the songs made it clear that the crowd loved them.

All in all, Voivod were the odd band on the bill, hardly winning any new fans. Napalm Death almost stole the show, being in terrific shape. And fans of Obituary and Carcass sure got their money's worth - what more can one ask for?!

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