Concert review: Death To All / Gorguts – 25th of June 2014, Budapest
Review by Estelle on the 29th of June 2014
On the 25th of June 2014, hundreds of Hungarians’ dream finally came true: the late Chuck Schuldiner’s Death came and played on the stage of Hungary for the very first time; not to mention the majestic technical death metal band Gorguts whose job couldn’t have been easy performing prior to the members of the legendary Human and Individual Thought Patterns lineup, completed with vocalist Max Phelps from Cynic.
The show started quite punctually at quarter past 7; Luc Lemay’s, Colin Marston’s and Kevin Hufnagel’s Gorguts hit the stage, along with drummer Patrice Hamelin. The first half of their setlist was basically the first four songs of their newest record from 2013, Colored Sands, played without any break. Even though I like the album and admire the members’ skills and technicality, I think this unstoppable varied, abstract and technical riff-flow through the four 6-7 minutes long track was too much for a death metal gig. As a result, the crowd wasn’t really moving to the songs – as I could notice the plenty of shifts and turns within such a small amount of time in a song were just too much for people who came to see and jam to the old bands, including me.
Luckily the second half – besides the sounding – definitely got better by going a little back in time and playing a few pieces off the classics The Erosion of Sanity, Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate – although they completely left Considered Dead out, much to my disappointment.
In effect Gorguts still did its job well, they were fitting for the fans of complex death metal music, Luc was smiling and giving kisses to the fans during the show, and despite the difficult beginning I think by the end there wasn’t anyone who wouldn’t have enjoyed their skillful playing of brutal music.
Death hit the stage with the opening of Human, ‘Flattening of Emotions’, followed by two classics from Leprosy, the title track and ‘Left to Die’. They continued with one of the heights of the show, ‘Suicide Machine’. Even though the song (alongside almost all the others) was a little slower compared to the album version (well, they aren’t in their twenties anymore), everything was in its place and it was close to an ecstatic state hearing the legendary song in live.
Phelps was kind of in the background for the whole time, he played his not-so-pleasing role that he took on and sang the songs properly, but the frontman was actually the legend DiGiorgo: he was keen, he attracted attention and he inspired the crowd for the whole time.
The musicians continued with two well-performed tracks off their amazing third album – ‘Spiritual Healing’ and ‘Within the Mind’ –, and then the magical ‘Cosmic Sea’ where DiGiorgio was simply shining and doing his thing like he was 30. After Cosmic Sea, they played an about 5 minutes long movie about Chuck with pictures, videos and some interview-details that DiGiorgio had told me about in his interview before.
After the little break, the members came back powerfully with the devastating ‘Crystal Mountain’ and with an unforgettable atmosphere. Then Paul and Sean went off the stage, and for the upcoming two tracks, the famous beast ‘Spirit Crusher’ and the title track of Symbolic, Obscura’s vocalist/guitarist Steffen Kummerer and drummer Hannes Grossmann took their place. The songs were probably played even better than the ones with the previous lineup: Kummerer was much more powerful and enthusiastic, his voice fit the songs better than Max’s, and Grossmann was also fast and precise.
Then the guys came back and ‘Zombie Ritual’ started intensely, this Spirit-Symbolic-Zombie trio was probably the climax of the gig in the sense of the feeling and atmosphere that the music created. They also gave us ‘Baptized in Blood’ off the first record, and then… 10 PM, lights off, over. OVER. According to the previous setlists, they would have also played the mandatory ‘Lack of Comprehension’ and ‘Pull the Plug’, DiGiorgio was even teasing the crowd for a while, but because of the stupid law about not allowing to have any bands playing at open-air gigs after 10 PM in Hungary, they couldn’t come back and finish the show. We all felt such an emptiness.
The good things were that the members favoured almost every album by playing one or usually two songs from them at a high level, also the sounding was outstandingly good compared to other open-air shows I’ve been to. And the bads were that 1. they left out the album Individual, which I actually didn’t understand at all, since this lineup worked on that record as well; 2. they had to cut those two (or more, who knows) classics off the end.
But, in spite of all this, since the price of the ticket (about 5,5 €) was surprisingly only a fraction of the price last year in Wien (it was actually ridiculous compared to what I would have expected it to be), it was worth and it would worth a hundred times to go and see these two death metal lords – what they played, they played it well, and I hope I can still hear ‘Pull the Plug’, ‘Lack of Comprehension’ and some songs off Individual Thought Patterns in live some day.
I used the photos of Köhler Ági.