One word: epicness

[I apologize in advance for not all parts of this report being completely objective as it was such a personal treat for me that I’ll most likely never forget. Can be considered as some kind of an experience-report. :)]

Concert review: Overtures of War tour 2014 – Bolt Thrower/Morgoth/Incantation – 25th of September 2014, Wien

Review by Estelle on the 28th of September 2014

At the end of September 2014, Bolt Thrower has started the Overtures of War tour along with Morgoth and three different support bands: Soulburn from the 21th to 23rd, Incantation from the 24th to 28th, and Vallenfyre from the 29th of September to 5th of October. On the show on the 25th that I myself went to we had Incantation as a support.

Incantation

Incantation started punctually at 8 pm. Even though there were a few times less people seeing them than Morgoth’s show one hour later, even though the drum sound was somewhat weird and not all the people were getting their energy at the beginning, they perfectly managed to move and prepare everyone for 2-3 hours of pounding cruelty.
Incantation’s setlist was really fresh, consisting of songs from many different albums – they have played four tracks off their last record from 2014, Dirges of Elysium, two off Diabolical Conquest, one (‘Profanation’) off their classic first one Onward to Golgotha and there was a variety of albums being brought up in case of the others songs as well.

Incantation’s setlist

  1. Debauchery
  2. Shadows of the Ancient Empire
  3. Vanquish in Vengeance
  4. Oath of Armageddon
  5. Portal Consecration
  6. Profanation
  7. Impalement of Divinity
  8. The Ibex Moon
  9. Carrion Prophecy
  10. Impending Diabolical Conquest


Later as quite many people gathered at the Arena already, the louring intro of ‘Cursed’ started to play, followed by Morgoth powerfully getting on stage with the devastating ‘Body Count’. The crowd was starting to go crazy and the band, playing upon it, didn’t let us take a break until the very end of the last song.

Morgoth

They continued with three huge classics off Cursed (Exit to Temptation, Suffer Life, Sold Baptism), and then came the title track off their recent 7″ LP, ‘God is Evil’, dedicated to myself and the other Hungarians there. (After my interview with Marc [read it here] he asked who I went there with, and I told him we were like 30 Hungarian people there – so during the show before ‘God is Evil’ he randomly said “this song is for Estelle and the whole Hungarian long-way traveller group” – I was blown away!)
‘God is Evil’ is rather a mid-tempo track, so that it was a right decision to put it after such a blast of 4 mortal tracks off the first album. The song sounded great live and created the basic atmosphere for the next two songs from ‘Odium’ as well, ‘Under the Surface’ and the strong opener ‘Resistance’.

After the recall of ‘Odium’ we could hear the other massive track from the recent single, ‘Die as Deceiver’, then here came ‘Burnt Identity’, the opener of the second outstanding EP. After that, expectedly we got to one of the highlights again with ‘Isolated’ – my neck hurt since the third song yet I was headbanging to this tremendous classic like never before, along with all the other people in ecstatic state in the pit and first 10 rows. Then, still no room for settling down, we got the title track off Morgoth’s first demo from 1988, ‘Pits of Utumno’ straight to our face as the last song.

I have heard and read a few critics about Morgoth’s somewhat bad sound on some shows or festivals in the past, but here in the Arena the band sounded flawlessly. Marc’s voice is unexpectedly still nearly as strong as back in the day and its tone is more similar to the old tone than in case of a lot of other vocalists; and on top of all this, the band played this oldschool setlist with so much energy that I felt like a bulldozer went through my body as we reached the end of the almost one hour performance.

Morgoth’s setlist

  1. Cursed (Intro)/Body Count
  2. Exit to Temptation
  3. Suffer Life
  4. Sold Baptism
  5. God is Evil
  6. Under the Surface
  7. Resistance
  8. Die as Deceiver
  9. Burnt Identity
  10. Isolated
  11. Pits of Utumno


Epic. Just epic. And it wasn’t nearly over!

Bolt Thrower got on stage with the popular War/Remembrence combo from the beginning of …For Victory. Their combination of songs was a bit of everything: they played off every album except In Battle There Is No Law and Honour-Valour-Pride, mostly concentrated on Those Once Loyal, …For Victory and Mercenary, a little bit to my disappointment. After the two openers they continued with the intense Mercenary, and then we got to the top straight away concerning my taste with the two beautiful classics ‘World Eater’ and ‘Cenotaph’, that I personally would always expect to be the last song as for me it reaches up to something like ‘Isolated’ in case of Morgoth (– and I believe I’m not the only one who might agree that that mighty song could be Bolt Thrower’s strongest track).

BT1

Bolt Thrower

If the atmosphere was crazy on Morgoth, it became even more unbelievable during Bolt Thrower. Everyone was out of their minds; the pit was full; there were at least two people (once including me) stagediving during every song they played from about the third-fourth track on… people cheered and hugged Karl on stage; once some guy came to me, grabbed my shoulders and shook me shouting “waaaaaaah”. The band’s sound was excellent, they truly managed to retain the sound and feeling we can get while listening to the albums; and their energy was also overwhelming: they were absolutely cheerful and easy-going on stage, vocalist Karl Willetts definitely seemed to be enjoying the show and the enthusiastic audience as he was smiling from the beginning to the end of the gig. I had the feeling that they could have played the setlist once again as a whole and the crowd would have been able to stand and watch them ’til the first rays of the Sun appear in the morning.
merch1The gig reached its other highlight I could mention probably with ‘No Guts, No Glory’, but since the vibe in the place was almost touchable and the overall mood was really on its top for the whole time, maybe there is no need for emphasizing certain songs from the setlist – it was a mindblowing experience as a whole.

Bolt Thrower came back with an encore two times: once with ‘At First Light’ and ‘When Cannons Fade’ from Those Once Loyal, and secondly with ‘Silent Demise’ off …For Victory, giving a nice frame to the show by starting and ending it with songs from the same album.

Personally, I was expecting Bolt Thrower to favour the first three classic albums by playing a bit more (or in case of ‘In Battle …’, at least playing) songs from them, however, after this amount of devastating power and brutality I think there is still not a single person who would feel any kind of emptiness or regret after coming to see these three death metal lords.


BT2Bolt Thrower’s setlist

1. War/Remembrance
2. Mercenary

3. World Eater/Cenotaph
4. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
5. Warmaster
6. Forever Fallen
7. This Time It’s War
8. The IVth Crusade
9. No Guts, No Glory
10. …For Victory
11. The Killchain/Powder Burns
12. + encore: At First Light
13. When Cannons Fade
14. + encore 2: Silent Demise

 


Regarding the quality of the sound, tightness, professionalism, enthusiasm and reaction of the audience in case of all the 3 bands, I can certainly say that this show was something one cannot see and hear often, and that one can deservedly regret in case he or she missed. 

[And just a little bragging as I can’t stand not to share: dedicated Morgoth song by Marc + headbanging on stage in front of 700 people during Bolt Thrower 1 meter away from Karl – not a bad way to celebrate my 18th birthday, I guess!]

bt22

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Lack of Comprehension – or rather the song itself

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.

gorg1The 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.

death2Death 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.
death3After 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.

death1The 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.