By Jason Williams
October 24th 2014, OC Music Hall, Anaheim CA: Longstanding as one of the most popular and quality death metal acts, Deicide brought their non-Christian ways of musical tunes to the ever-growing OC Music Hall in Anaheim, CA last Friday. Having seeing the 2014 OC Death Fest and Arsis/Allegaeon show most recently here, I’m glad to see this level of a tour package at this venue, giving the name value and popularity a boost. Joining Deicide on this impeccable tour are Greece’s Septicflesh as main support, black metal standouts Inquisition, death metal warriors Abysmal Dawn, Dutch symphonic masters Carach Angren, as well as progressive death metal outfit Syrebris. I could almost imagine this lineup being at a European festival, instead it was a mere 10 miles from my home.
The show was scheduled to start at 6 PM, but there was a 45-minute delay. Despite the large line already forming to the door, I was glad of the time delay. With the show originally starting at 6 PM, and on a Friday with an immense amount of traffic surrounding Southern California, this delay would allow more fans to not rush and able to make it at a more reasonable time. And with Syrebris as the only local opening band tonight, I absolutely wanted to make sure no one would miss them.
And at 6:45 PM, to a sizeable crowd already in the main room, Syrebris started right away, “Subjective Reality” the first metal tune of the night. Having the pleasure of seeing them at the Kataklysm/Aborted show and the recent 2014 OC Death Fest, it’s astonishing to see them play and sound better each and every time. Guitarist/vocalist Victoria Villarreal’s skill, vocal abilit, and overall stage presence continues to shine brightly. Victoria even belted out some low squeals to add to her already deadly vocal attack. I also noticed the most movement onstage from her, effortlessly playing her guitar while windmilling, and headbanging furiously. The guitar playing between Victoria and her husband Manuel Villarreal takes an enormous ear and eye to understand and appreciate. His rhythm playing involves some incredibly complex chording and shifting through the fretboard. Yet, there is absolutely zero wankering to be found here. Every lead, rhythm change, and riff holds this powerful and intense energy, one of the strongest points about Syrebris, and why their live setting is wonderful. Bassist Jesse Villalta’s fretless playing is always festive to witness, although the volume on the bass could have been louder tonight. The actual highlight of their blistering set was drummer James Coppolino. Perhaps because of me being front row for the first time of their set, but his drumming completely floored me more than the other performances. Constant jazz fills connected with brutal blasting and tasteful cymbal work. Minus the bass sound being slightly low in the mix, their sound was intense and clear. With the new song that they played, they continue to show the evolution and ever-improving songwriting. The crowd, a large one at that, were headbanging and cheering in approval. I continue to claim that Syrebris is the best local metal band right now, and tonight absolutely proved that point once again. They won’t stay local long, I assure you. The rest of the lineup had a tall task ahead, as only the first band playing so far, Syrebris were one of the best of the night.
Unfortunately, there was an hour wait for Carach Angren, due to missing equipment and miscommunication. Yet, the crowd was waiting patiently with no qualms on the matter. Everyone was conversing away. Something told me the heavy anticipation of Carach Angren finally playing the States had very much to do with it. And right at 8:20, Carach Angren came out to a roaring crowd, arguably the most passionate reaction of the night. Having made strides in the past couple of years, it was easy to see how huge the response was. Off their latest release, Where the Corpses Sink Forever, “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting” was met with screams, lyric recitals, and large pits. Their symphonic black metal sound was massive, hypnotizing and, most importantly, crystal clear. The keyboards of Ardek and vocalist/guitarist Seregor were on point, something I feel is lost with most keyboard live settings. The level of sound and serenity made for an astonishing story read to you in a pure, terrifying and joyful music form. On top of that, Seregor’s vocals were masterful, specially the narrative lyric trait that truly makes them shine more than many. Expressive, full of story and charismatic, Seregor told the lyrics in a beautiful way that had many in pure paralyzing awe. No slouch in his department, Namtar’s intense blasting caused the audience to react with mosh pits every time. Not ignoring their earlier material, two songs off their debut, Lammendam, were played, to a joyful and rowdy audience. Sadly, their set was only 5 songs instead of 6 due to the time constraits of the hour delay. The crowd gave it their all for the closing song, “Bitte Tötet Mich”, followed by a demanding encore chant. The band took pictures for anyone in the crowd after the show, which is always a plus. Sometimes, a band so powerful on album could lack on the live setting, but tonight was not the case for Carach Angren. A headlining tour could easily be in the works for them, and with Syrebris, Carach Angren also stole the show.
01. Lingering in an Imprint Haunting
02. Haunting Echoes From the Seventeenth Century
03. The Carriage Wheel Murder
04. Spectral Infantry Battalions
05. Bitte Tötet Mich
Shortly after, Abysmal Dawn took the stage to a very warmed-up and energized crowd. Leader, guitar player and vocalist Charles Elliott fed off the crowd’s chaotic energy, demanding movement and circle pits, in which he was met with in stride. I’ve always enjoyed his live growling, and it seemed his vocals were especially adequate tonight. Although their newest release ‘Obsolescence’ was only a week away, they had it for sale at the merch table, and also played a rather mid-paced track from it, “Inanimate”. Unlike the fast paced material I’m used to hearing from Abysmal Dawn, this track was rather heavy and incredibly headbangable. The rest of the crowd really enjoyed it, and appreciated a slower track in the mix. His other guitar companion, Andy Nelson, met each note that Charles played and attacked back with his own twisted guitar playing. Although their studio albums are no slouches, I’ve always believed that Abysmal Dawn really steps it up in a live setting, and tonight proved to be the same. With their album only a week away from release, I hope to see Abysmal Dawn play a longer set to the same type of passionate crowd.
Much like Carach Angren, Colombia’s black metal veterans Inquisition were met with heavy anticipation. Seeing them play in March of 2013 with Moonspell and Marduk, Inquisition nearly blew the place away with their incredibly intense style of proficient black metal. Only a two-piece comprising of guitarist/singer Dagon and drummer Incubus, their live sound could be interpreted as a 5 or 6 piece band. They arguably were the loudest band of the night holding and taking no prisoners with their brutal and complex black metal playing. Dagon’s Abbath-like vocals engulfed the speakers, once in a great while belting out some low growls, something I wish he would do more often. “Astral Path to Supreme Majesties” and “Infinite Interstellar Genocide” were my Inquisition highlights, Incubus astonishing the audience with his incredible dexterity and speed on his drum set. It was disappointing how fast their set felt and was. With a crowd reaction very much like Carach Angren tonight, Inquisition’s brand of quality black metal will always be missed, and hope to see them play a much longer set in the near future.
01. Force of the Floating Tomb
02. Nefarious Dismal Orations
03. Astral Path to Supreme Majesties
04. Infinite Interstellar Genocide
05. Where Darkness Is Lord and Death the Beginning
Continuing tonight’s trend of solid, quality bands, Greece’s Septicflesh took flight, to the constant energy and passion from the audience. Seeing their impressive set with Fleshgod Apocalypse in July of this year, this performance stood out more as their music made more sense and was familiar. And I wasn’t sure if that show really made extra fans for them, or just long time Septicflesh fans were already there, but considering the deepness of this metal roster, they received quite the warm welcome, as deserved. Frontman and (sometimes) bassist Spiros Antoniou held nothing back, belting away and creating a show of entertainment and vigor to all those who witnessed. The title track off of “Communion”, was met with high regard, and it was nice to see the fans recognize a various amount of their discography. Their touch of atmospheric/symphonic death metal, along with a strong keyboard backing track played, makes for quite the powerful atmosphere. Unlike the previous show, Spiros was playing his bass guitar more often, although I still feel he would benefit further by being a full time singer, due to the nature of his stage presence and lyric telling. Septicflesh’s 40-minute set ended to a resounding crowd response, which at this point, was quite full in the room with plenty outside gazing upon the stage.
01. Vampire From Nazareth
03. Order of Dracul
04. A Great Mass of Death
06. Pyramid God
With the Friday evening coming to a close, it’s only fitting that long time death metal veterans and masters Deicide would end this ever-dark metal night. Starting off with a 3-song attack off of their latest album In the Minds of Evil, they set the tone for their 75-minute performance. At first, it seemed that the audience lost some of its step during the first song. But by the third song “Godkill”, the crowd gained some momentum from giving all of their energy to every band tonight, running through the pits and enjoying some fine death metal. Nearly 8 years since seeing Deicide, I wasn’t sure how the members would sound in comparison, and my doubts were greatly defeated. The band was absolutely on point. Raising the classics even further, “Serpents of the Light”, “They Are the Children of the Underworld” and “Trifixion” were performed with absolute vigor. Former Cannibal Corpse guitarist and now long time member of Deicide, Jack Owen, alongside Kevin Quirion, brought pure evil to life with their catchy and brutal riffs, along with their own blend of signature Deicide lead guitar. Drummer and co-founder Steve Asheim showed no signs of slowing down after 25 years pounding the drumskins away, putting “Scars of the Crucifix” in an unbelievable limelight. Deicide surely cannot be mentioned without their leading frontman, bassist, vocalist and brutal speaker Glen Benton. Always in the talks for what kind of mood he’ll be in during a show, I have to say, this easily was the best he’s ever sounded and was to the crowd. His voice, booming. The bass, loud and played well. The remarks and crowd interactions, quite positive and humorous. Benton was happy to have Arrogant Behavior Promotions put on an LA/OC area show for this tour, and at one point, he even told the crowd, “Sorry if I cut the chitchat. We have a lot of songs to play, nothing personal. Just business.” All was met with laughs, cheers and song chanting all throughout. Benton was in a far better mood through the night than I’ve ever seen in the past, even giving credit to this venue as opposed to the House of Blues. Although I was slightly disappointed that only one song off their 2006 comeback album, and one of my personal favorites, The Stench of Redemption, came to life tonight, “Homage to Satan” was the final song, and worked quite well as a closer. Deicide plays anywhere between 19-21 songs usually, and although tonight was at a modest and decent amount of 16, the quality of their performance all around, could not be denied, and was the fourth and best Deicide show I’ve so far witnessed.
This night of extreme and beautiful metal music was met with arms open wide and minds ever expanded. There were constant talks, cheers and compliments throughout the night, and no complaints by anyone, even the hour delay during Carach Angren’s setup. Overall, the In the Minds of Evil North America Tour’s Anaheim stop was an incredible success, bringing in a large and passionate audience on this Friday night. For the rest of the tour, do not miss out on this impeccable and pleasing metal lineup!
01. In The Minds Of Evil
02. Thou Begone
04. When Satan Rules His World
05. Serpents Of The Light
06. They Are The Children Of The Underworld
08. Dead But Dreaming
09. Trifixion10. Scars Of The Crucifix
11. Once Upon The Cross
12. Beyond Salvation
13. End The Wrath Of God
14. Sacrificial Suicide
15. Dead By Dawn
16. Homage For Satan
Remaining tour dates:
10/28/14 Dallas, TX @ Rail Club
10/29/14 Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog Bar