It wasn’t long after their formation in 1984 that Florida Death Metallers Obituary became one of the most respected and influential groups of its kind. Their successes and accomplishments in the forming genre would help to build the path that future Death Metal groups would walk upon to this very day. The group recently signed to Candlelight Records in May 2007 and the partnership gave us the smoldering “Xecutioner’s Return” and not long after the album was delivered a tour would ensue to bring their message to the Metal masses in the best place possible – in the clubs where this music is best absorbed and enjoyed. The tour would be met with great levels of approval and the show that would be presented at the venerated B.B. King Blues Club would feature the Southern Metal styling of Alabama Thunderpussy and Black Melodic Metal masters from Taiwan Chthonic as their support acts. Having enjoyed these two bands on their albums I was very happy to be able to catch them as the openers for the Death Metal legends from Tampa. Here is a look inside some of the happenings that went down that night. There were five bands set to play and I believed one was At All Cost, but I would not catch theirs or the other band’s set and their name escapes me at present. The schedule said 8:00 for this one so it seemed like it was to be a long night with Chthonic getting things started off for everybody right on the dot.
Chthonic: If you have not yet heard this band then I recommend that you do so especially if you are into the more Symphonic Black Metal that uses flourishing keyboards and orchestral feels. To review a little more about them, Chthonic also makes use of an Erhu (Chinese violin) and blends the Metal into tales of their culture and mythology. The interesting stuff doesn’t stop there as they are also very politically minded for their nations’ independence and prior to this show had actually held a press conference to discuss what they were all about. Friends attended the press conference and made frantic calls to me about getting to the venue earlier since they were not going on at 8 but instead at 6:30! In disbelief I rushed over and found their bassist Doris Thunder Tears already in full regalia and it was minutes after I inquired about the time that they were onstage and dishing out their brand of Metal mayhem. Lead singer Freddy Lim was all over the stage screaming his lungs out in the guttural growl that sometimes reminds me of Cradle’s Danny Filth while the guitars and keyboards cut the air in the club around them. The bands rhythm section of Dani (drums) and Doris (bass) are a force to be reckoned with on their own. Each member sports a type of corpse paint, but its not exactly the same as what we are accustomed to and while Freddy appears as the human form of sinister evil, Doris on the other hand looks like that of an angel. I must admit that I really love the good and bad dynamic in their visual aspect. Su-Nung, their Erhu player, often stands like a solitary monolith when he is not playing but when he goes off his performance enthralls the senses of the audience. Performance wise I felt that they were on fire as much as they were the first time I caught them a couple of months ago but the bad part was that the change in the set times found the group performing for a little over thirty people tonight. Freddy talked to the audience very briefly since they were only given this short set but he stated that they would be performing at The Highline Ballroom that coming Sunday as a headliner so we should all come down. Everyone present would be invited for half price if they had a ticket from the show tonight which was a great thing. Sadly, I would not be at that coming show as Edguy was returning to this same venue on the same day. However, I am pretty sure that after their Ozzfest appearance and the back to back off gigs that they have generated enough interest at least in this region to return to the States and New York City sooner than we would expect. I look forward to that.
Alabama Thunderpussy: Tonight would be my first time checking out ATP and while I know that the members have shifted and changed a number of times over the years since they had formed, I kind of liked what I heard on their latest Relapse platter “Open Fire”. The album features their new singer Kyle Thomas and its really cool stuff if you get into the Stoner Rock vibe. The mixture of the Black Metal band, the Stoner Rock and then the Death Metal group made this show something that was worth the price of the ticket since you would definitely leave with some interest in all three of the genres without question. ATP was a tight unit tonight and an interesting change of vibe from the earlier bands who I had heard were more on the Thrash Core side. The smooth Southern Fried Metal sludge that they bring forth is just loaded with groove and based on my research into their history I felt that Kyle was a great choice to front the group. Their set would feature some old stuff but seemed mainly focused on the new album “Open Fire” and despite the normally tough audience for any Death Metal band the crowd tonight seemed to be very receptive of them. Fans of the Stoner Doom kind of stuff should really check out this new album because it rocks and is pure stuff with no over the top ingredients messing up the working formula.
Obituary: If you were hitting the Obituary show tonight without some in depth background on their latest CD then you would have been in the minority because it seemed like everyone around me had already absorbed it. I found this cool since the album had only come out two weeks prior to this gig. Not only is it one of those albums that is a must have for fans of the band but it was also going to be a larger focus of their set list tonight. From “Xecutioners Return” the band would deliver about eight songs from their extensive set which made sure to also fit in a little bit of everything from their back catalog. Since the group has another five albums to their credit I am sure that the audience enjoyed a lengthy set. With the new release I felt that they showed levels of growth from their original style and with the accomplished shredding Ralph Santolla as part of the lineup at present the recording comes off more like a blend of Death meets classic Thrash from back in the day. The aggression of the classic US Death Metal style was of course present tonight and singer John Tardy was in fine form as he growled through it all while head banging his literal lions mane of hair over the screaming fans. Before this show I will have admit to being more the casual fan of the band since when they were originally doing their thing I was not into Death Metal at all and when I did find the genre of appeal I leaned to the European side. I of course was always able to recognize the accomplishments that the guys in Obituary gave us and it makes for interesting comparison study when one sees how the genre of Death Metal has both progressed and morphed into a wider variety of musical colors. The addition of Santolla to the performing lineup as well as the album was an excellent idea because he was really bringing a lot of fire to the bands live set, especially tonight. I expected nothing less of a former member of Deicide and Iced Earth to be honest and he was showing just how well technical guitar displays can work in Death Metal music.
Give my limited scope on the group I was finding myself leaning to the latest album which I cannot seem to get out of my head based on how different it comes across from a traditional Death Metal release. With the show tonight Obituary have shown that they have not gone away quietly at all and instead still remain to offer insight and guidance to a genre that they were among the founders of. The response was great from the crowd and definitely showed that the band is high among on their lists in terms of respect. Look into “Xecutioners Return” if you have not done so already, it’s that good.
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Official Web Site: www.obituary.cc
Official Web Site: www.chthonic.org
Official Web Site: www.atprva.com
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