Note: This review is dedicated to the memory of LSK, who passed the day of this show. She had played in Antaeus, Secrets of the Moon, Vorkreist, Hell Militia, and several other extreme metal bands in Europe. As such, this review should be read while listening to Antaeus’ “Blood Libels”, Secrets of the Moon’s “Privilegivm”, or any other album that contained her bass work.
October was a month that was packed with killer shows, and the “No Salvation 2013” tour on the 24th was one of the highlights. The Austin date of the tour featured local favorites Disfigured, Canada’s Necronomicon, the brutality of California’s Disgorge, and the mighty Florida death metal legends Deicide coming together to deliver death metal damnation to a packed house. The stage was set at Infest, a place that I have written about before as a place that I enjoy going to often. The venue was full with extreme metal worshippers throughout the night that kicked off with a rousing performance from Disfigured.
Texan warriors of blistering death metal, Disfigured, opened this show at the hour of 7:45. As of press time, this show held a place of infamy as the second-to-last show Disfigured will ever play, which was a bittersweet bludgeoning to a receptive audience. The TXDM veterans played as a four-piece, with brothers Adam and Mike De Leon leading the crowd in an old-school set that included material from both their full-length albums (2008’s “Blistering of the Mouth” and 2011’s “Amputated Gorewhore”). Adam De Leon’s bass attack in particular was notable for the vicious tone that erupted from his amp during solo sections, grinding in distorted power. Mike De Leon is well-known throughout the Texas scene for his intense stage presence, and Thursday’s show was no exception as he frantically strangled his guitar and bashed out riffs in unison with second guitar player Phil King (also of Whore of Bethlehem). There was mosh pit that took place throughout most of Disfigured’s performance, with death metal fans colliding into each other to “Mortician’s Madness” and “Eternal Flame”. Closing with a one-two punch of “Chopped in Half” (not an Obituary cover) and “Cyanide Suicide”, Disfigured’s second-to-last show was one of their strongest performances that I’ve seen from the band, assuring that their legacy in the Texas death metal scene will be a positive one. Disfigured’s last show ever will be on November 30th at the Triple Crown in San Marcos with Shawn Whitaker, Eviscerated, Ballgag, and Diminished. If you’ve ever jumped in the pit or headbanged to “Herpes Face” in the past, it’ll be one show you can’t miss.
Necronomicon followed Disfigured to a very positive crowd reaction, and also altered the alliteration in the bill by not having a name that started with “D”. Although they seemed to be very popular with the audience, their refined take on a black and death metal fusion was not completely fitting to my personal preference. Necronomicon’s sound could be compared to a mix of Dimmu Borgir (with several programmed keyboard interludes blasting during quieter parts of songs) and the death metal era of Behemoth with a confident stage presence that recalled Vader and Immortal. In fact, several of the aforementioned interludes included backing vocals that were a dead ringer for the croak of Abbath. In any case, they were very energetic and knew how to work a crowd, so more power to them. In fact, as mentioned by their frontman Rob “The Witch” Tremblay that their live bassist had learned their set in 24 hours and flown out to play with the band on tour, which is certainly worthy of respect (as a bassist, I doubt I could do that myself without a whole lot of tablature and even more caffeine). If you happen to enjoy the style that Necronomicon play, then you will absolutely enjoy their music and should check them out live if they visit your area.
Ultra-brutal death metallers Disgorge followed Necronomicon to completely demolish Infest with an insane dose of death that left few survivors in its aftermath. The California metallers have recently returned with several newer members, although you wouldn’t be able to guess that based on the synchronized intensity in which the band performed. Frontman Angel Ochoa (also of Cephalotripsy, a personal favorite of mine in brutal death metal) gurgled out songs like “Womb Full of Scabs” and the title track to the devastating “Cranial Impalement” release with great power and a commanding presence that got the mosh pit churning. Disgorge songs tend to feature hyper-technical riffing and mind-bending drumming while still throwing in neck-cracking slow sections for a dynamic that is certain to captivate any brutal death metal fan. The band do not even seem to know the meaning of the phrase “wrong notes”, as they attacked with a precision that was barely within the scope of human comprehension. Several songs featured lightning-fast lead bass breaks that showcased a grinding, mechanical tone delivering a whirlwind of notes that flew by in an eye’s blink. As previously mentioned, Disgorge’s drumming — courtesy of Ricky Myers, also of Austin’s Sarcolytic — was in a universe of its own, making use of every cymbal and tom in a flurry of percussive passion without the slightest hint of error. Each member of Disgorge contributed to the band’s savage performance, with the five band members acting as a single unit that crushed any opposition. Disgorge absolutely crushed that night, and will hopefully return to play Texas again in the near future.
Due to circumstances that will not be discussed here, Broken Hope did not perform on the Austin date of this tour. This news was met with disappointment from many Texas metal fans, as Broken Hope has a significant TXDM following. I myself had seen them open for Obituary in Dallas last year and found them to be a much better live band than on record. That having been said, Deicide wasted absolutely no time in conquering Austin, obliterating any trace of holiness that may have wandered within earshot of Infest. Although I admittedly am not a huge fan of Deicide’s material after their first two albums (both of which sum up death metal perfection and if you have not heard them, you need to rectify that immediately), the songs had a much greater impact in a live setting, and it is safe to say that I was blown away. Not to neglect the classics, Deicide played a good chunk of songs from the self-titled debut and “Legion”, including “Dead But Dreaming”, “Sacrificial Suicide” (“TAKE MEEEEEEEE!”) and for their final work, the masterpiece of “Deicide”. As this was the final date of the tour, Benton brought members of every band on the tour package up on stage to all bellow along to one of death metal’s all-time greatest “self-titled” songs, bringing the tour to a memorable conclusion. Deicide were clearly on fire on the closing tour date, bringing an energy that made every song of the set relentless in its own way. Benton’s grotesque growling was accompanied by guitarist Kevin Quirion’s backing screeches, adding a dimension to many songs (particularly the older material, which has some of the most sinister vocal tracking imaginable) while drummer Steve Asheim utilized the entirety of the skills in his percussive arsenal. Benton’s sarcastic-yet-affable stage banter kept the show going during breaks between songs, bantering with the crowd and tossing picks into a sea of grabbing hands. Glancing upward into the sky as he sang in the manner of Lemmy or Jon DePlanchett of Necrovore, Benton blasphemed through song after song with fury, whether he was singing brand-new curses or decades-old evocations. The band maintained a level of power for the entirety of their set, and mosh pits were plenty (I myself was almost trampled during “Dead by Dawn”, which would have been totally worth it) as metalheads reacted to the darkness of the performance. As “Deicide” concluded, the tour came to an explosive finish at the early time of about 11:45, which was a relief for us working stiffs who had to be up early the next morning (although we still had sore necks and blow-out voices to deal with — again, totally worth it).
With over twenty years of confronting all that is holy (over twenty-five if we include the Amon years), Deicide proved that they can still pack a punch like few other death metal bands can. If you happened to miss this show, you’d be wise to catch Deicide on their next time coming through Texas. Cheers to everyone who made this show possible! Up next from yours truly is a review of the blood-and-rain-soaked Watain show on the Devil’s Night, October 30th (which absolutely RULED!). Catch you guys around!