- Venue: The Forge – Joliet, Illinois
- Date: December 8, 2019
- Special guests: WATAIN – INCANTATION
- Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
- All photos Copyrighted Michael L. Juvinall – All Rights Reserved
Ah, a week into the month of December, full-on into the Christmas holiday madness. ‘Tis the season for merriment, mirth, and death metal? – Wait, what? Yes, death and black metal are on Krampus’ list on this night in Joliet, Illinois as classic, old-school death metal veterans MORBID ANGEL blow into town to devastate rock club, The Forge with fellow death metal vets INCANTATION and black metal sicko’s WATAIN in tow.
The state of Florida and the Tampa Bay area, in particular, has been a hotbed of activity for the death metal subgenre for over 30 years now. Tampa is home to such huge acts as DEATH, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, ATHEIST, HATE ETERNAL, MONSTROSITY, NOCTURNUS, and of course MORBID ANGEL.
The band is veterans, to say the least in the world of death metal. They have been around since 1983. They are considered one of the most influentials bands in the subgenre of death metal and have influenced a great many other bands who try to emulate their sound. In my opinion, Morbid Angel is one of the three most important bands in the subgenre. They are still going strong to this very day, although the only remaining original member is founder and guitarist, Trey Azagthoth. They are touring in support of their latest album, 2017’s Kingdoms Disdained.
They stormed the stage in pure blackness and the crowd was already in an uproar from previous band’s Watain and Incantation who aptly warmed everyone up. They blasted off their show with “Piles Of Little Arms” from their current album, creating chaos in the club. The moshers were in full carnage in the circle pit. From there on, the band played a decent mix of old and new from their array of albums.
Their music was flawless thanks to the stunning guitar work of lead guitarist Trey Azagthoth. He is widely considered the best death metal guitarist in the business and I would have to agree. His work is so complex and intricate, it was a pleasure watching him shred all those classic tracks. The rest of the band was good as well. Rhythm guitarist, Dan Vadim Von performed admirably, keeping up with Azagthoth. Both Vadim Von and drummer Scott Fuller have only been with the band for a couple of years but they fit in well. Bassist and vocalist Steve Tucker is on his third stint with the band and is a decent singer but I must admit he’s not my favorite vocalist of the band’s history. I prefer the more guttural growls of David Vincent from Altars Of Madness and Blessed Are The Sick era. But Tucker is no slouch by any means.
I do have a couple of criticisms about the show that affect my rating. The first is the same old gripe about the length of the show. Their set lasted 65 minutes. I guess that’s how it is nowadays when they cram multiple acts into a tour. I guess I’m too old-school and remember when it was only one opening act and then the headliner who would go on to play for two hours. I feel if you plunk down your hard-earned money to see a show, you should get your money’s worth and I feel an hour set for headliners is just not enough. The other gripe I have, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the sound of their music or anything is that the band is pretty boring on stage. They don’t move around, they are pretty much static on stage, they don’t even headbang. There’s no electricity, no emotion, no fun.
Aside from my eccentricities about what I expect out of a show, the band performed masterfully and their music was excellent and heavy as hell! They are one of my favorite classic old-school death metal bands and their music didn’t disappoint. They are a must-see band if you can catch them on this tour, then do so.
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Piles of Little Arms
- Garden of Disdain
- Architect and Iconoclast
- Unholy Blasphemies
- Day of Suffering
- Prayer of Hatred
- Kawazu (song played from tape)
- Summoning Redemption
- Nothing Is Not
Direct support came from the Swedish evil black metal band, WATAIN. I’ve seen a lot of evil black metal bands in my day, bands like Belphegor, Marduk, Mayhem, Behemoth, Dark Funeral, and so on. But I have to say, Watain are some pretty evil fucks! They haven’t been around as long as Morbid Angel, but they formed in 1998.
The band is infamous for their notorious live shows which include pyrotechnics, candles, Satanic rituals, animal carcasses, and blood. These guys are more serious about the whole black metal thing than most other bands are. They have landed on several top ten lists of the evilest bands in the world.
As far as musicians go, they seemed to be top-notch. I was impressed with how well they played and sounded. I have no problem at all with black metal and Watain was quite good. The band was accomplished and polished sounding. They have some songs with really good riffs and some pretty intricate guitar work. In the past, I’ve never been a huge fan of their music but I think I will have to go back and refresh myself with their catalog of albums. Vocalist Erik Danielsson has the appropriate vocal quality for the subgenre.
To speak briefly on their stage decor, it’s decked out in all manner of ritualistic accouterments. Many bones, animal or otherwise adorn the stage, hanging on banners and mic stands. Also adorning the stage was pig and goat heads on spikes. They were quite real because while I was in the photographer’s pit up front, I could smell how putrid and fetid those heads really were. I was literally gagging on a few occasions after the stench hit me. They played for 45 minutes.
As I said, I was impressed with how well Watain sounded and performed.
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Sworn to the Dark
- Nuclear Alchemy
- Reaping Death
- I Am the Earth
- Furor Diabolicus
- Total Funeral
- On Horns Impaled
The first opener was another iconic band. New York death metal outfit INCANTATION kicked things off right. 30-year vets of the New York death metal scene, these guys were on point and brought a high level of professionalism to the show, not to mention the fact they kicked ass!
Founder and sole original member, John McEntee, vocalist, and lead guitarist lead with his trademark guttural growls and death-laden guitar licks. The rest of the band was excellent and sounded incredibly heavy. I believe this is my third time seeing Incantation and they sound better every time.
The entire lineup of this tour is incredibly good. There are no filler opening bands here, they all can stand on their own and headline their own tours and have in the past. Incantation played for 35 minutes.
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Entrantment of Evil
- Carrion Prophecy
- Rites of the Locust
- Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies
- Dying Divinity
- The Ibex Moon
- Impending Diabolical Conquest