Don’t Care

  

The icing on top of this weekends extreme metal cake is by way of Tampa Bay and the mighty death metal God fathers Obituary. 

By the time this run has come to an end (and assuming Setlist FM is accurate resource) the band will be agonisingly one performance short of a half century of shows in the United Kingdom. For a band I’ve been listening to since Roadrunner sent my fanzine at the time a promo cassette of Slowly We Rot I’ve never taken the opportunity to see many of those UK shows. 

Obviously the shows around 1990, 1991 and 1992 would have been missed due to a lack of transport. I’m surprised I never took in the following World Demise tour at some point in 1994 when Pitchshifter shared a stage with them. 

After their hiatus the bulk of their British dates centred around London, with occasional shows in far flung areas like Glasgow and Newcastle upon Tyne – nice and easy for a Wednesday evening! 

My first, and second, experiences occurred upon the Bloodstock stage in 2010 and again four years later. My first indoor show was their roof raising performance in London’s Electric Ballroom last February. Also last year they were equally as devastating when they were part of the Deathcrusher package, pretty much twelve months to the day, where they blew headliners Carcass off the stage. 

Friday and Saturday will be my second and third aural and visual assault this year as they were a late replacement on the Dynamo Metal Festival bill. 

The core of the band – John and Donald Tardy along with Trevor Peres – has remained pretty stable since 1984. For a band as successful as Obituary in their given field it will still be odd to me to see the band themselves ambling on to the stage after Exodus, setting up most of their own gear then (fingers crossed) launch into a full throttle version of Redneck Stomp. Before frontman John joins in, wearing what should be his trademark long sleeved tee shirt and shorts – regardless of the exterior weather conditions. 

For a band with song titles like Chopped in Half, Internal Bleeding and Bloodsoaked, Don’t Care is a protest song about man made pollution harming the planet. Quite a departure from the usual gore obsessed lyrics, but horror on another level. See, death metal bands can carry a social political message. 

 

   

  

Insane

  
 
Due to Life Of Agony drummer Sal Abruscato breaking his collar bone a few weeks ago the festival had to find a replacement in double quick time. Using UK events as a guide I wasn’t expecting anything of any note. In the past Bloodstock have just upgraded a band from the second stage. This year Download who had Motörhead on the bill promised something special in their place, apparently it turned out to be a video montage. The Dynamo Metal Fest has pulled a gigantic rabbit out of the hat. 

Stepping into the fray at short notice are none other than the Floridian rednecks and death metal pioneers Obituary. The quartet absolutely levelled all the venues that they performed in as part of last years Deathcrusher jaunt. A few weeks ago they were announced for the Battle of the Bay’s European trek in October, co-headlined by Exodus with Prong and King Parrot in tow. A fantastic package at a reasonable price, so off to Manchester and Birmingham I will be going. 

  

There’s been a switchero on the line up with them taking what was Sacred Reich’s slot as they’ve now been bumped up a couple of places. Their allocated set length is 50 minutes and if they are on form, which they undoubtedly will be, the bands who have to follow them will be quaking in their boots. Mrs Tardy’s little boys will absolutely devastate the Ijssportcentrum Eindhoven to its foundations. 

I must say I was slightly miffed as I was looking forward to seeing Life Of Agony again, I even put the exclusive UK shirt to one side since March especially for this occasion. But I suppose their replacement is pretty adequate. I certainly wouldn’t be asking for my €10’s back! 

Insane is lifted from the bands 2005 come back album Frozen In Time, which was released on July 12th (anyone would thing I plan this stuff!). 

  

Top 10 Gigs of 2015

Now that was hard work trying to narrow down a top ten of shows I attended this year from over 70 shows.  In front of me now I have a list scrawled out of 17 memorable shows for one reason or another and enough scribble on the page to fill a small diary.

 

Some of the shows that I had to cut included debut UK shows form Belgium’s Bloodrocuted and Vektor from the United States. AC/DC rocking the foundations of Wembley Arena.  The mega line up of Carcass, Obituary, Napalm Death and Voivod on the Deathcrusher tour.  Intimate shows by Anthrax in Brighton and Iron Reagan in Manchester. And the merging of my teenage years and some of the newest bands on the Slam Dunk Festival (PVRIS, Beartooth, H2O and Millencolin).  Finally, a honourable mention to Discharge, the inovators of D-Beat, playing a home town show to a packed venue with their new vocalist JJ.

So here it goes…

10 – Bloodstock Festival (Catton Hall 7-9th August)

I was going to steer clear of lumping a festival as one, but there were some superb performances this year.  Finally seeing Dark Angel was a huge plus. Nuclear Assault’s last UK appearance.  Sepultura, Overkill and Re-Animator showing everyone the old bands still have it, and overlooking the technical difficulties, Within Temptation’s headline slot had everything you wanted.

  
9 – Overkill and Sanctuary (Hedon, Zwolle 17th March)

A flying trip to Holland to catch the Killfest tour.  The second time I’d seen Sanctuary, but the first time with a roof.  They were flawless and Overkill were as solid as ever.  An added bonus of the Hedon venue being so good.


8 – Hirax (Manchester, Sound Control 16th March)

I could have picked their debut show at Hammerfest a few days earlier, but after the initial disappointment of seeing what part of the venue they were playing, it was so pleasing viewing a band playing in such a small space with so much enthusiasm.


7 – Xentrix and Acid Reign (Dublin, Voodoo Lounge 16th October)

I could have picked anyone of the three shows I attended on this tour, but by the time they sailed into Dublin they had all hit their stride, especially the returning Acid Reign after a quarter of a century away from the stage, who were as much fun that night as they were in 1990.


6 – Obituary (Camden, Electric Ballroom 1st February)

The reason I didn’t include Deathcrusher on the list is thanks to this headline set from Florida’s finest. I had reservations about it being upgraded to the much bigger Ballroom from the comparatively tiny Underworld. By the start of their set any misgivings were put aside as the place was pretty much full.  They were on top form that night, plus there was the added bonus of seeing German thrashers Dust Bolt on the same night.


5 – Flotsam & Jetsam (Nuneaton, Queens Hall 19th May)

Another disappointing turn out in Nuneaton, but that didn’t deter the legendary Arizona thrashers.  Tonight was a complete master class of thrash metal. Such a tight performance and compared to when I saw them last year the live vocals were much better.


4- Metallica (Gothenburg, Ullevi Stadium 22nd August)

Metallica are my favourite band and can really do no wrong in my book (well maybe LuLu!), but they couldn’t make my top three this year.  This tour didn’t have to may surprises in the set list, but I got to see Frayed Ends of Sanity performed live and I had tickets for the Golden Circle so we managed to get pretty close and ended up with a few off stage souvenirs.


3- Slayer and Anthrax (Brixton, Academy 30th November)

Again, I could have picked either date of the tour that I saw, but with the added size of the stage in Brixton you got more bang for your buck. Two bands who are most definitely getting better with age. Slayer were just Slayer, no banter, no jokes, no roller coasters, no prolonged solos – just pure, unadulterated, evil, thrash metal (and dancing inverted crosses!)  What more could you want?


2- Tankard and Crisix (Barcelona, Razzmatazz II 25th January)

Finally the missing piece for me from the German Teutonic Big Four. If Tankard won’t come to me then I’d better go to them!  After Kreator these Frankfurt beer swilling maniacs are my next favourite band of the four.  Much like Anthrax or Acid Reign, they are often classed as the clowns of the bunch.  That night in January they were on top form.  The track (Empty) Tankard was superb sing-a-long, and seeing Gerre singing from on top of the bar right in front of me is something I won’t forget in a hurry. They were so much fun to watch.


1 – Nightwish (Wembley, Arena 19th December)

So my favourite gig of the year happened to be the last gig I attended.  Nightwish owned the cavernous Wembley Arena that evening.  We were promised the full European stage show and that’s what they delivered.  Metal fans have a weird preoccupation with fire in all forms and we had it all tonight! We also had smoke, ticker tape and giant video screens.  The visuals were well and truly backed up with some stunning songs performed to perfection by Floor Jansen who breathed life into tracks from the departed vocalists before her. Fantastic sound too in a place so enormous, and it only cost £25.  A real bargain. A truly superb evening.


Violence

The band I have to say I’m looking forward to the most on the Deathcrusher tour is Tampa’s Obituary. Every time I have seen them live they have not failed to impress. Their show earlier this year at the Electric Ballroom was out of this world. No fancy sets, no stage props – just five rednecks with their heads down, delivering a blistering set of bludgeoning death metal.

Florida. The sunshine state – home of Mickey Mouse, NASA, oranges and the Everglades was the hot bed of Death Metal. There really must be something in the water there to unleash so many brutal and evil bands from a small area. The majority of these bands also recorded at the iconic Morrisound Recording Studio with Scott Burns. Pick up an 80’s / early 90’s death metal album and there’s a high chance that one of those two names will be on it!

Three of the founding members – John and Donald Tardy and Trevor Peres – are still up on stage in 2015. They formed in 1984 as Executioner, then Xecutioner and finally settling on Obituary. The first three albums (Slowly We Rot, Cause of Death and The End Complete) are nailed on genre classics. The band went on hiatus between 1997 to 2005. Earlier this year they released their 9th studio album Inked In Blood which is an absolute corker.

The animated video below is taken from their most recent output, and it’s also the last Obituary album featuring long time stalwart Frank Watkins who sadly passed away on October 18th.

“The Live Arena”

In my mind there’s not many things better than going to see bands perform in the live arena.

Whether it’s your favourite band ever at a festival with 90,000 other like minded people who are playing the song that means the most to you. Or waking into a local spit and sawdust pub as doors have just opened and watching the opening band who one day might be the next big thing.

Live music can run you through the gauntlet of all the emotions – quite often at the same show. But on the flip side it can disappoint just as easily. You finally score tickets to see a band you’ve liked for ever and they put in a sub-standard performance.

Over the course of the next week I’ll be at the two shows below – maybe more. Who knows? I might chuck a review or a few photos on here. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. One thing for sure though is a few videos will be posted here on the lead up to the shows.

Friday – Manchester Ritz.

One of the first “festival” style tours for “extreme metal fans” to hit the UK for a long time. Four death and thrash metal legends on the same stage in one night.

Saturday – Camden Underworld.

The album launch gig for Northern Irish thrashers Gama Bomb, ably supported by relatively recently reunited 80’s thrashers Re-Animator.