Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gig Review - Immolation North American Tour with Vader, Pathology, Abigail Williams and Lecherous Nocturne

First of all, I have to apologize for delaying this gig review for so long. But exams have meant a shortage of time to dedicate to anything other than education. But anyway, I had to write about this gig, which in my time as a metalhead, has been the best show I have ever attended.

First, I ll start off with an introduction. I moved to San Diego, California from India in august for further education. In june, I got to know of the North American tour headlined by Immolation. A further look at the rest of the lineup had me yelling out in joy. 5 great bands, all under one roof. Fairly well known bands such as Pathology, Abigail Williams and Lecherous Nocturne sharing stage with two legends – Vader and Immolation. I started listening to death metal because of Vader. So, I think its fair to say, I hold that band in the highest possible regard. Immolation are a band that have influenced me a great deal. They are more than just music for me. They have influenced and shaped my thoughts greatly and are quite possibly my favorite band in this form of music. It was a dream of mine to watch Immolation live one day, and I was finally getting my wish.

October 16th was the day I was waiting for. It seemed as if every day from june was excruciatingly long. Saving cash for the gig and merch was my utmost priority and I had to sacrifice going to a Brujeria show on October 13th to save money for this. Finally, the day arrived. I could not sleep at night. The gig was supposed to start by 6:30 or so, but I went off early and was there at the venue by 5. I wanted to buy a pass for the show and just wanted to go early hoping to catch the members from either of the bands. And yes. My perseverance was rewarded and I got to talk to both my idols, Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna of Immolation. I wont talk more about that here, because I could easily fill up 5 pages with it. But I have to say, it has been the best moment of the 22 years of my existence so far. Bought a t-shirt too. Saw a 'Close To the World Below' tee and jumped at it.

The show started with a local band, 'Beheading the king'. A death metal band from San Diego. They were very good. Played a 25 minute set and warmed the crowd up well. They were followed by Aenea, another local melodic death metal band from San Diego. They were releasing anew EP and played all the tracks of it. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by them. Not being the greatest fan of this genre, I approached it with skepticism, but the band were very tight. I was not very impressed by the vocals, but every other aspect of the band was very impressive. Definitely a band to look forward to. Then came the big guns. Pathology backed out because they had some problems with their guitarist. The details are up on their myspace. That was disappointing. I love that band and they were one of the bands I was looking forward to. Anyway, Lecherous Nocturne were up next; and did they deliver. Most of the people in the crowd did not know that band, but they came and ripped the crowd apart. Good stage presence and they were exceedingly brutal. After one of their songs, the person standing next to me was completely stunned and yelled out - “Man ! These mother fuckers are brutal.” Could not sum it up any better.

Abigail Williams were up next. I never liked this band. I hated their earlier 'symphonic deathcore' crap. But I did hear that they changed their style in their new release and have abandoned their deathcore roots, shifting to a proper black metal approach. I decided to give them another chance, and a good thing I did. You could feel the temperature in the venue drop by a few degrees when they played their first song. This, for me, was a good sign because it means the band is doing its job well. They played some Good atmospheric black metal. I liked their performance a lot. The first couple of songs were very good. But the third one was not of the standards of the previous ones. But again, it was an enjoyable performance. I did not like their full length release too much, but I ll give it another listen. If anything, their performance merited it.

Now was finally the time. The time for Vader. I couldn’t believe I was actually watching one of my idols play live before my very eyes. The band came out for a couple of minutes to complete the final soundcheck and it sent goosebumps down my spine. Suddenly the moment arrived. A keyboard ambient intro blaring from the speakers and up came the band. I have to say, I have never seen a performance so brutal in all these years. They were amazing. An onslaught that could just be felt to be believed. Within minutes, there was mayhem in the moshpit. The pit was full of beer and more alcohol with people moshing and slipping on it. A couple of fights broke out, but nothing too big. The played for 30 minutes or so and left the stage, only to come back again when we called them out for an encore, And duly proceeded to play, 'This Is the War'. This being one of my favorite Vader tracks, was a fitting finale to their amazing performance.

When Vader's performance ended, I remember thinking that nothing could top this. I couldn’t imagine anything would blow me away like a steamroller to the extent of what Vader just did. But, I was wrong. When immolation performed their final soundcheck, I could feel a chill running down down my spine again. This was the moment I had been waiting for 7 years or so. The band I had been waiting to see for so long were finally here. All of a sudden, the lights dimmed off and in front of us were Immolation. They started off with 'The Purge' from their newest release, 'Majesty and Decay.' The setlist was better than what I had imagined. They had tracks from most of their releases. Highlights being 'Close To a World Below' and 'father, You are Not a Father.' Immolation were intense. The true definition of the word. They sounded evil. More evil than what I had ever experienced from any other band. You could feel the 'Anti-God' sentiment showing through when they played their songs. Singing the lyrics to Father, You are Not a Father was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Again, I am not throwing the word around lightly, but you could feel the need to end all religion and slay a god if he ever existed. I could feel a host of images churning through my head and a feeling of complete evil. This, was the most powerful I have ever felt. And I have to say, it was a wonderful change.

Anyway, I probably dragged this on for too long, but I can still write a page more. This was a perfect gig and to be honest, I don't think any other band will even come close to topping this. I will be watching Nile and Watain in november and I really don't think they can beat this. But one thing's for sure, I wont ever forget this.

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