Summer Slaughter 2014- Live at The Palladium, Worcester MA




Sometimes dreams do come true, and sometimes not so much. As much as I have been a supporter of Summer slaughter in all its incarnations, it has been some time since it really lived up to the billing of “The Most Brutal Tour of The Summer”. I even heard a NASCAR or WWE wrestling announcer’s voice in my head as I typed those words. Still, it’s the true to say that this tour has been lacking in the brutality department for a while and even though I rather enjoy prog and djent bands, and the “whateverthehellyoucallit” style of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, something was lacking the last few summers. It was death metal and balls to be blunt. Well this year the tour got all its balls back and then some with an amazing lineup stacked pretty much top to bottom. A death metal fans dream to be sure.


Of course my life has a way of clusterfucking my plans over sometimes and so on the big day of the show I got waylaid by a bunch of BS things all happening at once. I ended missing a good half of the bands I wanted to see most, which had me in sick to my stomach to be honest. I hate missing any bands, let alone some amazing locals and bands I admire like Fallujah, Decrepit Birth, and Origin but that’s what happened. I showed up in time to see Goatwhore and heard a bit of their set before I had to run and interview Alex from Fallujah. He was so cool, that it almost made up for the BS I went through.

The first full band performance I saw was Thy Art is Murder and these guys are always excellent live. I actually enjoy them in concert, even more on record. Perhaps it’s because I think their explosive live act hasn’t fully translated to a recording for me yet. Nonetheless, they destroyed the stage, the pit was insane and the crowd of moshing hooligans were feeling it. I know some people griped about TAIM being higher on the bill than Origin, but believe me, they deserve the props they are getting.


The Faceless was up next and I have covered them a lot in my career. At one point it seemed like they were going to be a hybrid of Cynic and Meshuggah and be a legendary band. At times, they actually are. They were cursed by really setting the template for all the “Sumerian” bands to follow them on that label and others, similar to Unearth with metalcore. Still, on this warm August night, The Faceless reminded everyone in the room just how much ass they can kick when they want to. Playing a predominantly old-school set (for them) mainly from the Akeldama and Planetary Duality albums, they just crushed it. Geoffrey Ficco long ago came into his own as the front man of this band, but he left no doubt about his mastery of brutal vocals, his domineering stage presence, and his great sense of humor. Michael Keene as usual played great. He could smile a little less, but I guess he is allowed to feel smug based on what he created here.


Even after the last notes of ‘Zenochrist’ rung out from The Faceless, it was all about Dying Fetus. Fetus is as close to a religious experience as it gets for tech death. They are flawless live and possibly the best band in all of metal in concert. The reason being is they insane virtuosity coupled with their extreme style is just a perfect match for many fans of the genre. They were flawless on this night, true masters of the sick tempos and heavy grooves. They played a short (always too fucking short for me) set list of deep cuts and classic tracks. John Gallagher’s growl is only matched by his unrelenting guitar style. I can’t really believe I have only seen them headline one time ever, but it’s true. ‘One Shot, One Kill’, ‘Intentional Manslaughter’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’ were all mind-blowing! Trey Williams is almost underrated when you start listing the best drummers in death metal. He certainly is never mentioned by most within the first few names, but he should be. He is one of the few drummers in all of metal that can still play super fast double-bass, but still hit for power when he wants to. ‘Praise The Lord (Opium of the Masses)’ was a fitting closer, despite not getting to play ‘Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog’ (again). If I ruled the world, DF would be contractually bound to play that song every single show. And at my house on my birthday!

At last it was time for Morbid Angel to take the stage. I was impressed at how fast and pro their crew was getting set up with nary an extra soundcheck to be done or needed. The band came out to some fitting intro music before lighting up the stage with ‘Immortal Rites’. The band was on-point and note for note perfect. I know David Vincent and crew have had their well-documented missteps, but the band was fierce and played like they had something to prove. Actually they do, and that is they still deserve to be mentioned among the greatest death metal bands/legacy acts around. The set list choices were phenomenal. I think a lot of people forget how many killer songs and albums this band has produced. ‘Fall from Grace’, ‘Day of Suffering’, ‘Maze of Torment’, ‘Curse the Flesh’ and so many more were so good to hear! Trey Azagothoth is still an insane level guitar player and performer. I wish I was able to see more than his elbow, since he hung to his side of the stage mainly. The only guy I was less than impressed with was Tim Yeung (Divine Heresy, World Under Blood). Don’t get me wrong, Timmy can play his ass off. I’d just rather him skip the Tommy Lee worshiping drum stick twirling, and pointing crap. Dude, that shit is lame and you are not getting laid because of it.

Meanwhile, everything on this end of the night set sprang from the presence of David Vincent. Ring leader, demon master, king; he was not to be denied as he curated the set bit by bit. He kept his comments entertaining, but thankfully short. The guy is brilliant and was great at motivating the crowd to keep their energy up after a long day and night. As tonight’s performance indicates, the band is far from over, certainly can still deliver live, and are not to be trifled with!


Until next year Summer Slaughter

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Morbid Angel Set List:


Immortal Rites
Fall from Grace
Day of Suffering
Maze of Torment
Vengeance Is Mine
Ageless, I Still Am
Curse the Flesh
Existo Vulgore
Where the Slime Live
Blood on My Hands
Bil Ur-Sag
Word of Shit (The Promised Land)
God of Emptiness


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