Last Saturday, the most brutal tour of the year made its way to good old Philly. I had seen all the bands on the bill at least once in the past, but never together at one show, so I knew tonight was going to be something special, and believe me friends, it was. Despite getting hopelessly lost on the way to the train station (thanks to the jerkoff who stole my GPS over the summer), I still made it to the Trocadero in plenty of time, and you could literally feel the anticipation as soon as the doors opened.
After a brief sound check, Devourment took the stage to thunderous applause and started things off beautifully. They sounded beefy and clear, and their set was comprised of songs from all three of their full lengths, including "Serial Cocksucker", "Fucked To Death", "Choking On Bile", "Fed To the Pigs", and closing with the classic "Baby Killer". What caught my attention the most during their set was their stage presence. While everyone knows that Devourment's music is awesome and they play their songs very well live, they're not known to be too energetic onstage, but this was not the case here. Mike Majewski and the gang were all moving around headbanging, rocking out, smiling and having a grand old time feeding off of the energy from the crowd. Their bassist even went so far as to dive into the crowd after the last song, adding to the high spirits.
Despite the incessant chanting of "One more song," Devourment then cleared off to make room for Rhode Island God-haters . At the last Summer Slaughter tour these guys had a painfully short set, so I was really excited to see what they could do with more time. Ironically enough they only played four songs this time, but since VR are pretty much the of death metal with their eight-minute songs, this didn't seem to bother anyone too much. The lead guitar was a little low in the mix so it was hard to hear the solos, but they still rumbled through " ", "Devoured Elysium", "Hammer Down the Nails" and "Dechristianize" like it was . In all honesty, this was probably the weakest band of the night and they still killed it, which should give you an idea of how good the show was. I've heard a lot of people complain that Vital Remains isn't the same without Glenn Benton on vocals, but if last night is any indication, they're kicking ass and taking names just fine without him. Let me tell you something: if you want to see the true power of metal, go to a Vital Remains show and watch as hundreds of people go completely silent, bow their heads and hold their horns up high while the venue goes dark and "O Fortuna" blares over the PA, all while the band is onstage looking up at the sky with genuine hate in their eyes. It's scary.
Next on the roster was Dying Fetus, and this is where things really started to get interesting. Both of the previous bands were very well received, but as soon as these guys started playing it was a madhouse. Their setlist was pretty long since they were the main support, and they used this opportunity to play a surprisingly large number of very old songs, going all the way back to their first couple EP's; songs like "Vomiting the Decaying Embryo" and "Eviscerated Offspring" to name a few. However, they still played plenty of their newer, more well-known songs like "Killing On Adrenaline", "One Shot One Kill", "Your Treachery Will Die With You" and " ", and they closed as always with their 70-second claim to fame "Kill Your Mother Rape Your Dog". I've seen Dying Fetus twice before this, and I'm still amazed at how much chaos the crowd manages to bring in just over one minute. As with Devourment, these guys were also much more energetic than usual, which only contributed to the frenzy.
So after Dying Fetus walked off to extremely enthusiastic applause, after what seemed like hours the lights dimmed one more time, and when walked onstage the applause sounded more like an arena than the tiny Trocadero. They wasted no time and dove right into a set that spanned their entire twenty-plus year career. For all the old school fans, there were classics like "A Skull Full of Maggots", "Gutted", "Staring " and "Devoured By Vermin", and for the younger, more recent inductees, there plenty of newer songs like "Evisceration Plague", "Priests of Sodom", "Shatter Their Bones", "The Time To Kill Is Now", " ", "The Wretched Spawn" and more. They played for a solid hour and a half, and although it was exhausting, neither the band nor the crowd slowed down one bit. We all anxiously waited to hear what song they would play next, and Corpsegrinder's between-song bantering kept everyone laughing and ready to start the pit up again at a moment's notice. And speaking of pits, when they finally closed with the classic duo of "Hammer Smashed Face" and "Stripped Raped and Strangled", the pit literally enveloped the entire floor of the venue; the sight of close to (if not more than) a thousand people moshing their hearts out at once is something that simply cannot be put into words. See for yourself.
When all was said and done, we all left knowing that great memories had been made. Making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, seeing and meeting the bands that inspire you, smoking a fat one and/or pounding back a few gulps of the hard stuff with good people, and just forgetting all your troubles for a few hours; it's all in a day's work for metal. This is the kind of show where the whole world shrinks to nothing but you, the crowd and the band, and there's nothing but the euphoria of the moment and the anticipation of the rest of the show. This is what we live for, and this is what those trendy, attention-whoring idiots will never be able to take away from us, no matter how hard they try.
Defend the fucking faith brothers and sisters, I love you all.
-The Baby Killer