How does one go to a show of a band that has been around consistently for longer that you have been alive and not have expectations? This along with possible experiences with the band could shape ones' perception of how good or band the band may be regardless of skill or consistency. Regardless this tour was announced and contains a little bit of everything in metal. 5 bands that play varied corners upon the genre spectrum. So with open ears but a bit of experience with each band prior i filed in to see what could be a very interesting night overall.
To begin the band that i knew the least overall about, Black Crown Initiate. The Pennsylvania band had just released their first LP and devoted their relatviely short set time to it. What came as a surprise it the band has quite varied but substantial sound. Deeply rooted in death metal but using atmospherics, acoustic instruments and various vocal tones to convey a strong spacious style of metal without going too far into the ether by the time the band finished thy had only played 4 songs but with the variance of styles contained in those songs it felt full.
Shortly thereafter Iron Reagan came upon the stage and anyone with prior experience in seeing some of the members prior (or other current) band, Municipal Waste, would be able to confirm the party hard fun as hell trainwreck that is on display. Iron Reagan doesnt change that part of the formula. This idea is only bolstered by the further lack of pretension in the bands songs and faster tempos overall. The band clearly had fun and made it hard to not have fun seeing them.
Exhumed is a band that has existed for quite awhile and has stayed true to frontman Matt Harvey's vision more so than nearly any other band. That is to say proper old school death metal with bits of grind played with ferocity and a griesome attitude. The band played through mostly old songs as they are touring upon a re-recording of their first album and this let everyone see what this band is from front to back. Best of all, considering the small size of the stage, the band kept their theatrics having a friend play a chainsaw wielding doctor and eventually using a guillotine to take off the guitarists head. While not on the massiv scale of say Gwar the theatrics felt consistent with the band.
Voivod came next, and while i fully respect and undderstand their place in metal (particularly of the Canadian variety) they have never really been my thing all told. There is certainly nothing wrong with this and honestly was waiting to eat my words. Meanwhile the most surprising thing was the energy the band showed while playing. The songs, were played with a strong sense of accuracy to the original recorded versions but did little to sway my initial though process. The band deftly switched from varying eras of their existence and closed with a song for their fallen member Piggy in their rendition of "Astronomy Domine" by Pink Floyd.
Finally came the final band Napalm Death. It is really tough to say something that hasn't already been expressed about this band (they have been around since 1981). Meanwhile they are a band that is relentlessly interesting, intelligent and energetic. So without much segway the band burst into a set of songs that kept the forward movement without sacrificing a broad spectrum of their songs. One thing worth noting and respecting is that within the week prior to this show Barney (Napalm's vocalist) broke his arm. Now as a band of older guys (main memebers Shane and Barney were born in the 60's) it shows tremendous will and respect for their audience to continue the tour and play as hard as ever. The band played some songs that one would expect (Scum, You Suffer) as well as songs off of their new album. While the band has never fully deviated from their initial grindcore style this type of set shows how much they've gornw and what kind of thoughts they've managed to insert within their initial framework.
Overall this tour is a must for any metal fan with varying types of styles on display and a list of bands that all play hard and show off their styles well. Regardless of age or overaching interest this could be a show worth seeing as it proclaims the forebearers of the genre and shows a deep interest in it's newer bands as well.