Morbid Angel, Dark Funeral, Grave @ The Complex 10.08

Posted October 11, 2012 in

Some days, I really feel older than I actually am, and lately I feel it more and more. Maybe I should quit smoking—I don't think that will help my thinning hair though. Over a month of enduring back pain and pain in just about every other part of my body, I managed to score a stool in the bar section of the Grand at the Complex and got to sit on my crippled ass and watch some good old death metal, with for some reason, a really bland black metal band on Monday, October 8.

If I had seen this show in my teens or early 20s, it probably would've been something I'd be bat-shit crazy for. For the trio of bands, I was content nodding my head and mouthing lyrics. But let's face it: being able to let loose into the environment and go crazy, as most death metal junkies enjoy, is part of the show—that part was missing for me not wanting to tweak any injury or just the plain fact that I'm becoming more cynical.

I arrived just in time to see Sweden’s Grave, the one band I really wanted to see whom I'd never seen live before. Grave isn't known for being dynamic or multi-demensional. They're all about the groove and blasting and distorted guitars. The band played a sadly short set starting out with two songs from their newest record, Endless Procession of Souls. The guitars seemed to be tuned to the level of obscurity—it was above noisy, and the sandpaper on a chalk board sort of noise that Swedish death metal is made of. Older tunes came chiming in, such as “Morbid Way to Die” and “Into the Grave,” with continuously badass grooves. Not bad—I'd undoubtedly pay to see Grave headline a show.

The corpse paint, leather and spikes of Dark Funeral came next. I've never been a huge fan of Dark Funeral, though I think I owned The Secrets of the Black Arts at one point in time. I always found the band in the bottom tiers of black metal—more flash than actual substance. The crowd didn't care—cell phones popping photos and video were rampant, along with cheering for what seemed like an endless pointless tremolo riff with drums a blasting. There were moments of dignity when you could actually hear a bit of lead guitar doing something different. “666 Voices Inside,” even for an already-known cheesy black metal band, was a bit much to not snicker at. But hey, if you like it, I'm just the dork sitting here saying it's lame, and you had a blast.

On to the big show: Morbid Angel. Granted, drummer Pete Sandoval was absent with Tim Yeung (who's played in about a gazillion bands) filling in for the latest album and touring rounds, so the show felt a bit more based around the return of David Vincent, the band’s original vocalist and bassist, and, of course, Trey Azagthoth. Trey's guitar was tuned in loud and louder, which isn't a bad thing at all. Vincent's bass had audio problems for roughly half of Morbid Angel's set, leading to Vincent stating “It sounds good without the bass,” in a self-mocking tone. The collection of tunes played was pretty mighty lots of goodies from Altars of Madness and Covenant. Two newbies from the much hated album Illud Divinum Insanus. Out of the songs they could have played, the band played to its strengths with the straight up death metal tracks “Existo Vulgore,” and “Nevermore.” Afterwards, the taste of “Angel of Disease” and “Chapel of Ghouls” washed out the mediocrity. “Where the Slime Lives” and, surprisingly, “Bill Ur-Sag” (originally sung by Steve Tucker during his tenure with the band on Formulas Fatal to the Flesh) took the show into the slower Morbid Angel territory. This is what I starkly remember from seeing the band a couple of times in the early 2000s with now passed-on vocalist Jared Anderson as well as Mr. Hate Eternal and noted producer, Erik Rutan.

Morbid Angel's set was monstrously tight despite the technical issues with the bass guitar. The sound in the “Grand” portion of The Complex was particularity on point instead of it's usual “offness”—for all the bands, the only thing really lacking was more volume in the vocal department. If you paid the seemingly overpriced ticket of $35 to $40 on top of $5 for a beer, hopefully you had a brutal time.