CONCERT REVIEW:Worcester Death Fest

With so many bands’ sets overlapping, and all of the times I had to leave the venue, it would be impossible to give a full review of the Worcester Death Fest. However, I can give a brief overview of what I felt were the highlights. Of course, with the nature of a festival at the Palladium, sound quality would not be one of them–at least for most of the earlier bands of the day. So I’ll go ahead and skip that aspect of the show here on out.

Another aspect that makes my job easier is that quite a few bands delved so far into the core realm that I wouldn’t include them here, anyway. They may have been good for core, but not for me.
I got to the venue too early to catch all of Scaphism/s entire set. I caught the last song, which was about Boba Fett. I’m not a big fan of Star Wars, but it’s always a good subject matter for death metal. I think they performed it well–they were one of the bands with the aforementioned sound problems.

Eyes of the Dead didn’t fare much better, as the bass drum overpowered all of the other instruments. Otherwise the mix was not bad. Most importantly, they played a song about The Evil Dead. That’s enough for horns up from me.

I’ve seen Blood of the Gods before. They kicked as much ass this time as they did the last (perhaps more so, as they were playing for a bigger metal crowd this time). I didn’t realize before that one of hte guitarists is also the guitarist from Obsidian Tongue, whose demo I’ve reviewed here. I’ll also review the Blood of the Gods demo I picked up at this show. Definitely check them out.

Untombed and Totality are both brutal, but they also both include too many breakdowns for my taste. Still they straddle the line between death metal and metalcore enough for me to give them honorable mention. I would say I prefer to hear them recorded than live, only to avoid the core moshers.

I’ve reviewed Excrecor before. I have nothing new to report, other than the new song they played is awesome. Sadly, we got a short set. So, instead of a full review I have a question: hey, guys, when do we get the debut full length?

Vattnet Viskar was the most out of place, stylistically. They weren’t death or core, but they were nonetheless extreme. They played a more ethereal type of extreme metal, much in the vain of Agalloch or perhaps even Nachtmystium. Despite the thick sound every note could be heard. The sound quality was perfect during their energetic performance. Sadly, I saw no merchandise for them. I definitely recommend you check them out.

Revocation played a death/thrash hybrid, appealing to both the flailing-limbs style of core moshing and traditional circle pits. The sound was okay. One could hear everything, but the mix could have been better. There’s enough variance in the band’s music to keep the momentum going. The fact that they nailed the short avante-garde sections between the thrashing is pretty impressive. Overall, horns up.

Like some of the earlier bands, Dying Fetus is a death metal band that incorporates breakdowns into their music. However, they do it in such a way that they don’t lose their death metal identity. In other words, they stay brutal while keeping a groove going. For a three-piece they have a pretty full sound. Not once did I wish they had doubled up the guitars on stage. This also proved useful for every note to be heard clearly. The only sound quality problem they had, and it’s a minor one, is that there weren’t enough microphones on the drum kit. I could see Trey Williams hit the cymbals, but I couldn’t hear all of them. Otherwise, they get horns up.

There’s no real need to go into how Suffocation sounds like here. Even with the new drummer they sound as tight as ever. They play with such intensity that the audience couldn’t help but return it in kind. This wasn’t hte biggest show I’ve seem them at (New England Metal and Hardcore Festival a few years ago), nor did they have the best sound they’ve had (Mark’s Showplace in Bedford–one of the best-sounding shows I’ve ever heard). Still, they get horns way up as always.

Six Feet Under had the best sound quality of the night. Every note on every guitar sounded clear. The drums sounded better than most I’ve heard downstairs at the Palladium. Of course, every nuance of Chris Barnes’ vocals could be heard. Like Suffocation and Dying Fetus, there’s no need to go into what Six Feet Under sounds like. I already reviewed their latest album a couple of weeks ago. Like I said that time, I never really got into them much before. At the Worcester Death Fest I found that not only are they great live, they forced me to become a fan. I get the feeling that I would prefer them live than on disc. At least they converted me from my past thoughts about them. For that I give the band horns way up.

The Worcester Death Fest was closer to what the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival Should be. There was a better balance between metal and core bands, ending the night with kick-ass metal. The people behind the other fest should take notice. The metal community needs more shows like this.

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