Sadistic Intent & Pentacle – Live at Ballroom, Hamburg, Germany 5th of August 2007
Review and live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Getting an underground Death Metal band that rarely gigs like Sadistic Intent all the way from Los Angeles, California, booked for one special show at the Ballroom, Hamburg, is like one of the 7 miracles – at least as far as some legendary underground bands are concerned. That´s what happened anyway on one very warm Sunday, 5th of August 2007. Speaking of these so-called ´miracles´, I think it´s fair to say that another ´miracle´ happened the day before the Sadistic Intent´s show when Possessed (Jeff Becerra together with the members of Sadistic Intent) performed an absolutely unforgettable show at Wacken, in front of thousands of Possessed fans from all around the world. It´s simply incredible to witness all these bands at Wacken that you could not even imagine performing at the festival in your wildest dreams.
I had booked my flight from Helsinki to Hamburg 4 days earlier, paying 354 euros for my flight ticket (that´s about 487 USD) just to see this special one-off Sadistic Intent show. This was also the very first time in Europe for Sadistic Intent, so spending €354 for the flight ticket, I was thinking like: “Yes, I´m gonna be fuckin´ broke after that, but – HELL, it´s gonna be all worth it, dammit!!”. Plus, paying for taxis, hotel, etc., made the whole trip cost more than 500 euros to me – this not even including food, drinks, CDs, LPs, etc. that I wasted naturally big bucks on. Ha, a way to get securely rid off all of your savings for sure…
Me with two of my friends arrived at the Ballroom around at 9:00 p.m., politely asking a doorman about the guest list of Sadistic Intent. He informed us – much to our surprise – that our names weren´t on it (even if they were supposed to be). Fortunately one of my friends had printed out an email from Rick Cortez of Sadistic Intent (just in case) in which Rick had confirmed all our names were on their guest list. What a relief! We were in…
Almost right after we came in, this Australian female-fronted Death Metal band Tourettes started playing onstage, which none of us had ever heard of before (they replaced Necros Christos that were originally supposed to play there – and who we wanted to see rather than this last minute replacement act). Unfortunately, to be honest, the band didn´t do much for me. The band´s Death Metal sounded kinda generic and just boring, so I lost attention relatively quickly. I guess it would have helped if I had been more familiar with their music in advance, but I wasn´t. The band´s vocalist looked pretty gorgeous though. After a short while, I was introduced to none other than Jeff Becerra from the mighty Possessed. Jeff was sitting on a black leather sofa together with some of his friends, and going by his whole appearance, obviously he was still enjoying the euphoria from Possessed’s once-in-a-lifetime performance in front of the very supportive and dedicated crowd at the world´s biggest metal festival, Wacken. Jeff was very nice and laidback as a person, willing to sign all kinds of Possessed stuff and allowing everyone who wanted to retain some sort of memory of the meeting to take pictures with him (guess who got heaploads of his personal Possessed collection signed by Jeff… ;o) Bay Cortez from Sadistic Intent joined us in no time, turning out to be one friendly and happily smiling fellow who was really pleased at getting this lifetime opportunity to come over to Europe and to play for all the fanatical people over here.
A couple of tasty beers later, we were invited backstage by Bay Cortez to meet the other guys of Sadistic Intent. Spending time there backstage for about 45 minutes – naturally inquiring politely about things both Possessed and Sadistic Intent mainly from the Cortez brothers, and sharing some strong opinions about a rotten side of today´s music industry – Pentacle were already going through a short soundcheck on the stage and preparing themselves for their set. Time to go and check them out next.
Pentacle´s show was a very convincing performance of what real old school Death Metal is all about. The band´s dynamic and extremely heavy, Frost/Autopsy inspired old school Death Metal went down really well with the audience judging by the wild reactions they got from the headbanging and fist-shaking metalheads. These Dutch masters of ´ancient Death Metal (as they like to call their music)´ – Wannes on vocals & bass, Alex on guitar and Robert on drums, served their doses of Death Metal well and passionately, and it was a really insane experience to see the packed crowd going crazy in front of them. I was told earlier that Ballroom´s capacity was about 200 people, but I think more than 200 people attended this particular gig that night. I mean, the place was so fully packed that moving from A to B was pretty tough. Although the temperature outside was +29 degrees Celcius (84 F) in midday that day, it was way hotter inside: Even conservatively thinking, I guessed it was at least +35C inside with the average humidity at least around 80-85 percent at the same time. The whole place was like a Turkish sauna, but it didn´t seem to bother anyone as people´s attention was fully focused on those 2 great Death Metal bands on that special night. Pentacle came and fuckin´ masterfully delivered in a fine way – and that´s all that counted. A truly outstanding performance from them.
Then, what I bet most of us had been waiting for, were the headliners of that evening: the legendary Sadistic Intent from Los Angeles, California. With Bay Cortez on vocals & bass, Rick Cortez on guitar, Ernesto Bueno on guitar and Emilio Marquez on drums in today´s Sadistic Intent line-up (who all also play in Possessed in case you weren´t aware of this fact yet) took the stage into their possession by churning out a classic Sadistic Intent song “Conflict Within” off their excellent RESURRECTION mini-CD for starters (followed soon by such songs as “Lurking Terror”, “Asphyxiation”, “Untimely End”, “Condemned in Misery”, “Dark Predictions”, etc. – see the enclosed picture for the setlist for the rest of the songs!). Even from that very moment it became very clear why Sadistic Intent is such a highly respected and liked band amongst the Death Metal community. It´s really hard to describe and put the overall feeling into the right words (my mind was filled by some specific positive superlatives at that moment), but the whole atmosphere and spirit that Sadistic Intent managed to create on the stage with their vicious, evil and haunting old school Death Metal, was nothing but wonderfully spine-chilling and blood-curdling. As the very last encore, Sadistic Intent played a brand new song titled “Unholy Revelations” as a three-piece which made a great promise regarding their forthcoming release that they will hopefully put out sometime next year (that´s also something the band is hoping for). The band´s stage look was definitely cool, too. Think something like seeing Slayer around the time when they released SHOW NO MERCY – and try to melt that image together with the visual side of what bands like Possessed and Morbid Angel used to have back in the day. Lots of black leather, rivets, pentagrams & upside down crosses hanging from their necks and shit… Cool or what? Absolutely fuckin´ A!
To say, Sadistic Intent´s show was one of the best performances I have ever witnessed in my entire life so far, would be a sort of understatement in many ways. In fact, I can hardly think of any as effective, so evil sounding and totally crushing show as what Sadistic Intent did at Ballroom. Probably Morbid Angel´s show in Fagersta, Sweden in 1990 during their “European Sickness” tour had the similar type of effect on me – leaving my jaw completely open with pure amazement. Sadistic Intent played an irresistible and indescribable set of songs that reeked of sheer evil, old school Death Metal magic. Obviously this is how we – I mean, at least the ones who came to see their show specifically, want to get our dose of Death Metal served in the first place. First and foremost, it needs to be evil; it needs to be dark; it needs to be heavy; it needs to be sulphurous – and most importantly, it needs to be well delivered, catchy all around and it must be in your blood. And that´s exactly what Sadistic Intent´s Death Metal is all about more than anything else really. The whole repertoire of these 4 Frisco-deathsters was based on two very important factors: The anus-tight performance and the overall quality of their songs. These two elements made one helluva unbeatable match together – and made the whole unholy Death Metal night undoubtedly something special for all of us to be remembered for the rest of our lives.
Do you still think spending over 500 euros to see just one band is worth every cent (or penny)? Yes, actually it is because a chance like this may only hit you once in a lifetime – the same words go for the Possessed show naturally as well. BIG FUCKIN´ HAILS to Sadistic Intent for being around and making kick-ass Death Metal!!
More pictures from Sadistic Intent´s show at Ballroom, Hamburg: