Death To All
Theater of the Living Arts
April 25, 2013
Review by InfamousButcher
Photos by SheWolf
In 2012, select cities were lucky enough to get the DEATH TO ALL TOUR, a celebration of the late Chuck Schuldiner’s music performed by his former bandmates. All of the proceeds went to Sweet Relief, a charity that assists musicians with medical bills. The tour went off very well with the fans and many were hoping there would be another tour hitting different cities in 2013. Well, pray for Death and you shall receive! This year it was announced that DEATH TO ALL would be the HUMAN lineup (Paul Masvidal – guitar, Steve Digiorgio – bass, Sean Reinert – drums) with Cynic guitarist Max Phelps handling vocals. The band would be performing material from the first 4 Death albums only, which is perfect for me since my faves are HUMAN and SPIRITUAL HEALING! The tour is hitting various US cities, Mexico, and the Neurotic Deathfest in the Netherlands. Bring it on! Time to be baptized in blood motherfuckers!
Tonight’s show is at the Theater of the Living Arts (TLA) on South Street in Philadelphia. The little place (capacity 500) is great for a death metal show like this; plenty of floor space for a pit, some seating at the bar, upstairs was closed for the night. Sound quality is good and loud, no distortion problems and the mixing was handled well. There were only 200 to 300 people in attendance, times are still tough and there are so many metal tours now it is not uncommon to see half full venues. My feeling is, if you are a deathmetaller, out of respect for the FATHER OF DEATH METAL, CHUCK SCHULDINER, you should fucking be here man!
Before the band took the stage the screen flashed images of the first 4 Death albums as some Death tunes played in the background, getting people stoked up. Sean kicked things off with his awesome drum intro to “Flattening of Emotions”, Paul followed with his brilliant technical riffing, Steve crushed us with the bass line, and Max brought it all together with a vocal delivery that was eerily similar to Chuck’s! It was fucking fantastic and the crowd showed their appreciation by moshing and headbanging like a bunch of lunatics! Paul moshed and grooved all over the stage while effortlessly churning out incredible riffs and solos with his headless Steinberger guitar. He is very unique and after seeing him live 3 times now, he has become one of my favorite guitarists. After the opener we got the old classic “Leprosy”, brutally delivered by Max, followed by a Dr. Kevorkian intro for a superb “Suicide Machine” (THOSE WITH POWER… WILL BE THERE!!!). Sean’s precise, powerful drumming was the highlight for me on this one. Last year Testament’s Gene Hoglan did most of the drumming for Death to All. Sean isn’t in the same league as Gene (who the fuck is?!?) but I was still damn impressed. Things were off to a killer start, more awe inspiring brutal shit was to come!
SPIRITUAL HEALING just got a great remaster release through Relapse Records, so it was fitting we got a deadly one-two punch combo of “Spiritual Healing” (A KILLER, A TAKER OF LIFE IS WHAT YOU ARE!) and “Within The Mind”. Then came my favorite of the night, a savage rendition of the rare HUMAN track “Together As One” (AND LIVING HELL… HAS BEGUN!!). After that a blistering old school “Baptized in Blood” (which featured Malevolent Creation’s Gus Rios on drums!) from SCREAM BLOODY GORE had metalheads causing carnage in the pit before we were all sailing the “Cosmic Sea”, blown away by Steve’s intricate bass solo. I’ve never heard another solo like it, fucking incredible!
When Max Phelps was announced as the singer for this year’s Death To All tour, I’m sure a lot of fans like me didn’t know who he was or how well this was going to work. I’m sure the Cynic connection helped him land the gig since Paul and Sean are in Cynic. Max did a great job with the vocals and I felt he sounded more like Chuck than last year’s vocalists Matt Harvey (Exhumed) and Charles Elliott (Abysmal Dawn) even though I felt Matt and Charles were better overall singers.
After the band left for the first encore, a tribute video for Chuck Schuldiner showed vintage photos and footage as the crowd chanted CHUCK ! CHUCK ! CHUCK! Very cool, great vibe, Chuck is truly beloved by metalheads. It’s almost a universal heavy metal constant that metalheads love Death just like they love Slayer, Black Sabbath, Priest, Pantera, and Maiden. You don’t have to be a hardcore deathmetaller like me to appreciate Chuck’s groundbreaking music.
First encore was a triple threat of classics from the first 3 albums, “Zombie Ritual”, “Living Monstrosity” (Born without eyes, hands, and HALF A BRAIN!), and “Lack of Comprehension”. Despite my torn rotator cuff (weight lifting injury) I partook in some moshing, unable to hold back anymore! The band left the stage again and we were all chanting PULL THE PLUG, hoping for the usual Death capper! We got a bone crushing juggernaut version of the legendary track to close the show! The set had flown by like essential metal nourishment for us fans, an amazing inspiring journey through the past reaffirming Chuck’s greatness. I hope we continue to get Death To All tours covering various aspects of the Death catalog. Chuck will always live on through his music and fans.
1. Flattening of Emotions
3. Suicide Machine
4. Left to Die
5. Spiritual Healing / Within the Mind
6. Together as One
7. Baptized in Blood
8. Cosmic Sea / Bass solo
Chuck Schuldiner Tribute Video
9. Zombie Ritual
10. Living Monstrosity
11. Lack of Comprehension
12. Pull the Plug