The Summer Slaughter Tour
The Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA
August 10, 2014
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
The Summer Slaughter Tour offers us North American metalheads the opportunity to see some big name extreme metal bands on the same bill, almost like a mini festival. I don’t always hit the tour; it depends on the lineup and if there is enough old school death metal for a jaded prick like me. This year’s heavy hitters are Death Metal godfathers Morbid Angel, the uncompromisingly brutal Dying Fetus, experimental metalcore band The Faceless, Tech Death band Decrepit Birth, and blackened death metallers Goatwhore. How’s that for some fucking variety?!? As for me, I was sold at Morbid Angel, one of my all-time favorite bands for more than 20 years! Tonight would be my 7th Morbid Angel show and I was fucking pumped! I was wired the night before and got it on with my wife at 5AM so I could fall back asleep! LLLLUUUUSSSTTT!! – ANOITNING ME NOW, CONSUME MY SOUL – EEGGGHH! Yeah, I’m ready for this evil shit! BRING IT!
The show tonight is at the Trocadero, my favorite Philly venue. The Troc holds 1440 people, has an old theater feel, great sound, big standing room area downstairs with plenty of pit, balcony with seats upstairs. Stage is high and there is a barrier, so crowd surfing yes, stage diving no. Turnout was very good, similar to the crowd for Carcass last April and close to a sell-out. Sadly, most of the young kids left after The Faceless. I’ve seen this happen at previous Summer Slaughters. These kids are missing the best part of the evening, the legendary bands like Morbid Angel that inspired the metalcore / deathcore shit that they enjoy. Also, smaller crowd means weaker mosh pit / crowd energy, more on that later.
First band I wanted to see was California’s Decrepit Birth. They were on the Carnival of Death tour with Obituary and Broken Hope 2 years ago but I missed their set. Dreadlocked vocalist Bill Robinson kicked things off by encouraging us all to smoke weed before laying waste to the crowd with an impressive set of musicianship and brutality. Bill’s voice was guttural (the guy once filled in for Suffocation’s Frank Mullen on a tour) yet had some range to meld with the music. The guitar solos and drumming were superb and the sound was tighter than a fucking bear trap. Kind of like Suffocation mixed with Gorguts which is a good thing in my book. Drummer Sam Paulicelli was amazing with his fills and blast beats, I was fucking mesmerized watching him! Despite being unfamiliar with the material, I thoroughly enjoyed their set and wished it was longer than the 25 min allotted. I’ve got to pick up some of their stuff soon!
- The Infestation
- The Resonance
- A Gathering of Imaginations
- Prelude to the Apocalypse
For a death metal band, New Orleans’ Goatwhore gets a lot of hype. Every show I go to, folks are wearing Goatwhore shirts, hell, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse routinely wears one onstage. Why all the fuss? Because Goatwhore is catchy blackened death metal! Right away I was impressed with the guitar sound; Sammy Duet had a good groove that is uncommon in the genre. While wearing gauntlets, singer L. Ben Falgoust delivered powerful vox that were in between death and black. Drummer Zack Simmons was also quite good, lightning fast. With song titles like “Fucked By Satan”, these guys have tongue planted firmly in cheek. I liked the set but won’t be rushing out to buy any of their stuff, just not quite in my wheelhouse as I am a straight ahead death guy.
- Poisonous Existence In Reawakening
- Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult
- An End to Nothing
- Baring Teeth For Revolt
- Apocalyptic Havoc
THY ART IS MURDER
Aussie deathcore band Thy Art is Murder were up next, and I was none too pleased with the hopping up and down shit. They reminded me of Killswitch Engage but heavier. And the singer wore a hoodie and spandex pants (WTF?!). It’s just not my style of heavy music.
- Defective Breed
- Shadow of Eternal Sin
- Laceration Penetration
- The Purest Strain of Hate
- Dead Sun
- Whore to a Chainsaw
- Reign of Darkness
This will snap you out of your shit! The most brutal band of the fest took the stage around 8:30 to chants of FETUS from the crowd! Then John Gallagher and co. proceeded to bludgeon and batter us with breakdowns, blast beats, and inhuman growls! John’s super guttural vox are a great counterpoint to Sean Beasley’s mid-range scream. Drummer Trey Williams is fantastic, I didn’t think it was possible but he proved tonight you can get a great drum sound with a single bass drum (yes you were right Doug)! Musically John’s riffing and the tempo changes were handled with power and precision. The whole fucking set was a highlight, but if I had to pick a few I’m going with crowd favorite “One Shot, One Kill”, “From Womb to Waste” (FUCK THE BABY LET IT DIE!), and “Your Treachery Will Die With You.” My only complaint is that the set was too short at 40 min. Just another day in the life of Dying Fetus, being heavy as fuck! These guys never disappoint!
- In the Trenches
- One Shot, One Kill
- Intentional Manslaughter
- Justifiable Homicide
- From Womb to Waste
- Your Treachery Will Die With You
- Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses)
Ah, now finally what we have been waiting all day for! Ominous music played over the PA as the crowd chanted MORBID, waiting for David Vincent, Trey Azagthoth, Destructhor, and Tim Yeung to lead us to the Promised Land! Blistering riffs and drums ensued with the familiar opener “Immortal Rites” as we banged our heads and moshed. The band scorched us like hellfire! David’s voice was dead on, guttural but clear, great enunciation. As a vocalist he has never sounded better, able to deftly deliver the low end (“Day of Suffering”) and the high end for the oldest material (“Maze of Torment”). Trey’s riffing and solos are the stuff of legend, just fucking spellbinding. The master rarely looks up at the crowd while he is at work, it’s like he’s in his own world that us mere mortals just couldn’t handle. Thor is a great rhythm guitarist in his own right and his low, twisted stance while playing is unique. Tim is one of the very best extreme metal drummers; anybody who can replace Commando (Pete Sandoval) without missing a beat is fucking exceptional. This lineup is killer, Morbid Angel has never sounded better live, and I saw ‘em 3 times 20 years ago! AGELESS, STILL IAM indeed!
Set was a mix of material with songs from each MA album, with the most representation from 1993’s COVENANT, which MA had just done a 20th anniversary tour for. There was no onstage acknowledgement that MA’s legendary debut ALTARS OF MADNESS is now 25 years old, even though they were selling shirts that said just that. Only two tracks were played off ALTARS, I was hoping for more stuff like “Lord of All Fevers and Plague” and “Blasphemy”. That said everything MA played was brilliant. My faves of the evening included “Day of Suffering” (HOW DARE YOU COME FOR ME! AND AGAIN YOU WILL DIE! DIE!!), “Maze of Torment” (fastest song of the night, David really stretched out the final MAZE OF DEATH at the end of the song!), “Rapture” (SCORN OF THE EARTH!), “Fall From Grace” (WHORES LONG FOR MY FLESH, AND MY DESIRE!) “Where the Slime Live” (WHAT A TRAGEDY WHEN THE GOD HEADS ARE REMOVED!), and the classic “God of Emptiness” (great alternating guttural / baritone vox from David, I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL AND YOU’LL BE LIKE ME..IN EMPTINESS!).
Set was only an hour long and we didn’t get “Chapel of Ghouls”, which is a MA staple and a crowd pleaser. Lots of people were upset with the brevity of the set and the fact that there wasn’t an encore. Having just seen the Covenant 20th anniversary tour in Nov’13, I felt this show was too similar, the only song played tonight that was not part of the Covenant tour was “Day of Suffering”. Also, since lots of people left after The Faceless was done, the Troc was only about 60% full and there wasn’t much pit or crowd surfing activity. Mosh etiquette was subpar as some douchebags were taking potshots at people as they went around the circle pit, catching them off balance. Hey dickhead, rather than staying on the perimeter and cherry picking, get in here and let’s see what you’ve got!
Overall I enjoyed Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, and Decrepit Birth. The MA set was a little too familiar for me, but the performance was still excellent. As a live band, MA is still at the top of their game with this lineup some 31 years after the band’s formation, still SWORN TO THE BLACK!
- Immortal Rites
- Fall from Grace
- Day of Suffering
- Maze of Torment
- Vengeance Is Mine
- Ageless, Still I Am
- Curse the Flesh
- Existo Vulgoré
- Where the Slime Live
- Blood on My Hands
- Bil Ur-Sag
- World of Shit (The Promised Land)
- God of Emptiness