(The following review of the DECIBEL Magazine Tour‘s stop in Atlanta last week was written by Tør, a self-professed metalhead, data nerd, and ex-academic, who first appeared at our site with a post based on his Ph.D. dissertation on the spread of metal across national boundaries. All the wonderful photos in this review were also made by Tør.)
The night got off to a good start: I was able to dodge the dreaded Atlanta traffic relatively easily on my way to catch Morbid Angel, Immolation, Necrot, and Blood Incantation on the Decibel Magazine Tour 2019.
I arrived at The Masquerade just in time to witness a solid mid-week crowd greeting Denver’s Blood Incantation with a warm Southern welcome. The band have been praised as one of the most promising acts in modern death metal and it’s easy to see why: They masterfully sailed through a thirty-minute opening slot by taking the crowd on a journey of progressive and cerebral death metal complete with slow enchanted passages and downright hard-hitting choruses. The technical ability and overall performance on display were quite astounding and solidified their place as one of the most innovative newer death metal acts in my mind.
Having missed Necrot on their previous trip to Atlanta, I was happy to be able to catch them this time around. The band was an interesting proposition as they offered a thrash-infused death metal compared to the rest of the bands on the bill—something I am very glad for. Thrashy death metal rules and so did Necrot throughout their set. I was especially impressed with Chad Gailey’s possessed drumming and the band’s no-frills approach on stage.
What can I say about Immolation that hasn’t been said since 1988? In a scene full of imitators, these icons keep reinventing themselves. With 2017’s Atonement being one of my favorite death metal albums of recent times, I was ecstatic to see the band kick things off with “Destructive Currents”. I was going bananas in the pit from Robert Vigna’s insane riffing style. The mad scientist was at it all night with his theatrics, pumping the crowd with each signature swing of his axe.
Ross Dolan’s vocals were thunderous as usual, broadcast over a barrage of phenomenal musicianship. The thing that makes Immolation one of the gods of death metal is their consistency, and consistency is exactly what they gave the raucous crowd.
After a rather lengthy setup, Morbid Angel came on stage to put on one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent times. I am a big fan of the band’s last album, Kingdoms Disdained, so I was pleased to hear “Piles of Little Arms” and “Garden of Disdain” right off the bat. The addition of Dan Vadim Von to the lineup has brought some of the energy that was lacking back into the band’s live performance. He was in a trance-like state all night; swaying with the tempo and headbanging along with the crowd.
Steve Tucker was a beast as always, howling tales of blasphemy and death. Off to the corner and in the shadows, Trey Azagthoth worked his magic effortlessly. The band recreated the same dynamic that has made them one of the greatest death metal bands: leveraging brutality with intricate song structures and otherworldly musicianship.
The final three included “God of Emptiness”, “Architect and Iconoclast”, and “Blood on My Hands”. I walked out of the venue just as the crowd erupted in applause and drove home in total silence. The ringing in my ears was too good to ruin with recorded music.