For our last show review of 2016, here is THE MAESTRO and THE ALCALDE and this is our joint write-up on the I Worship Chaos Tour’s dates in Dallas, TX and Philadelphia, PA. Hope you guys dig it, and we’ll see you at many more gigs in 2017!!
THE ALCALDE: For many fans, this one at Gas Monkey Live would’ve been their last show of the year, and the selected band to warm up the cold audience for the night was ONI, from Canada. A band that I’ve never heard of in my life, until the day of the show when I decided to check at least one of their songs out, and then another, and then another, and then their entire debut album Ironshore. ONI is a very particular band that follows in the progressive metal category, but all their released songs so far seem much heavier than progressive metal to me. If you like bands like PROTEST THE HERO and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, check these guys out. The selection of songs that they played is yet unknown to me, but make sure you don’t miss tracks like “Eternal Recurrence”, “Barn Burner” and “The Only Cure”.
THE MAESTRO: I caught the last few ONI songs, and I have to say they were pretty impressive live as well. But I was ready for the neoclassical shred of the one, the only, EXMORTUS!! It’s been a busy year for the boys as they’ve been touring almost non-stop behind Ride Forth, released at the beginning of 2016 to the delight of fans everywhere, me included. Opening with “Immortality Made Flesh” from 2014’s Slave to the Sword, new track “Death to Tyrants” was next. There were quite a few EXMORTUS shirts in the crowd, so it was obvious they had a sizeable fan base in attendance. My buddy Bobby was so impressed with their set he bought two immediately after!
MAESTRO: One more new song appeared in “For the Horde” before what has become a jaw-dropping show staple materialized: the band’s killer rendition of “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)” a track that never gets old, live or on tape. It’s just incredible! As an added treat, to intro their final number the band launched into BOSTON’S “Foreplay”, making it heavier, while still retaining the essence of the tune. Then they kicked the sonic door open with “Metal Is King” during which guitarist David Rivera and vocalist/guitarist Conan did their trademark thing onstage where they play each other’s guitars over each other’s backs. It STILL amazes me how they do this and never miss a note. If you’ve never seen EXMORTUS live, then shame on you…just…SHAME!!
After a brief period to collect ourselves it was now time for ABBATH. Last time he was here in Philly I had to miss the gig and I was pretty pissed, so nothing was getting in my way this time around. With his self-titled debut under his belt, the Black Metal legend wasted no time ripping into opener “To War!” before dropping an IMMORTAL classic “Nebular Ravens Winter” and then I’s “Warriors” on our heads. Since I never knew when or if I’d see him live, this was fucking awesome, especially “Warriors.’ I love that song, and on this cold night in Philly it was perfect, especially when ABBATH screamed, “Philadelphia! Let me hear all the fucking warriors out there!!”
King ov Hell and lead guitarist Ole André Farstad were plenty animated as new track “Ashes of the Damned” rumbled through the TLA, and this continued with an IMMORTAL double shot of “One By One” and “Tyrants” from 2002’s Sons of Northern Darkness, one of my favorite records from the band. ABBATH stalked the stage like the conquering warrior he was all night, and you could tell he was really feeling himself as the crowd went ballistic for these vintage tunes, and rightfully so. But as cool as that was to see, it was even better to witness the crowd throwing up the horns and getting into the new stuff, like the ones that closed the set. “Count the Dead” was an absolute ripper from beginning to end, and final song/album favorite “Winter Bane” almost tore my head from my shoulders I was banging it so hard.
I am so glad I got to see ABBATH live. Everything about this show was perfect, from song selection to execution to stage presence. I really hope they go on a headlining run in 2017 so that we can get a full 90-minute or longer set. The mix of old and new music really made for such an awesome experience, and every Black Metal fan needs to get out and do an ABBATH show whenever possible. What a way to end my 2016 concert calendar!!
ALCALDE: The icing on the cake for this glorious metal night was when CHILDREN OF BODOM hit the stage. So far, this show has been one of the best tour packages that 2016 offered, and everything is about to come to an epic end after this group of talented musicians show us why they’re so recognized in the metal community. It looks like everyone at the venue was glad to hear more classic songs from COBHC than newer songs…although, I Worship Chaos was a very decent comeback after a couple of bad releases before this album came out.
Just when the band was set up, “Needled 24/7” opened the epic setlist and the fans responded immediately. It made a lot of sense after we saw kickass performances from both ABBATH and EXMORTUS. CHILDREN OF BODOM’s album Follow The Reaper was much more featured this evening. Right after the opening song, tere was no resting time for anyone with the title track “Follow the Reaper”. After that, a couple of songs from the crushing Are You Dead Yet? came out: “Living Dead Beat” (which is still amazing to listen to in any state of mind) and “Thrashed, Lost & Strungout”, a song that’s played often by the band.
Logically, a few songs from 2015’s I Worship Chaos were also included on this melodic night. “Morrigan” received an excellent response from the crowd, and it looks like it also fits with the energy that all the other classics bring to the menu. So far, all these tracks have been doing a great job in keeping the audience entertained. As soon as “In Your Face” started, everyone could follow with the hard headbanging, “My Bodom (I Am The Only One)” was also included in the list, and it functioned pretty well as a bridge to one of my favorite songs from Follow the Reaper, “Everytime I Die”.
This sensational night started to become even better after this point. COBHC’s classic “Silent Night, Bodom Night” also took everyone by surprise, but it did a great job in taking us all back to more than fifteen years ago when this band was being established as one of the most representative in the melodic death metal genre. “I Worship Chaos” brought more speed to things, and it kept the crowd moving all over the place. With almost 70% of the show already completed, the iconic “Angels Don’t Kill” from Hate Crew Deathroll turned things darker, and it was the perfect song to appreciate the talented musicians playing in front of us.
If you’ve been a CHILDREN OF BODOM fan for a while, you must realize that there’s no such band without “Lake Bodom”, from their debut album Something Wild. This song was released almost twenty years ago, and it very much holds a long history that we were all celebrating, both in Dallas and Philly. Before almost coming to an end, one of my personal favorite tracks that I had never seen live came out, “Children of Decadence”. Those five minutes were the best of the night. Understanding that the band needs a break from time to time to keep up with their furious songs, when the encore started, that keyboard sound from “Hate Me!” got the crowd all hyped and it just confirmed that CHILDREN OF BODOM were pleasing their fans tunes that will never get old. “Downfall” from Hatebreeder was in charge to close the set and establish the evening as truly one of the best that anyone attending the show could experience.
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE/THE MAESTRO