The Decibel Magazine Tour had its final show of 2017 here at the TLA in Philly recently, and really, what better city to wrap things up in, amiright? With a lineup boasting Thrash Metal legends KREATOR and Death Metal stalwarts OBITUARY there’s simply no losing. Now I’d seen the former (and was blown away) with OVERKILL back in 2013, but never the latter, so I was pretty goddamn excited for both.
What also made this night especially cool was finally seeing in the flesh my old buddy Steve from my hometown of Massapequa, NY. We’ve been friends since 1989 and hadn’t been in the same room since 2002, so it was really fucking awesome to get a slice of Lorenzo’s Pizza and catch up with him before the show.
After a bit of miscommunication with the box office that was instantly handled by Alex Yarde from Decibel Magazine (like the BOSS that she is!), Steve, A&GS team photographer Megan and I were inside and ready to rock. The place was PACKED to the gills!! And it was also a Who’s Who of the Philly metal scene. I got to see my friends Rob Wharton (COGNITIVE), Stev Von Römer (INFERNAL OPERA), and A&GS writer INQUISITOR.
It took some maneuvering but my buddy and I finally found a choice piece of real estate to enjoy the festivities while Megan went to shoot OBITUARY. Lemme tell you something about them: they sound EVERY BIT as good live as they do on tape!! I knew they’d be good, but I was not prepared to be as blown away as I was, that’s for sure.
Kicking it off with “Internal Bleeding” from Slowly We Rot the band took us through an 11-song journey not for the faint of heart. When you hear vocalist John Tardy you might be like, “OK, no way he can do this shit live!” right? WRONG! His is one of the most unique voices in all of extreme metal and I was in total awe from beginning to end. Next up was “Chopped In Half-Turned Inside Out” which was absolutely groovalicious. Guitarists Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews, bassist Terry Butler, and drummer/backbone Donald Tardy are in complete and total sync, and it shows. This is a well-oiled machine, people.
“Visions In My Head” from 2014’s Inked In Blood was like a mule kick to the chest as the band pounded away before new song “Sentence Day” was the sonic equivalent of Charles Barkley throwing us through a plate glass window. I love this tune, and live it was even more badass. Another one from the self-titled 2017 record was next with “A Lesson In Vengeance”, and along with “Ten Thousand Ways To Die,” these were definitely two highlights of the set.
“Find the Arise” found the band in full “tear shit up mode,” not that we minded, and “Don’t Care” had the faithful going bonkers. While all of this was going on, Steve and I kept looking at each other in disbelief over how amazing this band sounded live. OBITUARY is serious, guys!
“No” was one of those fast-paced numbers that makes you wanna beat someone over the head, even though I didn’t. Still, it gets my blood pumping every time I hear it! Closing things out for them was “Slowly We Rot” and of course everyone went ballistic. As I said earlier, this was my first time seeing OBITUARY, but it sure as shit won’t be my last. After 30 years the group sounds tighter than ever, and if it’s possible they are full of even more piss and vinegar than when they first started. I was seriously blown away by how fucking amazing these guys sounded live. Their song selection was perfect and the crowd was into each and every note. Awesome!!
(UP NEXT: PART II – KREATOR)
LIVE IMAGES: MEGAN C. BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO