For the last extreme metal concert of the year at The Chance in downtown Poughkeepsie, New York, the hot triple header death metal bill of the legendary Gorguts, along with technical blasters Origin and Italian atmospheric act Nero Di Marte descended into town. Despite the near sub-zero temperatures outside (which perhaps was a factor on the surprisingly low turnout), the metal was hot inside, and all three bands delivered strong sets.
After a few local openers, Italy's Nero Di Marte hit the stage right around the 9PM mark, and though for their set no more than perhaps 70 people where in the club, the band went full speed ahead into a few atmospheric death metal tracks from their new Prosthetic Records self-titled debut. Sort of like a mix of Gojira bombast & dissonance with the atmosphere & complexity of Opeth or Tool, Nero Di Marte where probably a tad too laid back and dissonant for this audience, but what they lacked in upbeat material they made up for their ability to mesmerize the crowd with some seriously heavy, trippy sounds. Groove laden and crushing riffs, melodic & harsh vocals, and long musical passages punctuated by layers of sound effects and textures created by both guitar players, made for an intriguing, if challenging listen for some. The near 13-minute "Nero Di Marte" closed the set in fine experimental fashion, and while not a band for everyone in attendance, I enjoyed them and look forward to seeing a longer set from them in the future perhaps in a different setting. Check out their album-it's a killer!
Anyone who follows me on SoT knows my love for technical death metal bands, and the US act Origin is one that I've liked for a few years now but never had the chance to see live till this evening. Led by superhuman drummer John Longstreth, who also happens to be in Gorguts as well and is pulling double duty nightly on this tour, is joined by vocalist James Lee, guitarist Paul Ryan, and bassist Mike Flores. These guys are so talented, just watching them play is going to tire you out. Ryan & Flores' fingers are just flying up and down the fretboard while Longstreth wails away on the drums. This is HEAVY stuff and so technically challenging, that to some it might seem like a blur and a lot of noodling but it's hard to not be impressed by the skill at putting this all together. Lee is a good frontman, as he regular engages with the crowd (or lack thereof on this evening) and keeps them into it, calling for circle pits whenever he felt the response was getting too laid back. And the crowd did respond, swelling for the first time in the evening to probably close to 100 people who really enjoyed the death metal chaos the band was bringing. Quite a few tracks from their most recent CD Entity were played, including "Expulsion of Fury", "Pugatory", and "Saliga", but the band also dipped in Antithesis with the furious "Wrath of Vishnu" and "Aftermath" as well as other favorites from further back in their catalog. For fans of complex death metal, they did not disappoint one bit.
Which brought mighty Canadian legends Gorguts to the stage. After disappearing from the scene in 2001, the death metal veterans stormed back with a new line-up and album here in 2013 called Colored Sands. Founding member Luc Lemay has brought with him Longstreth on drums, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, and
Colin Marston on bass. As it turns out, this is quite the formidable line-up, and their set was filled with dissonant, precision musicianship. The entire Colored Sands album was played to start off their set, and as great as the new album is, it's not something that you get into immediately, so for those in the audience who had yet to get acquainted with it, the first 45 minutes of the Gorguts performance probably was a tad trying. This is thick, dense, atmospheric, and dissonant death metal, not reliant on the speed or technicality of the bands older material, so it requires careful attention and a lot of patience, which the crowd seemed to give the band and you could see it was appreciated. For an encore, Lemay promised a few old favorites, and they did not disappoint, ripping into "Orphans of Sickness", "Inverted" and the killer "Obscura". Lemay & Hunagel weaved all sorts of odd & frenetic riffing techniques throughout, and Longstreth showed no signs of weariness despite playing two challenging sets in a row.
All in all, a great night of death metal in Poughkeepsie. It's a shame though that so few people came out to enjoy the excellent music.
Le Toit du Monde
An Ocean of Wisdom
Enemies of Compassion
Reduced to Silence
Orphans of Sickness