November 5th 2005 marked the celebration of Rock Fantasy's 20th Anniversary at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY. What is Rock Fantasy you might ask? Well, Rock Fantasy is a long-standing Heavy Metal shop in Middletown, NY that has been serving the Hudson Valley for 20 years. Owner Steve Keeler picked this night to have a real Metal celebration, as 5 death metal bands as well as a few hundred raging metal maniacs gathered at The Chance for a night of intense music. Despised Icon, Aborted, Decapitated, Vader, and headliner Suffocation each played blistering sets of crushing death metal, and Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was in attendance and brings this concert report!
Unfortunately I arrived at the venue too late to catch Despised Icon, but upon walking into The Chance not only were there at least 200-300 metal heads in attendance, but Aborted were taking the stage and bombarding the audience with their brand of brutal metal mayhem. While the band played a fairly short set, they concentrated mostly on songs from their latest Century Media release The Archaic Abattoir, as well as splatterings from their earlier material. . The bands gore-soaked lyrical content and punishing riffs were at the forefront, and the crowd ate up every minute of it.
Next up were Poland's Decapitated, kings of the "killer death metal riff", who are still out promoting their most recent opus The Negation. This band fit this bill perfectly, as they had the throng of the metal faithful in front of the stage moshing with plenty of violent exuberance. After a near 40 minute set, the Polish juggernaut left the stage to a thunderous applause and cleared the way for another band from their native land, the incomparable Vader.
Vader are a band that you really need to see live to experience what they are all about. While their studio albums contain plenty of brutal and pummeling metal might, live Vader are a force to truly be reckoned with, and one of the best live acts in the death metal genre. The twin guitars of Peter and Mauser lay down plenty of epic death metal riffs and thrash tinged leads, while the rhythm section of Novy and Daray blasts the listener into submission. In addition to tracks from their most recent The Beast as well as Revelations, the band ended their excellent set with a killer cover of the Slayer classic "Reign in Blood", which provoked sheer mayhem from the crowd in the pit. It was a very memorable set from a band that vowed to return in 2006, and we will certainly welcome them when that time happens.
Steve Keeler of Rock Fantasy
Rock Fantasy owner Steve Keeler made his way to the stage to thank the crowd for not only coming out to enjoy the music this night, but also for their patronage over the 20 years that Rock Fantasy has been in existence. He introduced Suffocation, who were left to headline the show all by themselves after Cryptopsy had cancelled earlier in the day. Suffocation are no strangers to the death metal world. These Brooklyn veterans have been around the scene for many years, and never fail to impress the technical death metal faithful. This night would of course be no different, as the band rampaged through over an hour of brutal, technical metal, led by the killer vocals and insane stage antics of lead singer Frank Mullen. The two-guitar attack of Suffocation weaves plenty of crushing riffs that are as complex as they are monstrously heavy, and the bands discography yields plenty of classic songs that are perfect examples of their style. From their latest Souls to Deny, to death metal staples like Pierced From Within, Effigy of the Forgotten, and Despise the Sun, Suffocation ran through many songs that that crowd instantly knew and responded accordingly with plenty of headbanging and serious moshing.
With a good crowd turnout and solid sets from all the bands on the bill, Steve Keeler couldn't have asked for a better night to celebrate 20 years of his store Rock Fantasy. In truth, after a night like this I'm sure many of the metal fans in attendance will be heading to Middletown's Rock Fantasy to purchase CD's & concert shirts of the bands that played this night. Who knows, maybe in 10 years we might even see a 30th Anniversary show, or a 30th Anniversary Festival? Only time will tell, but my guess is Steve will still be around with Rock Fantasy come that time, and there will once again be reason to celebrate as only the Metal Community can.
The Rock Fantasy Crew