Sunday, 14 December 2014

Morbid Angel Live at the Islington Academy

Two days later and here I am back at the Academy for the mighty Morbid Angel with support as it turns out from Benediction. So from melodic rock to full on death metal with two days and yet I love it all! I haven't actually seen the Morbid ones in quite a long time. I last saw them in 2005 actually so not far off ten years back and a lot has happened since then. David Vincent is back fronting the band which is cool as I feel his vocals best suit the band though they've changed quite a bit over the years. He doesn't sound so ghoulish any more and rasps more with a slightly higher pitch and a clearer pronunciation.

As I walked in Benediction were already just starting and sounded very heavy and it was hard to distinguish the guitars though the PA as the sound mix was quite bad. Slowly things improved and I enjoyed the songs from Transcend The Rubicon most of course. I don't really like too many of the others apart from Grind Bastard which they didn't play. A decent trip into old school death metal from these old stalwarts but I guess their style of songwriting explains why they remained a fairly small band when bands like MA, Death and Obituary or Cannibal Corpse were getting bigger back in the day.

After a fairly lengthy break the stage was finally dimmed and the Morbid ones took to the stage with a huge backdrop and smaller ones behind each guitarist with the imposing Vincent centre stage ready to strike like a poised Cobra. This tour is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album Covenant and to begin with they played the whole album through from beginning to end before playing odd songs from every album of theirs. Covenant whilst a very good album is not my fave MA but it still has some classics on it that totally sounded devillish live. The Friday night death metal crowd was a fever pitch for the Floridians as they launched into the awesome Rapture which has a beautiful slower riff. Trey was on my side of the stage though trying to get a picture of him proved pretty impossible as the moshing and pushing proved a touch too vigorous! I did manage to get a few videos although the sound was a bit too loud though crystal clear.

The band was on superb form and played like a streamlined, ancient death metal machine with metronomic precision. Trey is a guitarist that gives away very few facial expressions whilst shredding but underneath that shock of dark hair lays a very awesome guitarist with his own mesmeric riffing and solo style. I especially like it when he does these wicked spidery riffs where his fingers crawl along the fretboard like a deadly black widow or something! The band ripped through the whole of Covenant like a flash. It seems like they played the fast parts which is most of it hehe.. even faster. The most brilliant moments were Rapture, Lion's Den, Sworn to the Black and the best of the lot was Angel of Disease. I can't get over how awesome that song is with many many killer riffs and changes of speed. Very wicked stuff and the packed out crowd was loving it too. God of Emptiness was fantastic as well with it's very evil and eerie slow rumble.

Sometimes it's forgotten how popular these death metal legends really are and despite the miss step of the last album, the band's fans still treat every note from Trey's guitar like the unholy coming of Beelzebub himself. Existo Vulgore is still a great song from the new album and was played at warp speed. The wickedly sick Where the Slime Live was stupendous as it slithered out of the PA. The ahhha ahhhha parts from Vincent in Immortal Rites were classic and the whole crowd was doing them back at him in that awesome early MA classic. They played close to the allotted curfew time and left with horns high and the crowd baying for more but alas there was no time. I would say as a band Morbid Angel is super strong now and do not even come close to missing the Commando behind the drum kit. The new man Tony Yeung is a tremendous drummer himself and nailed everything down superbly. I was a bit surprised at how amazingly intense and tight the band sounds these. Let's hope this fires them up to make the next record classic Morbid Angel with no experimentations. This was a night to remember classic death metal played veteran masters of the dark arts. The Lava flowed as Trey would say!

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