Show in Review: Devastation of the Nation Tour
I spent half the day sleeping off the road trip from Vegas the day before. Did some day job networking by meeting up with one of our regional operations managers for lunch at Mellow Mushroom. Their stout beer selection could use some work but the beer I had with a personal pizza hit the spot well enough. I spent the rest of my pre-show/ post lunch time swiping left on the plethora of fuck-boys on Tinder and building out more metal-gasmic playlists of the week. 4:30 rolled around an I finally got off my ass to get ready to go to the show.
Club Red is off of University Dr in Mesa, AZ. Its in the middle of a strip mall. I almost drove right past it. If it wasn’t for GPS I would never find half of these places I swear. I get out of my truck and low and behold the person who had been driving behind me just so happened to be a fellow metal-head from Vegas named Kipp. We had never formally introduced ourselves to each other until this parking lot.
I briefly parted ways with him to get in line and prepare to be searched by security. The venues sign states the rules very clearly so no one is mistaken on their way in on how things are going to go. To add to the hilarity , who did I find working security, none other than the Slayer Booty Shorts Guy aka Chris the Drummer from Malnourished. I gave him a hug and took my wristband (it’s what I’ve always wanted) and crossed off my name at will call.
Walking in there wasn’t a huge crowd but sizable enough for this early on in a show. Upon entering you can see a full on wall of merch. The bar was on the opposite side of the entrance to the larger of the two stage rooms. There were already people in line to score their tour t-shirt at the various tables.
Six Million Dead provided local support while starting the show off strong with a 5+ man mosh pit. I was happy to see the amount of people already there supporting the opening bands. They killed it. Their sound was great, stage presence was on point. During their set they took a moment to make an informal announcement to welcome their newest member Drummer Blaine Peters. They played songs off of their two albums God, Greed and Genocide (2018) and Indiscriminate Misanthrophy (2012) .
This band is comprised of several seasoned members. This would however be my first and only show seeing them with Ninno and Blue Thompson included in the line up since the band formally announced on their Social Media that they would be parting ways with the two members. Despite the impending line up changes, the band is optimistic regarding their future and is working on new material as they seek a new Bassist. If you are local or want to travel to see a show they have a pretty killer one lined up for October with Immolation and Blood Incantation. I’m looking forward to seeing what other metal delights they have to put on the table come 2020.
Nightmarer was second to take the stage as more people trickled in. According to their band page they are extreme metal, but I was lacking in feeling the extreme. Their music was for the most part very monotone to me with very few headbang-able moments.. Playing with almost no lights during the entirety of their set made for an inability to capture any decent photos even with editing. There was no promotion of where to find their music, what the next song was called or even much of shout out to the other bands playing. The lack of enthusiasm was visible in the audience. It almost felt like we were watching a band in a room of mannequins with the occasional staff member making their way through the people shaped obstacles. Maybe this was and off day. Or maybe this is how they like to perform. If the later, it’s not my cup of tea.
Vale of Pnath was a welcomed change that brought life back into the crowd. They were more lively with their stage presence and actually had lights so you could see their brutally beautiful faces. I convinced another metal-head who ventured from Vegas to give them a shot live and he did not regret it. It brings me joy to see someone’s opinion changed for the better after seeing a band live. Live performances are definitely a mixed bag but this one exceeded the expectations of those who have only heard their recorded stuff.
These Denver, CO dudes just released their new album “Accursed”on May 17th and highlighted this new heavy as fuck whiplash inducing material during their set to sate our famished musical palettes. From their new LP they indulged us with the title track Accursed, Shadow And Agony, The Darkest Gate and Spectre Of Bone (my personal fave off the new release). Have no fear though the brought back some of their older material from II (2016) and The Prodigal Empire (2016) to melt faces with.
Hate was an added bonus but not an expectation when I bought my tickets for this show. Poland produces some flat out amazing metal bands. Hailing from Warsaw they blessed the U.S. with their unholy blasphemic presence. These metal veterans absolutely know how to get down, sporting corpse paint and utterly obliterating the stage. This show just kept getting better and better with every note that pierced through my chest. You know when the music is so good it vibrates through you? This is one of those bands that gives me that feeling.
The day of the show was the date of their new album drop Auric Gates of Veles. If you haven’t heard this album you realllllllly need to. In addition to playing through several numbers from this latest drop, they played through songs from Tremendum (2017) , Erebos (2010) among other albums dating all the way back to 2003.
Between sets I had a discussion with a lively couple next to the bar about band names and shoving taco bell up the guys ass. I”ll wait for the pornhub link for good measure (I’m serious guys I wanna see this) . I also talked to some young men about the show where I spied them flossing before they ran off to get down in the pit. One of my favorite things about shows is talking to some of the younger fans who are just starting to go to shows. The sparkle in their eyes when the talk about the band(s) they came to see.
Incantation brought back the thrashy more raw side of the show. They didn’t have any super fancy gimmicks or lights they just came to jam out with all of us. The metal show veterans took us back to the 90’s with songs from Onward To Golgotha (1992) and Mortal Throne of Nazarene (1994) among others before diving into their late 2000’s discography with Ascend Into the Eternal from Vanquish in Vengeance (2012) and Rites of the Locust from Profane Nexus (2017) . While their performance did not blow me away per say they definitely brought it on stage. I am happy to see them still playing live and look forward to their next show and/or album drop that comes my way.
Belphegor came complete with upside down crosses and their A Game. I know I already sound like a broken record but yusssssss. Honestly out of all the bands including DF they pretty much stole the show. There was no encore despite the crowd , including myself, pleading for one.
Their set list contained songs from through out their discography from 2003 with the title track for Lucifer Incestus to Swinefever – Regent of Pigs from their 2017 album Totenritual . Hell’s Ambassador from Pestapokalypse VI (2006) to Stigma Diabolicum from Bondage Goat Zombie (2008) they were not skipping a beat in the entirety of the set. Just sooooo fucking gooooooooood.
Dark Funeral came onto the stage in style sporting their corpse paint and dark battle armor. It was a site to behold. Every moment of it being soaked in. I finally get to cross them and Belphegor off of my list.
Kicking it off with some King Antichrist from Attera Totus Sanctus (2013) before blazing through To Carve Another Wound from Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016) and Goddess of Sodomy from Diablolis Interium(2001) they covered a wide variety of music from their 20+ year discography. Amping up the crowd more and more as they played.
The chanting of the crowd rang loud and true throughout the venue as they were supplicating for more music and theatrics. Dark Funeral obliged us all with an encore playing My Funeral from Angelus Exuro Pro Eternus (2009) as well as the title track and Unchain My Soul from Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016) closing out an epic evening of black metal to fill the void.
The Head Bangover
This show was nothing short of amazing despite being unable to go into the mosh pit to join in all the slam dance games. I wasn’t sure how I could do this one justice in writing. I snagged some merch from Vale of Pnath to include a tour T-shirt and some posters (which were free and really fucking nice) .
After discovering that Gloryhammer was coming to play the next day at the SAME venue I bought tickets to go. I ventured back to my hotel room and fell asleep to the weather channel after texting some dude off of tinder back in Vegas that would end up standing me up the following week (meh).