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Morbid Angel

01-Oct-2010 Metro Theatre, Sydney
June 5, 2009
Supports: Daemon Foetal Harvest, Infinitum
Reviewed by: Brendan Crabb

A great deal can happen in 14 years - just ask the members of Morbid Angel. Since the band's last Australian tour, iconic frontman David Vincent has departed and then triumphantly returned, Death Metal has experienced several periods of both creative stagnation and progression and a whole new generation of devotees have discovered the near-peerless legacy of the Floridian Death Metal godfathers. Therefore, a packed Metro should have been no surprise to anyone.

Canberra's Infinitum opened proceedings to one of the larger crowds this scribe has witnessed for an opening band at the Metro. Their brand of Death Metal owed a significant debt to the headliners, and as a result went over quite well with the several hundred punters already filling up the room despite its generic nature. Wollongong mob Daemon Foetal Harvest were also greeted with warm if hardly uproarious applause, even if their pseudo-Cannibal Corpse style quickly wore thin.

For many, Morbid Angel is the Death Metal equivalent of religion and many, many diehard fans of all ages came to worship at the temple of Vincent and his cohorts. Literally tearing into the opener, 'Rapture' (from 1993's classic 'Covenant'), the band's tightness - drummer Pete Sandoval was a revelation behind the kit - and song selection could hardly be questioned. Ever seen that episode of 'The Simpsons' where Homer yells at a certain veteran band to not bother playing "the new crap" and instead stick to the classics? No one had to tell Morbid Angel that this was what the fans wanted and basing the set around Vincent's tenure with the band (ie. the first four studio albums) was perhaps the smartest move they could have made because the older fans (many of whom may or may not have been to a show since Morbid Angel's last visit to these shores) went completely insane for every song that they crammed into their 80-minute set. The sound was a tad muddy at first, with a handful of Trey Azagthoth's blistering leads getting lost in the shuffle, but thankfully most of said difficulties had cleared up by half-a-dozen songs into the set.

'Maze Of Torment' and a crushing 'Where The Slime Live' were personal highlights of a relentless set, as was hearing that chugging mid-section during 'Immortal Rites' that has been ripped off more times than filmmakers have stolen from Tarantino. Also included was a song from the band's (still untitled and without a release date yet) new album entitled 'Nevermore', which was built around a trademark Morbid Angel riff and was received about as vociferously as an unfamiliar song could be. You didn't even have to have an extensive knowledge of the band's back catalogue to appreciate the intensity and quality of the performance. A casual fan who came along with us purely out of respect for the band's achievements and to witness the spectacle was left awestruck by it all.

The flood of international tours in recent years has brought many exceptional Death Metal bands to this country, but Morbid Angel may have just topped them all. Now bring on that new album and get them back for another run!



Heavy Metal Merchant



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