Show Review: Morbid Angel at Mr. Smalls Theatre 4/23

Show Review: Morbid Angel with Misery Index, Dreaming Dead, and Hate Storm Annihilation.morbid angel

Although I am mainly a black metal type of girl, I have been trying to get back in touch with the metal that jump-started my love for the genre of metal as a whole: death metal. This show reminded me why I fell in love with metal and had me feeling as elated as I did at my first death metal show.

Hate Storm Annihilation, a three-piece death metal band from Chicago, opened up the night with skull-cracking jams that got everyone ready for a night full of brutal death metal. Next up was Dreaming Dead, an all-girl death metal band reigning from desolate Portland. Seeing female metal musicians always hits a spot in my heart and taps into so many positive emotions, being that I am a woman who loves metal, as well as plays metal. It is always nice to see all female bands getting somewhere strictly because of their music. So they definitely get a huge thumb up from me for that as they played a brutal set and captured the crowd, strictly on the basis of their talent.

My favorite band of the night was Misery Index, from Baltimore. I had been listening to them rather frequently during the weeks leading up to the show and they seriously exceeded my expectations. The song that impressed me the most was ‘Conjuring the Call’ off of “The Killing Gods”. It had been my favorite song off of that album, and one of my favorite songs of theirs, but hearing it live was absolutely amazing. You could feel every note they played and all of the soul put into the vocals. One feature that I really liked about their live performance was that both the front-man and the bassist did vocals, which brought a really heavy atmosphere packed full of brutality.

Headlining the show were the legendary death metal pioneers Morbid Angel. This was my first time seeing them so that was a real treat for me! Although David Vincent is no longer in the band and is now working on a separate project entitled ‘I Am Morbid’, I still believe that this lineup accurately and forcefully displayed the might and brutality that is Morbid Angel. The new material they played was just as solid, if not more solid, than the original jams they brought to the death metal scene.  From start to finish, they played an absolutely amazing set which reminded me of my first experience at a death metal show, seeing Cannibal Corpse. Although my taste in metal has developed over the years, I will always be at my core, a death metal woman, and I am so grateful for Morbid Angel reminding me of my roots.

Morbid Angel still has plenty of dates left on this tour so if you missed them in Pittsburgh & want to catch them somewhere else, check the dates out below.

Apr 24 – Cincinnati – Bogart’s
Apr 25 – Grand Rapids – The Intersection
Apr 26 – Milwaukee – The Rave II
Apr 27 – Joliet – The Forge
Apr 28 – Minneapolis – Music Hall Minneapolis
Apr 30 – Denver – The Summit Music Hall
May 01 – Salt Lake City – The Complex
May 03 – Portland – Hawthorne Theatre
May 04 – Seattle – El Corazon
May 07 – San Francisco – Slim’s
May 08 – Sacramento – Ace of Spades
May 09 – Los Angeles – Regent Theatre
May 10 – Pomona – The Glass House
May 11 – Phoenix – The Rebel Lounge
May 12 – El Paso – Tricky Falls
May 13 – Albuquerque – Historic El Rey Theater
May 15 – Austin – Come and Take It Live
May 16 – Dallas – Trees Dallas
May 17 – Houston – Scout Bar

 

Deathwhite – Interview & Release Info

“DEATHWHITE unveil ‘For A Black Tomorrow’, their first full-length album of world-class dark,  melodic metal. The anonymous collective dig deep into their influences from metal’s halcyon days of the 90’s to craft vivid songs that are sharp, polished and deeply emotional. “The Grace of the Dark”, “Contrition”, “Dreaming the Inverse” and more simply sound alive! A work of timeless metal, DEATHWHITE’s ‘For A Black Tomorrow’ is profound and powerful.” via Season of Mist.

Interview:

What is it like working as a three-piece anonymous metal band? How do you distribute work evenly? 

We are mainly a studio band that gets together only when it comes time to write a new album.  We’ve yet to play live, although that is something that appears to be in the cards in the near future. The idea with Deathwhite was to simply write and record our own music, release it, then start the process all over again for each successive release. There was never a grand scheme behind the band. Yet, the songs typically originate with one member, who writes the riffs, lyrics and arrangements, but, once the other members become involved, the songs can often change significantly. It’s truly a collaborative process in the end.

In what ways have the Pittsburgh metal scene shaped you?

The three of us have been in and out of Pittsburgh metal bands throughout the years. We’ve always found the scene to be very competitive with a wide variety of bands. Some of the friendships we’ve made within the Pittsburgh metal scene persist to this day, although Deathwhite isn’t necessarily a fully-functioning member of the scene like a traditional band would be. We are, however, happy to be associated with the city’s current crop of bands. But, since the Pittsburgh metal scene doesn’t have a defined sound, we are not influenced by it. Rather, we take our influences from primarily English and Scandinavian bands. That being said, with the success of Code Orange, the future appears to be bright for Pittsburgh metal.

What are some of your lyrical influences? 

Lyrically, we are influenced by English and Scandinavian doom bands who tend to favor a more personal, reflective approach to their lyrics. We function largely the same way, albeit with our own perspective. Since we have a clean singer, we cannot afford to arbitrarily write lyrics — everything has to fit properly, so, lyrics are often approached with the utmost care and consideration for our style as a whole, which tends to fall under the “dark metal” banner. It is up to the listener to interpret our lyrics, but, some songs are a bit more obvious than others.

When and how did you guys form? What was the initial inspiration that sparked the inception Deathwhite? 

We formed in 2012 with the basic premise of being a studio-only band. We never intended to play live. The band’s creation was spurred by the desire to write music in a slower and more melodic approach than our previous bands since many of us had played in death and thrash metal bands. One of the main elements was to use all clean singing and not employ growled vocals. We are fans of heavier, more gruff vocals,  but it would probably not fit into our overall approach. Nevertheless, it’s somewhat difficult for us to fathom the band is already six-years-old. In many respects, we are just getting started.

Are there other genres aside from melodic metal, that have influenced your writing? I sense a lot of atmospheric elements that reach a whole other level than melodic metal groups normally tap into. 

We are all fans of Goth music such as Sisters of Mercy, Fields of Nephilim and more, along with The Cure, although we’ve never really thought of those bands when songwriting. Perhaps they creep in subconsciously. But, as we’ve gotten older, we’ve been more interested in other forms of music than metal. There’s a quite a bit of flexibility within the genre of metal — virtually nothing is off-limits, but we’ve found enjoyment in other styles of music as well.

Do you have any tours planned in support of the new album or maybe some local shows here in Pittsburgh? 

While we currently do not have tours lined up at the present time, we are in the process of arranging our first live shows. We recently added two live members in order for this to become a reality, but, we will take the necessary steps to ensure we are ready to play live, for the last thing we want is to play before we are ready. That being said, we may arrange a show or two in Pittsburgh. Time will tell. 

(Interview questions answered collectively by the band)

 

‘For A Black Tomorrow” comes out on February 23 2018, through Season of Mist. Check out their video for “Dreaming the Inverse”, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lByzo3UZzOg, and keep an eye out for their new album!

Concert Review: Ne Obliviscaris

Last night, while in Connecticut visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the privilege of finally seeing Ne Obliviscaris, a super rad prog-metal band from Australia.

As any music lover knows, it’s one thing to be amazing on a recording, but to be incredibly tight live is a whole other level. NeO was impeccable live. The mixture of songs from their new album “Urn”, to “Citadel”, to “Portal of I” created a truly unique journey of pain, joy, life, and death. were probably one of the most amazing bands I’ve ever seen in concert. How every single one of them plays with absolute perfection every night, is a true testament to their musicianship and professionalism.

I must say that I have never seen a metal musician dancing and smiling on stage before, but that changed when I saw Tim perform. Watching Tim’s upbeat attitude, next to Xen’s mysterious and intense atmosphere, was such a beautiful dynamic.

One other key point I would like to make, coming from someone who can barely sit through a four-minute song without getting bored, is that they were able to keep my attention for a whole sixteen-and-a-half-minute song. I take naps that are shorter than that!! If that doesn’t explain the magic of NeO, I don’t know what will. I’ve never heard a band that is beautiful, brutal, sweet, and intense, all at the same time. The individualities within the band create a prog-metal machine that is incomparable to anything else I have ever heard.

It was truly an honor.

NeO has a few weeks left of their North American tour, and if you are able to catch one of their last shows, I highly, highly suggest that you do.

Nov. 24 – Greensboro, N.C. @ Blind Tiger

Nov. 25 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Masquerade

Nov. 26 – Orlando, Fla. @ Haven

Nov. 28 – New Orleans, La. @ Gasa Gasa

Nov. 29 – Ft. Worth, Texas @ Rail Club

Nov. 30 – Houston, Texas @ Acadia Live

Dec. 1 – Austin, Texas @ Come & Take It Live

Dec. 3 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Club Red

Dec. 4 – Santa Ana, Calif. @ Constellation Room

Ne Obliviscaris – Interview with Xenoyr on ‘Urn’ Album Release & North American Tour

 

The prog-metal gods, Ne Obliviscaris, are back at it again with their new album, released on October 27th, 2017 entitled “Urn”. It had been three years since the release of Citadel, an album that showed intense mastery and style. As someone who is not a huge prog-metal fan, I didn’t think I would be as in love with this album as I actually ended up being. From the opening track entitled “Libera, Pt. I: Saturnine Spheres” to the stunning single that they pre-released entitled “Intra Venus” to the tear-jerking and absolutely awe-inspiring song “Eyrie” – it absolutely blew me away. I’m no expert, but I would highly recommend this album to literally ANY metal fan. Whether you’re into more thrash or more death, there are components of many different subgenres in this masterpiece. I’m an extremely picky person when it comes to metal, but the beautiful harsh vocals from Xen and killer guitar riffs piercing through Tim’s wonderful clean vocals and violin parts are just absolutely flawless.

Interview with Xen

I was lucky enough to discuss some questions with Xenoyr regarding the new album and the tour, below. Check it out!

“1) what were some of your influences while writing Urn?

Lyrically, the album covers various aspects of death, the one thing we all share in the end, regardless of who we are. I guess it was a subconscious direction after our line-up changed, with removing our long term bassist, it’s not an easy thing, but it’s a loss and a change for the band. The album took on a dark undertone however as usual it has moments of light shining through the cracks. Within the lyrics there are references to certain influences of mine; writers like John Milton (one of my greatest inspirations, a man with such a vivid mind), Jules Verne, Lovecraft (we can all use a little), and a lot of old art which I tried to influence the cover art a little with, I wanted a female figure in an almost old world pose that you may see in a Romanticism painting. She represents Mother Earth pouring the sun onto herself.

 

2) How would you say ‘Urn’ compares to previous albums?

I think this album is more collaborative on a deeper level, given the line-up change, we kind of banded together stronger than before and committed to focusing and writing on a tighter deadline. To me ‘Urn’ almost feels like a combination of both ‘Portal of I’ and ‘Citadel’, yet with a little something else. It’s kind of retrospective in a slight way, but has a lot more foresight and scope at the same time.

3) The first date of the tour was last night — how was that?!

It went great, better than we’d hoped, San Francisco treats us well and we’ve always enjoyed playing there. It’s given us high hopes for the rest of the tour. The first show is always the most stressful I think, always wondering whether something’s going to go wrong, anticipating how the new songs will translate live etc… but generally afterwards with each show, it gets easier and the band gets tighter. Granted there’s tight, but then there’s tour tight, I only really think that’s possible when you’re all on stage playing together, ironing out creases and feeling it all come together. I will say though, the day after the first show is always the most painful, the body is never ready for that, ha..gradually it goes away as you play each show.

 

4) What are you most excited about for this tour?

Probably just being able to share the new songs from ‘Urn’, promoting what we think is some of our best music yet. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone responds to them given that the album was just released at the end of October. We had to think a little harder about our set list for the tour, as obviously we need put ‘Urn’ foremost,  but also to play material from our earlier albums to cover all bases. I think it’s a solid mix of tracks over 90 odd minutes or so.

 

5) Anything else you want to add regarding the new album/this tour?We’re just very pleased to be back in the US, it seems we’ve been accepted here far beyond most other places, which has been really surprising for us…this is the third trip in two years to the US and we don’t really anticipate slowing down, as there are cities we’ve missed which we want to make up for…ca

We’re just very pleased to be back in the US, it seems we’ve been accepted here far beyond most other places, which has been really surprising for us…this is the third trip in two years to the US and we don’t really anticipate slowing down, as there are cities we’ve missed which we want to make up for… can’t do everywhere in one tour unfortunately.

Also, our main support for the whole tour is Allegaeon, a very creative band from the US, and there will be local supports in each city. I think it’s good to help grow the smaller bands and give them a go, so everyone should definitely get to shows early and check out their local talent.

 

Thanks a lot for the questions, Danielle.”

 

 

Below are the dates on the “’Urn’ North American Tour 2017”

11/01/2017 Bottom Of The Hill – San Francisco, CA

11/02/2017 Whisky A Go Go – Los Angeles, CA

11/03/2017 Beauty Bar – Las Vegas, NV

11/04/2017 Loading Dock – Salt Lake City, UT

11/05/2017 Globe Hall – Denver, CO

11/07/2017 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA

11/08/2017 Dante’s – Portland, OR

11/09/2017 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC

11/11/2017 Dickens – Calgary, AB

11/13/2017 Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB

11/14/2017 Amsterdam – St. Paul, MN

11/16/2017 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL

11/17/2017 Foundry – Cleveland, OH

11/18/2017 Mavericks – Ottawa, ON

11/19/2017 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC

11/20/2017 Sonia – Boston, MA

11/21/2017 Webster Theatre Underground – Hartford, CT

11/22/2017 Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY

11/24/2017 Blind Tiger – Greensboro, NC

11/25/2017 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

11/26/2017 Haven – Orlando, FL

11/28/2017 Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA

11/29/2017 Rail Club – Ft. Worth, TX

11/30/2017 Acadia Live – Houston, TX

12/01/2017 Come & Take It Live – Austin, TX

12/03/2017 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ

12/04/2017 Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA

 

Although Pittsburgh is not on the list of dates this time around, I will be seeing Ne Obliviscaris on tour with Allegaeon at the Webster Theatre in Hartford, CT on 11.21.

As Xen mentioned in the interview, NeO had parted ways with their previous bassist and filling in as their live bassist for this tour is Martino Garattoni – a killer musician coming all the way from Italy.

 

I can’t wait to follow up with this after the show!