Photos by Chris Rowella
With few exceptions, Connecticut’s metal scene lacks talent and cohesive support. People come out for Ozzfest and Emmure, but not much else. Thankfully, a variety of international bands temporarily buried that fact at Hartford’s Webster Underground last Friday.
I arrived too late to see Rose Funeral, but their cookie-cutter deathcore holds no appeal for me anyway. Up next were Augury, one of Montreal’s countless death metal bands. Unlike many of their tech-metal peers, they can structure a song and pull it off live. They sounded better on stage than on disc, where they have too much of that Nuclear Blast sheen of compression.
Australian exports The Amenta are a hard band to figure out, as they’re still trying to find an identity, I think. They took the stage in black corpsepaint and had great presence. Their frontman definitely went to Black Metal Singer Academy. But their music, a weak mash of The Berzerker, Aborted, and Behemoth, lacked cohesion. Crowd response was at a low point here. If The Amenta chose a solid musical direction, they could be much better.
Thank the metal gods for Warbringer. This was the fourth time this year I’ve seen them, and they never disappoint. When the thrash revival inevitably declines, these SoCal kids will still be doing the toxic waltz. Out of a crowd of about fifty, frontman John Kevill whipped up at least thirty-five into a circle pit during “Combat Shock.” Sure, only diehards could tell the songs apart, but did that matter when the breakdown in “Dread Command” hit? Not to the circle-bangers that lined the stage for the entire set.
Decrepit Birth upped the ante with their last album, Diminishing Between Worlds. Its technicality was love/hate material, but it also contained melody and atmosphere. Their lead singer was much more entertaining to watch than death metal’s typical singer-guitarist. Instead of having to concentrate on playing an instrument, vocalist (and Chris Barnes doppelgänger) Bill Robinson owned the stage with a unique delivery and dominating presence.
Vader weren’t extraordinary live. Stage banter was nonexistent, some sound issues were never resolved, and this particular lineup doesn’t have much chemistry yet. Yet the intensity of the songs more than made up for these things. Vocalist/guitarist Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek has been doing this almost as long as I’ve been alive, and he’s perfected his brand of death metal. The entire room became a pit during “ShadowFear” and “Black to the Blind.” We were detached from everything external and focused on nothing but the music. For me, that made made the show truly exceptional.
This US/Canada tour continues until mid-December.
See dates here.