Helleluyah: Vader live at Aftershock September 13th, 2013
There’s something about legendary death metal bands that bring out the beast in Kansas City concert goers. Polish legends Vader brought their heavily stacked Back To The Blind tour to the Aftershock in Merriam on a cool Friday night and received one of the craziest crowd responses that the Kansas City area has seen in quite some time.
Opening the show was Kansas City death metallers Torn The Fuck Apart. Due to relentless touring and a solid output of quality music, TTFA has garnered quite a following – and for good reason. The band seemlessly blends the slamming riffs of Devourment, the grooving-yet-brutal melodies of Cannibal Corpse and even throws in some delightfully out of place guitar solos to cover all the basics of what makes brutal death metal so much fun. The vocalist looked absolutely deranged on stage and it was just accentuated by the technical playing of all the instruments, but the band reached neanderthal-like heaviness when they slowed their songs down and really churned out each distorted, muddy, asphyxiating chord. Honestly, one of the best extreme metal bands from the area.
The first touring band of the night was Extremely Rotten from Florida. With song titles like “Pus Filled Uterus” and “Inbreeding Alien Hybrids,” it wasn’t difficult to imagine what kind of music they play. The surprise, however, was just how tight and enjoyable the band’s performance was. The three-piece takes Dying Fetus songs and strips them down to the bare minimum – but in bringing that kind of brutal death metal back to basics, it makes for an unpretentious and slam-filled good time. The drummer was especially great at keeping the neck-breaking blast beats perfectly in tempo with the swirling madness of riffs going on around him. Extremely Rotten doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but they don’t ask anyone to take them seriously either – and that’s what makes slam death metal like this so much fun.
Colorado’s Execration had a bit more of a refined air to their sound. They had a bit more of a grind sound to them, and at times their guitarists played off each other to create a swirling sound, not so much unlike that of Immolation or Portal from Australia. Although it was a bit jarring to go from two groove-oriented death metal bands to one that stayed a bit closer to the more “traditional” sound of the genre, Execration won the crowd over by the end of their set – and even had a few mosh pits break out.
But the real treat tonight came from Sacrificial Slaughter. The band is an up-and-coming 5-piece band from California that perfectly blends death metal (both melodic and brutal) with thrash and grindcore with a commanding stage presence that makes for one of the best opening sets in recent memory. If Vader and Vital Remains had dropped off this date, a lot of the crowd at this stop of the tour would’ve been just fine with Sacrificial Slaughter headlining. The band should be a lot bigger than they are right now. They blazed through their short 30-minute set, but it left this reviewer wanting a lot more. Hopefully, Sacrificial Slaughter is heading towards bigger and better things and hopefully they’ll be back around these parts many more times.
Notorious Rhode Island death metal band Vital Remains are entering their 25th year as a band, but they are faster, heavier and more energetic than most bands 1/3 their age. From the second they started to the moment they concluded, the Aftershock was a frenzy of headbanging, moshing and stage dives. Known for a rotating roster of members, the band seems to have struck gold on ex-Infernaeon vocalist Brian Werner. Not only can he hit the guttural lows and shrieking highs the music requires (most of which was recorded by famed Deicide frontman Glen Benton!), he worked extra hard to make sure there was a mosh pit at all time. Several times he jumped off the stage and into the crowd to incite as much violence as he could. At one point, he climbed onto the bar and jumped off into the crowd, who carried him to the stage. Even if the band wasn’t on-point and heavier live than on album, the stage antics alone would’ve made their performance great. The band even reached far back into their catalogue and played “Descent Into Hell” for the first time in almost 18 years. The crowd reaction on their anthems “Hammer Down The Nails” and “Dechristianize” was nothing sort of chilling. Vital Remains knows how to put on an unforgettable performance.
After the spectacle that was Vital Remains, it was unknown whether or not Vader would live up to not just them, but all the band’s that came before. Luckily, the Polish legends did exactly that and more. Playing a blistering set that spanned most of their career, Vader sounded crisp and clean and decimated the rabid crowd. The thing about Vader is that although parts of their songs are slower than others, they have one speed – FAST. And with the almost thrash-like quality of their death metal also comes the very technical solos that are thrown into every song. Frontman Peter didn’t say too much, but he had a smile on his face as he ripped into classic tunes such as “Wings” and “Silent Empire,” never letting the crowd rest for a minute. After an encore, the band came out one more time with a treat – with Brian Werner of Vital Remains on vocals, they performed “Sword Of The Witcher” for what seems like the first time ever in America. A fitting end to a truly amazing night.
2. Vicious Circle
3. Fractal Light
5. Reborn In Flames
6. Silent Empire
8. Return To The Morbid Reich
9. Come And See My Sacrifice
10. Decapitated Saints
11. Dark Age
13. Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)
14. The Sword Of The Witcher (Brian Werner of Vital Remains on vocals)
1. Where Is Your God Now <-> Icons Of Evil
3. Devoured Elysium
4. Hammer Down The Nails
5. Descent Into Hell (first time performed in 18 years)
6. Let The Killing Begin <-> Dechristianize