Venom Inc. & Suffocation

support Nervosa + Aeternam + Survive
author RUB date 18/03/18 venue VoxHall, Århus, DEN

The two headliners for tonight’s show don’t need any introduction. But for the sake of this review I’ll do it anyway — a very short one, I promise. Both bands have roots dating back to the heavy ‘80s and for the case of Venom, even the late ‘70s. Of course, this isn’t the original line-up of Venom since Mantas and Abaddon had a fallout with Cronos which ended in the former two leaving and forming Venom Inc. with Demolition Man, who had also been a part of Venom’s line-up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Suffocation, on the other hand, has existed since 1988 and since original vocalist Rank Mullen wasn’t part of this specific tour, they’ve hired Ricky Myers from Martyred to handle vocal duties. As for Mullen, he recently announced that he would be hanging up the role of recording for Suffocation after the next tour, so what that means for the future of Suffocation we would have to wait and see.

As for this Sunday’s concert, a total of four bands would be playing, which in itself is a bit much since people have school or work the day after. Or at least so I thought, since a fifth band would eventually take the stage first, and lead us even further around the globe in terms of the many nationalities present this evening. As I enter the venue some 10 minutes before first band is set to begin, I am amazed at how few spectators are actually present. One could probably count them with two or perhaps three hands, and I’m hoping this isn’t the general standard for tonight’s concert.

All photos courtesy of Kim Song Sternkopf // @HeartMatter Artworks

Survive

So, apparently there were five bands on the bill. Instead of Aeternam, as announced, we get Survive from Japan as the opening act. The four-piece plays a mix of melodic death and thrash metal mixed with growls and clean sung vocals. This ensures a blurry and at times incoherent soundscape — at least if you’re not familiar with the music. Basically, it sounds like a subpar version of Metallica trying to play death metal; the lead singer has a hard time singing the clean parts, the drummer misses several beats and the solos are almost catastrophic. Things are really not working for the band. It’s hard to say if this is a one-off poor performance, but more people haven’t exactly entered the venue during their set — rather the opposite. They have some pretty decent riffs at times, but I would expect so much more from a band, which has existed since 1998. To be honest, that is the only positive thing I can say about this band. That, and the fact that they go on stage on time, leave the stage again, and no one ends up dead. I am baffled to say the least, that a band with so many years of experience can be this bad. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I witnessed something as terrible as this. Next band, please!

2

Aeternam

Originally, the first band on tonight’s bill was to be Aeternam from Canada, and already from the get-go, they sound better than the opening act. Theirs is a modern take on melodic death metal with clean and growled vocals, mixed with some progressive elements. What is better, however, is that the clean vocals are noticeably more proficient than those of the former band — I would actually say pretty damned good! The entire band is also trying to get the audience, which by now has grown visibly in size, moving.

On stage, the band is moving and banging their heads, but one can’t help but wonder if Aeternam is actually a suitable band for warming up for the evening’s headliners. Nevertheless, they are doing a much better job than the previous outfit, albeit the audience still not being quite there yet in terms of energy and numbers. Their songs are both heavy and fast, and when coupled with symphonic and as previously mentioned, progressive elements, the overall soundscape works extremely well. The band airs a lot of songs from their album “Ruins of Empires”, which was released last year, during their 35-minute set and even manages to get the crowd going on several occasions, so this is an approved first encounter with this Canadian four-piece for me.

6

Nervosa

This rather well-known, all-female Brazilian trio plays no-bullshit thrash metal with a few death elements in it, and the audience instantly digs it. The band’s punch and brute force is astonishing, albeit rather simple — but it works. This makes it so much easier to overlook the small imperfections such as the drums being too loud in the mix and the backing singer’s vocals coming across as way too loud when compared to the front-woman. She even tries to signal for the sound technician to fix it but nothing is done, which just adds to her irritation. Again though, this is easy to overlook, and when one looks at how especially lead singer Fernanda Lira enjoys being on stage, you forget the simplicity of the music, as well as the small imperfections.

The band thrashes its way through roughly 30-minutes of concert, and if only guitarist Prika Amaral were as active as Lira, this could perhaps have been even more special — alas, she is rather stationary on stage and only bangs her head once in a while. This doesn’t take anything away from the overall experience though, as the menacing face expressions and grimaces that Lira flashes are enough for you to pay attention, and honestly, her efforts would make most lead singers green with envy. She keeps trying to get the crowd to move as she leans down and stares at them maliciously, but again the crowd fails to respond properly. As the most hard-hitting song of the gig, “Hostages” is the only one to really get the audience to move in the front, but it never really becomes better ‘decent’, which by all means is acceptable for a Sunday evening.

6

Suffocation

After a very quick changeover, the first headliner of the evening is ready to grab the audience by its throats with their brutal and technical take on old-school death metal. Right from the first growl, it is obvious that the audience has eagerly been awaiting the return of these legends to Århus. People all across the venue are now banging their heads to the bass-heavy death metal and the band itself projects are nice energy as well, so the gig is certainly off to a good start. “Effigy of the Forgotten” is quickly aired and it underlines that people on both sides of the stage edge are clearly glad to be here. Ricky Myers on vocals even tries to get a circle pit going early, albeit without any luck, as the Sunday crowd still looks rather tired, if still pleased with what is unfolding in front of them, and solely relies on headbanging to the tune of Suffocation’s heavy compositions.

”Pierced from Within” ensures that the tempo remains on a high and technical note, and it is easy to hear how tight the entire band is, which in turn ensures that every neck is left aching with pain after the show — Venom Inc. will really have to bring their A-game if they want to top this. Suffocation keeps blasting the brutal tunes into the audience’s ears, but in the midst of it, they also find space for some groovier, breakdown-oriented tracks that makes the venue turn into an inferno of swinging hair. Basically, the only time the band slows down from the relentless smashing of drums and fretting guitars is when Myers introduces the next track or offers random between-song banter, which sadly isn’t as hilarious as I remember Frank Mullen’s to be. But that doesn’t change the fact that the legends still have it, even if the audience could’ve been more energetic at times.

Venom Inc.

As the final band of the evening takes the stage, it is easy to see that we’re dealing with living legends. Apart from their aging looks, which of course is a given since these guys were playing metal during the time when the genre was still a young entity. All three members display such confidence as they enter the stage — but don’t be fooled by their exterior, because they are more than ready to rock. The true ‘80s style of rock’n’roll, that is, with fast riffs and snarled vocals as any Venom (Inc.)-fan should be used to by now. After a quick visit to Venom Inc.’s début album with “Avé Satanas”, it’s straight back into the abyss from whence they came with classic “Welcome to Hell”, which makes the crowd go nuts. It’s apparent that their style of playing, as well as their music, is fairly similar to that of Motörhead, and Demolition Man’s microphone stand even has that same ‘tall-mic-stand, mic-pointing-down’ look as Lemmy’s used to have. All members are wearing big smiles and grins and are also fairly active on stage, taking their age into account. They still look like rock’n’roll kings, displaying plenty of leather, metal and balls — just like they did in the early years of heavy metal, which still works as a massive middle finger to pop-music and -culture in general because it is just so raw and unpolished.

There is something so special about old British metal bands, and even though the turnout for the night isn’t as convincing as one could’ve hoped for, the musicians relentlessly give it their utmost to start a rock’n’roll party. A tribute to the recently deceased Frank “Killjoy” Pucci of Necrophagia and heavy metal culture in general are used as an intro to “Black n’ Roll”, which is quickly followed by the revered classic, “Black Metal”. With blistering drums, a thick bass line and fretting lead guitar, the audience is treated to songs old and new, and after roughly an hour and 15 minutes and 16 songs, the trio thanks everyone upfront, bows and exits the stage. Even though they don’t look as malicious and grim as they did when they first started out, they still manage to leave a lasting impression of rock’n’roll like it was meant to be played: fast, fierce and without giving a flying f**k!

8

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXVIII Rockfreaks.net.