After a grueling week in the laboratory dealing with experiments gone horribly awry, two concerts stretched out over four days was just the ticket. After getting my head blasted off by Dodsferd at The Black Castle on Friday night, I began the new work week on the right foot by heading out to the Key Club on Monday, September 19, 2011 to catch Swedish OSDM giants Grave. Providing direct support were Blood Red Throne, Pathology, and Gigan.
I arrived just in time to catch a short set from progressive, technical death metallers Gigan. Playing a highly technical form of jazz-influenced death metal, Gigan’s approach mostly consists of swirling guitars and too obviously triggered drums. Although the band gave it their all, what I’ve heard of Gigan leads me to believe that a more organic approach to the drumming would greatly aid their cause. Adding a rhythm guitarist to the fold would also probably be a good idea, as well, as there is a definite a lack of riffs and hooks to latch on to in Gigan’s assault.
Unfortunately, the Key Club crowd only numbered about 20 at this point, a number that would not drastically improve over the course of the evening.
As mentioned, the Key Club crowd this evening was sparse, eventually reaching a number of perhaps 100 diehards or so. Regardless, Pathology came on stage with full force, putting on a monstrous 20-odd minute set that drew heavily from their extraordinary new album Awaken To The Suffering.
Pathology had it all going on, tight musicianship, giant riffs, gurgled rasps from guest vocalist Shawn Whitaker (of Insidious Decrepancy and Viral Load fame); the works.
Although the crowd was light, those of us in attendance did show our appreciation with a small pit that reached a crescendo at the conclusion of the set. Pathology thanked us for our devotion to the cause, a thank you that was appreciated by all.
Blood Red Throne
Blood Red ThroneDave Schalek/About.com
Blood Red Throne are one of the best underappreciated death metal bands working today. A crunchy approach with great riffs that are reminiscent of OSDM, Blood Red Throne also are not afraid to embrace a modern sound. I’ve never been disappointed by an album from Blood Red Throne, and I was very much looking forward to their set.
Blood Red Throne, new band members notwithstanding, did not disappoint, delivering an energetic, perfunctory set. Once again, the crowd, though sparse, roared in response as a pit was moving throughout. A few songs from the band’s latest full-length Brutalitarian Regime were featured and elicited a good reaction. All in all, a solid performance.
Any aficionado of Swedish death metal is going to be a fan of Grave, one of the all time greats, yet I somehow repeatedly missed seeing the band over the years during their infrequent American tours. Knowing full well that their appearances on our shores are infrequent, Grave treated us all to a full performance, front to back, of their classic debut album Into The Grave,
originally released in 1991. In addition, a number of other classics were included, such as the title track of You’ll Never See…
Although band founder Ola Lindgren is the sole remaining original member, the band was tight and professional for yet another solid performance, capping an evening that those in attendance were honored to have been present to witness. Hail Grave!