Morbid Angel Leads Brutal Cast At Summer Slaughter Tour in Austin, Texas
Band Photo: Within The Ruins (?)
Summer Slaughter came in to the same venue, Scoot Inn, as last year's stop off at Texas' capital city. The mid-July temperatures reached a scorching 99 degrees, which everyone from fans to bands did their best to stay hydrated (kudos to Scoot Inn for providing water). Keep in mind, this was still a good 5 degrees cooler than last year.
In regards to the lineup, Summer Slaughter 2014 featured artists expected from a death metal-based tour. This year the brutality of Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, Origin and Decrepit Birth replaced the shredding progression of Animals As Leaders and Periphery.
While death metal was at the forefront of this year's festivities, complex timing and long-winded solos were dispersed throughout the bill. Memories In Broken Glass, this year's battle of the bands winner, concentrated less on guitar solos as they did low tuned, (7 or 8-string guitar) jumping rhythms and samples. I'm sure they were happy to have played a showed promoted by Come And Take It Productions as they played in front of an impressive, jumping early crowd.
Much of this early crowd was of a young demographic, which came out to see Fallujah. Singer Alex Hofmann's deep bellows guided a throng of Fallujah t-shirted fans through atmospheric technical death metal. Decked out in a Gorgoroth t-shirt, guitarist Robert Morey gave an album's worth of mind-boggling solos in only 20 minutes, all of which was washed in soul ascending layers of synth.
After hearing the harmonized leads of Within The Ruins' Andrew Tate, a friend remarked this was a good Dream Theater show. These were the type of bands the younger crowd came to see and Within The Ruins' muscular breakdowns meets intellectual leads resulted in an interesting mix. The Faceless took top billing in the tech crowd, playing right before Dying Fetus. I had just returned from eating to catch their last couple of songs. The one thing I went away with from their set was a jazzy saxophone-like synth.
Decrepit Birth took the stage at 5 PM. After several prog/tech bands, it was nice to hear more traditional death metal sounds. This is not to say they are straight forward, the group constantly changed its timing but instilled plenty of riffs to grab onto. Dreadlocked front man, Bill Robinson pantomimed one of these riffs like he were bashing a crowd member with his microphone. His actions helped me realize the full force of this bludgeoning rhythm.
Origin was a great band to follow Decrepit Birth in the fact that they are both brutal and technical. The speed and complex beats of John Longstreth entertained me, as did Mike Flores' quick fingers running up and down the neck of his bass. Their playing was exceptional, but what captured my attention most was Paul Ryan's scream especially when he harmonized with Jason Keyser's barking voice. I was amazed in his ability to hit these screeching high notes.
Goatwhore was a bit of an anomaly of style in that they don't growl or play complex scales. They are metal as fuck, though, and they always receive a warm welcome in Austin, New Orlean's sister city. I previously reported their playing tracks from "Constricting Rage of the Merciless" before the album release. Now that it's available, the band played more songs from it including "Fucked By Satan." It was around this time I sat on a chair in Scoot Inn's new patio. My sunglasses shielded my eyes from the mosh-pit dust cloud, but now I could see the dirt from the sandy pit swirling in the air.
By the time Dying Fetus took the stage, the dirt's reflective source had disappeared into the horizon. I'm sure I would have seen a brown haze as Dying Fetus' set resulted in some of the largest pits of the night. Their slamming grooves seem made specifically for moshing. Dying Fetus probably yielded the most t-shirts on their fans, too. The trio treated old fans and new fans to a set of tracks culled throughout their twenty-plus-year history, even if they were only granted a half-hour to play.
I think the pit area lessened by the time Morbid Angel played. This was the band I looked forward to the most, though. Tim Yeung twirled his sticks between the fastest blast beats of the night, which one would expect knowing he won the world's fast drummer competition several times. While Morbid Angel isn't a tech or progressive death metal band, Trey Azagthoth pulled off amazing solos. The band's set was similar to my last report when they played the entire "Covenant" album. They played about five tracks from said album this time, which freed up more room to hear another track from classic albums "Blessed Are The Sick" and "Altars of Madness." Their stage wasn't as elaborate, there were no smoke balls being shot into the air or even a backdrop. Their sound was better, though, especially David Vincent's microphone.
Summer Slaughter 2014 featured greater diversity than last year and brought the festival back to basic: death metal! While there were a lot of great bands this year, Morbid Angel, in my mind, are still the undisputed kings of death metal, which is why they've achieved commercial success unlike any other band of such an evil fold.
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