Death Angel Summons The Angel of Death In Chicago along with Bonded by Blood
Band Photo: Lazarus A.D. (?)
See what I did there? Clever stuff, eh? Anyway, Death Angel is out doing a club tour across North America to support their newest studio full length, “Relentless Retribution,” supported by Lazarus A.D., Bonded by Blood, Early Man and Hexen. They stopped by Chicago on February 9, and already had a couple strikes against them before they even took the stage. But more on that later. Lazarus A.D. was supposed to be second on the bill but had van problems and didn’t make it to Chicago; an obvious bummer all around for obvious reasons, and it especially sucked for your correspondent, since I love me some Lazarus A.D. Hexen and Early Man were also replaced by a couple local Chicago bands. Enough preamble, let’s talk about what actually happened.
Degradation is a local Chicago throwback thrash outfit that is equal parts Slayer and Exodus. Young, hungry, eager to please and technically talented, the most notable song in the band's six song set was a cover of Sepultura’s “Beneath the Remains,” mostly due to audience familiarity. Ultimately Degradation kicked the evening off well - a good start to a show headlined by Bay Area thrash veterans. Also, lead guitarist and vocalist Alex Manske has really long fingers. So there’s that too.
Dark Spectrum has an impressive t-shirt collection. The guitar player was wearing a Death shirt. The (really tall) bassist was wearing a Burzum shirt. The (really short) drummer was wearing a Behemoth shirt. With that in mind, the act's set was exactly what you would expect. The crowd was impressively into it, and if Dark Spectrum found their way onto the undercard at future area concerts I attend, it would please me.
I am always surprised by the gap between bands still plying the local scenes (even good ones like Degradation and Dark Spectrum) and national touring bands (even lower ladder ones like Bonded by Blood), as the hooks, tightness and confidence are mighty different. Bonded by Blood is a speedy thrash outfit from Los Angeles and rarely stopped playing, even between songs. There are three reasons why Bonded by Blood rocked: 1) Vocalist Mauro Gonzales has a voice built for arenas, not small clubs. When he stopped the barking bits his delivery and timbre could have echoed off the United Center’s walls all night. 2) Guitarist Juan Juarez. 3) Guitarist Alex Lee. These two guys shred. Big time. Especially Alex Lee. Their harmonized solos and layered riffs were phenomenal, and when paired with Gonzales’ arena pipes, they took shots at awesome. The easy highlight of the show was never-heard before instrumental “More Worlds than One,” for obvious reasons.
Since Lazarus A.D. got skipped due to car trouble (still bummed about that one… catch you next time gents), headliner Death Angel was the fourth and final act of the show. Those two strikes? Oh, right. The first is that the members didn’t come on until at least 30 minutes after sound check was set. Letting everyone marinate in their own juices after everything is set on stage is always a big strike in my book. The second strike was that I wasn’t a huge fan of “Relentless Retribution.” But here is the thing – when played live, the songs from “Relentless Retribution” were phenomenal. Seriously. What they lacked in conviction in the studio they regained in spades live. Meaty, chunky and exciting, every cut from “Relentless Retribution” was a rollicking and constantly moshing good time. The band mixed in old stuff (“Thrashers!”) and fun stuff (a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” in the middle of their own “Bored”), and I actually believed Mark Osegueda when he said he loved Chicago. Speaking of Osegueda, he had a great rapport from the get go with the crowd, and it was his birthday. I am posting this about 90 minutes after the show ended, and I am sure he is still celebrating with his favorite Chicago thrashers.
Remaining Death Angel tour dates:
2/10/2011 Louisville, KY Phoenix Hill Tavern
2/11/2011 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
2/12/2011 Oklahoma City, OK Bricktown Live
2/13/2011 Houston, TX Numbers
2/14/2011 Austin, TX Emo’s
2/15/2011 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit
2/16/2011 Dallas, TX Trees
2/18/2011 Tucson, AZ Club DV8
2/19/2011 Tempe, AZ Clubhouse
2/20/2011 Anaheim, CA CHain Reaction
2/21/2011 Las Vegas, NV Cheyenne Saloon
2/22/2011 Hollywood, CA The Key Club
2/23/2011 San Diego, CA Brick by Brick
2/24/2011 Orangevale, CA The Boardwalk
2/25/2011 Chico, CA Lost on Main
2/26/2011 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
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