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Morbid Angel/Watain/Incantation Bring Heat During The Arizona Winter

After standing in a healthy-looking line outside of Club Red in Mesa, Arizona, I stepped foot inside just as Incantation was finishing their sound check. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Incantation has been playing third fiddle on some prominent extreme metal tour packages as of late. I’ve written about their solid, yet mundane, sets several times but for the purpose of this Road Report, I’m going to skip over them and start with Watain’s set.

If you’ve been living under a rock during the past few weeks and haven’t checked a metal blog or your Facebook feed, Watain experienced a significant setback before their United States winter trek started. Pelle Forsberg, one of band’s two guitarists, was denied entry by immigrations officials when entering the United States for the tour. Long story short, vocalist Erik Danielsson is taking on bass duties and bassist Alvaro Lillo is playing guitar during this tour.

Did the last-minute changes in the instrumental duties impact Watain’s performance? Not. One. Bit. Watain burned through what I considered a “best of” set that included such favorites as “Sworn to the Dark”, “Reaping Death” and going way back into their vault with “On Horns Impaled.” The pleasant surprise of the setlist however was a cover of GG Allin and The Murder Junkies’ “Fuck Off, We Murder.” This was the perfect choice of a cover tune in regards to the recent chaos they’ve had to endure.

With the headliner up next, I have to admit, this was the first time that I’ve seen and listened to the Steve Tucker version of Morbid Angel. I have heard friends rave about this version of Morbid Angel, so I opened both my mind and ears in order to temper my expectations as “cautiously optimistic.” Trey Azagthoth is still in the line-up, so it still should sound like Morbid Angel, right? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for my Altars of Madness loving ears…

This next part is difficult to write because Morbid Angel is one of my favorites, if not my FAVORITE death metal band during the era of their first three albums. This current version of Morbid Angel just sounds empty to me, it’s not the same band at all. I’m sure there are reasons why they didn’t play anything off their masterpiece Altars of Madness, but playing a couple of songs off the lackluster Blessed Are the Sick album just didn’t do it for me. The fierce bite that Morbid Angel used to be known for is missing. There’s no movement on stage and that equals no excitement. At least Trey stills shreds…

To end this Road Report mercifully, I’ll just say that this tour package is definitely what heavy music fans in the deserts of Arizona needed to get through this Tuesday night, and Watain was the venom this tour needed to inject some excitement into it.

Greekbastard's avatar

Metal isn't just a type of music, it's a lifestyle for Nikos Mixas. In addition to playing guitar for the Phoenix's own Mosara, he's a contributing writer for V13 and The Sludgelord. And when he's taking a break from it all and on vacation, you can almost be certain he's banging his head at a metal festival somewhere interesting.

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