Summer Slaughter Tour
Extreme metal took over the Observatory on Santa Ana Saturday, for the first date of the all day Summer Slaughter Tour, featuring headliners Morbid Angel and Dying Fetus. The parking lots around the Observatory and surrounding areas were littered with metal heads young and old, all flocking to the two stages at the Observatory for some of the fastest, heaviest and most brutal music, both from the local and national touring level. Doors opened promptly at 2 p.m., but people were arriving all day, right up until Morbid Angel appeared at 10 p.m.
The tour also featured heavy hitters like Origin, Goatwhore, both of whom played before 8 p.m. Even earlier, Fallujah, Decrepit Birth and Boreworm, finishing out the touring portion of the bill. Orange county local metal bands Why We Kill, and Voices of Ruin performed on the smaller, Constellation Stage, with many friends, supporters and family members of the band rocking out in the crowd, as well as lots of new fans. Other highlights included LA based bands Nihilitus, None of the Living Remain and Tormentor, all of whom showcased a tremendous amount of talent and showmanship, with many fans catching each band.
The vibe of the entire complex was of heavy metal camaraderie, people eating burgers and barbecue outside, drinking beers inside and most importantly watching bands. One also had to admire the hard work of the bands crews, roadies, merch workers and the staff and security of the Observatory for working such long grueling hours to make the show happen.
With two stages competing throughout most of the day, fans had to chose which bands to see and at what times, most local bands were given a short slot of 30 minutes and the sound guys/stage managers were on the dot; some of the touring bands had longer set times.
Fans in the main room for the Observatory Stage after 7 p.m. were exposed to the main bands, and received four slabs of brutality, starting with Thy Art is Murder, an Australian extreme metal band that echoes hardcore and death metal, and got the crowd amped up early on. The stage looked like a diving board for tons of stage divers who went all out flipping backwards and doing nosedives right into the swirling frenzy of a pit.
LA's The Faceless played a short but sweet set, highlights of which included songs "The Ancient Covenant," and "Xeno Christ," from their sci-fi Dystopian album Planetary Duality (2008) based on the research of New Age, Ancient History buff/Conspiracy author David Icke. The Faceless offered a blend of metal that was seething, dark and extreme but also mysterious and progressive, with vocalist Geoffrey Ficco lashing out into the microphone, twitching and twirling his body with the music like an octopus. The band also played the songs "Accelerated Evolution," and "The Eidolon Reality" from the album Autotheism (2012).
The trio known as Dying Fetus took the stage next, promptly at 9 p.m., and proceeded to musically bash in the collective cranium of the audience and make sure everyone left with ringing in their ears. From the onset, the band's ultra brutal, guttural extreme death metal pounded the walls and left the echo of the music in your entire body.
Guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher, bassist Sean Beasley and drummer Try Williams made the complex riffs, ultra low vocals, and machine gun speed blast beat drums look effortless. The songs were even too fast for some in the crowd to headbang to.
But the brutality of the music brought out the brutality in the pit as huge guys (and some tough girls) slammed into each other with fury as fans attempted to staged dive but were instead diverted by security guards, though some still managed to evade them, get on stage and dive off, including a few very pretty ladies who jumped in the pit after swimming through the moshing bodies.
Dying Fetus' set included violent, visceral songs such as "Intentional Manslaughter," "Justifiable Homicide," and "1 Shot One Kill." After the last song, "Praise" the crowd was screaming 'ONE MORE SONG!' but, unfortunately due to the schedule, Dying Fetus was done for the night.
Morbid Angel's much anticipated set came at 10 p.m. to a room full of rabid screaming metalheads. The mosh pit began just as the lights went out and was a bit slow in picking up steam but by the band's third song was unrelentless.
The evil, inhuman vocals, and enormous thumping of the bass, from of David Vincent are what make Morbid Angel stand out. So much so that we may have ven regretted not putting them at No. 1 on our list of the 10 Death Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die. He laid the foundation for the band's madmen guitarists Trey Azagthoth and Thor Myhren to display their insanity throughout the 75-minute long set. The bass was so loud, and thick, you could feel each beat, thump in your chest.
Morbid Angel's set list reflected all of the band's nine albums, including Blessed Are the Sick, Altars of Madness, Domination, and Covenant, from which the band played the songs, "World of Shit," "Vengeance is Mine," "Rapture," "Blood on My Hands," and "God of Emptiness."
Drummer Tim Yeung held it down, and although no one can replace original Morbid Angel drummer Pete Sandoval, Yeung proved himself worthy to play with such an extreme band, keeping the speed, precision and tempo to bring out the technicality and brutality.
Morbid Angel's Set List
2.Fall from Grace
4.Maze of Torment
5.Ageless Still I am
6.Curse The Flesh
8.Where The Slime Live
9.Bil Ur Sag
10.World Of Shit
11.God of Emptiness
The Crowd: Well over a thousand metal heads, from all ages, but more younger people were in attendance with the majority being between teen and mid 20s to early 30s. Lots of people with long hair, in various death metal t-shirts and tons of dudes with beards and women with colorful tattoos.
Overheard: Morbid Angel vocalist/bassist David Vincent, was quite impressed at the slam dancing foot action going on in the pit. "This is a testament; after a day full of heat, you crazy fuckers still they have energy for this. So, if anyone ever tells you metal is dead, tell that motherfucker to fuck off!"
Random Notebook Dump: Morbid Angel recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of one of their most Satanic records, Covenant, by playing the entire album on the band's last World Tour. The controversial album is still considered to be one of the most successful selling death metal albums of all time.
Critical Bias: Although not a replacement for original Morbid Angel drummer Pete Sandoval, Tim Yeung is no stranger to extreme metal drum kits, having played for Vital Remains, Nile, All That Remains, Decrepit Birth and Divine Heresy.