The very stacked 2017 Decibel Magazine Tour, which kicked off on March 17 in Charlotte, NC, landed in NYC at Irving Plaza on Friday April 14 and delivered the very scuzzy, very sold out crowd an evening of bone shattering heaviness that still has your man Klaus in recovery mode. This show was the second to last show of an unbelievably well curated tour, which included acts Horrendous, Midnight, Obituary and Kreator.

Because of the show's merciful/unfortunate early start time (doors at 6pm, show at 7pm, Obituary on at 8:30pm, Kreator on at 9:45pm), I missed Horrendous, who I dig immensely, as well as the hooded and masked Midnight, who I have been dying to see live. (Our photographer caught Midnight though.) I got out of work just in time to arrive at the venue as Obituary were at the tail end of setting up their gear. No sooner did I have my first beer in hand when the projection screen arose and Obituary tore into a brutal, career-spanning, 11-song onslaught. Hailing from Tampa, FL., Obituary have been masters of heavy, no frills death metal since 1984. The key to their sound is the technical simplicity; by avoiding the trappings of bizarre effects, drum triggers, and techie gizmos and by keeping their sound raw, they create some of the purest heviosity in the death metal game. On March 17, the day this tour began, Obituary released their tenth studio album, Obituary, which is an instant classic. With tracks that are both break-neck in their speed and delivery, sludgy in their grooves, and everything in between, Obituary is a continuation of an aural legacy they began over 30 years ago. As a matter of fact, their Irving Plaza appearance was one of the rare occasions where I wouldn't have minded hearing more of the new stuff. We did get newbies "Sentence Day," "A Lesson in Vengeance," and "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" all of which stood tall against classics "Chopped in Half/Turned Inside Out," "Find the Arise," "Don't Care," and "Slowly We Rot." From top to tail, Obituary's set further cemented their legacy as one of death metal's finest songwriters and performers, where songs released a month ago stand shoulder to shoulder with classics they wrote and recorded decades ago.

After a brief intermission, Kreator took the stage for what I can only describe as one of the tightest metal performances I have ever seen. Since 1982, these German thrash metal pioneers have released 14 albums, including 2017's great Gods of Violence. One thing their catalogue suffers from is that, for me and many other fans, it's kind of hit or miss. Their early stuff is killer, but then in the '90s they sort of messed around with different styles which were overall a bit of a disappointment. But then in the early aughts they looped back to their thrash roots and reestablished a sonic rapport with their fans with a string of killer releases. Their 18-song setlist, which was interspersed with five pre-recorded tracks, no doubt to let the band catch their breath, was a celebration of everything Kreator has gotten right with their songwriting. Six tracks from their latest release including "Army of Storms," "Fallen Brother," "Gods of Violence," "Hail to the Hordes," "Satan Is Real," and "World War Now," sounded absolutely incendiary. We also got three killer tracks from 1990's Coma of Souls including "Civilization Collapse," "From Flood into Fire," and "Phantom Antichrist." The rest of the set was peppered with single cuts from basically every album in their discography.

Every level of their Irving Plaza show was utter perfection. A huge tip of the hat to whoever was manning the soundboard for them. I don't think I have ever heard a metal band sound so utterly brutal yet so completely articulate in Irving Plaza, or anywhere else for that matter. Every instrument and every scream was in your face, deafening, but perfectly balanced. They also employed a bit of custom lighting to their stage show which really helped create a manic or gloomy atmosphere. It was an experience that still has me reeling.

Both Kreator and Obituary have been around for over 30 years, but as evidenced with solid 2017 releases and jaw-dropping live shows, they show absolutely no signs of slowing down. If anything, they are reinforcing their dominance in their respective genres.

Decibel Magazine Tour 2017

Obituary : Irving Plaza 4/14/17 : 2017 Decibel Magazine Tour Setlist
Internal Bleeding
Chopped in Half / Turned Inside Out
Visions in My Head
Sentence Day
A Lesson in Vengeance
Find the Arise
Ten Thousand Ways to Die
No Hope
'Til Death
Don't Care
Slowly We Rot

Kreator : Irving Plaza 4/14/17 : 2017 Decibel Magazine Tour Setlist
Choir of the Damned (played from tape)
Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
Bells (played from tape)
Satan Is Real
Gods of Violence
People of the Lie
Total Death
Mars Mantra (played from tape)
Phantom Antichrist
Fallen Brother
Army of Storms
Enemy of God
From Flood into Fire
Apocalypticon (played from tape)
World War Now
Hail to the Hordes
Extreme Aggression
Civilization Collapse
The Patriarch (played from tape)
Violent Revolution
Flag of Hate / Under the Guillotine
Pleasure to Kill
Death Becomes My Light (played from tape)


photos by Greg Cristman

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