The champions of death metal put on an excellent show last night to a crowd that was bursting at the seams. After a few recent disappointing shows at The Hi-Fi, Morbid Angel broke the pattern with a show that would be remembered by die hard fans.
Kicking things off was Belligerent Intent. An excellent choice for support. Their brand of Nile-esque death metal was perfectly tailored to fit the tastes of hungry Morbid Angel fans. The highly dexterous guitarist, Matt Wilcock, proved he was capable of handling death metal guitar duties all on his own. This was most evident in songs which harmony parts were carried out with a single left hand. Proposing the question, who needs a second guitarist?
Vocalist Craig (666Omen) was commanding and confident when thrashing the satan inspired tunes, but became a little hesitant when the time came to address the crowd between songs. Drummer Matt Belligerent didn’t seem to miss a beat though, his blast infused style was relentless and technically impressive.
Belligerent Intent were a fine choice for opening slot. And because a large portion of the crowd arrived early (possibly due to there only being one support), Belligerent Intent got to play in front of a sizable crowd and maximized there opportunity as the Melbourne support band.
The Legends of death metal, connoisseurs of dark religion and orderer of albums by alphabetization, Morbid Angel stepped on stage with a ferocity that beckoned back to the old days of early thrash and death metal. Case and point, Trey Azagthoth still looks eighteen. His long shaggy hair, over-sized shirt, leather pants and obscure B.C Rich guitar all screamed old school. David Vincent fed the crowd a series of intense facial expressions as the opening track of Covenant, “Rapture”, left no time for sentimental introductions and forced the audience into an instant frenzy of moshing.
A generously sized pit roared approval between songs. The following two tracks, “Pain Divine” and “World Of Shit (The Promised Land)” received as much approval as the opening cheer the audience gave before Morbid Angel plucked that first note of “Pain Divine”. A sullen shadow swept across the venue between tracks of Covenant, with the lights being dimmed down, foreshadowing the sudden explosion into the next track. With such a fast-paced album, it must have been difficult for fans to keep up. The replacement drummer for Pete Sandoval, Tim Yeung, kept the intensity up the whole night, performing with arms flailing about and senseless windmilling throughout the entire set. Guitarist Destructhor, kept things a little closer to the chest, often overshadowed by his six-string partner Trey.
The interlude track “Nar Mattaru” was a signal to all to go stock up on more beer (including MA). Once the eerie sounds had subsided everyone was ready, beer in hand, for the closing track of Covenant “God Of Emptiness”. Needless to say, it was a highlight song of the night. As one of the most distinctive tracks off Covenant, and with the only (extremely demonic) singalong on that album, everyone took the opportunity to chant the final words with enthusiasm.
Not wasting anytime, MA shot straight into the second part of the set, playing a song off each of their other albums (except album I). First was a live favorite off Domination, “Where The Slime Live” followed by a track off Formulas Fatal To The Flesh. The mood and atmosphere of the night only seemed to incline as the set progressed towards the inevitable closing track that was “Fall From Grace”.
If a fight hadn’t broken out right in front of me (in which I actually had to help break up several times) I might have been able to enjoy my personal fave, “Immortal Rites”. Having not seen Morbid Angel since their 2009 show at Billboard, I left the venue as happy and (morbidly) satisfied as I was five years back. I’d now like to see Morbid Angel return to the studio and produce an album that isn’t detested by 99.99% of the fan base.