DEATH (Death to All Tour) with OBITUARY, MASSACRE, RIVERS OF NIHIL
Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
November 27th, 2014
So, I know I’m not one of the lucky thousands to have experienced the very beginnings of the death metal genre itself. DEATH, at any of the many peaks of their long-running lineup, fronted by the legendary Chuck Schuldiner, were probably incomparable and I can only imagine the power and energy that would have radiated from the stage back then. On this tour at least, a fan like me – and perhaps many thousands more than were so lucky to catch the “real thing” – can feel lost in an experience much like it.
Rounding out the lineup on this year’s Death to All tour, known as the “Swamp Leper Stomp 2014,” are Bobby Koelble on guitar and Steve DiGiorgio on bass. As they churned out two hours of highlights from the classic DEATH catalogue, such as “Overactive Imagination” from 1993’s Individual Thought Patterns, the venue floated on waves of pure bass-fuelled, guitar-chugging joy. With support from the likes of the moshpit-inducing OBITUARY, this tour provides a solid punch.
Gene Hoglan’s thundering drums accompanied vocalist Max Phelps (Cynic) ripping riffs on the second guitar. Up close shooting photos during the first few tracks, I couldn’t help but notice how Max’s stance resembled Chuck’s. I wasn’t the only one to, ah, overactively imagine this. Many people I talked to after the show agreed that the effect was really on point. It was easy to let oneself get fooled for a moment or two that we were back in 1995, Chuck at his prime, headbanging away… anyhow, the bias of wistful nostalgia aside, I still believe this was a tribute performance to be proud of.