Something Old, Something New, and All Things Death Metal
Malevolent Creation with Vital Remains, Infernal Majesty and Vader
September 3, 1997 at the Gibus in Paris, France

by: Paul Schwarz
Since it cost me £95 to attend this gig and the chance of Vader playing the UK anytime soon appeared slim, I was hoping this gig would be something special... it was. The concert was held at what was usually a shitty club; a low, tiny stage, a curtain over one corner for the band's dressing room, a communal toilet, and the lights turned up (so that people would buy more drinks) brought home this reality. Since I lived in London and generally went to theater sized venues, this was not what I was accustomed to. Although not pleasant, the size and conditions added to the atmosphere; this gig was truly underground, as the bands were selling their own shirts, signing autographs, and just chatting. There was no bullshit. The way it should be.

Vader were on first. Anyone in the audience who didn't know them, since their album isn't distributed in France, got to know and, probably, like them after their performance. They played an atmospheric intro while spending 5 minutes raising their arms in the sign of the horned one and exciting the crowd to a point of extreme anticipation. Next, all of Vader bowed their heads silently, as if in prayer, for 5 minutes. When the intro finished and the band launched straight into "Sothis," I knew that not a penny of my money was going to waste. The sound was incredible and the energy which came through from every instrument was amazing, especially Doc's faultless drumming. Vader went through a set consisting of "Sothis", "Silent Empire", "Dark Age", "Colonel", "Reborn In Flames" (new song #2), and 'Testimony'. The first new song, "Colonel", was interesting; it used slow chords, sudden stops, speaking from Peter, and sudden blast beat drumming. If the new album equals the quality of both new songs, November shall be a good month. Vader played a short set, but it was brilliant from the first beat to the last note.

Next were Infernal Majesty, a band I have never heard or seen before. They also had an intro, but it did not get as much of a crowd response as Vader. I think a majority of this crowd were fans of recent death metal, and, consequently, Infernal Majesty got the most controlled response of the night. They lacked the theatrics from the inlay photos on their debut and played what sounded like a decent set. However, their engineer seemed unable to manipulate the soundboard in the way Vader's had done. What we were left with was a competent band playing in bad conditions to a clueless audience. It's a real pity, since Infernal Majesty has returned 10 years after the release of their debut album and need to make their mark again, yet this show doesn't make them appear as legendary as so many believe them to be.

Vital Remains took the stage after Infernal Majesty. They were greeted with a more knowledgeable response, and also appeared with forearm spikes and looked very much like a death metal band. Their set had a better sound than Infernal Majesty's but not as good a sound as Vader's. The music and atmosphere were both very charged. Having heard only _Let Us Pray_ twice and 'I Am God' from _Forever Underground_, the aforementioned song was the only one that I could distinguish from the 45 minute set. Vital Remains played exceptionally well and appeared to play everything right which, considering the technicality of their music, was no mean feat. The sound emphasized both the slower, more powerful parts and the faster sections. The only problem for Vital Remains, and all the bands throughout the night, was all the fucking people who got on stage, obscured the band, and knocked into the equipment. Stage diving is for hardcore gigs and bigger stages. These idiots should have respect for the bands; on stage is where the bands belong, and the pit is for the fans.

Malevolent Creation waited a while to actually appear, but the anticipation was evident; the audience shouted and applauded when their drummer came on to start the soundcheck. Once again, I do not know Malevolent Creation's music song for song, but the small PA gave them a crunchy sound which captivated the audience for over an hour with some excellent death metal. Malevolent Creation impressed more than just the crowd; when I was listening to the set with Shambo from Vader, a song came on and he began drumming on the table, as did David Suzuki who was sitting close by. This was an incredible night, the bands were great and so were most of the fans. The music, as ever, was brutal and brilliant. If you get the chance to see either this lineup or any of the bands live (with the possible exception of Infernal Majesty), DO NOT PASS IT UP!!!

(article submitted 16/10/1997)


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