Formulas Fatal to Gorgoroth
Morbid Angel, Gorgoroth, God Dethroned, Amon Amarth, Krisiun and Occult
at the Hafenbahn, Offenbach, Germany on December 12, 1999

by: Matthias Noll
Yet another killer package touring Germany. I'm not quite sure if it's a sign of the decline of metal over here that only such monstrous packages are touring. Some time ago such a line-up would haven been good enough for a handful of festival-style gigs with a really huge crowd and nowadays they tour in 600 to 800 capacity venues. Well, I won't complain.

Occult from the Netherlands do have an eye-catching couple of vocalists. A giant male, responsible for the rasping, and a good looking female doing the death metal grunts. Unfortunately that was the only remarkable thing about them. Their boring death/thrash turned out to be completely obsolete. Krisiun were a lot better but nowhere close to really being a top notch death metal outfit. Their set had some convincing moments, but in general most of their songs seemed too long to hold one's attention from start to finish. Somehow I do have the feeling that their upcoming album might be killer, but in Offenbach they were far from delivering apocalyptic revelations.

Amon Amarth's new album, _The Avenger_ [CoC #44], has been constantly growing on me and their show turned out to be not only good but excellent. Lead by their titanic singer, the Norsemen created one of those magic, larger-than-life moments in time. All songs sounded way better than on record and unfolded anthemic qualities that only partially come across when putting on _The Avenger_ or _Once Sent From the Golden Hall_ [CoC #29]. Sort of a cross between the teethgrinding power of death metal and the majesty of immortal metal anthems like Manowar's "Battle Hymn". Throughout such gems like "Victorious March" and "Bleed for Ancient Gods", I virtually left the Hafenbahn and found myself on a dragon ship on a mission of murder and pillaging. The crowd reacted more than enthusiastically and I have to say that Amon Amarth have been one of the most impressive bands coming out of Scandinavia I've seen so far. Excellent!

Dutch death/thrashers God Dethroned definitely had a hard time playing after Amon Amarth. Even if their playing was excellent, the sound decent and the setlist featured only the best songs off _Bloody Blasphemy_ [CoC #41] (they played only one older song), they never managed to create the spark that sets an audience afire and makes them move and not just stand there and watch. One would think that song material like "Boiling Blood" and "Under the Golden Wings of Death" do guarantee frantic headbanging at least in the front rows, but live shows have their own rules. Still, I recommend the Dutch four-piece to everyone who likes his death metal with strong Slayer influences. I only hope they ditch their Satanic image before it gets ridiculous. If you describe yourself as the future assassin of the pope, etc., you should at least look a little bit evil.

Gorgoroth were the ones that were really going to suffer from the six band line-up. Surprisingly they had the whole stage, the big drum kit, nearly all the lights and a good sound. Musically I was even more surprised. The band seems to have taken a new direction: nearly all songs they played were in the mid-tempo range and never did I get the feeling of listening to a high speed train passing by, like in my first CoC submission, which also featured Gorgoroth [CoC #34]. Nevertheless, I found this to be very enjoyable because the music still sounded "true" and raw thanks to the hacksaw guitar work and the blood chilling screeching of their vocalist. Most of the audience very soon got tired and loudly started to express their preference for death metal and a severe dislike for corpse-painted black metallers. It started with someone calling for Morbid Angel and two songs later several people were yelling "faggots" and "kindergarten" towards the unholy Norwegians. Satan didn't really care and without any kind of hellish support the band turned out not to be professional enough to continue. In the middle of the fifth or sixth song they stopped and left the stage never to be seen again. I for one liked their set but I have to agree with the guy standing next to me: fucking pussies.

Morbid Angel then lived up to most, if not all, expectations. First of all, drummer Pete Sandoval has to get mentioned. He delivered another fine example of unbelievable drum work. The guitar tandem Azagthoth/Rutan ruled (of course), be it rhythm or solo work in combination with constant headbanging. The only problem I personally had was with accepting Steve Tucker in his role as Dave Vincent's replacement. Tucker has the looks, the attitude and the right skills on his instrument, but his voice is so damn average. I wouldn't be able to recognize the guy on a tape with ten run-of-the-mill death metal vocalists performing unknown material. This somehow spoiled a gig for me which would otherwise have been perfect. The band executed a setlist with songs like "Chapel of Ghouls", "Abominations", "Rapture" and "Dominate" to name just a few, and the audience finally got what everybody was waiting for: a lesson in supreme technical death metal.

(article submitted 5/3/2000)


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