Too Fast For Love
Dying Fetus, Gorguts, Skinless and The Berserker
at E9, El Paso, Texas, USA, on March 27th 2001

by: Alex Cantwell
This night's festivities began with a shock as Australia's The Berserker took the stage wearing crazed monster masks. Having not seen a photo of them previous to this show, I was obviously not expecting this, and it was real hard not to laugh, even though the music was beyond reproach. The band kept having technical problems through the entirety of their set, never knowing which microphone would actually work, and vocalist Luke got more and more agitated and remained visibly frustrated as their set progressed, bumping into band members and throwing the mic down. Their brand of industrial-tinged grindcore just pretty much freaked people out (or was it those darn masks?), and everyone stood still the whole time. The thing I most appreciated about them was their killer rendition of Carcass's "Incarnated Solvent Abuse".

Tonight was also my introduction to New York's Skinless, and although their debut album had just been released four days prior, there were some in attendance who were familiar with their material -- much to the amusement of their vocalist, who made his bewilderment known, but then stated "oh yeah, the internet -- nobody has to pay for music anymore, I love it". Skinless tore through songs new and old, and made many new fans in the process, as most everyone I talked to talked about them favorably. Skinless are not the best or the brightest, but their mix of crust, mosh parts, and old style death metal made for a good live set.

This was my second time seeing Montreal's Gorguts, so I had a clue as far as what to expect -- but what I did not expect was new guitarist Daniel Mongrain's complete control of the stage and audience. Not to take away from the other members of the band at all, who obviously have to hold their ground to play their over-the-top style of chaotic death metal, but all eyes were on Daniel as he dazzled us with an incredible one-handed tapping technique, wild glares, intense virtuosity, and all around charisma. So there's this wild man on stage left capturing the visual aspect, whilst the rest of the band plays a perfect set of carefully timed mayhem, providing the aural pleasures. Although their set was over much too quickly, they tore through two new songs, and standouts like "Obscura", "With Their Flesh... He'll Create" and "Stiff and Cold", amongst a few others. This band is one which demands to be seen live in order to be understood, because quite honestly, the technicality and the new approaches to squeezing and scraping sound out of guitars which they have taken on their last two albums must be -seen-, or else it runs the risk of being dismissed as noise. A superb set on all counts, and Luc Lemay and the boys must be commended on hitting the road and letting us sit in on a musical experience that can't be forgotten.

It was late by the time headliners Dying Fetus took the stage, and most of the night's excitement and enthusiasm had been directed toward Gorguts. It didn't help matters much that it took three songs for Dying Fetus to get up a full head of steam. The guitar sound sucked, and all of the band except the lead vocalist just stood there the whole time. On the other hand, the drummer ruled, and their songs were good, but it was actually too fast to mosh to, and so for a second time, everyone just stood still and watched, clapping politely after each song. I had never seen such a lack of response from an audience towards a headlining band, but it seemed that by some strange course of events many were in agreement with me: that the true headliners had already played and packed up their gear.

(article submitted 13/5/2001)

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