The Day of Death
CoC Visits the NYC Deathstock at The Wetlands
by: Adam Wasylyk
Ironically, Adrian Bromley and I experienced death before arriving at the Wetlands for this year's Deathstock. Taking a greyhound from Toronto to NYC, during the 10-hour voyage, I couldn't find ONE comfortable position to sleep or rest in. We experienced death yet again when we arrived at around 6 AM to a large, unfamiliar town carrying our luggage around for the entire day. With all of that out of the way, we were then ready to experience true death: metal that is, at the third annual Deathstock.

With 12 bands on the bill for this year's show, it was to be a true endurance test. The band list wasn't completely known to me until the day of the show, which I found out who was playing by reading a posted ad. Some scheduled bands to play but were to later cancel were Samael (to be part of the headlining Cannibal Corpse/Immolation tour), Incantation, Acheron, and Ancient (who I was told were busted at the border for drug possession).

Beforehand Adrian and I met some people whom we had first met on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) on the #metal channel. After a large lunch and shortly after 2 PM, we entered the Wetlands to see Connecticut's Curse already well into their set. Having seen the band during the summer (at the Milwaukee Metal Fest), their set consisted of corpse-painted black metal which fell on the mediocre set. Being the first band on the day, the crowd was thin, as the majority of the later 400+ crowd wouldn't arrive for some time to come.

To follow was Evoken who played a rather boring set of doom/death. The drumming was slow and hardly ever reached a mid-paced speed, which in a concert setting doesn't work for me. The keyboardist onstage unfortunately couldn't help as the band was "doomed" from the start. Cheap jokes aside, Evoken were a disappointment. New Jersey's Mortal Decay woke me up with their death/grind set, which I would experience yet again later in the show. Never letting up, they exemplified pure aggression and speed. Looking back, Mortal Decay played one of the best sets of the night, Adrian firmly agreeing with me.

Next up were Unisound recording artists Insatanity, who put on a good set of fairly brutal death metal. Yet another band I had seen at the Milwaukee Metal Fest, they were as good as I remembered them, of course here the sound was much better. New York's Asphyxiation followed and played a set of average death metal that couldn't take my attention away from the many vendors on-hand selling their wares. They came across as dull, but they did have their moments. Hellbound were next and to be honest I don't remember a whole lot about them. I remember that Sepultura's "Troops of Doom" was their last song and was covered well, but their original material wasn't very interesting to me. I was at this point truly hoping for better things to come.

Events quickly turned around when Dying Fetus took the stage. The Pulverizer Records act played a great set of death/grind which held my interest throughout the nine or so songs they played. The drumming was insane, while the bass and guitar vocalists were great. One of them took care of the mid-range vocals while the other sang the very low growly vocals, the two complimented each other very well. Playing songs off their CD _Purification through Violence_, Dying Fetus could not be denied on this night.

Formed in late 1995 after the break-up of Order from Chaos (who also played a past Deathstock), Angel Corpse played a good set of Bathory/Possessed-influenced death metal, as evidenced on their recently released debut CD for Osmose Productions called _Hammer of Gods_. Decked up in studs and bullet belts, the drumming rarely let up from its mid-paced speed during the band's 45-minute set. At the end of their last song, bassist/vocalist Pete Helmkamp, reminiscent of his OfC days, did some fire-breathing and then threw the lit baton into the crowd. A good visual set with good music to go along with it.

Norwegian black metal alert! I had originally heard that Mysticum had canceled weeks prior to the show but that morning I learned that they indeed would be playing. After about a 20-minute wait with repeated calls from the DJ for the band to take the stage, the Norwegian boys entered upon the stage and set up their gear. For those who don't know, the band use a drum machine in concert, which noticeably had some onlookers confused. Technical problems delayed things further but eventually the band did start into their set. With the guitars completely off-time with the drums, the sound coming from the three-piece was horrible. It sounded like a jam session rather than actual music. After the first song the guitarist left the stage, to presumably help the sound guy with the drum machine as it ended up that the band couldn't hear it. The band started up again, with the drums loud and blazing while the singer looked truly possessed/crazy shrieking into the microphone. I recognized the song "Kingdom Comes" by the keyboards as they, along with the drums, were being piped through the speakers. After only six or seven songs, Mysticum left the stage, despite the crowd's cries for more. I could tell they wanted to play longer too, after traveling such a long distance to play. Mysticum, for those interested, have a full-length CD on Full Moon Productions called _In the Streams of Inferno_, which should be out now.

Immolation, the first band on the headlining tour, graced the stage to the applause of the audience. Playing a moderately charged set of death metal while playing a good variety of material from their records, Adrian thought they played a good set but I felt they had more bark than bite. Unfortunately, at around 11:45 that night, during newly-signed-to-Relapse-Records Brutal Truth's set, Adrian and I had to leave, to catch our ride back to Long Island where we were staying. All I saw was Kevin Sharp in his cowboy hat from outside the venue and all I heard was the band playing material off their _Kill Trend Suicide_ EP.

Looking back on this year, I was very fortunate to have gone to some great shows. The Toronto Death Fest had some great Canadian talent, the Milwaukee Metal Fest had some great American and international talent and the NY Deathstock had some great NY and surrounding area talent. Having met some cool people and hearing some great music, I may just make NYC part of my itinerary for next year.

(article submitted 2/1/1997)

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