Morbid Mayhem
Morbid Angel, Vader and Entwined
by: Pedro Azevedo
Before describing the concert itself, I shall describe the atmosphere: a concert room built within semi-ruined stone walls, near the Douro (the river which separates the cities of Gaia and Porto). As the concert was held at night, the view of Porto across the river was superb -- at least to me. But I barely had time to enjoy this familiar view, as, quite unexpectedly, sounds of Entwined starting their performance echoed outside the Hard Club precisely on schedule.

And so Entwined opened the concert with a twenty minute performance. I had only heard fragments of their debut _Dancing Under Glass_, and, in my opinion, they sounded better live -- or at least harsher. The first thing that struck me when I entered the concert room, however, was the great atmosphere inside, mostly due to the tall stone walls all around. The second thing is the outstanding view of the stage you can achieve if you stay on one of the access platforms or, like I did, in one of the stairways that lead down to the concert room itself. The room below me was crowded enough, which was pleasant to notice. But back to Entwined -- except for their sound not being too clear, they played a reasonable set. Their vocalist did manage to get on my nerves, however, as he kept shouting "Oporto" every once in a while (even in the middle of songs), in an attempt to please the audience that I considered rather futile.

After the break, Vader. Again a band I knew little of -- just _De Profundis_. Quite a show, especially if you happen to enjoy double-bass drumming, as I do -- their drummer did a damn good job at that. Fast, sometimes very fast, and precise. The rest of the band didn't seem to bother too much with technical details, but they certainly made the crowd start moving (not as much as Morbid Angel did later, though). Their sound was better than Entwined's and so was their on-stage presence. A powerful forty minute show from a very good live band.

Morbid Angel entered the stage after "Disturbance of the Great Slumber" was played as an intro. Their show was simply outstanding: excellent sound and spotless playing for one hour and fifteen minutes. Their live sound is remarkable, with the addition of a second guitarist clearly strengthening their output. Some of their fans who didn't own their latest album, _Formulas Fatal to the Flesh_, were somewhat disappointed, since most of the songs were taken from that album. No complaints here, as far as I am concerned, and even those who didn't know the new songs seemed to easily get into them. Songs such as "Heaving Earth", "Prayer of Hatred", "Bil Ur-Sag" "Nothing Is Not", "Hellspawn: the Rebirth", "Covenant of Death" and "Invocation of the Continual One" were perfectly executed. As for older songs, I can mention a few: "Lord of All Fevers and Plague", "Rapture", "Day of Suffering" and "Chapel of Ghouls", among others. A great concert indeed.

As a footnote, this was my first visit to the Hard Club, which recently opened. It offers excellent conditions for concerts, the room was crowded, and it -must- have been profitable for the people involved as well as good for the bands. So let's see if these kind of concerts start happening more often over here, because I really am quite sick, to say the least, of seing almost every good band (mostly European ones) playing concert after concert in Germany and places nearby without ever going anywhere else.

London Astoria 2 May 8, 1998 by: Paul Schwarz

Vader, just as in Paris [CoC #25], completely tore apart the fabric of the real world. Although only on for 33 minutes, Vader got through a well composed set consisting of: "Sothis", "Distant Dream", "Black to the Blind", "Silent Empire", "Blood of Kingu", "Red Passage", "Carnal" and "Dark Age". Once again, Vader began with their sinister intro and Peter's initial words to the crowd. The build up was once again superby executed and this time aided by the use of dry ice, which enveloped almost the entire stage, just before the band launched into "Sothis". The sound was beautifully crisp and once again I found Vader virtually impossible to fault on any level. If it had been another headliner, I would have felt sorry for them having to follow Vader, but Morbid Angel were not shown up in any way by their support band's astounding work, although they didn't show up Vader either.

Morbid Angel are obviously as into _Formulas Fatal to the Flesh_ as I am, as they played every 'real' song off it except "Chamber of Dis". Morbid Angel also played: "World of Shit", "Rapture", "Lord of All Fevers and Plague", "Day of Suffering", "Blood On My Hands", "Hellspawn" and "Chapel of Ghouls". Steve Tucker played his musical and personal part of fronting the band excellently. Trey and Pete were, of course, incredible to behold in their respective parts and Eric Rutan's second guitar work came across nicely. Morbid Angel also utilised the dry ice excellently, having it drift-by Trey and then be blown into a storm of chaos by a fan at Steve's feet. The sound was like crystal for almost the entire set and the playing was of the kind you could set your watch by. A bill not to be missed at any cost.

(article submitted 7/6/1998)

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