Immolation, Grave, Goatwhore & Crematorium Live in Seattle

By Chris Slack, Contributor
Sunday, June 29, 2003 @ 7:41 PM

Immolation, Grave, Goatwhore,

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June 6th was the hottest day Seattle has seen so far this year, When I left my house for the show at 3 PM (doors opened at 4) the temperature was at 85 degrees and got as high as 90, very hot weather for this part of the country. Traffic was even worse that usual, it took me 1.5 hours to travel the 16 miles to the venue, with no air conditioning. Needless to say, I was pretty grumpy by the time I arrived at Graceland. Fortunately this isn’t a bad thing when going to a death metal show as it allows me to get into the music even more than I normally would!

First up were Los Angeles “murdercore” veterans Crematorium, who had the honor of playing to (maybe) twenty people. That was too bad for those who missed out, because the group put on a surprisingly good show. Bobby Ponte from Four Bolt Main was acting as temporary drummer and did a fine job. I say surprisingly because I was less than impressed when I saw them opening for Nuclear Assault earlier this year. They seemed way too sloppy then and the music sounded too discordant to get me going. Maybe they changed their set list around this time because the band was much tighter and had more of a metal feel with a pretty chunky sound that had me banging my head more than I expected to be. It’s always possible that the heat and my pissed off mood helped as well but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed their set.

Crematorium set list:

Seasons of Nothingness
The Murder Process
Through Adversity
Bright Lights
The Dying Place
Carved from Deceit

Photos of Crematorium from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/i-g-gw-c60603/crematorium.shtml.

Next up was the mighty Goatwhore, who I haven’t seen since they opened for GWAR in early 2002. The Louisiana black metal quartet kicked out much too short of a set to a slightly larger crowd than Crematorium, probably around 75 people at most. The band was tight as hell and frontman Ben Falgoust connected well with the audience, mostly due to his highly animated gesturing and angry god-hating voice. It was fairly difficult to get many good shots of him as he was constantly as close to the edge of the stage as possible, often leaning out even further to get closer to the audience. Goatwhore’s energy levels were exceptionally high and they seemed to have a great time playing even though the turnout was severely lacking. The entire time I was not shooting photos I was headbanging constantly, a testament to a kick-ass performance. Immolation couldn’t have picked a better support act, with the possible exception of the next band…

Goatwhore set list:

Nocturnal Holocaust
Blood Guilt Eucharist
All the Sins
The Serpent that Enslaves What is the World
Sky Inferno
Invert the Virgin
Desolate Path to Apocalyptic Ruin
The Beauty in Suffering
Baptized in a Storm of Swords
Graveyards and Dead Angels

Photos of Goatwhore from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/i-g-gw-c60603/goatwhore.shtml.

Apart from the demos, “Into the Grave”, and the latest “Back to the Grave” I’ve never been a huge fan of Swedish death veterans, Grave. Perhaps I was just too much into bands like Unleashed, Hypocrisy and Entombed to give enough time to their music. Regardless of that I was really looking forward to seeing them for the first time, especially due to recently purchasing “Back from the Grave” and finding it to be a KILLER album. By the time Grave took the stage there were probably 100 people in attendance and it felt as though they all pushed forward upon hearing the first chords of “Rise” being played. The way Grave played and performed I don’t think anyone could have know that they hadn’t been on the scene for nearly seven years, they played as tight as any of the current acts that tour on a regular basis. Even though they are touring to support the new release their set was comprised predominantly of older material. Some fans such as myself were a bit disheartened by that but most of the old school deathsters were quite pleased. Grave brought about the first real pit of the night and everyone who wasn’t moshing seemed to be headbanging furiously, including yours truly whose neck is still sore two days after the fact. Their bass player broke a string during the final song but quickly retuned the remaining strings and was quickly back on track with the rest of the band. Let’s hope that Grave stays together for a while this time, they are a great band and a fantastic live act.

Grave set list:

Rise/Turning Black
Bullets are Mine
You’ll Never See
And Here I Die
Into the Grave

Photos of Grave from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/i-g-gw-c60603/grave.shtml.

By the time Grave had finished their set I was quite exhausted and my neck was sore as hell. The band brought the temperature inside the venue up to easily over 100 degrees and the humidity was very high due to all the sweat. Changeover was very short, I hadn’t even finished a cigarette by the time Immolation started playing. They played a fairly short set, due to the fact that they (like Crematorium) had a fill-in drummer who only knew so many songs. Kudos go to the drummer as he seemed to know the songs that they did play quite well. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the band, I enjoy seeing them live as they are total professionals, always in synch and rarely (if ever) slipping up, not to mention playing some incredibly heavy music. They mix technicality with brutality while still remaining coherent and heavy as hell. Immolation has definitely developed a style of their own over the past decade or so and hasn’t strayed far from it; when one sees them live the can always expect a set of blasphemous and heavy death metal that pulls no punches and leaves everyone with a sore neck.

Immolation set list (partial):

Unholy Cult
Wolf Among the Flock
Reluctant Messiah
No Jesus, No Beast
A Kingdom Divided
Bring them Down
Lost Passion

Photos of Immolation from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/i-g-gw-c60603/index.shtml.

(Photos by Chris Slack)

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