On Friday, February 14, “Valentines Day” love was in the air, a love for death metal, along with a bitter cold chill as Vader made their stop in New York for the first time in over 10 years. Friday was probably the coldest day this winter in New York City with a low of 13 degrees, despite the weather and the cheesy Hallmark holiday the turnout was still impressive. Naturally, the crowd really didn’t seem to pack in until midway through the second band, Hideous Divinity‘s set, but still the crowd was considerably thick for openers Vitriol.
The show had a somewhat of a late start time considering the line-up included four bands. The first Portland’s Vitriol quickly got the heat turned up inside the chilly venue as the band took to the stage kicking off the show properly by crushing an all-to-short set of tracks highlighting their debut album To Bathe From The Throat Of Cowardice. While bassist Adam Roethlisberger (any relation to Ben?) and guitarist Kyle Rasmussen while trading off vocal duties, the two highlight each others technical instrumental talents by feeding off each others intense amount energy and stage presence. Now don’t think for a second that it was all Roesthlisberger and Rasmussen, not at all! Guitarist Mike Ashton made his presence as well alongside Scott Walker’s thunderous drumming. As always an all to familiar let down with concerts these days, the opening band comes out and crushes it in front of a half empty crowd. Regardless of the size of the crowd, Vitriol came out and gave everyone there one hell of a show.
Hideous Divinity, a band I knew nothing about going into the show except that they were from Rome and that they had to follow up an incredible set played by Vitriol. When Hideous Divinity took the stage wearing near matching all black button up attire, I was a bit skeptical, its just something I find a bit weird when band members all try and dress the same without costumes. The band opened their set and not even mid way through the opening song were met with some type of technical issue, what is was who knows, no one in the crowd, nor myself knew why they stopped, but it led them to start the song over from the beginning and to me still sounded the same, but now I was now even more skeptical.
Once they finally did get started, it was clear that the bands sound was very well balanced. Their set was more melodic and technical then the bone crushing Vitriol, though there was still plenty of pure death metal there led by vocalist Enrico Di Lorenzo‘s brutal guttural roar and amazing stage presence.
As Abysmal Dawn took the stage the crowd had finally piled in and filled the venue. Though I don’t follow the band closely I do know Abysmal Dawn offers a sweet taste of old school death metal with a hint of thrash. Once the band kicked off their set, its was clear that the crowd had been awoken as the pit began to finally opened up and get started. Abysmal Dawn’s set was filled with songs that spun out a fierce fury of riffs, blast beats and guitar solos of technical precision in various tempos.
It was 11pm and normally in New York that’s cut off time with the sound curfew, but that wasn’t the case Friday night. As it was time for the headliners, veteran old school death metalers Vader, and although Vader hold a significant spot in old school death metal, it was clear that the majority of the crowd were there for one band and one band only, Abysmal Dawn. By the time Vader came out on stage the crowd had thinned out significantly and looked as it did throughout the first half of the show. Non-the-less Vader did not let that affect them, nor did they let down their true fans as they ran through a fierce set of songs that spanned throug their career dating back to the early 90’s, though the set did seem to fall a bit short as far as time went, considering Vader didn’t hit the stage till 11pm, this was one thing that was a bit of a let down, especially for the hardcore fans who probably have never seen Vader live since the band hasn’t even been back in New York for nearly 10 years, though frontman Piotr Wiwczarek did mention that they would return soon once the new album has been released. As Vader finished up their set fans were left with Wiwczarek commenting “See you soon, See you next time, See you in hell!”