Gig report: NASTY ABYSS: Cryptopsy, Atheist, Serpentslain, Almost Dead, Monastery: March 5th, 2024

Gig report: NASTY ABYSS: Cryptopsy, Atheist, Serpentslain, Almost Dead, Monastery: March 5th, 2024

- in Reviews

There are worse ways to end your Tuesdays, especially for your eardrums. One of those ways was last night’s four tons of death metal by the American band Almost Dead, Serpentslain from Croatia, Atheist from the States, and Cryptopsy. The way they sounded last night could be from the pits of Hell, where even the Devil would not go.

The ‘Eardrums going bye-bye sonic surgery in Močvara’ started quite early, with doors opening at 17:30. But hell, it was a working day for us mere mortals, so everything had to be said and done around 23:00.

According to the schedule, the Hungarian Monastery was supposed to start at 18:00, but alas, that did not happen. Why? Well, there were a lot of reasons.

So Almost Dead was the starting band, beginning at 18:45 right on schedule. An American band with 22 years of activity, they released their last album, ‘Destruction is All We Know,’ on Innerstrength Records this January. More of a hardcore band than anything else, but years of experience still show very well; there were two full drum sets on the stage, one for the support bands and one for the co-headliners. The stage in Močvara was never that big, but with two drum sets, you could easily go Glenn Danzig off the stage and dislocate a few bones if you were not careful. Their vocalist, Tony Rolandelli, did not bother much. Screaming ‘Croatia, we are Almost Dead, and so are you,’ the gig started, and he went jumping all over the place. The whole band felt squished to each other, but that didn’t stop them from giving a solid performance. Like any band performing first, they got the shortest end of the stick, and their job was, to put it simply, to warm up the crowd for the next bands. Not really my type of genre, but they did a professional job in not the best of circumstances. Kudos again to the vocalist and their drummer, Ryan Glick, who was goofing around during the whole performance without missing a beat.

The second band of the night was Serpentslain, the ever-reliable local band support coming from Zadar, Croatia. This is probably my fifth or sixth time seeing them, and every time they did not disappoint; one of the few Croatian bands that really have something and stand above the sea of generic ones. The club was filling up, which means in our dear club of Močvara, the air is in short supply. But that was of little meaning to the audience as the first mosh pits and crowd surfing started to materialize. The band’s music would be described as death metal with more gravity towards melodies, so every At the Gates fan would feel at home with them. A personal highlight was when one of the organizers of the event, Lac, was yelling to the band that they had 8 more minutes left of stage time, so we squeezed out of them one more song and a selfie with the audience. It was very apparent that the stage was getting really hot, and oxygen was in short supply.

Which Kelly Shaefer from Atheist learned quickly in the first five minutes he was on the stage. Getting up there with his leather jacket. Boy, did you pick the place to wear that thing.

Joke aside, for those who are not well-versed in the band Atheist, after hearing their milestone album ‘Piece of Time,’ you would understand where Chuck Schuldiner got most of his ideas for Death’s ‘Human’ album and later releases. This is the peak of progressive death metal, and some will say they built a few more levels just in case. Dear old cat Kelly, although barely audible, was a shaman during the performance and directed the whole thing like a conductor. His every movement was signaling a change in tempo, riff, bass solo, etc. And boy, Atheist had a shitload of them in their songs. His live band, by age, were probably toddlers when Atheist was recording their first albums, but they were one of the tightest acts I’ve seen live in recent memory. Everyone was killing it on their instruments; even on more complex songs from ‘Elements,’ the band was moving around without missing a mark, like they knew the material in their DNA. While some funky jazz elements overstay their welcome in some moments, you can’t help but stare at the band and just admire their flawless performance. But when the older material hits, it hits fucking hard. Songs like ‘Piece of Time,’ ‘Formative Years,’ and ‘No Truth’ really hit their mark. Kelly and the gang were in great spirits, and it was a joy to see them live.

Frankly, after them, I was ready to call it a night, and then Cryptopsy started…

Holy mother of Hades and His hellions.

To be frank, I was actually a bit worried about how they were going to sound live. Močvara usually has solid live sound, and without many fuckups, bands can carry their sound and material across, but Cryptopsy is definitely another kind of beast.

From the expected wall of (kinda) noise, the band gave us one of the most clear and intense live performances I had ever seen. Even for those who are not familiar with the band, should see them live and wonder if the band is even human. The drums sound, if ever weaponized, could vaporize a small country, leaving only maggots for the band’s lyrical ideas, or Lord Worm’s lunch. But you can forget about Lord Worm because Matt McGachy crushes on vocals. If you are a vocalist in some extreme metal band, after seeing him perform, you are gonna feel inferior, I don’t give a fuck who you are. If Canada ever gets tornados, they should call Matt to scare them off.

It was odd to see them as a four-piece, considering the frantic guitar work the band has, but this is one of those examples of how with the right equipment, the sound can do wonders. This is some technical intensity you will not forget for a while. Intensity that was only matched by the audience’s constant crowdsurfing and going absolutely bananas. They do it rather well, don’t you think?

Not bad for a Tuesday, not bad at all.

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