This is the second date and pretty much the peak of the summer of Hell that happened in Croatia this year: we got Possessed. For a long time there were on my list of bands that I never thought I’m ever gonna see live. Thanks to Nasty Events organization I can now scratch them off the list.
There is a Croatian slang; “Friday is for the bullet” and that Friday fits very well, six fucking bands we saw that night. I’m still feeling sores on my legs and neck, next time I’m bringing a bloody chair.
So that night we had: Matt Miller, Stoic Suffering, Serpentslain, Bezdan, Vapor and Possessed.
Let’s start with the one-man show; Matt Miller.
Thankfully everything started right on time at 08:00 pm with Matt and a drummer pretty much showing off how talented they are on their instruments. For those not familiar with Matt, he releases prog metal albums consisting of purely instrumental work. Five albums and two EPs, in fact, which, considering that Matt has been active since 2020, is very commendable and shows hard work. But as a gig in itself, you have a feeling that you stumbled into his guitar show with him showing off his skills. For guitar enthusiasts, I guess it is a feast for the eyes and ears but most of us kinda nodded off. It does not help the matter that most of the tracks tend to sound the same which is not strange since you have basically two musicians on the stage with one taking the lead. It seemed like more of an advanced guitar school class than a gig. Luckily after half an hour and a selfie with the crowd Matt Miller went off the stage.
Only to play guitar again with Stoic Suffering. Oh, brother.
Excuse the rant but I’m really over my head with pay-to-play bands or whatever the deal is in today’s music business or tour management in general. I’m clearly certain that I know merely 20% of the whole situation in the music scene, but this is fucking Possessed; the band that was crucial in naming and forming the fucking subgenre and these are the bands that you bring on tour?
Stoic Suffering by genre had little to none associations with Possessed and more with a metalcore festival that would be happening on the other side of the planet. To each its own but a lot of us is left confused to “What is this band doing here?” and yeah, there was no bass. I was beginning to wonder that I would not see a full band that night.
Luckily, the first local supporting band got on stage: Serpentslain. One of those older bands whose year’s consist of activity and inactivity with finally releasing the debut album “Age of Verdict” in 2020. Boy was I glad to see them. Delivering melodic death with added frenzy and just enough blast beats to add the necessary boots to the audience which nicely filled up the club Mocvara. Unfortunately, their set list cut short a bit, but their time on the stage was a time well spent with a couple of moshpits in the audience. Keep them in mind because there are gonna be more. A lot more.
Second band of the local support scene is Bezdan and this is my third time seeing them. It is the first that they are playing in front of a packed Mocvara and this where the pandemonium started. Bezdan is one of those bands that has its audience and let’s say that they are… energetic. With constant mosh pits, crowd surfing, some more successful than others. On one instance some drunk old fuck tried to stage dive only to french kiss the floor merely missing our photography department. Not cool. Clearly, Bezdan had become satanic darlings of the local scene and they delivered the goods once more although their drummer needs more practice.
You are probably asking yourself why are mine reviews of individual bands seemingly shorter than usual, well most of the bands got a really tight schedule of 30 something minutes with one of the organizers going on stage to tell the band that they have time for one more song. Which sucks but the timeline have to be respected, we are already pushing to 11 pm and I am very close in asking Jeff does he have an extra wheelchair.
Finally, the last support band got on the stage: thrash metal bands Vapor from the States. We recently saw them as a support band for Nile and right from the horse’s mouth I can say that this performance was a lot better than the last one. The sound was tight, the guys in the band commanded the stage very well and the fucking pipes on Nate Kling (vocals, guitars). On songs like “Looking Through the Eyes of a Dead Man” and “Nightmare” he really pulled of some impressive vocal performances. You can clearly see that the many tours the had grinded them into a solid band. Musically speaking like mentioned in the last gig report is far from reinventing the wheel or showcasing new elements but it makes them the only non-local support band that actually makes sense. Unfortunately, the club Mocvara was less filed during their performance, probably the audience getting very much needed air and bearing itself for the coming act. Fucking Possessed.
It was a longer sound check but the anticipation was that tense that would need hedge shears to cut them. I really need to mention that the first rows were filled with young blood which is always great to see. Their excitement exploded when Jeff rolled to the stage and just started shaking with every person in the first row that was in his reach, and then the first track “No More Room in Hell” kicked off in front of the packed club. The pandemonium that was during Bezdan´s performance looked like a summer breeze. The sound was amazing, even in the first rows where they sound was in a lesser quality but that matters little with the crazy atmosphere that was around. When you dance with the Devil, you might as well lead.
During the whole pandemonium Jeff was a fucking sweetheart; smoking Cuban cigars that a fan shared with him, having non-verbal communication… it is clear as day that he is having a great time, having in mind that he was sick during the tour. Being on a long tour is hard as it is, but for a person in a wheelchair I can’t imagine what mental and physical stamina is required to pull it off. A huge kudos to Jeff. Unfortunately, his vocals are almost unheard during most of the gig. A friend who was closer to the center of the audience said that he heard Jeff at times so some fault could be given to the sound guy. Personally, I’m more of “Seven Churches” guy so material outside of that album really does not interest me but all tracks were performed flawlessly, especially the guitarist Claudeous Creamer fist bumping everybody whenever he got the chance. I even used my old Possessed long sleeve as a fan to cool him off. One more off the bucket list.
The set list wisely combined every period of the bands catalogue but personal highlights were Fallen Angel, Burning in Hell and of course Death metal. According to their default tour set list even they were cut short but because of the hellish heat nobody said no ill will when they did the encore with Burning in Hell. That did not stop Jeff to stick around with the fans for another hour giving autographs and taking pictures with them. A lot of so-called “metal stars” should take a cue from him. A legendary band gave a legendary performance with zero ego.
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