Monday night, the 10th of September 2012, the Carnival Of Death Tour came to Empire in Springfield, Virginia. It was the second stop on the tour and while the Tampa, Florida based old school death metal band Obituary was headlining, I was more excited to see the return of Broken Hope. This was their first run of shows since breaking up over 10 years ago!
While Jungle Rot and a couple of local acts started the show I didn’t get there until just before Decrepit Birth played. They’re a California based death metal band that totally worships Chuck Schuldiner’s Death. In fact, if you’re a Death fan and you haven’t checked this band out you’re doing something wrong! They introduced a new drummer at the show, though I didn’t catch his name, and Derek Boyer was noticeably absent as well, but they still put on an entertaining show. Broken Hope was next and they were brutal as all hell! Their legendarily deep voiced vocalist Joe Ptacek killed himself in 2010 so they have Tom Leski of Gorgasm doing vocals now and he was great up there. He quickly dispelled any question about if he’d be able to do those guttural bellows. They were incredibly heavy and it isn’t every day you see a death metal band that crushing live. I’ve got a couple videos you can see below that I shot that night, including one of my favorite song of theirs, Felching Vampires.
Last up was Obituary, one of the legends of the Tampa Bay death metal scene. I tend to think of Obituary as sort of the AC/DC of death metal. Like AC/DC, their songs are fairly simple and don’t have a lot of variation between them, but they are very good at the one thing they do. If you like one Obituary song you’ll probably like them all and seeing them live isn’t going to change your opinion of them if you don’t. That all said I do like Obituary, but I have seen them in better form than they were that Monday night. For starters they are playing as a four piece since apparently Ralph Santolla isn’t playing guitar for them any more. This left Tony Peres, who is normally the rhythm guitarist, to do all the guitar work and he simply skipped over most of the guitar solos. Add to that the fact that vocalist John Tardy just didn’t seem that excited to be performing. His brother, drummer Donald Tardy, actually had more charisma and did a better job of pumping up the crowd from behind the kit. For the most part John looked old and tired on stage and seemed to be just going through the motions. I’d have maybe understood this more if they’d been touring a month already but this was just the second show of the tour, and the first outside of their home state. They can’t be that tired already can they? Anyways, the crowd didn’t seem to notice much as the mosh pit was going wild throughout Obituary’s set. They played a lot of older material and actually changed the backdrop a few times during the show as the set list moved to different eras of the band’s history. Even with the lackluster performance the songs have a certain groove that still holds up live and it was a fun show, but it certainly was not Obituary at their best. I’ve got a couple videos of their performance that you can watch at the end of this post if you want to judge for yourself. Stay brutal everyone and remember to get out to some metal shows and support the scene you’re a part of!