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Review: Obituary, Skeletonwitch and Pallbearer Slowly Rot Their Way Through Philly

Posted by on May 10, 2018

While the pairing of Pallbearer with Obituary and Skeletonwitch may not seem to make a ton of sense at first, pairing a doom metal band between a seminal death metal band and a popular thrash one made for a well-rounded evening of extreme music. The tour rolled through Philadelphia last week,, hitting the TLA, and Jeff Podoshen was there to review it, breaking things down band by band

Obituary

There’s little NOT to love with Obituary. One of the seminal bands to come out of the Florida death metal scene, fans know that these guys simply never disappoint. They released the brilliant self-titled record just over a year ago and clearly Philly’s metal fans were pumped.

This was an interesting set and not really what I was expecting. Yes, they did play four songs from their latest release but they also performed some deeper cuts. From the s/t record the standouts were the masterful “Sentence Day” – one of their best tracks ever in my opinion, as well as “Turned to Stone,” and “Straight to Hell.” Would have loved to have heard “Brave” but I guess I’ll have to wait until they come around again. Other standout songs from the show were “Don’t Care,” “I’m in Pain,” and “Slowly We Rot.”

The band overcame some early monitor problems with John Tardy indicating he couldn’t hear his vocals on stage. From a crowd perspective he sounded just fine. Trevor Peres brought his signature Obituary rhythm sound and Kenny Andrews crushed it on the leads. I’m starting to love Kenny in this bad. Not only does he bring incredible lead work to the new tracks (listen to him on “Sentence Day”) but he does clear justice to the classic songs as well. Donald Tardy was in usual high spirits on the drums. He is so fun to watch. Terry Butler was on bass assuming his Ian Hill like position right in front of the kit.

It’s enjoyable to watch Obituary as its so obvious they love what they do, the music they create and the ability to perform in front of their fans. Obituary is not about hiding their smiles or taking themselves overly serious. They are about creating great music and a welcoming experience for the fans – many of whom have been listening for decades. In fact John Tardy was literally glowing as he heard from one of the roadies that the Tampa Bay Lightening had defeated the Boston Bruins in overtime at the beginning of the set. In between verses you could see John mouthing to Trevor “I can’t believe they won!”

One of the best performances I’ve seen so far in 2018.

Pallbearer

It’s difficult to find a band in the doom category that is better than Pallbearer these days (that’s still together). This was my first time seeing them and they gave an extremely moving, poetic-like performance that took over the rough Philly audience. With this band, it’s not just about the mood but the musicianship. Watching Brett Campbell play his leads is literally mesmerizing. Brett takes the audience into his world for just a few moments, allowing a high level of empathetic response. Devin Holt on guitar is, likewise, extremely talented and performs with immense feeling.  Joseph Rowland on bass and Mark Lierly on drums round out the rhythm section with clear pace and unabashed confidence.

If you’re new to the Pallbearer sound, yes, there are going to be some really long songs and this band is certainly a lot different than Skeletonwitch and Obituary, but they are worth checking out. My favorite songs of the night were “Watcher in the Dark,” and “Devoid of Redemption.”

 

Skeletonwitch

Skeletonwitch is one of my favorite bands to see live. I can’t recall how many times I’ve actually seen them, but it’s a heck of a lot both in the U.S. and in Europe. The band has a new record coming out this summer and they’ve already released the first single, “Fen of Shadows,” which they are performing live on this tour. It’s a slightly different sound for them, but one that is going to catch on with their fanbase fairly quickly. The song brings in a bit more atmosphere and some slightly different sonics, phrasing, and structure than what you might be accustomed to. It is good to see this band push their boundaries a bit and with the more than able (original members) Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick on guitars, you know the finished work is going to be incredible.

“Red Death, White Light” opened their set and then they moved into “I am Death (Hell Has Arrived)” which were quite the tone setters. And yes, they played the classic, “Beyond the Permafrost,” during their seven song set. Let’s face it, hearing “Permafrost” live is worth the price of the ticket alone. Without a doubt, I can’t wait until the new record, Devouring Radiant Light drops in July.

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