This was to be my third time seeing Death Angel live, and I was just as excited as the first two occasions (Flint, MI 1990 & Taipei 2011). Why, aside from not having to wait another two decades? Death Angel, already a favorite of mine since their classic 1987 debut, The Ultra-Violence, is one of those great forces of nature that has gotten better with age.
On tour to support their latest album, The Dream Calls For Blood (also a brain-splitter of the highest order - my review is here), I began salivating many months ago when this gig was first announced. Upon learning German thrash masters Kreator were their touring mates, well, Hells Bells! The Metal Gods were smiling on Taipei.
Alas, Death Angel were slotted as the openers, and I feared a shortened set. But once Left For Dead ripped open the night, there was no time for worrying. It was all about thrashing.
Succubus, Caster of Shame, Fallen, Son of the Morning, and The Dream Calls For Blood ~ we got a heavy dose of the new stuff, and you can tell it was written on the road as they toured for the previous album Relentless Retribution. These were all hungry, game-ready songs, ravaging in their natural environment. Older treasures like Sonic Beatdown and Mistress of Pain seamlessly tied past and present together.
One of the many wonderful things about experiencing a band live is hearing the different layers of a song in fresh ways, as was the case this night. For example, the mid-song guitar riffing of Claws In So Deep revealed some major Judas Priest influence. That’s not a surprise, as the band are avowed fans, but moments like that are cool to catch in the act.
What else was cool? Drummer Will Carroll showing his respect with a Bazooka t-shirt (and also breaking the snare two songs into the set ); vocalist Mark Osegueda’s gratitude, humility, and inspirational speeches; Rob Cavestany shredding like mad and even getting on the mic to bless us for showing our love; stage divers and more stage divers. Hell, everything was cool.
For as awesome as all of the above were, my top three moments had to be:
~ An absolutely blistering Seemingly Endless Time. How did that get faster?
~ Third Floor. Holy shit, I did not see that one coming. They were on fire with this rarity.
~ The Ultra-Violence, even an abbreviated version, is forever epic. Best metal instrumental ever.
And what’s even better than that? They indeed played a full set before dashing off to the Philippines. Ahhhhhh!
In my review of Death Angel’s 2011 Taipei gig I gave openers Bazooka the short end of the stick, as I found it impossible to focus on anything else but DA. So it goes with Kreator this time around. I was too buzzed from these Californians to put my attention elsewhere, and then I was enjoying a few generous moments of conversation with Damien (bass), Will (drums), and Mark (vox) as they departed for the airport.
So for Kreator, all I can tell you is that these legends were tight, they were LOUD, and they love their dry ice. For those who could balance out their enthusiasm and emotions better than I, they were able to enjoy two full courses of powerful sounds, whereas one was enough to satisfy me. Either way, we all got treated to a deliciously fulfilling night of thrash.
Taipei got schooled. Old-schooled.