NAPALM DEATH, VOIVOD, EXHUMED, IRON REAGAN, BLACK CROWN INITIATE, THEORIES live at Studio Seven 02.18.2015
Photos and text: Robert Hanna
UK grindcore legends Napalm Death have spent a lot of time in the spotlight recently, launching a massive tour on the heels of their 2015 release Apex Predator – Easy Meat, as well as outspoken front person Barney Greenway publicly appealing for the release of prisoners facing execution in Indonesia to President and metal enthusiast Joko Widodo. Few bands have achieved the balance between commercial viability and an actual dedication to making quality music with a message, yet Napalm Death, over the span of their 30+ year career, have managed to walk this line and do it with integrity. Sporting a broken arm in a sling, Greenway was animated and on fire from the moment the band took the stage, and didn’t stop moving until they were finished. Barely a minute of calm in between blast beats, the band played several songs from their new LP as well as more classic ND material from Scum and From Enslavement to Obliteration.
Joining forces in the Through Space and Grind tour were Montreal’s prog-sci-fi-thrash innovators Voivod, who haven’t played live in Seattle since their 1999 tour with Neurosis and Candiria. Voivod have been true to their boundary-pushing roots, and since their inception have made some of the most original sounding metal that defies attempts to categorize their signature sound. While still fronted by charismatic singer Denis “Snake” Bélanger, along with the band’s longest-standing member and visual artist, drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, this tour featured guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (who joined in 2008 during the Infini album era) a brand new bassist Dominique “Rocky” Laroche. Voivod seemed to have reconnected with some primal energy in creating 2013’s release Target Earth, and the songwriting and frenetic live set from this tour was a massive breath of fresh air. Their setlist spanned material from War and Pain, Rrröööaaarrr!, Killing Technology and Dimension Hatröss, along with a handful of Target Earth tracks which fit fairly seamlessly into the mix.
Oakland gore metal progenitors Exhumed brought out their shred-laden freakshow, including a cameo appearance by their original bassist Ross Sewage, who played a few tracks from their debut LP Gore Metal with the band before guitarist Bud Burke was unfortunately decapitated in their guillotine stage prop by fifth member Dr. Filthy.
Richmond, VA five-piece Iron Reagan nailed a half hour of energetic, solid 80’s crossover thrash. Featuring members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour, Iron Reagan basically picks up right where Municipal Waste left off, with perhaps more of a punk influence than the latter.
Also opening were Reading, PA based Black Crown Initiate, and local technical grinders Theories, who are just about to drop their debut LP later in March on Metal Blade Records.