I was stoked about this tour from the start, man. Aborted are nothing short of amazing, Psycroptic are so much better live and The Schoenberg Automaton are pretty damn killer. Hadal Maw opening for the show wasn’t a bad choice, either. Plus, The Hi-Fi has the best sound I’ve heard at a venue. This was going to be amazing.
First things first, the sound and lighting was nothing short of fantastic. Punchy and bass-filled with plenty of vocals made for a perfect mix, and using easy-on-the-eyes red washes with only a few harsher white strobes made my eyes very thankful for not being in pain from the lighting. The turnout was great, and while there weren’t too many people in the pit, it was pretty awesome.
Hadal Maw were first up, and I was at the back of the venue for them, since Sven de Caluwé, frontman for Aborted, was up at the bar. A nice blend of groovy riffs and deathgrind, Hadal Maw powered through their relatively short set with little to no problems. Their stage performance was a little rigid, but they were the openers and unless they’re King Parrot you don’t really expect antics from openers.
For lighting they had a simple red wash and while it wasn’t particularly interesting, it was easy on the eyes and it worked. Up the back they still had a nice mix, too. I like that about The Hi-Fi. Wherever you move to in the venue, the mix stays pretty much constant, it’s really cool.
I headed up to the front for The Schoenberg Automaton. I dig these guys a lot; their unorthodox techy prog style of death metal/deathcore is really interesting with enough headbanging bits to keep you engaged in a live atmosphere. Sticking with blue and red washes and white strobes, they didn’t work up the crowd too much, but some people headbanged, myself included. The mix really suited them, with huge amounts of bass, but enough high treble for the wanky solo bits. Up on stage, their performance was energetic and enthusiastic, which was great.
Psycroptic hit the stage a short while later, and immediately dived into their 45 minute set. There was a lot from (Ob)Servant, which was awesome, but they only played “The Colour of Sleep” from Scepter of the Ancients, which was a bit disappointing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them play “Scepter of Jaar-Gilon,” though. The wanky solo-ridden riffy goodness was a nice change from the odd time signatures of TSA, and headbanging abounded in the audience.
Jason Peppiatt was a monster behind the microphone, and he always sounds so much better live than in recordings. David and Joe Haley were also masterful as always, while Cameron Grant’s bass was rib-shakingly loud but not overwhelming. I just think Psycroptic are one of those bands that sound so much better live, and it’s mostly to do with them sounding so much fatter live – there’s plenty of that wall of sound quality I love to hear in metal — so I always appreciate them more when I ee them live. Pretty damn awesome times were had.
Aborted came on soon after, and from start to finish put on one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Making me want to pit for the first time since Obscene Extreme, they eviscerated the stage with a brutal and energetic performance, with lots of moving about and jamming out.
The lighting was mostly white with some red flashes, but it didn’t really matter; the pit was insane and the music was amazing. The mix complimented them perfectly, as was beautifully heavy. They forged through their hour-long set with ease, playing a great mix of new and old material, but the standouts for me would easily be “The Origin of Disease” and “Sanguine Verses (… Of Extirpation).”
Instrumentally, all of Aborted were brilliant, but what really stuck in my head was the monumental drumming by Ken Bedene. The blasting that man did that night was nothing short of mind-blowing. Sven was also at the top of his game, easily getting through his set without deteriorating at all, but then I wouldn’t expect anything less from the legendary deathgrind veteran.
There wasn’t too much in the way of solos but what little they were they were technically astounding and garnishes to the songs, rather than attempts to make them the meat of the song. Heavy-as-balls riffs are the meat of an Aborted song, and that’s the way it should be. All in all, Aborted are amazing and you’re making a huge mistake if you don’t listen to them.
You know the drill. Go check out the bands mentioned, they’re all worth listening to and supporting. And, if you get the chance, definitely go see Aborted or Psycroptic. You will not be disappointed, and if you are, that’s your own personal failing. I’m not sure what my next gig is, but I’ll be doing some Under the Radar stuff soon, so keep an eye out for that.
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