Live Gig Review and All Photos by Zenae D. Zukowski
Shortly after headlining Maryland Deathfest XV, Florida death metal giants Morbid Angel sold out Gramercy Theatre in NYC on May 29th with acts Suffocation, Revocation and Withered. A perfect brutal assault recipe on a jam-packed Memorial Day weekend, leaving many thirsty for metal, beer, and good times. The announcement was originally made during the wake of this year to commemorate newest members Scott Fuller (drums) and Dan Vadim Von (guitar). Members Trey Azagthoth (guitar) and vocalist Steve Tucker were both excited to deliver a murderous set featuring exclusive Tucker era tunes.
Doom/death metallers from Atlanta Georgia, Withered kicked off the evening promoting their 2016 release Grief Relic, and then some. They were on the stage long enough to spark a few mosh pits for an evening filled with merciless headbanging. After a short break, it was time to celebrate Revocation vocalist/guitarist David Davidson’s birthday alongside bringing parts of 2016’s Great is Our Sin via Metal Blade on the stage. The Boston technical death metallers ripped through the platform with songs including “Crumbling Imperium,” “Madness Opus,” and “Scorched Earth Policy.”
One of New York’s favorite metallers Suffocation were up next and some would say, they stole the show. Celebrating the release of their upcoming eighth studio album …Of the Dark Light out June 9 via Nuclear Blast, the gang began with Kevin Muller fronting the show, who replaced longtime frontman Frank Mullen who stepped down as an active touring member. Everything appeared like a normal Mullen-less gig until a few moments later, Mullen grabbed the second microphone and appeared on the stage, surprising many. Happy to return to his home spotlight, he belted out blistering tunes for the remainder of the set. His face was glowing the entire time performing tunes such as “Pierced From Within” “Surgery of Impalement,” “Funeral Inception,” and “Return to the Abyss.” It was a powerful show and at that time, seemed unbeatable.
Following hometown metallers, anxious and curious fans were waiting to see the return of Steve Tucker, among a couple new faces in Morbid Angel. Many speculated the set, considering all David Vincent era tunes were omitted due to the new I Am Morbid band split. For those who are unfamiliar, I Am Morbid is a relatively new group consisting of former Morbid Angel members David Vincent and drummer Tim Yeung. With that said, the group was unable to feature classic tracks ranging from 1989’s Altars of Madness through 1995’s Domination along with 2011’s Illud Divinum Insanus.
Many wondered if they still had what it takes to pull off an impressive set and several were surprised, they did. The bulk of the performance included tracks from albums 2000’s Gateways to Annihilation, 1998’s Formulas Fatal to the Flesh and 2003’s Heretic. However, they had room for one brand new onslaught of a song, “Warped,” proving a new album is on its way. The setlist consisted of songs “Summoning Redemption,” “Bil Ur Sag,” “I,” “Warped,” “Nothing Is Not,” “To the Victor the Spoils,” “Curse the Flesh,” “Prayer of Hatred,” “Covenant of Death,” “Praise the Strength,” “Beneath the Hollow,” “Ageless, Still I Am,” with encores, “He Who Sleeps,” and “Umulamahri.”
The lineup on this night was well worth staying from beginning to end. Each act gave it their all and the bulk of the crowd wounded up rocking out until the end.