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Suffocation & Behemoth Live in Ottawa

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 @ 10:37 AM


Suffocation and Behemoth, With

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I was gonna start off with a long-winded explanation on why I haven't submitted the last 4 concert reviews in but seeing as I'm listening to one of the bands I saw a few weeks ago I'd rather just post this now while the vibe and the memory of the show were still fresh in my mind. Plus you'll be inundated with several hundred Motley Crue reviews (and "Vince Neil has mantits" rants in tow) before the month is out. Mine included. It's only fair to throw the tr00 and kvLt fans a bone now and then.

Anyway, long-running death metallers Suffocation brought the ‘Souls To Deny’ tour to Barrymore's with some special guests, who were for the most part actually sick with the lingering flu that's been going around. Having gotten off work a bit late I completely missed openers DevilInside, but judging from a lot of the hearsay about them ranging from "meh" to "kinda like Slipknot meets mid-‘90s Machine Head," I guess I didn't miss much. I essentially missed all of Misery Index's show too save for the closer "The Living Shall Envy the Dead" and at a loss to try and compensate for having missed the show by including some sort of anecdote in this review so far to get people's attention I'll drop their website link and move on. Would've been a lot more easier to say I hit the proverbial wall instead...

http://www.unkindesign.com/miseryindex/

But on to the bands whose sets I actually saw in their entirety, Poland's Behemoth -- in facial corpse paint just in case the audience needed help to tell the band members apart from the roadies -- drew a surprisingly bigger moshpit than Misery Index did given their small but burgeoning fanbase on this side of the pond as the chugging riffs from the opener "Antichristian Phenomenon" echoed out. The band were actually battling the effects of a flu for the most part but you wouldn't have known it when they launched into their other songs including "Christians to the Lions," "Decade to Therion" and their breakthrough sounds-too-close-like Anthrax's-"Be All End All"-but-imitation's-the-highest-form-of-flattery song "Conquer All," which I still say gets more airplay on Diana's Tuesday show than anywhere else. Great performance, good interaction with the crowd, bonus points for being troopers and playing anyway while being flu-ridden but they'll never get airplay on WildSide alongside Supagroup and Jack Blades' solo album. Meh. Somehow I think Behemoth will survive the dejection. This is the band that toured Siberia after all and the weather that night in Ottawa likely brought back fond memories of that tour....

http://www.behemoth.pl

Headliners Suffocation during their close to 20 years of playing and preaching their brutal melange of death and thrash have seen much of the world a few times over and over but unlike Behemoth, I doubt if they had ever experienced nut-clenchingly cold weather of Siberian proportions. That is, up until this show. They've played Ottawa in the past which might explain why the recent lineup has a Canadian connection in the form of rhythm guitarist Guy Marchais, who ended up hanging out with Jay, the lead singer of local band Nihility, Duncan, who was one of the DJ's of Carleton University campus radio program Meltdown on CHUO 89.1 FM and myself after the show. During the show, the band was on fire, playing mostly songs from last year's Souls To Deny -- specifically "Surgery Of Impalement," "To Weep Once More," "Subconsciously Enslaved," "Immortally Corrupted" and "Demise of the Clone" which all got the biggest responses from the crowd that night -- alongside some older material that hadn't seen the light of day in over a decade such as "Liege of Inveracity," "Infecting the Crypts" and "Catatonia," the last one being played for the first time since 1990 in order to break in Marchais' playing, which must've been successful given the crowd reaction that night.

Much as I hate to admit it because having seen the band for the first time and they were, in all fairness, pretty tight, I'd have to say that the post-show meet-up with 2/5's of Suffocation was more memorable than the show itself. To summarize, Jay and Guy first met up when Guy was in a band called Internal Bleeding and Jay's band Nihility played at Ottawa's Deathfest a few years back. Internal Bleeding were touring with another band called Solus at the time and both Jay and Guy ended up talking and exchanging e-mails. Guy also had good contacts in New York for merchandise and he eventually landed the guitar slot in Suffocation. Incidentally this was Suffocation's first Ottawa show. I decided to tag along after having bought the new Suffocation CD and wanting to get it signed. This actually proves to be a benefit for the band in general as the whole tour entourage discovers that they're completely short of a full road crew to help load up their gear thanks to apparent record and tour management oversight, leaving all 4 bands to act unofficially as their own roadies. The prospect of a further 2 hours collecting and loading instruments, amps and mic stands among other sets of gear after a punishing 4 hour show in -20 weather didn't sit well with one of the few roadies who was travelling with the band and not really used to working in cold weather. So we schooled him on Canadian climate for the next 30 minutes while helping him move some amps and instruments. I got my CD signed and Souls To Deny has been gracing my player since then. The roadie cut his workload in half and is now richer in knowledge having learned that Ottawa only trails behind Ulan Bator, Mongolia as the second most coldest capital on Earth. But which city is likely to get future visits by Suffocation and several other bands of the like? I'll leave that to the imagination.

In closing, having heard "Conquer All" again from Behemoth's website and knowing how similar it is to "Be All End All" I was thinking how funny it would be if on WildSide someone requested the latter and Diana accidentally played "Conquer All" instead. Not that I'm wishing for that to happen and have either party lose their cred in the process, mind you. I was just imagining the scenario if it did happen. Someone's got to give the push on Suffocation and Behemoth's latest albums after all...

http://www.suffocation.us

And seeing as I did give him a sticker for when Nihility opened for Cradle of Filth last year and the review for it afterwards went missing and he was cool with me hanging out with him and Suffocation's guitarist....

http://www.nihility.com/

Setlist never in any particular order:

"Surgery Of Impalement"
"To Weep Once More"
"Subconsciously Enslaved"
"Immortally Corrupted"
"Demise Of The Clone"
"Tomes Of Acrimony"
"Breeding The Spawn"
"Liege Of Inveracity"
"Infecting The Crypts"
"Mass Obliteration"
"Catatonia"



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