Summer Slaughter

Billed as the “Most Extreme Metal Tour of 2009” and sponsored by such heavies as, the Summer Slaughter tour of 2009 was a mix of many things. It was long, from 2 PM to 12 AM, a full 10 hours of death metal goodness. We got to the King Cat theatre in Seattle around 4, missing some of the earlier bands. No great loss.

The first band that we saw and liked was Dying Fetus. They were considerably better than their prior brethren, but still ho-hum in parts. After Dying Fetus was Origin. I had had high hopes for Origin. Often spoken of in the same hushed tones normally reserved for Nile or Decapitated, Origin unfortunately failed to deliver. The drummer definitely showcased his prodigious skill, but it overshadowed all the other instruments. Crappy sound quality ruined what might have been a great performance. It just came across as a giant wall of sound, and not in the good Cryptopsy wall-of-sound way either. Here are two songs I could identify:

  • Finite
  • Wrath of Vishnu

We had a quick dinner after that and returned for the final four bands, the ones that would make it all worthwhile.

Darkest Hour was up first. Some fairly typical NWOSDM, except 14 years too late. However, the frontman had energy and got the crowd going.

Ensiferum was the odd one out. Dressed in Finnish flag kilts and boasting a stripe of black paint on their faces, they did their sound check in Finnish. They were all shirtless, except for the cute female keyboard player, who was the one person everyone wanted to see shirtless, of course. They rocked through their power-metalesque titled set and were actually quite good live. I forget the song names, but they had the crowd chanting the refrains in Finnish for some songs too, no mean feat.

Finally, around 9, Suffocation took the stage. Frank was in a bad mood and was visibly worked up about the venue. “What the fuck is up with these lights, they’re really gonna make a lose it”, and “The sound quality in this stage is the worst I’ve ever heard. If you think it sounds great, that’s fine, if not, come up here on stage and let me know how it sounds, it fucking sucks from here”. One sterling quote was “You got to see 13 death metal bands tonight for 25 bucks as part of the death metal stimulus package”. Other choice gems include “You know the end of the world is coming. Go out there and get lots of guns and lots of ammo. You know you don’t wanna be the guy sitting down at the breakfast table with only one bullet when the motherfuckers break into your house”. If Frank was serious and not merely facetious, that’s quite disappointing. Needless paranoia is just that, needless! Anyhow, Frank channeled his hate into the setlist, which simply exploded off the stage. The highlight of the night was a full circle pit. Not just the first 4 rows moshed, but the entire venue, something I’ve never seen before. Frank knows how to work up the crowd like no other. Anyway, here’s the setlist:

  • Catatonia
  • Effigy of the Forgotten
  • Blood Oath
  • Infecting the Crypts
  • Habitual Infamy
  • Cataclysmic Purification
  • Jesus Wept

A very good setlist, 2 new songs. Of course, I would have loved “Breeding the Spawn” or “Despise the Sun”, but one can’t have everything. I ran up and touched Frank’s hand in the post-show aftermath, a very fanboy thing to do, but the guy’s a metal legend, alright.

After some delays, Necrophagist took the stage. While clearly talented and technically proficient, after Suffocation, it was like staring at the wooden face of Steven Seagal. In their defense, they were late and pressed for time and they professionally went through their set, spitting out track after track of melodic technical death with machine-gun precision. But the crowd control was missing and some people even left during the show. I enjoyed Necrophagist a lot, but they were still second to Suffo’s performance, in my estimation. Muhammad barely spoke to the crowd, just yelling out “Thank you Seattle” and “Here’s $song_name, Seattle” in between songs. Here’s their setlist:

  • Stabwound
  • Foul Body Autopsy
  • The Stillborn One
  • Intestinal Incubation
  • Diminished to B
  • Some new song
  • Seven
  • Ignominous and Pale
  • Only Ash Remains
  • Fermented Offal Discharge

A very good setlist, then again, they only have 2 albums, so it was bound to be full of songs from them.

One slightly disappointing issue about the show was the quality of the swag. Most of the tshirts weren’t that great and it was just a big let-down. This is the complete opposite of usually every other show, where you only have 30 bucks and have to decide between 5 killer tees. That being said, I managed to find a decent Suffo tshirt to add to my collection.

As for the non-metal bits of the day, they were great too. It was a balmy 28 degrees, not a cloud in sight and Seattleites were out in force on their Independence Day eve. We saw a bit of Pike Market (a perennial favourite, but horribly crowded), and walked up and down the piers and did the usual touristy stuff: burgers, beer and postcards.