Death (DTA Tours), Obscura, Memorain // Fuzz Club, Athens, Greece // 01.04.2016
A night to remember. With great confidence, I could say, that Chuck is sitting up there having a big smile about what is happening down here. From one side, this bitter taste and feeling that he is not here with us, but a killer joke watching our reactions for what he has created.
The night begun with MEMORAIN. A band with mix influences from the thrash and speed scene with a quite modern touch. Unfortunately, they had only 15 minutes for their performance but they definitely nailed it! The sound was good, during most of their set list and all the guys were in great mood. But for me Vaggelis Kolios -on vocals- draw my attention the most. He was really imposing on stage and his voice was ripping fuzz! Very good performance from MEMORAIN, who woke us up really nice for what was coming.
Now, I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of OBSCURA (sorry Andrew), but I can acknowledge for sure that those guys are great musicians. In about 45 minutes, they played songs mostly from their very recent release Akroasis. Extremely technical and progressive, this band’s music isn’t something that you can “grab” from the first listening. I surely liked them more for their performance and their passion plus I was impressed from their young age. As for their skills and their performance, they were in high standards and I don’t think they disappointed any of their fans (many enough to say the truth). Well, it was at least something interesting and different for me, but it moved me to give them more attention from now on.
Finally, the hour had come to see DEATH (DTA Tours) and hear the legacy of Chuck Shuldiner on stage, without him being onstage but, as we all know, it wasn’t his choice. Here we had 3 of the 4 members of a band that changed the extreme metal sound (and not only) to its core. Yes, Chuck was the soul and the mastermind of this band, but for that reason he only wanted to work with the best. Of course, I refer to Gene Hoglan (drums), Steve DiGiorgio (bass) and Bobby Kolble (guitar) who worked and “gave flesh” to Chuck’s dream. As for Max Phelps (vocals, guitar) no, he can’t fill Chuck’s shoes, but I don’t think he wants that either. He is doing his job with total respect and he is the closest to him that he could be!
As for their performance. Give me a fucking break please!! They WERE AMAZING!! The sound was too loud in some points, but other than that, I can’t think of any other bad thing going wrong. They played songs from all DEATH albums, something I think was another great element. Phelps, was always stepping aside and let DiGiorgio make contact with the audience, giving a feeling of respect to what people want, but also that he is here to pay tribute to a friend and not be the new Chuck Schuldiner!! In the end, I didn’t see anyone not having a good time. And that was the point. To have a great time and remember a great musician, person and his legacy. As for me, I still can’t wipe that smile off my face. I can still see you smiling Chuck!
Report: Paris Dimitropoulos
Photos: C.Alossi Photography
Death (DTA Tours), Obscura, Memorain // Principal Club Theatre, Thessaloniki, Greece // 02.04.2016
Since their formation, they caused a lot of debates weather they should exist or not, if they have the world’s approval even if it’s the right thing to do, playing under the banner baring the logo of our beloved late Chuck Schuldiner’ s “DEATH”. DEATH (DTA TOURS) really crush any the doubts of their existence with their performances. Small story gone terribly wrong, DEATH, during their active years and while Chuck was still alive, managed to play only once on this lands, somewhere around 1998 during the “Sounds of Perseverance TOUR”. Those two shows, were the only ones that the Greek audience ever had the chance of enjoying and seeing the most influential band of extreme metal.
Unfortunately, things went downhill from that point and on for Chuck’s health, and we all know how it all came to an end. Being aware of the fact, that from 1998 till 2016 there’s been an 18 year gap, one should bare in mind that many people -even teenagers at that time- never had the chance to listen and enjoy Chuck’s music performed live, by professional musicians. We only had our records to please our ears and of course, sheer imagination of how great it would be, to be a part of the audience in a DEATH concert, somewhere back in time. That’s why philosophers who know nothing at all, kept buzzing our balls, about how it is not right or ethical to go and see a band performing DEATH songs, without the presence of their composer.
It was about 20.10 that, due to certain circumstances, I got to the venue, missing the entire MEMORAIN show, which -I was later informed- went absolutely great. While entering, the venue seemed half empty and quite disappointing. Seeing the stage being prepared for the German prog/death machinery OBSCURA, the venue got a little warmer and started packing. At 20.30 sharp, OBSCURA, started melting their strings and sticks for the next 45 minutes, playing and performing their top quality songs in razor sharp accuracy. The sound was a bit too loud, for the number of people who were already inside the venue, but that was not a big problem since it’s death metal…it should be loud! Giving way to songs from their recent release “Akroasis”, but also going back on their previous releases, OBSCURA were absolutely great! The ideal band for opening Chuck’s music. Truly outstanding!
With the venue eventually packed, and the clock ticking on, it was around 21.45 that the lights went down once again, and the banner with the infamous DEATH logo was at it’s place! The monstrous double-kick drum kit, of the almighty Gene Hoglan, was at his place. The rack and basses of, master guru Steve DiGiorgio, were at their place. On the other side Bobby Koelble’s rack, was at his place and Max Phelps’ Chuck “Stealth” guitar was at his place, as well. And yes it was fucking truth, they are on stage after a short intro. Two hours of magic followed! Magic and mayhem. This ultimate tribute band has everything. Every one of these guys are 200% precise in what the songs should sound like, how they are performed, everything. Precise and austere with themselves, to keep Chuck’s legacy and music exactly how it was, PERFECT! With a long set list, including songs from the entire DEATH catalogue, giving no space for complains or disrespectful commentary. Absolutely amazing.
Before this show, I believe everyone who never got the chance to see DEATH’s music performed live before, really had their doubts for what they were about to witness. But DEATH (DTA tours) are truly the only band that includes members who actually helped Chuck make his music become a huge part of extreme metal’s history. Hearing those songs and celebrating this music, was one of the most complete and meaningful acts, I ever witnessed and I’m really glad I overcame my doubts and hesitations. Incredible music should be celebrated! Chuck’s music is incredible. None does it better than these guys. THANK YOU DEATH (DTA Tours)!
Report: Andrew Koran
Photos: Panagiotis Karagiannidis