Live: ENTOMBED A.D. / VOIVOD / LORD DYING – Voodoo Lounge, Dublin (15/11/16) Posted: 08/12/2016 by Philip Morrissey
It is always strange with these sort of gigs. You can see them advertised when they are first announced, and immediately you want to get to it. When the eve of the event comes around, there is often a panicked dash to try and make it. Sometimes it does not work out and one is left kicking their heels when the reports come back about it. In this situation, a last minute switch of hours at work, allowed me to finish early on the day of question. A three hour bus journey up Dublin allowed at least for a chance to relax somewhat. Voodoo Lounge’s location alongside the quay is somewhat unfortunate. Passing by it’s door on the way to the stop-off point and then having to walk all the way back down again. A minor inconvenience however. Gladly, renovations have taken in the concerns of fans. The problematic step and other issues have been alleviated.
A variety of different styles generally helps for a more interesting billing. It is being advertised as a mixture of death, thrash, sludge and doom. Unfortunately, the early start means that I miss out on opening band MORBID EVILS. Their name made them sound like what would have happened to me if I had tried drinking and get into work for the morning. Their key selling point on this tour has been the involvement of Keijo Niinimaa of ROTTON SOUND. They are somewhat different to his day job by being more of a sludgy dirge as opposed to the frenetic grind. They seemed to have went down well with the few in attendance at the time.
LORD DYING from Portland are up next. They stepped into the frame when CONAN dropped out. Admittedly, I did not know too much about them beforehand but was pleasantly surprised. Thick, heavy and proud of it. Despite being from the Pacific Northwest, it is a sound which brings to mind the NOLA and southern rock feel. It is not too long before the crowd begins to swell upon hearing them. They are still playing in support to last year’s release of “Poisioned Alters”. ‘The Clear at the End of the Path’ may have been a nod towards The Dark Tower series. And it is this dark and foreboding theme which flows throughout. It is unfortunate for Wade Murff that his drumset is so removed from the rest but he keeps pummeling away. The greasy feel is kept up on ‘Greed is Your Horse’ from debut effort “Summon the Faithless”. Their look is resemblant of cowboys from some nightmare western. Guitarist Chris Evans is obscured throughout the set by his hair and bassist Matt Price looks thoroughly malevolent. They lock down perfectly on tracks like ‘What is Not…Is’ and ‘Suckling at the Teet of a Sea-Beast’. Vocalist, Erik Olsen, adds considerable weight to the set and bellows impressively. By the time ‘A Wound Outside of Time’ brings proceedings to a close, the crowd is well into it and shouts their approval.
Many were surprised when it was announced that VOIVOD were the supports. It could be said that many were coming primarily to see them above ENTOMBED A.D. This is two years in a row in which they have filled this role. From conversing with Snake prior to the show, this could be put down to the desire to guarantee numbers. If there were any fears about their popularity amongst their Irish fans, they need not have worried. They are roared on the stage from the first minute. And the possible tiring effects of being on the road for the last few weeks without a break has not diminished their potency.
Their last headlining gig in 2012, had seen them dip back into their catalogue to perform a number of “Killing Technology” numbers. This is replicated again when they kick off with the title track and ‘Forgotten in Space’. It is always a challenge for a band such as VOIVOD. They do not sound like straight forward thrash or as technical as some progressive metal bands. Operating in your own head space, often means that they find themselves playing with bands of other styles and in front of audiences which may not be their own. Having a variety of material that they can change and suit to particular shows, allows them an advantage that many bands of their era lack. The nod towards earlier, thrashy roots is perhaps an awareness of this. Sandwiched in between these tracks are the eternal ‘Tribal Convictions’ and ‘The Unknown Knows’.
The pace is slowed to a slight degree to play ‘Target Earth’ from their E.P release earlier this year. Reviews for this have been glowing with many including it on their lists of the year. And then a bit of a surprise. Venturing to the outer limits to give us ‘The Lost Machine’. Their post “Nothingface” albums are massively underrated and it was great to see recognition of it. They continue on with ‘Post Society’ from their last studio album. All members are clearly in synch with one another and play off each other. Away may be kept at the back of the stage but his beats remain consistent and effortless with a massive smile to boot. Chewy on guitar and Rocky on bass may be newer members but they have brought a freshness to the band. Chewy in particular is able to breathe new life into Piggy’s original lines and replicate some of his own. Snake remains an engaging front-man through his mannerisms and vocal stylings.
This year saw the 30th anniversary of “Rrroooaaarrr”. This album saw the band progress on the next step from their straight forward thrash roots into something entirely different. The inclusion of ‘Korgul the Exterminator’ is great to experience. Blasting through ‘Psychic Vacuum’ and the obligatory anthem of ‘Voivod’ brings it to a conclusion. The crowd and band are full of high spirits and hopes remain of more new material and a headline slot back here again.
The fall-out between former members that has led to L.G Petrov and others performing under the name of ENTOMBED A.D., is quite messy and has been covered extensively elsewhere. Their fledgling career together has produced two albums so far and many appearances on the summer festival circuit. It is their first show in Ireland under any guise for quite some time. The venue is packed now at this stage and people are still arriving. As founder members of the Gothenberg scene, respect remains strong for them. And as a statement of intent, the first set of numbers contain examples of their latest offerings. ‘Midas in Reverse’ and the title from “Dead Dawn” both appear, alongside ‘Second to None’ from their debut “Back to the Front”, which sound punchy and energetic.
It is their earlier work which many present are keen to experience. A run of “Wolverine Blues”, “Clandestine” and “Left Hand Path” songs quickly gets the crowd going and mosh pits break out everywhere. Petrov growls and bellows his way throughout, his infectious grin showing how much he still gets out of this. Nico Elgstrand and live stand-in Guilherme Miranda are peeling off riff after riff, whilst the low end sound means that Ollie Dahlstedt on drums and Victor Brandt on bass can pummel away to their hearts content. The one-two of ‘Revel in Flesh’ and ‘Left Hand Path’ are particular highlights. The “Wolverine Blues” numbers, meanwhile demonstrate the groove contained within.
Petrov toasts the crowd on various stages as he exemplified the party feel of the occasion. Their Roky Eriksson cover of ‘Chief Rebel Angel’ was an interesting addition to the set being from the underrated “Morning Star”. And finishing with ‘Supposed to Rot’ from their legendary debut, the band closed off in style. It was then a quick dash off to the bus in order to make it back down to Cork for a reasonable time.
As good as they were, I felt that it was going to be extremely difficult to compare to what had preceded it. The set-list was well put together, the band were tight and performed with style and certainly the reaction from those gathered was vociferous. There was just something missing I felt.
Review & Photos by Philip Morrissey