And so, on a midweek night when death metal legends Obituary come to town, local fans rise to the occasion and the venue is sold out, packed with metal-heads. Some have clearly been fans for the long-haul but there are also a healthy number of younger members in attendance too – this is no nostalgia-fest.
Among the founders of the genre, they were original members of the influential Florida scene and are now well into their fourth decade.
The band launch their set with the intense chugging riff of Redneck Stomp. An instrumental number, it eases us – if that’s the right expression – into what is to come.
Frontman John Tardy saunters on and the band kick straight into the breakneck-speed Sentence Day from their self-titled 2017 album. Powered by Tardy’s unworldly growl and his brother Donald Tardy’s hyper-powered drumming it may not be from their classic early period, but it holds up well. And there’s a lively mosh-pit going which continues throughout.
The set leans on new album Dying of Everything, with several choice cuts getting an airing – including the head-down thrash of Barely Alive and the brooding War, complete with its atmospheric introduction and the demonic vocals of its title track.
There’s plenty of chance for new boy, lead guitarist Kenny Andrew (joined in 2011) to show off some impressive skills as his fingers fly over the frets, while Terry Butler is a fist-pumping beast on bass and Trevor Peres keeps things grounded on the rhythm guitar.
Tardy’s not much for talking between songs, indeed the stage is plunged into total darkness and silence between most songs, creating a slightly stilted note to proceedings. But as soon as the next song cracks into life – boom, we’re off again.
They finish with Slowly We Rot, the title track of their 1989 debut album – a solid reminder of why this band is revered in the scene.
After a little more than an hour they’re gone. I know the old maxim of “leave them wanting more,” but would a little more have been amiss from a band with 11 albums at their disposal?
However, what we do get is phenomenal – it’s an intense, unearthly display of power.