Monday, August 20, 2007
Gathering of the Bestial Legion III Review...
Gathering of the Bestial Legion III
Venue: The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, California
Date: August 19th, 2007
I arrived at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood at 8pm with a game plan in mind for the Gathering of the Bestial Legion III festival of death metal on a sweltering August evening. Here’s the band lineup and schedule:
3:15 - 3:45 - Life in Exile
4:15 - 4:45 - Nuclear Desecration
5:15 - 5:45 - Arctic Winds
6:15 - 5:45 - Witchaven
7:15 - 7:45 - Satriarch
8:15 - 8:45 - Violator
9:00 - 9:45 - Manslaughter
4:30 - 5:00 - Infamy
5:30 - 6:00 - Nausea
6:30 - 7:00 - Fueled By Fire
7:30 - 8:00 - Willow Wisp
8:30 - 9:00 - Diabolic
9:35 -10:05 - Mortem
10:35 -11:05 - Noctuary
11:35 - - Resurrection
3:00 - 3:30 - Damnation
4:00 - 4:30 - Grave Desecration
5:00 - 5:30 - Mind Furnace
6:00 - 6:30 - Unsanctified
7:00 -7:30 - Nuclear Winter
8:00 - 8:35 - Rise
9:00 - 9:35 - Acheron
10:00 - 10:40 - The Chasm
11:00 -11:40 - Malevolent Creation
12:00 – Possessed
Of course, taking note of the last two bands, you would suppose that the entire goal of attendance at this show was to see Malevolent Creation and Possessed. That certainly was my stated goal, but I arrived at the Knitting Factory with the game plan’s intent to first see Diabolic. I decided to skip Violator, a retro thrash band that’s been getting a lot of notice lately, as they ended up conflicting with Diabolic and were playing in the Alterknit lounge, which has a capacity of literally about 10 people or so. Diabolic, a horribly underrated Tampa death metal band with multiple albums under their collective belts and the mighty Aantar Coates on drums was scheduled to play in the front stage area, which has a capacity of maybe 50 people or so with a bar off to the side. I managed to squeeze right up to the small stage as Diabolic started up a bit early and ripped through a good set featuring songs from, primarily, “Supreme Evil” and “Vengeance Ascending”. The small crowd showed their definite appreciation with a pit that was present throughout the set. Excellent.
I sprinted for the main stage area to, once again, squeeze towards the front for Acheron, who started about 5 minutes or so after Diabolic ended. Acheron’s first visit to Hollywood was enthusiastically greeted as Vincent Crowley, with absolutely huge stage presence and a thunderous bass, and crew blew through a solid set of old school, crunch oriented blackened death metal. Besides Crowley’s obvious talents as a front man, Acheron also features Kyle Severn on drums, whose skills were also prominently displayed. Once again, an excellent set and the show was just getting warmed up.
Quickly, I ran back to the front stage area in time to catch most of Mortem’s absolutely killer set. Mortem, a vicious death metal band with great vocals from Peru, just raged with the front bar area packed with a huge pit. Absolutely monstrous and their enthusiasm was more than apparent. Huge applause was given to the band at their conclusion.
My sprinting continued to catch the beginning of The Chasm at the main stage. Frankly, although they were given a warm welcome from the California crowd, this band failed to impress me as their sound was muted and they lacked stage presence and power. Unfortunately, I was less than enthused by The Chasm pretty quickly and I ended up wandering back to the front stage area to catch a song or two from Noctuary, who also failed to impress. Becoming a bit bored, I finally went to the merchandise tables to pick up Malevolent Creation and Possessed t-shirts, which were finally going on sale. I bought my Possessed t-shirt from Emilio Marquez himself...
Possessed T-shirt design...
As soon as The Chasm ended, I halted my beer intake, went to the bathroom one last time, and camped out right up against the stage for Malevolent Creation and Possessed. I wouldn’t move from my spot for the rest of the show. I’ve been listening to Malevolent Creation since “The Ten Commandments”, but had never caught them live. They certainly did not disappoint with a killer set covering the span of their ten album discography. Some great highlights included “Multiple Stab Wounds”, “The Will To Kill”, and “Coronation Of Our Domain”. The finisher was “Malevolent Creation” and I would definitely want to see Malevolent Creation hit L.A. again in the near future as headliners. Great, enthusiastic stage presence, a powerful roar from Brett Hoffman, and tight musicianship exemplified their performance and the packed main stage area went nuts.
It’s now well after midnight and everyone is awaiting Possessed. If you ask anyone which bands are responsible for the inception of death metal as an art form, Possessed is always mentioned as their entirely too short career has been enormously influential. Now, the classic lineup of Becerra, Torrao, Lalonde, and Sus was not to be found this evening. Instead, local death metal legends (and also horribly underrated) Sadistic Intent (Emilio Marquez is the drummer, as well as the drummer for Asesino) played as Possessed with the wheelchair-confined Jeff Becerra on vocals. Now, was this really Possessed? Well, everyone, including me, sure thought so as Becerra was given a huge, warm greeting from the crowd when he peeked around the curtain before the show began. People rushed up to shake his hand and get a picture taken, so much so that club personnel finally had to remind Becerra that a show was still to be put on. Finally, Possessed take the stage and the crowd goes absolutely apeshit. I haven’t seen so many bouncers work furiously to keep people off the stage as much as this set. In addition, the entire venue was moving as I was nearly crushed up against the stage. If you happen to view the crap video that I shot during the set, you’ll see that my phone is waving around wildly as I’m flowing with the crowd.
Throughout the set, which included highlights such as “My Belief”, “Burning In Hell”, and, of course, “Death Metal” amongst many others, Jeff had an enormous grin on his face and actually seemed somewhat emotionally overwhelmed by the crowd’s support and enthusiasm. His vocal performance wasn’t exceptionally powerful, but who cares? That wasn’t really the point of this show, anyway. Finally, it’s all over about 2 AM.
I didn’t have a photo pass for this show, so I was only able to use my camera phone. Here are the usual crap pictures and video.
Here are some clips...
Next up on September 10th...