Meshuggah, Baroness, and Decapitated plowed through the TLA in Philadelphia last week to the delight of a sold out crowd that packed the venue long before the opening band hit the stage. Poland’s leading sons of death metal, Decapitated, had the honors of ushering in the opening ceremonies with a set that quickly drew the masses to the front of the stage and opened up the mosh pit. Decapitated have moved forward in the face of tribulations that would have easily seen the demise of most of their musical peers. In 2007, the band was involved in tragic car accident that would claim the life of longtime drummer, Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka, and severely injure former singer Adrian “Covan” Kowanek. Vitek had been involved with the band since he was 12 years old alongside his brother and guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka. In 2009, Vogg issued the following public statement, “It has been the hardest thing for me to move on without Vitek by my side, but he would have wanted me to continue with the band. Finally, I have found some great musicians who can continue the work of Vitek and Covan..There’s no sense in stopping this amazing thing we built up so many years ago together with Vitek, Sauron, Martin and Covan.” In 2011, Decapitated recorded and released its fifth studio album, Carnival is Forever, via Nuclear Blast Records, which the band is currently supporting with vigorous tour schedules throughout the world. Decapitated also survived a plane crash last November causing them to cancel planned festival appearances. Fortunately, no serious injuries were sustained and the band has been back in action since last winter. Last week’s showcase found Decapitated sharp and hungry, as they put in a performance far above what what we’ve come to expect from an opening act.
After a brief intermission, Baroness took the stage after a three-year lapse from any Philadelphia performances and adoring fans were more than ready. Despite Meshuaggah operating as the headliner for this eclectic bill, Baroness had a strong showing of loyal fans that followed these blossoming metal icons intently through a labyrinth of eerie blue lighting and musical landscapes that exemplified the band’s diverse offerings. We caught up with Baroness front man and guitarist John Baizley for an exclusive video interview that can be viewed below. Baizley was kind enough to give Blow The Scene readers some insight on this tour and a look into the making of Baroness‘s highly anticipated forthcoming album on Relapse Records, entitled Yellow & Green, which is slated for a July 17 release date. During the performance, Baroness tested the waters with some new material, but also fired off a barrage of fan favorites, as this diverse group of musicians surely converted some new fans.
Meshuggah hit the stage larger than life with a gargantuan and ornate backdrop that only emphasized the band’s other-worldly approach to metal with trademark down-tuned, 8-string guitars, and jazz-influenced poly-rhythmic work that has earned the band admiration from almost all of their metal peers and critics alike. Meshuggah‘s classic track “Obsidian,” rang through the TLA as the band took the stage before opening up into a blistering rendition of “Demiurge”, taken from brand new album Koloss, which hit streets on March 27 via Nuclear Blast Records. Koloss marks Meshuggah‘s highest debut ever, with an impressive #17 hold on the American charts, and also marks the highest debut ever for a Nuclear Blast release. The band commanded the audience and incited a raucous response that even saw the need for medics to arrive and care for the fallen. Fortunately, a few sprained knees and fainters were quickly treated and released without serious incident at this sold out performance. Meshuggah continued a devastating plethora of song selections that saw the band play for just shy of 2 full hours. Between the mesmerizing time signatures, meaty riffs, intricate drumming, combined with a fantastic light show and backdrop display- It’s safe to say fans got much more than their money’s worth this round.
Words, Pictures, and Interview by Joshua T. Cohen
Exclusive Baroness Interview interview with John Baizley