Misery Index & Grave – Whelan’s, 23/11/10

The doors of Whelan’s are opening at the much earlier time of 6pm tonight. It’s both a good and bad thing. The positive side being that it will accommodate the mammoth tour bill on hand. The negative is that such an early start means that there isn’t a great deal of folk through those doors at this time, particularly given that it’s a Tuesday night.

Strangely, UK’s The Rotted find themselves at the bottom of this five band line up. It’s strange because the band above them, The Last Felony don’t enjoy nearly as much notoriety. Regardless, they make do with their slot and hurl out their blood drenched and debauched death effectively.

The Last Felony struggle somewhat to get a strong reaction from the crowd despite the mouth-piece bassist practically begging people to move and respond. But still, their set is relatively strong even if the sound borders on horrendous in parts. Live, they slightly overshadow their recorded output as their energy is palpable from the beginning. What their next endeavours are may prove to be quite interesting but right now they’re just another face in an already generic crowd.

The proceedings shift then for Arsis. With tracks like ‘Forced To Rock’ making their presence strongly felt, there’s a little bit of a party vibe to their performance. The crowd has started to thicken and the appreciation for the Virginian’s visceral and technical punishment is greatly heard. Closing with ‘Face Of My Innocence’ is also a nice touch.

Swedish death metal luminaries Grave are nothing short of a treat. The sound is tight, as too is their delivery, whether it’s tracks from latest effort Burial Ground or older, more seasoned numbers. ‘Turning Black’ from 1994’s Soulless is one of the particular highlights and with topping it all off with the near obligatory ‘Into The Grave’, all couldn’t have been better.

Meanwhile, their co-headliner Misery Index are an entirely different beast. From start to finish they assault with their skull shatteringly rapid and relentless ferocity. Cuts from the new opus Heirs To Thievery steal the show with aplomb and only a few songs in, ‘The Carrion Call’ lays proof of this. But also, the mass crowd’s fist pumps and bellows for ‘Traitors’ are something else, being wholly invigorating.

The vocal trade offs of Jason Netherton and Mark Kloeppel are stunning tonight, devastatingly complementing each other. New led guitarist Darin Morris doesn’t go without appreciation either from all on hand as the impeccable sound in Whelan’s by the time of their slot comes, attests to his playing.

But with that said, the spotlight falls on drummer Adam Jarvis and unsurprisingly so. In many regards, he’s one of the fastest, most brutal yet still slick drummers in death metal right now and the flood of sweat seen pouring from him is indicative of that. He batters through other highlights of their set including the “slow” ‘Ghost Of Catalonia’ and the ravenous ‘Conquistadores’. All in all, a lesson in brutality but still with powerful adroitness – one of the death metal gigs of 2010.

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