Decibel Magazine Tour
UC Theatre, Berkeley
February 5, 2022
Photos by Raymond Ahner
One of the biggest losses in the past two years of the COVID pandemic has been the decimation of the live music scene, especially in the extreme metal underground. Many of these bands are known for their exciting live shows, with legions of devoted fans typically crowd surfing and moshing to the music.
As the country slowly comes out of the pandemic, live music has returned, particularly in the metal underground where large-scale touring of the US is now possible. Decibel Magazine is known to sponsor one of the best touring packages most years, so it was no surprise that the 2022 edition, featuring Obituary, Municipal Waste, Gatrecreeper, Enforced, and Spirit World provided some much-needed excitement to the fans at the UC Theater on Saturday night.
Obituary headlined the evening with a set comprised of plenty of stomping death metal classics and some newer songs as well. Instead of simply taking it easy over the past two years, the band has clearly been working on their chops, as they sounded better than ever during their opening song, the pummeling instrumental groove fest of “Redneck Stomp” with was anchored by the chugging guitars of Trevor Peres and Ken Andrews. Immediately the band went into the fast-paced “Darkening Skies” with vocalist John Tardy emerging to rapturous cheers from the audience. The band mixed older and newer songs, including a ferocious cover of the Celtic Frost classic “Circle of the Tyrants.”
Normally a band of Municipal Waste’s stature would be a headliner, but considering how packed the Decibel Magazine tour was this year, they played before the headlining band, not that it made a bit of difference. With their warp-speed songs, the band did not need a whole lot of time to tear through a set of classics, opening up with the blistering “Breathe Grease” which featured plenty of harmonized guitar leads and double-time drums. That was all the crowd needed to really get into it as a big mosh pit opened up in the middle of the floor.
A few songs later, lead singer Tony Foresta instructed the crowd to divide in half for what was once a staple of Municipal Waste shows: a wall of death. For the uninformed, a wall of death is when both halves of the audience run into each other at full speed, something that used to happen quite regularly at shows in the long-ago days before the COVID pandemic.
Three up-and-coming extreme metal acts: Gatecreeper, Enforced, and Spirit World, opened up the evening. Each band played a tight and exhilarating set, mixing all types of extreme metal together in a new and interesting way. Spirit World, of course, released one of the best metal albums of the year in 2020 with their crushing debut Pagan Rhythms, which mixed death and thrash metal along with some country-western vibes as well. The band sounded just as savage live, seamlessly moving from breakneck speeds to mid-tempo groove to blinding blast beats in the blink of an eye.
Redneck Stomp | Threatening Skies | By the Light | Visions in My Head | Final Thoughts | Sentence Day | A Lesson in Vengeance | Find the Arise | Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover) | Chopped in Half | Turned Inside Out | Deadly Intentions||Encore|| Kill for Me | A Dying World | I’m in Pain | Slowly We Rot
Municipal Waste setlist:
Breathe Grease | You’re Cut Off | The Thrashin’ of the Christ | Poison the Preacher | Beer Pressure | Gravedive | Headbanger Face Rip | Mind Eraser | Sadistic Magician | Wave of Death | Slime & Punishment | Wolves of Chernobyl | Under the Waste Command | Pre-Game | The Art of Partying | Born to Party