A variety of metalheads gathered outside the Ultra Violet Social Club, a former strip club turned music venue, and were impatiently waiting for the countless opening bands to finish. Finally, as the blasphemous intro for “Where Is Your God Now” began, the legions of VITAL REMAINS fans went inside to see a short, but brutal set by the east coast death metal veterans. Like the sets from their recent tours, the band ripped through the Glen Benton-era hits, such as “Devoured Elysium” and “Hammer Down the Nails.” Vocalist Scott Wily got the crowd going when the intro for “Dechristianized” came on and blasted their way through the epic track. The crowd seemed to enjoy VITAL’s energy and passion, and will be eager to see them come back in a few months for the Summer Slaughter Tour.
The trendy thrash kids were eagerly awaiting the hometown thrash warriors, WARBRINGER, and their faithful fans came out to support their local heroes. The mostly under 21 WARBRINGER fans were enthusiastic to show their support with their stage diving and headbanging frenzy. While the fans up front need to appreciate the original 80’s thrash bands, WARBRINGER has done quite well appealing to more fans as they have been touring non-stop with the larger, national acts.
Finally the old schoolers and true underground fanatics were left, as the trendy thrash kids went home. PESTILENCE were greeted with a hearty cheer as they hit the stage and immediately Patrick Mameli’s unique voice pumped the audience up as “Horror Detox” spewed from the speakers. The band played mostly material off the latest album Resurrection Macabre, but “Chemo Therapy” brought the crowd to life, as the diehards have been waiting 2 decades to hear these songs live again. Guitarist Patrick Uterwijk shredded with ease, and newcomer Yuma Van Eekelen pounded the drums with precision as if he had been in the band for 20 years. The highlight of PESTILENCE’s set was the sheer brilliance of Jeroen Paul-Thesseling’s exquisite bass playing. His wizardry on the fretless bass is something to be in awe by, as his technique and skill actually makes “bass” important in the extreme metal genre, and not just buried deep in the mix so that it’s almost inaudible. After announcing that their set was over, the band returned on stage for an encore, since they knew they couldn’t leave without playing one of their best songs. As promised, they left the crowd happy as they closed the show with Consuming Impulse’s “Out of the Body.” While their haircuts may be short now, the classic PESTILENCE sound was intact, and there is no guarantee that the band will ever come back to the States. For those who missed out on the band 20 years ago, this was a great chance to see the underrated classic death metal band with a cult following, and for those who missed them again, there may not be a next time.