GRAVE, BLOOD RED THRONE, PATHOLOGY @ Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA (09/20/11)

With only a few days left on this tour, all the bands on this package battle through sound difficulties, lack of sleep, and a poor diet – such is life being an underground extreme metal band. San Diego’s finest, PATHOLOGY, hit the crowd hard, with their chunky SUFFOCATION-inspired brutal death metal. Mainly focusing on the latest album, Awaken to the Suffering, the new, revitalized lineup sounded menacing and tight, delighting the young crowd with their crunchy slam riffs and guttural vocals.

BLOOD RED THRONE immediately continued the punishment with their European brand of death metal. By highlighting their influences of CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, and other U.S. death metal staples, the Norwegians ripped through a nice mix of their discography. While vocalist Vald sounded like a generic Glen Benton, the drumming and guitars were loud and tight, with the crowd headbanging in approval.

When the lights dimmed before GRAVE walked on stage, there was some slight confusion as SNOOP DOGG’s “Murder Was the Case” was blaring through the PA system. The crowd was amused and confused at the same time. Finally, the correct intro came on, the band came on stage, and fury was unleashed. This particular GRAVE tour was a special one, as they were celebrating their 20th anniversary of Into The Grave, and their set included most of the songs from the debut album, including all the seminal tracks – “Deformed,” “For Your God,” “Haunted,” “Inhuman,” “Into the Grave,” and of course, “Extremely Rotten Flesh.”

While frontman Ola Lindgren looked stoic and poised, bassist Tobias Christiansson had plenty of energy and was feeding off the crowd. If you love GRAVE, you know that they aren’t the fastest band in the world, just a heavy as fuck band with amazing riffs, and the all mighty Swedish crunch. Tour manager/OBITUARY guitarist Trevor Peres was off to the side watching GRAVE’s set, smiling approvingly. Fellow OBITUARY cohort, Terry Butler was working hard selling merchandise throughout the tour.

As always at this all ages venue, there were a lot of young kids, but they seemed to enjoy and know the songs well, even though most of them weren’t even born when Into The Grave was originally released! The band tore through the Into The Grave album, and gave the crowd a nice closer, “You’ll Never See…” before giving high fives, signing autographs, and finally departing into the night.

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