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April 1, 2011

This tour has a great mix for fans of different genres, as the top billed bands are from Europe, but they all bring a different flavor to the table. ROTTING CHRIST and MELECHESH provide the slower and heavy dosage, while HATE brings the brutal death metal end. I wasn’t too worried that I missed the hardcore-turned-black metal band, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, but death metal veterans HATE brought the crowd to life with an energetic set focused mainly on their new album, Erebos. With speed, intensity and blast beats filling the air, HATE has transformed from a Polish DEICIDE copycat band to BEHEMOTH Jr., but that’s not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

While HATE teased the crowd, everyone was prepared for the Middle Eastern onslaught of MELECHESH. I’m always excited when bands come to play in the U.S. for the first time, and MELECHESH did not disappoint, as they plowed through an intense set ranging from Sphynx to the latest album, The Epigenesis. Vocalist Ashmedi fired up the crowd with his enthusiastic guitar playing and screeches from hell. Highlights of the set included “Ghouls of Nineveh” and “Deluge of Delusional Dreams,” while “Grand Gathas of Baal Sin” got everyone amped up as the entire crowd was doing fist pumps and chanting along with Ashmedi. As MELECHESH closed with “Rebirth of Nemesis,” the fury of the crowd was unleashed as a sea of hair was flying everywhere, and both the band and crowd were satisfied with each other.

ROTTING CHRIST had a tough act to follow, as MELECHESH had the crowd in a frenzy, but almost everybody stuck around to watch the headliners. While mostly playing tracks off Aealo, the band threw in a few oldies for good measure. One-third of the way through the set, frontman Sakis Tolis had issues with his guitar and wrist, and the band continued the show with only one guitar. Guitarist Giorgos Bokos kept the fans entertained with solos and scales while waiting for Sakis to come back on stage. As Sakis returned, he sang the songs with gusto while making hilarious faces and entertaining the crowd with his gestures. ROTTING CHRIST weren’t fast or brutal, but they were sure heavy as hell. Despite the technical difficulties, everybody had a good time and enjoyed the set by the Greek metallers and are anxious for the band to come back to the states again.

Check out some pictures of MELECHESH and ROTTING CHRIST above.