Decibel Magazine Tour 2014 Raises Hell in Santa Ana, CA 3-25-14 featuring Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, & Noisem

Decibel Magazine Tour 2014 Raises Hell in Santa Ana, CA 3-25-14 featuring Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, & Noisem

Early spring 2014 has shaped up to be a relentless array of metal tour after metal tour in North America.  Perhaps one of the most talked about tours of all is the Decibel Magazine Tour 2014.  Now celebrating its third year of existence, the bill this time around was a diverse mix of bands in both style and age, headlined by Carcass and including The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, and Noisem.  With twenty one shows in all, the madness came to The Observatory in Santa Ana California on Tuesday, March 25th.  Usually a relatively calm night in Orange County, this show was about to put some spice into early week slumbers with a sold out crowd ready to explode.

Starting the fire was young Baltimore, MD band Noisem.  Beginning originally as Necropsy, 2013 brought the band a new name and album titled Agony Defined. Consisting of Tyler Carnes (vocals), Travis Stone (guitar), Sebastian Phillips (guitar), Yago Venture (bass), and Harley Phillips (drums), this talented bunch does not have a member over the age of 21.  With youth on their side this band exhilarated with every ounce of energy they had.  Their intensity was felt so strongly, many were caught off guard by it. Before you knew it the crowd was in the band’s grasp.  Carnes was an absolute maniac up there, utilizing the entire stage to his advantage.   Full of brutality, their brand of thrash and death metal pays homage to bands of yesteryear, and Noisiem fit just perfectly opening this tour.

Although not part of the Decibel bill, southern Californian death metal heroes Nausea were up next.   Together now since 1987 this band has shockingly only put out two full-length albums in that time, including their newest Condemned By The System (2014). Led by original members Oscar Garcia (vocals/guitar) and Eric Castro (drums), the additions of Leon del Müerte (guitars) and Alejandro Corredor (bass) have been positive reinforcement to their core. Receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd, the band put on a pulverizing show for their hometown fans.  The mosh pit was in full swing and Nausea did not let down with their unforgiving grindcore.

Up next were French Canadian veterans Gorguts.  Originally formed back in 1989, the only original member, Luc Lemay (vocals/guitar), has kept the fire burning through numerous line-up changes, including the tragic death of two members.  Releasing their fifth full-length album Colored Sands in 2013 not only excited the dedicated fan base of the band, it also showed they are still in top form.

Taking the stage with a great deal of energy, Gorguts played through a solid showcase of four songs off their newest album.  While this may appear like a short set to most, one must understand that Gorguts tunes are longer than the average death metal song,  full of textures and dynamics that stimulate the mind and body.  Crowd surfing picked up to its highest level of the night during their set and everyone was having a blast.  When the set concluded Lemay was found by the band’s merchandise stand greeting fans and taking photographs.  Truly a memorable time for all their fans who made the trip to see them.

Like a menacing wind The Black Dahlia Murder stormed onto the stage next.  Spending many years on the road touring on a list of major metal tours, this band has built a name for themselves as an elite and fan-adored act among the younger generation.  Self-proclaimed as highly influenced by Carcass, this direct supporting slot on Decibel Magazine Tour 2014 had these guys reeling and ready to go.

Mixing death Kicking off the beating with “In Hell Is Where She Waits for Me,” the set only kept getting better with songs like “Statutory Ape” and “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood.” A nice showing of songs from their newest album Everblack (2013) was not only welcomed by fans but devoured. Vocalist  Trevor Strnad showed no signs of fatigue as he screamed and moved around through each song.  Strnad kept the energy going on the floor too, telling everyone he wanted to see a body surfing festival. The crowd responded with an onslaught of surfing right to the front of the stage.  Black Dahlia Murder certainly gave this audience everything they had. Their passion was something fans have grown to expect from them each and every time out.

One would think by this point in the evening there would be no energy left to absorb more metal thrashings, but that was clearly not the case, as this crowd was roaring for Carcass.  Hailing from Liverpool, England, Carcass formed back in the eighties and are regarded as one of the pioneers of both grindcore and death metal.  When the band dissolved in 1995 many had thought that would be the last they saw of Carcass.  After years of being asked if the band would ever reform, prayers were answered in 2007 with a reunion that sparked quite a high degree of excitement. Compounding it all, 2013 brought Surgical Steel; their first studio album since Swansong (1996).  This crowd was completely aware of the history and were prepared for a performance they would not soon forget.

Mixing up a set of songs from their past and present Carcass possessed as much excitement as they ever have before.  With lead guitarist  Bill Steer jumping from one blistering solo to another, Walker’s growl was as articulate as ever.   With large white back drops behind them flashing grotesque imagery, the theatrics added quite a bit of atmosphere and intrigue to the performance.  In an effort to hit each era of Carcass’ discography, fans were given a heavy batch of songs off Heartwork (1993) and new masterpiece Surgical Steel.  Satisfying all, they also played songs “Exhume to Consume,” “Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious,” and “Reek of Putrefaction”.  Walker, as comical as ever, amused the crowd by saying “It is hard to drink, sing, and play bass at the same time”.   His ability to make jokes and keep the mood loose is one of Walker’s most charming attributes and fans seem to really gravitate to it.

Thrashing through their hour and a half set with ease, the drumming of Daniel Wilding and the guitar work of Ben Ash proved to be strong additions to the band. Both young men shined, especially during the newer songs.  Closing the evening out with “Heartwork” was the icing on the cake, taking home fans both old and new.  Speaking of cakes, there was actually a birthday cake brought out to the stage when the band and audience took a moment to celebrate Walker’s 45th birthday.  Decibel Magazine put together another strong tour for it’s third year and it will be exciting to see what will be in store next year.


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