November 20, 2013 Morbid Angel 20th anniversary celebration of Covenant at Irving Plaza, NYC 11-12-13 (Exclusive Coverage)
On Tuesday November 12th founding fathers of American death metal, Morbid Angel, arrived in NYC at Irving Plaza. The tour was announced back in July to much excitement of fans as this would not be just a tour, but a celebration of the band’s most recognized album Covenant (1993). To pay homage to one of the successful death metal albums of all-time, Morbid Angel have decided to play the album in its entirety on its 20th anniversary. This tour has become one of the most talked about in the metal scene in 2013, and now it was time to pulverize NYC.
Opening the evening up was, from across the bridge, Bronx based band Jotunheim. When you think of Bronx, NY metal is not the first thing that pops into your mind, but Jotunheim brings an unforeseen black metal sound from the borough. With heavy influence from Norwegian black metal the band started the evening out in dramatic fashion.
Keeping the local flavor going, next were Brooklyn based death metal band Winter Nights. The band is currently unsigned but judging by the fan support they brought with them to Irving Plaza they may not be for long. The crowd was into their performance and there was even moshing stirring on the floor. In February this local act find themselves opening for another well respected band in Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity at Stage 48.
Next on the schedule were VadimVon. Just 2 states north of their touring mates, VadimVon traveled the land from South Carolina. Being an independent band as well, VadimVon has released 2 EPs and a full length record since forming back in 2007. The three piece band is led by Ikon Vadim Von. On an impressive set of 5 songs, their brand of extreme metal fit in nicely and stimulated a large mosh pit.
The hourglass was empty and the wait was over for the mighty Morbid Angel to take the stage. Irving Plaza was packed by the time the set began, and from the excitement of fans bunching up as close to the stage as they possibly could, it felt like there were wall to wall metal heads. Having been almost a decade since David Vincent’s (bass/lead vocals) return to the band, to fans this performance would be extra special to hear Covenant (1993) performed front to back. As discussed in an interview with Cryptic Rock prior to the tour, Vincent said, “There are songs on that record that were never performed live, so this will be the first time, they were like studio tracks. That is going to be kind of interesting to us, so yea I am really looking forward to it.” This was interesting indeed, as well as historic and intense for all present.
The set began in grand fashion with the opening track off Covenant, “Rapture”. The pressure of the hysteria of the crowd exploded with rabid crowd surfing and mosh pits. Staying true to the record, Morbid Angel played it track by track until the closing “God of Emptiness”. With Trey Azagthoth (guitars) and David Vincent, the only two original members from the Covenant recording line-up, Destructhor (guitar) and Tim Yeung (drums) played their hearts out doing the performance complete justice. To many fans this set was a dream come true as followers of Morbid Angel during formidable years all have bound to have said “wouldn’t it be cool to see the album performed from start to finish live?”
After Covenant concluded there was a set of 7 more tracks offered to the hungry fans. These tracks spanned Morbid Angel’s career from Altars of Madness (1989) up to Heretic (2003). Morbid Angel kept the endurance and excitement high with a continuous mosh pit that looked like the depths of hell from the balcony of Irving Plaza.
This was undoubtedly a cornerstone show early in the tour. Fans of all ages and ethnicity united to pay respect to one of the most influential death metal bands of all time. With that and much anticipation for the better part of 4 months there was no let down in the eyes of fans.