Photo Credit: Jay Oakley
Written By: TIFFANY MITCHELL
2017 has been one of the best years so far for the sickest tours. Baltimore has always been a hotspot for tour stops and Rams Head Live is one of Baltimore’s hottest venues to accommodate some of these best live performances. Recently, The Black Dahlia Murder, along with Suffocation, Necrot, Decrepit Birth, and Wormwitch took to the road on the Nightbringers North American Tour from October to mid November. Charm City was lucky enough to be a on that roster, and Rams Head Live was the place to go to be a part of it.
Like all big shows, there will always be opening acts, and supporting bands. Some are local bands, some are newly signed to a label, but this nights first band from Vancouver, British Columbia called Wormwitch,(Prosthetic Records) could have very well headlined a show themselves. Call it black metal crosses rock music, think of it like Metallica and Judas Priest savagely twisted into a new killer sound. Wormwitch was a lit way to start the show and the crowds reaction proved the same.
Decrepit Birth(Nuclear Blast Records) took the stage next and their dark, on the fringe approach to music piqued my senses. The dynamic brutality in their delivery coupled with their esoterically mind-bending lyrics made you feel like a traveler on a journey beyond the human psyche. This was my first time hearing their music and what I now understand of them, their musical style has changed. Hearing them now has made me a fan and a future supporter.
Two groups successfully set the path to insanity, and number three is about to walk upon the fog covered floorboards to continue the malicious meyhem. Three guys from Cali call themselves Necrot, and Necrot came out and damn near tore a hole through your expectations with “The Blade,” a song off their latest LP called Blood Offerings. “When the knife finds us, hopeless on the merge of time,
“Where things take colorless shapes of nothing.
Awaiting to be served with the unexpected stroke of the blade.
We observe as things unfold, relieving the unknown from the weight of expectations.
Another wheel has turned, left me for dead.”
“Rather Be Dead” followed next with some delicious riffage and maniacal blast beats. “Empty Hands,” one of my faves on the LP, made you just want to destroy everything in your path. This song is so savage it gave me chills. “Breathing Machine” kept the mosh pit moving, necks snapping right into their last song “The Abyss,”which is one of their older songs, but just as merciless in declaration and composition. Necrot is one you need to watch out for, and I’ll be watching for future tour dates.
The moment had come for faithful fans of Suffocation (Nuclear Blast Records) to get what they came for, and they got fist flying, hair whipping wasted. “Thrones of Blood” provoked a frenzy in the pit, and before the end of “Return to the Abyss,” folks were enthralled so deep you wouldn’t dare enter the mosh-goers lair. As Suffocation fed the beasts below, they digested every merciless note and spewed it back word for word. As the end of their set approached, “Infecting the Crypts” would be final spark to set the masses ablaze, initiating a frenetic death dance. Suffocation went hard, with a ruthless enforcement that was memorably chill-worthy at the least. It was going to be a tough act to follow, as The Black Dahlia Murder was to take the mic next.
If your a fan of death metal, then I’m betting you’re a big fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, or like them at the very least. I know I am a big fan, and by the look of the crowd posted at the barricade and beyond, their anticipation exploded when the band made their grand entrance. I too was excited, as it was my first time seeing them in a live setting and although I didn’t know what to expect, I knew it was gonna be sick. The guys walked out and from that moment, the atmosphere shifted and all consciousness transcended. In the death metal/black metal genre, The Black Dahlia Murder are by far, tough contenders. Most up and coming bands credit TBDM as influencers and inspirations. Front man Trevor Strnad is a beast on the mic, and he damn sure showed his savageness with the 20 songs that hit us that night. First tune of the night happened to be the first track on their newest album released called Nightbringers. Like straight fire, Trevor’s vocal range was just insane, as his high screams gave you goosebumps until he dropped those viciously bone breaking lows on you. I would love tell you how awesome each song was and how flawlessly TBDM commanded everyone’s willing presence, but I could go on forever. I’ll give you the hard-hitting blows of the show and hopefully you’ll get the jist of it. I will do my best to narrow it down, because in all honesty it’s really hard to say one was better than the other. I can say that it was like watching one of the all-time best bands in death metal cut open their souls and bleed their musical magic all over the place. Performing songs like “Matriarch,” “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse,” “Deathmask Divine” and “Abysmal” and pretty much all the rest on the list, showcased the years of talent, skills and maturity The Black Dahlia Murder has acquired and mastered over time. Brutal to the core, lyrically infectious and deeply thought-provoking; instrumentally as well as vocally. Their latest album Nightbringers, is a perfect example of their ability to evolve and still remain true to who they are as musicians in an ever-changing industry. Under the spotlights, in front of hundreds of super stoked fans, beams of yellow and red lights cut across the fog for added ambience. The background changes to a crimson red and white lasered projectiles pulse to the beat. With complete and utter devastation The Black Dahlia Murder cranked out crowd fave after crowd fave, and the momentum of the mosh pit never slowed, the neck snapping ceased to stop until the very last note was dropped. I have attended a lot of shows this year and I can name on one hand the ones that are burned into my brain forever. This night, this tour, is among those few I will remember for years to come. If you didn’t get a chance to check out The Nightbringers North American Tour, go check out the bands listed on the bill. If you get to catch them on another tour, make sure you do. Also make sure to follow all the bands on this bill on all their social media accounts below.
The Black Dahlia Murder- “Matriarch”
The Black Dahlia Murder Set List for Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Md