Sunday, November 30, 2014

Death (DTA Tours) at the Best Buy Theater

Max Phelps & Steve DiGiorgio
Vocalist/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner founded the pioneer death metal band Death in 1984 in Orlando, Florida. Death's 1987 debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, was perhaps the first death metal record, leading to the group ultimately becoming the world's best-selling death metal band. The band featured countless members over the years but ceased to exist when Schuldiner died in December 2001 after a battle with pontine glioma, a rare type of brain tumor. Since 2012, however, the brand named has lived on in the form of Death (DTA Tours), also known as Death to All. Schuldiner's estate has emphasized that Death (DTA Tours) is a tribute celebrating the life and music of Schuldiner and Death by the people who knew Schuldiner - his musicians, family & manager - and is not an attempt to re-launch the band without Schuldiner.

Many former members of Death have participated in the recent Death tribute tours. The current month-long Swamp Leper Stomp '14 tour features vocalist/guitarist Max Phelps, guitarist Bobby Koelble, bassist Steve DiGiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan, who joined after Sean Reinert left after a few shows for health reasons. Performing songs from the Death catalogue, Death (DTA Tours)'s performance tonight at the Best Buy Theater showed that Death was extreme in its day and continues to be relevant in today's metal scene. The music performed was rooted in the late 1980s, when Motorhead, Metallica, Slayer, Venom and other metal bands were foraging new ground, but Death's music was more vile and deadlier than these peers. When the vocals were gruff and the guitars and rhythm section were ripping, the crowd responded with moshing and hair-whipping. The songs frequently were complex, however, featuring intricate guitar progressions and changing rhythms more often than many jazz fusion bands. For fans of extreme metal, this effort to keep alive the music of Death was an epic event that archived what was once the avant garde.

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