Scream Perseverance!

Am I the only one that thinks this cover band needs to try to make an album?

I overheard that Death For All were coming back to Vancouver this year and frankly I wasn’t sure if I needed to see them again since they were just here in 2023.  But once I found out they were playing a double header with one night playing Death’s Scream Bloody Gore and the 2nd night The Sound of Perseverance, I knew I had to see this special event.

Vancouver didn’t disappoint either as the Rickshaw Theatre was SOLD OUT for both nights! Also an added bonus, support from Canadian Juno award winners Cryptopsy, along with fellow Montreal thrashers Aggression rounding out the bill.

Thankfully, Death for All has had no changes in personnel, as Steve Digiorgio (bass), Bobby Koelble (guitar), Max Phelps (vocals, guitar) and Gene Hoglan (drums) are all back.  These four guys are extremely talented players and I wonder if this band could go on without any of them.  As you know, Max is the only non Death member in this band.  Hoglan  has had a busy schedule too as he been to Vancouver a few times in less than a year, with Dark Angel and Dethklok.

Gene Hoglan

The Rickshaw is a little larger than the Hollywood Theatre where they played last year and the band can actually stretch their legs a little on this stage.  The setup is a little better than last time, as Gene appears to have brought out his ‘A’ drumkit which is a sexy chrome skin beating beast.   If you are the best, you should get the best and he is no exception.

They start off the night with “Leprosy” from Death’s 1988 Leprosy album as the first 4 songs are not from Scream Bloody Gore just yet, but some reflection from Death’s other material from the Leprosy and Spiritual Healing albums.  Along with “Leprosy”, we got “Living Monstrosity” and 2 others we didn’t get last year with  “Open Casket” and “Within Mind”.   Max is so on point with his singing and guitar playing as I think he is a perfect fit.   Both he and Bobby are meticulous with the Death sound and I am betting they can play each song tonight blindfolded.

Bobby Koelble

After those, bassist Steve who is the main spokesman between songs and probably the most “Death” experienced among the four, introduces the first Scream Bloody Gore song which is “Infernal Death”.   They further march through the rest of the album, I think “Mutilation” and of course “Scream Bloody Gore” are the highlights here that were all played note for note.   No  lame crowd interactions or “circle pit, circle pit” screams, just solid Death metal and that is what we all ask for.   As you know, Scream Bloody Gore can be blamed for starting Death metal to begin with.  But, that statement could be debated with Jeff Becerra of Possessed.

They end night 1 with an encore containing some further head smashing songs with “Zombie Ritual”, “Spiritual Healing” and the classic “Pull the Plug”.   There was just so much for the senses this night, hearing all these ancient Death songs from Scream Bloody Gore was just something we may never hear again live in its entirety.  The whole night was pure perfection and I was excited to come back to the Rickshaw tomorrow and see if they can out do themselves with Deaths last album with The Sound of Perseverance.

Night 2 (which is a Friday), and all of us fans are bracing themselves for another night of “Brutality” as Steve put it.  Now that we had Death’s first album, next tonight we get Death’s last album The Sound of Perseverance

Max Phelps

Do I see anything physically different on night 2 with the stage setup? Well, yes I do.  I see that Gene’s bass covers have a different illustration but that is about it I would say.   Was I happy with the lighting and sound?   Sound yes, definitely was fantastic but the lighting was just ok for me in that respect.  But, you know, Death metal isn’t exactly rainbows and unicorns either so this is to be expected with poor lights and lots of fog for ambiance.

They start off with one of Death’s most crushing songs “The Philosopher” from 1993’s Individual Thought Patterns album.  Good lord I love that song, as the glorious Rickshaw Theatre is in head banging heaven already.

Much like the night prior, Steve gets into ode to Chuck Schuldiner mode and whips up the crowd with a “Chuck, Chuck,Chuck Chant” and thereafter move onto “Suicide Machine” from Death’s 1991 Human album.  At this point I finally notice Steve likes to play bare foot, haven’t seen that at a metal show in quite a long time actually.

Barefoot bassist…

Thereafter , we enjoy the hyper speed of “Overactive Imagination” from 1992’s Individual Thought Patterns album, and song 4 with “Symbolic” from that same titled 1995 album.  Then Steve gets on the mic and introduces and notified the audience “…buckle in now, it’s gonna be long ride, there are a lot of notes, keep the energy up, and keep the fuckin brutality going!”.  And that they do as they go through the entire The Sound of Perseverance album.

I think one of the highlights on that album is the Judas Priest cover of “Painkiller” and we were NOT disappointed, as they played that almost better than the original. If you think Max can’t do Rob Halford’s screams in that one, think again, he nails it perfectly.   Also have to mention Gene’s stellar drumming, as he makes this song look so simple to perform.  No wonder he is referred to as the ‘Atomic time clock’.

Steve Digiorgio

So after “Painkiller” I did notice a song missing from the album…what happened to “Spirit Crusher” at song 2?     No worries however, that is the first song they played in the encore thankfully!  As well as a couple more classics with Steve’s amazing bass playing in “Lack of Comprehension” and another can’t miss song with “Crystal Mountain” to end the show.

If you attended both these shows, you would’ve heard 30 of some of the best Death songs ever. All sounding like the old Death songs you have been listening to since we lost Chuck Schuldiner back in 2001.  The first album, stuff in-between and the last album, all played to utter flawlessness by these four very talented musicians. I always wonder if they could actually attempt to make an album themselves but likely don’t want to tarnish Chuck’s legacy. But all in all, you will not hear one person saying a bad thing about this top notch experience as it was such an fantastic show.   If you were thinking this is some shitty cover band, think again, and go see these guys before they ‘Pull the Plug’ on this tour.

1 Comment

  1. Saw this show in Seattle and was an awesome experience and recommend this so much!!!

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