LIVE REVIEW - BELPHEGOR & SUFFOCATION
BY ERIC BEQUETTE
A Relentless Onslaught US Tour, bulldozed its way through Pops in Sauget, IL last night. The venue just across the river from St. Louis perched between two strip clubs and across from the Monsanto Industrial Plant was the perfect setting for this show which could have taken place in the deepest pits of hell.
The headliners on the tour are Austrian Extreme Black Metal legends Belphegor and New York Death Metal pioneers Suffocation. The co-headling treck saw Suffocation playing first and they hit the stage like a beast frantically searching for its prey, opening with the song Catatonia. The bands vocalist Ricky Myers (replacing original vocalist Frank Mullen) does a great job handling the vocals as he powered through songs from the bands entire catalog.
The real story when seeing Suffocation live is watching the insane technicality of the band in action. Lead guitarist, Terrence Hobbs, shredding flawlessly through one classic after another, the energy and unique technique of bassist Derek Boyer leaves you in awe. The band is filled out nicely with newer member Eric Morotti on drums and Charlie Errigo on rhythm guitar. The band was tight and powerful and the crowd energy was hot as the band played its hour long set mixed with classics like, Jesus Wept, Effigy Of The Forgotten, and newer highlights Clarity Through Depravation and Return To The Abyss. The band ended the night with the face melting crowd favorite Infecting The Crypts, leaving the crowd ready for insanity that was set to take the stage next.
Up next, taking the stage full of upside down crosses, real animal bones, barbed wire and creepy lights was the legendary Austrian Extreme Metal band Belphegor. With the band taking its name from a demon, it's not surprising that their set was like something straight out of a satanic horror movie, but with better music. The band is a sight to see and not for the meek at heart. The imposing growl and stare of lead singer Helmuth Lehner could make a weak man piss himself. The music was tight and precise with bassist Serpenth leading the musical helm on stage appearing as he might need an exorcism before the night was over. Helmuth and Serpenth take no prisoners in commanding the stage and only stop shredding long enough to engage the crowd in fist pumping chants and the stare intimidatingly into the crown as the sounds creepy occult organs bridge songs. They make you think that Satan himself is waiting in the wings to take the stage and steal your soul.
Let's not for get the music. Satan made no appearances but he was their in spirit as the band cranked out an hour of intense metal precision with songs highlighted by Swinefever - Reget Of Pigs, The Devil's Son, Lucifer Incestus and encore Bondage Goat Zombie.
Support on the tour came from German Thrash band Necronomicon who put on a 20 minute high speed assault spanning their over 25 year career, Florida Deathcore band Abiotic and St. Louis locals Summoning The Lich were a perfect fit to open the show and kick it into high gear. They're a very talented, heavy band from St. Louis worth checking out.