Morbid Angel, Revocation, Vitriol, Crypta @ The Gramercy Theater
Author's note: this review is dedicated to the memory of Fred Livingston Jr., to our fellow metalheads and their families recovering from the tragedy at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois, and to the first responders who answered the call that night. Whether in the Midwest, the Northeast, or anywhere in the world, we are all connected by our love for heavy music; our thoughts are with you all.
~ Rodey Tsapralis, a.k.a. The Metal Mayan
Strength, tenacity, endurance: these are just a few of the words that describe the world of heavy metal. Bearing a long history of trials and tribulations, few tours have demonstrated how true these words can be as the United States of Terror tour.
Between a tornado that claimed the life of a fan and destroyed a venue and a tour bus, another tour bus failing due to engine problems, and a wrist broken mid-performance, Crypta, Vitriol, and Revocation have certainly earned their stripes as road warriors.
Supporting death metal legends Morbid Angel, who after forty years have been first hand witnesses to the trials and victories in the metal community, the Gramercy Theater was pleased to welcome the stacked tour to New York City. Needless to say, after all this tour has been through, there was no doubt to the sincerity of every fan who said "Thank you so much for coming to play" to the bands in between sets.
While there was no shortage of stellar sets to come, the excitement in the room for Crypta's first New York City show was boundless. Horns were raised high and cheers filled the room as the Brazilian quartet took the stage to start the night off fast and vicious.
Formed just four years ago by Nervosa alumni Fernanda Lira (bass/vocals) and Luana Dametto (drums), the band's 2021 debut album, Echoes of the Soul, took the metal world by storm. Rounded out by the whirlwind assault of guitar work delivered by Tainá Bergamaschi and Jéssica Falchi, Crypta has already established themselves as death metal's next great sensation.
With the mosh pit erupting from start to finish, the only thing more massive than the crowd's response was the band's stage presence. Through perfectly timed power poses and immense musicianship, Crypta ensured their set would be a performance to remember.
With mile wide smiles across the face of all four members, you would never know that less than two weeks prior, the band's bus was destroyed in the Belvidere tornado. That said, perhaps it was exactly this reason why there was much to celebrate as the band was able to continue their first US tour thanks to a successful GoFundMe campaign.
If this is Crypta now, with one full length album and one North American tour under their belts, expect things to only get bigger and better when album two is released and one of Brazil's finest acts returns to New York!
If anyone was hoping for a moment to catch their breath after Crypta, Vitriol immediately crushed any chance of that. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the tech-death quartet laid waste to the venue with the mosh pit spinning mercilessly from the start of "I Drown Nightly" to the last note of the set.
For those not caught in the pit, all eyes were fixated on the mind bending guitar solos delivered by Kyle Rasmussen and lightning fast finger work of bassist Adam Roethlisberger, both of whom share vocal duties. Along with guitarist Stephen Ellis and drummer Matt Kilner, the intensity was dialed to eleven and the knob broken off to keep it there.
Though having missed a bulk of their Canadian tour, which segued into their U.S. run, due to their tour bus having its engine fail, Vitriol came to New York to channel pent up stage energy on top of what was already in store for the Big Apple.
With the absence of his signature Jackson guitar slung over his shoulder, Revocation's Dave Davidson summed up the situation to the crowd. "I had what you call a 'whoopsie daisy' the other night and broke my wrist in half," he declared, "but the show must go on right?!"
And on it did as Davidson, who also serves as the band's vocalist, commanded the crowd's boundless energy into a churning set spanning four albums worth of material. It didn't take much beyond a "move that floor!" to set things off between "Godforsaken" and "Diabolical Majesty", both off last year's Netherheaven.
Peppering in some older cuts, including ""Madness Opus" and "Communion", off Deathless and Great Is Our Sin respectively, veteran fans of the Boston thrashers had plenty to rejoice over. Add in two songs off 2018's The Outer Ones, the result was nothing short of a ferocious set list.
Though surely missing his ax, Davidson, along with guitarist Noah Young, bassist Brett Bamberger, and drummer Ash Pearson, stop at nothing to serve up an unbelievable set. Even if it take a little help from the audience by "showing (the band) your best air guitar moves!"
Drop the name Morbid Angel to anyone who knowns anything about music over the last few decades, and even the most casual metal fan is certain to know the name. To that point, waves of fans literally bowed as one of the pioneers of death metal took Manhattan for the first time since 2019.
Opening with a triple threat of songs off 2017's Kingdoms Disdained, the Tampa titans pleased longtime fans with a play through of "God of Emptiness" and "Rapture", both off Covenant, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this June.
Turning the clocks back even further, "Day of Suffering and "Unholy Blasphemies" held the flag high for classic Morbid Angel, with both songs taken from their sophomore album, Blessed Are the Sick. As perhaps the only heads in the audience not taxing their necks from intense headbanging, the musicians in the crowd stood in awe of guitarist Trey Azagthoth's mind bending solos.
Topped off by a trio of cuts from Gateways to Annihilation, including the ultra heavy "Summoning Redemption", and dual offerings from 2003's Heretic, which celebrates its own anniversary this year, Morbid Angel once again served a master class of extreme music.
Press and photo pass courtesy of Earsplit PR/Earsplit Compound