Friday, August 20, 2010

Hypocrisy, Scar Symmetry, And Hate Concert Review

Hypocrisy, Scar Symmetry, Hate
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Station 4, St. Paul, MN
This is long overdue, but here's my accounting of this monster death metal show that rolled through St. Paul recently. Swashbuckle and Blackguard started the evening, but much too early for me to be able get there in time. Poland’s long-running black metal blasphemers Hate were, unfortunately, already well into their set by the time I made to Station 4. Having caught only the last two songs, I can’t comment on their entire set but from what I saw they were fierce and relentless in their delivery. This North American run was their last before beginning work on their next album, so hopefully they will be back before too long.
 Click picture for more photos of Hate (15). 
Scar Symmetry was greeted with a huge roar of approval as they took the stage to the strains of “The Iconoclast”. It had been a few years since they last played at Station 4, and this was the first with new vocalists Robert Karlsson and Lars Palmqvist. As their set progressed, my annoyance was turned to disappointment as their new Dark Matter Dimensions and 2008’s Holographic Universe albums were virtually ignored to focus on 2006’s Pitch Black Progress effort. This was surprising to me since no North America touring was done to support Holographic Universe. Sure, “Artificial Sun Projection” and “Ascension Chamber” were thrown in, but it was shocking how many amazing songs were left out to make room for five songs from Pitch Black Progress. The new vocalists fit in great, and the band was in fine form and full of energy. I just question the wisdom of the band in focusing on an old album at the expense of two recent, fantastic records that hadn’t been played live in America before. “Chaosweaver” from Symmetric In Design sounded great, but “Pitch Black Progress”, “Mind Machine”, “Retaliator”, “The Illusionist”, and “The Path Of Least Resistance” dominated the set. For a band that I was so much looking forward to seeing for the first time, I felt disappointed at thinking about what could have been.
 Click picture for more photos of Scar Symmetry (22).
 
Click to watch Scar Symmetry play “The Iconoclast”.
The stage was cleared and one of Sweden’s premier death metal outfits, Hypocrisy, exploded out of the gate with “Valley Of The Damned” from the excellent A Taste Of Extreme Divinity. This had the be the most impressive light set I’ve seen brought into Station 4, and the effect was almost blinding at times in the small club. After “Hang Him High”, Hypocrisy took the crowd on a career-spanning journey that touched upon nearly every album of their long career. No more than three songs from any one album were played, so their set ranged from more recent material such as “Let The Knife Do The Talking” and “Eraser” all the back to the early days with a medley of “Pleasure Of Molestation”, “Osculum Obscenum”, and “Penetralia”. In addition to the blinding stage lights, the sound was deafeningly loud. The band members largely stayed in place while playing amidst plumes of fog. Peter TÃĪgtgren wasted no time between songs, and his solos were blasted out with mechanical precision. The overall effect was both impressive and overwhelming. The crowd wasn’t as large as it should have been, but it seemed to matter little to the band as those that were there were highly appreciative. Although Hypocrisy’s style has changed throughout the years, their live show has a way of bringing new appreciation to all phases of their career. It’s hard not to walk away impressed by both the style and delivery of Hypocrisy, so you missed out if you didn’t catch one of death metal’s most revered Swedish exports.
 Click picture for more photos of Hypocrisy (29).
 
Click to watch Hypocrisy play “Valley Of The Damned”.
 
Click to watch Hypocrisy play “Adjusting The Sun”.

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