The Death To All tour rolled into Prague on November 17 and despite it being a bitter Sunday evening, saw a packed-out crowd celebrate the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner.
Upgraded to the larger setting of the Roxy due to popular demand, one of Prague’s oldest music venues rarely hosts many metal gigs but such was the influence and popularity of Death in the world of extreme music that this tour required such a top class venue.
Support came from Swiss death metal quartet DarkRise, who were as brutal as you’d expect, and German tech-death lovers Obscura. While most were there for Death To All, plenty came down early for both support bands, and for Obscura especially it probably felt like their own short headline show. Five minutes after they’d started anyone coming in late had an impossible task of being able to physically see them (hearing their technically proficient bombast was no problem though).
While everyone knows Death without Chuck isn’t actually Death, this was billed as a ‘Death To All’ show. It became immediately clear from the pre-gig projected images of Chuck that all four musicians were there to pay tribute to the great man, the lasting impact Death have had on music and allow those who never had the chance to see Death live to get as close as possible to what that experience was like.
Opening with a Sean Reinert drum solo before launching into a powerful ‘Flattening Of Emotions’, the wheels were off and the chants of “Death!” and “Chuck” between every song had begun. Max Phelps may be the only one of the four musicians to never have been in Death, but he proved he’s more than capable shredding away and his voice, while a little unconvincing at first, grew into a commanding presence.
Seeing as the other three in Death To All played on Human (bassist Steve DiGiorgio also appeared on Individual Thought Patterns) it was no surprise that a third of the songs they aired were on that album, from the spoken word intro accompanying ‘Suicide Machine’ to set-closer ‘Lack Of Comprehension’. However, it was ‘Crystal Mountain’ and the encore of ‘Pull The Plug’ that undoubtedly drew the greatest responses. And no, no Cynic songs appeared.
Halfway through a five minute slideshow featuring images and clips of Death and Chuck provided a nice touch, reminding everyone this was no ordinary gig but a special event to celebrate his life and music. Steffen Kummerer of Obscura (who was originally approached to front Death To All) later joined for a scintillating rendition of ‘Spirit Crusher’ before the aforementioned encore left many going home with an experience that, much like the music of Death, will live long in the memory.
All money raised through the tour goes to the Sweet Relief charity.
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