Concert Review: Death To All, May 30 & 31, Phoenix Concert Theatre

Death To All are certainly not the first band to bring together former members of a beloved band to revisit their back catalogue and pay tribute to fallen comrades and they likely won’t be the last, but with impressive players like Gene Hoglan, Steve Di Giorgio, and Bobby Koelble in the current iteration of the band and Max Phelps ably taking the place of the late Chuck Schuldiner on vocals and guitar, they definitely do justice to Death‘s legacy. 

The band are currently on their Scream of Perseverance tour, which saw them hitting The Phoenix for a two night residency playing Death’s first album Scream Bloody Gore on night one and their seventh and final album Sound of Perseverance on night two. For those readers who might not know their metal, this is somewhat akin to watching a Beatles tribute band play a set of Please Please Me songs and then following it up the next night with Let It Be – both great albums in their own right but certainly a bit of a shift in tone. Much like The Beatles did, Death progressed a lot over their career, moving from the straightforward death metal of the first album to, well, something more progressive by their final album. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but this may be the first time that anyone’s ever made a direct comparison between The Fab Four and Scream Bloody Gore. Excuse me for a moment while I pat myself on the back in recognition of this monumental accomplishment.

Early on in night one’s set, after playing a handful of tunes from their second and third albums, bassist Steve Di Giorgio addressed the crowd, noting that since we all have the internet and we’d all bought tickets, we clearly knew what we were in for – a track by track performance of Death’s debut album.

“Who remembers those days? Combat Records?” he asked, before pointing to some fans up front and adding, “Greybeards like us.”

It’s true, there were a fair number of “greybeards” in attendance, but also a lot of younger fans too. It’s a testament to the continued relevance and significance of Death as pioneers of death metal that many who weren’t even born when Scream Bloody Gore came out were there to take in the show.

And it was quite the show. On that first night, the band played an energetic and fun set that really got the crowd going. It may not have been a sold out show, but those who were there were a dedicated bunch for sure – I was mosh pit adjacent for much of the set and there was a decent sized crew mixing it up in there for pretty much the whole time. Towards the end of their set, Di Giorgio asked how many would coming back for night two and received a fairly robust response. And sure enough, when I arrived at The Phoenix the following night, I did indeed see a lot of the same faces in the crowd. And then some.

In comparison to Thursday night, which offered up a little more breathing room, night two was a much more packed house. This suggests that either Death fans are more partial to the late period albums or just that Friday night shows are a bit of an easier sell. Probably a bit of both. Either way, there was a lot to like about the setlist on each night, with the band playing a few select tracks taken from throughout Death’s discography in addition to the full albums.

To close out the second night, they ended off the main set with their cover of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller,” the final track on the band’s final album, before returning for an encore of “Spirit Crusher”, “Lack of Comprehension” and “Crystal Mountain,” thus ending things off on a high note.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts