LIVE REVIEW: Morbid Angel & Origin – 5/16/18 @ Trees, Dallas, TX

Death metal pioneers Morbid Angel brought their Kingdoms Disdained tour to Dallas last night with Origin and Hate Storm Annihilation in tow. Having reunited with vocalist/bassist Steve Tucker after the departure of David Vincent, Destructhor, and Tim Yeung in 2015, the band seemed intent on proving that they’re still a force to be reckoned with in spite of the lineup changes. Indeed, the Kingdoms Disdained album, released late last year, has received critical acclaim for its return to the more traditional death metal style that put them on the map in the first place. Not surprisingly, the band played material exclusively from the Tucker-era of the band, specifically from the Disdained, Formulas Fatal to Flesh, Gateway to Annihilation, and Heretics albums. While Tucker’s presence was felt strongly, the band is still lead by lone remaining founding member Trey Azagthoth. His guitar playing was equal parts crushing and intricate. There’s a lot to take in from a Morbid Angel set, but it’s hard not to zero in on Azagthoth wrenching every bit of sound possible from his guitar. But, collectively the band was solid and showed that the last month or so on the road has finely tuned their lineup and made their set list a step by step guide to destruction.

The Topeka, Kansas technical death metal wizards Origin were a tough act to follow. Simply put, they bludgeoned the crowd from first song to last. Not only are these incredibly skilled musicians, but the sheer energy they put into each song was remarkable. Guitarist Paul Ryan and bassist Mike Flores perpetually scaled up and down the necks of their guitars with finesse while drummer John Longstreth tirelessly pummeled away. Jesus, what a monster Longstreth is behind the kit. I don’t think any musician worked harder than he did last night. Without a doubt, the way he anchors the songs allows Ryan and Flores the ability to add depth and nuance instead of being forced to fill the space with redundant riffage. Vocalist Jason Keyser fed off it all: the band and the crowd. He loomed over the crowd menacingly as he howled and growled and incited riotous behavior. There were a lot of people there for Morbid Angel, but I’ll put money down saying more left talking about Origin’s set. They killed.

Hate Storm Annihilation put on a solid show, but were a bit overshadowed by local favorites Chemicaust and Kaliya. With Kaliya going on at 8:00 and Chemicaust at 8:40, the Dallas metal scene diehards showed up early to support. The pit got pretty crazy during Chemicaust’s set with the Pit-Bulls out in full force, but no animals were harmed in the making of this metal massacre.  There was an overall feeling of camaraderie among the Dallas crowd during the openers sets, which is a testament to how strong our seen has become. And what is it about Chemicaust that every time I see them they’re better than the last? Seriously, if you haven’t heard their latest album, Unleashed Upon this World, or seen them live, your life is empty.

– J. Kevin Lynch (words); DeLisa McMurray (photos)

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