Originally published in ‘zine issue #12, 1994
Strife One Truth
Just about the raddest stuff out there. They are soooo good live, and the new album is amazing. Fast, punchy hardcore with lots of drum work. Includes a reworked 7″ cut, a compilation cut, and a whole lot of new material. Strife: the “youth crew” of the ’90s.
(by Vaughn Currier) ■
Grave, Incantation, Vicious Circle, and Deceased
The Bayou, Washington, D.C.
by Robin Rohrback
I can remember when the legions of devotees would turn out almost anywhere just to see Deceased play. But when they took the stage as the opening act, there were maybe 30 people in the room. It was almost painful to look out and see only one guy on the floor, and even he was standing reluctantly to the side. Deceased’s style of straight-ahead death metal doesn’t really appeal to me now, but to their credit, they know how to treat their crowd. The band played as energetically as though the room was full of worshippers. It was so loud where I was that I could barely tell one song from another, but I could tell that they were tight and in sync, and between songs King Fowley’s good-natured rants kept things from getting uncomfortable.
It’s too bad that New Jersey’s Vicious Circle followed rather than preceded Deceased and that more people didn’t miss their embarrassing set. Vicious Circle tries to meld chunky grind with good ol’ death, an idea that would be great if it was executed well. Unfortunately, they didn’t know what they were doing. I’d swear on my own grave that they have exactly one song in their repertoire and play that seven times a set, occasionally throwing in improvised riffs and solos to fool the crowd into thinking it’s a different song. No one paid much attention to them, which was made painfully obvious between songs when the only sound in the room was people talking. Twice someone shouted for them to get off the stage, and the vocalist unwisely turned to berating the crowd, which only turned us off more. The only applause they got was when they finally left the stage.
Up next: Incantation, who recently relocated from New Jersey to Cleveland. They’re suffering the loss of their bassist, whom they said was “too whipped to come on tour, so he stayed home.” They played a fair mix of old and new material, which all sounded the same anyway. Their standard downtuned, almost sludgy sound, combined with Duane Morris’ long, relentless, drawn-out growls, made for a 45-minute death metal lullaby.
Sweden’s Grave didn’t quite get the reception they got when they played D.C. earlier in the tour. Jörgen Sandström had a big, chunky hangover, and after two months in the States, all Grave wanted was to go back home. Still, they managed to pull off an impressive show. They got a lukewarm reaction, however, compared to the earlier gig. Most of the crowd just sat there, and the 10 to 15 people who were out on the floor didn’t make much of a pit.
All in all, it was an extremely depressing show. Even the bands were mostly apathetic about it, and it almost seemed like a waste of a Tuesday night. ■
Photos: Grave playing that night