Summer holidays are no excuse to have a dry spell when it comes to metal gigs, so, during my visit to the Netherlands this summer, a great show came up in Rotterdam – Death Angel on their last stop of the „Relentless Retribution“ tour.
This cult thrash band from California, along with a couple of Belgian metallers Powerstroke and Bliksem, were supposed to play in the infamous club Baroeg, thus closing a three-year touring period with a bang. So, a couple of friends and I headed to see this show, unfortunately missing the two support bands before them due to the fact that the show itself was scheduled in the afternoon. It was officially the earliest metal gig I’ve ever been to (excluding the unknown bands filling up the time slot on some summer festivals, that is) – Death Angel started playing promptly at half past six, ripping their way through classics and newer songs alike. The charismatic singer Mark Osegueda communicated closely with the audience right from the start, introducing us to the special relationship Death Angel has had with the Dutch metal army since the late 80’s. Wow, I thought, Holland and this band certainly have some history. Baroeg was filled up just nicely, offering a dark counterpart to the picture-perfect summer afternoon outside and soon enough, there were stage dives from the front rows and screams with particular song requests to the band members who were in an excellent mood. Mark kept telling the audience about how much they love their Dutch fans, and even showed his leather jacket with what was probably a Dutch band logo on the back (couldn’t see it completely, as I was far left) – nothing warms your heart more than the outpours of love from a metal band! The setlist was comprised of songs from several albums, literary spanning decades – from „3rd Floor“ and „Thrasher“ to the songs from „Relentless Retribution“, with plenty of heavy guitar riffs and screams tossed in for good measure. They really gave their best to make the last show on the long tour memorable, especially since Ted Aguilar, one of the guitar players, celebrated his 12th year in the band right there on stage that night. The change I noticed from the show on Exit several years ago was the addition of the new bass guitarist in the form of Damien Sisson, who obviously carries the same thrash metal torch as the rest of the band and amplifies the whole live experience, which is pretty intense. Will Carroll, the man behind the drums, literary beat the living hell out of his instrument, Rob Cavestany did the same thing with his guitar and the atmosphere in the black hellpit that is Baroeg was heated from the very start to the end of the performance, crowned with the fan favourite „Kill As One“. You could clearly see how much fun the guys were having on stage, multiplied in the ripple waves of headbanging and screaming in the audience.
The crowd was nuts, the show lasted for a good hour and a half and we exited Baroeg in the warm sun squinting and commenting on the great performance we just saw. Death Angel will release a new album in October, and even though they haven’t teased any songs from it yet, we’re surely in for a treat. In the meantime, warm recommendations for all the metallers out there willing to visit the Netherlands – the Dutch definitely know how to thrash!
Report and photo: Ilhana Škrgić