By: Connor McDaniel
When you think of quality, heavy, and technically complex local metal, few come to mind. At the top of that rather short list is Deretla, whom headlined this bill with support bands Daigoro, Eldergaad, and openers Compassion Dies. Outside of a “just for fun” note that you can come wearing costumes, the event was notable for the fact that Eldergaad, Daigoro, and Deretla would be playing covers exclusively, Deretla playing Death, Daigoro playing (and dressing as) Suicidal Tendencies, and Eldergaad playing a variety of 80s metal covers ranging from Helloween to Vio-lence.
The young three piece that is Compassion Dies began the night, with guitarist/vocalist Josh Raiken dressed as a pirate, and bassist Dylan Haseltine wielding a fretless bass. Mumbling their way through their first few songs, the group took a few minutes to hook the crowd, but managed to catch their stride halfway through their set with “Isochronic,” followed by “In Your Arrogance,” the two tracks featured on their demo CD. These two tracks in particular truly displayed that when they described themselves as “Prog Thrashing Death,” they meant exactly that, and went on to further that point by playing what they dubbed their “theme,” aptly titled “Prog Thrashing Death.” This song, as well as the entire rest of the second half of their set could easily be described as on par with the likes of Coroner, starting and stopping on a dime, with enough tasty riffs to keep any metalhead happy.
Following Compassion Dies was Eldergaad, dressed in wizard robes with a large brown cloth banner on each side of the stage with their logo painted in red. With the black metal styled facepaint completing their look, the band looked ready to play a standard set. However, the first notes of Iron Maiden‘s “Caught Somewhere In Time,” they both shocked and excited the audience, various people freaking out, astounded by this obscure song choice. From there, the band soared through Helloween’s “Future World,” (which had the crowd literally jumping for joy), and then delved into a thrashier realm with songs like “A.I.R.” by Anthrax and “Calling in the Coroner” by Vio-lence. Suffice to say the circle pits for this section of the set were near constant. Closing the set with Metallica‘s “The Four Horsemen,”the group had the entire crowd singing along, going through each section perfectly.
Daigoro’s soundcheck was revealing, with vocalist Nate not holding back on his death metal and grindcore styled screaming, and both guitars and bass clearly sharp as ever and tuned much lower than you’d ever hear in an actual ST song. The crowd also notably increased in numbers during this set, with a number of guys in Suicidal Tendencies “costumes” coming out along with a number of women. As the set began (with “Memories of Tomorrow”), it was clear these new members of the crowd were not just there to look cool, but to break a few bones in the process. Moshing went through literally every song in Daigoro’s set, even if it only came down to two or three guys knocking each other around during slower sections.
The set continued with a selection of shorter Suicidal Tendencies songs (found mostly on their first album), which were played at an insanely fast pace, bordering on grindcore (which Suicidal Tendencies was a large influence on), with nearly every lyric completely inaudible. That’s not to say the guitars were audible either, as each was distorted to the point where you really couldn’t make a single thing out, even from the back of the room. This didn’t seem to matter though, as everyone knew the timing of the songs, and was able to shout along choruses and verses solely by keeping track of the beat. A variety of guest vocalists came up throughout the set as well, including all three members of Compassion Dies for “War Inside my Head.” The set closed with crossover thrash classic “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” the set thus notably excluding “Institutionalized,” but a powerful set even without said song.
Deretla, noted by various members of the crowd at the show as “the perfect band to play Death,” came on stage to a slightly smaller crowd than Daigoro, but an equally enthusiastic one. The previous statement, made by a fair number of people, couldn’t have been more correct, as the band played with a laser precision equal to that of Death themselves. Track by track the band went through all of Death’s albums, playing at least one track from each, notably the most popular and well known tracks, much like a Death “best of.” Selections included singles such as “The Philosopher” and “Spirit Crusher,” to fan favorites “Zombie Ritual,” “Spiritual Healing,” and classic closer “Pull the Plug” (the track which Death used to close all of its shows).
Despite a bit of angst in the pit due to overzealous moshing and similar behavior, the set went over well. Overall, the night was full of the energy of the local metal scene, with the all ages aspect drawing in a small but fair number of younger metal scene denizens (alongside their parents). With each band’s set being energetic, exciting, and interesting, and with the show raising over $550 for the Autism Society of Minnesota, it’s hard to call this show anything but successful.