That Deceased aren’t as renowned as other thrash and death acts, be they mid-level or major league, is an injustice. They should be headlining festivals large and small and packing the denimed, leathery, mophead mobs in. Instead, they gave their all in front of a small Pittsburgh crowd on a patchy, concrete floor at an odd, appropriately disheveled new Oakland venue called Babyland, which serves as a workspace for struggling artists during the day.
Frontman King Fowley deserves a higher spot in the annals of heavy metal lore, and this intimate gig was proof of that. His ghoulish, storytelling bark evoked Cronos as the band backing him up played as expertly as a certain arena act who passed through town the night prior. Fowley’s stage presence is as humorous and jolly as it is imposing. He’s a late-night horror show host, movie monster, pro wrestler, cartoon character, and all-around party animal stitched together and animated via a lightning bolt. And yes, he and his minions were very much alive…ALIVE! Smart, chunky, thrashy death metal songs with bubonic riffs ruled the damp October evening while Mr. Fowley made everyone feel as welcome as he would if we were at a barbecue. Seeing at least one Deceased gig should be a priority for any diehard banger. Lamb of God, Cattle Decapitation or Cannibal Corpse should take these zombies out around the horn with them. More metal fans need to get to know the humor heft, hideousness, and high science of Deceased.
Local necromancers Tartarus also made an appearance, ripping out a set of their dead-serious Behemoth vs. Windir incantations only to finish it off with a playful AC/DC cover to lighten the tone.
Cincinnati’s Ball Of Light and hometown delinquents Möwer were there as well, the former bringing a grinding crust element to the festivities as the later opened the gala with an incendiary punk.
We were reminded of what the underground truly is, and you won’t find it in a hockey rink. Rather, it is a thing of grime, cobwebs, soot, tinnitus, feedback, and bruises.