Broken Bones and Busses


Magazine: Rock Hard / Germany
Report: Broken Bones and Busses

Written by: Frank Albrecht
Photos by: Holger Stratmann
Published: February 1992




No mercy under the christmas tree
* Death * Napalm Death * Pestilence * Cannibal Corpse * Dismember *

It's a tradition to give presents at christmas. So we thought, "Let's give a present to the readers of this magazine! Five Christmas Festivals!" We couldn't make it for free, but seeing five great bands for DM 30 should be a rather nice price, shouldn't it?

The shows will be opened by the Swedish waterpaint artists DISMEMBER, who's first CD "Like An Ever Flowing Stream" could as well astonish the critics as well as the fans. What showed through in the exellent sales figures and in the good ranking in the readers charts. Swedish death in the best tradition. No better way to start, is there?

Second on the bill is CANNIBAL CORPSE, who showed on their just now ended headliner tour, the amazed fans what a "death-gig" is supposed to be.

Despite all the rumors about them splitting up: PESTILENCE will be there and will climb the stage as third to introduce live to the fans their almost genius album, "Testimony Of The Ancients". Pat, Pat and Marco will be backed up by Sadus' bass player, Steve DiGiorgio. This will guarantee that the bass parts, played on the album by Tony Choy (from Atheïst), will be played impeccably. We may expect 5 great live shows from the Dutch, known for their good live act.

As fourth, the English Grind Kings NAPALM DEATH are on stage. Which just at the latest replaced Morbid Angel. In the interview with Chuck (counter attack/YK) he explains what was the reason for this. We only can be disappointed that Mr. David Vincent would rather cancel five shows for his European fans than to put aside his ego problems for just one moment. For Death is just, certainly according to sales figures, bigger than the "morbid angels". Unfortunately, Vincent would not listen to the mediations from the side of Fast Forward Promotions, or from the side of the Rock Hard, from his own manager neither..... it's a pitty! But, NAPALM DEATH is without any doubt, a worthy replacement. They recently went home, after playing on "Rock Together Open Air" in Berlin, with the best reaction from the crowd. Also the English will introduce us their new drummer, Danny, first time along on tour; and the material from their exellent EP, "Mass Appeal Madness".

Headliners are and will be of course, the Men around Chuck Schuldiner, pronounced as : DEATH. It took a while for them to come to Germany but finally they will be there. How did Chuck put it so striking? "Might I have a cold, I will put a tape deck on stage, let it play and just play guitar along with it, so if the plane doesn't crash, we will be there to play!" Nothing to add to that except that Chuck blebt to play a mix of classics and pieces from his new Masterpiece, "Human" (after all album of the month in this issue).

We are looking forward to it !!!





"Those who travel, get to tell a lot" according to an old saying. Not true all the time, however exceptions are always there, when you least expect them or rather when you don't need them. Like, for example, our Christmas Festivals..... Succesful Festivals with five strong bands, all very nice participants and a lot of enthusiastic fans. Despite everything a succesful event as our collegue Frank Albrecht experienced. He lodged himself in one of the tour coaches.

< The three big shots:
Chuck, Barney and Patrick


"Hi Lars, Frank here from Rock Hard. How are things looking? Has he landed?". I think the good guy is pretty nervous. Every 20 minutes I give him a call to ask him the same question over and over again. What it's all about??? About an airplane from New York supposing to be landing in Amsterdam. Not just an airplane, but one that should have Chuck Schuldiner in it, "his" characteristic frontman of Death, and (up 'till now it's the case) a specialist in canceling tours. The bets on in the editorial office are fifty/fifty. Then the deliverance, late this afternoon: "They are here, ALL of them !!!".
Yiiipppeeeee! Now nothing is in the way of our Festivals anymore. Time for me to book my own flight to Zürich and get ready to travel.


I am shocked. Besides my plane already leaving at 13.20 (1.20PM) instead of 13.35 (1.35PM) my trip to Zürich is going amazingly well. Would this be a bad omen? The cab driver, bringing me to the Volkshaus, is friendly and telling me all about the city. Unfortunately, because of the dialect, I only understand half of it. Doesn't matter, in any case he finds the way to the concert hall without any problems. Arriving on the scene, I immediately meet the guys of Dismember, Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death.... all very nice of course.

But where the hell is Death? Hours deceitfully ticking away quickly without any sign of life from Chuck & Co. Finally a message. The Death/Pestilence coach is being detained at the Swiss frontier by the customs because they were trying to smuggle T-shirts duty-free into the country. After over an hour of discussing with them it becomes clear that one of the guys only wants to have one of the shirts as a bribe. He could have asked right away !!! Whatever, everybody is very relieved when the bus arives just in time by the hall.

Yet another problem arises......

Pestilence can't play tonight. For bass player Tony Choy, a Cuban, they haven't been able to get a visa and a work permit in time. The plane tickets, needed as evidence, weren't in time. Lucky enough the local organizer knew it beforehand so he took care of it with a good replacement, Silent Death, a band out of the neighborhood of Zürich. They are opening the musical part of this evening at 19.15 (7.15PM) exactly and doing a great job. They remind me a bit of Dark Angel, a bit more scratching vocals and lower tuned guitars. Although the material hasn't matured for 100%, it's obvious this band could go far in future. Concerning the stage act they could keep up with the other bands. As well the opinion of the audience, considering the applause, although there were still just a few people inside the hall.

But not to be compared with the reactions that fell to Dismember's share. Beforehand, I heard a lot of bad about the live performance qualities of Dismember, it apeared to be without any foundation. The band worked with a lot of play joy and aggressiveness and knew exactly how to entertain the, in the meantime 1300, people exceedingly. A not to be underestimated part of it were, of course, the songs from their class debut "Like An Ever Flowing Stream", from which they played 4 songs: "Skin Her Alive", "Override The Overture", "Bleed For Me" and "In Death's Sleep", and completed the set with an old Carnage song. After about half an hour they had to quit, because there just wasn't enough time.

After a short break Cannibal Corpse got on stage, inflaming a real inferno. Unbelieveable intense, their super speedy songs struck without ignoring playful details, which are actually there. It was very noticeable that the band gained a lot of experience during their European tour last fall. They stood like a house. Both guitarists, Jack and Bob, as well as bass player Alex, banged without interruption, and frontman Chris is something else. I mean, besides his voice being a matter of taste, whoever loves unbelieveable heavy, almost inhuman low vocals, are being served promptly by Chris. The fans loved it, and the reaction to Cannibal Corpse wasn't surpassed tonight. Three quarters of the crowd banged and slammed non-stop, impressive to watch! Now at least everybody knows this band should be taken seriously.

Not exactly their lucky day, next were the English Grind-Kings, Napalm Death. Playing very careless, fatal..... with this kind of speedy music. Even the energetic stage act couldn't cover it up, so I left early to chat with some Zürich music prominents (like Coroner and Lunacy).

Tension raised and just before 23.00 (11PM) finally Death climbed the stage. They weren't in top-form yet either. Problems with the sound. Too much echo on Chuck's voice and guitars out of key. For a band like Death, where it comes to technical qualities of the music instead of a stage act, it is of course deadly. Besides Chuck & Co. took too long of breaks in between songs which made the mood of the audience ebb away continously. Along with some bad luck! Just when they played their encore, "Pull The Plug", the electricity on stage fell out. Suspecting the local police of wanting to call it a day because it was almost midnight was denied. Probably a disfunctional generator. Chuck was pretty desperate, asking me: "Frank, please explain to the fans that not me but the technicals let them down" ~ Sorry Chuck, mices aren't working either~ "SHIT!". He survived...................

But winner of day 1 is called Cannibal Corpse!

Mitch of Napalm Death coped with the bad performance of his band a lot less. After the show he savagely was throwing, backstage, bottles against a wall. Not very pleasant, not very smart, but understandable, as long as he's not throwing tv's out of the window.....

On to the busses heading for Stuttgart. But only just a few miles outside of Zürich we already stopped. The ND/CC coache couldn't drive further. No air pressure, so breaks aren't working anymore. First car trouble this tour??

After just one hour things were fixed and we could move again. But the empty Death tummies let hear of them: "FOOOOOOD!!!", screamed Sean, drummer of the band. Unbelieveable, but the guys had an enormeous appetite in German roadhouse fodder. Horrible!!! I explained the guys that things are far more tasty in the States with McDonalds, Denny's or KFC, and things really taste bad here. But they were not restrained and eventually were busy stuffing themselves at 4 o'clock (4AM) in the middle of the night, with goulash soup, sausages, potato salad and all kind of stuff, finding it all delicious...... I shook my head and withdrew myself into my sleeping compartment...


Enough to make you cry!!! All sticky and dirty I walked into Longhorn, earlier this afternoon. But the water heater was broke so there only was cold water to take a shower with. No, thanks! Death manager, Eric, was so kind to let me use their shower in their, for this reason only, hired hotel room. In retrospect not so bad, because the hotel personel wasn't speaking one word English and Eric couldn't speak one word German. Even I was having troubles explaining to the receptionist that nobody was going to sleep in this room tonight but there were an aweful lot of people coming to take a shower. What's so funny about that?!

Dismember singer, Matti, solved the problem his own way: "I am gonna take a shower again when I get home", he proclaimed proudly and with this won the prize of the most smelling musician on this tour. Another prize was given when Atrocity's Krulle came by, between him, Barney of ND and Matti the fattest metal vocalist on this planet was chosen. No doubt about who was going to win this one.........Matti!

Whatever, this evening again Dismember played great. The setlist wasn't changed but the 1900 people inside Longhorn were even more enthusiastic as in Zürich. Nuclear Blast promotor, Mike, who in the meantime joined the tour gang, was so glad about the good work of his protégé's that he immediately knocked back half the liquid catering. Which resulted in the good man being in other atmospheres the remaining night. Inspired by jazz sounds in the tour bus he stated, the music was sucking him out of the window towards the stars. Not at all knowing what he meant by that, I had the feeling that one of those 40 beers did not work out all that well......

Back to the concert. Cannibal Corpse showed themselves, again, from an unchangeable powerful side with a lot of play joy. All eyes, however were at Pestilence, who would play their first gig in the new line up on German ground tonight. "Revalation" a great start of a great gig, the band even in a better shape than on the US tour. "Land Of Tears", "Twisted Truth", "Stigmatized", "Lost Souls", "Out Of The Body" etc. etc.... were the songs that let the crowd cook. Frontman Mameli gave an irresistible show, whether that had something to do with his predecessor Martin van Drunen, who got a backstage prohibition, being in the hall? Whatever, Mameli, Pat and Marco are a played in team, only bassist Tony Choy didn't TMHO, fit in all too well. Which doesn't mean the guy can't play, it just seems he is not wholeheartedly into this kind of music. Not surprising when listening to the new demo of his band Cynic, from a complete different order.Napalm Death, compared to yesterday, were a lot better, almost deceitfully good, and the fans were exited.



Death on the other hand, again was ignored by the biggest part of the audience, despite of them playing very good. Chuck as frontman was very sympathetic, the setlist with: "Suicide Machine", "Left To Die", "Flattening Of Emotions", "Zombie Ritual", "Together As One", "Within The Mind", "Living Montrosity", "Lack Of Comprehension", "Denial Of Life", "Vacant Planets" and "Pull The Plug" were exellent (however personally I would have loved to hear some oldies). The skill of the musicians is almost perfect, but apparently there are not enough fans choosing quality above senseless banging. Which doesn't fit to Death '91. Death has, with distance, the best drummer aboard, Sean Reinert. What this guy is doing behind his kit is truely unbelieveable. Night after night at least half of the musicians were standing with dropped jaws, behind or next to his drumkit to admire him. What Sean can make out of a simple Bill Andrews-beat is really incomparable. Tonight Sean treated the amazed watching musicians with a special version of "Pull The Plug". Unfortunately not expressable in words.......

Anyhow, there was an elated atmosphere after the show amongst all participants and this is how the long journey to Berlin was made. Especially with all the worldly pleasures, which made me find out that Death belongs to the few bands in this scene of which some members are fundamental anti-alcoholics.

Otherwise nothing special happened.



Winner of day number 2: Pestilence.


Again a day with nothing special to mention until the beginning of the show. Except some of the fans already being blind drunk at 14.00 o'clock (2PM) in the afternoon, puking all over the place outside of the Neue Welt and the CC merchandise already being sold out after only half an hour. Eventually over 1600 people were inside the hall, however behaving pretty stale. At the again good gig of Dismember, nothing happened to the audience, apart from the first row. More easy things went with Cannibal Corpse, in topform again, serving everybody into wild banging easily digestible stuff. For Pestilence, on the contrary, it was tough again, despite of changing the set list a bit. Obviously, the Dutch make real music, but apparently real music on stage isn't being valued these days. Yet again, Pestilence gave a great show and maybe the feeling would have been better if one of the security guys wouldn't have gone mad. He was being really annoying all evening to the fans but then (likely not on purpose) he broke one of the divers hands and things threatened to go out of control. Fast-Forward-Christian was left nothing else to do then to move this guy from the stage and give new instructions. From then on diving was allowed. Why not from the start? Anyway, the road was cleared for the Napalm Death triumph train, and the British had a very good day and gave a furious show. Frontman Barney gave all he had, he stood not still for one second. Guitar players Jesse and Mitch were letting their impressive mops of hair fly around and even the mostly withdrawn Shane was playing along, as well as Nuclear-Mike and somebody from Hammer, thrashing together on the edge of the stage. At last the crowd awoke and the evening was saved as yet.

Except again for Death, convincing again on stage but again the audience didn't react. WHY???

Let's try explaining. Chuck, for example, has created by his his many tour cancelings, a cult around himself which made the expectations of the people grow. But Death just isn't an exiting stage show.... but just a band playing music exellent and with honest craft. Besides the music is very difficult, so there's actually not enough space to worry about a stage act. After all Paul Masvidal is a guest musician not coming from the death metal scene, he only waves his hair, which is kind of monotonous in the end, it just isn't his kind of music. Bass player Skott Carino is a little more active but in this alone. Death live is something for the ear. Great to bang on but a great stage show is not to be expected (yet) from them.


Daywinner nr. 3: Napalm Death

Backstage the mood and alcohol level raised quickly and most of the guys decided to go to Ecstasy where they partied wild until 7 (AM) in the morning. Napalm Death bassist, Shane, stood dancing as like he was stung by a Tarantula, and ND manager Mark got tanked up so bad, he just fell over at a certain moment and had to be carried back to the bus by Barney. 8 (AM) in the morning we were finally off to Cologne.


A day with bad luck all over. When both coaches were just outside of Bremen, air pressure was dropping again in the ND/CC bus, not reparable however this time. The complete equipement had to be put in our bus and the occupants had to move to the Death/Pestilence coach. Very tight in there! But they would survive without problems for about 3 hours. But alas! Just before Dortmund the turbo charger of the Death/Pestilence bus fell out, so the remaining 130 km's had to be traveled with a speed of 50 km/hour! Unfortunately it was 15.00 (3PM) already and time was running out. Driver Maurice made it just in time and delivered us at 18.00 (6PM) by the hall. Doors would open at 19.00 (7PM) so just one hour was left for the crew to build the stage. By a miracle they succeeded. Professionals!!!

Problems also previously to this gig. Which should have taken place in Dortmund in a tent at the Fredenbaum. But the city of Dortmund didn't give permission for this thing because it was next to an old people's home. They decided just two weeks before the show, so it was impossible to get this important alternation to all the fans. Hence, the Live Station Dortmund put on shuttle busses to bring the fans from Dortmund to Cologne (about 130 km's/YK). Which was working out very good except for two fans that were for some reason forgotten. The poor guys were without any penny left, in the hall later on. As Stratmann (photographer/YK) finally arranged a ride back, the guys had vanished. Hopefully things went well with them!

To the show. Although Dismember played good again, they were weaker than the previous evenings, especially drummer Fred was out of timing more than once. Frontman Matti is, as Nuclear-Mike described so well; "as "evil" as a teddy bear", for sure that will be worked on in the future. They have plenty of time, the oldest in the band just turned 19 years! Musically things are pretty good already, which is the most important part anyway. This evening Cannibal Corpse again threw hits like "Edible Autopsy", "Skull Full Of Maggots", "Shredded Humans", "Mangled", "Covered With Sores" and "Vomit The Soul" into the crowd. Also Pestilence delivered good work again, but having some troubles with the fans tonight. Apparantely the fans are having problems with the increased musical skill of the guys, which doesn't show from the album sellings though, it broke every Pestilence record so far, ironic, isn't it?! Napalm Deathstarted furiously again but got weaker during the show, must have been the effect of last night and the stress of today. Yet this gig also was a success, thanks to, not at the least, to hits like: "Vision Conquest", "Emotional Suffocation", "Suffer The Children" and "From Enslavement To Obliteration".

Then there was Death, at last, getting the full apreciation they deserve from this audience!!! There are still human beings interested whether musicians can play good on stage! Chuck & Co. were happy and let the crowd whip them up to the best show so far on this tour. I enjoyed thoroughly again for this is the last one I can see.

As the tour club is moving on to Hamburg and Belgium I have to say good-bye.


O, yes, daywinner nr. 4 Cannibal Corpse (actually) and Death (moraly) !!!


Four succesful festivals with sympathetic musicians and mainly good behaving fans. Thanks to all that came and made these festivals a success and to all working in the organization. How beautiful it would be when there would be a continuation later this year........

Frank Albrecht
Photo's Holger Stratmann


to gigs

Translated by YK/CM for EmptyWords-Published on October 9 1999