On March 12, at Reggies Rock Club, Chicago’s heavy metal connoisseurs assembled for an evening of neck-wrecking mayhem for Immolation’s Acts of God 2022 U.S. tour, and accompanying Immolation were New York’s Imperial Triumphant and Washington’s Mortiferum; altogether, three bands of exceptional calibre, each bringing a distinct style to the tour.
Olympia’s Mortiferum kicked things off with a sound that conjures up notions of an oppressive, suffocating environment, as though the listener is being dragged into an inescapable bog to be met with an acutely painful fate. The medium pace accentuates the mood, though these guys know when to dial up the speed. I thought they sounded even better live than recorded. Their latest record is Preserved in Torment on Profound Lore Records.
I’m a sucker for any metal that veers off the beaten path, that includes bits of strangeness that, paradoxically, makes it both less accessible but also a more rewarding listen. A certain je ne sais quoi, if you will, and Imperial Triumphant have that in spades. Their thematic, somewhat theatrical approach to their live show really pairs well with the often atonal, abstract, and off-kilter nature of their music. They’ve perfected the simultaneous delivery of decadence and ugliness. It is immediately apparent that they would not be content playing by-the-numbers metal. Their live show features a champagne ceremony with audience participation, and, in some of this tour’s shows, guest appearances by Immolation’s Alex Bouks and Couch Slut’s Megan Osztrosits. Do not miss their live show! Their latest album is Alphaville on Century Media.
Immolation cemented their position as one of death metal’s elite a long time ago, and have been steadily releasing new records and touring from the 1990s through today. I had not seen them live in some years, and was happy that their Acts of God tour came through Chicago. 2017’s Atonement was a standout record, and their new 2022 release Acts of God ups the ante again. They’ve always incorporated a unique approach to songwriting — primarily that of guitarist Robert Vigna — that made them a standout in death metal. Live, they are better than ever and firing on all cylinders. Their latest album is Acts of God on Nuclear Blast Records.