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(Live Review) MORBID ANGEL + SUPPORT - The Forge, Joliet Illinois (4/5/23)

Review by: Mark McQueen

Tonight, the Beard and Little Johnny hit stop seven and bands 41-44 on our 2023 The Reviews Never Stop tour.

Heading the bill are Death Metal legends:

Morbid Angel

with support from


Skeletal Remains


To begin with, a moment of respect and condolences to all those hurt in the accident/tornado that hit the Apollo Theater on the 31st of March in Belvidere (while this tour was playing). Sincere hopes for a speedy recovery to all.

For this four-band death metal show, as is the norm, the Beard is upstairs in the balcony while valiant, (and crazy), Little Johnny is working his way toward the front of what will surely be a sold-out show.

First band up tonight:


Crypta is an all-female death metal act from Brazil. Think Nervosa-style music, especially since their singer is Fernanda Lira, (who fronted Nervosa from 2011-2020). Lira has a bad ass look and a bad ass voice. Something about South American women. They can sing death metal.

One look at her tall imposing frame and one listen to her up-to-15-second-long death growls, the Beard knows full well If I were married to her, she immediately wins ALL the arguments.

The rest of the band unfortunately is NOT Nervosa, and although they are certainly good enough to be on this tour, they are not amazing. All that said, I loved Lira in Nervosa and I love her in Crypta. That woman can sing! I dug just watching her perform. Lira was easily 90. The rest of the band, more like 78.

Going 86/100

SKELETAL REMAINS (death metal from Los Angeles)

Vocals were that very guttural growl which means I am not going to understand a single word from a single song. The Skeletal Remains band, though, are better musically from top to bottom than Crypta. I can easily listen to and enjoy this music, it’s kind of Slayer based, but more brutal and uncompromising. Less artistic and refined. (Little Johnny, reading over my shoulder just said, “Did you just call freaking Slayer refined? You are such a toolsack.”).

Thanks, Johnny, but my point is Slayer songs (although fast and brutal in their own right) are better orchestrated and have (to me anyway) more structure to them than Skeletal Remains stuff did. Think, a meat cleaver vs a scalpel. Johnny just shook his head and said, “The pits were good, and we could surf.”

This style has its place, but I’m less interested in Skeletal Remains than I was in Crypta even though Skeletal’s guitar and drumming was markedly better. End results. Skeletal Remains was a better band than Crypta, but man I just loved Liras voice and did not love Christian Monroy’s.

I am going 83/100

REVOCATION (technical death metal from Boston)

So, I guess we’ll see how East coast vs West coast stacks up in the world of death metal.


Revocation has a less Slayer and more technical death sound. Dave Davidson, (lead guitar and vocals), allows traces of his Berklee College Music degree to shine through giving the regular death riffs a personality that I enjoyed. Revocation produced some atmosphere between songs and their pits were solid showing the audience was into receiving what they were giving out.

Davidson was also funny, at one point calling their band “America’s favorite death metal Phil Collins tribute band.” Funny stuff.

The Beard both enjoyed their set and even understood some of the lyrics, but I’m still giving the vocal nod tonight (so far) to Crypta. Extra points though to Revocation for having the technical aspects to their death. I thought they were the most accomplished band musically of the night and award them an 86/100.

Headlining tonight were the legendary ...


This is primal, first-generation death metal from back in the 1980’s. These guys have been heavy for 40 years and this will be the first time I have seen them since the 1990’s Altars of Madness tour.

Looking forward to seeing how the last 33 years have treated them.

To begin with, Morbid Angel had the most understandable lyrics of the evening. Don’t mistake me, vocalist Steve Tucker definitely sings in a death metal voice, but slower and more decipherable. Unlike some vocalists of this sub-genre, it also seems that even Tuckers' normal speaking voice sounds a lot like Satan on a 3-pack-a-day habit.

Morbid Angel does show signs of the four decades that have passed by, (especially original and constant member Trey Azagthoth), who doesn’t move about all that much anymore, but still plays very well for his age. Their strength though is their content.

Morbid Angel songs continue to resonate as evil, but not just in the traditional “Hail Satan” evil, but Evil of man. Evil of, (and on), the earth. Evil that came here during Creation and has never left, always corrupting, always devouring, always destroying. Morbid Angel, like their name implies, is immortality ever inflicting eternal decay and sorrow. Morbid Angel music says to the listener, “Darkness is a wet blanket thrown over the soul of the world on an icy windy night and it brings shivering, suffering, decay, and death."

Morbid Angel songs just come at you with the weight of sin weighing heavy on them. They were also, in my opinion, the most consistent in all three phases. Singing, playing, crowd response.

The Beard is going…


Four death acts and all ranked in the 80’s. I never would have thought that possible. I guess the Beard's circle of acceptance and understanding is growing.

Well, that’s a wrap for stop seven. Next week, the Reviews tour rolls on. Remember, you can read all the Beards reviews here on the Mighty Decibel, while live concert videos of all the Beards reviewed concerts can be found on TikTok. Just search thebeard0728 or of course #thebeardandlittlejohnny

Until the Reviews bus rolls again, this is The Beard and Little Johnny saying ...

Horns Up!!


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