Here is a scenario, Baltimore city lay amidst ruins engulfed by flames and black smoke. As a raven flies over the city towards the inner harbor, it watches the fires and flames gradually intensify. The exact epicenter being 124 Market Place, the street address of Baltimore Soundstage. Surely this must have happened in one of the infinite alternate universes that exist. The cause behind this mayhem are two bands, Exodus and Obituary. On a balmy Saturday night, the two bands blew the lid off Baltimore Soundstage with the heaviest performance I have seen in a very long time. The tour titled “Battle of The Bays” is possibly the heaviest tour of the Fall, and I was not going to miss it.
Both bands owned the venue, in slightly different ways, Obituary with their casual delivery of harsh death metal and Exodus with a hyper energetic display led by Steven Zetro Souza. I am going to spend much of this space making a case for why you should attend this tour. Obituary, the death metal pioneers from Tampa, Florida, released an eponymous album in March this year which has garnered excellent reviews. The tour during the summer was hugely successful as well, and the fans were lighting up their Facebook posts with comments asking for another tour. The might Floridians opened their set with “Brave” and that was just the beginning of their dominance on stage. The brother John and Donald Tardy are the most metal brothers in all of metal. John on vocals and Donald slaying the drums they are the very reason the band has been so successful. The casual appearance of this band on the stage belies the ferocity of their music. John Tardy led the band with aplomb with the microphone and the long stand in his hands. The only way this bands performance could have been any better is if the late great Frank Watkins was back on bass, and Ralph Santolla delivering the riffs. This is not to take anything away from Terry, Trevor, or Kenny. Trevor has been a staple in the band on rhythm guitar, and his time in the band dates back to 1984, and he rejoined the band back in 2003. The band cranked out favorites like “Turned To Stone”, Straight To Hell, and “A Lesson In Vengence” before ending their rampage with “Don’t Care” and “Slowly We Rot”. The crowd went ballistic as soon as they took the stage, and the energy did not recede until the end. The band is on a roll, and they know it.
On the other hand, Exodus has not released an album since their hugely successful ‘Blood In Blood Out’ which was released three years back. The band opened their set with “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” from their 2010 album ‘Exhibit B: The Human Condition’. Hearing those first riffs ring out will raise the hairs on your neck. Especially for me since Exodus is my favorite Bay area thrash metal band, so I am a little partial to them. Heck I love ‘Force of Habit’, the one album which is much maligned by some fans. While I had seen Exodus twice before, on both those occasions Gary Holt was away performing with the mighty Slayer. Gary Holt has been the major creative force that is Exodus, ever since Kirk Hammett has left to join Metallica, and Exodus is not complete with Holt. The performance in Baltimore is a testament to that. It is quite likely that he will be touring with Slayer for the foreseeable future, so NOW is a good time to watch him with Exodus. Additionally, no one knows when Exodus will be releasing new material. Zetro has mentioned in the past that it will be a blasphemy to record an album without Gary Holt adding his creative riffing touch to it. Zetro is my favorite Exodus vocalist by far and this live performance of his was phenomenal in terms of his delivery of vocals and antics. Of course before ending their set the band rang out the classic “The Toxic Waltz”, before ending their set with “Strike Of The Beast”. Check out the photographs, the way he indulged the crowd was something extraordinary. Every single time he spun his hand, a violent pit formed in the middle of the venue, without exception. And Gary Holt was in his wizardly best on the guitar. If the line up on this tour can’t drag you to a metal show, I am not sure what else can, maybe you are a pop music fan. Let us know what you think if this tour, whether you agree or disagree with my assessment. We always love to hear from you. We will bring you more news and reviews in future, until then good bye!