Sunday, February 6, 2011

HELL AWAITS: Tiger O'Stylies, Berwyn, IL. 02.05.2011

I can't remember the last time I saw a tribute band.  I've never been a huge fan of going to bars and can't think of may other places where one would run into a band that solely exists on playing the music of others.  Now this isn't always true, some tribute bands are just another paying gig for the working musician, however to devote yourself and your talents to the works of others, you damn well better enjoy the music.  When one mentions "tribute" or "cover" most people just roll their eyes or try to change the subject.  We've all seen them and they usually suck.  But what is it about the small percentage of tribute bands that truly "get it"?      

Chicago's HELL AWAITS is a Slayer tribute band that gets it.  They perform album tracks from 1983's 'Show No Mercy' through 1990's 'Seasons In The Abyss' and do it for the drunken brotherhood of it.  Consisting of current and former members of CorpseVomit, Yakuza, Cumchrist, NachtmystiumKommandant and more, their obvious Metal pedigree is there as is the natural vibe of jamming together as a band.  Having ALL four or five guys firing on all cylinders is of the utmost importance. 


This vibe is what's going to make or break any band, one playing 100% originals or an average everyday cover band.  If the band doesn't gel on stage, it's going to be a very long evening.  Because HELL AWAITS has been such a formidable unit over the years, the feeling is there.  When they play the Slayer material they feel it, they believe in it and they conquer it.  Because of that, this gig was like like having a live Slayer "Greatest Hits" album with only the best cuts present.   

My entire review of the show can be summed up with - I had a fucking blast!  I can't believe I'm writing about a tribute band, but this was so fucking good I'd feel guilty if I didn't. The thing I wrote about all members firing at once?  It was obvious these dudes connect on stage, they played these songs with an absolute urgency, when was the last time you heard Slayer play "Fight Til Death" and not only nail it, but give it 100% and BELIEVE IT? 

Setlist was:       

"Hell Awaits"
"Kill Again"
"At Dawn They Sleep"
"Altar of Sacrifice"
"Die By The Sword"
"Silent Scream" 
"The Antichrist"
"Captor Of Sin"
"Chemical Warfare"
"Ghosts of War"
"Piece By Piece"
"Fight Till Death"
"Live Undead"
"Angel Of Death"
"War Ensemble"
"Jesus Saves"
"South Of Heaven"
and more.

Talk about money well spent, $5 cover and a two hour set of album quality live Slayer on an ice titan like Saturday night in Berwyn