Few death metal bands have left such an imprint on the genre as Florida’s seminal band Death. This influential act was formed by Chuck Schuldiner back in 1984. He left this earthly plane far too soon by passing away from pneumonia after being weakened by brain cancer in 2001. Left to Die is a tribute to the legend himself, formed by ex-Death members Terry Butler and Rick Rozz, rounded out with Matt Harvey (Gruesome and Exhumed) and Gus Rios (Grusome). This tour is their maiden voyage to the UK and unsurprisingly, Glasgow’s Stereo is heaving.
Tonight, the band is playing the classic Leprosy album in its entirety, obviously opening with the fantastic self-titled song. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Harvey replicates Schuldiner’s voice impressively and the venue’s sound is flawless. Following the track list, Born Dead and Forgotten Past storm through Stereo with oppressive vigour. Riotous Headbangers, moshers and stage divers make their presence seen as the four-piece fire out beastly old school death metal.
Leprosy isn’t the only Death album receiving attention tonight; some selections from Scream Bloody Gore make the cut. Mutilation, Baptized in Blood, Denial of Life and Zombie Ritual are served to a wildly appreciative audience. They break up the Leprosy songs, so the setlist feels slightly less predictable. The metallers love every note with mosh pits and headbanging ongoing. At one point, a stage invader clambers atop a heightened amp and leaps off it to the audience below. Memorable riffs, intricate solos and authentic aggression from these two 1980s albums undisputedly put a lot of contemporary retro death metal acts to shame. Guitarist Rick Rozz and bassist Terry Butler appear to sincerely enjoy themselves on stage playing these timeless anthems.
Of course, saving arguably the most popular Death song for the end makes sense. Pull the Plug encourages the most vociferous reaction. This timeless classic is performed flawlessly and would have been an excellent way to end the set. However, the band lingers around on stage and it’s clear Glasgow is getting another song. The haunting guitar lead intro signifies its Evil Dead from Scream Bloody Gore, summoning a final surge in energy before concluding the night. Left to Die is a worthy tribute to one of death metal’s best innovators. It’s a blessing hearing these songs live and the heavy ovation the quartet receives is testament to this.