Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: Death to All (SHOW REVIEW)

Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! Ya girl is not one for “bucket lists,” I enjoy life and doing all the things I want to do – no regrets. But you already know that I’ve been wanting to see Suffocation since I missed them my senior year of high school. Well, it took five years, but I finally saw them! And I was not disappointed! Added bonus: I also got to hear and see some of my favorite Death songs, performed live, via Death to All!


Ya Girl worked late, and missed Nuke’em, but I made it to Hangar 1819 in Greensboro, NC just in time to get my ass kicked by Suffocation (I was NOT missing them again!). These pioneers of N.Y.’s Technical/Brutal Death Metal scene have been pounding listeners into dust for over 30 years! So, it’s one thing to listen to Suffocation on a studio recording, or even their most recent live album – I have loved listening to them for a long time. But it is another, completely, different thing to see them live.

The energy that Suffocation brings to a live setting is amazing! You can tell that these guys have this down to a science – perfect, stop-starts on a dime; tight and clean performance made to look easy. The technicality of Suffocation’s music, performed live, is unforgettable. The whole band (even, it seemed, the drummer) was in our faces the entire time! Larger than life, and controlling the room; they were awesome! Ya Girl pays close attention to vocalists – watching how they conduct themselves as cheerleaders (if you will), and noting how they move the crowd in support of the music. Myers did an excellent job interacting and motivating us to participate in the performance. But with the crushing music, it didn’t take much to set us off! I just wish they played a longer set!

Buzz-Saw (aka, my Mom – she and the O.G. weren’t missing this show, either!) describes experiencing Suffocation live in a very real, and very vivid way:

  • “Gasping For Air” is a requisite for participating in the experience that is Suffocation’s 2023 tour. One minute they were on stage doing a sound check, then without any introduction, they went straight into their set. It was pure joy when the riveting melody of steady, rapid fired, brutality ensued. Suffocation is a perfect example of feeling the sound. As I stood there, I could feel the rhythm of this massive sound wave begin to pulse throughout my being. Suffocation merges technical beats with insane speed to the point you think you’re going to pass out. Then they break it on down, bringing you back from the brink, so you can catch your breath; only to smother you again and again. The absolute intrusion of your being is an experience unto itself.

Suffocation’s setlist at Hangar 1819 on March 21, 2023:

  1. Thrones of Blood
  2. Catatonia
  3. Funeral Inception
  4. Bind Torture Kill
  5. Liege of Inveracity
  6. Infecting the Crypts
  7. Pierced from Within

Death to All

Headlining the show was Death to All. If you don’t know, this is a tribute band. But it is not just any old tribute band. First, they pay tribute to Chuck Schuldiner and Death, the progenitor of Death Metal. Secondly, the members of Death to All are giants in the Metal world. Gene Hoglan is one of the premier drummers in all of Heavy Metal. Steve Digiorgio is a prolific and incredible bass player; a king in his field. Bobby Koelble is a very resourceful guitar player, able to do anything at any time. These three played with Chuck and Death, at various times, throughout the years. And Max Phelps, playing the parts – vocally and instrumentally – of Chuck Schuldiner was incredibly humble, and incredibly accurate in his execution of both roles.

BTW, only something of this caliber could have followed Suffocation’s performance (I’m just sayin’)! It was a shift of gears, but to experience the Death catalog, live, was unforgettable in itself. With this line-up it should be no surprise that each and every song was spot-on – perfectly played (and sung) as if they came straight off the records. Another thing that got my attention, and perhaps something you don’t see enough – the band seemed to really enjoy playing the Death setlist. Between songs, Digiorgio did all the talking. He magnified the memory of Chuck and his contribution to the Metal world. He had anecdotes for the timeline of certain songs and albums, and spoke of his (and each band members) time with Chuck. He referred to Phelps as “the kid,” and talked about how great it was to find him – because of his ability to play and sing Chuck’s parts. Their whole set really had the sense of something more than a concert. And two hours of Death, tracks pulled from their entire discography, was quite the experience!

Death to All’s setlist at Hangar 1819 on March 21, 2023:

  1. Overactive Imagination
  2. The Philosopher
  3. Bite the Pain
  4. Zero Tolerance
  5. Spiritual Healing
  6. Evil Dead
  7. Trapped in a Corner
  8. Lack of Comprehension
  9. Leprosy
  10. Jealousy
  11. Suicide Machine
  12. Living Monstrosity
  13. Secret Face
  14. Symbolic
  15. Voice of the Soul (audio played before encore)
  16. Flattening of Emotions
  17. Zombie Ritual
  18. Spirit Crusher
  19. Crystal Mountain
  20. Pull the Plug

It was a great night on (at least) two counts: A crushing ass-whoopin’ by Suffocation, and two hours of some of the best Metal ever written! I’ll never forget it!