Three cheers for pestilence!

Drastic times call for drastic measures. In an age of dwindling ticket sales, promoters are trying alternative styles of music to fill up their monthly calendars. From The Boardwalk in Orangevale to the House of Blues in Los Angeles, metal is slowly making a much-needed comeback.

But death metal at The Fillmore? I couldn’t believe that Morbid Angel—the Florida-based band that virtually coined the phrase, along with Possessed and a handful of now classic yet defunct bands—was going to hold court at the lovely, chandelier-bedecked hall. Could it actually go off without incident and multiple arrests? After all, isn’t The Fillmore the same place that hosted all those burned-out hippie concerts (Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, etc.) and still to this day gives out free apples to each and every patron?

Needless to say, Morbid Angel delivered on its promise to bring bucketfuls of blasphemy, sickness, pestilence and horror to its satanic service on Sunday, February 13. With the return of original lead singer and bassist Dave Vincent, it seems that the band hasn’t missed a beat. “Rapture” opened the set, and it only got better from there. Adults and kids from all walks of life erupted into a frenzy during tracks like “Where the Slime Lives” and “Pain Divine.”

For us older folks, it felt like a time machine had heaved us back to the great early 1990s, a time when bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, Nocturnus, Suffocation, Kreator, Coroner and Sodom ruled the roost. To see lead guitarist Trey Azagthoth shredding fierce, whammy-bar solos during “Chapel of Ghouls” underneath the backdrop of the Fillmore stage was overwhelming and way overdue.

But what about Sacramento? One promoter, at least, has taken matters into his own hands to route touring bands to the Sacramento Valley. Eric Rushing, owner of the 720 Records empire and talent booker for The Boardwalk, told me, “I want to bring back the metal to Sacramento.”

One look at the club’s calendar is proof positive that he’s doing just that. In February alone, the schedule includes Walls of Jericho, Bury Your Dead, Sweden’s legendary Entombed, Crowbar and Pro-Pain. March brings us even more with Eighteen Visions, From a Second Story Window, Into the Moat, Nodes of Ranvier, Atreyu, Unearth and a glorious double bill with Throwdown and As I Lay Dying. However, April is when the real meat and potatoes of metal is served up, in the form of Mastodon and, of course, Germany’s Kreator, along with Poland’s Vader and the Bay Area’s Death Angel. Visit for details.

Both Bay Area and Sacramento clubs are opening their doors to welcome back the very bands that started their respective scenes in one glorious wave. It’s about time.