Monday, July 19, 2010


October 20, 1990, the (Country Club) Skyroom in Buffalo, NY...if you were there you will never forget it, if you weren't there you wish you were. The pinnacle of the early death metal scene, the moment just before the majors noticed death metal and screwed up a good thing. A lineup of bands still unsurpassed some 20 years later - Radiation Sickness, Lucifer's Hammer, Deceased, Suffocation, Goreaphobia, Incantation, Mortician, Disharmonic Orchestra, Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Baphomet, Repulsion and Autopsy. Two decades later A Day of Death is still talked about in international circles, and not just by those who were there, it has become the thing of legend to the newer death metal fans who were too young to have been there. The flyer for the show even makes its presence today in "Choosing Death" by Albert Mudrian.

Suffocation at A Day of Death, Photo : Brian Pattison

It started with rather humble beginnings. In early 1990 Joe Pristach (Mosh Central 'zine) and Brian Pattison (Chainsaw Abortions 'zine) began talking about possibly promoting a show of up and coming bands we knew. It was a long time ago so we can't recall if this was before or after the Michigan Death Fest was announced, but we make no claims to being the first death fest. We thought it would be great to put on a show with these demo bands who were friends of ours - Mortician, Deceased, Immolation, this new band from Long Island named Suffocation, Goreaphobia and a few locals. Somehow the manager at the Skyroom caught wind of it and decided they would jump on that, they decided to line up the bands and just use Brian and Joe as promoters.

Deceased at the Michigan Death Fest (Aug. 11, 1990)
Photo: Brian Pattison

The Michigan Death Fest was fast approaching and within a week of it Exmortis cancelled and Baphomet from Buffalo was added to the bill. At the time Brian Pattison was really good friends with Baphomet and they asked him to tag along. They got there, go past the Jesus Freaks picketing the show and begin handing out flyers for A Day of Death. This would be where Brian first met King of Deceased. Handing out flyers and this guy comes up to Brian and says "hey is this you?" and points to Chainsaw Abortions at the top of the flyer for A Day of Death. Then he says who he is and that Deceased is listed on there but no one even asked them if they wanted to play it. Brian started to explain how the club had taken over control of the show from him and Joe, when King interrupts and says no big deal they'd love to play it. It was also around the time of the Michigan Death Fest (Aug. of 1990) that Repulsion reformed, they were quickly added to A Day of Death's already amazing lineup.

Disharmonic Orchestra at A Day of Death
Photo: Brian Pattison

In September of 1990, Disharmonic Orchestra made the trip from Austria over to the United States for a short tour. One of those shows was to be played at the "Rotting Grandma Ampitheatre" in Belle Vernon, Pa. Brian made the roughly 4 hour trek with some friends from Buffalo to see the show. Turned out to be a rain filled day so instead of playing on a stage in the backyard as planned, Disharmonic Orchestra ended up playing in the basement (recorded on Don Crotsley's radio and Brian Pattison's cassette tape). Once back in Buffalo Brian talked to the guys in Baphomet and told them they had to get the club to add Disharmonic to A Day of Death. So, the 12th band was added.

Sharon Bascovsky (Derketa), Brian Werking (Exmortis), Jeff Walker (Carcass)
and Mary Bielich (Derketa) at A Day of Death.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Bascovsky

The day finally arrived and was as much about the people in attendance as it was the bands on stage. It was a rare opportunity for many of us to meet others from various parts of the country, even from other countries. It was great just to walk through the crowd and talk to people like Sharon (Derketa) and Sam (Hideous Mangleus) who made the journey from Pittsburgh, talk to Jeff McClelland (Death Vomit 'zine) from Virginia, see Jeff Walker (Carcass) walking about in the crowd, to see and talk to Ed Farshtey (Book of Armageddon 'zine) and the NYC contingent, to see Domino Minchelle who came all the way from France for the show. Of course, the key one, the impetus for the book, the reason you're reading this now...the day when Alan Moses and Brian Pattison would finally meet. Between, and even during bands, if you were to meander over to the merch tables you would see one guy standing about 15' away just watching and enjoying the activities; that guy was none other than Chris Reifert. Looking out into the crowd and seeing 600+ death metal heads from all over converging in Buffalo was a truly glorious sight. There was a feeling in the air that this was something special, that we were all witnessing history. An unforgettable day for death metal and for Buffalo.

Repulsion at  A Day of Death
Photo: Brian Pattison

This wasn't a fest like the ones of today where you have 90 bands and all but 3-5 are mediocre, this was 13 of the best bands of the times. Each band came on, played their 30 -35 min set and raged. Every band was made of fans too, so before and after their sets they could be seen walking amongst the crowd or by the stage enjoying the other bands...that is unless (like King of Deceased) you got kicked out for sneaking your own booze into the club. Early on things were going really smooth and everything was right on schedule. Then came Goreaphobia, at the time they only had a handful of songs so they went through their quick set, then just a couple of minute break and out came Incantation, not even scheduled to play, just another bonus for all in attendance. The sound guy did not realize Incantation was not the next band scheduled (remember, the Skyroom was a country bar) and so began the lengthening of the day. Thinking Incantation was the next band scheduled and that things were apparently running well ahead of schedule he began to lengthen the times between bands.

Autopsy at  A Day of Death
Photo: Brian Pattison

All the added times between bands led to it now being beyond midnight and Autopsy had yet to play. Many of us had been in the club since 3 o'clock or even earlier. You could see the half-conscious look in everyones eyes during the break after Repulsion. The edges of the stage and all areas in back were filled with the bands from the day. As Autopsy took the stage everyone seemed to get their second wind to pay respect to the masters. From his vantage point on stage right Brian was able to take some great up close shots of Reifert. Brian was also able to look across stage and see his friend Alan Moses taking pics and enjoying the show from stage left. 20 years later digging through boxes Brian would find some of the pics he took that night and found that he had captured Alan in a few of them. Likewise, Alan had captured Brian in a few of the pics he took. We had even captured each other in pics we took at the same exact moment. It would be those pics that would start us on discussions and then the journey to making and releasing "Glorious Times".

Autopsy at  A Day of Death
(standing up across the stage is Alan Moses)
Photo: Brian Pattison

Autopsy at  A Day of Death, standing up across the stage
(black shirt, white writing) is Brian Pattison
Photo: Alan Moses


Fans of death metal, and extreme music in general, are known far and wide to be tremendous gluttons for punishment. So this time we've enlisted some help from ex-Decaying Visions video zine co-creator John Verica, who has contributed something very special as we approach A Day of Death's 20 year anniversary on October 20 2010.

In customary Glorious Times style we've tapestried selected tracks provided by John, into another of our DIY CDR download packages - everything you need to construct your own title! Inserts, tray layout and both flac and mp3 versions to give you a representation of what the night was like: a peek into the sheer glory of it all.

Pure live audio and more unseen photos, plus special sentiment, await you on this unique celebratory project featuring selected tracks by a number of the bands who took part in this colossus of an event.



DJ said...

This was one of the best shows we had! Thanks for posting this...thought all had been forgotten (not just dead)

DJ - Skyroom doorman...

Anonymous said...

I just turned 16 and was hanging out with Disharmonic Orchestra while they were in NYC, so a van load of us took the trip up to Buffalo for this and it was probably one of the most amazing shows I ever attended. I think the Thrash of the Titans in San Fran back in 2001 was a close 2nd. I was the lil kid working the Disharmonic merch at Day of Death btw. lol

Unknown said...

I was 16 at the time and my older sister manager to get my and 2 of my friends in to see this show. I wish I could remember more of it but it's been a very long time.

I remember getting there around 3pm and leaving around 3am and I think I saw 13 bands in total. Little did I know at the time how much of a historic show this turned out to be.

Unknown said...

I was 16 at the time and my older sister manager to get my and 2 of my friends in to see this show. I wish I could remember more of it but it's been a very long time.

I remember getting there around 3pm and leaving around 3am and I think I saw 13 bands in total. Little did I know at the time how much of a historic show this turned out to be.

Unknown said...

I was 16 at the time and my older sister manager to get my and 2 of my friends in to see this show. I wish I could remember more of it but it's been a very long time.

I remember getting there around 3pm and leaving around 3am and I think I saw 13 bands in total. Little did I know at the time how much of a historic show this turned out to be.

Unknown said...

This was the best gig I ever played with the "old" Hammer and I'm surprised people still remember it. I should also thank you for filling in my memory gap; I was thrown out late in the day and spent the rest of Autopsy's set outside the backstage door with a guy sharing the bottle of booze he'd been tossed for bringing in. Now I know who that was (my memory had gotten a little fuzzy by that point). Incidentally I think I may still have the tape of the show; didn't catch all of it but I know there's the Hammer set, Suffocation, Mortician and Cannibal Corpse for sure, likely more. If I can dig it up and digitize it would you be interested in a copy? Might be kinda large but worth it :)


absolutely would love a copy of it
email us at

Unknown said...

This was one of the best Skyroom shows
My crew and I had a long day but well worth it
I remember kids laying around everywhere as the day wore on
sorry to Alec for having to throw him out and any others but it was
mine and my crew's job to keep most of the rules.
Thanks for the memories