Death Brought to All at Théâtre Beanfield

Death to All. A field of beans. Thousands of screeching fans throw the hammer down as the world’s best Chuck Schuldiner lookalike assumes the position. Wild.

Tribute bands are horrible. The kind of people who choose to dress up as famous musicians just because they’re bored of pulling 40 hours a week in a stained office chair make me sick. I mean sure, who doesn’t look in the mirror and look back at themselves with a stiff Jim Morrison face every once in a while, but there really are a lot of perverts out there.

Chuck Schuldiner gifted death metal upon this world with his band’s 1987 debut album Scream Bloody Gore. If Mary Elizabeth “Tipper” Gore and her posse of brainwashed PMRC nutjobs got so worked up over AC/DC and Madonna, one can only imagine how much Schuldiner’s sick riffs would have riled her up. Classic early Death cuts like “Zombie Ritual” and “Pull the Plug” laid a new foundation for mulleted jean-jacketed teens looking for the next sick thing, and Death went on to prove their worth throughout the ‘90s by pushing their music further into the technical and experimental ends of the metal genre. To this day, when pimple-faced 15-year-olds flip their calloused hands through record bins, Death albums are still the cream of the crop.

Sadly, Schuldiner passed away back in 2001 at the age of 34 after losing a battle with an aggressive type of cancer. Ever since, Schuldiner’s legacy in the music world has only multiplied, earning him the nickname “The Godfather of Death Metal.”

So you got all these kids still soaking up Death’s records, but the project’s main creative force has big shoes to fill. For more than a decade, Death’s music was relegated to turntables and sound systems, away from live audiences. To fill this gap, a group called Death to All popped up in 2012, which consisted of former Death members who had played on the band’s previous albums. Tribute band - yes, but at least the people on stage were in Schuldiner’s close circle, and had played Death’s music live with him in the past.

In 2024, Death to All have cemented themselves as an established touring act - consisting of drummer Gene Hoglan, bassist Steve DiGiorgio, guitarist Bobby Koelble, and singer/guitarist Max Phelps. While Phelps is essentially Chuck 2.0, sporting very similar physical features and vocal chops, all other members have been involved with the original band at various points in the past. That’s what makes this group hit ten times harder than your local corner tribute act.

And man do they put on a fierce show. Opening with none other than “Leprosy” last Tuesday at the Beanfield Theatre, Death to All proved a sonic tour de force, setting the audience ablaze with infernal cuts like “Mutilation”, “Born Dead”, and “Open Casket”. Phelps’ rendition of Schuldiner’s material is also incredibly well executed. If you close your eyes at a Death to All concert, it’s not hard to hear Schuldiner’s iconic screams echoing through the venue.

They say that a person really secedes from human cannon when their name is spoken for the last time. Come on, you watched Coco. In 34 years, Schuldiner did much to ensure that his legacy would live on, but the incredible people involved with Death to All are extending Chuck’s voice further into eternity every time they get on stage.

Death is one of my favourite bands of all time, and being able to see their music in a live setting and honoured properly by former band members is truly one of life’s true pleasures. Looking at faces at the show, it’s evident that many others feel the same. Catch Death to All if you can - the material is fantastic, as are the performances.

RIP Chuck.