It's pretty easy to argue that Poland is the reigning capital of death metal. The country's got at least four of the fiercest bands on the planet right now (Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated, and Lost Soul). Three of those groups are currently touring the U.S., two on this very bill.
Vader is a death-metal legend, and rightly so. The band has overcome its silly name and released some seriously crushing albums since forming in 1986. The group can be hit-or-miss: 2002's Revelations is brain-meltingly great, while 2000's Litany was a Slayer-cloned disappointment. But last year's The Beast proved that Vader's now on a hot streak.
Decapitated churns out impeccable high-tech death metal, revitalizing the genre not by playing faster or more "brutally," but by polishing the music into a gleaming steel skeleton. By its third album, last year's The Negation, the band had become mind-bogglingly tight, combining the intricate thrash of Coroner with the ultra-clean blast beats of . . . well, nobody. Decapitated is unique -- and brilliant.
Dew-Scented is the least original and impressive band on this bill -- like the Haunted, it's a semi-anonymous thrash troupe. But the group's capable of keeping a crowd moshing contentedly until the big boys come out. If you're easily entertained, go ahead and show up early.