Another year, another Bonecrusher. Would it live up to its name, or would it fall in an embarrassing heap on its metal arse?

Kicking off the night were Angelus Apatrida an old school thrash band from the land of the current football World Cup champions. Thrash from Spain? Are you mad? Well, actually, no. Their efforts were diminished by one of the sludgiest, bass-heavy, sounds heard in a long time. Thrash relies on crispness and crunch, and so much that they could have wished to achieve was lost instantly. The relentless double bass drum onslaught boomed alarmingly and negated any bite that the guitars may have had. Don’t get me wrong they were still entertaining, with all the prerequisite thrash components being firmly in place, but you couldn’t help but wonder how murderous they could be with everything in their favour. Bearing in mind the early start, the pit erupted into life midway through their second track at about 6.25pm so clearly they were doing something right. One to keep an eye on for the next time they visit these shores…

Angelus Apatrida
Angelus Apatrida

Burning The Masses received a similarly sludgy sound until their last track, but by then tedium had long since won the day. If deathcore crossed with technical death metal sounds like your thing then check them out, otherwise it’s a case of extreme caution. Undoubtedly they unleashed an onslaught straight from Satan’s bottom, but it was very much from the early catalogue of Trigger The Bloodshed or Job For A Cowboy. Consider how those bands have advanced/matured. Enough said. The chops were precise, their technicality was beyond question, but at the end of it all you just had to ask – “why?”. Perhaps I’m getting old, but this stint did very little for me, even allowing for the poor sound they were allowed…

Burning The Masses
Burning The Masses

Fleshgod Apocalypse received the first reverential cheer of the night as the house lights dimmed prior to their appearance. For all the fans’ fervour, they again experienced sound issues. The overall sound was tighter, but strangely far quieter, and the drum kit sounded only marginally better than Lars’ on “St Anger”. Tinny as fuck doesn’t come close. Excuse the profanity, but after three bands it really was getting to the point of extracting the urine as it were. At least the loops worked this year, and the band looked resplendent in their Regency stage attire. They were insanely fast, and almost as insanely technical, but the lack of volume removed any malicious intent they may have wished to impart. They did nothing wrong, but again were made to look distinctly ordinary purely down to the inadequacies of the sound engineers.

Fleshgod Apocalypse

Clearly Carnifex were the band the younger members of the audience had come to see as the venue was heaving for their stint. First and foremost they got a good sound – sighs – at last. Much as my tolerance for deathcore is low, several thoughts crossed my mind as their set progressed. Firstly you can’t fault them for their hard work, or indeed touring ethos. Secondly they were as tight as they come musically. Then factor in the fact that in Scott Lewis they possess one of the finest frontmen in this genre – and arguably – in extreme metal, and you’ve got a show on your hands. For all my misgivings about deathcore I have to say that I warmed to them as their set progressed, and that there are few about that do this better. Blistering faster sections, crushing beatdowns, all topped with vicious, barked, vocals – what more could you want? Judging by the fury in the pit not much…

Carnifex
Carnifex
Carnifex

Keep Of Kalessin also had a good sound, apart from the vocals which were near as damn it inaudible. That aside they threw a musical curve ball into the arena with their stylish set. Combining various elements of black metal from folk to symphonic to progressive to black and roll, they were immensely impressive. Genuinely it was hard to find fault. Speed, power, technicality, and – most importantly – darkness, inter-weaved perfectly. To my ears they were head and shoulders the band of the night so far and one that need to be seen next time they tour.

Keep Of Kalessin
Keep Of Kalessin
Keep Of Kalessin

Which paved the way for Dying Fetus to obliterate, which they did with a darkened grin. As their set progressed it was noticeable that with Dying Fetus you get several bands in one – three varieties of death metal for starters (old school, technical, and brutal) plus thrash thrown in for good measure. Despite the undeniable savagery they still managed to impart a huge amount of groove with discernible, crushing, riffs. Theirs was a relentless barrage with a constantly changing focus of attack. Fluid, certainly, mesmerising, definitely, but always heavier than Colonel Gaddafi’s personal bunker. “Justifiable Homicide” started the mayhem, and there were highlights galore throughout a varied setlist which visited all areas of the band’s back catalogue. Sixty-five minutes of pummelling later and all that were left went home happy….

Dying Fetus
Dying Fetus
Dying Fetus

The night as a whole? Marred by sound issues. Shouldn’t have to say this in this day and age but it’s necessary. For those that paid good money for this gig, to have four of the six sets affected – badly – is not acceptable. I shudder to think what went on during sound check. Or not as the case may be. That aside there were several impressive performances capped by an absolute barn-stormer from Dying Fetus, who remain an unmissable proposition for all death metal fans.

Bonecrusher Review by Chop
Bonecrusher Photography by Gobinder JhittaEmail Gobinder

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