Review + Photography by Neale Hayes

First up tonight in a rammed venue we have The Black Dahlia Murder, a band I’ve been wanting to see live for a while. Classic death metal, with elements of Deathcore and Metalcore, the band have evidently developed a large fanbase in the UK after consistent tours and festival appearances; releasing 8 studio albums to date. Tonight they played 6 from their latest record ‘Nightbringers’ (2017), 3 from ‘Nocturnal’ (2007), 2 from their earliest record ‘Unhallowed’ (2003) and one from ‘Ritual’ (2011), showcasing their large back catalogue of albums and hitting the fans with some older stuff.

Cannibal Corpse (9 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (17 of 38)

Launching straight into their set with ‘Widowmaker’ (2017), the epic start to the song with speedy guitar work and venomous vocals from Trevor. It’s easy to see why the band has garnered success in a niche genre early on, Trevor’s vocals are harsh but accessible compared to some other bands in the genre. Comparisons can be made with The Faceless; spindling guitars played at incredible velocity, the sharp stinging crush of the drums; blast beat delight. ‘Contagion’ (2003), one from the newest first and now one from the earliest, I like how they work. For me the riffs were much more drawn out and doomy in this song; almost hardcore inspired reminding me of Everytime I Die, or even Sludge Metal icons Crowbar.

‘What a Horrible Night to Have A Curse’ (2007) was fast and energetic, the pits saw an increase in size and the band are in full swing. Trevor’s vocal style here had a definite resemblance to Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom; with the storytelling style hinting at more of a Wintersun vibe. Added in with some Carnifex style shreddage and distinctive groove and the result is brutal; the crowd are loving it.

Cannibal Corpse (23 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (26 of 38)

‘On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood’ the only song from Ritual (2011) went down a treat, the backing lights flashing from behind the band in sync with the refrains giving the set an epic feel to it. Trevor didn’t hold back in keeping the crowd going until the very end, assuring the large crowd of manic, shirtless arm flailers in front of him were properly warmed up for the band coming on after. The set ended on ‘Everything Went Black’ and ‘Warborn’; the entire room lifting up their horns in admiration of the set they had just witnessed. Perfect set.

Next up we had the band everyone had come out on this now very snowy night to see, American Death Metal outfit Cannibal Corpse, undoubtedly one of the founding fathers of the Death Metal genre we all know today. Forming in the late 1980s, and with heavy thrash influences from Slayer, the band developed a cult following due to it’s disturbing themes of multilation and violence; we all know the criticism. They also happen to be the best selling death metal band of all time and the hype was real tonight, the room awash with fans young and old. Tonight they play a staggering 17 songs across 12 albums; 5 from ‘Red Before Black’ (2017), 2 from ‘Tomb of the Mutilated’ (1992), 1 from ‘A Skeletal Domain’ (2014), 1 from ‘Bloodthirst’ (1999), 1 from ‘Butchered at Birth’ (1991), 1 from ‘Eaten Back to Life’ (1990), 1 from ‘Evisceration Plague’ (2009), 1 from ‘Kill’ (2006), 1 from ‘The Bleeding’ (1994), 1 from the ‘Wretched Spawn’ (2004), 1 from ‘Torture’ (2012) and 1 from ‘Vile’ (1996), I think they may be giving us dose of all things Cannibal Corpse tonight? One from each era.

Cannibal Corpse (13 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (7 of 38)

The red fill lights illuminate and the band are instantly headbanging in sync, instantly encouraging the younger lot to crowdsurf over the barrier. ‘Code of Slashers’ (2017), the opening riff was slow and sinister, filling the room with energy and bite. ‘Only One Will Die’ (2017) featured an increase in speed, Rob Barrett hammer-ons are just getting started with the drums equally hammering away at full pace. George Fisher’s vocals are some of the most guttural I’ve ever come across in any band; unnerving and Devilish.

The crowd is mixed at the moment, half the room stood still in awe and the other half knocking shreds out of each other. ‘Evisceration Plague’ (2009) is greeted with roars of appreciation, the piercing  palm-mutes cutting through the room like shards of bone. I may want to mention at this point that I forgot to take my earplugs to this gig and the headache is still there to this moment; they’re louder than loud and the blast beats you can feel in your ribs. Might wear a bulletproof vest next time I see them. The groove that Webster provides is evident throughout.

Cannibal Corpse (10 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (30 of 38)

George ‘Corspsegrinder’ Fisher takes a moment to ask how everybody is doing. ‘The Wretched Spawn’ (2004), one for the older fans, another excerise in brutality. It’s easy to see the novelty side to the band, their image on stage is encapsulated by the towering Fisher who’s face is rarely visible due to the striking long hair covering his face and reaching down to his waist. The skill is undeniable, however, Paul Mazurkiewicz deserves an honorable mention in keeping the brash backbone of the band’s speed high when needed.

‘Gutted’ (1991) proves just how influential the bands earlier material was at the time, the shock horror movie aspects are there for all to see with the raw unrefined growls of Fisher, constant pounding of the drums and Barrett’s aggressive, unhuman tremolo-picking. The lyrics are what you’d expect to read in a serial killers notes; ‘Now the body twitches the gutted, Little torso ready to be cooked’, ‘Soaked with their fluids, various digestive parts, and assorted meats…’, classic savagery from a band we expect nothing else from.

Cannibal Corpse (28 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (25 of 38)

‘I Cum Blood’ (1992) features one of my favourite riffs ever in death metal, it really is something else. Leaving this song right until the end proved fruitful, everyone loved this banger; moshpits erupted and blossomed, elbows, fists, and legs flying through the air. The solo is incredible again, the crowd cheer in awe at the end and approach the loudness of the band. Paul again unleashing his inner Tasmanian Devil on the drumkit in front of him throughout ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ (1992); it ensured everyone went home witnessing the very one song which has brought death metal into the mainstream and perhaps for the wrong reasons; the lyrical content.

They’ve been doing it for 30 years now. That alone is a triumph to be celebrated.

Cannibal Corpse (22 of 38)

Cannibal Corpse (21 of 38)

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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