Deathcrusher Tour: Marble Factory, Bristol
Five of the heaviest bands to walk the earth in one place? It was a given that MoM ensured a presence at the Deathcrusher tour; in fact there were several members of the crew present even though we didn’t all connect during the evening. Part of the reason for that was the sheer volume of people crammed into the Marble Factory despite the larger Motion venue being available. Sir Rhod of Moose was already wedged onto the barrier by the time we arrived. Due to logistical issues and the early start we missed the sets from Herod and Voivod but I guess in a review of this tour, you can guess what they sounded like. In fact, we arrived just as Voivod finished and to a pretty impressive reception from the crowd too.
They've been around for yonks and really hold a special place in the metal fraternity; Birmingham legends Napalm Death (7) brought their unique brand of grindcore metal to Bristol and kicked the shit out for nigh on 40 minutes which meant about 300 songs! I've never been much of a fan to be honest but watching the band provoke such a faithful reaction, I can fully understand why they do appeal. Championed by the iconic John Peel many moons ago, the band line-up has remained pretty static in recent years with sizeable bassist Shane Embury and hyperactive scream machine Barney Greenway joined by touring guitarist Erik Burke (filling in for Mitch Harris) and the powerhouse drumming of Danny Herrera. Slab after slab of aggressive flat out riffage and absolutely unintelligible vocals pretty much sum up Napalm Death for me. Of course, with many of their songs incredibly short there was plenty to go round with a handful of tracks from their latest album Apex Predator – Easy Meat thrown into the mix alongside many older classics, Suffer The Children from 1990s Harmony Corruption a particular highlight. Inevitably it was still Scum that received the biggest cheer of the evening and incited one of the most ferocious pits seen for a long while. Barney’s chatter between songs is entertaining, astute social commentary aligning the majority of the crowd’s political views if nothing else. Napalm Death continue to do what they do. All power to them.
A short turnaround and then it was time for Florida’s finest death metal merchants Obituary (8) to power through 45 minutes of brutality. Obituary, much like all the bands on the bill don’t give a fuck about anyone else. They have a sound, it pulverises you and then they leave. Opening with Red Neck Stomp, the twin guitars of Trevor Peres and lead axeman Kenny Andrews laid down their groove laden death over the rock solid foundation of Donald Tardy’s drumming and Terry Butler’s hammering bass lines. John Tardy, one of the most distinctive voices in death metal stalked the stage, snarling and spitting out his lines with venom. A couple of relative newbies from their most recent release Inked In Blood were interspersed with older cuts including an absolutely killing Bloodsoaked. Inevitably the set concluded with the anthemic Slowly We Rot, cue mass pit action and some of the best clawing of the sky seen this side of an Immortal gig. You know what you get with Obituary. They always deliver.
A huge bonus on this tour was the opportunity to see another of the bands vigorously supported by Peel, Liverpool’s forefathers of death metal, Carcass (8). An even bigger bonus was to discover that they had pegged their merchandise prices to £15 for a shirt and even better, a mere £10 for the Surgical Steel Complete Edition. Happy days! Once again, you pretty much know what you are getting with Carcass although it was interesting that the crowd had thinned slightly before they hit the stage. 1985, the intro track from Surgical Steel gave way to Unfit For Human Consumption as the combined guitar pile driving of Bill Steer and Ben Ash sliced the air, backed up by the blitz of Jeff Walker’s bass and Dan Wildings non-stop powerhouse drumming. Plenty of movement at the front of the stage as the band crashed through their catalogue, including a pretty gruesome Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System and a crushing The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills.
Walker’s vocal delivery is one of the best in death metal, although I'm never sure if he is just a cantankerous old bastard or incredibly dry with his between song banter. Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle. The set also contained a couple of old school monsters from Necrotism: Descanting The Insalubrious (including Corporal Jigsore Quandary) and a handful from the Heartwork album. An hour of Carcass leave you exhausted, like a really heavy circuit session. As Heartwork brought the curtain down on an evening of brutal intensity, the huge response from the incredibly healthy crowd indicated that despite what Gene Simmons thinks, the metal scene is further away from life support than we might have dared imagine. Death metal in particular appears alive and kicking … mainly right between the legs!