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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ablated (Live Review By Alyn)

Ablated, Carnivore Diprosopus, Seprevation, Cryptworm & Black Pyre, Fuel Rock Club Cardiff

Now that we're entering the autumnal months the intensity at which Fuel and Cardiff is being laid siege to by Eradication Booking Agency's import of bands is slowing. In what looks to be perhaps the Agency's penultimate show of the year, local death metal band Ablated headline with a strong undercard including Colombian exports Carnivore Diprosopus.

Opening the evening are new black metal band Black Pyre (6) hailing from Cardiff and surrounding areas.  Functioning as a three piece and performing in only their third show as a unit so far, the trio blistered through a brief albeit varied set that draws a lot from the Satyricon vein of black metal with drawn out repeating passages of chordal riffage peppered with chaotic moments of blasting. Their blend only falls short when guitarist and vocalist Asbjorn switches to lead lines, and the absence of a second guitarist to retain the intensity really shows. Closing their set with Summoning, a track with few lyrics bar the title, vocalist Asbjorn emphatically attempts to rouse the crowd into a sing-along, so naturally they began pitting instead.

Definitely the odd ones out on the bill being the only black metal band playing – Black Pyre still used the opportunity well; they also brought a fair contingent of their fans which was not only refreshing to see for an opening act, but hopefully will have positive knock-on for future Eradication shows now that they've been exposed to the calibre of acts routinely brought over.  With more shows under their belt to quell the sometimes somewhat awkward visual and a bit more energy from the front two – there'll be good things on the horizon for Black Pyre.

Another three-piece and the first of a double Bristolian contingent making their way to the Welsh capital, Cryptworm (5) play aggressive grind-tinged brutal death metal. Vocalist, guitarist, and veritable giant Tibor barely fitting on the stage and barking away at the microphone with an incomparable variety of facial expressions with energy in stark contrast to the openers. Songs are brief and bludgeoning, but not necessarily ground breaking or memorable. Being second on stage when there's a short changeover can be hard work as you're left without much of a sound check if any at all and monitor rebalancing is a luxury – it felt like Cryptworm were struggling to assemble their sound and tempo throughout. That said, their energy and show warrants a second viewing later on, perhaps this just wasn't their night for sound.

The second of the Bristol bands paying their way across the bridge to play tonight are stalwarts of the South West death metal scene Seprevation (9). For the uninitiated, Seprevation are all about vintage, thrash-heavy death metal, pummelling you with riff after riff after riff. The experience is evident here with synchronised windmilling, ripping guitar shredding and as tight a show as you'd expect from a band that's done this mileage. Oozing early Sepultura and death vibes, the crowd nears its peak for the evening as they lap up the furious blasting from tracks from new EP Into The Black. The full set is like a surreal trip back to the 90's death metal scene full of the unmistakable groove, energy and shredding that so few bands can hope to emulate. Criticisms? Not enough Seprevation. They're back next year at Eradication 2019 though.  Not seen them yet?  Sort it out.

Columbian veterans Carnivore Diprosopus (8) have been around the block a bit being formed in 2002. Brutal death metal is the order of the day and blast-beats are starter, main course and dessert.  Fresh off the back of UK Slam Festival in Leeds, this rendition of the line-up includes Mr Geoff Metal himself of Atonement fame performing as one of the guitarists and also supplying the English translation of the band-to-crowd banter of “WORDS” and “MORE WORDS” given the somewhat expected language barrier present otherwise. Frontman Oscar presents himself as an unhinged general of a crushingly heavy troupe bringing tried and true gurgling and belching vocals to the fore and whipping the crowd into a pitting frenzy on multiple occasions. Opting for twin guitarists and no bassists for this line-up, the real eye-opener was the quite frankly ludicrous skin-work by the two (correct) drummers used in the set. The first opting heavily towards rapid-fire blast-beats and the second working in a lot more double kick and groove. Nothing necessarily out of the ordinary for the genre, it was still everything you could want from it. To be pummelled face-first into the ground by an overwhelmingly heavy force.

Performing their first headline show, Ablated (9) are more than up for the occasion being comprised of veterans of the extreme South West scene featuring ex-members of Desecration, Necrocest and Thorun and boy they don't mess around. Vocalist Greg channels Corpsegrinder stylistically, barking and roaring over the top of ferocious twinned guitar assaults from Glenn and Stuart, and lumbering bass lines provided by Mark. Ex-Thorun drummer Mike provides a relentless onslaught backing on the drums which couldn't be farther away from his output in his previous band. They're tight, groovy, and chronically heavy throughout their old-school death metal set and despite the crowd starting to thin a little, performed worthy of their billing with the remaining crowd eating up the solid slab of brutality.

My only criticism of Ablated doesn't come from the show itself – moreover the fact that a band of their calibre hasn't achieved what it clearly could be achieving, with all that is currently available of them outside of their infrequent live shows being a single demo on bandcamp. Perhaps its harsh given I'm reviewing their show on the night specifically, but ultimately when you've got a local band that good you want to put them on a pedestal.  It's not for this reviewer or anyone outside of the immediate band itself to know what's holding them back, but they certainly need to get out there and show the rest of the country what they're missing.

As is customary, a thanks to be extended to Eradication Booking for bringing the heavy to the capital with another great line-up and evening, Tim Vincent for great sound throughout.  A further mention to a great turnout as well with plenty of new faces – hopefully there'll be plenty of returning faces for similar shows to come.

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