Saturday, 10 August 2013

Live Review #006: Desecration w/ Amputated, Cancerous Womb et. al.

 This review is the third of three live reviews I'm writing in a row, after having attended three shows in a row last week.

In my career as a metal fan, I've not been to very many all-day shows, but there's a certain feeling which always accompanies them which makes them quite special. Maybe it's the feeling of having to head out to a venue, with the sun still high in the sky, jauntily leaving your home to get to work bright and early in the death-metal factory. Either that, or buying beer at half-past three. Either way, equipped with the knowledge that at least half of the bands on the bill were solid, and the other half I'd not seen before, I decided it would be well worth my while to turn up to this one. As far as I can tell, the all-day event didn't have a name as such, I'll probably hereafter refer to it as "Desecration and that". What matters, however, is that I was suffering from a death-metal deficiency, and this was to be a course of very, very rigorous treatment.

After the entirely usual hour-long delay on the doors opening, the crowd spent a while spent watching Party Cannon, trying to work out if they were starting or sound-checking. It proved to be the latter, and, after disappearing for a few minutes more, they re-emerged to start things proper. Party Cannon are without a doubt the kind of band who, had they wanted to, have been a lot further up the bill, but their modesty at opening the event is admirable. So too, of course, is their fun, light hearted blend of slam, which was perfect for loosening up the crowds necks, whilst making sure the brain damage wasn't too permanent. Whilst light-hearted, Party Cannon are formidably technical and tight live, with monstrous drums and the sort of bass tone which makes roughly the same noise as a skeleton falling to pieces down a flight of stone steps, albeit perhaps more crushing. Whilst garnished with the occasional merry fuck-up, due mainly to the drummer learning a few of the songs only days before, Party Cannon are the sort of band who exude an aura which turns slight musical setbacks into just another dimension of the fun, and with a refreshed memory of what slams are like, I felt thoroughly drawn into the full metal-gig spirit by the time they were finished.

Second up were Foetal Juice, from Manchester - the first band of the show who I'd never heard before. It's safe to say that the style of music they played wasn't quite what I was expecting for what I'd assumed to be a fairly exclusively modern death-metal line-up. Instead, Foetal Juice play deliciously filthy, grime-encrusted old-school death metal with a hefty kick, plenty of memorable, hook-laden riffs which really cruised along with all of the twisted, old-school torturous, tongue-in-cheek malice which death metal should have. The band were also fully equipped with ridiculous and obscene pun-based song titles like "Semen evil, smear no evil", demonstrating the band as another textbook study in making death metal not only obscene, but obscenely fun - connecting with the growing crowd very well, and playing a tight, clear set. It's safe to say, biased as I may be as an old-school death metal fan, Foetal Juice were one of the highlights of the night - or rather, day, for it was barely four in the afternoon; something which was very much emphasised by the occasional elderly couple hobbling, rather confused and alarmed, past the venue doors outside.

Next were Belfast's Zombified, who to an extent carried on the oldschool theme, albeit slightly less grimy, and instead sharper. If I recall correctly, the band had an extremely solid drummer, the kind who really knows how to propel songs along explosively, which the majority of Zombified's songs certainly were, with mixtures of blast-beats, deep guttural vocals, and winding, tangled guitar work, and a generally energetic approach. There was barely a moment where the music didn't compell the audience to bang their heads, and indeed, there were few sections in which any of the musicians themselves can truthfully have been said to have gotten much rest, which is always impressive to see - a band who play at the edge of endurance and technical-consistency, but manage it particularly well, as Zombified did. When the band weren't playing at full-steam-ahead, there were glimpses of a more crushing side to the band's music, which definitely spiced up the set with variety, on top of the intensity. If my words have so far failed to paint a good picture, I'll conclude that Zombified are a band who sound a lot like their name might suggest.

Laceration then proceeded to bring things back to a much more modern side of the genre, with a technically adept and frantic sounding brutal-death-metal assault on the senses. Since they became a full-band again, as opposed to a guitarist with a backing track, Laceration's shows have gone to the next step, both in terms of stage-presence, and a tangible thickness and depth of sound which even the best backing track just can't provide. Ultimately, for the few times I've seen the band with a full compliment of musicians, compared to the backing-track days, I can safely say they are considerably more enjoyable, and were probably among the most technically proficient bands on the bill, albeit one which can still unleash a hearty section of slams, or a breakdown, which certainly caught the crowds enthusiasm, between the blasting, and the pinch-harmonic loaded riff work.

After Laceration, along came the ever joyous and friendly Basement Torture Killings, who accompany their music by dressing up in horror-influenced attire; Hannibal Lector masks, and the like. This stage show always manages to be mildly unsettling, despite the band being "those blokes in the crowd" only minutes before, which adds a pleasingly alarming and electric feel to the music, which, incidentally fits their attire very nicely. It's an interesting and dynamic concoction of somewhat grindy brutal-death metal, livened up considerably by ferocious dual vocals, and plentiful solos, the majority of which are genuinely solid, and complement the songs well, as opposed to only being thrown into the mixture for the sake of it. Ultimately, the band play the kind of modern death-metal which I can really appreciate - not gratuitously technical, but still viciously sharp, much like the torturous implements which you'd half expect their rehearsal space to be filled with.

After heading out and finding something to eat, on the tip that Cancerous Womb might be a while setting-up, I returned. Cancerous Womb are the kind of band who have managed to never spoil the inherent quality of their music by playing too many local shows, which makes every single one of their gigs feel very worthwhile, and this one was no exception. The venue and sound-guy really did a great job for the band, maximising the intensity and rumbling power of the bands material, with thunderous drums and undulating, hook-filled riff-work which sounds unlike any other death-metal act I'm familiar with - managing at the same time to be extremely catchy and lyrically good-natured crude fun, but also destructive and intense. The fact that this time around, their bassist was present certainly boosted the crushing momentum of the music compared to the last time I saw them probably helped too, delivering a roaring, room-shaking lower end, which certainly left Cancerous Womb sounding great, even considering that the venue had sounded good for every other band so far anyway. As ever, the crowds reaction was extremely positive - and well deserved, as I have no qualms about pointing to Cancerous Womb as a band to watch, especially when their upcoming album arrives at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Amputated were another of the bands on that evening that I'd not listened to before, but were greatly enjoyable, offering visceral, over-the-top slams to the crowd in the way one might offer fruit-salad to a man with scurvy. The crowd had been a little bit thin for crowd surfing all afternoon and evening, but nonetheless, a few brave souls attempted it, standing on stage waiting for enough people - usually three of four - to carry them around in something which ended up being four people carrying around a fifth person who had taken on the characteristic of someone doing their best impression of a slam fuelled aeroplane. Either way, Amputated were brutal and thoroughly nasty, both very appealing characteristics indeed, and definitely made a very good first impression on me - reinforced later when I listened to some of their studio-material. It's pleasing that I can nowadays enjoy brutal material of the kind that they play - a style which I never imagined I'd enjoy much at all - and I feel that this show was very much a checkpoint on my journey towards broader tastes. Slams, as it turns out, are very very tasty, and Amputated cook up a damn fine slam.

Finally, a fairly cheerful Desecration took to the stage, and blasted out a scathing rum-fuelled set of good 'ol fashioned death metal, only fitting for a stalwart band who have been plying their trade since 1992 - something you can tell their quite proud of. At one point the front-man ended a song with something along the lines of "there were about eight-hundred words in that song, and I sung every fucking one of them - not like some of these modern bands who just go "cuntycuntycunty"" - words which very much set the tone for what Desecration do best - raise the roof with robust but energetic old-school goodness, along with a healthy scattering of swearing and citations of drunkenness thrown in between tracks. However, whatever intake of fun-inducing beverages had gone on, it didn't stop the power-trio from unleashing a splendidly gritty and tight set, without any noticible shortcomings - even during the bit which the front-man explicitly introduced with the lines "this one is a cunt to play". Ultimately, there's definitely an added enjoyment to seeing a band who have been playing death metal for over twenty years now delivering a ripping show, and one which is entirely uncompromising, and while their set felt a bit short to me, as far as I know, that's because I was absorbed into it, more than anything else.

As I've probably mentioned in the past, death-metal is the genre of metal which I have explored the least compared to the others, but events like this, in which I can frankly admit to enjoying every single band on the lineup, are definitely a reassuring testament to the fact that I have plenty of reasons to carry on exporing, and, most importantly, enjoying, the genre. 

Desecration Official Site
Desecration on Facebook
Desecration on Metal Archives
Amputated on Facebook
Amputated on Metal Archives
Cancerous Womb Official Site
Cancerous Womb on Facebook
Cancerous Womb on Metal Archives
Basement Torture Killings on Facebook
Basement Torture Killings on Metal Archives
Laceration on Facebook
Laceration on Metal Archives
Zombified on Facebook
Zombified on Metal Archives
Foetal Juice on Facebook
Foetal Juice on Metal Archives
Party Cannon on Facebook
Party Cannon on Metal Archives