Deathcrusher Tour: The Ritz, Manchester – live review

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Deathcrusher Tour: Carcass | Obituary | Napalm Death | Voivod  | Herod

The Ritz, Manchester

30th October 2015

The Deathcrusher tour rolls into Manchester bringing with it some of the finest bands to be found in extreme metal. Louder Than War’s Adam Jones braves the brutality and ready’s his neck muscles for an evening of death metal jams. 

Despite the early start Herod waste no time in filling the room with monolithic riffs, staking their claim for being on such a strong bill. Their progressive brooding soundscapes complement their stomping, chugging guitars but in the short time they have Herod really struggle to get a grip on the audience. Due to the aforementioned early start the band have to contend with a small crowd but for those who manage to catch them Herod treat those in attendance to a supreme dose of modern death metal. The bands vocalist prowls the stage like an animal stalking its prey unleashing pure venom upon the audience with his guttural earth shaking growls. There may not be too much energy in the crowd but its provided in huge doses on stage. Both guitarists continuously flail both their bodies and instruments narrowly avoiding impaling each other with their guitars headstocks. For those fortunate enough to witness their performance Herod will have undoubtedly gained more than a few new fans tonight.

It’s incredibly joyous to hear that Voivod still sound new and relevant despite their long running career. The emphasis on new material shows that the band aren’t resigned to simply playing the hits and aren’t a band entering a musical death knell. Voivod are also clearly enjoying themselves tonight, the amount of comical gurning and rampant energy really filters into the crowd during their set. Lead singer Denis Belanger quips that it feels like he’s only just woken up but with the speed he bounds round the stage you’d never have thought it. The level of musicianship is also something that has to be noted, every single time change and angular guitar riff is played with pin point accuracy. Voivod certainly stand out on this bill, but then again they’d stand out anywhere. Whatever you feel about the band, tonight it’s hard not to be sucked into Voivod’s obscure space age thrash.

Napalm Death take to the stage with a slow brooding build up before unleashing their aural assault on the audience. During their set you rarely get a chance to breathe with barely any gaps in between slices of true grind core classics and modern day Napalm. Speaking of new material, the songs from 2015’s acclaimed “Apex Predator” really shine tonight. With tracks such as “Smash a single digit” and the brutally catchy riffs of “How the years condemn”. The new songs are greeted with the same level of enthusiasm as any vintage Napalm Death anthem.  Of course the songs you expect all get to be heard and “Scum” is still as teeth shatteringly heavy as it was all those years ago. Despite guitarist Mitch Harris not being able to make tonight’s show his stand in does a sublime job of filling, never putting a foot wrong in terms of his guitar work and adding ear piercing shrieks where necessary. As is always the case Barney is on fine form, bringing a chaotic energy to the stage and blessing the crowd with his words of wisdom, peace and love. Tonight’s show really further goes to prove how Napalm Death are maintaining a refreshing level of relevance and vigour in the grind core scene.

As one of the pioneers of the original death metal scene Obituary have a back catalogue to compete with anyone in the heavy sphere of music. However, being sandwiched between Napalm Death and Carcass really shows that Obituary are becoming somewhat stale. The songs are laboured and after being bombarded with the vibrancy and energy of the other bands watching Obituary feels like a chore. Classic tracks like “Slowly we rot” are still huge sludgy riff fests but it does little in the way of detracting from a rather dull experience.

Carcass are predictably brilliant and they always manage to show why they are one of the top dogs when it comes to extreme music. After touring with this new line-up for a couple of years or so the band are clearly a well-oiled machine. Modern day Carcass have a simple job when it comes to their live shows, simply turn up and serenade crowds with their outstanding brand of melodic death metal. It’s incredibly pleasing to see how much the band, as well as the audience, just adore their recent output. After being out for a couple of years now songs from Surgical Steel still manage to go toe to toe with the likes of “Buried dreams” and “Incarnate solvent abuse”. People seem to know songs like “Unfit for human consumption” word for word and are just as rapturous for modern Carcass as they are for when the band bust out the classics. Also it means the band are less likely to have time to play songs from “Swansong” which has to be seen as a bonus. Tonight’s event just goes to show how relevant extreme metal still is and even these “older” bands are showing no signs of wanting to slow down.

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More info on Carcass can be found here.

More info on Obituary can be found here.

More info on Napalm Death can be found here.

More info on Voivod can be found here.

More info on Hereod can be found here.

All words by Adam Jones. More writing by Adam can be found at his authors archive. 

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