Suffocation brought the Reborn in Death Tour, and five other top bands for a mini festival tour for a short run across the UK recently landed in Liverpool to much excitement.

The first band of the night was Dutch death metallers Carceri. The fact the band were starting soon after the doors opened meant that the crowd wasn’t too big for these, but everyone who was arriving seemed to be checking them out and the crowd gradually got bigger and bigger during the set, to see an impressive showing from the band. The band had images and footage of nasty things going on in the background backed it up with some powerful riffs and vocalist Cees de Vlieger giving his all despite the smaller crowd at the start. A decent showing and a fine band on this evidence and well worth investigating.

Next were Cerebral Bore, and a chance for me to finally see a full show after the impromptu instrumental set at Damnation late last year. Their set was focused around debut album “Maniacal Miscreation” but there was also time for a new song, and with a new album due at some point this year, their stock seems to carry on rising.  The hard working band relished the opportunity of playing with such big names and set about making sure they proved their worth on such a bill, half an hour of punishing brutality lead by Som’s devastating vocals. A choice for the crowd at the end of the set for the last song between ‘The Bald Cadaver’ and ’24 Hour Party Dungeon’ lead to latter being played as a final song before the next band.

Italian’s Sadist were a completely different proposition, with the insanely busy guitarist and keyboardist Tommy and the seven string bass of Andy offering something different from the rest of the bands on show tonight. The Italians have added almost prog elements into there otherwise brutal sound which, coming roughly halfway though the night was a bit of a break from the full on violence of previous bands. They seemed to split the crowd tonight, as whether they liked them or not, but everyone appreciated the pure musical expertise on show, as well as the skilled ‘beard’ banging of vocalist Trevor. An interesting change of pace for the evening.

Blood Red Throne have had many different members and changes over the years, but this endless shifting doesn’t seem to have held them back, as tonight’s show made them one of the highpoints of the night. The severed head that’s jammed onto the top of one of the drum stands gives you a good measure of what to expect. Pure, uncomplicated death metal and another excellent performance on a night of high quality. The band may be six albums into their career, but this current incarnation of the band proved to be every bit as good as their predecessors, a real treat live and like other bands on the bill, the half hour they were given left everyone wanting more.

Main support for this tour was Californian death/grind maniacs Cattle Decapitation. With their mission seemingly to destroy everyone and everything around them with a wall of noise that is almost unrivalled in its intensity when it comes to a live setting. Vocalist Travis Ryan owns the stage and is left to wander freely as the other band members give him the space he needs to get his demons out, and in doing so enthral everyone in the room by their pure ferocity. Several songs from the upcoming “Monolith Of Inhumanity” were aired, showing that the band may just be about to release their best offering to date. A band that is good on record but live just has to be seen to be believed.

Recent goings on in the Suffocation camp had meant that drummer Mike Smith had been replaced by returning Dave Culross coming back and more recently vocalist Frank Mullen pulled out of the tour, leaving Decrepit Birth’s Bill Robinson filling in at short notice. Could they still pull off a good show? Of course they could. It was as if none of the recent turmoil had happened as they pummelled the crowd for the entire hour they had, covering all periods of the bands long and distinguished career, with Bill taking on the role of surrogate front man with great style, making a point to tell everyone how much of an honour it was to be working with some of his heroes. “The greatest trick I ever pulled was convincing you all that Frank Mullen does not exist,” he said as they launched into ‘Funeral Inception’. A set packed with classics, showing exactly how death metal should be done. Recently I had seen Decapitated and said that was one of the best sets I had seen, this rivalled it. Outstanding!

The half hour sets of all the support bands went down really well, a hell of a lot of work for everyone involved but once again, Whiplash Promotions put on a special show and was good to see it so well supported. The full Suffocation line up will be back in Europe over the summer so keep an eye out for any UK dates, they should not be missed.

Suffocation setlist:

Thrones of Blood
Effigy of the Forgotten
Pierced From Within
Liege of Inveracity
Abomination Reborn
Funeral Inception
Breeding the Spawn
Jesus Wept
Torn into Enthrallment
Suspended in Tribulation
Infecting the Crypts.