The time has arrived for the pioneers of grind, the masters of death: Carcass take the stage in a triumphant return since their show in 2009. After ‘1985’ is piped through the speakers, the quartet get underway with ‘Buried Dreams’ and ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’. the guitars have the right level of crunch for death metal and Jeff Walker‘s snarl comes through loud and clear. As always, Jeff has his wicked sense of humour out to play: “Good evening, Sonisphere! Oh shit, Bloodstock, how’re you doing?”. We forgive him though, because he rips into the Sonisphere audience, and then rips into ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyer System’.

…Only to be brought to a swift halt. Unfortunately, someone in the front row has collapsed, so the band respectfully wait while he is taken to the medical tent. After some time, Carcass are back in control and pick up where they left off. Bill Steer and Ben Ash have a lot of fun with the riffs and melodies within the song, while the youthful Dan Wilding has no trouble keeping up with the shifting rhythms.

Next up, the band have a trick to frustrate journalists and setlist-addicts alike: using intros of songs to lead into others. Case in point: the intro to ‘Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard’ leads into ‘This Mortal Coil’, and ‘Genital Grinder’ slips through ‘Pyosisified’ into ‘Exhume To Consume’. Amazingly, these transitions don’t jar in the slightest, and people continue to headbang or windmill throughout.

As mentioned earlier, it wouldn’t be Carcass without Jeff‘s irreverent sense of humour. From the digs at Emperor and Megadeth to singing “If you’re happy and you know it” while the audience clap their hands to ‘This Mortal Coil’, the comedy is as free-flowing as the metal. The Emperor comment does go sailing over the heads of the majority of the audience (“I’m not making a joke now, but the irony tonight is not lost on me and Bill”), but no matter, because the grin-inducing licks of ‘The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills’ are here to distract them.

Their set is a well-honed mix, brought about by relentless festival appearances since Surgical Steel‘s release last year. Old and new stand stand by side: ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ with a lead vocal spot for Bill Steer stands up next to the infectious ‘Unfit For Human Consumption’, and every track goes down a storm*. The finale, ‘Heartwork’ on paper, is an augmented juggernaut of a track with no less than three intros or outros attached to it. As Carcass take their final bows, the death metal lovers in the crowd can walk away more than sated, and everyone else left wondering what the hell was that. Long live Carcass.

*Perhaps an unfortunate choice of wording given the weather!

Carcass – Facebook page

Bloodstock – Official Website

Photos by Sabrina Ramdoyal