Ever since Carcass released their masterpiece album “Surgical Steel”, I’ve been waiting for the band to make a tour stop in Michigan. It was a long wait, but thank the Metal Gods they finally announced a stop at my favorite venue, the Intersection in Grand Rapids, on November 11, 2014.
I arrived at the venue right when the doors opened and rushed to the fence next to the stage. There were 3 opening bands for Carcass, and first on the stage was Baltimore’s Noisem. For twenty minutes, Noisem destroyed the stage with their manic and raw style of death/thrash metal. I would have loved to see more.
Next up was Exhumed, a band whose album, “Necrocracy”, was on my “Top 10 albums of 2013” list. Exhumed tore up the audience with their ground-and-pound style that has been long-perfected by the band. With lyrics that are twisted with tales of death and depravity, combined with plenty of blasts beats and break-neck leads, Exhumed easily shot up my list of best opening bands I’ve ever watched.
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois the thrash/death/grindcore trio Macabre hit the stage. Now watching a Macabre set is like attending a history class. Upon the start of every song, vocalist/guitarist Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) would tell the audience a brief history of the notorious killers that the songs are based on, such as the Zodiac, Ed Gein and Jeffery Dahmer, just to name a few. I’ll tell you what, these guys impressed the hell out of me. I want to give a shout-out to drummer Dennis “the menace” Ritchie. He might be the fastest drummer I’ve ever witnessed, and it showed between songs. That man, along with the other members of Macabre, gave their all to put on a great show.
With a dimming of the lights and a roar from the crowd, the moment I’d been waiting for so long had finally come, Carcass. The death metal legends played many of their most familiar songs, from “Buried Dreams,” “Incarnated Solvent Abuse,” and “Ruptured in Purulence/Heartwork” to new favorites like “Unfit for Human Consumption,” “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” and “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System.” The night flew by for me as I watched guitarists Bill Steer and Ben Ash trade precise destructive riffs and Daniel Wilding giving a stunning technical clinic in drumming. And even though Jeff Walker told the crowd he was battling a bit of a cold, he never sounded better as he delivered his signature gravely growls. Throughout the night Walker traded jokes with the crowd, thanked all the military vets being that it was Veterans Day, and told small stories of his own Grandparents being in World War 2. I looked back at the mosh pit a couple of times, and let me tell you, that was no place for a nervous person to be, there was carnage galore.
Other than Carcass‘s amazing performance, there were two other moments that stood out for me. Halfway through Carcass‘s set, I spotted movement on my left. I looked and Exhumed front man Matt Harvey was standing right next to me watching the show. I didn’t attempt to try to talk to him since I wouldn’t have been able to yell over the speaker we were standing next to, so I shook his hand. My other favorite moment of the night came after the show when I had the privilege of meeting guitarist Ben Ash. I need to give a huge shout-out to my Twitter/Facebook friend Jacqueline Rose, who was kind enough to tell Ben I was at the show. Ben was a great guy to spend time talking to me and giving me two of his guitar picks, all the while standing in the freezing Michigan cold.
Easily the highlight of my 2014!