Twas the night before Halloween and the city was awake with the sound of grind and death metal, as the Deathcrusher Tour hits the Ritz. Featuring three of the biggest names in the extreme music world on one bill it proves even on paper to be a night of brutality, savagery and drums that would make a metronome get motion sickness and is a great sign to the healthy state in which extreme metal finds itself in this day and age. No longer is the genre confined to the sweaty dark depths of Sound Control or the basement of The Bay Horse and with the likes of Bloodstock, Temples and Damnation Festival receiving added coverage from mainstream media it seems like times are good to be a fan of the CVLT end of the metal spectrum.
Opening up tonight were Canadian metal icons Voivod, with an emphasis on the bands later material they plough through a set of thrash standards played with complete musical competency. The band still have a level of energy and pace that most bands of their generation have cautiously given up on, could never seen Dave Mustaine bouncing around the stage the way front man Denis Belanger does throughout the whole set.
The first of the evenings big three to hit the stage were Brummie grindcore legends Napalm Death, who after over 30 years of splitting heads to the sound of their signature brand of pummelling politically incensed grind have never been so effective making a whole room of people go from zero to ape shit in 30 seconds or less. Barney Greenway is still one of the most hypnotising front men to ever perform on a stage, shaking with aggression, bile and lyrics that still strike a chord while only lasting as long as the average Las Vegas wedding.
Up next, prepare to be rid of all of your limbs. John Tardy and his cohorts in Obituary play as if the world would begin to self destruct if not for the optimum amount of sludgy death metal perfection was presented in a forty minute allotted time. The ending double salvo of ‘Don’t Care’ and ‘Slowly We Rot’ is as good as Floridian Death Metal gets and tonight Tampa’s finest showed why they comfortably sit at a commanding position at a top of their respective food chain.
Following these two behemoths would be an unassailable task for the majority of bands, but this is however Carcass, who aren’t your average death metal band. Even after three years on the road supporting “Surgical Steel” the band can still step foot in the ring with anyone you care to name at match them punch for punch (or in 99% of occasions, deck them immediately). Early cuts like ‘Exhume to Consume’ sit comfortably with newer slices of hook laden death metal such as ‘The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills’ and Jeff Walker certainly hasn’t become any less modest over the recent years. Though it may be time for a new album and some time off the road, tonight showed that Carcass are nothing but masters of their craft with riffs that make you want to smash your skull through every available wall in the building as soon as humanly possible being available in vast quantities.
Photography by Sabrina Ramdoyal