CATTLE DECAPITATION are one of the staple bands within death metal in the 21st century. With recent albums elevating the band to a new level in the scene and a dangerous reputation on the live circuit to boot, CATTLE DECAPITATION are a force to be reckoned with. Still in support of 2015’s The Anthropocene Extinction, the band have returned for another stint across Europe with a much-demanded date in Manchester generating a buzz in the city’s scene. But would the band be able to deliver on their explosive reputation and bring an exhilarating performance?
Opening proceedings was GLORYHOLE GUILLOTINE and despite the band’s young status, the nationality outfit were able to deliver a performance that, for the most part, oozed professionalism. Strong and gut-punching riffs kept the tone nasty and a plethora of blasts from drummer Ben Fagerness showcased a quality behind GLORYHOLE GUILLOTINE. Vocalist Carl did a formidable job of delivering guttural growls and despite a few shaky moments where his voice was lost in the mix, and this is only natural for a band so young, the live product showcased glimmers of quality for this young death metal outfit.
However, the quality was upped to the max once HIDEOUS DIVINITY took to the stage. The Italian metallers unleashed a monstrous sound that boasted elements across the board of the death metal spectrum. Guitarists Enrico Schettino and Giovanni Tomassucci ebbed and flowed without buckling the momentum, transcending from melodic and intricate soloing to monolithic shredding which packed a mighty punch. With drummer Giulio Galati and bassist Stefano Franceschini keeping the pacing of HIDEOUS DIVINITY at breakneck speed, it allowed frontman Enrico Di Lorenzo to come into his own and dominate the stage through his excellent vocal deliveries and charming persona. A strong set from a band that surely will start making some big waves.
BROKEN HOPE have been a force on the death metal scene for decades now and their performance in Manchester more than demonstrated that the years of experience has helped the band create a refined and solid live sound. Throughout their set the American outfit’s brand of uncompromising death metal shattered ear-drums and whipped up a storm through a flurry of crushing riffs, pounding drumming and monstrous vocal lines from Damian Leski. BROKEN HOPE‘s puppet-master Jeremy Wagner served as the glue binding the band together and in the live environment this was clearly evident as Wagner‘s slick and impressive guitarwork often stole the spotlight and gave moments to remember. In a set of menacing brutality, there were times where the sound felt muddled and repetitive but, on the whole, BROKEN HOPE delivered a solid set that more than showcased their stability within death metal.
With the opening bands building anticipation there was a pressure for headliners CATTLE DECAPITATION to deliver and once the band erupted into opener The Carbon Stampede, CATTLE DECAPITATION exploded into life and gave a performance that was utterly monolithic. As soon as the band took to the stage, the surged in momentum delivering slab after slab of musical ferocity. The razor-sharp riffing from Josh Elmore on The Prophets of Loss packed an absolute punch whilst the infamous Forced Gender Reassignment sounded even more menacing in the live environment. With the band hitting unstoppable from on the back of the last trio of records, the setlist of the night reflected this, and whilst it was disappointing that there was an absence of material from the band’s early material, it did not detract from the quality on show. Froman Travis Ryan manned the helm of this musical carnage and Ryan more than demonstrated why he is such a revered vocalist in the death metal scene. From jaw-dropping guttural growls to ear-piercing shrieks (like on A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat for example), Travis Ryan executed his phenomenal vocal range effectively throughout CATTLE DECAPITATION‘s set and maintained their ferocity from start to finish. With little room to breathe and catch your breathe, CATTLE DECAPITATION brought a whirlwind of a performance to Manchester, one which more than showcased why they are top of the pile of modern death metal.
Check out our photo gallery from the night’s action in Manchester from Occult Photography here: