WORDS: James Weaver PHOTOS: Laura McCarthy
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have developed a solid reputation as a live band over their career and embarking on the first UK tour for album number seven, Abysmal. The band may have honed their craft in the studio but how did it reflect in the live environment?
Opening the proceedings was Manchester’s own, INGESTED. The brutal death metal act have performed across a wide variety of styles and scenes; from Incineration Festival to Impericon Festival. Whilst there the setlist was relatively brief, the intensity was at full force from start to finish. Riffs were enormous, double bass drumming inciting chaos in the pit and frontman Jay Evan‘s vocals have never sounded more brutal. Closing with the classic Skinned and Fucked, the band’s destructive force boasts the strength of the Manchester metal scene.
BENIGHTED have been on the scene for nearly two decades now. The French death metal act may have flown under the radar in terms of wider popularity but their sound is consistent to the style of death metal and that led to a performance that fitted the tone of the night’s action in fine fashion. Opening with Collection of Dead Portraits, the band burst into life through a barrage of riffs that whipped up a storm amongst the crowd. With the setlist comprised of a collection of tracks across the band’s career, from the borderline-offensive Fritzl to chaotic closer Asylum Cave, the band consistently pummelled out riffs, guttural vocals and blasts from the drums. The band may be consistent within the realm of the death metal style, unfortunately repetition and sluggishness did rear it’s head every once in a while, leaving the band’s impact rather tepid.
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have forged a worthy reputation in the live death metal circuit for years now and there headlining performance for latest record, Abysmal is no different. Opening with Receipt, the band set the tone for the evening in grand fashion; relentless, unforgiving and musically precise.
With the setlist covering the best of the band’s 15 year career so far, there was more than enough variety to keep the audience hooked. From What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse‘s crushing riffs to the intertwining solos on Rapid In Hatred by Vines of Thorn, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER enjoyed thunderous appreciation throughout.
In terms of the band’s musical display live, each member of the Michigan metallers were on fine form. Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight consistently and brilliantly duelled their guitars through solid riff work and devastatingly heavy breakdowns and Alan Cassidly and Max Lavelle kept the rhythm pummelling. Frontman Trevor Strnad has become somewhat of a popular figure in extreme metal and his display on stage proved testament to that. Full of energy, Trevor galloped across the stage, hitting highs and low vocal screams in perfection copy to the band’s studio sound.
By the time closuring track I Will Return blasted the audience, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER had came, saw and conquered. Through a solid death metal performance from start to finish with plenty of crowd interaction throughout, the band have more than proved they are one of modern death metal’s leading names.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester below: