WORDS: James Weaver, PHOTOS: Katie Needham
It’s not often that tours contain a blockbuster of a lineup, however the Deathcrusher tour is a clear exception. Featuring four of extreme metal’s strongest bands, the tour prides itself on worshipping the old school. Whilst times may have changed for metal, does the old school still reign supreme?
VOIVOD are a quirky band in thrash metal. Whilst the majority of the genre’s leading names are pretty straightforward to digest, VOIVOD are a whole different ball game and their performance reflected that. Whilst there were flashes of brilliance, the pounding riffs of The Prow and the slick solo on Psychic Vacuum for example, VOIVOD‘s over complication in their musical style proved to be their downfall. There’s no disputing the band are talented with guitarist Daniel Mongrain‘s riffs blending intricacy with brute power and Denis Belanger‘s vocal work replicating the band’s studio sound rather well. Unfortunately, with so much complication to their musical approach it proved incredibly challenging for the swelling crowd to really gel with the band’s frantic approach and by the closure of title track Voivod, the performance felt rather tame indeed.
NAPALM DEATH however, was the other side of that coin. The British grind legends have a remarkable reputation as being one of the genre’s most crushing live bands and from the offset this stellar reputation was upheld. Bolstering a thirteen song setlist covering all the bases of the band’s extensive career in extreme music led to the band performing one of their best shows to date.
From the crushing bass lines of Scum, to the chaotic whirlwind of When All Is Said and Done to the classic cover of DEAD KENNEDYS‘ Nazi Punks Fuck Off, NAPALM DEATH were in a league of their own. Frontman Barney Greenway held the audience in the palm of his hand as he charged around the stage replicating the band’s frantic assault in grand fashion, Shane Embury kept the rhythm at an all time high and Danny Herrera gave his body an enormous workout through drumming that resembled the rattling of a machine gun. NAPALM DEATH‘s no-nonsense approach to extreme music hasn’t changed much since their humble origins in 1981 and judging by their performance, it isn’t doing them any harm.
Whilst Britain has produced some of extreme metal’s strongest bands, death metal was born in Florida, America. The Florida death metal scene bolsters some of the genre’s biggest names from DEATH to DEICIDE. OBITUARY are amongst this elite and their performance razed The Ritz to the ground. Opening with hard-hitting instrumental Redneck Stomp, the intent was clear from the get go; pounding riffs and battering riffs. Throughout the course of their set OBITUARY were on fine form, vocalist John Tardy delivered his signature vocals in fine fashion with rasps on Visions In My Head and Don’t Care being a particular highlight. Riffs from Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews were pummelling throughout and by the time closing track Slowly We Rot erupted, OBITUARY had made their mark. Consistent, heavy and full of power, the Americans reinforced why they are one of the staple bands of death metal.
CARCASS‘ dominance of extreme music can really be lumped into two categories. Whilst popularising the grindcore movement through their early studio work and then spawning the explosion of melodic death metal with Heartwork, CARCASS really are one of extreme metal’s strongest talents. With the band still reaping the rewords through 2013’s Surgical Steel, the setlist was mostly comprised of material from the band’s latest record. Opening with the intoxicating Unfit For Human Consumption, CARCASS set the tone for their set in fine fashion. Roaring riff work from Ben Ash, winding solos from Bill Steer, chaotic drumwork from Daniel Wilding topped with Jeff Walker‘s unique snarls and growls.
By now, the formula for the band is more than solidified and their headline performance at Deathcrusher was built to reinforce this. Buried Dreams‘ hard hitting riffs had the audience banging their heads in perfect time, This Mortal Coil showcased the band’s technical edge and Exhume To Consume payed homage to the band’s gore-grind past. Throughout the setlist there was a slight feeling of repetition, with the band’s set recycled from previous appearances. Yet this is no downside to CARCASS, as the band resembled a well-oiled machine with each member performing their respective duties to the highest order. By the time closing track Heartwork‘s melodies ceased, CARCASS had reclaimed their throne and effectively demonstrated that the old school still reigns supreme.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester below!