The bill for the Deathcrusher tour was one that would excite pretty much any old school death metal fan worth his or her salt. Having seen the bill advertised a couple of months back, I was pretty quick off the blocks in snapping up a ticket and waited patiently for this four band bill of behemoths to wreck the joint known as the Forum in Kentish Town. As it turns out there was a fifth band as well, namely Herod. So we had Voivod, Napalm Death, Obituary and the mighty Carcass. I personally would've preferred either Bolt Thrower or Cathedral or Morbid Angel instead of Herod or Voivod but that wasn't to be.
Herod opened proceedings with a bludgeonningly heavy and pretty slow death metal sludge. Is this the same Herod that I liked a fair bit way back even. The melodic metalcore Herod has disappeared completely. In its place, a monotonously heavy outfit has taken over, playing crushing, slow death metal with claustrophobic grooves and atmosphere with a front man that looks like Phil Anselmo pretty much. Unfortunately they were not good at all and super boring in my eyes. A few punters head banged though but there were barely 100 people at the front for them. The crowd would swell to well over a 2000 by the end of the night.
The bill proper started with Voivod taking to the stage in double quick time after Herod and getting into their quirky thrashy mayhem. The crowd was suddenly 5-6 and even 7 times what it had been for Herod. Voivod were pretty much going down a storm and they played tight and fast. Unfortunately I have never understood any of the appeal and the live arena was never going to win me over either. The vocalist whom I don't know was rough as arseholes but I guess that's the charm. The drummer was very good from my vantage point on the first row on the balcony. The only member who I have a clue about is Daniel Mongrain the ex guitarist of tech death masters Martyr. The guy plays well although Voivod's quirky speedy riffs got lost in a slighly mushy loud sound and I just couldn't fathom out any cool tunes if there were any not that I know any Voivod tunes in the first place. I was only here for the top 3 in the bill, sorry Voivod!
Napalm Death got ready quick again and the roadies worked like trojans all night getting the stage ready very quickly in between the bands. I haven't seen ND for a good while but having seen them many times I was looking forward to some utter rage from Barney and co. There was a stand in for Mitch on guitars by the name of John Cooke. He played well and supplied the screams that Mitch does. He seemed to fit in seamlessly. Barney was on top form and he looked so lean like he's lost a lot of weight. His stage antics and banter are legendary these days and he has the crowd eating out of his hand. The place was going apeshit during the groove sections and breakdowns on the various ND songs such as Scum and The Silence is Deafening which was absolutely monstrous. The sound was much better for ND than it was for Voivod. Barney's vocals are absolutely murderous live, literally barking rather than growling the vocals. He literally shakes like a rabid dog as he delivers these biting anthems of pure rage. Of course the mid period Napalm that I so love is completely ignored in favour of all the grindcore classics like Suffer The Children and all the short sharp songs which of course ND always play. Barney ended the night by wishing us all a very pleasant evening in his lilting brummies tones. Rather funny considering he'd spent the last 40 minutes wrecking our lugholes with his monstrous roar!
Next up were the Obies whose popularity in death metal sustains hugely it seems. I have totally gone off their rather mediocre comeback efforts but live they always deliver the goods. Main man John Tardy looks like a drunk sea monster swaying from side to side barking and rasping his nonsensical lyrics into the mic whilst his band mates lock on to that infamous Obituary groove. Once again their set list contained a lot of classics and a couple of new cuts. I don't really recognise the classics much as I'm not a huge fan of Slowly We Rot at all but I love for instance the savagery that is Don't Care from world demise. The other Tardy brother was on shit hot form behind his drum kit as well. I'm not sure who the guitarists are these days but the know their job well. Bassist was ex Death man Terry Butler. Big fucker he was too. The Obituary sound mix was perfect pretty much but star of the set if of course John Tardy. The guy is fucking Obituary pure and simple. No one else has vocals as sick as that guy although over the years he's gotten a little more high pitched and clearer sounding and less sick than many probably remember him as being on the Slowly We Rot days. Anyway the Obies were pretty fucking good and got a massive response from the mental moshfest happening down below me.
Finally it was time for the top slot and what the fans had come here for in the main. Carcass were treated with quite a frenzy as they took their positions and Jeff Walker, centre stage delivers one of his typical glass gurgling vocals as they rip into opener Unfit For Human Consumption. The new album maybe pretty good but people are here to hear Heartwork and Necroticism material in the main and soon enough the opening grinding groove to Buried Dreams appears and the place starts to go completely apeshit with the floor becoming a sea of bodies hurling from side to side. I'm too old for that shit and I had a safe and comfortable view from up top where I could concentrate on the music without having to worry about my glasses coming off etc. Incarnated Solvent Abuse followed and once again the floor is levelled with lying bodies. Carcass were going down and playing a storm alright. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills is one of their best new songs and flew by in a flash. Jeff is a witty fucker( or as he calls it an "unfunny cunt!") and had quips galore for punters down the front. These chirpy scousers are always pretty quick with the one liners!
An old song from reek of Puterfaction was played with both Bill and Jeff suppling lead vocals. Soon we were back on familiar territory with Corporeal Jigsore Quandary once again laying waste to what was once the Kentish Town Forum. I was waiting for No Love Lost which is one of my fave Carcass songs ever although I new pretty much new it would be forlorn wait. They don't tend to play the groovy shit too much going more for the savagery. It was pretty good to hear Keep on Rotting in the Free World though with it's jackhammer staccato riffs. The night ends with Heartwork with once last chance for the crowd to work up the frenzy to the maximum as the band cuts loose with total abandon. Special mention to the new drummer. That guy is fast as all hell leaving Bill and the other new guitarist to churn out those classic Carcass riffs. I don't know how it's possible but Carcass is now by a million miles a bigger band than they ever before at the height of their popularity and I doubt they'll go away any time soon when you sell out a 2000 capacity venue with ease. A fun night of classic bands but Bolt Thrower should've been on this bill damn it!