If you live in the area, you would probably associate Bristol’s Motion with anything but extreme metal. The venue has been crowned as the 19th best nightclub on the planet and has become closely associated with the EDM scene, with dance heads worldwide making the pilgrimage to this holy house of the rave. However, for one night only, the venue has turned it’s back on the happy go lucky nature of dance music and is playing host to one of the most infamous bands on the planet: Cannibal Corpse. Touring on the back of their 2017 album, Red Before Black, the band have stopped off for a show in the holy house of EDM accompanied by the mighty The Black Dahlia Murder and In Arkadia.
Hailing from the scenic lands of passion and love, the Frenchmen in In Arkadia (7) successfully manage to hold their own against the juggernauts of extreme metal dominating this line-up. With their dual vocalist set up, vibrant deathcore shirts, masks, mesh mosh shirts and their deathcore positioned sound, this set does feel slightly nostalgic in an odd sense. However, In Arkadia bridge the gap between the deathcore and traditional death metal conventions finely, with rhythm and groove dynamics collapsing into thunderous blast beats and punishing breakdowns.
It’s quite amusing to see some of the stern deathcore elite gathered here tonight trying to make sense of them – some are clearly dismissive of their vibrant aesthetics and ‘core’ sound before being transparently impressed by their sheer breakneck speed and how well they implement conventional death metal elements into their work. Regardless, it’s an interesting set and it’s mentally stimulating to wonder why such an act hasn’t gained traction on these shores considering their authentic cross-demographic sound.
Following on from their fantastic 2017 release Nightbringers (You can read our 10/10 review here) The Black Dahlia Murder (8.5) require no introduction tonight. Opening with the fury of ‘Widowmaker’ before plunging headfirst into ‘Contagion’, one of their very first tracks, Black Dahlia immediately excel in raising pure hell. As this legendary band rip and tear through material from their latest album, the demented screams and growls of Trevor Strnad are a joy to behold live; adding animation to the bounce of ‘Nightbringers’ and the sweeping of ‘Kings Of The Nightworld’.
As the group slam into ‘What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse’, one of the most iconic melodic death metal tracks of all time, the pit sprawls forth to encompass the majority of the room, pulling punters towards the madness before them. It’s fantastic to see a band who gleam with excitement seeing the chaos they orchestrate. Whilst extreme metal is atypically perceived as quite stoic, the sheer enthusiasm of Strnad is deeply infectious on an unconscious level; even if one lacks an interest in this portrayal of music, it’s enthralling to see such mayhem tamed. As the group delve into material from their celebrated 2007 album Nocturnal to close their set, with ‘Everything Went Black’ and ‘Warborn’ signalling their impending finish, The Black Dahlia Murder successfully achieve their mission statement for tonight – the conjuring of sheer madness.
Even after all these years, the granddaddy’s of viscera covered extreme metal, Cannibal Corpse (8), still hold no restraint live. Opening with a string of punishing material from their latest album with ‘Code Of The Slashers’, ‘Only One Will Die’ and ‘Red Before Black’, it swiftly becomes evident that the gore stained edge of the group has yet to become blunted. In fact, the group have only honed such a savage sonic blade over the years. Even after almost 30 years of activity, these tracks still drive Bristol into a mass of violence. Think of the act as a finely aged wine, but instead of being composed of summer fruits it’s a finely aged concoction of internal body parts and bodily fluid.
Whilst some heavy acts may submit to clichéd gimmicks to amplify their essence of brutality live, Cannibal Corpse don’t require any such charades. Their sheer presence alone resonates a level of intimidation, with their foreboding presence intensifying their musical extremities. As the bludgeoning groove of ‘The Wretched Spawn’ brings the headbang to town, the act show of their technical prowess, with the crowd gathered hanging onto each growl, howl and bark that vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher spews forth. It’s captivating to see such musical violence administrated masterfully, with the act taking no hostages and laying waste to the crowd before them.
As the act blaze through a blistering set composing of material from albums such as Butchered At Birth, Vile and their 1990 debut Eaten Back To Life, tonight proves to be a history lesson of one of the most hostile and infamous acts of musical history. It’s gratifying to see how the act have adapted and finely tuned their brutal and abusive sound over the years, giving glimpses of how they’ve effected the global death metal scene over the years. There’s not a single moment of peace, with fans going utterly ballistic to the frenzied rusty riffs and blast beats of ‘Make Them Suffer’ and ‘Devoured By Vermin’. As Trevor Strnad, joins the stage once more for a mercilessly savage rendition of ‘Strangled’ before closing with the iconic ‘Hammer Smashed Face’, Cannibal Corpse have proved tonight that they’re still a remarkably barbarous force to be reckoned with and the undisputed overlords of the death metal genre.