Carcass, Gorguts, TBDM and Noisem Bridge Generations of Death Metal Fans At Sold Out Concert.
Band Photo: Carcass (?)
The line to get into Mohawk was split in half between minors and adults. Although The Black Dahlia Murder has more than a decade under its 30-something beltline, the band is still a hot commodity among young listeners. The older demographic spawned by Carcass and Gorguts wasn't always welcoming to the 'core kids and their icons, TBDM; however, in terms of attendance, Decibel Magazine was onto something when they squeezed together, and I do mean squeeze, these disparate bands.
Baltimore, Maryland upstarts, Noisem provided a jolting dose of death/thrash. Featuring tracks culled from their recent "Agony Defied" album, the A389 recording artist played fast and spurned on oncoming body-mass wall. Standing on the first balcony, I often found myself checking out the bang bodies below. Long-hairs and spiked dos came together, often in a brutal-yet-loving fashion.
Gorguts took the stage second, much to the chagrin of the 30-something-plus crowd. While longevity was not a factor in the night's lineup placement, the transcendence of day to night fit the Canadian group perfectly. Playing the first three songs from their recent prog/death offering "Colored Sands," Luc Lemay and supporting cast presented amorphous rhythms that rolled along in a heavy haze, complex yet mired in groove. New guitarist Kevin Hufnagel who was depicted playing with eyes closed in nearly all of my photographs (coming soon). This was my first time seeing them since the Deicide/Marduk tour 13 years ago. Not a lot, in terms of musical approach, has changed since then. "Obscura," a song plucked from the band's beginning phases of progression, sounded right at home with the first half of "Colored Sands."
Being part of the older crowd had nothing to do with my passing over The Black Dahlia Murder. I'm a fan of melodic death metal and this group was the subject of my first published band interview ten years ago--so no ill will here, I was merely tied up interviewing Gorguts (interview coming soon). I can't say the same about the people around me near the green room. One patron said he just wasn't feeling TBDM's music. In this fashion, TBDM was in a position not unlike any band opening for Slayer, good luck keeping up with Carcass (or Gorguts)!
Jeff Walker and Bill Steer were of a darker shade of grey than what I remembered from Headbanger's Ball video. Walker even made a joke about not trusting anyone wearing a bandana because there is a balding person underneath. With age comes experience, though, and the UK act put on a performance expected from one of extreme metal's pioneering forces. I've been a fan since picking up "Heartwork" twenty years ago, but I've had few chances to catch Carcass when they come to town. Starting with "Buried Dreams," the introductory track to "Heartwork," Carcass played a set primarily focused on this album and their newest ode to the cold slab, "Surgical Steel." The groove of "No Love Lost" and set closer "Heartwork" were welcomed tracks from "Heartwork," while older gems from "Symphonies of Sickness" and "Reek of Putrefaction" kept the gore-grinders in check.
To witness Carcass play tracks from throughout their career not only gave all the fans something to talk about, it showed the band's diversity. Newer material was akin to watching a top-notch melodic death metal band. Ben Ash (guitars) and Daniel Wilding (drums) are not names synonymous with melodic death metal. Mike Amott and Daniel Erlandsson of Arch Enemy are no longer part of the group, but Ash's leads absolutely melted with Bill Steer's guitar play. Jeff Walker's snarling voice was loud and echoed in the mic with great magnitude. It also molded well with Steer's pitch-shifting growls during early material. Their frenzied picking during "Corporal Jigsaw Quandary" took the prize for best riffs.
Dad metal. Kid metal. In the end, all that attended, regardless of age, went away with a higher metal IQ after seeing this concert. As with most true headlining acts, though, the headliner took the show, one headliner I highly recommend checking out. With the band's 30-year anniversary looming in the near future, make sure you're one of the 30-something crowd at the next show closest to you!
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