Cannibal Corpse's Evisceration Plague Strikes Nashville with Dying Fetus, Vital Remains, and Devourment
Band Photo: Cannibal Corpse (?)
It’s not often venues pack the house for a Tuesday evening show. However, it’s not that often that Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Vital Remains, and Devourment are in the same place at the same time. On November 9th, 2010, Brutal death metal fans came out of the woodworks and packed the Exit/In for this show, with even the venue’s balcony area being filled. Not your everyday sight in the “Bible belt” of America, many fans who were waiting in line on the side of the street sported shirts with some of the most obscene artwork known to metal on them. The doors opened unexpectedly late, with Devourment taking the stage as fans were still pouring in.
Devourment opened the show to a crowd that appeared to have come from the 9-5 workday a little tired. As the crowd started piling in, the proximity of bodies started up the first few mosh pits. Mostly, the audience just banged their heads. The band put on a decent show, with bassist Captain Piss having the most stage presence. The front-of-house mix was still warming up, so the sound was mostly a wall of noise. Nevertheless, the Devourment groove was felt and the crowd was pleased with the band’s set. A recap of the Devourment's set, along with the sets of the other bands, can be seen in the video below.
Between the sets, the crowd warmed itself up with beer and merchandise and started to show more signs of life. A quick set change brought out the guys from Vital Remains. Tony Lazaro strapped on his signature red-lighted “666” guitar, Scott Wily walked out with huge spiked gauntlets on, and the lights went down. The band had their back to the audience, waiting, as their signature intro from “Icons of Evil” played over the speakers. Screaming, “Where is your God now,” the band launched into the title track from their most recent album. Their set list would cover songs, “Hammer Down the Nails,” “Dechristianize,” and only a couple more due to the band’s allotted set time. The mosh pits were warmed up by this point and thirsty for bodies at the end of the band’s set.
As Dying Fetus was about to take the stage, the anticipation could be felt among the crowd. Another quick set change kept the show moving nicely and before we knew it, John Gallagher, Sean Beasley, and Trey Williams took the stage. Though the band was spread apart on stage (John and Sean on far left and right), they were masters of crowd control. By the time they played “Homicidal Retribution,” the crowd was pulsating from the middle of the pit. “Praise the Lord” was a high point of the set, with the fans at the front of the stage in awe over Beasley’s bass tapping skills. The groove at the middle of the song was undeniably heavy. The band blasted through their set list and ended on with “Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog.” That song is both offensive and ironic, since its lyrics send a big F-bomb to major record labels and this was being played in a city known to be a center of the music business.
When Dying Fetus left the stage, the crowd took up all the standing room and eagerly awaited the main act. It really wasn’t much use defending a good standing spot during the set change, because the pit to come would make sure you wouldn’t be where you were a few minutes ago. For how big an act they are, Cannibal Corpse didn’t make a huge entrance. They humbly walked out on stage and grabbed their gear, immediately launching into, “Scalding Hail,” off of the newest album, “Evisceration Plague.” Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz was bringing the ‘Cannibal groove’ into full effect with songs like, “I Will Kill You,” “Death Walking Terror,” “Priests of Sodom,” and “Gutted.” At the middle of the set, vocalist George Fischer told the audience, “I want to see everyone bang their heads to this one. Try and keep up with me. You will fail, but you can still try!” He also commanded the crowd to drag every person that wasn’t moshing into the pit as he announced the song, “Make Them Suffer.” Video of Cannibal Corpse playing the first two songs of their set can be seen below.
The entire crowd on the floor was in motion. Random fans crazy enough to stick a camera up in the air were able to snap a couple photos quickly, but the pit was formidable. If you’re at the show of the top-selling death metal band of all time in the United States, a band that’s been around for 22 years, you do not stand still. I wasn't able to snap any photos of Cannibal Corpse without risking damage to my camera, so I didn't attempt to get anymore than these two songs on video. During the video, you can hear a person shout "Put down the fucking camera!"
Guitarists Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien melted faces with their extreme solos while bassist Alex Webster played formidably in the pocket. George Fischer windmilled when he wasn’t on the mic, making for the most intimidating death metal frontman. Fans yelled for “Hammer Smashed Face,” and the band was happy to play it near the end, with “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled,” as the final song.
At the end of the show, the crowd filed out and remained on the side of the street in awe of what just happened. Cannibal Corpse brought the plague to Nashville, and have moved on to play Columbus, OH in the next few days. Tour dates can be found on the band’s myspace page. Before the show, Cannibal's drummer, Paul Mazurkiewicz, sat down with me for a video interview on the band's tour bus. The video and a transcription of the interview can both be seen here.
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