Cannibal Corpse "Tortures" Nashville Audience On The First US Tour In Support of "Torture"
Band Photo: Cannibal Corpse (?)
Cannibal Corpse is like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich if you think about it. I don’t mean literally, of course. The band has been around for 24 years with largely the same consistent sound. Every one of the records has been consistently outselling the one before it without the band ever selling out to be more commercially viable. The tours have been getting consistently longer due to worldwide demand. In all of these things, consistency is the staple. Cannibal Corpse has shown itself to be one of those universal constants like peanut butter & jelly, and both are widely accepted and can be mighty tasty if you’re in the mood for them.
As evidenced by the long line of black shirts seen up and down Elliston Place outside the Exit/In, Nashville, TN was having a Cannibal Corpse craving at the end of April. Fortunately for us, Cannibal Corpse just rolled into town with a few bands in tow: Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn, and Arkaik.
With the band’s twelfth album, “Torture,” still only two months fresh on the market, the band was wrapping this first US leg of a tour supporting the album release. It’s important to note that most heavy metal bands are still touring to support album releases rather than releasing albums to support tours. Even if the money recouped by the album isn’t as much as the money recouped from touring, most of the bands say they’re touring because of the album, which is refreshing. The new mindframe of touring being the main reason to release an album just does not make sense to me.
Back on topic, a line started forming on April 30th at 6 PM although the doors weren’t to be opened until 8. It’s not often that Elliston Place, home to various restaurants and hooka bars, is decked out with black-shirted masses. On filing in to the venue, Arkaik started their set shortly after, with the usual crowd weariness still in effect. These California natives were a bit hard-pressed with getting the crowd of southerners moving so early on in the show. Nevertheless, they played very competently on their instruments and brought a death metal fury anchored by their highly-skilled drummer.
It should be noted that the usual brutal death metal concert sound was in effect: indistinct guitars, indecipherable vocal growls, and drums that are loud in the mix. Nevertheless, heads were banging and conversations centered around “want to go get high after this?” abounded. It was obviously a good time. Next up was Abysmal Dawn.
In a very subtle tribute to deceased Decapitated drummer Vitek, the band soundchecked part of Decapitated’s trademark song, “Spheres of Madness.” About six years back, Abysmal Dawn had opened for Decapitated on tour when Vitek was still alive. The ones who knew this factoid (myself and probably three others) gave a nice “YEAH” of stoic metal acknowledgement. Then the band kicked the PA system in the balls. They blasted into a very coordinated rager of a set, with frontman Charles Elliott leading the assault on guitar and vocals. Several of the songs were very pit-friendly, which loosened up most of the middle of the crowd.
Exhumed took the stage after a short set change and a trip to the bar for most of the crowd. The band came out to a warm audience and kicked out their own brutal death metal jams. Somewhere during the middle of their set, they brought out an informal member of the band backing them up on bloody chainsaw. This guy also brought out a bloody prop head and squeezed it over the front rows, dousing them a bit. Exhumed, I thought, was the weakest band of the bunch, although they did have a monstrous bassist who could double for Thor and was an expert in windmilling.
Cannibal Corpse came on late in the night, around 11:30, to a completely packed house. From the front to the doors in the back, you knew who Nashville was here to see. Like a trusty pocketknife, Cannibal Corpse pulled song after song out of their repertoire, forcing the crowds into a dangerous mosh pit. At one point, someone with a mohawk ended up getting his head split open in the pit and was bleeding profusely while smiling. He was taken out, but still smiling.
Given Cannibal Corpse’s penchant for gruesome and inventive lyrics about murder, gore, zombies, and combinations of these, it’s strange that they haven’t written a song about being thrown into a Cannibal Corpse mosh pit. I couldn’t get close to the stage to snap any good pictures because of that pit, but Alex Webster remained hidden behind that trademark mop of hair, headbanging while navigating his beautiful black-with-red-fret-inlays bass guitar. Corpsegrinder struck his trademark pose, horde tattoo prominently displayed (this pose is now captured on some cartoon artwork on an official shirt for sale at the shows.) His neck muscles could pull a Mack truck unassisted, which he used for gratuitous windmilling throughout the set. Rob and Pat were on either side of the stage, completing the coordinated headbanging while Paul tortured his drums.
Paul caught up with us a few hours before the show for a video interview. Cannibal’s US tour is wrapped, and the band are preparing to go to Europe for several festival appearances before making their way back to the US for the Summer Slaughter tour.
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