The legendary death metal outfit, Cannibal Corpse, hit Manchester with a killer bill on the undercard.
It has taken a while, due to obvious health related pandemic reasons, for Cannibal Corpse to hit UK shores in support of 2021’s Violence Unimagined (our review here). With a European Tour reaching its’ conclusion, an absolutely killer bill was on the menu at Manchester Academy including Stormruler, Ingested, Dark Funeral and the mighty Cannibal Corpse.
With fists and horns raised, Stormruler took to the stage as the scrum for Cannibal Corpse merch was still growing. An early start to fit all bands in means nothing; the crowd grows quickly for the American black metal outfit. ‘Let me hear you scream,’ shouts Jason Asberry as the opening notes blare out. During the bands’ Swift thirty minute set they clearly garner new fans with their brand of black metal. Instrumental and melodious interludes punctuate the furious riffing, solo licks and twin guitar onslaught. ‘Raise your horns!’ Is the cry as the set ends. ‘We’re Stormruler from the USA.’ The near full Manchester Academy responds enthusiastically as they offer thanks and depart. Sacred Rites & Black Magick is the St. Louis natives latest record, and deserves your attention (more info here).
Like Stormruler and the other bands on the bill, Ingested have been out around Europe for a while. This is Ingested’s homecoming. They are greeted like heroes.
‘Bang your heads!’ howls Jason Evans as the band kick into gear. The group have an insanely powerful technical death metal sound that this crowd truly admire. Multiple circle pit requests for multiple circle pits are made throughout. The masses oblige.
‘Manchester’ chants from the crowd bring wide eyed smiles on stage. ‘It’s so good to be home…in Manchester…or should I say…Slamchester!’ A cacophonous response greets the home town pop before Shadows In Time.
No Half Measures is aptly included in the set – Manchester, and Ingested, give their all for their energetic set. Evans’ shifting vocal extremities are stunning to hear live; he can move between the guttural growls to the snarling shrieks at the drop of a hat. Heartfelt thanks are offered from the stage; the band seem genuinely blown away by the response as they leave the stage in triumphant manner.
America are the next lucky recipients of Ingested. Check out all the upcoming dates for their headlining tour here.
Dark Funeral have a far more lavish set up. The drapes are more ornate housing the bands’ Nosferatu style imagery. This immediately feels darker. Rolling thunder and a marching drum set the morbid scene before an announcement of God’s absence today.
Clad in demonic outfits befitting of a Scandinavian black metal band and sporting face paint, the band tear into their set with scorching abandon. Stoically standing at the front of the stage like a blasphemous demigod, singer Andreas Vingbäck aka Heljarmadr is an imposing force. His face paint, from afar, looks a little like that sported by Tobias Forge at times.
The guitars cascade around the blistering drums to create a classic black metal sound that is great to hear. The classic black element of the band sets them apart from Stormruler who include a lot more in their sound. Dark Funeral stick to the BM playbook.
With that, many of the tropes associated with the genre are present. ‘Hail Satan’ chants are here, and during When I’m Gone, Heljarmadr parades a human skull around. The song is dedicated to fallen brothers, which gains a pop from the crowd. It is close to ballad territory for the band, but offers a little repose from the frenetic nature of the rest of the set.
With an upturned cross now in the hands of Heljarmadr, the band rip into Nail Him To The Cross. For many in attendance, this demonic and blasphemous tone is what they came for. There are plenty of Dark Funeral fans in the crowd who have clearly come to see them as much as Cannibal Corpse.
Like the other bands on the bill so far, Dark Funeral pay tribute to the bands, the crew and most importantly; the fans. Unchain My Soul sees the crowd respond with fist pumping chants and the band clearly leave their fans very happy and salivating for the arrival of the headliners.
As Cannibal Corpse’ huge, iconic logo is displayed at the back of the stage, the atmosphere ramps up. ‘Cannibal, Cannibal…’ come the chants from the crowd who are now red hot.
Scourge Of Iron opens the set in true Cannibal Corpse fashion. Corpsegrinder is immediately headbanging; something that he humbly claims to be the best at. I for one, would not argue. As the opener thunders around Manchester Academy, pint pots get thrown around the melee and not for the last time, Erik Rutan shows off his shredding abilities.
Having Erik Rutan in the Cannibal Corpse ranks full time is an inspired move. His style gives a more sinister edge to an already sinister sounding band! Inhumane Harvest is the first cut from Violence Unimagined to be aired and is greeted with more fist pumps from the crowd.
‘Well – I wanna hear how you’re doing tonight?’ bellows Corpsegrinder in his first interaction with the crowd. ‘I hope your ready for more death metal?’ he questions. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the response is massive. Code Of The Slashers sounds monstrous and the shifts in tempo throughout the piece make for an uncompromising proposition. For many, people would dismiss Cannibal Corpse however when viewed objectively, the technicality and musicality on show is unparalleled.
Alex Webster’s bass work on F****d With A Knife is a joy to behold. His playing style is legendary and any conversations about the greatest bassists ever should always include him. Webster’s longevity with the band alongside other ever present member Paul Mazurkiewicz is acknowledged through cuts from the entirety of Cannibal Corpse’s career. A Skull Full Of Maggots makes an appearance from debut, Eaten Back To Life, and Gutted is aired from follow up, Butchered At Birth.
In putting together the set, Cannibal Corpse pay dues to nearly all of their records. Obviously, Violence Unimagined has the biggest quota. Condemnation Contagion has one of the bands catchiest openings, and Necrogenic Resurrection one of the most blistering. For all the ‘classic’ Cannibal Corpse material, or what is considered classic; one sleeper of an album that the band has is 2006’s Kill. From that album, The Time To Kill Is Now lets Rutan again show his blistering guitar skills in its very short run time.
As the band reach the end of their set, Stripped, Raped & Strangled is dedicated to Trevor Strnad; the sadly departed singer of The Black Dahlia Murder, who tragically died in 2022 at the mere age of 41. Hammer Smashed Face ends the set in iconic fashion. Arguably Cannibal Corpse’s most well known song, the blasting intro and solo bass run from Webster is greeted in triumphant manner.
Cannibal Corpse always deliver. They are one of life’s true constants. On this evidence, they show no signs of slowing. Long may they reign as the kings of Death Metal!
Check out Necrogenic Resurrection from Violence Unimagined below. You can also check out our interview with Alex Webster, here.
Categories: Live Reviews