GIG REVIEW: DEATHCRUSHER Tour – The Forum, London
On October 29, 2015, the Deathcrusher Festival tour came to London, England, following dates in various UK destinations such as Bristol, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Glasgow. The show in London took place in Kentish Town’s HMV Forum, which nearly one year prior had seen death metal legends Cannibal Corpse descend upon its stage. The line-up for the Deathcrusher show consisted of Herod, Voivod, Napalm Death, Obituary, and headliners Carcass. Due to train-related mishaps I unfortunately missed Herod’s set, but positively was able to see Voivod, Napalm Death, Obituary and Carcass.
The first band that I saw was the Canadian thrash metal band Voivod, who thrashed through seven of their songs including earlier tracks such as “Voivod” and “Ripping Headaches”, as well as other songs from throughout the group’s career such as “Forever Mountain”, “Tribal Convictions”, and “Order of the Blackguards”. Voivod ended with their band’s name-sake song, to a somewhat lukewarm but thankful reception from the sizeable crowd who had amassed to watch the band perform.
The crowd energy and enthusiasm ramped up dramatically for the next band, Birmingham grindcore pioneers Napalm Death. The band blasted through a sixteen-song setlist across an approximate set time of 45 minutes, performing material from records such as Harmony Corruption, Scum, and their newest studio effort Apex Predator – Easy Meat. Towards the end of their set, Napalm Death performed a cover version of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by the legendary American hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys, as well as an impromptu performance of their beloved song “You Suffer”. Napalm Death’s performance definitely was an improvement over that of Voivod, who were enjoyable at the very best.
I was excited to see death metal legends Obituary, who received as warm of a reception as that of Napalm Death earlier on in the night. The band played a total of ten songs overall, including classics from the band’s 1989 debut album Slowly We Rot which included the title track as well as “Bloodsoaked” and “Intoxicated”. In terms of the other material performed, the band’s setlist included some tracks from 2014’s Inked in Blood (namely “Visions in My Head” and “Centuries of Lies”) as well as fan favourites such as “Redneck Stomp”. The crowd activity during Obituary’s set was noticeably aggressive, with a massive crowd-wide pit for “Slowly We Rot” which brought Obituary’s set to a conclusion.
As said before, Carcass was the headliner for the Deathcrusher tour, and the band roared through twelve of their greatest hits. Opening with “Unfit for Human Consumption”, Carcass paid tribute to their first two grindcore-focused studio efforts, Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness, by performing songs from those pivotal records such as “Exhume to Consume” and “Reek of Putrefaction”, from the 1988 album of the same name. The band’s more melodic death metal sound was also displayed, namely songs such as “Heartwork”, “Buried Dreams”, and “Keep on Rotting in the Free World”.
To round up, Voivod and headliners Carcass were impressive but it was Obituary who stole the show for me. The brutal honesty of Napalm Death’s music being witnessed on display also deserves a special mention. It was my first time seeing all of the bands I ended up seeing and it was a genuinely memorable experience being able to see some of extreme metal’s most important bands still thriving decades after their inception. It was Obituary who had the biggest impact on me, however.