Date: October 26th, 2015
Venue: Vicar Street, Dublin
Line-up: Carcass + Obituary + Napalm Death + Voivod + Herod
The Deathcrusher tour steamrolled its way into Dublin’s Vicar Street last week for what was set to be the metal event of the year. With a mammoth line-up, the likes of which this isle hasn’t seen the likes of since the 90’s, needless to say the excitement for this one was through the roof.
Opening up the show were progressive hardcore outfit Herod. Hailing from Switzerland, the group are relatively young compared to the other groups on the line-up and had the difficult task of opening the night. With no bass player in sight the crowd was hit with a wall of sound from the guitar pairing of Pierre Carroz and Bertrand Pot. From there vocalist David Glassey took the limelight, his gruff bark matching the heaviness of the music. The standout of their set was their drummer Fabien Vodoz, his playing was very rhythmic, almost tribal like, and very interesting to watch. They managed to gather a sizable crowd who responded well to their performance.
Canadian progressive thrash legends Voivod were up next. Vocalist Snake immediately took their performance by the reins; he knew what he wanted from the crowd and how to get it. He was making all manner of crazy faces and dancing around the stage. They dished out a whole load of crowd favourites such as “Psychic Vacuum”, which Snake passed out his mic encouraging the front row to sing along, and the group’s self-titled track which the crowd loved. There was a real sense of comradery in the band; each of them looked like they were having a great time with Snake at one point grabbing guitarist Chewy and bassist Rocky together for a forced hug.
The crowd were already beginning to get pumped up by the time Napalm Death took to the stage. The set was heavy on material from the band’s latest album Apex Predator – Easy Meat, released in January, opening up with the title track. Despite going for more than 25 years the guys seemed as energetic as they’ve ever been particularly lead vocalist Barney Greenway who never stopped running around the stage, working himself into sweat by the time they were done. The older material got a looking into alongside the new tracks, the crowd going nuts for Scum’s title track and “Suffer the Children”. Of course their seminal track “You Suffer” also made its brief appearance with Barney quick to comment that the crowd should pay attention.
It wasn’t going to be easy for anyone to follow up Napalm Death’s performance given the crowd’s reaction but death metal veterans Obituary gave it the best shot. Opening with the instrumental “Redneck Stomp” their sound was crisp with that buzzsaw-style riffing. Vocalist John Tardy’s instantly recognisable growl sounded great after all their years together, it’s just a shame he spent quite a bit of the set watching from the side of the stage. The new tracks sounded much better in the live setting, giving them some much need energy the recordings lacked, but it was the classics the crowd wanted to hear and Obituary delivered with a hefty dose from their first album Slowly We Rot. The pits were getting bigger and more frequent as the set went on, with the set closer of Slowly We Rot’s title track being the icing on the cake from many crowd members.
Last September Dublin welcomed back death metal legends Carcass to our shores for the first time in 20 years. A little over a year later the band are already back as the headliners of the Deathcrusher tour. Opening up with “Unfit for Human Consumption” from their 2013 album Surgical Steel the band seemed to get a lukewarm response but their enthusiasm was piqued with “Buried Dreams” and particularly “Incarnated Solvent Abuse”. Guitarist Bill Steer was on top form once again; his playing is always a pleasure to watch. Fellow guitarist Ben Ash is no slouch either, standing toe to toe with Steer; they’ve formed a great guitar duo. Bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker is great frontman, engaging with the crowd and having some banter with his dry English humour cracking a few jokes to lighten the mood.
They dug right back to their second album Symphonies of Sickness for a medley of “Exhume to Consume”, for which Steer took over for lead vocals, and “Reek of Putrefaction”. “Mount of Execution”, the 8 minute Surgical Steel closer, was also a welcome surprise to the set. With the crowd still bubbling with energy, Carcass closed the show with “Heartwork” leaving the crowd screaming for one more song even after they’d left the stage.
The crowd were left beaten and tired from set after set of punishing old school metal on a night which many won’t be quick to forget about any time soon.