Monday, April 22, 2024

Cattle Decapitation herds Manchester towards oblivion

Cattle Decapitation’s latest album, Terrasite, has received universal acclaim and the UK tour has been highly anticipated. Cattle Decapitation’s Manchester date has been sold out months in advance which is an incredible feat and speaks to just how far the band has come. 

First up was Vomit Forth and while their set was full of energy, aggression and voracious riffing, the crowd wasn’t especially receptive at the start. The centre of the room had opened up to form a pit which was later filled by four people hardcore dancing which was as funny as it was a little sad because Vomit Forth performed a high-quality set full of exciting and interesting old-school. 

Frontman Kane Gelaznik did his best to get the crowd riled but it didn’t really work until the latter part of the set which was good to see. The attempts at crowdsurfing were also genuinely hilarious as people tried to crowdsurf over with just a few people around but the absolute highlight of the set was seeing a young man in a cap (from hereon referred to as Cappy) try to stage dive only to have fellow RAMzine writer, Pedro Felipe, help him get down safely. 

The review of this set may seem cruel or unfair but sometimes this kind of thing happens and it’s important to note that Vomit Forth may have played for a smaller crowd but they still acted like they were headlining an arena and that’s a testament to their professionalism and dedication as performers. 

Next up was 200 Stab Wounds, following a horrifically violent intro, the band went straight into the set and delivered 30 minutes of nonstop gruelling death metal made all the more intense by incessant waves of stage divers and crowdsurfers. 

The band said very little and just ripped through the set with malicious intent and surgical precision. 200 Stab Wounds seem to be heavily inspired by Necroticisim era Carcass and that’s on display most prominently on ‘Itty Bitty Pieces,’ a doomy glob of sludgy coagulated gore that left no survivors. 

This was 200 Stab Wounds first appearance in Manchester but they will return in November for Damnation Fest to create even more corpses ready for evisceration. Very few escaped 200 Stab Wounds set unscathed (including my shirt) but we soldiered on to the deathcore stylings of Signs Of The Swarm

Just a few years ago, Signs Of The Swarm appearing in this bill would have been a controversial decision but the modern extreme metal fan has an insatiable need for breakdowns that only deathcore can provide. 

Signs Of The Swarm had a headline show in Manchester just a few months ago in support of their new album, Amongst The Low And Empty, which saw a wealth of returning patrons ready to ram into each other for some of the wildest walls of death this venue has ever seen. 

The sound was a bit muddy, perhaps due to the fact that Signs had the lowest range instruments of all the bands on the bill but it didn’t stop modern deathcore classics like ‘Tower of Torsos’ and ‘Shackles Like Talons’ from inflicting maximum damage. 

Frontman David Simonich said “See you guys in the fall” before leaving, whether it’s a headline tour or a support slot for an extreme metal legend is anyone’s guess but they’ll be welcomed with open arms and blackened eyes. 

After a lengthy intro made up of horrendous noise and tense ambience, Cattle Decapitation came out to the pounding chords of ‘Terrasitic Adaptation’ which made way for the pained screeching of one of the most formidable vocalists working in extreme metal today; Travis Ryan. 

Travis’ vocal gymnastics are a masterclass in serving the song while still showing off jaw-dropping skill and emotion and his articulation and clarity is near perfect. It’s almost possible to understand what he’s saying even at the live show which also speaks to the quality of the mix and the amazing sound team. His vocal prowess even makes up for him repeatedly spitting in the air and catching it, which was equal parts disgusting and impressive. 

Terrasite took up a significant amount of the setlist with modern classics like the scream-along chorus of ‘We Eat Our Young,’ the grinding intensity of ‘Scourge Of The Offspring’ and the inhuman vocals of ‘A Photic Doom’. The most engaging and unique part of Terrasite was ‘The Storm Upstairs’ which contained a David Attenborough-style introduction about the Terrasite, a creature that feeds on the earth until the point of total annihilation of all its resources. 

The crowd was still operating at full energy with nonstop moshing and crowd surfing dominating the room, there was even someone climbing across a beam above the mosh pit before dropping in laying waste to everyone in his path. ‘Dead Set On Suicide’ is a voracious ripper that made the room almost uninhabitable. Once the bass solo ended, Rebellion became an inhospitable environment filled with wall-to-wall carnage from a swarm of violent characters and this rarely stopped even for the slower more gloomy moments towards the end of the set. 

There are some genuinely haunting material in their back catalogue and the live show makes them all the more impactful. “It’s time to cry, time to show some fucking emotions, time’s cruel curtain,” says Travis through his bizarre primordial creature voice. This whole track is a masterpiece and a true highlight of Death Atlas, which will soon be considered an extreme metal landmark. The grand themes of existential dread and the need to accept and welcome mortality for the sake of improving a planet we claim to love are worthy of classic literature and the quality of the musicianship matches perfectly. 

‘Pacific Grim’ is an anthemic and moody track that shows off Dave McGraw’s phenomenal drumming skills and that he’s more than just a destructive steamroller and adds a lot to Cattle Decapitation’s ambience and overall gloom-filled aesthetic. The set ended with ‘Kingdom of Tyrants’ and Manchester made the final push and they gave it everything they had throughout the manic grinding guitar and marathon double bass work. 

Cattle Decapitation is not for the faint of heart, the themes they write about are truly thought-provoking but they never feel preachy. They instead offer an alternative perspective on something the average listener may not have considered about the world. The live show is just as heavy as their lyrical themes and will surely take up the mantle of the pride of death metal once our beloved legacy bands decide to hang up their instruments. 

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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