There’s nothing like a healthy dose of extreme metal to set the weekend off right so its no surprise that tonight’s show at Manchester Academy is packed to the rafters.
Those in attendance lucky to escape work early enough are treated to the sound of some crushing black metal, midwestern style to kick start this epic lineup courtesy of St. Louis locals STORMRULER. Donning the uniform of black leather jackets and spiked wrist guards this group certainly cut a striking figure on stage and the sound they produce fits perfectly.
This is the type of black metal you can bang your head to with plenty of catchy riffs from the dual guitars layered over constant blasts from the drums, archetypal of the genre but with that hint of a modern twist. With just enough solo breaks thrown in to keep things lively it’s certainly a great start to the evening, and adventuring through the quickly expanding crowd during the group’s set it’s clear that Manchester is feeling their energy tonight.
And that energy carries over into our next major instalment of the night. A special treat indeed as it marks the triumphant return of hometown death metal unit INGESTED who waste no time in turning the whole room into a whirlwind of motion. An early request for a circle pit is returned tenfold as a near venue spanning void opens up and begins to spin.
The group’s flavour of fast and brutal death metal is a force to be reckoned with the unrelenting, fist pounding guitars and drums are complemented by the fantastic range of vocalist Jason Evans effortlessly sliding between those deep gutturals and high squeals that we all love.
It’s hard not to feel a sense of pride that the ‘Slamchester’ scene has turned up in force to support local talent like this. With what looks like an almost capacity crowd now it’s a ball of delightful chaos in the room tonight with not a soul standing still during the entirety of this monster of a set.
Next up things take a turn for the satanic as Sweden’s own DARK FUNERAL take to the stage. Stalwarts of the genre, the corpse paint streaked and black clad visage that Dark Funeral present is of the more traditional black metal variety and they certainly wear it well.
The band ooze atmosphere as they tear into their set. The eerie, drawn out growls of lead vocalist Heljarmadr on tracks such as ‘Vobiscum Satanas’ when paired with the blistering instruments helps lends a sinister air to early proceedings. The following ‘My Funeral’ provides a more ferocious vocal sound and some playful instrumentals on tracks such as the more recent ‘Let The Devil In’ keep things sounding fresh. Along with some classic imagery throughout the set in the form of a human skull and the customary inverted crucifix to accompany tracks like ‘Nail Them to the Cross’ its nice to see the sense of the theatrical is still alive in the genre that paints itself as so grim and brooding.
CANNIBAL CORPSE start the night as they mean to go on, opening with heartstopper ‘Scourge of Iron’ who’s absolute barrage of an intro threatens to blast any unsuspecting patrons off their feet. The transition into the song’s sludgier, groove laden main portion is a call to start warming up those neck muscles because they are about to get a solid workout in traditional Cannibal Corpse fashion.
And boy is it a workout, awash in the red lighting indicative of the gore splattered imagery they are famous for, the band take us on a journey through their vast bloody catalogue. Dropping hits from as far back as ‘Eaten Back to Life’ with the track ‘Skull Full of Maggots’ as well as a number of pulls from their latest release ‘Violence Unimagined’ being received just as warmly by the crowd.
Classics such as ‘Fucked with a Knife’ helping to highlight the immense display of musical talent on stage. It was also nice to hear a couple offerings even from the seemingly seldom talked about ‘Kill’ album which was my personal introduction to the band with tracks ‘The Time To Kill Is Now’ and ‘Death Walking Terror’. The Bleeding’s ‘Stripped, Raped & Strangled’ is lovingly dedicated to the late Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia Murder as the band draw the night to a close. But not before ending proceedings in the only way they know how with an absolutely pummelling rendition of fan favourite ‘Hammer Smashed Face’, and you better believe the treasured bass fill received the ear splitting roar from the crowd deserving of its greatness.
It is sometimes easy to forget that among all the images of eviscerations and bodily fluids the one thing that Cannibal Corpse are above all else is fun; full on brutal, grotesque, fist pounding, neck snapping pitch black fun so hopefully its not too long before the band are back over this way and we can party all over again.
All images by William Mawdsley | Instagram