The Assembly in Leamington Spa seems like an odd venue to stage a death metal gig, what with its Art Deco ballroom appearance (which the website reliably informs me was designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen during its renovation in 2006!). Having previously flicked through up and coming gigs, I can see no other killer death metal line-up like this evenings on the horizon and observing the security staff they certainly appear to be on edge!
Trigger the Bloodshed take the opening slot and almost immediately vocalist Jonny Burgan starts heckling the crowd in a bid to make them move forward in a room which is barely littered with enough bodies to fill a small coach. Nonetheless, this bunch of young men exert enough energy to stomp their way through a surprisingly sturdy set which included ‘The Dead World’, ‘Dessicate Earth’ and ‘Sanctuary of the Wretched’. When I saw this band a week ago I commented on how they did not seem to fit comfortably on the bill – I am pleased to say I have no such qualms this time round as their style more than suited the occasion.
Not knowing what to expect from Annotations of an Autopsy my mind was well and truly opened to a band where the vocalist, Steve Regan, really does emulate the noise of a squealing pig! Normally I might find this a little off-putting and yearn to shut out the assault on my ears but strangely I found myself warming to the auditory bombardment mainly because musically these guys are actually quite good. I enjoyed ‘Prosthetic Erection’ and was encouraged by newer offerings ‘Born Dead’ and the impressive ‘Impale the Sun’ from their album “II: The Reign Of Darkness” which is due for release in January 2010.
Now, I find it odd that Dying Fetus come under the death metal banner as I am more than sure that speed metal runs through their veins and if prizes were to be awarded to the most technically talented speed guitarist and bass player of all time, then I would be happy to place bets on guitars/vocals guy John Gallagher and bass/vocals man Sean Beasley to win the much coveted trophy. I can honestly say I spent the whole of their set, mouth agape in amazement. Gallagher pulled off some of the most incredibly intricate and breakneck rapid guitar work known to man!
Talented drummer Trey Williams ensured everything was ticking over in an incredibly slick fashion while they steam-rollered through ‘Grotesque Impalement’, ‘Intentional Manslaughter’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’, ‘Pissing in the Mainstream’ and if I had to pick a favourite it would be new song ‘Shepherd’s Commandment’. All in all it was a pretty extreme experience and I would suggest if you ever get the chance to check out this band live, do not pass up the opportunity.
I genuinely doubted how anything could top the Dying Fetus encounter; however, luckily for us we had veterans of the death metal sphere, Cannibal Corpse in the headlining slot. During ‘The Time to Kill is Now’ the whole room was reverberating from the powerfully synchronised structure of sound being constructed by an elite guitar squad. Propelling through ‘I Cum Blood’, ‘The Wretched Spawn’ and ‘Make Them Suffer’, while vocalist George Fisher characteristically churned his head round like a man possessed and only coming up for air to throw the occasional insult at the crowd.
‘Fucked with a knife’, which was dedicated to the ladies (charmed I’m sure!), displayed Alex Webster’s bass playing ability and flash guitars were flaunted by Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien during ‘Evidence in the Furnace’. As we were nearing the end of the set with the fans going mental to ‘A Skull Full of Maggots’, I sidled towards the back of the room to ensure a sharp exit for my lengthy journey home. After a set spanning in excess of 20 songs I felt satisfied I’d experienced a night of high-quality death metal mania.
Review – Amanda Jones
Photos – Steve Gerrard