Job For A Cowboy + The Black Dahlia Murder + The Red Chord @ Academy 2 Birmingham

17th December 2007

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The cheap and tacky Christmas decorations adorning the bars of Academy 2 could not look more out of place considering the bands on tonight’s bill. There’s little trace of Christmas cheer in the lyrics of three of the finest purveyors of death metal on the planet.

Indeed, such is the calibre of tonight’s all-American line-up (celebrating 25 years of Metal Blade Records) that the venue is absolutely full by 7pm as Boston’s The Red Chord launch into a cacophony which quickly inspires the first frenzied pit of the night. A sea of fists greets every song and it’s clear to see that this five-piece can clearly hold their own against the other, more established bands on the bill.

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The Black Dahlia Murder are quickly heading towards legendary status on the scene and their performance tonight shows them to be perhaps the slickest band on the bill, honed to a level of glistening showmanship that has the sweaty hoards before them completely transfixed. Vocalist, Trevor Strnad switches repeatedly from his possessed banshee wail to a guttural demonic growl from deep within his tattooed beer belly. Blurring the line between metalcore and the more traditional black metal, TBDM have created their own unique sound and look set to continue to their rise.

Job For A Cowboy amazingly manage to take things to an even more brutal and pulverizing level of musicianship and deliver a set which manages to be technically complex yet heavy as hell. Tracks from the “Genesis” album become intensely powerful in a live setting and these five lads from Arizona leave any doubts that they can follow The Black Dahlia Murder buried in the dust. Jonny Davy is an imposing frontman with a voice straight from Satan himself and around him his bandmates hammer out the riffs like their lives depend on it.

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Bodies continuously fly over the barrier before the stage and the crowd are obviously loving every minute. A few sound problems interrupt the set but, when the sound is working, JFAC deliver a flawless 45 minute set which, as they end with the mighty “Knee Deep”, sends everybody home with a feeling they’ve just witnessed an evening of the best music currently doing the metal rounds.

Happy birthday Metal Blade.

Words & Photos – Steve Gerrard ROCK PHOTO

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