I never thought my first gig of 2012 would be a death metal show but I’m always open to new music so it was off to the Birmingham Academy to see The Black Dahlia Murder supported by Skeletonwitch and Fleshgod Apocalypse.
As far as extreme band names go Fleshgod Apocalyse will be somewhere up the top of that list! Taking to the Academy 3 stage in ripped up tuxedos covered in what I hope is fake blood and black face paint the Italian metallers put on a good show. There’s a fair bit of head banging both on stage and in the pit and with some interesting backing vocals from the guitarist they put on a good show to a decent sized crowd.
Skeletonwitch takes things a bit more seriously, fronted by the huge, bearded Ryan Knight they blast out a set of tight thrashy black metal. These guys certainly look the part what with the long hair and huge beards but there is no ritual slaughters on stage just 5 guys playing some very heavy music. To my untrained ears the songs all kind of blended into one but they got a good reaction from the crowd,
The Black Dahlia Murder are on the 6th date of their mammoth UK tour and spirits are still riding high. It’s a chance for them to play some new songs off their latest and critically acclaimed album Ritual for the first time in the UK. They come onstage to a deafening roar from the crowd and they proceeded to lay waste to the venue as their punishing black metal shakes the room and any cobwebs out of the audience members.
They are barely 2 songs in before Trevor has his shirt off, both him and Brian complaining that they are ‘too fat for this much light!’ Going from deep growls to high pitched yelps and waving his hands around like a conductor Trevor is one hell of an engaging front man plus he’s pretty funny as well. There’s a fair few new songs in the set including guitarist Brian’s favourite the slow burning On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood and the blistering Moonlight Equilibrium.
There are circle pits aplenty with Trevor demanding one for pretty much every song, which the devoted crowd are more than happy to do. There is some serious musicianship on display tonight whether its drummer Shannon Lucas’ blast beats, Ryan Williams’ serious bass lines or the technical ability of both Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight all lead by the energetic and charismatic Strnad. Closing the set with one of their biggest hits Funeral Thirst it gives the crowd one last chance to let loose and give the band on stage the send off they deserve.
My eardrums have been brutally punished but in a good way, The Black Dahlia Murder sure know how to put on a show. I was familiar with about 2 songs before going but I was really getting into it by the end, they’re definitely a band I will go see again next time they hit Birmingham.
Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Steve Gerrard