The latest big metal show to reach Ireland is one of the most legendary death metal bands of all time. Who else but Cannibal Corpse?
It’s been nearly 8 years since they’ve played Ireland, though they’re a regular on the touring and festival circuit.
Tonight’s Dublin show is the 3rd last show of their massive tour of Europe and the U.K., so hopefully there is no sign of boredom or fatigue from the Floridians tonight.
Man Must Die
Scotland’s Man Must Die are the support band for Cannibal’s Irish tour and I was interested to see how they have developed since I last saw them in 2010.
Their set started with a damn heavy modern death metal sound, guitarists playing well off each other, a monster drummer, and a front man with a very intimidating presence that had the audience in his control.
However the band was also able to throw in enough melodic hooks and disgustingly heavy breakdowns to make songs stick out and keep their set feeling fresh.
Support acts can sometime suffer from static audiences, particularly when they playing below a band the calibre of Cannibal Corpse. Man Must Die did not have such problems with mosh pits breaking out during a good part of their set, and their songs leading to some respectable circle pits.
Even those on the sidelines were still showing their appreciation, raising their horns or fists whenever front man Joe McGlynn demanded it. In my opinion, when you hear a Glaswegian accent screaming at you to do something, it’s probably wise to do as they say.
My only critical points about the show were their guitarists and bassist seemed a bit static on stage and let all the attention to go to their front man.
Another minor distraction was for the start of their set, their drummer’s double kick work wasn’t quite as fluid as it could be (after the first few songs, he was full in the groove and tight!), and the use of very clicky kick drum triggers meant there was no hiding.
I won’t argue for or against the use of kick drum triggers, but rather point out for any drummers reading, that if you are using a triggered kick, every hit needs to count.
But overall, Man Must Die were a damn good support act who I hope will be back to Irish shores sometime soon, maybe even for a full headline set of their own.
But as good as Man Must Die were, there was no mistaking who the audience were dying to see.
After the break to set up Cannibal’s stage, the lights went off; the band walked onstage, and started their set. There’s no intro track, no special announcement or gimmick. Very simply, this is Cannibal fucking Corpse, and they are about to tear the Tivoli a new one.
The set started with plenty of tracks from their latest albums, and while there is certainly a market for older bands to go on tour playing only classic material, Cannibal Corpse don’t yet need to follow that path. Basically Cannibal fans are going to go insane no matter what song they play.
What strikes me about Cannibal Corpse is the difference between how they and death metal bands in the modern age write songs.
While many death metal bands now focus on writing super technical riffs, and recruiting a frantic, blast beating drummer. Cannibal Corpse only needs to write a few heavy riffs, let drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz lay down a surprisingly simple beat, and give space for Corpsegrinder to go for it.
Best example I can give is ‘Scourge of Iron’, where the 2nd riff is incredibly simple but still had the crowd levelling into each other.
It would however be blasphemy to accuse Cannibal Corpse of not still being a technical band.
With players in the ranks such as Pat O’Brien and Alex Webster (Who is as well regarded in the metal bass playing world as Cliff Burton or Steve DiGiorgio), tonight’s show was almost like a master class in death metal musicianship with ‘Evisceration Plague’, ‘Devoured by Vermin’ and ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ featuring that timeless riffing, frantic time signature changes, and pure speed.
If the crowd were already warmed up by the end of Man Must Die’s set, they were burning hot by the end of Cannibal’s opening song.
They ate up every song Cannibal Corpse played, and the pits looked packed and punishing from above the main floor. The crowd was loud when showing their appreciation for the band and Corpsegrinder looked a little bit impressed by the reception the band were getting.
While Corpsegrinder’s stage banter can sometimes feel like a strange death metal panto (Usual stick of telling the audience to scream louder, teasing “This is our last song” when everyone in the venue knows they aren’t done yet) one can’t help but feel the excitement in the air when he delivers his most well known song intro – “This song, is about shooting blood out of your cock” before ‘I Cum Blood’ starts up and send the crowd into a frenzy.
Anyone who has seen one of the documentaries made about Cannibal Corpse’s history, or following their Global Evisceration tour will know that Cannibal Corpse is a working-class band, that aren’t trying to present a role or character onstage, or follow some grand artistic vision.
Cannibal Corpse are making a living by writing heavy as fuck death metal records, and touring the world playing the music they love to their fans, and don’t seem keen to stop or even take a break lasting longer than a few weeks.
I remember talking to a friend before the show about Slayer retiring, and how it was a long time coming given their age, the death of Jeff and the lack of enthusiasm by the band at times.
Cannibal Corpse aren’t that much younger than Slayer, with most of their members less than 10 years younger than Tom Araya, and not to mention their peer Frank Mullen of Suffocation recently announcing he was officially leaving after one last tour. But is there talk of Cannibal Corpse retiring or losing their interest in the band?
Fuck no. Cannibal Corpse are showing no signs of slowing down or losing their edge. Alex Webster’s fingers seem as fast and strong as ever, Pat and Rob are still punishing their guitars, and Corpsegrinder could still probably out headbang and out scream any challenger in the audience tonight.
– Cormac Jordan ::: 22/03/18
– photos thanks to Liam Quigley and Norrie/Mad Moth