Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder & Gorguts In Vancouver: Live Review

By on 3 April 2014
carcassvancouver

Photo: Char Tupper

Last week, the almighty Carcass rolled through Vancouver with melodic death metal heroes The Black Dahlia Murder, tech-death legends Gorguts and rising death-thrashers Noisem in support. Our very own Rich Taylor went along for the ride, and here’s what he made of it…

CARCASS, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, GORGUTS & NOISEM

COMMODORE BALLROOM, VANCOUVER – MARCH 28TH

Although the years since Carcass’ reunion have been bountiful for those of us in proximity to Europe, with festival and tour appearances seemingly around every corner, North American audiences haven’t been quite so lucky. With this being Carcass’ first appearance in Vancouver since 2008 the air in the Commodore Ballroom is electric, as the crowd bustles in for openers Noisem.

Watching this young five-piece from Maryland, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d gone back in time 20 years. They rip through a set of high-speed, no-nonsense 80’s death/thrash worship with an authenticity that belies their years, and with gallons of passion that puts most bands pedalling the old school sound to shame. Their fiery and frantic aggression ignites an eager audience ready for action, and as hair, beer, and denim fly, it is clear these lads are going home with more than a few new fans.

There’s barely time to grab a drink before tech-death legends Gorguts take the stage to an utterly fanatical roar. As mastermind and only remaining original member Luc Lemay reminds us, it’s been 25 long years since Gorguts played Vancouver, and there’s a palpable excitement to finally hear these titanic anthems of Canadian extreme metal live. Captivating the audience with a display of hypnotically technical and ground-breaking material , Lemay and co. demonstrate their ability to cultivate atmosphere and feeling as easily as they can melt your face off with sheer speed and musical proficiency. It comes as a shock when they leave the stage, and the crowd lurches unwillingly from the trance these masters have laid upon us to grumble about unwise set scheduling…

But it’s soon drowned out as The Black Dahlia Murder take the stage. Their catchy melody and technical prowess leaves some a little dissatisfied, but goes down a treat with an audience that quickly transforms into a roiling sea of bodies. Vocalist Trevor Strnad goes about his work with the energy and charisma of a thousand Mr. Motivators, drawing the crowd into a frenzied mob and pumping his fists like an enraged primate as the carnage rages on. TBDM’s passion can’t be denied, and whether some like it or not, their spirited performance vindicates their place on this bill.

And then the moment finally arrives. The intro track ‘1985’ can barely be heard over the roar of the crowd, and as the opening notes of ‘Buried Dreams’ fill the Commodore Ballroom, beers immediately enter into orbit and the floor erupts into chaos. Carcass proceed to cruise through a set spanning their back catalogue with appropriately surgical precision, with the new tracks sitting alongside the band’s pivotal contributions to extreme metal history perfectly. Jeff snarls and rasps with his signature sneer plastered across his face, introducing songs and offering scathing Scouse wit in equal measure while the crowd churns in front of him. Dropping in surprises from ‘Symphonies…’ and ‘Necroticism’ keeps the old schoolers happy, while anything from ‘Heartwork’ naturally sends the entire place into air-guitaring and fist-pumping pandemonium. Closing affairs with a characteristically droll run through his bandmates, Jeff pulls out a hilarious Dorian Gray style portrait of Bill, joking that “he just gets more fucking beautiful with age!” As they finale with ‘Carneous Cacophony’, and leave the stage to resounding applause, there’s not a dissatisfied customer or un-banged head in the room, and Carcass add another victory to their seemingly infinite legacy.

WORDS: Rich Taylor

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