Hell on Earth Tour – Cattle Decapitation/Broken Hope/Hideous Divinity/Gloryhole Guillotine – Manchester Rebellion, 04/09/17 (Live Review)

Hell on Earth Tour

It’s not often you get to see a brutal death metal lineup like this, so I was very pleased to be able to catch this tour.

Gloryhole Guillotine

Gloryhole Guillotine

Unexpectedly, I arrive early enough to catch Gloryhole Guillotine, and I’m glad I did. They set the right tone immediately and get things off to a flying start.

Although a bit rough around the edges in parts of their stagecraft and delivery, they’re still mostly brutal and engaging from the off. They know what the audience wants to get them warmed up nicely, and they largely deliver.

There’s a whiff of old-school Earache Records about them, and not just because of the t-shirts the band are wearing. Think old Napalm Death and Brutal Truth, with a few more modern influences thrown in here and there. It’s not all grinding speed either; some decent groove and also some slower parts are presented as well. Their live sound is good too, meaning that the band get to flex their musical muscles without undue sonic hindrance.

This is my first exposure to Gloryhole Guillotine’s brand of grindcore and it’s a positive one. With a relatively decent sized crowd to watch them, especially for this time of night, I think it’s fair to say Gloryhole Guillotine probably leave with more fans than they arrived with.

Hideous Divinity

Hideous Divinity

Here’s a band I’ve been looking forward to. Adveniens was a monster of a record, and I’m very pleased to say that the band sound equally monstrous live.

The stage almost seems too small to contain their dense sound. With songs that are frequently relatively long, complex, technical, and insanely intense, it’s a credit to the band, (and the sound engineer), that they don’t largely dissolve into an impenetrable wall of noise. They get a good crowd reaction and it’s pleasing that a fair few people seem to know their material.

The band’s singer has a lot of presence, and when he’s in full growling flow, it’s all quite impressive. Backed up by an able and talented band, the songs brutalise the audience and everybody laps it up. Theirs is a well-oiled and professionally delivered show that, if it wasn’t for the two legendary behemoths that are on after them tonight, should by rights see them higher up on a bill like this.

If you get a chance to catch Hideous Divinity live at some point, you definitely should.

Broken Hope

Broken Hope

Having I first picked up The Bowels of Repugnance in some long-forgotten record shop in Birmingham around 1994 or so, it’s only taken me the best part of a decade and a half to see Broken Hope live. Bloody Hell, where does the time go…?

Well, there’s no time to feel old, as the band explode out of the stage with the energy and force that would shame many younger bands.

It’s starting to really feel busy in here now, and it’s clear that Broken Hope are quite a draw in their own right, as you would expect. The crowd react as such, and the band are greeted with rampant enthusiasm from the very start. They get the first proper mosh pit of the evening too.

Broken Hope have a certain way with riffs, and some of them tonight nearly bring the house down. Holy crap, they sound like the aural equivalent of a wrecking ball! Huge, sick grooves that are peppered with lethal blast beats lay waste to everything. Broken Hope’s songs have always managed to combine visceral, primal power with intelligent composition, and tonight this formula absolutely slays.

After waiting so long to see them live they don’t disappoint. In fact, they’re actually way more impressive and enjoyable than I could have hoped for. They’re like a death metal force of nature; unstoppable and relentless.

It’s hard to believe that these aren’t even the headliners tonight. Simply fantastic.

Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation

There are few bands that could follow Broken Hope’s performance, but thankfully Cattle Decapitation are one of them. This is at least partially due to the fact that, within the obvious parameters of the death metal style, they’re relatively different bands. Different, but complementary.

With a more brutally modern take on the style, as well as moments of grim atmosphere and those trademark inimitable mutant semi-clean vocals, Cattle Decapitation are a different beast to Broken Hope, but no less impressive.

This is the first time I’ve seen Cattle Decapitation in about 10 years or so, and time seems to have honed them into an even more ferocious beast than they previously were. Their streamlined brutality, focused aggression, and rampant intensity infect a large portion of the people in attendance with a frenzied pathogen that sees them almost frothing at the mouth in response to the band’s energetic extremity. The reaction they get is violent and enthusiastic. The crowd, as they say, goes wild.

And all of this before their charismatic frontman even announces that they’re going to film some footage for an upcoming video for The Prophets of Loss. The response from the crowd is insane; crowd surfers and stage divers become the norm from this point onward.

Cattle Decapitation are one of those bands that, within the obvious genre constraints, don’t really sound a whole lot like anyone else, and their distinctive songs translate flawlessly into the live environment. With a sound quality that’s sharp enough to cut yourself on, the band simply dominate the stage.

I also really like it when you encounter a frontman who moves beyond the usual generic stage banter too; the singer here is one such frontman, demonstrating both humour and personality between songs. During the songs, however, he’s an irrepressible whirlwind of destruction and intensity, with the voice of a daemon.

The band fake-end with Pacific Grim, one of my favourites off The Anthropocene Extinction, (making me very happy), before returning to offer a few more minutes of savagery with Your Disposal off Monolith of Inhumanity.

The Cattle Decapitation live experience is a brutally engaging and highly charged one. What a great ending to a great evening.

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