European Annihilation Summer Tour – Dying Fetus/Carnifex/Toxic Holocaust/Goatwhore – Manchester Club Academy, 14/08/18 (Live Review)

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Well, what a lineup. Even though the formidable Venom Prison were forced to pull out of the show, that still leaves us with four extreme metal bands that are each draws in their own right. It’s a diverse bill, one that I couldn’t afford to miss. Bring on the METAL!

Goatwhore

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This is my first exposure to Goatwhore live, despite being a big fan of their work since they first crawled out of some long lost tomb.

With a pretty damn good sound for an opening band, Goatwhore tear into their set with an energy and love for their craft that you might not expect from such a veteran band. Frontman Ben Falgoust II is particularly entertaining to watch, and both his screams and growls sound exactly like they do on record.

Played with intensity, focus, and energetic brutality, the band’s songs are infectiously blackened slabs of ugliness that seem perfect for the live environment. The band successfully instigate a wall of death for their final song Fucked by Satan, and the venue sees its first active mosh pit of the evening, at least for a while.

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Judging by the amount of people that have made it to the show so early, there are a lot of people here to see the openers. Goatwhore put on a fine show and the band go down a treat.

What a good way to start the evening.

Toxic Holocaust

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Before tonight I’ve been largely unfamiliar with Toxic Holocaust’s output, but their brand of aggressive thrash/punk crossover has won me over.

Despite my own ignorance of Toxic Holocaust’s work, it seems there’s a decent portion of the crowd who are well acquainted with the band’s music. A mosh pit appears almost immediately during the first song aired. The gods of the mixing desk favour us once more, and the band benefit from a strong, clear sound.

I may not know the songs, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying what the band do. Some of the riffs are quite playful and fun, in a menacing, nasty sort of way. This is good stuff. Cutting guitars, fast drums, short songs, and plenty of charisma leaves me with a firm desire to get to know the band’s material better in the future.

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Toxic Holocaust get a good reaction from the crowd, and hold my attention throughout their set. Winner.

Carnifex

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I’ve never seen Carnifex before and due to how damn good Slow Death was I was excited to catch them tonight. They did not disappoint.

The band’s modern death metal is laced with black metal ornamentation and studded with deathcore brutality. Combined with some very catchy songwriting, Carnifex are a fearsome proposition that deserve their higher profile status on the more popular end of the extreme metal spectrum. Tonight, they slay.

Despite some intermittent minor sound issues, Carnifex lay waste to the stage with a palpable energetic enthusiasm. Displaying both style and substance, the band clearly know what they’re doing on stage and the crowd reacts accordingly. A circle pit spontaneously erupts during the second song, Slow Death. Bedecked in leather and spikes, the band put their backs into it on stage and the crowd reciprocate their energy and movement.

Although some of the nuances and Gothic flourishes of the songs are lost in the carnage of the live environment, enough remain to ensure that the songs are as engaging live as they are on record. With a winning combination of groove, melody, brutality, and catchiness, the band’s songs are very easy to enjoy.

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It’s hard not to get caught up in the waves of molten metal that flow from the stage in tsunamis of pounding riffs, serrated vocals, and walls of blast beats.

Carnifex are both impressive and enjoyable tonight. If it wasn’t for the legendary Dying Fetus, Carnifex would be easy headliners for a show like this. A very satisfying experience.

Dying Fetus

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The legends, at last.

After Dying Fetus‘ triumphant set at last year’s Damnation Festival in support of the excellent Wrong One to Fuck With, I wasn’t expecting to see them again so soon. Well, I’m very happy I was wrong.

Upon being greeted by any of the colossal songs that Dying Fetus unleash tonight it’s basically impossible to stand still. This is music designed to get people moving, and move the crowd does.

Dying Fetus rule, it’s as simple as that. If there’s a more perfect blend of death metal brutality, huge slamming riffs, squealing technicality, and ultra-catchy groove, then I haven’t heard it. Tonight the band are on top form, belting out song after song of juicy, meaty, death metal goodness. Nourishing and tasty, this is a feast to savour and relish.

Hitting the stage with the force of a small nuke, the band’s brutally infectious songs are devastating. From the very start the crowd is in motion. There are some initial sound issues, but as these improve so does the power of the songs.

The colossal From Womb to Waste is preceded by the crowd chanting the name of the person who posted a now-deleted comment on the Facebook event page for tonight’s show, outraged at the name of the headliners. It’s questionable whether or not the band get the reference, but it sure amused a large section of the crowd. The chant reappears later, and seems to get larger too.

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The band pretty much flawlessly reproduce their songs live, to electrifying effect. Much headbanging and moshing occurs, and stage diving too. Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses) is one of my favourite Dying Fetus tracks, and tonight it’s simply amazing.

Dying Fetus are a well-oiled death metal machine, and for an hour they relentlessly crush everything in front of them.

Another first-rate show from a band at the top of the genre.

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