The Black Dahlia Murder/Benighted/Ingested – Sound Control, Manchester – 21/01/16 (Live Review)

TBDMTOUR

I like Sound Control as a venue, and tonight, even though I’ve definitely seen it busier, there’s still a decent amount of people here and the place has a good atmosphere.

Ingested 1

I think I’ve seen Ingested before. Maybe. If I have, it was a long time ago and neither the band or the details left too much of an impression. Tonight changed all that. It seems they’ve either come a long way or I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. Probably both.

So, as you’ve probably gathered I arrived in time to catch Ingested, and I’m eternally grateful I did. They positively explode out of the stage, full of high energy, revelling in their status as show-openers and doing a damn good job at it.

Ingested’s slamming Death Metal deals in plenty of blasting and groove. They’re essentially slam machines with colossal breakdowns that somehow fail to sound one dimensional. The singer has a voice like a demon and bellows, roars and screams himself into fits of slamcore delirium.

Ingested 2

Tonight they benefit from a huge clear sound, which is downright shocking for an opening band and allows them to display what they do best at full power. They got me moving which is more than most support bands do.

Mixing parts of Despised Icon, The Red Chord and Dying Fetus, Ingested just destroy the stage. Their music is clearly designed with mosh pits in mind, and the crowd give a suitably good account of themselves throughout.

The set ends and most people seem happy. Me? I’m very happy.

Benighted 1

After Ingested’s impressive performance, Benighted had their work cut out for them, or so I thought.

Being unfamiliar with Benighted, I was not sure what to expect, (except in general terms), but they rose to the challenge nicely.

Like Ingested’s set, we are treated to another strong sound; the venue should be proud of itself and tonight it appears to be support band heaven in this regard.

Benighted are aggressive and sharp, with a more focused, refined assault than that of Ingested’s raw muscularity, although that’s not to say they lack direct brutality or strength; far from it.

Their polished and professional style takes modern Death Metal and dips it in an impassioned performance. The band’s twisted melodics and grooving blasts come from the same school of nastiness as Cattle Decapitation and Aborted, combining quality musicianship with streamlined brutality. Elements of their sound have a tribal, rhythmic quality, frequently interrupted by a tirade of blast beats for maximum effect.

Benighted 2

They make quite the impression and it’s clear that they have more than a few fans in the crowd, and there’s plenty of movement too. The groovy parts get the bodies moving hard and the fast, blasting sections just demolish. In fact, I particularly like it when they play fast. The evening’s first stage diver even makes an appearance mid-way though the set. He looks like he’s enjoying himself.

The singer has a commanding presence and a great voice. He also looks like a smaller version of powerlifter Jeremy “Couch” Hamilton, which keeps me amused the entire set. The bassist has an infectious grin and even indulges in a bit of Steve-Harris-from-Iron-Maiden-machine-gunning, which is always nice.

Their penultimate song starts with a sample of an alarm clock that sounds exactly the same as mine and freaks me the fuck out. What follows is much better than what usually follows though.

At the end of their set me and a large chunk of the crowd are left with smiles as large as the bassist’s. Nice.

The Black Dahlia Murder 1

And now for the band everyone’s been waiting for, the USA’s premier Melodic Death Metal masters.

I’ve seen The Black Dahlia Murder before, but they were playing in a support capacity and were marred by a weak, muddy sound. In keeping with the theme of the evening so far though, there are no such problems tonight, and the band absolutely slay. Boasting a crystal clear sound that demonstrates a band at the top of their game, the band’s performance tonight is exemplary.

When the bassists asks if we wanna hear a very fast new song, you know we do.

The Black Dahlia Murder 2

The major selling point of The Black Dahlia Murder for me is their peerless brand of fast, razor-sharp melodicism, and tonight it’s on such fine display that I’m amazed I don’t leave with lacerations.

Opening with Receipt off their latest album, they power through a veritable greatest hits package. Although, like any greatest hits collection, you can’t please everyone, (I was hoping for Climactic Degradation…). However, there are enough quality songs here to please, spanning the band’s entire discography.  Vlad, Son of the Dragon makes a welcome appearance and Moonlight Equillibrium (about a werewolf that eats English breakfasts, apparently) is a particular favourite. Abysmal, the title track from their latest album, sounds even better and more savage live than it does on record, and then Funeral Thirst absolutely just melts faces. Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn, (about the Evil Dead, he tells us), is a real catchy crowd-pleaser, as is Statutory Ape. They end with the one-two punch of Deathmask Divine and the iconic I Will Remain, which features one of the best intros and outros to any song. And the bit in the middle isn’t bad either.

The Black Dahlia Murder 3

The band themselves are on fine form, and focus inevitably finds itself being directed towards their charismatic frontman; he attacks the songs with such enthusiasm it’s palpable, sometimes seeming to take the role of a mad conductor.

As befitting the band’s status, the crowd have a strong reaction to the songs and there is stage diving and moshing in abundance, including some relatively immense circle pits. One stagediver arrives on stage just after a song finishes and gets to be interviewed by the band, (his name is Lawrence, and he likes slam). At the behest of the band the audience give a good attempt to carry him to the back of the venue during the next song, but he doesn’t quite make it. It’s a valiant effort though.

The Black Dahlia Murder 4

When a crowd casualty seems to occur, the band take the time to make sure everything’s okay, and also lead a chant of “Live! Live! Live!” which is most amusing.

After this long in their career The Black Dahlia Murder are a well oiled machine live, but it’s good to see that they aren’t just going through the motions and there’s real passion here.

This was genuinely one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time. All three bands did themselves proud and I am left with nothing but fond memories and a slightly tired neck, exactly as it should be.

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Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine (Review)

NecrocosmNecrocosm are a Death Metal band from the US. This is their début album.

Necrocosm play Melodic Death Metal with plenty of riffs, licks and shredding leads. The music is fast, furious and has bite. Think a more modern spin on the style, à la The Black Dahlia Murder, mixed with a bit of Aborted and even some Dying Fetus.

The band have a strong sound and the guitars sound nicely meaty for a band of this style. Everything sounds slick, professional and honed to a killing edge.

The vocals follow the style of a band like Aborted; deep growls backed up with more of a shouted bark and the odd scream.

These songs have been written with high-energy in mind and manage to keep the aggression and intensity up for these 45 minutes. I like fast music with a sharp melodic edge and Necrocosm have certainly produced an album that does what it sets out to do very nicely indeed.

Who said Melodic Death Metal had to be weak and wishy-washy? Anyone? No, that’s right.

Highly recommended.

The Big Jazz Duo – Enemy (Review)

The Big Jazz DuoThe Big Jazz Duo arre from Italy and this is their début album.

Looking at the album cover and knowing the band’s name, you’d probably never guess that they play Death Metal. But they do; Experimental/Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore.

This is sickeningly heavy with grooves and breakdowns aplenty. Speed and brutality are also present, as are pignoise vocals and scathing screams.

There’s a Djent aspect to their sound too, which seems to go hand-in-hand with a lot of Deathcore.

The band also include orchestral interludes, atmospheric sections and the like in their sound, which immediately makes them more interesting and raises their game.

Deathcore and Djent are two sub-genres that can get very stale, very quickly, if not handled well. The Big Jazz Duo avoid this trap by mixing these up with more traditional Death Metal and a melodic edge, as well as the more experimental aspects of their sound.

The songs are well written and the band understand the need for dynamics and pacing. A very polished and strong production rounds off the package and ensures that the songs have the best chance to shine.

These songs may be largely quite short but they’re packed to the rafters with goodies. Heavy groove, blasting carnage and atmosphere all merge together to create a listening experience that, in all honestly, makes me really fucking happy. I can always tell when I’m getting into an album when I start spontaneously bouncing along to it without realising. As you do.

If you imagine a cross between The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Xehanort then you’ll be on the right lines.

So, Brutal Death Metal, Djent, Deathcore, melody, atmosphere, orchestration…all in 31 minutes and all very well-written? I’m sold!

An extremely impressive album, especially considering the oft-dreaded Deathcore/Djent aspects of their sound.

Very highly recommended.

The Juliet Massacre – Human Abuse (Review)

The Juliet MassacreThis is the second album by Italian Death Metal band The Juliet Massacre.

This is modern Brutal Death Metal/Deathcore

The vocals consist of pig squeals, deathgrunts, screaming and even the odd semi-clean.

The songs blend blasting brutality with breakdowns and the odd melodic passage. While it’s modern and energetic, unlike a lot of Deathcore bands The Juliet Massacre remember the Death Metal side of the Deathcore equation.

This will probably be a bit too “-core” for a lot of pure Death Metal fans, which is a shame as there’s a decent amount of brutality to be had here. The songs don’t let up and the album supplies the requisite hit of aggression.

I enjoyed this. With a slightly stronger sound and a little tightening up in the songwriting department The Juliet Massacre could easily ascend to the big leagues. Until then, I’ll still be listening to this again in the future.

For fans of Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder and Job for a Cowboy.

Hybrid Sheep – Free From the Clutches of Gods (Review)

Hybrid SheepHybrid Sheep are from France and this is their début album. They play Deathcore.

This is state-of-the-art Deathcore with a massive sound and a crisp method of attack.

Hybrid Sheep play their style in the vein of bands like All Shall Perish and Acrania. A few Metalcore influences from the likes of Lamb of God and As I Lay Dying are thrown in also, as well as some Modern Death Metal similar to bands like Revocation and The Black Dahlia Murder.

If you’re not a fan of this modern style of Extreme Metal then Hybrid Sheep are unlikely to convince you, but if you are then Free From the Clutches of Gods has enough meat to satisfy that’s for sure.

This is a well played and produced album with lots of heaviness, melodies, aggressive riffs, blasting and breakdowns. I find this style very easy listening in the sense that if you’re in the mood you can just stick a band like this on and start bouncing around like a maniac. As you do.

Just listening to this now I can’t help but have a little wobble around in my seat. Always the sign of a good listen.

The songs are enjoyable and satisfyingly aggressive. The standard alternation between deep growls and high screams is done well and there’s plenty of guitar widdling included with the heavy riffs.

Hybrid Sheep have produced an enjoyable album of Deathcore. Check them out.

Death Comes Pale – World Grave (Review)

Death Comes PaleDeath Comes Pale are from Denmark. This is their Death Metal début album.

This is Death Metal that carries melody well and has a good songwriting ethic.

The production is top notch and does the music justice. It’s both heavy and clear.

If you think Death Metal with a keen melodic edge and a Blackened feel in places – akin to The Black Dahlia Murder – then you’ll have the right idea of Death Comes Pale’s sound.

Deep vocals growl out from dark places and these are backed up with the screams of the damned.

The band take the time in their songs to explore their musical scenery and don’t always take the most direct route. Slower and more considered parts are included as well as lighter melodies amongst the carnage.

In fact, even though the band’s primary setting is heavy and loud, they do intersperse enough light and shade to their work; fragile melodies and more nuanced guitar work add to and enhance the overall brutality of the band. It’s interesting to hear a band like this creating a larger sound than normal and avoiding the pitfalls that would lead a lesser band into the trap of one-dimensionality.

Death Comes Pale have clearly taken their time composing these songs. They’re well-written, well-thought out tracks and good songwriting is obviously important to the band.

A really enjoyable and mature release of Death Metal. Recommended listening.

Emblazoned – Eucharistiae Sacramentum (Review)

EmblazonedEmblazoned are from the US and this is their début album. They play Blackened Death Metal.

This is music with an evil feel created by minions of some Dark Lord or other who worship and defile their way through 8 tracks of daemonic Death Metal.

The deep growls and high screams call out hymns to darkness whilst the crushing production allows the music to be both heavy and precise.

All of the instruments are clear and played with surgical steel. The drums have an especially crisp sound to them, the bass is audible and worthwhile and the guitars have a crunchy, crushing edge.

The riffs have a Blackened feel to a lot of the melodies which adds a touch of the underworld to the songs; they already have a malevolent feel to them as it is and as the band are mainly interested in creating a brutally evil atmosphere it’s only to be expected that a Black Metal influence should make its way onto the album.

The songs are very enjoyable and make the most of their relatively short playing time by effortlessly blending the brutality of streamlined Death Metal with the dark feeling of Black Metal.

Emblazoned combine parts of bands like Deicide, The Black Dahlia Murder, Satyricon, Behemoth, Arsis and Lvcifyre into their merciless sound and the result is a very strong album indeed.

It’s time for you to check out Emblazoned and join them in their war against the forces of light.

Solace of Requiem – Casting Ruin (Review)

Solace of RequiemThis is the fourth album of Technical Blackened Death Metal from Solace of Requiem. They come from the US.

It’s fairly unusual for Technical Death Metal bands to have anything to do with the Black Metal style. It’s not unheard of of course, just relatively rare, so I was looking forward to hearing this band to see what they did with the style.

Straight away it’s apparent that they are very technical and they do wear their Black Metal influences on their sleeves.

The music is a dense, twisting affair. Technical Death Metal riffs fly everywhere at the speed of thought whilst Blackened keyboards and sounds add to the cacophony. High pitched Blackened screams add a further layer of evil and the entire thing reeks of a complicated rot.

It’s impressively harsh and the addition of the Black Metal influences to the Technical Death Metal core is atypical and done rather well.

The higher screamed vocals are joined by more traditional growls, once again sealing the deal between genres.

There are some great riffs here and the technicality doesn’t become overbearing or done just for the sake of it. Sometimes the band hits upon a great sounding mid-paced riff and they just let it settle in for a while and lot it flow naturally, which is a great thing to hear. This is frequently added to by keyboards and solos and the end result is very satisfying. As songs they work, and the entire album is top work by this band.

Everything is recorded well and the music is crisp and clear. These songs whirl by at lightspeed and you can’t fault the performances. As this is their fourth album they clearly know what they are doing by now and have the talent to achieve their goals.

This band remind me of someone like The Black Dahlia Murder if they had a lot more blazing technicality and Black Metal in their sound. It doesn’t completely describe Solace of Requiem of course, but it’s a good starting point; throw in some Spawn of Possession, Immolation and Arkhon Infaustus and you’re on the right lines.

Casting Ruin is a monster of an album and quite an achievement. By incorporating Black Metal into their sound they successfully differentiate themselves from hundreds of standard Technical Death Metal bands and immediately set themselves apart.

This is an album that is better than most and won’t settle for being ordinary. Solace of Requiem have their own identity that serves them well and they’re just waiting for you to discover them.

Do it now.

Voice of Ruin – Morning Wood (Review)

Voice of RuinComing from Switzerland, here we have Voice of Ruin.

A bit of an enigma this band in some ways; from the song titles I was expecting gore/porn-obsessed Death Metal but then the artwork is a bit unusual for that. Couple that with the band’s tendency to dress as farmers it tends to throw you a bit.

When you finally press play the style of music is actually a thoroughly modern Metalcore/Thrash influenced melodic Death Metal. From everything else about this release and the band, it’s quite unexpected.

Imagine Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God getting together to do a more extreme side band, (less commercial cleans, some blast beats, etc.); throw in a few modern Melodic Death Metal influences such as The Black Dahlia Murder and you should be there.

The sound is immense and state-of-the-art, with all of the instruments honed to crushing perfection and all aimed at utterly destroying. It does the music justice.

The songs are well written and have that thoroughly modern melodic crunch to them that will probably have just as many people running away from the band as running to them, such is the divisive nature of this kind of genre for some people.

It’s good though, very good, so don’t let preconceptions put you off discovering a talented band.