Live Review: Ingested – Bristol

Live Review: Ingested – The Exchange, Bristol
23rd March 2022
Support: Bodysnatcher, Acranius & Bound in Fear
Words & Photos: Paul Hutchings

If you were in the Bristol area on 23rd March, it’s likely that you felt the earth move. Whilst for the lucky ones that might have been due to a night of passion, it’s more realistic to assume that the epicentre of these shockwaves emanated from The Exchange as four heavyweight beasts of the extreme metal world lowered the tone (literally) and for close to four hours brought blastbeats, downtuned riffage and guttural vocals in an onslaught of depravity which saw beer split, bruises obtained, and eardrums perforated.

The world of extreme death metal lurks in the subterranean levels but bring together a package of some of the genres leading lights and those that crave cranial crushing brutality tend to respond. This tour, whilst crammed into some of the smaller venues on the circuit, has seen solid turnouts and the Bristol hardcore were out in force on a balmy night when spilling sweat and other bodily fluids was probably not on the agenda for many. For those that made the effort, the impact was explosive.

Casually arriving ten minutes after advertised doors, it was something of a surprise to be confronted by a queue of punters eager to get into the darkened main room. For the poor sods who were attending the alternative music option in the basement of this venue it must have been something of a trial to fight past some of the metal world’s hardened warriors. The logos were indecipherable on many a shirt, the observation that a hoodie bearing the Cannibal Corpse logo seemed mainstream raising inner chuckles.

The reason for the clamour soon became clear for Farnham’s Bound in Fear were already ripping it up on stage. The Farnham boys were the new kids on this tour, but still brought a fair degree of experience with two albums under their belt included their 2021 sophomore ‘Penance’. It’s an often-dismissed genre, but in terms of technicality there’s little that matches some of the skill on display. The focal point for most bands who bring this brutal deathcore and slam style is very much the vocalist and Ben Mason demonstrated his chops with an assured performance. At times gasping for air, he nevertheless hit the deeper growls comfortably, with the band bringing faster elements in line with their slower, sludgy, brain mulching riffage which saw mass head banging around the room. Of course, the heavier stuff encouraged the extreme slam dancing and two stepping, with fists and legs flailing about the pit with full force. Bound in Fear may have been the newer band, but they certainly brought their intense piledriving metal to the party and warmed the room up by several degrees.

It was something of a treat to watch Germans Acranius being so particular over their soundcheck, for minutes after their precise requirements had been addressed by the sound engineer, the room exploded as the veterans from Rostock turned things up a notch with a blistering 40-minute set that flew by. I’m not familiar with their music but that appeared to be irrelevant to most present, who either knew the tracks or just let the body go with the flow. With most recent release ‘Mercy Denied’ still ringing in the ears, Acranius combined new with old and basically bludgeoned the room with their faster and explosive death metal. With two vocalists, in Kevin Peterson and newer member Marcus Jasak there was a relentless barrage from centre stage. Jasak revelled in his role as extreme ring master, and alongside him Peterson allowed his gruesome vocals to do the talking, or maybe that should be shouting, for the Acranius sound is faster, harder and even more aggressive than Bound in Fear. Punishing from start to finish, but with heart and a gratitude that was warming, Acranius simply ripped a hole in the room, setting the bar high for the following behemoths.

Having had Ingested on several tours in the US, it was high time that the favour was returned and judging by the crammed room, many in the venue were there to see the Floridian monsters Bodysnatcher. An unassuming soundcheck during which the band displayed great humour finished abruptly and within seconds the Americans were burying any demons with one of the most intensive and punishing sets for a long time. The intensity in the pit increased again, and vocalist Kyle Medina roasted his throat with an aggressive and ferocious performance. He shares vocals with the huge Chris Whited who also brings the beats with his battering drumming whilst the second Kyle, this time Carter adds additional vocals as well as the shredding. Bodysnatcher’s sound is full of slow, pulsing breakdowns that threaten the mere existence of spinal cords, as well as more extreme and faster paced segments. And when they get going all hell was breaking loose. In the main, the band that formed in 2014 just level buildings. It was crushing and the ovation was deserved.

Three ferocious bands but they all made way for the blistering rage that is Manchester’s Ingested. Close to two decades in the business, Ingested are, according to vocalist Jason Evans, the “Kings of UK death metal”. On this demonstration I’d wager a bob or two that they may well be right. This was an assured display that improved as the set expanded. An early wall of death helped the venue get a little bit sweatier, with Evans cajouling the pits to “open up”. Throwing in new song ‘Rebirth’ early on, this was a display that slowly improved as it developed. Punches thrown were limited to the pit, with more beers flying and all the time Lynn Jeffs blistering drumming ensured that everything was held together. Listening to Ingested on record is like having your face rubbed with sandpaper. See them live, and you’ll have the flesh dropping off in huge, emaciated chunks.

As they ground out their set, the applause and confidence of those in the pit increased. By the end of the evening, for me Ingested just shaded it. The audience clearly lapped up every drop and roared their approval. The Mancunians had bludgeoned their way through the allotted hour. Exhausted, sweaty, and damaged, both band and crowd finished the evening with mutual respect. It may have been a Wednesday but driving home there was a big smile on my face despite the motorway closure that added 20 minutes to the homeward journey. They may not be to everyone’s taste but sometimes the extreme is what you need. catch Ingested and co on the right day and you’ll be blown away.

All photo credits: Paul Hutchings

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.