Live Review: Fit For An Autopsy – Birmingham

Live Review: Fit For An Autopsy - The Mill, Birmingham
7th May 2022
Support: Sentiels, Great American Ghost, Enterprise Earth and Ingested
Words: Matt Noble

First on are New Jersey tech-metallers Sentinels, who deliver an instrumental masterclass, full of intricacies and mind-bending grooves. They start off the night - or realistically, the early evening - with Epitaph, the opening song from last year’s Collapse By Design, songs from which comprise their setlist. Progressive and chaotic, frontman Josh roams around the stage menacingly while the crowd warm up their necks and respond positively to them. The guitar playing is hugely technical and impressive, bettered only by a breathtaking drum performance. They navigate through titanic breakdowns and contrasting mellow, ambient passages while Josh leads the line, roaring through each song potently. Embers, their most memorable track, rounds off the set in style. I hope to see these guys back in the country again soon.

Great American Ghost follow. Their direct, furious mix of hardcore and death metal is a well-placed contrast in the running order after Sentinels. Kingmaker starts the set with guitar bends and a few drum chops before launching into a groove that whips the room’s necks into sync. Sounding like a well-oiled machine, especially over the chuggy intro riff to Altar of Snakes, where the snare really pops out, they’re an impressive live act, and Ethan’s stage presence at the front is really the cherry on the cake. With their bouncy energy, the moshes seem to go up a gear. They introduce Travis from Enterprise Earth (more about them later) as a guest for the breakdown of Torture World, who goads the crowd, saying ‘don’t be a bitch, I want to see blood on the ground!’. I’m not sure about blood, but you couldn’t have accused any of the pitters of being like that. I’m certain that the band will have left the room with a new legion of devotees.

The bar has been firmly set. How do Enterprise Earth respond? Their modern take on deathcore is, again, a nice contrast from the previous act, keeping the night fresh and exciting. Opening rager Reanimate // Disintegrate has an atmospheric buildup and sub-bass drops that you can feel in your chest. The lead guitar work shows incredible talent, with precise, shredding guitar solos and tasteful, melodic lead parts. However, some of the riffing feels a little lost in the mix on the night, with the super-downtuned, extended range guitar parts unfortunately not cutting through to no fault of the band. The breakdowns are brutally slow at times, and a super-new song (only played live for the first time on this tour) gets the most honest compliment the band could ask from the audience as the biggest pit of their set opens. It’s super bouncy, hyper-speed, with well-written, melodic guitar parts, and overall proving a genuinely exciting glimpse ahead for the act. Closing with two songs from 2019’s Luciferous, Travis is at his most commanding as they round things off. ‘You move when I tell you to move!’, he roars, before a wild wall of death during The Failsafe Fallacy ensues. Blistering.

The room seems full already as Ingested stride onto the stage as main support to a creepy intro tape. Frontman Jason looks the part as a metal frontman, with leathers and half-tied hair, directing the crowd from the palm of his hand. His vocal performance is delightfully nasty, and he shows appreciation for the sound engineer as well as his own audience. Ingested introduce themselves as the kings of British death metal, and go on to make their case. With mind-blowing blast beats and face-contorting riffage throughout, it’s certainly a strong case. Impending Dominance is a real highlight, with bass drops and the entire room getting into its chuggy grooves. Ingested’s set is full of walls of deaths and the mosh pits become even more vicious - as the only UK band on the bill, and regulars on the underground extreme metal gig circuit, they are treated like legends, and their constant hard work has seen them rewarded. Jason performs closer Dead Seraphic Forms at the barrier in gratitude - their case is made! After first seeing Ingested at Bloodstock a few years ago, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every time I’ve caught them live since.

After all the anticipation you could ask for, it’s finally time for Fit For An Autopsy to crush the stage. They own the Mill as if it’s their very own venue, and they’re friends with everyone in the audience of a room that feels like it’s bursting at the seams. In every sense of the word, the way the band perform on stage is truly professional, as they involve the whole crowd, with guitarists pointing out as chords ring, shouting the lyrics out. Of course, there’s more to showmanship, but Fit For An Autopsy are absolutely razor-sharp as musicians as well. Joe’s pitched screams in opening number Oh What The Future Holds sees the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and Patrick’s lead guitar work is stunning. There’s been plenty of talented shredders that have taken to the stage tonight, but he seems like the true master of them all, with the presence to match. As No Man Is Without Fear plays, no concertgoer is without movement, and everyone submits to the power of the blistering groove on display. Pandora is pure death metal frenzy, Black Mammoth has stomping rhythms, and the room truly erupts for Your Pain Is Mine, with unbelievable audience energy, everyone jumping frenziedly.

There’s a couple of Spinal Tap moments. A shoe is thrown out from the mosh pits to Joe while he’s doing a lead vocal line, presumably a casualty from an enthusiastic circle pit. He carries on with his hook, before looking down at it with a wry, confused smirk, then casually tosses it back out and carries on with the song. And when the crowd demand an encore, absolutely refusing to allow them to leave, Fit For An Autopsy return to the stage without a working lead guitar signal. They roll and laugh with the technical issues, and after a random, impromptu audience sing-along to Livin’ On A Prayer, Joe humorously makes small talk and tries to entertain the audience for five minutes until everything’s up and running again. Of course, it’s worth the wait; Two Towers is slightly techier and with a few Gojira stylings that perfectly round off the night. The sound is best on the night for Fit For An Autopsy - perhaps in part to their slightly higher guitar tunings, that just cut through better today. It’s three years since they were last over here and you couldn’t say their return was anything less than triumphant. What an evening!

Header image credit: Tim Finch Photography

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