Live Review: Obituary - Club Academy, Manchester
10th September 2023
Support: Pest Control
Words: Sam Jones
It is half seven in the evening and people are already streaming into Manchester Club Academy for the night’s show of Pest Control followed by Obituary. The latter had been storming their way across the UK, unleashing blinding performances that have left an already sweltering British public in utter ruins. We haven’t been down here long before the already muggy weather is reducing fans to sweat from all feasible orifices. The band have since sold out of their unique tour shirts, owing to the popularity of the band within the last fortnight.
Pest Control may only be young but that doesn’t stop them from utterly exploding onto the stage, riling up the crowd effortlessly with an energy that just springs loose,, it seems to flow out of them easily as water. It’s rare to see a woman fronting a thrash band but Pest Control own the stage they’re upon within minutes and their frontwoman is stomping and jumping across that stage like it owes her money. The crowd is utterly electric as it doesn’t take long for the Manchester community to completely buy into Pest Control’s dominance of their attention. It’s good to see fresh blood amongst thrash metal and this band in particular, seeing as I missed their recent Bloodstock Festival performance. We can feel the drums pounding through the floorboards and that’s not counting the bass drums either, and the vocals rip through the crowd like sawblades. For a young band, seasoned and younger metal-goers alike are banging their heads furiously; it hasn’t taken long for Pest Control to convert new followers to their thrash.
Even 20 minutes before Obituary are due to come on, the audience is rabid for the main event. It’s nicely packed, not so rammed we can’t move but there’s enough people here to give weight and presence to Obituary’s coming performance. Following the end of ACDC’s “Livewire” played over the speakers, the band prepare to take the stage, and the lights die, signalling their imminent arrival. To the flow of “Redneck Stomp” the band emerge amidst a plethora of applause and hungry ears, at last Manchester is receiving the brunt of the onslaught Obituary have been delivering across the UK. Photos and videos are abundant, these guys are death metal royalty after all and time has only cemented the legend that is Obituary. Perhaps the secret to their longevity as well as their loyal fanbase has been simplicity: tonight, as they’ve replicated innumerable times throughout their career, the band keep things straightforward and maintain a keen attention upon the power of the riff.
Whether it’s faster or the band’s usual trudging pace, the crowd are simply eating out of the band’s palm and no thanks to Obituary balancing their setlist with classic material and tracks off their newest album. It’s a confirmation of their prowess to see all involved jump and mosh and headbang with glee when the band announce they’ll be playing “a track off the new record”. Often these answering cries are supportive for the band’s recent efforts but for Obituary it’s genuine; Dying Of Everything is a fearsome, album of the year contender-calibre record. Then “Chopped In Half” begins, and my head instantly rose out of its headbanging as a shark smells blood, and suddenly Phase Two of their set has begun; the band have fun breaking out their classic material.
The stage is soon alight with strobe and anticipation as the band prepare to unveil “War”, a personal favourite of mine off the recent album, and is a fitting reflection for how the pit has been throughout the night. Then, amidst a sea of green, the band break out the title track of their debut, landmark album: “Slowly We Rot.” The band don’t need to announce it, we know what it is, it’s delayed tones speak volumes about Obituary’s philosophy of death metal. Then, as Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” plays through the speakers, the show is done. But what a mark Obituary have left, demonstrating a performance even the new guard should be wary of. Obituary are amongst the titans of death metal and for good reason, their aim has never deviated and their style has not once wavered. My fourth time seeing them, and many more to come. True legends.