Live Review: Cattle Decapitation – Manchester

Cattle Decapitation

Live Review: Cattle Decapitation - Rebellion, Manchester
9th March 2024
Support: Signs of the Swarm, 200 Stab Wounds, Vomit Forth
Words: Dan Barnes
Photo Credit: Tim Finch

It’s a markedly different evening to the one in August 2022, the last time Cattle Decapitation we at this venue. Rather than the glorious heat of that time, it’s decidedly parky in Manchester tonight, has been for the last few days. But, what better way to shake off the chills than with another four of Death Metal’s finest (the first four were the Suffocation show a few weeks since) and most boisterous acts?

First up and it’s an early start for Connecticut’s Vomit Forth and their bruising brand of brutal death metal and goregrind. There’s little subtle about the way the evening begins; then again, there’s little subtle about the way the evening is going to continue, so best get used to it. Last year’s Seething Malevolence debut is as hard-hitting as you could hope for, and the live renditions bolster up the hardcore elements. Shame they didn’t have longer.

200 Stab Wounds is another death metal band with a short history, yet already making big waves. Formed in Ohio back in 2019, the four-piece have but one full-length record to their name: the excoriating Slave to the Scalpel from 2021 and much of tonight’s set is taken from that release. Tow Rope Around the Throat and Drilling Your Head certainly indicate a love of Suffocation and Dying Fetus, while closer, Itty Bitty Pieces has something of an early Slayer energy going on.

Acting as this evening’s odd-act-out is Pittsburg Deathcore crew, Signs of the Swarm, who’ve been making apocalyptic noise for the last ten years, and have issued five full-length records. Tonight’s show is dominated by the most recent Among the Low & Empty platter. It’s sometimes worrisome when Deathcore bands play with out and out Death Metal acts as the aesthetic often does not go over well with the old school. However, Signs of the Swarm temper their beatdowns and staccato riffs with David Simonich’s tortured grunts and some ripping guitar work from ex-Great American Ghost man, Carl Schulz.

It was curious that in the end of year considerations, a great many of the scribes at The Razor’s Edge put Terrasite into their Top Five Albums of the year. No collusion, no coercion and no brown bag, nod-and-a-wink payments – or if there was, none of it came my way! Yet many of us, from disparate musical backgrounds, believe the latest Cattle Decapitation album to be another step on the ever upward trajectory.

Terrasitic Adaptation has an almost progressive opening, before putting its head down and rampaging like it was the end of the world was inevitable. Travis Ryan switches from guttural growls to high-pitched screams, while Josh Elmore’s guitar howls for mercy. We Eat Our Young and Scourge of the Offspring continue Terrasite’s first three tunes, with Scourge’s spastic riffs feeling all the more off-kilter.

Cattle Decapitation’s set covers only back to 2012’s Monolith of Inhumanity-onward, the frenzy of Dead Set on Suicide reminds us that there will be no easy options tonight. The Storm Upstairs has an intro that instils fear into the soul, while the prophetic Bring Back the Plague seemed to take on an anthemic quality at Bloodstock 2022, and maintains the insanity of the time, even as it slips deeper into history.

Between interludes The Great Dying, part 1 and The Burden of Seven Billion, come the grim Finish Them and the thrashy A Photic Doom. The band’s hour upon the stage seems to be ripping by with undue haste, and before long we’re into the final tunes. Leaving Terrasite alone, we served a hearty slice of The Anthropocene Extinction through an excellent Mammals in Babylon and vein-popping Pacific Grim. The set ends on Kingdom of the Tyrants and Cattle Decapitation have again demonstrated their sheer class as an ever-inventive death metal juggernaut.

We’re being treated to some awesome multi-band bills at the moment and this, along with Suffocation the other week and Enslaved last night, makes those cold and wet winter nights almost bearable.

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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