Live Review: Atheist / Cryptopsy – Derby

Live Review: Atheist / Cryptopsy - The Hairy Dog, Derby
23rd March 2024
Support: Atheist, Cryptopsy, Almost Dead, 72 Legions, OuterGods, Vulgar Dissection, Dreor
Words: Sam Jones
Photos: Martin Hingley

My first time at The Hairy Dog saw me continually surprised. It’s a pub that opens up onto the venue, and then I feel carpet under my feet which is unexpected. With so many bands, merchandise is sprawled everywhere and while it’s slow to fill up, owing to a 4pm entry, the crowd slowly gather ready for a night of madness and mayhem. This is the tour’s last UK show and, if the tour logistics are to be believed, the last show of the whole tour since their Oberhausen show is allegedly cancelled.

Dreor take the stage to a crowd sinking their first pint, but whilst it’s still early the band unleash a deluge of bass and energy that fills the room with ease. Drumming and doing vocals is a particularly rare talent yet that’s what’s on show and, considering there’s only three of them, they really make that stage feel fuller than it actually is. Their steadier tempo also makes it easy for us to get on board with their sound, making for easy headbanging. Their Everyman aesthetic also bleeds through as they engage with the crowd between most songs, removing the barrier between band and audience.

By the time Vulgar Dissection are on, the venue has filled out nicely, I’ve grabbed a Cryptopsy longsleeve and the band are bringing a much more slam-oriented vibe. While Slam has never been my main thing, it astonished me as to the technical ability Vulgar Dissection were displaying. It’s evident these guys like Dying Fetus because their songwriting harbours numerous similarities, but I’m not complaining. Seeing these guys play as fast as they do, yet be as tight together as they are, whilst tapping solos out upon guitar and bass respectively is impressive. The groove their sound conjures also makes for good times and good vibes as the audience starts breaking out into slow, Slam-inspired dancing. It’s equally humorous and brutal. The band are throwing ultra-heavy riffs at us but there’s something peculiarly inviting about their sound. I’m not really a big Slam person but I found myself fully on board with Vulgar Dissection’s style. Closing out their set with a stomping slam pit, I really need to check these guys out some more. I even managed to grab a setlist.

Outergods are a much more visceral band in comparison to the first two bands; instead of guttural, gruff vocals, Outergods are feral, animalistic. There’s an acutely blackened vibe flowing through their side since their guitar tone is a little thinner, where it cuts through the room like a hot knife in butter. No wonder these guys won a slot in Bloodstock’s New Blood stage, they ooze charisma and stage presence. Their frontman is utterly fantastic; he commands the stage as naturally as breathing comes to us. Even when he’s not performing vocals, he’s astride the stage hyping the crowd and band up. The band plenty of material, much of which off their recent full length album. It’s a more scathing performance than what the night has offered us as of yet.

72 Legions bring the death metal back in force and patch jackets galore! There’s no time wasted as the band launch us right into the thick of it with eviscerating riffs and a vocal performance right out of 90s death metal. Amidst a plethora of bands with a unique edge to their sheen, 72 Legions offer the most traditional death metal onslaught yet this evening. Even as they slow down their performance at times, the intensity doesn’t wane, especially as frenetic light displays keep the scathing atmosphere their riffs and solos jut up too. After the bands this tour has thus thrown at us, it’s nice to get a band that brings things down to an expected frequency. We know of the madness to come, so in comes 72 Legions with their reliable yet ruthless stage presence. I really took a liking to these guys and their performance. My kind of band.

Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography
Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography

Almost Dead are amongst the last three bands of the evening and, thusly, there’s a heightened gravitas upon their taking the stage. The band’s unique thrash/hardcore is something aligned with this tour’s style yet is completely removed from every other act of the evening. There’s an additional symphonic edge to their sound too that permeates much of their set. Though their thrash attack is coarser and rougher to the touch than most thrash performances, Almost Dead bring the intensity with every turn their songwriting takes. I was speaking with their frontman regarding the new album beforehand and he promised they’d be playing many tracks off the new record; he was true to his word as I recalled tracks I’d heard when reviewing Destruction Is All We Know.

Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography

Atheist. My most anticipated band of the evening by a country mile. It’s been years and years since they played the UK and given the outcomes of the last couple of shows, they’ve been absolutely ripping it up. And the night utterly exploded. Every support band has been great, but it’s when Atheist came to the stage you felt like a bomb had merely been ticking down; the band were utterly electric as they refuse to stay in any one place for long. That’s all the more impressive when you consider Atheist’s riffs and songwriting aren’t for the faint of heart; their music is devastating yet extremely complex and that notion is all the more reinforced when you see these guys play as fast as they do and yet the accuracy and discipline they have towards their craft is untouchable.

I got to hear some of my favourite Atheist tracks back to back; 16 year old myself is crying inside to it. They played a full set equally across their first three records; they played fast pieces, steady pieces, weird pieces; respect must be given to them for playing even their more avant-garde material live when many bands of their ilk wouldn’t have chosen so. Atheist utterly commanded that stage. The pits were wild. I’d love to see them return to the UK again.

Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography

The final band of the night take the stage. On the heels of their most recent record, Cryptopsy are once more a band people are lining up to see. Bathed in a crimson hue, Cryptopsy, helmed by a vocally volatile frontman, hold nothing back as they hurl guttural vocals, blast beats and their signature riffs upon a crowd whom most have been here for the last six hours.

It must be said that these guys’ sound works beautifully with the acoustics The Hairy Dog possesses as, even towards the back, you can feel the band’s power just as much as if you were right towards the front. They demand circle pits and lo! There they appear. The drinks and crowd have flowed for hours and here they reach the apex. They make an impassioned plea for the crowd to go wild; this is truly the final show of the tour and they want a ballistic finale to cap it off with. Cryptopsy close off a night that has been utterly incredible and, frankly, I’d be open to more of these massive evenings. Pay a little extra and get a few additional bands. I got to see Atheist and many more alongside a couple of dear friends. What’s not to like?

Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography
Photo Credit: Martin Hingley Photography

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