Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, a venue perhaps too cozy (despite being the headquarters of the New York metal scene) for titans like Carcass and Immolation. The tickets sold-out in less than ten minutes, and thanks to my buddy Ellie (whose Noothgrush back patch made her the belle o’ the ball), I was able to snag a ticket. After getting a new drink special (Storming the Castle: One Newcastle pint and a shot of Jameson Black) I perched at the front of the stage like a gargoyle.
I saw Immolation play at the Decibel Magazine Tour this past summer, but they treated the crowd to several new songs off their upcoming album, as well as “God Complex,” which they played live for the first time. Ross Dolan (vocals/bass) pre-emptively apologized in case they “fucked up.” Fucked up they didn’t. It took half a song for drummer Steve Shalaty to warm up, but once he got locked in the whole band worked together like an efficient killing machine.
Despite their fantastic performance playing song from their whole discography (though understandably leaning on Kingdom of Conspiracy), the crowd was a bit mild, except for one very vocal audience member claiming to be a fan from the “old days.” Dolan sized him up and replied, “You were born after we recorded our demo.” Closing with a new track called “All That Awaits Us,” Immolation’s new material sounds amazing, with even more drastic tempo shifts and dangerous groove mixed with their signature technicality.
A brief intermission where I refuse to leave my spot, enjoying Slaughter of the Soul playing over the Saint Vitus speakers. I eat an obscene number of gummy dinosaurs. Then: Carcass.
“So Williamsburg, I remember when you were just called Brooklyn,” quips Jeff Walker, snarling frontman/bassist of Carcass.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Walker in the past month for Girls and Corpses Magazine, an article which will be included in their Winter Issue. Walker continued his playful antagonization of the audience by inquiring, “Are the guys from MetalSucks here?” After silence from the crowd: “Didn’t think so. They’re a bunch of poseurs.” Unfortunately he didn’t ask if Decibel Magazine staff was present, or I would have humiliated myself by raising my hand silently like I was in social studies class.
While Walker was having a blast skewering the crowd with barbed words, Bill Steer (lead guitar) was caught between smirking and grinning the whole night. Along with new members Ben Ash (guitar) and Daniel Wilding (drums), they raged through songs from Reek of Putrefaction to Surgical Steel, insisting with a smile they’re playing new stuff because their record label was present. “Wait ten years, and you’ll be calling that a classic,” Walker said after completing their most recent single, “Captive Bolt Pistol.” Kicking out greasy death’n’roll and goregrind in equal measure, the crowd barely had enough room to headbang or mosh without causing constant concussions, but what’s a little brain bruising when it’s CARCASS? Playing with a slideshow of penises plagued by venereal diseases in the background, the band members seemed to have as much fun as the crowd.
“Our last song is off the album you love to hate,” promised Walker. The song: “Keep on Rotting in the Free World” off of Swansong. That track was my first introduction to Carcass, which I heard on an Earache Records sampler when I was in junior high. I discuss this more in my Girls and Corpses piece, but my fondness for that song is undying, and it was an entirely appropriate way to end the evening. Here's the Carcass set list for the night:
|Pro tip: Click to enlarge.|
While Carcass are only making a few brief stops here in the states, Walker promised a “proper tour” in the Spring. That’s enough notice, so save your pennies, gorehounds.
In the meantime, buy Surgical Steel and support the return of this legendary band. While you’re at it, pick up Kingdom of Conspiracy too. Both of these albums are on my current top 40 list for the year, and come highly recommended.
Surgical Steel can be purchased from Nuclear Blast Records here: http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/discography/details/3075960.3025043.surgical-steel.html
And Immolation’s most recent album is waiting to punch your cerebellum here:http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/about/71092.immolation.html