By DJ Astrocreep

A slightly different gig than the previous night’s psychedelia shenanigans, this evening’s jaunt across to Manchester sees me take in a fatal fourway of the finest death metal around in Stormruler, Ingested, Dark Funeral and Cannibal Corpse. 6pm doors is an early start but it doesn’t seem to deter what is a half full room for Stormruler, growing to a hefty 2/3 by the end of their set!

Stormruler are an unknown to me prior to the gig, keeping to my tried and true recipe of waiting to hear a band live and man are they worth the wait. A good level of noise with blackened screams is a good start for the evening, waking the crowd up well. There’s a decent level of response from the crowd, sadly not enough for their talents, though it’s fair to say many are still getting into the spirit of it, given such an early start. A tight set, full of talent and an amount of windmilling from the guitarist that Corpsegrinder himself would be proud of.

Local death heroes Ingested are next up and the levels are amped up again. Pig squeals, circle pits aplenty, as can be seen in the photo – both band organised and spontaneous – just lots of brutal fun and there is clearly a lot of love for them. Having celebrated 2 decades of brutality only last year, they’re a fearsome prospect live, showing quite how they’ve garnered such a reputation for such a long time. Time shifts and technicality edge their way in, but their beauty is in just now snarling their beast is, which is in absolutely glorious form for this homecoming, despite being on the last leg of an almost two month tour. The busy crowd absolutely love it, as the loud shouts and multitude of horns between songs attest to. Top notch set.

Second wave black metal Scandinavians Dark Funeral take to the stage, upping the ante with a touch of theatrics. The audience seem a bit more restrained in general through their set, despite how tight and well they play, though those that enjoy them seem to REALLY enjoy them. We do get a couple of small circle pits open up, but the energy is tangibly lower – both on stage and off. It definitely feels like the blackened side of this evening’s proceedings don’t get as much love as the death metal side, which is a pity. Despite black metal not being completely my kind of thing, it’s actually pretty easy to appreciate Dark Funeral live and they are clearly good at what they do. It just feels like a shame that the above-mentioned energy drop is the case, as they do deserve more back. A well performed set.

And so, on to our headliners, Cannibal Corpse. The first truly heavy band I ever saw live, 19 years ago and still smashing it! The love and energy is instantly back, even before they properly take to the stage. The pits open up, the swell starts and we are straight into the action. Corpsegrinder’s dark, sarcastic sense of humour shines through whenever he addresses the crowd, whether that’s in acknowledgement of Trevor Strnad with our penultimate track, or at the various other points he does so. The crowd are up for everything, chanting back pretty much anything Corpsegrinder has to say, paying respects as much as enthusiasm for everything going on.

The set is well constructed, interspersing classic hits with more modern to ensure there is no chance of energy drop – not that the crowd even looks vaguely like it throughout! We get a song for the ladies quite early on, with another as the penultimate, while there is plenty of time for the likes of ‘Inhumane Harvest’ and ‘Death Walking Terror’ as there is for personal favourite ‘Devoured By Vermin’ and ‘Hammer Smashed Face’. The crowd go absolutely insane right through their set and it’s due to just how good Cannibal Corpse still are after all of this time, the enduring necks of death metal. The time positively flies by through the 18 song setlist, hitting the cusp of curfew as they complete it. A sumptuous set.

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