THE DEMO CORNER
May 19, 2012
Cannibal Corpse, Exhumed & Abysmal Dawn N. A. Tour - 2012
This was a pure death metal tour, something that is far too uncommon these days if you ask me. I don’t think that I can overstate how excited I was to see a Cannibal Corpse show and not have to sit through a handful of awful deathcore bands to get to them. With that in mind, I made a point of arriving at the venue early enough to have a few beers and chat with friends prior to the opening act. There wasn’t a band on this bill that I didn’t want to see, and I wouldn’t be getting the mid-show social break that often comes when an undesirable opening act takes the stage.
Arkaik opened the show with their blend of technical and brutal death metal. I really liked their Reflections Within Dissonance album and thought that they did a great job of balancing their technical leanings with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned death metal. Arkaik’s live performance was solid, if a touch uneven. I would have liked a band this technical to be a hair tighter, and I also found their stage presence to be lacking something. Overall, though, their set was enjoyable and they did nothing to change my opinion of them as one of the better young death metal bands to come out in recent years. Being involved with a tour like this should pay off for them down the road, and I will expect a slightly improved performance if I have the chance to catch these guys again in the future.
Abysmal Dawn’s more straight-ahead style of death metal came across really well live. Their performance was intense, tight and heavy as hell. “Perpetual Dormancy,” and “Leveling the Plane of Existence” were highlights of their set and the band took full advantage of the slow to mid-paced grooves that those songs feature. By the end of their set my opinion of Abysmal Dawn had improved significantly, and I already like them enough to have bought their last album. I actually wouldn’t have minded seeing them play a few more songs.
Exhumed was up next and they were easily the most fun band to watch. These guys just looked like they were really enjoying themselves the whole time that they were up there, and they sounded great. There was a lot of lighthearted interaction between band members and they even had a guy dressed like a doctor come out on stage with a chainsaw and put on a little show. Matt Harvey is clearly a veteran front man and did a good job working the crowd. The band played over ten songs, drawing most heavily form their latest album and Gore Metal. I would have like to have seen them play a few more songs from Slaughtercult and Anatomy is Destiny, but it’s hard to come up with a legitimate complaint about their set. I really hope that this Exhumed line up stays in place for a while because they clearly have a lot of chemistry.
Cannibal Corpse is a band that has never disappointed me live and they weren’t about to start tonight. They belted out close to 20 songs and were their usual energetic selves. I don’t know if there is another band that delivers such a high quality live product on a more consistent basis. This band is like a finely tuned machine, and if you have seen them in the last decade you know what to expect. The set list is really the only variable; as their career stretches on that set list has become crowed with a lot of must-play songs. They played five songs from Torture, with “Scourge of Iron” and “As Deep as The Knife Will Go” coming off really well. I was a little surprised that they didn’t play “Caged and Contorted,” as I felt that it was the strongest song on Torture. Even at nearly 20 songs, the strong emphasis on the new album only left room for one or two from all of their other albums. After you factor in all of the classics like “Stripped, Raped and Strangled,” “Hammer Smashed Face,” and “I Cum Blood” you aren’t left with a lot of room for surprises. That is really my only complaint about seeing Cannibal Corpse at this point in their career. It’s a complaint that would apply to almost any band with such a large back catalogue and not necessarily a knock on the band.
All told, I greatly enjoyed Cannibal Corpse and the show as a whole. The prospect of seeing Cannibal Corpse and Exhumed again actually has me thinking about hitting the Summer Slaughter Tour this year. It’s nice to see these bands without being subjected to a bunch of undesirable modern metal bands, but it is also worth sitting through those bands for a chance to see them again.
Water Street Music Hall
204 North Water Street
Rochester, NY 14604 USA (716)325-5600
Sunday April 13, 2012
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