Party. San Open Air 2013 Review

Despite clashing with Brutal Assault and Bloodstock, Party.San is far from lacking when it comes to a devastating line up and the German airfield is crammed with punters in agreement.

The likes of Bombs of Hades kick off the proceedings with their crusty death metal from Sweden to an acceptable sized crowd and whilst Farsot’s sound is less ferocious, their harrowing post-black metal fills the stage. As the evening continues, the sunset creates the perfect setting for some French aural beauty a-la Alcest.  Their live show is intimate and hypnotising and a far cry from what’s next.

The crowd is probably at its most eager now as black thrashers Destroyer 666 take to the stage. Thankfully the wind settles and every rapid riff can be heard from favourites like ‘Raped’ and the epic ‘I Am The War God’. A tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman is raised in the form of Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’ along with several horns. The definition of black metal is confirmed as the moon glows and Carpathian Forest explode into the limelight. For many, this is the headline set of the day and Nattefrost and co prove they would have deserved it.

Friday sees an earlier start and a grind coupling of Gutalax and Magrudergrind seems like an obvious alarm clock. Others have saved energy for an onslaught from Coffins and it’s a good job they did, as they’re absolutely crushing live, doing each of their albums considerable justice. Vocalist Ryo communicates with sheer brutal vocals and whiskey swigging that complement their doom-riddled death metal.

Here to dampen the mood in the best possible way is Shining. The Swedes lower the tone from the off with their DSBM proving an ultimate contrast from the energy of earlier. The music is faultless and at times you wish the insanity of Kvarfoth the clown will stop so that the sounds created can be truly embraced.

The second stage sees the tent rammed in anticipation for a German occult ritual from Alchemyst, who leak mystery and atmosphere from the start of the set. Their black/death metal is drenched in reverb and the smoke and red lighting creates an incredibly dark aura with several tracks from ‘Nekromanteion’.

Tonight’s headliners Hypocrisy need no introduction. The Swe-death legends’ recent ‘End Of Disclosure’ album was weak, a couple of tracks slot in at the start without losing any oomph and older, tracks such as ‘Left To Rot’ bring out a balance of brutality.

With the last night finishing with three huge bands we need, Hooded Menace to continue the doom death presence of the weekend, with a sound thick enough to sink into and experience a death as slow as their songs.

After 25 years on the scene, Teutonic tormentors Desaster proved they still had it on record with last year’s ‘The Art of Destruction’and fortunately, they’ve still got it live, with a blackened thrash onslaught as bestial as their predecessors would predict.

After an unexpected silence, it is finally announced that Impaled Nazarene have had some car problems and vocalist Slutti666 runs onto the stage, band in toe. Admittedly, the sound is a little off to start but considering the consequences it’s soon forgotten with an onslaught of blackened thrash.

We try to ignore the fact Korpiklaani are on later than thrash titans Destruction but it’s hard when you see what they can do live. With several years under their bullet belts and a discography longer than most of the crowd’s hair, the band create a sound hard to believe is from a trio.

Carcass take their time but when they arrive, its full steam ahead with favourites including ‘Corporal Jigsaw Quandary’, ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Genital Grinder’. We even get a showcase of what to expect from latest offering ‘Surgical Steel’, which slots in with ease and could’ve easily closed the festival.

Luckily for us it doesn’t end there and Party.San manages to find a band that could top the likes of Carcass – Venom. Frequently coined as the founders of this whole scene, the band take the label with pride and prove it with the majority of the set showcasing the ‘Welcome To Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ albums. He may be half a century in age but Cronos is unstoppable, his shrill cries still as memorable as they were at the beginning and the band sums up perfectly what Party.San is all about.

Review by Lily Randall

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CARCASS- ‘Surgical Steel’ [10]


Seventeen years is a bloody long time to wait for a comeback but Carcass make it all worthwhile with an album that not only dusts the dried blood off of the amplifiers but matches in superiority to their previous masterpieces. Their last offering ‘Swansong’ was a poor way to duck out of the limelight but ‘Surgical Steel’ takes the best bits of pioneering favourites ‘Necroticism’ and ‘Heartwork’ and mould them into a perfect blend of melody and madness.

Since their hiatus began in 1996, bands from all over have taken the styles of both these albums, desperate to the reignite the flame of Carcass but regardless of which tools of the trade they chose, it hasn’t quite reached legendary. As soon as intro ‘1985’ fades out  and short but seriously heavy ‘Thrasher’s Abbatoir’ kicks in it is crystal clear this is Carcass and not one of their imposters. As the band slay through grind infused sections of ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’, the old-school angst remains despite a production so sharp it could slice you up. Former drummer Ken Owen shall forever remain a legend behind the kit, however latest recruit Daniel Wilding has a slight technical edge to his stick work that gives tracks including single ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’ a modern edge that pisses all over newer bands.

While the force of ‘Necroticism’’s blood flows strongly throughout the album, one cannot avoid the melodically genius guitar work that juxtaposes it. Bill Steer may be without Michael Amott but if anything, his solitary position allows him to swoop and solo a la ‘Heartwork’ at his own demise proving, and at times topping, the claim that Carcass invented the melodic death metal sound. Everything about ‘Surgical Steel’ proves that not only is this a magnificent comeback, but it could also be one of the greatest things Carcass have stitched together in terms of song-writing, musical prowess and production.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Surgical Steel’ is out September 16th on Nuclear Blast

You’ll like this if…the thought of ‘Necroticisim being transplanted into the body of ‘Heartwork’ gets you grabbing for your apron

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Carcass live @ The Underworld 28/3/2013

When news spread that Carcass were to play three nights in a row at The Underworld for a measly six quid, pilgrims swarmed to Camden to nab tickets in a similar panic to a hipster awaiting a Glastonbury ticket. Tonight’s spectacle sees the daddies of death metal undertaking the venue on the last night and despite being absolutely knackered, they do not fail to impress.

The trio of gigs creates an ideal exhibition of British metal to keep an ear out for and tonight’s example is doom metallers Black Magician. Their keyboard-clad gloom, akin to Cathedral may not be the perfect wake up call for such a show, but their catchy swirls of melancholy cannot be faulted as the Liverpudlians embrace last year’s debut in a creepy folklore-fuelled fashion.

As expected, the venue is swelling by the time the lights dim to a bloody red and the legends explode with deathly energy from the opening riff, despite two days previous doing exactly the same. Opening with ‘Heartwork’ favourite ‘Buried Dreams’, the ferocious four piece take us through a historical voyage of Carcass’ evolution and despite frontman Jeff Walker playing his usual grumpy role, the band embrace every song like it’s their last. ‘Reek of Putrefaction’ and ‘Exhume to Consume’ still ooze with a filthy aural puss, the grind proving its influence on so many other nasty newbies. ‘Necroticism’ is predominantly featured in tonight’s set and despite only joining the band this year, guitarist Ben Ash and other recent patient Daniel Wilding on drums do a perfect job of blending in to the legendary mix with ease. Jeff jokes that they needed to bring these two youngsters in but there is no denying that himself and Bill Steer still own the stage twenty five years down the line, as they swoon us with the later ‘Swansong’-era melodies.

Despite talks of a new album, there are no tasters this evening and sticking to a ‘Choice Cut’ style set only leaves us chomping at the bit for more dirty death metal from the North. Roll on Damnation Fest!

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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