“Destroyers of the Faith tour” was another great extreme metal line-up visiting the UK. It featured a-many lovely groups: Cannibal Corpse – one of the fundamental death metal acts – headlined the show; Triptykon – the heaviest doom project of Celtic Frost’s Tom G. Warrior – seduced everyone with the heavy-and-long-as-hell doom tracks; Enslaved – the rock ‘n’ roll Vikings – pumped up the atmosphere with their black metal and Job for a Cowboy - one of the most hated bands by “true” metalheads – brutally warmed up the audience.
Since Job for a Cowboy are one of those “blacklist” bands I turn to them with compassion and actually there’s a short history behind me and the band. A few years ago when they released Genesis and were confirmed to play Wacken Open Air in 2008, everyone at all the forums on the Internet was angrily denouncing the band; labelling them “metalcore” and “emo”. Initially, I took their opinions for granted without even listening to one song by them as that was the time when I was very “anti-emo” and “anti-not true metal”, really. However, as I was going to attend that edition of the Wacken festival I told myself that I should check out all the bands before actually getting there. So, here I am on YouTube listening to “Altered from Catechization” and my jaw drops to the floor. How on earth could one label this “metalcore” or “emo”?! They are more of a death metal band than anything else! True, they still have some deathcore elements and have those huge break-downs now and then but COME ON! Their show at W:O:A 2008 was amazing and so was their effort in opening up the show in London at the “Destroyers of the Faith” tour.
Once the band got on stage a short recorded political speech was played, something along the lines of: “cast your vote now” – appropriately as they tackle political themes in their music; their newest album having the title Demonocracy. Immediately the band kicks off with “Constitutional Masturbation” off the album Ruination. I must say that Job for a Cowboy’s appearance at the HMV Forum was not as impressive as the one I witnessed at Wacken. Maybe it is the spirit of Wacken but then that cannot be true as Triptykon had a similar effect on me later on that night as when they played that legendary festival last year. Although at most times the instruments were pretty much audible – even the bass! -, the vocals did not appeal to me. I even changed my position to be exactly in the centre opposite the stage but that did not work either. The sound technician should have noticed it since the vocals of Jonny Davy were too low and needed some amp boosting. Other than that, even if the band does not offer anything new or special to the metal genre, they gave out their best and warmed us up for the main acts. There’s nothing “untrue” about their music.
Job for a Cowboy setlist:
1. Constitutional Masturbation
2. Plastic Idols
3. Unfurling a Darkened Gospel
4. Imperium Wolves
5. Regurgitated Disinformation
6. Black Discharge (now streaming at MetalUnderground.com!)
As much as I wished for the previous band to have given out the best performance that night in order to prove all the haters wrong, the next band’s sound and performance was much better and it only kept getting better with every second passing. At once the room started getting packed and once the lights went off, smoke filled the air and the Norwegian Vikings went on stage one by one. Although it is a cliché at metal gigs nowadays, with all these “epic” and mystic intros, it does really have an effect every single time. As soon as they started playing “Ethica Odini”, I had goose bumps all over my body. The headbanging alarm inside of you goes off and you forget about everything while you let the music do the talking (…and your hair, the air conditioning). Enslaved are a very interesting band, I must say. I feel really ashamed that I never got into them properly before (I’ve just known the albums Vertebrae and Axioma Ethica Odini). The sound on those two albums, and especially Axioma…, makes comparisons to Opeth inevitable. Not only the clean vocals of Herbrand Larsen completely resemble Mikael Åkerfeldt, but also some of the riffs resemble the music of Opeth. Like for instance “Giants” at some parts sounds similar to “Heir Apparent”. That could be because as the members of the band stated that they have similar influences (70s prog) but also the producer of Opeth’s Watershed was the same man as the one mixing the sounds on Axioma…. Anyways, whatever the reason behind the bands’ similarities, Enslaved kicked ass and proved to me that I should get myself updated with their back catalogue and see them perform again whenever I get the chance! Moreover, another AWESOME surprise was to hear a black metal version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” – this just made my night! Enjoy fan-filemd footage below of that epic song…
1. Ethica Odini
2. Fusion of Sense and Earth
5. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
With the next band, it got even better. The audience got even more enthusiastic, shouting out the band’s name and I could even hear people shouting out in Polish: “napierdalać!!!”. The atmosphere was awesomely and properly doom-ed up with the intro tape “Crucifixus” from the EP Shatter. The goose bumps popped up even before the band members started playing their music. The first song to be played was not a Triptykon one but a Celtic Frost classic, “Circle of the Tyrants”. Oh my, did everyone go crazy in the audience. Every single muscle of every single person out there was moving for the first that night… definitely not the last time though. The next track to be played was “Goetia” from the highly recommended album Eparistera Daimones. Slow and heavy-as-hell riffs along with a distorted bass and the deep and heavy drum beats just make this an unforgettable audio experience. The next track was also a Celtic Frost classic, “Dethroned Emperor”. Tom (guitarist/vocalist) was not very easily let to announce this track as the audience was shouting out the band’s name and applauding all the time. He tried three times to speak up but the audience just wouldn’t let him so he ended up with a huge grin on his face (in contrast to the evil make up he was wearing). Finally, he managed to announce the “special song” and we were in for another treat that night. “Dethroned Emperor” was sung with a guest vocalist… Corpsegrinder (of Cannibal Corpse)! I am not going to say that he was better than Tom on vocals (because he was not, quite different style, eh!) but it was amazing listening to a more brutal version of my Celtic Frost favourite. (Enjoy fan-filmed footage below) The next and last track would be the 19 minute doom epic “The Prolonging”. What can I say? As I described “Goetia” before: those heavy guitar riffs and bass lines, which are awesome to headbang to, along with the rather catchy vocals caused my soul to be cleansed of all goodness as I entered the dark side. “As you perish, I shall live”!!!
1. Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost)
3. Dethroned Emperor (Celtic Frost / feat. Corpsegrinder)
4. The Prolonging
Time was nigh for the headliner… the “masters” of brutality… and the “mainstream” band of death metal. Mainstream or not, this band still kills on stage. Literally and ironically, the second track of their show was the awesome “The Time to Kill is Now” from the album Kill. Awesome track to headbang to. Well, scratch that. All of their tracks are awesome to headbang to. It is Cannibal Corpse after all! Whether it is a slower tune like “Evisceration Plague” or a fast one like the aforementioned then you’ll definitely find something to bang your head against. It was actually rather appropriate that they started off with “Evisceration Plague” as it made the change from the previous two bands, which are rather more atmospheric and doom-ish, a much easier process. Their set was very juicy. I quite enjoyed it. It had classics, it had newer tracks of Kill and Evisceration Plague, it had awesome tracks like “The Wretched Spawn” or “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty” and two brand new tracks off their yet-unreleased album (at that time) Torture: “Demented Aggression” and “Scourge of Iron”. I haven’t listened to Torture yet but in concert those two tracks sound amazing… just like Cannibal Corpse should sound like!
What struck me most is that the vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher looked and sounded like more of a human being this time on stage! Last time I saw the Cannibals, was two years ago at Wacken and Corpsegrinder sounded very mean and, let’s say, inhuman. This time, I saw him smile, laugh and this made him look so adorable… haha! Nah, he was still brutal with his legendary headbanging. He actually encouraged the audience to ATTEMPT to keep up with him, even if he claimed that everyone will fail to windmill as fast as he does. The track “F***ed with a Knife” was dedicated to… all the women present in the hall. Now, that side of Cannibal Corpse and, in general death metal, I don’t like: the gory eroticism which in most cases is VERY sexist. Oh well, as long as the music is as awesome as on the tracks “Make Them Suffer”, “Hammer Smashed Face”, “The Wretched Spawn”, “Evisceration Plague” and all the other great Cannibal Corpse songs then I will be more than happy to headbang along to.
As Corpsegrinder says during every gig: KEEP SUPPORTING DEATH METAL!!!
Cannibal Corpse setlist:
1. Evisceration Plague
2. The Time to Kill is Now
4. Demented Aggression
5. Scourge of Iron
6. I Cum Blood
7. F***ed with a Knife
8. Covered with Sores
9. Born in a Casket
10. The Wretched Spawn
11. I Will Kill You
12. Priests of Sodom
13. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
14. Make them Suffer
15. Hammer Smashed Face
16. Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Enjoy the first 10 minutes of the gig with this fan-filmed footage: