Carcass (exclusive UK club show) – Belfast, Limelight 19/09/2014

Jeff Walker of Carcass in BelfastI (just about) remember the first time – and the only one prior to this year’s Bloodstock – that I saw Carcass live… and they not only literally blew my mind: they left it splattered all over the wall behind me… It was a Saturday afternoon – the third day of December 1989 to be precise – and they were part of one of the most awesome tours to then hit this part of the world… co-headlining with Coventry grind kings Bolt Thrower, who were promoting their breakthrough ‘Realms Of Chaos’ opus: the gig had been organised by the local crusty collective, there was no booze allowed in the venue (so needless to say we’d all got wasted in the pub ‘round the corner beforehand, topped up with cheap whiskey/cola mix cans snuck in via spare pockets in various camera bags) – it was total fucking mayhem! It took weeks, if not months, for everyone’s collective brains, necks, spines and everything else to recover…

A quarter of a century later (in itself a symbol of the tribulations the band have undergone in the intervening period – one which saw a gap of no less than 17 years between new albums), the Liverpudlian leaders of the UK death metal scene returned to they city which they had ripped a bigger hole in the heart of than most terrorists had succeeded in achieving…  it was a return to a changed city, one more at peace with itself – but that was all about to change on this otherwise fine September Friday evening.

Coldwar live at Limelight, BelfastThe uneviable task of opening proceedings (and that down the road in their native city the following evening) fell to Dublin confrontationalists Coldwar – and it was a challenge they rose to with ease.  This was the third time this year your reviewer has seen this band live, and it has to be admitted that this was their tightest and most dynamic performance to date.  Tighter than congealed blood in an open wound, the size early crowd was treated to a powerhouse set of dark, brooding yet melodic blackened metal delivered with all the fire, fury, spit and venom you would expect.

While obviously concentrating on material from their current ‘Pantheist’ album, it’s a well-paced set which reflects the depth of their back catalogue, and combined with the fact that the guys seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves results in a hard-hitting set which, as referenced above, is their strongest and most impressive to date.

But, no matter how good any opening band were going to be this evening, there was no doubt there was only thing the almost-capacity crowd was here for, and that was the eagerly anticipated return of Messrs Steer, Walker et al… and frontman Jeff Walker is obviously acutely aware of their delay in returning to this part of planet mosh, as he even namechecks the promoter right at the top of the set.

And, if you were to close your eyes, you would swear the clock most definitely had been wound back that quarter of a century, as, to draw an analogy from the title of last year’s “comeback” album, what follows in nigh on 90 minutes of death metal delivered with acute surgical precision.

Carcass live in BelfastFaced with none of the technical problems that had plagued (and almost destroyed) their Bloodstock appearance, the band were in terrific form, with Walker in particular interacting well with the audience – even going so far as to hand out beers to the front rows and chuck bottles of water to those further back.  Musically, they were the epitome of the epithets tight and brutal, and make such pat through-away descriptions redundant as Carcass proved that, almost 30 years after they first ground their way into the bowels of the extreme metal consciousness, they are still more than capable of delivering stunning live shows which are the envy of not only their contemporaries but many of the young pretenders who have endeavoured, lamely, to follow in their footsteps.

Set list:

Buried Dreams
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
Carnal Forge
No Love Lost
Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard / This Mortal Coil
Reek Of Putrefaction
The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
Unfit For Human Consumption
Genital Grinder
Pyosisified (Still Rotten To The Gore
Exhume To Consume
Black Star / Keep On Rotting In The Free World
Captive Bolt Pistol
Corporal Jigsore Quandary / The Sanguine Article

Ruptured In Purulence / Heartwork

Photographs by Paul Verner.  (c) 2014

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About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff