Though the number of innovative and each-catching death metal bands has exploded the last few years – one of them played on the night’s bill – Cannibal Corpse continues to remind everyone why they’ve helped define the genre.
It wasn’t just old headbangers out for a night of nostalgia. Marathon Music Works was filled with young metalheads, some of whom may have been taking in the first concert of their lives. It helped keep the energy of the night up, as they all wanted to run into each other, scream and have a great time.
Denver’s Blood Incantation opened the night with their cosmic barrage of progressive-tinged death metal. Though hundreds were filtering through the security line, those who arrived early were treated to a set that included the final two songs of the magnificent Hidden History of the Human Race.
After the nearly 20 minute closer of the album, the band ended by debuting their just-released new song “Obliquity of the Ecliptic”. Everyone in the venue stood transfixed, and gave them a hearty reception to send them off.
If Blood Incantation showed why they’re the vanguard of the next death metal greats, technical death metal stalwarts Gorguts showed why they’ve endured for three decades. Technicality and precision met with skull-splitting heaviness, executed to perfection.
The low-end assault created by frontman and guitarist Luc Lemay, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Colin Marston and drummer Patrice Hamelin bludgeoned the audience’s chest cavities.
Gorguts offered five cuts from their influential 1991 debut Considered Dead, and despite their three-decade long career, this was the first time the Canadians had ever played in Nashville. The crowd reacted in kind, moshing, head-banging and stank-facing through their entire 30-minute set.
Appropriately for a band imbued with mystery, the nefarious Norwegians in Mayhem took the stage to a nearly pitch black room. Fog and mist rolled across the stage with dim red lights the only illumination. Cloaked figures floated into view and launched into an hour’s worth of formative black metal.
Long tapestries bearing occult symbols on one side and high-contrast portraits of the members on the other adorned the stage. Vocalist Attila Csihar – bearing a bone cross mic stand – sang into a human skull for large portions of the show. One can only guess whether it’s real or a replica.
They shredded through old favorites like “Freezing Moon,” “Deathcrush,” “Life Eternal” and tried-and-true closer “Pure Fucking Armageddon.” They also hit three songs from their 2019 opus Daemon, and set the scene nicely for Cannibal Corpse.
The crowd roared when George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher calmly lumbered across the stage. Wearing a shirt emblazoned with “RESPECT THE NECK” and his own screaming face, Cannibal Corpse launched into Evisceration Plague and only stopped to address the crowd when absolutely needed.
Over the next hour, Cannibal Corpse hack and slash through 14 songs across 11 albums, debuting three songs from their newest album Chaos Horrific and also hitting several songs that haven’t been played since before the pandemic, like “Disfigured,” “Pit of Zombies” and “Pounded Into Dust.”
30 years into their career they’re as devastating as ever. Erik Rutan and Rob Barrett’s guitars sliced through the air with a strength and fury that would make Michael Myers proud. Bassist Alex Webster rumbled across his fretboard in perfect time with drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz.
After teasing and chiding the crowd at the start of the last song, “Stripped, Raped and Strangled,” Corpsegrinder introduced the actual last song, “Hammer Smashed Face” to end the night. The crowd lost their minds and saved the biggest moshpit for last. When it came time to leave the venue, several people abandoned whatever shoes, hats, or shirts they lost in the fracas.
Cannibal Corpse is on tour now. Get tickets – HERE
Cannibal Corpse w/ Mayhem, Gorguts, Blood Incantation
10/02/2023 The Royal Oak – Detroit, MI
10/03/2023 Hard Rock Live – Gary, IN
10/04/2023 The Fillmore – Minneapolis, MN
10/06/2023 Mission Ballroom – Denver, CO
10/07/2023 The Depot – Lake City, UT
10/09/2023 Temple Theatre – Tacoma, WA
10/10/2023 Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
10/11/2023 Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
10/13/2023 The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
10/14/2023 SOMA – San Diego, CA
10/17/2023 The Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, TX
10/18/2023 The Factory – Dallas, TX
10/20/2023 The Eastern – Atlanta, GA
10/21/2023 Paristown Hall – Louisville, KY