Cannibal Corpse @Billboard
A roar of anticipation, or perhaps agitation, is collectively released as the black curtain stubbornly remains still, obscuring the stage and only allowing those in front a sneak peak of the roadies feet. The curtain twitches up slowly and the roar builds hysterically as both the stage and what can be thought of as the five founders of death metal are slowly revealed to their soon to be rabid audience.
As the curtain rises, vocalist and front man, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher’s deafening snarl-roar effectively drowns the rambunctious crowd out. By the time the curtain has fully ascended, Cannibal Corpse are already in full swing, part way through ‘Demented Aggression’.
A crowd surfer is unceremoniously thrown over the barrier a few moments later, the pit is already riled up and without missing a beat, Cannibal Corpse move swiftly into ‘Sarcophagic Frenzy’.
A product of the Torture album, ‘Sarcophagic Frenzy’ sounds like the soundtrack to the future zombie apocalypse. Fisher’s vocals are much more clearer than on some of Cannibal Corpse’s older tracks and on stage it’s almost like guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz have inbuilt metronomes as their rhythm and timing is spot on.
A break and normalcy returns momentarily. Conversations resume and Fisher is just a big guy in a crowd of large men in black t-shirts. He laughs at his own suggestion to play some old tunes and then they’re all back to it.
With three quarters of the set list being Cannibal Corpse’s older material, older fans were not alienated by the new, recently released songs off Torture. Breaking into ‘Evisceration Plague’, Fisher towers over band and patrons alike, an impressive figure, half possessed by the music, and wildly head banging to the sound he helped create and master. O’Brien is bent over his axe with the same possession and Barrett is in a world of his own, routinely moving with the music and hiding behind his blonde locks. Without much pause or hesitation and more like a well-oiled machine, Cannibal Corpse play through ‘The Time to Kill is Now’ and ‘Born in a Casket’.
Fisher asks the audience to “ … try and keep up with me. You will fail but you can still try” before whipping raucously into ‘I Cum Blood’. Demonic, otherworldly vocals ensue and so do some insane drumbeats laced with some breakneck guitar work to command all attention. The pit picks up pace as Fisher sounds like he could be speaking in tongues, forming an impressive sized mosh that no mother would approve of. Hair flops into Fisher’s face making him look momentarily like the thing from the ring. Absolutely dripping with sweat, every fibre of his being is given to performance and the effect is chaotic. Guitars and bass are marginalized by hefty drums and overpowering vocals until the final moments where O’Brien breaks in with a bit of a face melting solo.
Death metal, as a genre is kind of sexy – in a depraved, aggressive, controlling and theatrical kind of way. Cannibal Corpse live have the ability to make others look like copies of imitations, as well as keep touring after 20 something years of making death metal.
With unbridled ferocity, Cannibal Corpse leaps into ‘Pit of Zombies’ before taking some time to dedicate a song to ‘all the fucking women’ in the audience, and there are a surprising amount of them. For some reason, Cannibal Corpse gigs are a hot date for couples. It’s mostly men that give Fisher the noisy response he is after. Naturally, that special song is ‘Fucked with a Knife’.
Of course, there’s ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ in the mix to keep everyone moving. Half crazed and half pumped up with adrenaline and other substances, the five thrash it out with Fisher supplying a very low, deep, gutteral growl and Alex Webster bringing home the bass action and dominating groove. Guitars scream and wail as they are expertly put through their paces.
There’s another song for women. This time, Fisher’s announcement gets a better response from actual women. Of course, it’s ‘Stripped, Raped and Strangled’, a death ballad of sorts, and what seems the best way Cannibal Corpse could have ended.
With rhythms drenched in sweat and heaving with energy, Cannibal Corpse are anything but spent. Between the sticky floor and smoke laden air, strongly smelling of men, those in the pit and its surrounds feel very much the same.
Cannibal Corpse hammered it home fucking hard and fucking loud, the only way they know how and Melbourne loved every second of it which is what was expected – you can’t be around in any facet of the music industry for 24 years and not be good at what you do. Longevity is earnt and it’s clear that Cannibal Corpse are one of those bands who deserve to exist as they actively contribute and constantly innovate the genre they were the catalysts for creation.
Cannibal Corpse had three supports: Entrails Eradicated, Disentomb and Psycroptic. Tasmanians Psycroptic were the standouts on the night, revving up the sold out venue with their chaotic riffs and killer live show. Based on their performance on the night, this Vulture would recommend you all take note on Psycroptic – they are brutal beasts with musical instruments.