Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse (The Opera House, Toronto, ON, 11/15/2019)

Over 30 years of evisceration, torture, mutilation, killing, blood and cannibalism in an awesome night of first-class Death Metal in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Perdition Temple and Thy Art Is Murder

I can’t describe in words how happy I am whenever a metal concert is scheduled for a Friday or Saturday night in Toronto, especially when the music in question is old school Death Metal. I mean, we need at least one full day to recover from all the insanity going on in the circle pits, right? And that’s probably why all fans at The Opera House this Friday, November 15 went the extra mile in terms of energy, rage and madness, slamming like it was their last night on earth to the sound of Perdition Temple, Thy Art Is Murder and my favorite Death Metal band of all time, the almighty Cannibal Corpse, pulverizing everything and everyone that crossed their path on a cold but fantastic night in Toronto.

It took forever for the concerts to start, probably because of the huge line that was formed at the door, with security even doing the checks while people were still in line and not right at the entrance. That was an indication that The Opera House was going to be jam packed (and it actually was), and after tons of non-metal songs played by the house DJ for a reason beyond my understanding (well, at least when he played Toto’s classic Africa some metalheads had a good time singing it), the first attraction of the night, Tampa, Florida-based Black/Death Metal horde PERDITION TEMPLE, finally hit the stage and began their short but solid setlist. Formed in 2009 by guitarist Gene Palubicki (from old school cult act Angelcorpse), the trio comprised of Gene together with bassist and vocalist Alex Blume and drummer Ronnie Parmer played a well-balanced setlist including songs from all of their releases, with songs like To Bleed at War, The Tempter’s Victorious and Goddess in Death already igniting some decent circle pits in the floor section. I personally enjoyed their performance a lot, and if you’re curious to know how the music by those Ameircan metallers sounds, simply check their official BandCamp page and, who knows, you might end up adding one of their albums to your devilish collection.

Setlist
The Tempter’s Victorious
Plague Camp
Testament to Annihilation
To Bleed at War
Goddess In Death

Band members
Alex Blume – vocals, bass
Gene Palubicki – guitars, vocals
Ronnie Parmer – drums

After a short break where most fans went either to the bar to grab some cold beer or to the bathroom to make room for more beer,  it was time for Sydney, Australia-based Deathcore outfit THY ART IS MURDER to show Toronto what they got, giving a lesson in slamming with their heavy-as-hell and politicized compositions. Comprised of vocalist Chris “CJ” McMahon, guitarists Sean Delander and Andy Marsh, bassist Kevin Butler and drummer Jesse Beahler, this excellent Deathcore unity from Down Under blasted a demolishing setlist including songs from their newest album Human Target, such as Make America Hate Again and New Gods, which by the way I thought sounded amazing live, with older hits like Reign of Darkness, Fur and Claw and Puppet Master, driving the fans nuts while crushing their skulls inside the humongous mosh pit that dominated the entire floor section as soon as the band began their show. I must say CJ McMahon is not only an extremely talented vocalist, delivering his trademark deep, guttural growls and his inhuman screeches, but he’s also a very charismatic and humble guy, making it visible to everyone at the venue how happy and impressed he was with the reception by his Torontonians fans. After all was said and done, I was able to confirm Thy Art Is Murder is indeed one of the best bands hailing from the current metal scene in Australia, both in studio and when on stage, and after witnessing them live for the first time ever I can’t wait to see when those guys will get back to Toronto for another round of their unrelenting Deathcore.

Setlist
Death Squad Anthem
Make America Hate Again
Fur and Claw
Slaves Beyond Death
Holy War
No Absolution
Human Target
The Son of Misery
New Gods
Reign of Darkness
Puppet Master

Band members
Chris “CJ” McMahon – vocals
Andy Marsh – lead guitar
Sean Delander – rhythm guitar
Kevin Butler – bass
Jesse Beahler – drums

CANNIBAL CORPSE

The wait for the one and only Death Metal institution CANNIBAL CORPSE was finally over when it was getting close to 9:30pm, and from the very first note of the opening track Code of the Slashers, from their latest opus Red Before Black, released in 2017, until the closing moments from their gruesome all-time classic Hammer Smashed Face, it was pure Armageddon in the form of ass-kicking Death Metal. The unstoppable vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (I still don’t know how he can headbang like a beast for so long), guitarists Rob Barret and Erik Rutan (the lead singer and guitarist for Hate Eternal who is filling in on guitar during this tour due to the arrest of guitarist Pat O’Brien), the phenomenal bassist Alex Webster, and the precise drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz set The Opera House on fire with their visceral and absolutely perfect Death Metal, playing “horror classics” from almost all of their albums (which you can find on sale from their own BandCamp page), including my favorite Cannibal Corpse song of all time, Devoured by Vermin, from their 1996 album Vile, and the sensational Kill or Become, from their 2014 album A Skeletal Domain, where you could see several fans “firing up their chainsaws” together with Corpsegrinder. It was so insane I could barely take my phone out for some decent pictures.

Every single time I watch Alex Webster live I get more and more impressed with his technique, feeling and groove, proving why he’s in my opinion the best extreme music bassist of all time. As a matter of fact, how many Death, Thrash and Black Metal bands have bassists that you can actually listen to in detail while performing live? Not only that, but the band’s setlist was also impressive as already mentioned, and that’s probably one of the reasons why Alex and the guys were so brutal and awesome on stage this Friday. Songs like Red Before Black, Gutted, Make Them Suffer and Stripped, Raped and Strangled were the catalyst of some of the most demented circle pits you can imagine, while Scourge of Iron and the demonic Evisceration Plague were perfect for breaking our necks headbanging like maniacs. Another thing that was really entertaining during the band’s flawless performance were all the jokes by Corpsegrinder, showing that behind that brutal headbanging beast there’s a very kind and fun guy. When he offered “NOTHING” from the bottom of his heart to the fans we could see how excited he was with the warm and violent reception from the crowd. And what to say about his personal intro in I Cum Blood, where he dared the fans to try to headbang like him (and, of course, we would all fail miserably in his own words)? That’s what I call a frontman, my friends, never letting the energy go down and always reminding us why the band has been on the road alive and kicking since 1988. When the show was over, you could see many, many fans dripping wet of their own (and others’) sweat and beer leaving the venue without a jacket when the temperature was around -5oC, mostly due to the adrenaline still flowing through their veins, and you know what? That’s when you know there was a damn good Death Metal night in Toronto, obviously spearheaded by our beloved Cannibal Fuckin’ Corpse.

Setlist
Code of the Slashers
Only One Will Die
Red Before Black
Scourge of Iron
Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
The Wretched Spawn
Devoured by Vermin
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Gutted
Kill or Become
A Skull Full of Maggots
Evisceration Plague
Firestorm Vengeance
Death Walking Terror
I Cum Blood
Make Them Suffer
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Erik Rutan – lead guitar
Rob Barrett – rhythm guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

Interview – Artyom (Amentia)

If you’re curious to know how the metal scene is in Belarus, here is Artyom, guitarist and one of the founders of Minsk-based Technical Death Metal four-piece beast Amentia, to talk about not only that, but also about his biggest influences in music and a lot of nice-to-know details about the band’s latest album, the pulverizing Scourge.

Artyom (Amentia)

The Headbanging Moose: Can you please introduce Amentia to the readers of The Headbanging Moose, telling a little about your origins, your goals and your music? What are the main differences between Amentia in the early days to what the band is now?

Artyom: Amentia was formed in 2003 in Minsk, Belarus. Initially it was created as a studio project and it remained like that until 2006 when the band performed live for the first time. But the live period didn’t take too long and since 2009 Amentia returned to the status of a studio project due to the numerous line-up changes and the lack of suitable musicians who could play the material live. Though there were some attempts to find the proper members and actually we still don’t give up on performing live and maybe someday we will complete the lineup and present our material on stage. If we speak about the differences between Amentia in the early days and now I can say that this band was playing technical brutal death metal from the very beginning but with each album the music was becoming more and more mature and emphatic. The structures of the songs became more complex, melodies – more interesting, more and more elements of different genres were embedded in the main style of the band’s music, like avant-garde, math, progressive and sometimes even jazzy tunes.

THM: Last year you released an amazing album of old school Death Metal titled Scourge, which has been getting lots of positive reviews worldwide. What can you tell us about the recording process of the album, what worked well and what were your biggest issues? In addition, Scourge is the first release of the band after six years of absolute silence. Why did it take so long for Amentia to record a new album?

Artyom: The recording process itself went pretty smooth but the most difficult part was mixing and mastering. This is the first album which Alex decided to mix himself and it was a big challenge for him. He was studying this process really thoroughly, by trials and errors, and it took a lot of time until he was satisfied with the result. But the main reason why Amentia was silent for 6 years is because each of us has (or had) other bands and we had to dedicate our time also to them. At that time Alex was playing in POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER and couple of other projects in different non-metal genres. I performed and am still performing in DEATHBRINGER, DISLOYAL, WOE UNTO ME, THY DISEASE, and also in some bands as a session guitarist. By the way DEATHBRINGER is one more band where we are playing together with Alex.

THM: Scourge also features two new members, Valery “Vile” Toothgrinder and Zubov, both on vocals. Can you tell us a bit about them? How were they chosen to be part of the band, and what do they bring to the band’s music that wasn’t there before?

Artyom: Well, Zubov was a vocalist in POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER so Alex and him know each other for quite a long time and played together, so when it came to recording vocals he was the easiest candidate, without any hesitation we decided that his guttural growls would fit perfectly. But we also wanted to diversify the vocals just a little bit by adding some screams and our good friend Vile was eager to try and it appeared that his screams were exactly what we’ve been looking for. The combination of their voices added some density and fat to the music.

THM: Two of my favorite songs of the album are the devastating Anorexia and Sentence Executioner. What’s the story behind those two songs, and what message are you sending to the listener through their lyrics?

Album Review – Amentia / Scourge (2017)

Artyom: I think the names speak for themselves. Anorexia is a song about a person with a very popular nowadays mental disorder, who is obsessed with losing weight and starvation so much that gradually deprives him/herself of vital energy and kills him/herself. Sentence Executioner is a song about a person who works as an executioner in prisons and killing people becomes his everyday routine, the line between life and death erases and he dissolves in the world of torture, mutilation and killing, forgetting about the normal life. In general we do not have any special message which we’d like to send to the listener, we are just showing the brutality of the real world, all the diseases, cruelty and injustice that surround us.

THM: Another nice detail in Scourge is its dark and sinister cover art, designed by Mayhem Project Art. How was the process together with that company until you reached this final design, and what does the album art mean to the overall concept of the album?

Artyom: Our label has offered us to work with Mayhem Project Art. We looked through his works and we were very satisfied with his style. We just gave him the lyrics, explained the main lyrical themes and he came up with an idea to depict a weak and sick character covered with sores and wounds, suffering from the combination of different diseases; a piece of old dirty cloth covers his head, he is abandoned and rejected by everyone. And this collective image covers all the main lyrical themes of this album, so we really liked the idea.

THM: As an old school Death Metal band I’m pretty sure your strongest influences in music come from traditional Death Metal bands like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse and Death, am I right? Who else has had a significant influence on your music from the Death Metal scene, from other types of heavy music, and even from non-metal styles?

Artyom: Definitely bands like MORBID ANGEL, DEATH, SUFFOCATION and CANNIBAL CORPSE have influenced most of the bands that play death metal. We are listening to all kinds of music and it is reflected to some extent in our works. If we are speaking about extreme music then I can name BLOTTED SCIENCE, DECREPIT BIRTH, MISERY INDEX, GORGASM, GORGUTS, NECROPHAGIST, MESHUGGAH, GOJIRA and many more. What concerns other genres in my case it would be worth mentioning ULVER, PINK FLOYD, WARDRUNA, DEVIN TOWNSEND, TOOL, HAMFERÐ, IHSAHN, LEPROUS, PAIN OF SALVATION, MASTODON, OPETH, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, etc. Alex listens also to a lot of funk music, jazz, rhythm and blues, like MARCUS MILLER, VIKTOR WOOTEN, AMY WINEHOUSE, JAMIROQUAI, Ukrainian rock band OKEAN ELZY.

THM: I had the pleasure to review a few bands from Belarus in the past few years, those being Irreversible Mechanism, Dzhatinga and more recently Ljosazabojstwa, all extremely talented but unfortunately with very little support from the media. With that said, how do you see the current metal scene in Belarus? Can we say it’s growing in importance, or is it still way too underground to be considered a true movement in the country? And what other Belarusian metal bands do you recommend to our readers?

Artyom: Nothing has changed in Belarus. Metal is still total underground in our country and looking at the number of people attending metal shows and buying CDs I would say that it’s slowly getting worse unfortunately. But it doesn’t affect so much the amount of metal bands. We have a lot of talented musicians in different genres but not all of them can withstand this situation in underground metal, this poor infrastructure and all kinds of obstacles created by our society, government and general cultural development of the masses. If you haven’t heard about the following bands from Belarus yet, then I’d recommend to check out: SERDCE, DEATHBRINGER, IRREVERSIBLE MECHANISM, RELICS OF HUMANITY, POSTHUMOUS BLASPHEMER, NEBULAE COME SWEET, WOE UNTO ME, and VICTIM PATH.

Amentia

THM: How have been the concerts to support the release of Scourge? Any memorable moments Amentia have had as a headliner or supporting any major acts in your homeland or in other countries that you would like to share with us?

Artyom: As I’ve mentioned before Amentia is still just a studio project and we don’t play live at all. But I really hope that it will change in the future and we will have some great touring and concert stories to share with you in our next interview.

THM: Now that Scourge has been out for a while, what can you tell us about the future of the band? What are your plans regarding the recording of new material and, consequently, new tour dates?

Artyom: We’ve already started working on new material. Slowly, in the intervals between activities in other bands but the new Amentia album arises.

THM: Thank you very much for your time, we really appreciate that! Please feel free to send your final words to our readers, and anything else you would like to say as your final considerations.

Artyom: Thank you so much for this interview and your interest in Amentia music. Huge thanks to all the readers who will check out this interview. Keep supporting underground metal, attend shows, buy CDs and stay brutal. Only thanks to you metal music is still alive.

Links
Amentia Facebook | VKontakte | BandCamp
Satanath Records Official Website | Facebook | VKontakte | YouTube | BandCamp

Album Review – Amentia / Scourge (2017)

After six years of silence, this Belarusian Death Metal squad is finally back in action to dismantle our bodies and souls with 33 minutes of extreme dexterity and utter rage.

Initially created as a studio project in 2003 by Alex Goron, bass player for Belarusian band Posthumous Blasphemer, Minsk-based Technical Death Metal four-piece beast Amentia is finally awake from hibernation after six years of silence to dismantle our bodies and souls with their third full-length installment, the brutal Scourge. Comprised of seven relentless original compositions tailored for killing our brain cells with each second of their sound by bringing forward fast and furious riffs, machine gun bursts of drum fills and blast beats and demonic soul-destroying vocals, Scourge lives up to the band’s name, leaving you with a severe mental impairment after banging your head nonstop like a maniac to its 33 minutes of extreme dexterity and utter rage.

Featuring members of Posthumous Blasphemer, Deathbringer, Disloyal and Thy Disease, and being strongly recommended for fans of bands like Suffocation, The Faceless and Meshuggah, Amentia already released in their underground career the split EP Mind Degradation in 2006, and the full-length albums Burn to Hate, in 2007, and Incurable Disease, in 2011, but it’s now in 2017 with newcomers Valery “Vile” Toothgrinder and Zubov on vocals that the group has reached a whole new level of brutality with their music. Displaying an ominous cover artwork by Mayhem Project Art, Scourge is not only the epitome of modern and technical Death Metal, but a solid statement by Amentia telling the world the band is back in action and they’re thirstier for blood than ever.

In the opening track, an amazing display of Technical Death Metal perfect for breaking our spine in half headbanging titled Kill Me, the quartet begins firing sheer brutality through their razor-edged instruments, in special Alex with his demented beats and Artyom with his lancinating guitar solos, whereas in I Don’t Believe their violent and rhythmic sounds keep invading our ears mercilessly, with the level of intricacy found in this sea of savagery in the form of music being astounding. In addition, the deep growling by Vile sounds beyond cavernous, which together with the also menacing guitar and bass turn this song into a must-listen for fans of the genre. And then we have the infernal tune Anorexia, with its first part being an instrumental feast of contemporary Death Metal led by Alex and his amazing drums, supported by the always cutting guitars by Artyom, before Vile returns with his bestial roars in another lesson in violence by Amentia.

Vile and Zubov sound like two enraged monsters in the visceral chant named Slow Decay, with its frantic beats and riffs being in total sync with their devilish gnarls (not to mention Alex’s pounding bass punches), followed by Noble Death, a song that brings more up-to-date elements of extreme music and tons of progressiveness where the sound of guitars strenuously slashes our senses so heavy and metallic it sounds, while Vile keeps barking and growling like a rabid gorilla for the delight of us fans of old school Death Metal. And if you think their slaughterhouse of Death Metal is over you’re absolutely wrong, as you’ll have to face Amentia once again in the high-octane ode to bestiality titled Sentence Executioner, ignited by the cutting riffs by Artyom and a furious growl by Vile, feeling like a hellish version of Dream Theater with a demon on vocals, with highlights to the fantastic job done once again by Alex on both bass and drums. And without a single second of peace, this Belorusian squad delivers another explosion of Technical Death Metal named Paranoia, showcasing crisp guitar solos and nonstop savagery, as well as a duel of gargantuan harsh growls by Vile and Zubov.  The band keeps punching us in the head throughout the entire song with their blackened sounding, resulting in the perfect conclusion for such ruthless album of extreme music.

If you have the guts to confront this boisterous joint of Belarusian metallers and their demolishing Death Metal, you can take a full listen at Scourge on YouTube, follow them on Facebook and on VKontakte, and buy your copy of the album at Amentia’s BandCamp page, at the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, or at Discogs. I just hope Amentia do not take another six years to release a new album, and that they keep blasting our ears with their action-packed Death Metal over and over again for many years yet to come.

Best moments of the album: I Don’t Believe, Anorexia and Sentence Executioner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Satanath Records/Amputated Vein Records

Track listing
1. Kill Me 4:50
2. I Don’t Believe 4:28
3. Anorexia 4:35
4. Slow Decay 4:27
5. Noble Death 4:05
6. Sentence Executioner 5:09
7. Paranoia 5:48

Band members
Vile – scream
Zubov – esophagus
Artyom – guitars
Alex – bass, drums

Album Review – Cannibal Corpse / Vile (1996)

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mr. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.

Rating3

VilecannibalcorpseThe year of 1996 was excellent for heavy music fans, with bands like Sepultura, Slayer, Pantera, In Flames and Stratovarius launching some unique albums, and of course we also had the ferocious Vile from Death Metal icons Cannibal Corpse, this time with a fresh new singer, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Although some old diehard fans didn’t enjoy the change, in my opinion Chris Barnes always sounded like a desperate gorilla choking on his own vomit screaming for help, while Corpsegrinder added more dynamism and creativity to the band’s music.

Devoured By Vermin opens this musical massacre at a very high level, showing what to expect from the rest of the album. This quickly became my top Cannibal Corpse song of all time, even better than their most acclaimed classic Hammer Smashed Face, and even after listening to what was going to be the original version before Barnes left I still prefer the official one the band re-recorded with Corpsegrinder on vocals.

cannibalcorpse1996promophoto1The following three songs keep on “destroying” our necks and bodies: Mummified in Barbed Wire, Perverse Suffering and Disfigured, especially this last one, are perfect for any circle-pits or for a heavy workout at the gym after a stressful day at school or work. With Bloodlands the band seems to give a break to all the insanity with a heavy but slow song, just to get back as fast and destructible as possible with the amazing Puncture Wound Massacre and the instrumental Relentless Beating. The album continues with another great song for a horror movie soundtrack, Absolute Hatred, the violent Eaten from Inside (which has some awesome riffs and solos), and the short but complex Orgasm Through Torture (what a beautiful name). The last song, Monolith, is nice but sounds too generic compared to the rest of the album. Nothing that makes Vile less amazing, though.

There’s not much to say about the totally brutal and gruesome lyrics, or about the insanely evil front cover (if you’re a pussy, go for the censored version of it). Those are trademarks of one of the heaviest bands on Earth and make the final material even better. The guitar players do an excellent job and I’ve already said what I think about Corpsegrinder, but let me focus on Paul Mazurkiewicz and Alex Webster. Paul is not a simple drummer, he’s a ruthless human jackhammer, while Alex is a beast that makes anyone completely forget about Cliff Burton after listening to his demented and unmatched bass lines.

You can say whatever you want about the band with Barnes or Corpsegrinder on vocals, as each fan of the band has their own reasons to prefer this or that guttural style, but one thing is certain: Cannibal Corpse’s Vile kicks some serious fuckin’ ass and is mandatory in the collection of anyone who appreciates some brutal and extremely technical high-quality Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Devoured By Vermin, Disfigured and Puncture Wound Massacre.

Worst moments of the album: Bloodlands and Monolith.

Released in 1996 Metal Blade Records

Track listing
1. Devoured by Vermin 3:13
2. Mummified in Barbed Wire 3:09
3. Perverse Suffering 4:14
4. Disfigured 3:48
5. Bloodlands 4:20
6. Puncture Wound Massacre 1:41
7. Relentless Beating 2:14
8. Absolute Hatred 3:05
9. Eaten from Inside 3:43
10. Orgasm Through Torture 3:41
11. Monolith 4:24

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – guitar
Jack Owen – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums