Live gig review by Alan Daly
© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Promotion for tonight’s show in the Voodoo lounge was bound to raise some eyebrows with a line-up featuring Dying Fetus, Goatwhore, Malevolence and Fallujah. The band names alone leave no doubts that the gig is not for the faint-hearted, nor for fans of One Direction. But the 200 or so fans of brutal and technical death metal that have congregated are certainly in for a treat.
Californian five-piece Fallujah are tasked with the responsibility of getting the adrenalin pumping in the audience, and Portuguese progressive death metal quartet Malevolence keep it flowing in their veins. The opening acts fulfill their duties admirably and facilitate a punishing warm-up of head-banging and moshing among the front rows of already sweaty metallers.
By the time New Orleans-based Goatwhore take to the stage, the audience are already craving another hit, and won’t be disappointed. The show kicks off with the opening track ‘Poisonous Existence in Reawakening’ from the recent release Constricting Rage of the Merciless, and continues with ‘In Deathless Tradition’ from their previous album. Vocalist Louis Benjamin Falgoust II, guitarist Sammy Duet and Bassist James Harvey are uniformly dressed in plain black (what else?) with studded leather sleeves from elbow to wrist. Falgoust interacts regularly and physically with his dedicated fans, inciting moshpits in their midst and instructing them to “get those fucking devil horns in the air”. He performs solos intricately on his air-guitar, with his Gene Simmons tongue lapping up the humid atmosphere. His guttural growls could be channelled from the dark lord himself, as they perform another new song ‘Fucked By Satan’ (simply titled ‘FBS’ on the album and setlist). Occasionally, Duet helps out on vocals, but Falgoust cannot resist miming along. In all, they deliver six tracks from the new release, with four more chosen from their back catalogue, including ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ as a finale. The thundering drums and blistering solos spawn the biggest circle pit of the night thus far, leaving the crowd eager for the band’s promised return to Dublin next April.
There’s no doubt that the headlining act are the reason patrons have gathered tonight as they squeeze closer to the stage in anticipation of the Maryland trio surely in the running for the title of “most shocking band name”. Dying Fetus received an unexpected boost in publicity earlier this year when a campaign to have them perform on the mainstage at Download went viral with the tag #WhyNotDyingFetus, after metal fans protested the selection of Avenged Sevenfold as headliners. Formed in 1991, they have forged a niche with their brutal technical death metal, thanks to heavy breakdowns, slamming and complex riffs, long before internet memes brought them to the attention of the Donington crowd.
Tonight they open with ‘In the Trenches’ from their last album Reign Supreme, released more than two years ago, shortly before their last visit to Dublin. A pit forms almost instantaneously and energy levels soar as founding member, guitarist and vocalist John Gallagher grunts the lyrics which are truly incomprehensible to all but those already familiar with their shocking, political and modern words. The setlist features typically vulgar tracks including ‘From Womb to Waste’, ‘Raped on the Altar’ and ‘Grotesque Impalement’ and the heaving moshpit seldom calms. One fan in particular is commended by Gallagher for his dedication to metal, and he is raised above the heads of his fellow moshers. Nothing sounds unusual there; until you realise that he is in a wheelchair; and the camaraderie and emotional (as well as physical) support of his crowd-surfing moment is something that many outsiders would not imagine possible amongst heavy metal fans.
The chit-chat between songs is kept to a bare minimum; whilst during the performance, Gallagher often closes his eyes, focusing on the intricate guitar riffs when he’s not growling. The solid brick wall of noise is expected at a Dying Fetus gig, but some of the dials seem to be well past eleven, causing the sound to be quite muddy at times. This appears to go unnoticed by the committed crowd however, and one final burst of energy erupts for the climatic encore of ‘Pissing in the Mainstream’, ‘Kill your Mother, Rape your Dog’ and ‘Your Treachery will Die with you”. With a new album predicted for next year, the exhausted fans can look forward to another return visit from the gruesome threesome soon.