Words: Alan Daly
Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography
It’s been a while since controversial East Coast death metal quintet Cannibal Corpse last visited Dublin. Almost eight years by my reckoning. And the Irish fans are not prepared to wait for another eight, judging by the turnout at the Tivoli Theatre tonight. And with two more shows on our little island (in Limerick and Belfast), it looks as though they are trying to make amends for their absence. They have been accompanied on this grueling thirty-odd date European tour by The Black Dahlia Murder, but for reasons unbeknownst to us, the Michigan metallers are not joining them here in Ireland. Instead, Scottish technical death metal maniacs Man Must Die have the honor of warming us up.
And that’s exactly what they do. We arrive at the venue as the first track is drawing to an end, and we can’t help but notice that the floor is surprisingly uncongested, considering the sizeable gathering around the periphery. However, as the second track ‘Antisocial Network’ kicks in, the reason for the legroom becomes immediately obvious. Riled up by the intimidatingly aggressive frontman Joe McGlynn, the suggestible and excitable youngsters in the pit area are already stretching their moshing muscles to the fullest extent. The brutality continues throughout their nine-track setlist, the angry Glaswegians occasionally barking almost incomprehensibly at the crowd, and during ‘Slave to the Animal’ McGlynn comes to the rail and leans into the crowd as if to stoke the fire even more. In a brief moment of humor towards the end of the set, he announces that they are also available for children’s parties, and encourages fans to come up and buy a shirt after the show because they are seriously skint! The final track of their set ‘Kill it, Skin it, Wear it’ is played with the house lights up as the crowd goes crazy. An impressive show that does not go unappreciated.
Of course, the audience has reserved plenty of craziness and appreciation for tonight’s main act, and the Florida-based legends take to the stage without much ado or fanfare, slightly ahead of the advertised start time. Dim red lights barely illuminate the stage from the start, echoing the gruesome bloodiness so prevalent in Cannibal Corpse artwork. Kicking off with the first three tracks from their latest album Red Before Black, they make the old school fans wait some time to hear the classic numbers. In fact, they slowly tread their way back through their discography, choosing just one favorite each from ten of their long-standing career albums, and it’s midway through the set before the first early track, ‘Gutted’ from 1991’s Butchered at Birth gets aired. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher exercises his neck muscles regularly with well-practiced windmill head-banging as founding members Webster and Mazurkiewicz keep the low end pummelling along at 100mph on bass and drums respectively.
Classic tracks like ‘A Skull Full of Maggots’ from their debut album and ‘I Cum Blood’ (a song about shooting blood from your cock, which is fun until it happens to you, according to Fisher) only send the crowd into wilder mosh pit frenzies. We are teased by the “this is the last song of the night” routine a couple of times before the inevitable final track is really upon us. No surprises in the choice, with the song which featured in Ace Ventura and probably introduced the name Cannibal Corpse to a lot of fans; ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ wrapping things up. The steady flow of crowd surfers is expected. The Jim Carrey impersonations, not so much. An incredibly energetic show, both from the band and the punters, and one which left everyone aching all over, I’m sure.