Obituary, Macabre, Psycroptic, The Amenta – Highbury Garage, London, 5th December 2012
Words and photos by Antony Roberts
Last time I saw Obituary was 18 years ago and during my teenage years 3 albums were on constant loop on my old faithful tape player, Slowly We Rot, Cause Of Death and The End Complete. As soon as they announced a tour playing songs exclusively from those first 3 albums there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to miss the tour on it’s UK date.
With my wallet still bleeding from 2 gigs in the last 3 days (Neurosis and Scott Kelly) it was time for another 3+ hour journey from the doors of my full time job to the doors of a London venue, this time at the Highbury Garage. Due to the large travel distance and the unfeasibly early door times of 6pm I missed first support band The Amenta. Due to technical difficulties second support act Psycroptic were running late as technicians and engineers rummaged around the stage trying to sort out gremlins so they could start. Musically these Australian’s play technical death metal with a few cheeky pinch harmonics thrown in here and there. The vocals however are not the normal Death Metal style, way more shouty drawing similarities to more commercial acts like Lamb Of God, or even hardcore acts like Hatebreed. I just couldn’t get on with them preferring my vocals way more guttural, and with them so high in the mix I didn’t enjoy the set.
Chicago’s Macabre have been going over 25 years but somehow i had never managed to catch them live until tonight, so was very much looking forward to seeing them. Walking on stage singer Corporate Death was decked with a Madonna style headset mic giving him freedom to move around and enhance his story telling with hand gestures. He introduced each song of their gore splattered murder metal with an intro piece explaining the dark lyrics of each song in a Tales from the Crypt style ghost story telling voice. Unfortunately instead of being the legends they are, the stage show came across as cartoony more than it was sinister, and a terrible sound mix ruined their set. Due to sound issues and earlier bands running over their set was mercifully cut short. Really, really disappointing from a band with a storming live reputation that a flattened sound ruined my first viewing.
Further sound issues means Obituary take time getting set up as the roadies try and sort everything out to ensure at least one band sound good tonight. Thankfully it’s more than worth the wait, and they walk on stage to a now packed and sold out venue bursting straight into the stomping slow “Stinkupuss” before upping the pace with “Intoxicated”. From the crowd the sound is spot on and surfer’s a plenty keep security on their toes whilst a large pit furiously whips around down front to classic track after classic track. Tardy’s vomiting whilst growling vocals are on form as is the whole back line, and Trevor Perez now sporting a monster of a beard looks like he’d be more at home in the mountains of Scandinavia, than the humid climates of Florida. “Are you ready for our album’s title track?”, Tardy barks and they storm into “Cause Of Death” as the crowd bangs their fists in unison chanting “hey, hey, hey” to the guitar solo intro.
The unmistakeable opening 3 note riff kicks in for “Chopped In Half” and the entire venue joins Tardy screaming the opening line and everyone looses their shit. Drinks are dropped and fans surge through to join in the ever bulging pit which grow’s even larger for “Body Bag”. Moving on to the third and final classic album for this already monster setlist Tardy introduces us in “Let’s go back to 1992, go back to The End Complete, go Back To One”. A momentary break off stage for Tardy and then the slow destructive title track “The End Complete” ensures anyone left in the venue who hasn’t had their night’s fix of sore neck syndrome is utterly doomed for the next morning. Encoring with a drum solo followed by “I’m In Pain” the night finishes extremely early at around quarter to 10. A sweat drenched crowd leaves moshed out, whiplashed, and having witnessed a band that 24 years after it’s inception can still absolutely destroy all in their path.
Setlist (i think roughly):Stinkupuss Intoxicated Bloodsoaked Immortal visions Gates to hell Infected Cause of death Chopped in half Turned Inside Out Body bag Back To One Killing Time The End Complete encore: Drum solo I’m in pain