Suffocation, Cephalic Carnage and Havok at Brighton Audio, Tuesday 14th March 2013
Words and photos by Antony Roberts
Many tours don’t make it to Brighton so I normally have to trek up to London rather than across the coast but fortunately Brighton has recently seen a slew of heavier gigs being put on by Advance Promotions. Last Tuesday night played host to Suffocation and Cephalic Carnage along with Havok and Fallujah. Fulltime job commitments and a seriously early door time of 6pm meant I didn’t manage to get there until Havok were finishing their set. What I did manage to catch was the last song and a half and witness the vast majority of the venue head banging away to some seriously decent sounding modern thrash. Next time!!
Cephalic Carnage came on and to begin with the crowd seem to lack a response, having spoken to people outside during the gap it seemed a fair few were surprisingly unfamiliar with their material, and had come for the headliners. The Denver 4 piece and their “Rocky Mountain hydro-grind” soon get the audience going though. Offers of free beer from the stage and chants of C’thulu soon means “Abraxis of Filth” sees bodies bouncing around. Free beer couldn’t come quick enough as the club served no draught and had conveniently ran out of cans, so high price bottles and spirits were all that was on offer. “How many like to drink beer, whiskey, smoke weed?”, and when weed gets a muted response, singer Len jokes back at everyone “are you a bunch of snobs? We will kill for weed!”, as they launch into (unsurprisingly) “Kill for Weed” which brings about another swirling pit.
“Lucid Interval” sees the band showing of their technicality as Nick Schendzielos plays his 5 string bass upside down and backwards whilst the guitarists contort to the staccato schizophrenic riffs. The somewhat silly but fun “Black Metal Sabbath” sees the band donned in masks, and again show off the skills of Schendzielos as he mustn’t be able to see anything inside the giant horse mask but continues to amaze with 8 fingers flying and tapping in all directions over his fretboard as a circle pit ensnares most of the club. I must say during set the sound was seriously muddy at times, over amplified and unclear but when an audience is this up for a good time sometimes it doesn’t matter and the atmosphere carries the night.
Long Island headliners Suffocation have been bashing out their influential Death Metal now for over 20 years (excluding the break between 98-03) and it’s been so long they’ve all grown up and have responsibilities. Said responsibilities mean singer Frank Mullen is unable to make the tour, and so vocal duties fall to the capable throat of Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher. He’s not really known for his in-between song banter from all the times I’ve seen him with Dying Fetus, but perhaps filling in for the very vocal Mullen spurs him on to interact more, and he chats with the audience, asking how everyone is doing, and thanking the support bands for putting in great live performances. The setlist consists of a mix of classics from their 90’s albums and songs from the new album “Pinnacle Of Bedlam”, infact bar the new tracks no songs are played from any of the albums post ’03 reunion.
Following the active crowd during Cephalic Carnage the start of Suffocation’s set is a tad anti climatic, the band are firing but it seems a tad lost on the audience, not helped by the muddy mix through the PA but “Liege of Inveracity” finally sees a pit opening up and then John encourages the crowd to start the world’s “smallest female wall of death” consisting of no more than 2 ladies for “Pierced from Within” which then opens up the crowd into a sea of stomping and head banging as the breakdown section comes in. The sound seems to also finally clear up and John Gallagher cajoles the audience “c’mon guys, wake up, it’s Tuesday and we’re in a dungeon” and they launch into the newer track “Purgatorial Punishment”.
Drinks are held aloft to cheers and the memory of Jeff Hanneman for “Mass Obliteration”, the first of the final 3 tracks that see circle pits pretty much non stop for the rest of the night. As newer track “My Demise” cracks away, everyone bouncing of each other in the pit is grinning away, whilst on stage drummer Dave Culcross looks pained as he gives it his all, speeding through the super fast and technical blast sections. Running slightly over their allotted time Gallagher encourages the crowd, “this is our last song, we want to see some chaos”, and they get it as they launch into “Infecting The Crypts” and the crowd goes balls out, bodies bouncing in all directions as the first surfer of the night gets unceremoniously dumped over the barrier straight onto the stage. Running late they don’t even get to say their thanks, house lights go up and NWA’s “Straight outta Compton” kicks in over the PA leaving Gallagher cut off mid sentence. Despite some muddy sound issues, the brutal performances from both bands and an enthusiastic midweek audience that were up for some serious moshing created the atmosphere for a great night and a memorable gig.
Thrones Of Blood
As Grace Descends
Rapture Of Revocation
Liege Of Inveracity
Pierced From Within
Devoid Of Truth
Infecting The Crypts