Dying Fetus

support Trigger The Bloodshed + Burning Skies + Anterior
author EW date 24/06/08 venue Underworld, London, UK

To see another Dying Fetus tour grinding its way across the UK was a little surprising as I remember seeing them in May last year (on my 21st Birthday nonetheless) when their last album 'War Of Attrition' was freshly released. With no new album or EP on the shelves since I can only imagine they wanted to emphasise their presence and get the name out more, but with a support line-up that looked on paper weaker than last time the whole tour seemed a bit of a mystery to me. Not that that has been enough to stop me going to a Death Metal gig in the past and nor did it this time.

Trigger the Bloodshed

For the first time in ages given the ever-tempting attractions of nearby bars I actually made it in time for the first band, much to the delight of Trigger the Bloodshed I'm sure. Like the two other support bands tonight I had heard diddly-squat from them before the gig and knew just as little about them too so was approaching them with no preconceived ideas or feelings. Trigger the Bloodshed, from Bristol, UK, came on all guns blazing at a rampaging speed and brutality, and from the moment they started, the crowd's reaction was amazing - clearly they have built up a sizable fanbase without my knowing. Their style is clearly of the 'new-school' variety of Death Metal, possibly leaning on the 'Deathcore' side of things but thankfully avoided the pussy weak choruses that many of those identikit bands rely on. In a set speeding by at 1000mph, chunks of Cryptopsy-like melody were audible, and in final track "Laceration", which got the biggest crowd reaction, I could detect some distinct Behemoth-isms in the chaos, notably in some slower sections of their songs. In what was to be the standard for the night, it was growls and shrieks all the way from the vocalist, who perhaps lacked a little variety, but for an opening band they showed greater stage presence and tenacity than most others I've seen at extreme gigs like this one.


Burning Skies

Burning Skies, another band of Bristol origin, to me showed some resemblances to TtB of earlier, residing in a very brutal domain of Death Metal, though with greater similarity to legends Suffocation than anyone else, especially in some of the more grinding moments in "Sticky Richard" and "Rounding Up The Cattle" (I had thought earlier on that vocalist Merv sounded like a West Country farmer, this song only confirmed my belief!). Despite initial nerves on the part of Merv, he gradually grew in confidence and by the end of the set commanded the stage in the manner of a seasoned veteran, giving his all in the vocals and inciting up the crowd who were again loving it, even more so than during TtB. The latter half of Burning Skies' set displayed some Dying Fetus influence in the flourishing technicality of a number of the riffs and some 'epic' (in the words of Merv) soloing action during "RKD" and "Emocalypse". Burning Skies finished their set in good style and for the 2nd time of the night I was impressed by a band I had never heard of beforehand.


The introduction of Anterior onstage brought a different direction to proceedings with the brutal DM assault of the two openers replaced by an overly melodic, and to be honest, rather uninteresting Melodic Death Metal template. To the performance itself: the band very much seemed to be enjoying what they were doing, giving it their all and using their hair to create quite a spectacle which was something the first two bands had been unable to do. And though while vocalist Luke engaged with the audience impressively and the crowd's reaction was just as strong as the first two bands, I had personally become bored by their Killswitch Engage/In Flames melodicism and was desperately looking forward to my next drink (after having suffered the double annoyance of having my own pint spilt on to me by some fucker in the pit during their set). Yes, that kind of material when done well can work (thinking Children of Bodom, or older In Flames here), but an over-reliance on Maiden style guitar work and KSE vocal patterns just don't do it for me, and start to seem quite tame in any situation. Especially given those that preceded Anterior tonight. Despite giving their all, I just didn't feel it for Anterior.


Dying Fetus

And so to Dying Fetus, who at least I had been waiting for all night, if not everyone else by the looks of things. Anyone who has seen Dying Fetus before will know how their shows go - what you lack in audience communication is more than made up for in a total death metal assault, where song after song is blasted out with almost no time for a breather between hits. Given the brutality and technicality of their material it makes for a rather intense experience.

The first noticeable element of DF on the night was the absence of a second guitarist since I last saw them. The band have in the past flirted between 3 and 4 members but tonight it didn't seem to matter as they flew through tracks with such precision that one couldn't notice anything missing in the sound. Even if someone did notice the difference, they would more than likely have been flattened on the pit floor due to the intensity level of carnage that was enveloping the small Underworld floor. I, for one, innocently trying to headbang to well-known ditties such as "Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog" and the blinding closer "Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses)" was nearly run over on a number of occasions! The crowd participation tonight would surely be running for a full 10 if such marks were awarded and one got the feeling that the bands really appreciated it, given the surroundings of the gig, and the fact it was a mid-week one, which no-one really enjoys. We were even treated to a new track, which sounded like it could have gone off 2000's "Destroy The Opposition", so very promising it is indeed. Expected tunes such as the brilliant-in-more-ways-than-one "Pissing in the Mainstream", "Insidious Repression" and "In Time Of War" were all aired and contributed to a stellar performance from an always reliable band, both on record and in the live environment.


My hearing may have taken a battering but I went home happy and the general feeling after the gig seemed to be similarly upbeat too. A good Tuesday night out.

Photos courtesy of Greg Readings.

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