The Psyke Project
Beta, Copenhagen, DEN - 18/5
Dying FetusPrevious Next
support Job For A Cowboy + Revocation + Cerebral Bore
author AP date 03/10/12 venue KB18, Copenhagen, DEN
And so it came to be that my Wednesday night on this humid October evening was to be spent watching death metal at one of my favorite Copenhagen venues. Originally, this tour was scheduled for the much hipper Lille Vega, but due to some X-Factor related filming it had to be moved to another venue - and the only one with a similar capacity was KB18. Not that the club comes close to full capacity at any point in the evening: there is a sizable crowd of metalheads here to be sure, but probably still nowhere close to having sold out the 340-or-so capacity venue.
Cerebral Bore open the proceedings in blistering manner, treating us to an uncompromising barrage of grind-tinged brutal death metal spearheaded by what I only realize after three songs to be a girl, and not a particularly young-looking gentleman. To be fair, Simone Pluijmers is clad in rather androgynous attire, and her monstrous guttural growl is the last thing you'd expect to come out from the pipes of such a fair young lady. The quartet, completed by guitarist Paul McGuire, bassist Kyle Rutherford and drummer Allan MacDonald, delivers a solid set, but I fear in order to properly enjoy it, you'd have to be more familiar with their material, or at least a hardened fan of music like this. For me, still very much a death metal debutant following the impressive Origin show at Stengade earlier this year, the best parts are those in which the band settles into a firm groove that demands a headbanging response; while the merits of the full-on blastbeat assault that is the primary component in their music quickly become lost to me. Still, there is no reason to discredit the performance, as Cerebral Bore are clearly skilled at their craft and showcase a knack for putting on a show that engages most of the audience that has gathered before the stage.
Revocation introduce a considerable thrash influence to the evening, and quickly establish themselves as the most diverse outfit of the evening. With parts that wouldn't sound out of place on a Dillinger Escape Plan song, not to mention a number of soulful blues infusions colouring their palette, these Americans understand how to stick out; for those of us new to the band's music, the diverse and constantly changing tunes resonating from the PA system serve well to keep us interested throughout. Combine to that a high level of technical prowess, and you've got yourself a winner. That Brett Ramberger, the bassist, is seemingly having the night of his life touting his instrument into the crowd and throwing bewildered looks at it whilst his bandmate, guitarist Dan Gargiulo, casually strides amongst us, is but the icing on what is a very solid performance.
It has been too long since this band - one of my absolute favorites practicing the modern death metal sound - graced Denmark with their presence. As such it comes as no surprise, the stupendous enthusiasm of the crowd when the five-piece steps on stage and immediately asserts itself as the sole authority in the venue for the next 40 minutes or so. It is easy to forgive the slightly muddy mix (nothing too detrimental) when you experience the band's commanding presence first hand, with vocalist Jonny Davy in particular exerting himself in the most powerful fashion. For a long time, Job for a Cowboy was known as an extremely polarising band due to their success even in a not-so-DM type crowd of scenesters, but no such grievances seem to exist anymore, as virtually the entire audience appears captive to JFAC's pummeling assault from beginning to end, and willingly so.
We are treated to a wide selection of material spanning the entirety of the band's discography; from the opening salvo of "Entombment of a Machine" off the "Doom" EP and "Embedded" from the "Genesis" album, through "Imperium Wolves" from "Demonocracy" and the following "Unfurling a Darkened Gospel" from "Ruination", to the monumental onslaught of fan favorite "Knee Deep" also stemming from their debut EP "Doom". The varied setlist ensures that everyone is catered to, whether you swear by the early deathcore days or the more recent excursions into straight death metal - and thus there is little, if any animosity to be witnessed, aside of course, from the obligatory moshpit that operates during every song. Exactly what it is that makes Job for a Cowboy such a formidable live act is difficult to put a finger on, but I suspect it has something to do with their ability to personify their songs and deliver a highly animate performance brimming with furious energy. So when "Constitutional Masturbation" puts an end to things on a brutal note, there isn't a single soul in the room that isn't clapping or giving the bands the horns up for what is truly a triumphant return to this small country. Now, when will that headline show take place?
I must admit, when I watched Dying Fetus at Copenhell earlier this summer, there was little to the performance that spoke to me or impressed me in any way. Sure, the trio's technical prowess was undeniable, and forced the occasional nod of approval from me, but in general I remember it as one of the weakest performances at the festival. But tonight, it is as though I am watching a different band; more invigorated and armed with a much better sound mix. I suspect this stems from the size and look of the venue, as the murky confines of KB18, with its graffiti-tagged walls and dodgy decore provide just the right atmosphere for death metal as brutal and uncompromising as this.
Dying Fetus are not ones to place much emphasis on the visual aesthetic. The two frontmen, John Gallagher and Sean Beasley, who are armed with a guitar and bass and growl each in their own style (the former in a rather traditional way; the latter with a deep guttural sound), are stationed on either side of the stage and remain there for entire length of the set, their only movements headbanging and windmilling. Usually I don't get a lot out of music, let alone demeanor like this, but in the case of Dying Fetus tonight, there is something utterly mesmerising about it. They just come across as extremely convincing. The band has so much history, and has influenced so many others, that the authenticity of their ideas inevitably seep through to remind us that these boys are among the pioneers. Further proof is provided by a setlist which literally spans the entire Dying Fetus discography, and the resulting reception by the crowd cannot be ignored. Few death metal bands can muster up a show as strong as this, and let's face it - if Dying Fetus were going to be outperformed by the much younger, much less experienced Job for a Cowboy, there would have been a riot here tonight.
Photos copyright of Rasmus Ejlersen