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This Carcass Doesn’t Rot

September 26, 2008

Earlier this month, Baltimore got a rare mix of brutality as the Exhumed to Consume tour, honoring the much welcomed reunion of grind patriarch Carcass, made one of its few U.S. stops at Sonar. Seven bands gave fans the opportunity to experience the best and most intricate form of extreme metal, namely grindcore. The often inscrutable genre is a hodgepodge of sound to the unfamiliar ear. It sounds something like a hellish beast of noise, its origins stemming from death metal, early punk rock, and sometimes technically solemn enough to be considered in the vein of prog. Once your ear does grasp itself to grindcore however, there is no mistaking its savage and raw squeal of guitars, the clashing of speed and fluidity of drums.

This night brought forth some of the world’s finest examples of grindcore. The show began early as local grinder Misery Index kicked off the night in perfect form. Then, Finland’s Rotten Sound brought breakdown-enriched double kicks of melodic, foreboding drums and poetic vocals, playing tracks from its recent release Cycles.

The room filled up for Norway’s corpse paint-clad 1349 as it scattered a layer of black metal in sonic-boom fashion. It was a refreshing genre change to the mostly death-metal lineup, yet the heaviness of sound emerging from the amps was almost muffled at times, making the precision of each song almost inaudible. Pig Destroyer filled the room with unadulterated blast beats and dark growling vocals. The Virginia outfit’s offerings were short and to the point, filled with spastic breakdowns and carpeting the antsy crowd with heavy, ravenous, old-school death metal riffs.

The fierce stage presence of metal mainstay Suffocation tightened up the pit with riffs of downtempo gloom. The crowd slammed forward to the almost unnatural blast beats of “Entrails of your Suffering”, which was dedicated to all the “lovely ladies in the crowd” by frontman Frank Mullen. Technical chord progressions meandered with infectious guitar riffs of “In Perfect Hatred.” The band brought it down with “Bind, Torture, Kill,” as shirtless bodies pummeled the floor of the pit, causing some to exit with bloodied faces. At this point, some of the audience filed out during the break between bands and the already packed room began to stream to the front.

The night did indeed belong to Carcass. At sound check, the front of the crowd braced themselves as the swelling, pushing bodies from the back crammed together. The room erupted with the first blast of the kick drum followed by infectious melodic breakdowns and thunderous beats. The craning necks of the sweltering and anxious crowd dispersed into a tempest of fury during the technical brilliance of “Buried Dreams,” each kick of the drum invigorated the already explosive room.

Mosh pits developed within the carnage of raging fists and swarming bodies. Crowd surfers plunged through the sea of extended hands and swaying lighters during “Incarnale Solvent Abuse.” Moving seamlessly through songs, Carcass delivered impeccable guitar solos and deep growls, providing intricate and erratic chord progressions standard to the genre, but unmistakably unique to Carcass. There was plenty reason to bang your head, and, hopefully, this recent reunion gets Carcass to return to the studio.

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