CARCASS/HELL – Helsinki 9.12.2013

CARCASS/HELL
HELSINKI, FINLAND
DECEMBER 9th 2013

REVIEW BY VILLE KRANNILA

AT Helsinki Cable Factory three bands rocked the house on a cold and windy December evening. First there was Hell, a NWOBHM legend and cult heroes. Second in the line-up, Carcass who also more than fit the bill when it comes to legendary metal bands.

The headlining act was Swedish Viking metal hordes Amon Amarth, a very successful act in Europe but not among our favourites and we basically had no interest to witness them. They also were obviously paired with wrong Nuclear Blast artists. Hell and Carcass have such power and intensity in their performance and musically differ quite a bit from the headliners.

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Pic. Jussi Lahtonen

At couple of minutes before 7 PM, Hell step on stage and launch into “The Age Of Nefarius” a new single from their just released “Curse & Chapter” – album. Even with small stage and no props, the band is hugely impressive in live format. Using most of the area, they have a certain charisma honed by decades of working and touring and also their enthusiasm for the material and being in front of a live audience is palpable.

Guitarists Kev Bower and Andy Sneap rolled out catchy licks and melodies one after another, Bower also spent some time behind keyboards but mainly just to give small embellishments to some songs either intros or slower mid-sections. Bassist Tony Speakman and drummer Tim Bowler embellished the sonic picture accordingly.

Finally you have to raise your hat in honour of David Bower, who absolutely commanded the stage. With a crown of thorns in his head, red contact lenses and a manic stare towards the front row, he was truly a magnificent appearance. A couple of times he jumped right in front of the first row and sang the lyrics right at people’s faces. Most remarkable however, the man’s enduring voice which tonight was in phenomenal shape. Both menacing growls and glass breaking highs were delivered totally in pitch and flawlessly.

Set list contained only six songs, quite evenly divided between their two released albums. The new stuff already sounds like a classic, rightfully since the songs from “Curse & Chapter” continue to explore ideas originally written 30 years ago when Hell made first attempt at breaking big. Luckily they also played my favourite Hell tune “On Earth As It Is In Hell” and it sounded magnificent. To sum it up, Hell stole the show left, right and centre!
Next it was time for second patch of returning heroes Carcass, promoting their first new album in 17 years. “Surgical Steel” also a highlight from 2013 was a logical continuation in their career and probably last year’s greatest death metal release.

Photo by Greg Cristman | www.gregCphotography.com

The show didn’t disappoint. Infamous video clips of various human organs and diseases were playing on video screens behind them as the band launched into a death grind number after another. The crowd was into it from the get-go and the band played brilliantly. Sound was slightly more problematic compared to previous band. The drums were too loud, bass drum especially pounding far above the other instruments. Strangely this occurred on certain faster numbers, but eased off on other slower tunes.

Set-list was nicely built giving us a rounded off selection from throughout bands huge back catalogue. 1996’s “Swansong” perhaps inevitably was ignored, but I could have appreciated “Keep On Rotting In The Free World” and “Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody.” But overall set list was good enough varying between early grind core stuff and later more melodic material. Guitarist Bill Steer even sang a classic part from “Exhume To Consume.”

Surprisingly the old songs “Exhumed To Consume” and “Genital Grinder” didn’t spark off the biggest mosh pits of the evening, that honour going to more recent “Heartwork” (well, 1993) material. Also it’s obvious Carcass have gained few new fans with “Surgical Steel,” as the new single “Captive Bolt Pistol” got tremendous reception along with other new tracks. This of course is a great thing and also as soon the band stepped off stage, their next show in Finland at Tuska Open Air 2014 was announced.

Jeff Walker’s vocals were in good shape and Bill Steer rolled out guitar solos in his usual fashion. Too bad the sound issues interfered here again, with Steer’s guitar not nearly as loud as new member Ben Ash’s same instrument on the left side of the stage. Daniel Wilding (previously from Heaven Shall Burn among others) made a solid appearance on drums although purists still bemoan the absence of Ken Owen.

Anyways, we left straight after Carcass finished so there is nothing to say about Amon Amarth. Judging by reviews of fans who stayed until the end, we were right to leave as this night totally belonged to two opening acts.

Setlist HELL:

The Age Of Nefarious
On Earth As It Is in Hell
Blasphemy And the Master
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Quest
Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us

Setlist CARCASS:

Buried Dreams
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Unfit For Human Consumption
This Mortal Coil
Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
Genital Grinder
Exhume To Consume
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Captive Bolt Pistol
Ruptured In Purulence
Heartwork

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About Ville Krannila