Live Review: Cannibal Corpse / Dark Funeral / Ingested / Stormruler – Manchester Academy, Manchester 21.04.2023

Phil Pountney

As I forged my way across the Pennines, I was extremely excited for the evening that stood before me, an eclectic mix of metal sub genres and an evening of uncompromising brutal Death and Black metal from various corners of our planet.

Early doors meant a sprint to the box office to grab my accreditation and then a quick stop by the merch stand and then down to the barrier just in time for some Imperial Black Metal Warfare courtesy of Stormruler. As the lights dimmed we were hit with a barrage of melodic black metal which was tainted with colossal and barbaric riffs and chords which all combined to generate an impressive compendium of swathing and enveloping soundscapes all delivered with intense and vehement intent. The set was short but utilised well in order to carve us open and deliver us an ensemble of visceral foreboding black waves which we could bang our heads to with fervour and angst. The set was made up primarily of tracks from the latest opus, ‘Sacred Rites And Black Magick’, with ‘Reign Of The Winged Duke’ also thrown in for good cause. The set was filled with precision and intricacy and all served with a generous helping of passion and hunger from the offset, this surely was half an hour which will have peaked more than a few peoples interest and encouraged them to go and seek out the Stormruler back catalogue.

There is nothing like a hometown gig in order to ignite a venue and command it to erupt before your very eyes, and this is exactly what happened when Ingested hit the Academy stage for their homecoming. Evans was front and centre in order to orchestrate the carnage and mayhem which ensued, he stalked the stage throughout the whole set, gnarling and gnashing through the likes of set opener ‘Rebirth’, a huge ‘Shadows In Time’ and a truly triumphant ‘Invidious’. Hynes was vicious and venomous on the six strings and helped Evans demand riotous movement in the pit in front of them. Mid set Evans rebranded their Northwest stomping ground as Slamchester and did this with a massive outpouring of emotion and pride, generating a roar back from the crowd of impressive epic proportions. As the set closed out with an abrasive and crushing ‘Echoes Of Hate’, we had witnessed a lesson of supremacy and perfection in the Slam and brutal Death Metal world. Absolutely magnificent and a huge sincere welcome home lads. 

The stage was then turned round, and as the Dark Funeral backdrop was unveiled the excitement and anticipation ramped up a level. The lights went down and the Swedish Black Metal royalty marched into sight and then proceeded to launch into a blistering ‘Nosferatu’ and the intentions were laid out before us, we were about to be opened up to a masterclass in measured and seductive, violent and poisonous Black Metal. Lord Ahriman set up camp on stage left for pretty much the entirety of the set, occasionally greeting the opposing side with calculated and intentional visits before returning to his abode and dispensing a pulsating and effervescent shift on his stringed axe. As the set evolved through a colossal and monumental ‘The Secrets Of The Black Arts’ and an impressive, anthemic ‘Nail Them To The Cross’ Heljarmadr barked out each and every lyric with toxic and corrosive anger and authority. The stage was constantly stalked by Heljarmadr, releasing a sovereignty which could only be looked upon with awe and respect while the other strings were tamed throughout by Adra-Melek and Chaq Mol, both seeming to have respective points to prove with the amount of appetite and desire they injected into their commanded roles. ‘Let The Devil In’ and then a titanic and fierce ‘Where Shadows Forever Reign’ closed out our time with the Swedish blackened uber gods and left us reeling from a lesson in pure perfection, the true epitome of Black Metal in all its splendour and grandeur.

The academy was full to busting, totally sold out, and as Cannibal Corpse hit the stage the whole place exploded. ‘Scourge Of Iron’ hit us head on and then pit after pit detonated into life, encouraged throughout by Fisher and his goading that none of those in attendance would be able to beat him when it came to head banging, I mean, are we at all surprised when you look at the size of that neck he exhibits proudly on top of his huge frame. The set had it all, Barrett and Rutan injected the riffs and chords with obvious ease, caressing the fretboards and picking at the strings with copious amounts of dexterity and agility, a dedication to the ladies in the form of ‘F*@ked With A Knife’, a set spanning 13 albums of their back catalogue, a huge ‘Evisceration Plague’ and pit after pit of violent and maniacal savagery. Then as we thought that that may have been it, and subliminally celebrating our own survival, we were hit with a sledgehammer by way of ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ and the intensity went up a notch, it was sublime and pulverising in equal measures.

As we were then left to reflect on the evening it could only be surmised that we had just been a part of a Cannibal Corpse show of passionate and brutal intensity, and one that demanded nothing short of your full attention throughout. In short, that is how you deliver a death metal gig, plain and simple.

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