Live Review: Cattle Decapitation / Signs Of The Swarm / 200 Stab Wounds / Vomit Forth – The Stylus, Leeds 15.03.2024

As I approached the Stylus for tonights slab of death and death core I couldn’t help but notice the amount of shirts milling about with logos which to the untrained eye are totally illegible, to the rest of us though they are a cacophony of geniuses in the world we all absolutely love. It then hit me, if there are this many shirts loitering outside with the doors to the venue already open, it must be absolutely rammed inside, and once through the doors, I was not mistaken. It looked like the whole of Yorkshire, and then some, had shown up for the show tonight, how they expected to have originally packed all these bodies into the lot smaller Key Club is anyone’s guess. Thank Christ though it had been moved to the Stylus and thank god it’s a better size platform on which this stacked bill could ply their trade tonight.

First up was Vomit Forth and boy did they bring the energy, they brought it ten-fold and really kicked the evening off with a bang. Gelaznik was a gazelle on steroids, taunting the crowd in order to generate a movement and response most headline acts would be pleased with. The vocals from the lungs of Gelaznik were spat out with passion and intensity and this was well and truly matched by the fretboards and skins which had taken up residency all around him. The set was brief and from the mumblings after the set it had left many with a desire to catch more of this troop whenever they hit anywhere remotely near to where logistics will allow people to reach. A great opening slot

Next up and we were treated to more traditional brutal Death Metal courtesy of 200 Stab Wounds and these meant business. Buhl positioned himself front and centre and barked out his vocal duties very reminiscent of Corpsegrinder while the strings of MacDonald and Cook built the intricacies and backbone of the set respectively. Again, it was a relatively short set and I found myself with a hunger to catch these guys again even before the set had rung out, they impressed me and from seeing all of the movement in the pit to the side of me I’m sure that many others, if not all in attendance, were of similar thinking. As the house lights burst back into life, and with the likes of  ‘Skin Milk’, ‘Tow Rope Around The Neck’ and ‘Drilling Your Head’ still ringing in my ears I was left with a strong desire to pick up a copy of ‘Slave To The Scalpel’ and pretty damn sharpish.

Signs Of The Swarm were greeted with a hero’s welcome and without further delay, the whole place erupted and went absolutely crazy. Simonich orchestrated from the front, pacing up and down the stage with energy personified and a vocal range which was impressive on all levels. To this point in time crowd surfers had been trickling over the front, keeping the security team on their toes, but as soon as these Death Core stalwarts had instigated their set the security were made to work up a sweat, the activity over the top was phenomenal and a complete sight to behold. Mid set and Simonich brought out an inflatable Unicorn which he duly tossed into the crowd which then became fodder for the pit beneath it, the animal was tossed back and forth, up and down and conjured up images of a seal being tossed around by a hungry pod of Orcas, and it wasn’t long before the wind had been knocked out of the inflatable and a rather depressive looking sheet of rubber was being dragged out of the crowd by security in order to save its deflated carcass from being mauled anymore. Cassese was also worthy of a mention, from the opening pummelling bass line to the closing battering bass riff he put in a shift, manipulating and pounding on his thicker strings and solid fretboard with muscle and power which only went to generate a titanium body of work which was delivered with authority and power. The band then signed off and left the crowd audibly demanding more from this State side Death Core crew.

So onto the headliners, the legendary Cattle Decapitation, and this was one that I was extremely up for. Cattle Decapitation do not disappoint in the live setting and tonight was no different. From the moment they came into sight to the moment they disappeared back to their dressing room it was immense; it was brutal, it was caustic and it was venomous. Each avenue of the band were on point and worked their individual shifts with gusto, passion and zeal, each component was intricate and fierce, violent and callous yet each fraternising with each other in order to come together and generate beautifully extreme slabs of face ripping and soul shredding apparatuses of the setlist. Travis Ryan stalked the stage like a man possessed, making eye contact with anyone who would participate and then barking out his venomous lyrics with a noxious and endearing quality. ‘Kingdom Of Tyrants’, ‘Bring Back The Plague’, ‘A Photic Doom’ and an immense ‘The Storm Upstairs’ were all there, all showcasing how ferocious extreme metal should be constructed and served. That being said though, the whole set was a masterclass in vehement and aggressive music, a sense of corroding beauty few others can replicate and a vitriolic performance many attempt to imitate but fail. This was a Cattle Decapitation show and a show which will always leave you battered and bruised mentally, physically and emotionally and that is why I absolutely love it. Period  

Previous Premiere: Brigitte Bardini casts beautiful and ethereal 'Petals' into the air.
Next Track: Eliza and the Delusionals want to 'Make It Feel Like The Garden' - a glorious, euphoric anthem.

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