This Mortal Coil: Carcass Live in Lawrence, KS 07/17/16
Just under two years since they last played the Granada in Lawrence, UK goregrind pioneers Carcass returned to the scene of the crime Sunday night to kick off their latest tour, bringing along yet another stellar group of extreme metal bands to thoroughly put the Kansas crowd through the meat grinder.
Opening the show was up-and-coming traditional metallers Night Demon from California. A three-piece that sounds not so unlike classic-era Iron Maiden mixed with underground metal act High Spirits, Night Demon put on an enthusiastic and enjoyable opening set. While they were the only band of the night with clean vocals, their ripping guitar solos and thick, heavy bass-sound accentuated their playstyle and came across immensely heavy. “Screams In The Night” and the eponymous “Night Demon” were the highlights of their all-too-short set, but it was near flawless.
Up next were Creepsylvanian (by way of California) deaththrash mutants Ghoul. Donning blood-splattered masks and speaking with a generic east-european accent, Ghoul flew through their half-hour set all too quickly, but not before starting the first mosh pits of the night. Whereas Ghoul’s sound is equal parts Sacred Reich, Exhumed and yes, even Carcass, but their stage show is straight-up Gwar. They brought out a voodoo witch doctor to spray “hot sauce” on the crowd, a future Nazi/cop hybrid with “mace” and a deformed person that eventually returned with Nazicop in giant robotic suits of armor with chainsaw arms – also most of these characters were disemboweled or sprayed the crowd with fake blood in some way. Ghoul’s performance, which consisted mostly of songs from their forthcoming album “Dungeon Bastards,” was downright tight and amazing, even if most of the crowd was awestruck with the hellish vaudeville act on the stage during their set.
If there’s one band that didn’t fit the mold of the others on this tour, it’s Crowbar. Whereas the other three bands are fast and chaotic, Crowbar has been perfecting the art of slow, down-tuned, punishing sludge metal since 1990. Led by the menacing Kirk Windstein, Crowbar dragged out classic tune after classic tune that had some in the crowd singing along before slamming into everyone in sight. It’s interesting to hear certain songs that obviously influenced other giant metal bands – their performance of “Planets Collide” and “All I Had (I Gave)” conjured up memories of Type O Negative and Mastodon, respectively. Crowbar’s reach in the heavy metal pantheon is far and wide, as proven by their live performances nowadays.
No one puts on a show quite like Carcass. With their return to life in 2007, it seems like Carcass hasn’t taken a break between constant headlining tours, festival dates and releasing a fantastic new album (their first in 17 years) back in 2013. The set featured heavily on songs from said album, “Surgical Steel,” which is just fine because Carcass isn’t a group that needs to rely on their classic back catalogue to keep fans coming to their show. They even threw in a few tunes from their 1996 divisive post-breakup album “Swansong” which bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker proclaimed as “worse than nu-metal.” There were still a good many tunes played from their classic output, including several tracks from 1993′s “Heartwork” album (which pioneered the melodic death metal genre) and 1989′s “Symphonies of Sickness” (which pioneered the goregrind genre), but any style they were performing, Carcass sounded ace. Being the first night of the tour, the stage was lit up by four video monitors that showcased gory surgery videos and religious imagery in time with the music – for the first two songs. The rest of the set they were malfunctioning. Walker, known for his easy-going on-stage attitude, laughed it off, re-telling a story about Dave Mustaine losing his cool when a similar mishap happened years ago. “I’d like to think we don’t need the video screens,” he admitted to an enthusiastic crowd.
Closing with “Heartwork,” the group shook hands and distributed guitar picks and setlists into the crowd, and left them battered and bloody (some fake, some real) to spill out into the Lawrence night. A healthy and lively evening of death metal – what could be better?
Huge thanks to Mushu Powell of The Kansas Coqui Nest for all the photos used!
1. Unfit for Human Consumption
2. Buried Dreams
3. Incarnated Solvent Abuse
4. Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
5. The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills
6. Captive Bolt Pistol
7. Edge of Darkness (intro)/This Mortal Coil
8. Reek of Putrefaction
9. Exhume To Consume
10. Black Star (intro)/Keep On Rotting In The Free World
11. Corporal Jigsore Quandary/The Sanguine Article
12. Ruptured in Purulence (intro)/Heartwork/Carneous Cacoffiny (outro)
Crowbar (incomplete set, included):
- When Planets Collide
- Walk With Knowledge Wisely
- The Cemetery Angels
- All I Had (I Gave)
2. Brain Jerk
3. Word Is Law
4. Off With Their Heads
5. Shred The Dead
6. Wall of Death
7. As Your Casket Closes
2. Full Speed Ahead
3. Curse of the Damned
4. Killer (might be wrong)
5. Screams in the Night
6. The Chalice
8. Night Demon