Yeah, you know what’s coming. More easy listening pleasures and lightweight ear candy to relieve the grinding nihilistic horror of everyday life. Or vice versa.
Personally I took great delight in telling people I was off for General Surgery, obviously the belief that those folks showed suggests I need a lot of work done. Had very much enjoyed the Swedish Death metallers at last years Hellfest and this gig fitted in nicely for us as a warm up a further expedition tomorrow. I learned from their guitarist they’d had to travel direct from Slovenia to Clisson for that early morning festival gig but fair play it hadn’t taken the edge of their performance or how it was received. A good get together as we got the train up via Chester and then had to rely on instinct to find the place as I hadn’t been since Propagandhi at the downstairs Barfly some time back. Was disappointed that I wasn’t allowed to ask the girl peeing on the street for directions, not like you’d catch me exposed in a public place.

I thought I’d been here before but maybe not, as it was a pretty interesting set up, a mix of the ornate original with rough and ready fittings, good stage and PA. Starting things off were Burial from down the road in Manchester. It was there I had seen them recently supporting the blistering Anaal Nathrakh, and in some ways it was a very familiar performance. Yes, they have great blurry double picking speed, relentless blasting and necessary gruff delivery of straight up death metal but at times there is a lack of dynamics in the songs that makes it seem a bit lifeless, and a bit of a lack of stage presence ends up with them being treated with somewhat indifference at this early stage.

Far more of an impact initially visually from London’s BTK, with their big printed side screens of assorted related nastiness, and their various bizarre serial killer nerd outfits. Not just limited to that though, their intense and tight delivery of some ferociously fast death really drove along, excellent work from both guitarists. For some reason I had associated them with being an industrial/drum machine type of band when I’d heard earlier released tracks but there was no doubt that they were proficient at reaching this level of extremity by their own bloodied hands.

Main support was Abaddon Incarnate (nicely indecipherably logo patch purchased), another exercise in brutality from Dublin. If anything, the stakes were upped yet again as the additional layer of filth in their guitar tones was very satisfying, and the more diverse structures in their songs. Buying their “Nadir” album this subsequently seemed much more grindcore than their performance but fair play for them for not losing impact amongst the chaos of their noisy onslaught. I would definitely recommend checking these out if you get the opportunity

As the headliners are unashamedly worshippers at the temple of Carcass this first tour of theirs to the UK must seem a bit of a pilgrimage, and what better way to celebrate it at the spiritual home than with Jeff Walker from the Merseybeat gorelords introducing them on stage. They had also been in France simultaneously then so maybe the connections had already been made but fair play Jeff is still an active supporter of the scene even if he has now made enough money for now from the comeback carousel of the last few years to retire with his feet up in sunny St. Helens. Surgery were a (relative) step down in pace from their support bands but a step up in terms of effortless (or well practiced) precision in churning out the thundering but crisp riffs and beats. Plenty of movement on stage too, all bloodsoaked in their medical gowns, their frontman is particularly engaging in his pacing about with “eyes like there’s something wrong”. They’ve got a scattered back catalogue of splits and eps to pick from but I most enjoy hearing the stuff off “Left Hand Pathology” lp, with the new release “Corpus in Extremis” definitely sounding up to speed too. There’s a good turnout tonight and we are all finally rewarded with Carnage and Repulsion covers to finish the set. Sick stuff indeed. I can see it being proper mad here for legends Deicide appearing here in a couple of months.