The final band of this Deathcrusher run through are Liverpool rogues Smeg and the Heads (Sorry. Geek overload – I couldn’t resist!!)

Carcass. Initially a ‘D beat’ band called Disattack on their inception in 1985. When they changed name to Carcass in 1987 they became a leading light in the UK grindcore scene. Lots of similarities with Napalm Death in their formative years (Peel Sessions, Earache Records, etc). Combining a gory and often horrific lyrical content taken straight from medical journals their covers caused controversy over the years for the depictions found inside said journals.

Over time their sound went outright death metal and eventually more intricate with a more melodic death metal vibe – but still keeping a degree of the medical journal style lyrics.

I got to see Carcass locally on their Heartwork tour in December 1994 then not again for another 14 years until their appearance at the Damnation Festival in Leeds.

The Heartwork album is considered the bands big break and lead to them signing to major label Columbia Records but never actually releasing anything with them!


Breed To Breathe

Let’s take a look at another one of the Deathcrusher bands.

Stalwarts of the UK “extreme metal” scene this bunch of grindcore merry men – with their distorted, down tuned guitars, buzz saw like bass, frenetic blast beats all topped off with usually incomprehensible growls and shrieks – have been pummelling stages from their humble beginnings at the Mermaid in Birmingham to festival stages in front of thousands of fans.

Signed to the cult Earache label and championed on national UK radio by John Peel, the band have gone from strength to strength and from what many considered a joke band to a much loved institute. Their 1989 7″ single “You Suffer” is in the Guinness Book of Records as being the the shortest song in the World at a staggering 1.316 seconds short!

I was introduced to the band by another school friend who loaned me some heavier stuff than what I was listening to – Kreator, Slayer, Doom, Civilised Society? And Doctor & the Crippens amongst others and Napalm Death’s debut Scum.

Most people’s first introduction to them was probably through a heavy metal special for Arena (an arts programme on BBC 2) in 1989.

Check out Breed To Breathe – the opening track from 1997’s Inside The Torn Apart.

You Suffer – don’t blink!!

Tribal Convictions

Let’s take a look at one of the bands gracing the stage for the Deathcrusher European tour this year. Voivod.

These French – Canadians have been through several style changes since their formation in Jonquière, Quebec sometime in 1982. From the raw punk influenced speed metal releases of War And Pain and Rrröööaaarrr via the science fiction inspired, psychedelic Nothingface to the most recent progressive thrash metal release Target Earth.

Tribal Convictions is taken from 1988’s Dimension Hatröss. Compared to other thrash bands at that time and even the other bands on their German label, Noise Records, they are a very acquired taste and often seen as more of a cult band.

“The Live Arena”

In my mind there’s not many things better than going to see bands perform in the live arena.

Whether it’s your favourite band ever at a festival with 90,000 other like minded people who are playing the song that means the most to you. Or waking into a local spit and sawdust pub as doors have just opened and watching the opening band who one day might be the next big thing.

Live music can run you through the gauntlet of all the emotions – quite often at the same show. But on the flip side it can disappoint just as easily. You finally score tickets to see a band you’ve liked for ever and they put in a sub-standard performance.

Over the course of the next week I’ll be at the two shows below – maybe more. Who knows? I might chuck a review or a few photos on here. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. One thing for sure though is a few videos will be posted here on the lead up to the shows.

Friday – Manchester Ritz.

One of the first “festival” style tours for “extreme metal fans” to hit the UK for a long time. Four death and thrash metal legends on the same stage in one night.

Saturday – Camden Underworld.

The album launch gig for Northern Irish thrashers Gama Bomb, ably supported by relatively recently reunited 80’s thrashers Re-Animator.