Two of Extreme Metal’s biggest forces come together for a double header than left me with more than just a headache in the morning.
Making their UK debut just last year, Broken Hope are a band that shaped the bands we all know and love in the Death Metal scene today. Fans from all over the Metal genre, their brutal reach has gotten them, and deservedly so, the accolade of truly fantastic musicians. Having taken a break for a long while, the band returned with the ferocious Omen of Disease back in 2013 and have just released their absolutely demolishing Mutilated and Assimilated. Currently touring their absolutely phenomenal The Anthropocene Extinction record, Cattle Decapitation are the harbingers of doom. Known for their downcast view of humanity, the quartet have teamed up with the Chicago heavy weights for an evening that will be in my mind for a long time to come.
Being merely the third date on their Hell On Earth tour, you would think that Broken Hope might still be getting used to performing night after night. After a brief check its straight into the gore as frontman come immovable mass Damian Leski bellows out the first track of the evening. Seeing fans that might have been brought here by the Cattle Decapitation headline spot go positively insane when Broken Hope’s signature half time sections come in causing fans to truly embrace the band. Brought in with a small bass line introduction, the anvil heavy riff of “Mutilated And Assimilated” is spat out at the crowd. Despite this being their second ever London show, the reception here for the band is just as warm as you might expect.
The band themselves are absolutely on fire tonight, with sound levels neither obscuring or highlighting different instruments, the group perform perfectly together. Seeing guitarist Jeremy Wagner and bassist Diego Soria combine together to form the best possible team. Not to mention the barrage of double bass pedal brought forward from drummer Mike Miczek. Rolling out the likes of “Outback Incest Clan” sees Wagner’s patented pinch harmonics cut through the PA. Thriving off the audiences energy, the band put forward a set tonight that has the entire Underworld shaking the very foundations of the venue. Taking their leave Broken Hope have not only given Cattle Decapitation a run for their money but in doing so have no doubt cultivated an innumerable amount of rabid fans in the process. Though for fans like me, its a real treat to be able to see the band again!
After a quick changeover, the mammals themselves take to the stage. Both bands here tonight make sporadic appearances over here in the UK and the fans make sure they absorb every second of it. From the moment of “The Carbon Stampede” is rolled out, Cattle Decapitation do not relent until their final gasps. Picking material from their Monolith of Inhumanity release, there is nothing left to the imagination here. Limbs flying left and right (and thats just the band) the pit is something else. Barrelling out hyperdrive riffs after hyperdrive riff, guitarist Josh Elmore stands impervious on stage next to the monolith himself Derek Engemann.
Stalking the stage it still surprises me just how well Travis Ryan’s vocals come off live. If anything better than the record, the band shares the immediacy of their sonic violence bringing everyone here tonight into the throng of it all. The delightfully titled “A Living Breathing, Piece of Defecating Meat” is of course a fan favourite by now, quite how Dave McGraw doesn’t catapult himself into space with the speed of his drumming is something I will never really understand. Throwing in material from their latest mauling offering “Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot)” being another highlight. Its nothing compared to the utter mayhem that ensues following the announcement of “Forced Gender Reassignment” however. Seeing the crowd make the most use out of The Underworld’s fabled “pillar” and acting like Death Metal savages, its intensely fascinating to watch all the same.
Though sadly all good things must come to an end. As the despondent dirge of “The Monolith” comes out of the speakers followed by the callous “Kingdom of Tyrants” its the xenomorph like howl of Ryan’s that horrifies just as much as it fascinates, the band finally throw themselves to the wolves with the arrival of the crashing waves for “Manufactured Extinct” and the grand finale, seeing everyone here try (and fail) to mimic Ryan’s vocals in “Pacific Grim” making for a poignant choir of the damned. Still to this day one of my favourite ways to finish a record. Tonight, just as they did a year ago at Nambucca, Cattle Decapitation are absolutely unstoppable. Unique in both their identity and their sound, the band are incomparable kings of Death Grind.