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Global Domination | Witnessed | Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Exhumed, Skeletonwitch, Abysmal Dawn, Hour Of Penance, Arkaik: 2012-04-14

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Witnessed

Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Exhumed, Skeletonwitch, Abysmal Dawn, Hour Of Penance, Arkaik: 2012-04-14

18/05/12  ||  Sokaris

It’s rare that Cincinnati gets any decent shows. General tour routing brings bands to Cleveland and Louisville and almost never directly to our town. It seems Cannibal Corpse’s US Torture tour (should’ve just dubbed the trek “Tourture”, come on!) alongside Exhumed, Abysmal Dawn and Arkaik was designed to hit the markets the two headlining bands wouldn’t be playing during Summer Slaughter. Because of this we get a show in West Virginia (which my fellow Global Dominator Sworntotheblack attended) , Vermont, New Mexico three shows in North Carolina and a lot of death metal for concert-deprived fans.

At the same time, another Metal Blade Records act was headlining their own tour. The Black Dahlia Murder went out on the road with a hell of an opening lineup in Nile, Skeletonwitch and Hour of Penance. Somehow the metal gods smiled upon my shitty area and the bands had an off-day in between Atlanta and Toledo. Now all of the Europeans (and unfortunately some of the Americans) might be scratching their heads at all of the US geography so far but this means that there was an opportunity for some divine booking agent to facilitate the merging of the two tours into something called “Death on the vine”. An eight band metal marathon in Sokaris’ neck of the woods.

Tickets were purchased, vacation days were taken and through overcast weather into the grayness of downtown Cincinnati went myself and a mutual metal maniac.

Unfortunately we arrived late and missed openers Arkaik, the only band with which I wasn’t already familiar. I ended up feeling like a douchebag later as I exchanged words with a guy by the Nile merch table that ended up being their vocalist. I promised I’d check them out and I have. Arkaik play decent brutal tech death, the kind that actually has riffs and doesn’t seem to rely too much on chuggy stuff. Nothing mindblowing but solid and probably something those more enamored with that style than me would love.

Anyway, onto the actual goddamn show finally. Hour of Penance took the stage in dramatic fashion upon our entrance and proceeded to blast the fuck out of Bogarts. The Italian quartet was our for blood and played a fierce and tight set. Unfortunately I’m a recent convert to their cause so I don’t know their songs well enough to cobble together a setlist. The sound was a little bottom-heavy but the band managed to get a hell of a response despite the early hour.

Next was Abysmal Dawn, a band I didn’t expect much from. I’ve always felt pretty neutral towards their brand of death metal. I think the music is fine and all that but there’s always been a factor of lifelessness in their sound to me. Seeing them live definitely changed my opinion, their songs are injected with a lot more energy than the studio performances convey. The band was sharp and are already starting to earn a reputation as road dogs, hitching onto the tours of a lot of bigger acts. Hopefully they won’t end up being regarded by the metal concert-going public as a death metal Blackguard.

I can now officially state that I’ve seen Skeletonwitch live more than any other bands. We don’t really have any local metal heroes but Skeletonwitch were originally from Athens, Ohio and got their start playing in Cincy a lot. I first heard of them when they performed at the laundromat/bar (no seriously) that was directly straight across the street from the venue they were playing tonight. They’ve not forgotten us since then and tend to hit up this area with their brand of slightly blackened NWOBHM-laced thrash whenever they can. A hell of an act live and their style helped break up the brutality for the night and add some diversity. I still heavily favor their debut “Beyond the permafrost” and it seemed the crowd did too, going ballistic for the two numbers they culled from it.

I think I was most excited for Exhumed since I became a gore metal devotee just as these guys went on the long hiatus that eventually led to their anti-climactic breakup. They were relegated to the list of bands I’d never get to see and that was that. Fortunately the band didn’t stay dead too long, Matt Harvey getting to itch to exhume the project. I imagine this tour (and their upcoming stint on Summer Slaughter where they’re unfortunately one of the earliest acts) will do big for them with younger and more recent metal fans considering there was an 8 year gap between albums from them. Their show was absolutely satisfying, leaning heavily on “Gore metal” and their newest opus of offal “All guts no glory”. The band was charismatic and managed to perfectly marry grindcore attitude with death metal power and the occasional traditional or thrash metal foray into melody. They featured some small theatrics with a chainsaw wielding masked man storming the stage twice during their set, most memorably during an extended chant-a-long in the middle of “Limb from limb”.

Despite a lot of technical problems on stage right, Nile still managed to deliver. Unfortunately Karl Sanders’ masterful guitarwork was absent for most of the first couple songs as he sorted out some equipment problems. The band carried on and when all four members were in full effect it was a site to behold with a luscious mix. I fucken love Karl’s lead guitar tone so much. It’s like the love song of a continent-sized pterodactyl. The doomier, crushing moments really stood out as they were the only band that dipped below mid-tempo regularly. Technical problems I can get over but them not playing “Cast down the heretic” was upsetting. I should’ve brought that up with the man himself.

I’m basically neutral on The Black Dahlia Murder. They’ve got some decent chops but I don’t really find much of their material memorable. On one hand, they’re definitely a more legitimate band than the blatant At-the-Gatesisms of “Unhallowed” but I actually found their rehashed brand of Gothenburg to be a lot catchier and more fun to listen to. They’re not a bad band by any means, they’ve got their own charm and all that but for me it was really hard not to get anxious for their set time to end when Cannibal Corpse is coming up (and at this point it’s been almost six hours and I’m goddamn tired). The crowd seemed to love them, their vocalist Trevor Strnad’s stage presence resembling that of a possessed fitness instructor. I don’t love them but they definitely seem to be a hard-working band that doesn’t take their success lightly.

I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse once before, at a shitty festival years ago. If I remember right, they were playing before Trivium, In Flames and As I Lay Dying. Their presence and Behemoth playing for half an hour was the reason I attended (and GWAR was a good bloody bonus). Anyway, I hadn’t seen the real deal, a headlining Cannibal Corpse set. I would liken it to running a marathon while onlookers throw household tools at your face. Oh and you’re running uphill in entrails. The band was insanely tight, ultra heavy and fun as hell. Corpse has so much stage presence they should donate some of it out to lesser bands. Guitarists Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien put on a clinic of guitar mastery, lockstep together through complex rhythms, scorching leads (mostly done by Pat) and punishing grooves. Alex Webster, death metal patron saint of bassists, wasn’t to be outdone, his mesmerizing finger technique something to behold. Paul Mazurkiewicz is unfairly picked on, he’s not necessarily flashy but I think his meat and potatoes style helps underline the basic rhythms of the band and keep things grounded. Onto George Fischer, better known as Corpsegrinder, probably one of the best frontmen in the genre. His voice is huge, strong and the guy rattles brutal lyrics out at jackhammer pace. His windmilling is that of legends, his tree trunk of a neck helicopter spinning almost any time he’s not screaming his guts out. The band were heavy on their newest release “Torture”, which I was fine with, considering the quality of that album. Despite their desire to showcase new material, they managed to at least play a song from every album and pull out some unexpected gems. The band ended their set with “Stripped, raped and strangled” with guest vocals from Dahlia vocalist Strnad,

See Cannibal live, you really have no excuse if you’re in the USA since they’re playing everywhere this year (with Exhumed in tow for both this tour and Summer Slaugher). As for this particular event, this was a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of brutality and I’m sure everyone in attendance got their fill of death fucken metal to hold us over until another decent tour hits this market.

9.5 out of fucken 10.

  • Who: Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Exhumed, Skeletonwitch, Abysmal Dawn, Hour Of Penance, Arkaik.
  • When: 14 April, 2012.
  • Where: Bogarts, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
  • Cannibal Corpse Setlist
  • 01. Demented aggression
  • 02. Sarcophagic frenzy
  • 03. Scourge of iron
  • 04. Disfigured
  • 05. Evisceration plague
  • 06. The time to kill is now
  • 07. Crucifier avenged
  • 08. I cum blood
  • 09. Covered with sores
  • 10. Born in a casket
  • 11. The wretched spawn
  • 12. Encased in concrete
  • 13. I will kill you
  • 14. As deep as the knife will go
  • 15. Priests of Sodom
  • 16. Unleashing the bloodthirsty
  • 17. Make them suffer
  • 18. Hammer smashed face
  • 19. Stripped, raped and strangled
  • The Black Dahlia Murder Setlist
  • 01. A shrine to madness
  • 02. Moonlight equilibrium
  • 03. What a horrible night to have a curse
  • 04. A vulgar picture
  • 05. Malenchantments of the necropshere
  • 06. Conspiring with the damned
  • 07. Necropolis
  • 08. Den of the picquerist
  • 09. Carbonized in cruciform
  • 10. Everything went black
  • 11. Miasma
  • 12. On stirring seas of salted blood
  • 13. I will return
  • 14. Blood in the ink
  • 15. Deathmask Divine
  • 16. Funeral Thirst
  • Nile Setlist
  • 01. Kafir!
  • 02. Sacrifice unto Sebek
  • 03. Hittite dung incantation
  • 04. Ithyphallic
  • 05. Sacophagus
  • 06. Permitting the noble dead to descend to the underworld
  • 07. Lashed to the slave stick
  • 08. Black seeds of vengeance
  • Exhumed Setlist
  • 01. All guts no glory
  • 02. As hammer to anvil
  • 03. Necrotized
  • 04. Necromaniac
  • 05. Torso
  • 06. Limb from limb
  • 07. I rot within
  • 08. Deathknell
  • 09. Decrepit crescendo
  • 10. Distorted and twisted into form
  • 11. The matter of splatter
  • 12. Open the abscess
  • Skeletonwitch Setlist
  • 01. Erased and forgotten
  • 02. Submit to the suffering
  • 03. Reduced to the failure of prayer
  • 04. The horrifying force (The desire to kill)
  • 05. Beyond the permafrost
  • 06. Of ash and torment
  • 07. Crushed beyond dust
  • 08. Shredding sacred flesh
  • 09. Within my blood
  • Abysmal Dawn Setlist
  • 01. Programmed to consume
  • 02. My own savior
  • 03. Rapture renowned
  • 04. Perpetual dormancy
  • 05. Pixilated ignorance
  • 06. Leveling the plane of existence
  • 07. In service of time