Cephalic Carnage

support Psycroptic + Ion Dissonance + Hour of Penance + Dyscarnate
author EW date 13/09/10 venue Underworld, London, UK

As the post-festival gigging season begins to gather pace it was with Cephalic Carnage's European 'Initiation of the Misled' tour recently that I finally had a show to review after the feeling of months of waiting. Five bands, five countries of origin, one thing in common: unmitigated, heaving brutality. Sounds like your kind of thing? I should think so...

Dyscarnate

Openers of the night Dyscarnate are one of the wave of modern UK death metal bands to have by large missed my radar thus far, tending to play in the fast, brutal, guttural style perhaps best espoused by Trigger the Bloodshed rather than the rough and old-school variety of which I personally prefer. Being a three piece unit may not always allow for the dynamic complexities that many in their field go to bed dreaming of but in Dyscarnate's case their crushing weight was audibly clearer through the presence of just one guitar and the excellent turn out for a band finishing not later than seven in the evening lapped up the band's dual-vocal offerings and a performance better than would be expected for a bottom-of-five position.

Hour of Penance

Italy has only ever spasmodically produced heavy metal bands of note and aside from many dull-as-dishwater power metal acts never produced a 'scene' or sound that other countries and regions can lay claim to. Hour of Penance have come to be one of her leading extreme bands but even in doing so there's no hint in the music of their origin as Nile appear the most obvious influence in their brutal take on the genre. Now I can't claim to have any previous knowledge of these guys but having fellow scribe GR inform me of a 50% change in line-up since they last played here in May was borne out by a discomfort in their performance and direction as the absence of hooks or intriguing points of note soon became second fiddle to bassist Silvano Leone's humourous inter-song comments and announcements. Acceptable as a support act yes, but HoP didn't tonight do a great deal to suggest placing Italy on the metal top table right yet.

5

Ion Dissonance

My knowledge of Ion Dissonance not extending beyond a quick listen to their Myspace in the hours at work before the show was bereft of joy and optimism when it dawned these Canucks might just possess a hint of Beneath the Massacre about them and their chunky, modern deathcore-ish attack. You see, even a hint of BtM is more than I'm prepared to take after the insult to my senses their performance was earlier this year, but thankfully Ion Dissonance's repertoire is more varied and considered, mainly thanks to frontman's Kevin McCaughey energy and vitality. Not a band I would ever be inclined to indulge in some listening time with but at least the butch physicality of Ion Dissonance and their technically discordant chaos managed to hold my attention throughout their set on this night of progressively modern extremity.

Psycroptic

Aussies Psycroptic were the band of interest for me leading up to the gig, having been a long 6 years since I last saw them in this very venue supporting Dismember and Anata. Though their recent material has leant a bit too far onto Decapitated, thus losing some of the originality found on their first two albums, the at-times catchy nature of their psychotically technical brutality was able to make itself heard in a set culling material from across their 4-album strong discography. Guitarist Joe Haley may not be the most charismatic, relying on the strangely barneted vocalist Jason Peppiatt and Cameron Grant on bass to provide the visual display for the night, but in his possession does some mighty riffs lay in the likes of "The Isle of Disenchantment" and "Ob(Servant)". Though Psycroptic are never going to be an A-league live band such is the achingly complex nature of their music, to this writer they have always been a grossly under-rated technical death metal band and for that reason they are well worth to see live when the opportunity next comes a-knockin'.

7

Cephalic Carnage

The utterly crazy 'hydrogrinders' Cephalic Carnage are the archetype Relapse band - modern, technical, brutal and unrelenting; four elements that has won them much acclaim in recent times. Acclaim nonetheless that so far hasn't quite arrived at my doorstep but this first live experience of the band who combine grind, death metal and hardcore showed why they have become one of the major bands of the genre and too how the marijuana influence plays in as much their antics as the music itself. Naturally, the drug-infused high of their swirling miasma made for a set that had the strong attendance dance a merry moshing jig down the front but it's Leonard Leal's performance as frontman that was the highlight with comical song introductions and schizophrenic energy making for an entertaining Monday night show. Parodying the corpsepainted black metal look with hilarious comedy masks in the concluding song wrapped things up with a smile and gave evident reason that whatever weighty themes are smoked in their songs, Cephalic know to splice in the comedy at all the right moments.

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