Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Carcass, Unto Others, Conjurer, Electric Brixton, London 03/06/2023

This pocket of South London was rather busy on this pleasantly warm Saturday evening, as the popular festival Mighty Hoopla was occurring down the road, the after-party of which was occurring straight after this metallic extravaganza.

Conjurer walked on to stage and immediately started as soon as Press To Meco (RIP) finish over the PA and proceeded to reduce the Electric to, at best, Acoustic. Brady Deeprose has become a titanic presence up front, and the new material from Páthos sounds like an oil rig collapsing onto your own face. The secret weapon of the band is Conor Marshall on bass, his windmilling makes him a frontrunner for the Corpsegrinder Award for Outstanding Achievement in Windmilling, or a Corpsie for short. This little piece of showmanship really elevates them live, as their music isn’t exactly straightforward and filled with anthemic choruses for new people to latch on to. Very shrewd bit of stage business there. The crowd were slowly but surely getting more and more into the show as it progressed too, but there was a minor issue with the mix on the vocals in that sometimes they just got a bit lost. 8/10

Unto Others of course represent a very different style of metal. If you haven’t had the pleasure, they are the answer to the question “what if Robert Smith decided that The Cure should be a metal band?”. Their incredibly goth and dramatic take on heavy metal (they literally have a song called Dragon, Why Do You Cry?) is the stuff of joy and perfect for stages big and small.  However, there was a big issue in this set as well, as a lot of vocals were just far too low in the mix, which did dampen the performance a bit. It’s a lot more challenging to get new people into your choruses singing along if they can’t quite make out the words. Rest assured though, this band still has the showmanship and musical chops to compete with anyone. Unlike a lot of bands, they also have the songs too, with big time choruses like Jackie and the “uh” tastic Nightfall. When Will Gods Work Be Done? should never leave the set list either. 7/10

The between band playlist for changeover to Carcass was Back in Black by AC/DC but from track 2 skipping Hells Bells entirely, which is a great song. You know what else is a great song? Buried Dreams by Carcass. Do you want to know how Carcass opened this show? Buried Dreams! Jeff Walker emerges like a proud dad sending his kids off to school, and his and Bill Steer’s interplay is apparent from the off. Two old hands crushing it, and when Steer hits that first guitar solo, it sounds like it’s soaring over a mountain on a cloud made from joy and putridness. To be able to go on stage in flares and be that good at death metal is something only an actual legend of the game like Bill Steer could do.

A king. An icon. Your favourites could never etc.

The band hurls itself through a wide, varied selection from their constantly evolving catalogue, hitting on every album except the Reek Of Putrefaction. Kelly’s Meat Emporium from their most recent slab of exceptional music, 2021’s Torn Arteries sounds like a band who have no intention of coasting artistically into old age and retirement. The mosh pit that opens up was like a SAGA advert that never got made, men well into middle age made up the majority of crowd surfers and it was genuinely entertaining to watch the all ages feel.

Songs from the at the time maligned Swansong also sounded bloody massive, in particular the delightful Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody, and seeing these songs get a positive reaction was particularly great to see. Corporal Jigsaw Quandary sounds just as deliciously vile as it did thirty-five years ago when it was released. Dance of Ixtab, another from Torn Arteries, was also excellent, a mid-paced stomper with classy guitar work all around.

The band even have a really fun way of handling the drum solo concept. A bit of light comedy in your death metal set never hurt anyone, and seeing Daniel Wilding play a fun solo whilst the other members of Carcass look on without leaving the stage which leads into the eternally magnificent Heartwork. Wilding puts in a proper shift throughout, as does Walker and his harsh, horrible vocals. Every time Steer plays a guitar solo, it’s like manna from heaven, and also, hell. He makes it look so very very easy and is the highlight of this fantastically fun and vibrant set.

We can confirm that this Carcass is very much alive. 9/10

Written by: Louis Tsangarides