Despite being almost three quarters of the way through opening act In Arkadia’s set, the queue of black t-shirt clad metalheads was still snaking around the venue at the O2 Ritz where death metal veterans Cannibal Corpse were paying a visit to town. In fact by the time some of the many punters who’ve turned out tonight have made their way into the venue, Michigan scumbags The Black Dahlia Murder were already laying waste to the lucky punters already inside.
And laying waste to the Ritz is exactly what Trevor Strnad and his bandmates do. Pummeling through their set, Strand pounds the boards banging his head, throwing the devil horns and generally overseeing all sorts of carnage on the packed dancefloor. Blasting through tracks from their new album Nightcrawlers, the band may have only had a limited time on stage but it certainly loosened this packed house up for the headliner. Midway through their set, the house lights come up with Strand standing, arms outstretched, peering out over the dancefloor. It’s an almost religious moment and makes you realise that, if there is a God, his name could very well be Trevor.
Nights like this are bread and butter now for Cannibal Corpse but, one thing you could never accuse them of is going through the motions as the quintet batter their way through an hour long set without barely breaking a sweat. Sure this may be a test of stamina for the crowd but, for the band, this is just another day at the office however they turn up for work sounding as devastating as they did over two decades ago. Opening with “Code Of The Slashers” it’s six songs in before Corpsegrinder addresses the crowd although service is quickly resumed with the band pummelling through more tracks like “Gutted”, “Kill or Become” and “Devoured By Vermin”.
There is no other phrase to describe this display than utterly devastating although, just when you think they’ve hit top gear, the band switch it up with a brutal encore which sees them joined by The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad for foul rendition of “Stripped, Raped and Strangled”. Unsurprisingly, the night ends with Corpsegrinder howling “to keep supporting fuckin’ death metal” before the death metal titans bow out with a ferocious rendition of “Hammer Smashed Face”.
Now, you can say what you like about Cannibal Corpse but if you’re looking for a night of easy to digest, blood-covered brutality, there is no finer band than this lot. In just over five months time, the band will return to the UK as Special Guests to Gojira at Bloodstock and, on the evidence of tonight, Cannibal Corpse’s return will be worth the ticket price alone.