Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem, Gorguts @ Brooklyn Steel
In the entertainment world, it usually takes something extraordinary for things to skip a beat - come Hell or high water, the show must go on. Ironically, high water is indeed what came to New York City following a week of rainy days concluding with torrential downpours that flooded basements, streets, and much of the subway system.
And barely twenty four hours since the storm moved out, Hell followed with as death metal titans Cannibal Corpse rolled into Brooklyn with fellow extreme music pioneers Mayhem, with very special guests Gorguts and Blood Incantation. Despite its history as a manufacturing facility which gave the venue its name, even Brooklyn Steel would have a hard time containing so much metal in a single night.
Editor's note: The Metal Mayan regrets to have missed Blood Incantation due to traffic getting to the venue following the previous day's storm. We wish you safe travels and hope to see you back in the New York City again soon.
After a six year absence from the Big Apple, Brooklyn roared with excitement as Gorguts took the stage in New York once again for the first time since June, 2017.
If the return of one of Canada's finest death metal units was not enough, the thirty minute set was primarily comprised of songs from the band's 1991 debut album, Considered Dead, some of which have not been played live in thirty years. With the churning riffs of "Rottenatomy" in full force, it was not long before the dancefloor erupted into a frenzy of flailing limbs,
Driving straight into "Disincarnated" and "Considered Dead", there was hardly a head in the room that wasn't banging full speed. Bookended with "Bodily Corrupted" and "Inoculated Life", fans in the audience that had waited for three decades to hear these icy cuts come to life were rewarded at long last. Closing out with the title track from 1998's Obscura, there was no question that Brooklyn wished for more from the Quebec heavyweights.
While many bands exit the stage with a "thank you, we love you!", vocalist/guitarist Luc Lemay backed his sentiment up to the fullest. Working the Gorguts merch table personally, his was by far the longest line for almost the entire duration of the concert.
Taking time to chat with each fan, take pictures, and sign copies of vinyl records and CDs, Lemay was beaming from start to finish. "Thank you for coming out tonight!" he said with each handshake and hug. Whether it was the first time or the hundredth time seeing Gorguts, it was likely one of the most memorable times for everyone who stopped by.
As arguably the most notorious band in heavy metal history, perhaps even in music history overall, Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem need absolutely no introduction. Splitting their performance into three 'acts', drummer Hellhammer's signature blast beats started the set off with "Worthless Abominations Destroyed" and "Malum" off 2019's Daemon.
Gliding ever so menacingly across the stage through heavy fog, vocalist Attila Csihar's barks and shrieks echoed through the venue during "My Death" and "Voces Ab Alta".
For the second portion of the set, the band pulled out three cuts from one of black metal's most iconic albums: 1994's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. With fans standing almost at attention like a troop of Kvlt Kommandos, the opening notes of "Freezing Moon" rang out louder than any of Hell's bells.
Paired with "Life Eternal" and the album's title track, the room itself seemed to darken just a bit as the TRVE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL sound filled the halls.
In laying claim to the crown of black metal royalty, Mayhem is well respected for defining the triple crown in extreme music: release an iconic debut full length (the aforementioned De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas), an iconic bootleg (the infamous The Dawn of the Black Hearts known for its gruesome cover art and for being the only bootleg album allowed on The Metal Archives), and an iconic EP (1989's Deathcrush).
Rounding out the set with four tracks from the latter, the nearly forty year long story of Mayhem continues as legions of fans come together to bow to their might.
When your band name is synonymous with all this gruesome and brutal, and is even well known outside of the heavy metal world, you know you've done something special. With a set list of fourteen songs spanning eleven albums, Cannibal Corpse closed the show with each song serving as a remind of why they are the very best in the business.
With the amps groaning under the chugs and bends of "Scourge of Iron", the set kicked off with the devastating force of a train through a glass house. Leading into "Blood Blind" off the band's sixteenth album, Chaos Horrific - released in late September, venue security literally had their hands full from this point on as wave after wave of crowd surfers came over the barricades.
With so many incredible releases, it is surely nothing short of a chore for Cannibal Corpse to decide what songs to play in addition to the classics. That said, fans were thrilled to hear "Disfigured" from 1996's Vile performed for the first time in a decade. Other songs returning to the stage after a five year or more absence included "Pit of Zombies" (2002's Gore Obsessed) and "Disposal of the Body" (1998's Gallery of Suicide)
Of course no set would be complete without, as one fan later put it, 'two of the most family friendly songs this side of Disney', mid-set staple "I C*m Blood" and closer "Hammer Smashed Face", both off 1992's Tomb of the Mutilated.
Despite a thirty five year career of serving ultra violent gorefest one album after the next, the members of Cannibal Corpse still clearly enjoy every moment of every show. And while no circle pit could ever match the speed that vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher can bang his head, fans will continue to try as they eagerly await the next Cannibal Corpse tour to bring the brutality to the big city.
Ticket & photo pass courtesy of Suspiria PR