Carcass + Unto Others + Conjurer @ Roadmender, Northampton, 1st June 2023

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On what promises to be a brutally-heavy evening, if there was any indication as to what we could expect, then it is surely in the shape of Conjurer. With no warning, and little fanfare, they hit the stage like a force of nature and proceed to dish out an unremitting pummelling. With a rhythm section that makes the earth beneath our feet quake, a buzz saw guitar attack, and vocals that emanate from the very depths of hades, the Conjurer live experience is not for the faint of heart. My previous encounter with Conjurrr occurred at a festival, I wondered how their sonic assault would transfer to a club show, and the answer is very well. Aided by a crisp sound, they deliver a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners set that soon pulls a sizeable crowd, and the applause at the set’s finale is thoroughly deserved.

Looking like they’ve been transported from the 1980’s, but playing like it is 2023, Unto Others make for an intriguing proposition. They deftly defy easy categorisation with a sound that’s fleet of foot but, both heavy and atmospheric, think an amalgamation of legendary acts Death, Pestilence and even a touch of Malice. They are a band who’re seemingly born to be on stage, and rhythm guitarist Gabriel Franco is the quintessential frontman, constantly riling up the crowd, and the result is an interactive experience that creates a bond between band and audience. Unto Others exist in an alternative, nicer reality where grunge never happened, and they represent a future that should have been, had a tyrant like Kurt Cobain never happened. Lead guitarist Sebastian Silva is a blur of energy and pulls all the right shapes, but the whole band lock in tightly, especially on the penultimate ‘Give Me To The Night’. Unto Others are probably the greatest band you’ve never heard of, but not for long.

To call Carcass visionaries would be something of an understatement. In fact, they were so far ahead of the curve that time is only just catching up; early career albums such as Necroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious and Heartwork still sound fresh and vibrant, while latest full-length (2021’s Torn Arteries) shows no decline in quality and has a ground-breaking air. It’s a consistency that’s given them an army of lifelong fans and, judging tonight’s crowd, a healthy dose of new blood. A short intro quickly builds an unbearable amount of tension, before the band appear, bathed in surgical white light and hit us with ‘Buried Dreams’. Like a spark to kindling the crowd explodes and a huge mosh pit erupts, and one poor soul emerges with a bloodied gash on his arm, but hey, this is a Carcass gig, what did you expect?

What separates Carcass from their peers is the groove that underpins much of their work, no matter how technical things get, or how far down the rabbit hole they lead us, there’s always a melodic sensibility stitching their songs together. That means the ferocious grindcore of ‘Exhume To Consume’ (from ‘89s Symphonies Of Sickness) nestles next to the death metal of ‘Tools Of The Trade’ (from 1992 eponymous EP) quite effortlessly. However, in whatever guise they appear, there’s an energy emanating from the stage that never dips below a certain level. An often over looked aspect of Carcass’ operandi is their dark humour, but in the live environment it comes to the fore via Jeff Walker’s stage raps, and gives an insight into what makes the band tick. Carcass deliver a fan-pleasing set that touches nearly all points of their career (but tracks from debut album Reek Of Putretaction are conspicuous by their absence) and two well-earned encores, including ‘316L Grade Surgical Steel’, ensures no one leaves disappointed.

Carcass Set List:

  1. Buried Dreams
  2. Kelly’s Meat Emporium
  3. Incarnated Solvent Abuse
  4. Under The Scalpel Blade
  5. This Mortal Coil
  6. Tomorrow Belongs To Nobody
  7. Death Certificate
  8. Dance Of Ixtab (Psycho Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 In B)
  9. Black Star
  10. Keep On Rotting In The Free World
  11. The Scythes Remorseless Swing
  12. Corporal Jigsaw Quandary
  13. Ruptured In Purulence
  14. Heartwork
  15. Exhume To Consume
  16. Tools Of The Trade
  17. 316L Grade Surgical Steel