Review by Jack Arkell and photos by Krish Mistry
Four of the top bands in Death Metal today descended on Birmingham for the ‘Womb to Waste’ tour, a stacked bill that even a venue downgrade from the Academy 2 to the venue’s smallest room couldn’t encumber.
Cerebral Bore’s Simone Pluijmers is a diminutive figure with a colossal voice, so much so that it seems as if the sound has been dubbed over the image. Screaming until she’s red in the face, Pluijmers follows in the vein of female vocalists such as Rolo Tomassi’s Eva Spence and Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow, possessing enough aggression to one day match their success. The band’s only album to date, Maniacal Miscreation, is played almost in full, providing a great set hindered only by a crowd yet to be warmed up.
Revocation also struggle to get the crowd on their side, though bassist Brett Ramberger’s method of insulting the audience into starting a mosh pit results only in heckling from the back of the crowd. Eventually, thanks mostly to a brave instrumental piece featuring some supreme guitar solos from David Davidson, the Boston natives get back on track, entertaining without threatening to inspire the kind of crowd movement that they’d hoped.
Without minimising the efforts of the previous two bands on the bill, Job For a Cowboy are the first act to really make the stage their own. The front few rows are a blur of waving hair as requests for headbanging are granted. Frontman Jonny Davy provides the band’s main focal point, transforming into a feral-like state once he steps onto the stage with his frantic movement and raging voice. Material from the acclaimed Demonocracy sounds even more impressive than when the album dropped in April, though it’s a rare playing of old track ‘Knee Deep’ that really excited the die-hards tonight.
You’d think that calling your band Dying Fetus would be commercial suicide. Judging by their tour bus parked outside though, the Maryland outfit are clearly doing something right, and inside the venue is all the reasoning you need. Death Metal of the highest order is on the menu tonight, and the newly energised crowd lap it up.
Having released seven studio albums in a career spanning 21 years, Dying Fetus are now at the stage where they have found their audience, and the cult-like following know every word. This allows the trio to dip into earlier albums Destroy the Opposition and Killing on Adrenaline without killing the atmosphere. A healthy dose of new material is extremely well received too, notably ‘In the Trenches’ which already sounds like a bona fide classic.
When the night ends with co-vocalist and guitarist John Gallagher leading a rallying cry of “Fuck the mainstream!”, the set is at risk of ending in clichéd style. No such danger though, as a two-track encore featuring ‘Pissing in the Mainstream’ rounds the hour-long set off in style. Within their genre, not many bands can rival the excellent riffs, hooks and breakdowns of Dying Fetus, especially in the live environment, which signals only that these veterans are bound to keep marching onwards.
And you can see more shots from the show here: