Carcass (noun): A dead body, a corpse.
Also…a melodic death metal band from Liverpool.
Carcass, alongside Testament, opened for Slayer on the 2016 Repentless Tour at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville this past week.
Having formed in 1985, Carcass disbanded about 10 years later and then reformed a little over 10 years after that. With songs called “Swarming Vulgar Mass of Infected Virulency”, “Rot ’n’ Roll”, and “Festerday”, these guys were among the first of their kind and pioneers of new genres of metal such as grindcore and melodic death metal, but my favorite that I have found that describes their music is “goregrind.” Their lyrics consist of every single disgusting word that exists in the English language and every word that could ever make you uncomfortable… and playing in front of a backdrop of surgical tools, they don’t let you forget their gorey roots. Bassist/singer Jeffery Walker and Bill Steer on lead guitar have been around since the beginning and since reforming in 2007, they have been joined by Daniel Wilding on drums and Ben Ash on guitar. Just recently, Carcass has been touring again with the release in 2013 of their newest album Surgical Steel, their first album in 17 years. After all of this time and with new members, they’ve still got it. And they may have started off the show, but the energy in the room was off the charts as soon as they began. The fans were pleased to be able to hear some old Carcass classics as well as some of their new material, and all of it was headbangin’ good.
Keeping the intensity going, Testament played next. They created a nice mood for their set by having incense burning at the edge of the stage, which I have never seen at a show before but thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was I watching their performance, but I was technically smelling it as well. Testament is a thrash metal band from Berkeley, California, and they have been wildly popular in the thrash scene since their inception in 1983. They have seen a lot of changes throughout the years, but Testament has been incredibly going strong for 33 years now.
It is spectacular to see a group play a show so enthusiastically knowing they have been around for so long. Like Carcass, Testament has seen many members come and go, but they currently have a solid lineup with original guitarist Eric Peterson. Chuck Billy on vocals was having a ball and a pleasure to watch.
But I think he played more air guitar than the guitarists played real guitar… so much so that I thought for a minute that maybe his fancy glow-in-the-dark microphone was some sort of new techy instrument that he was actually playing. Honestly, I’m still not sure. But I do know they put on a fantastic show. I also experienced one of my favorite metal show experiences when Billy encouraged the crowd to do the infamous “Wall of Death”. I had the best seat in the house… right above it in the balcony. I’ve never had that view of a mosh pit before, so it was quite a spectacle to see. Testament has been working on a new album, Brotherhood of the Snake, set to be released later this year.
Slayer is one of the biggest names in thrash metal, and they have been around since 1981, forming a whopping 34 years ago in California. Despite having been around for as long as they have, this band has seen an extremely low turnover rate compared to the other two bands who have been around for almost as long. Slayer has seen quite a bit of controversy over the years, but they do what they want, and they do it well and with good intention. They have also managed to maintain a huge following throughout all of these years and fans completely filled the War Memorial Auditorium.
Before they went on, a large white tapestry hung from the ceiling, blocking the stage. Lights and images of upside down pentagrams flashed across the sheet, and the audience waiting in extreme anticipation began chanting “Slayer, Slayer, Slayer…” The curtain dropped, and BLAM!! Non-stop intense metal and chaos ensued for the rest of the show. They didn’t miss a beat, and the enthusiasm and adrenaline of the crowd was contagious. I love seeing shows where the crowd has huge smiles splattered across their faces, and this was one of those shows. To continue the amazing moshing trend at this show, Slayer managed to get the entire floor moving in a circle pit. The projection of sound and power behind their music was also incredible. As I was up at the front taking photos, I thought the booming of the bass was going to vibrate my cells down to their very essence, making them split apart and causing me to disintegrate into dust. Fortunately that didn’t happen, but it really was intense enough that my heart felt as if it was beating outside of my body. They flawlessly cranked out some old tunes such as “Angel of Death” and “Payback” and also played a few new ones off of their newest album, Repentless, their 12th studio album that came out at the end of last year.
The overall experience at this show for me was more overwhelming awe than anything else. Three highly influential metal bands that originated in the early 80’s all under one roof in one single night… it was an absolute honor to be in attendance. They will be thrashing through the United States through the end of March, and this is definitely a metal show you’ll want to catch.