You know you’re in the right place when you turn the corner in a busy city centre and are confronted by a long line of people¸ clad in death metal hoodies. The venue is the HMV Institute in Birmingham and although the bands tonight play to a noticeably sparsely populated room¸ the atmosphere is more than adequately set for The Haarp Machine [6] to take the stage. It does then come as somewhat of a disappointment to the crowd that the first band of the night performs with such little vigour and enthusiasm. Not a great way to open up a death metal show. Whilst sonically well balanced and musically tight¸ The Haarp Machine’s subdued approach to winning over the crowd leaves the room feeling very cold and for that matter¸ very empty. The band as a whole seem to appear very uncomfortable in their surroundings but it is the vocalist’s lack of energy and regular tuning issues that truly underwhelm. Aborted [8] on the other hand¸ are a different beast altogether. Looking more like a seasoned touring band with banners flanking each side of the stage¸ Aborted march on confidently and dominate from the first note of new album opener ‘Global Flatine.’ The vocalist is¸ for all intents and purposes¸ a madman. It is around his amusing mannerisms and blood curdling screams and growls that the band forms their punishing sound. Songs like ‘Coronary Reconstruction’ and latest single ‘Origin of Disease’ go down a treat and introduce the audience to their crushing¸ groove and riff-orientated brand of death metal¸ which at times sports some surprisingly melodic sentiments. However¸ the set isn’t without its flaws as it later becomes clear that the band don’t quite have the back catalogue yet to justify such a lengthy set time. Where Aborted may have perhaps worn a little thin towards the end¸ Decapitated [8] stay exhilarating throughout. Off the back of their momentous return to the stage from just over a year ago¸ the band¸ as their motto suggests¸ has faced the pain of loss and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Playing a large chunk of the newer material from 2011’s ‘Carnival Is Forever’ the band seem intent on proving a point and whilst this does at times upset some of the more hardcore of the audience¸ tracks like ‘404’ and ‘Pest’ prove that the band are still on form. Heavy hitters like ‘Post Organic’ and ‘Day 69’ from 2006’s ‘Organic Hallucinosis’ are utterly re-vitalized and retain their status as modern death metal anthems. Classics such as ‘Spheres of Madness’¸ ‘Mother War’ and ‘Winds of Creation’ also get an airing and as per usual¸ set all heads in the room to “bang” The set does experience some low points in terms of energy but given the turnout¸ the band do well to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Ending with ‘Long-Desired Dementia’ from the band’s third album ‘The Negation’¸ Decapitated’s new line-up leave the stage vindicated and triumphant.

 

Steffan Chandler

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