On March 10, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Cryptopsy, and Abysmal Dawn delivered death metal destruction to the House of Blues San Diego. The bill featured some of the finest names in extreme music and comprised a variety of death metal styles. While Cannibal Corpse tours quite frequently, such a package was not to be missed.
Abysmal Dawn promptly opened the night and played to a sizeable turnout despite their early slot. Although revolving lineups are no stranger to the band, the introduction of new members yet again affected their power as a cohesive unit. They still performed with enthusiasm, but it seemed like the members were in their own individual headspace. Nevertheless, with four crushing albums under their belt, the Abysmal Dawn had no problem dazzling the crowd with their material, particularly the vicious cuts from Leveling the Plane of Existence and Obsolescence.
Canadian brutal metallers Cryptopsy followed shortly afterwards and dove right into “Crown of Horns” from their distinguished None So Vile record. Drummer Flo Mounier kept their sound air tight and demonstrated unbelievable control between the hard-hitting blast beats and intricate cymbal ornaments. Frontman Matt McGachy impressed headbangers with fierce stage work and impeccable vocal delivery. The newer songs from The Book of Suffering were killer additions to their set and drove fans rabid.
Obituary followed soon after and delivered a punishing set. The band wasted no time with whooshing PA noise but instead opened with the crushing “Redneck Stomp.” While I was a little disappointed that “On The Floor” didn’t follow suit, the subsequent choices of the newer “Centuries of Lies,” and “Visions in my Head” more than made up for it. Though Obituary has had quite the death metal hall-of-fame musicians in its fold, the current lineup is one of its strongest yet. Guitarists Trevor Peres and Ken Andrews fused with bassist Terry Butler were a crippling force of strings while brothers Jon and Don Tardy embodied a menacing stage presence. The set did a great job blending tracks from across the Obituary discography and reinforced that their place in the heavy metal pantheon is well deserved.
Only a band like Cannibal Corpse could successfully play after Obituary and keep the crowd bloodthirsty. Cannibal Corpse has always done a solid job working with whatever slot they play but their placement as true headliner was electrifying. The quintet opened with the mammoth-crushing “Evisceration Plague” to the audience’s delighted howls and immediately prompted a violent mosh pit. Masters of their craft, Cannibal Corpse found an excellent balance playing looming slower tracks like “Scourge of Iron” in conjunction with fast paced neck-rippers like “Pit of Zombies,” and “Gutted.”
Frontman George Corpsegrinder Fisher lead the charge at the front of the stage and captivated headbangers with his robust bellows and violent windmilling. Axemen Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett shredded with technical precision while bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz kept the rhythm locked in. Cannibal Corpse’s towering 17-song set covered material from 12 of their 13 studio albums, undoubtedly forging one unholy hellstorm of musical selections. Their performance was a testament to the excellence of brutality and the San Diego crowd devoured every second of it.