Man Must Die kick off at 7.45pm and before the first song is over, there is already a maelstrom of pit activity. This is only a precursor because it only gets more intense as each song goes on. Their job is to warm the crowd up, and they do just that.
Frontman Joe McGlynn’s stage persona is absolutely menacing. .. seriously… he looks like he’d head-butt you through a steel door if you looked at him sideways. But it’s the stage presence that counts. This is what you’re remembered for. Guitarists Alan McFarland and Daniel Firth rip up the old eardrums easily and the endurance of the audience is put to the test, as both men hammer out the fretboard melodies and palm-muted madness.
Drummer Tony Corio wears the mantle of the support platform for the setlist, and his drumming sequences are amazing. His double bass cannons are the pacemakers of the songs and he conducts each breakdown masterfully. His bassist counterpart James Wright holds it all on the ground with his heavy bass conducting, and the crowd can be seen to lose more and more control as the short 7 song set wears on.
By the end, the audience is practically foaming at the mouth, as McGlynn gives a shout out to the Celtic family and urges the crowd to support underground metal.
This is about as heavy as heavy can get (within reason), and Man Must Die have a worthy story to tell when they get home. 3.5/5
The lights have gone dark, but we can still see the mammoth figure of frontman George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher in the shadows. As they take their places on stage, the barrels are loaded and ready to fire. As soon as the first song ‘Code of the Slashers’ begins, the floor erupts into a tornado in a trailer park. The punters know exactly what they came here to do and to see… but there’s limited space. The Tivoli holds 1000 at total capacity, and right now there’s not enough room to swing a cat. Let’s the fun begin.
First things first: Fisher can’t be human. No sentient vertebrate can do that much neck damage and not need medical help. You can see the muscles in his back from 50 feet away working in tandem to swirl his head seriously fast. It’s mesmerizingly grotesque… but cool at the same time.
The trademark windmills that this guy busts out are not a feature of a mere mortal, and as soon as he starts, the crowd erupt in appreciative cheering. Guitarists, Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett share the leads, and it’s not just normal leads either. Their interweaving teamwork deserves recognition because they have that trade mastered. The band has been on the go since the late 1980s and have a hefty amount of fans to follow them wherever they go around the world.
This is not the first time they’ve been to Ireland, but it hasn’t been very often. They’ve been banned in Germany, Russia and Australia over their album artwork, lyrics, and song titles. But we live in the 21st century and things are a little more relaxed now. I can’t say the same for the crowd here tonight because Fisher is riling them up again and again with his incessant inhuman growling and infamous stage presence. Original drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz leads the rhythm section and is one of the best drummers that I’ve ever seen. The precision alone is enough to wonder sounds are coming from because you can’t see the sticks move that fast. It’s unfortunate that he’s hidden behind his mammoth kit because everyone should be able to see what he’s doing.
As the setlist takes us on a blood-drenched ride through the new and old of Cannibal Corpse’s discography, Fisher lets us know how happy they all are to be there, and that he’s been looking forward to this for a while. Their last release ‘Red Before Black’ was let loose in November last year, and it has already gone down a firm favourite here in Ireland.
As I look over the crowd losing their minds with the music, I can see the ferocity of the floor only increasing, as blatant disregard for one’s own safety takes over from rational thought. Young and old alike are hip-deep in the furious circle pits that open at Fisher’s command, and it’s great to see the older generation lose their composure at this rare event. We look so much to our elders for an example of how to behave, so why should this be any different?
‘A Skull Full of Maggots’ is teased out with promises of some old-school Corpse tunes, and everyone screams with delight. Fisher encourages the headbanging to step up a gear, and a bit of me thinks I’m going to see a head or two fly across the room. I know I’ve mentioned the pit a few times, but I really do have to note that it’s absolutely unbelievable how much raw energy is going into it from what I can see. The place is getting destroyed… end of story.
Bassist, Alex Webster at one point beckons O’Brien to see what’s going on, and both men shake their heads in amazement and laughter. ‘I Cum Blood’ follows, and before the song starts, Fisher laughs at a guy who was taken down by security from crowd-surfing, adding ‘You’re supposed to surf DURING the song! Not AFTER it!”
The band keep the fire burning with ‘Stripped, Raped, and Strangled’, after which Fisher teases us a little more by saying ‘There’s one more song, and you know what it is!!: ‘HAMMER! SMASHED! FAAAAAAAAACE!’, and the gas tanks are emptied onto the theatre floor. There must be over 60 or 70 people in the one circle pit, and it’s glorious. The bodies surf, the bodies pile up, and one poor guy accidentally gets a face full of someone else’s forehead and comes off the worst with a rather nasty-looking cut above his eye. Does it stop him? Hell no! The mad bastard just laughs it off and keeps going until the end, and like the rest of us after it, all is completely gassed.
Cannibal Corpse have mutilated this quiet Tuesday night in a city recovering from a hectic weekend, and pledge to return again to repeat the carnage. 4.5/5
Code of the Slashers
Only One Will Die
Red Before Black
Scourge of Iron
Scavenger Consuming Death
The Wretched Spawn
Pounded into Dust
Kill or Become
Devoured by Vermin
A Skull Full of Maggots
I Cum Blood
Make them Suffer
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face
CANNIBAL CORPSE / MAN MUST DIE, TIVOLI THEATRE, DUBLIN, IRELAND 20/03/18 © Down The Barrel Photography 2018, exclusively for www.overdrive.ie.
Photo – Down The Barrel Photography © 2018
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