Sound on Sound Review: Cannibal Corpse

Into the pit

Perfect pyramid: 30 minutes of death metal blort from Arizona’s opening Gatecreeper, 45 minutes of tearaway super thrash by Dallas marauders Power Trip in the middle, and 83 minutes behind the wall of gore erected courtesy of pioneer butchers Cannibal Corpse. Solely missing from Mohawk’s SOS bill Friday was a Ren faire forest 39 minutes east of Austin.

Cannibal Corpse (Photo by John Anderson)

Having begun November with a monthlong terrorizing of extreme metal’s Silk Road, the Teflon triple stack merely detoured into River City after the crown jewel of homegrown indie festivals collapsed last month. A fast-zombie horde teeming inside the three-story club confines at the corner of Red River and Ninth lacked room to roam but not the soundtrack to lather up and take a collective flying leap. Stage divers off the mezzanine and crowdsurfing coupling battered the audience until the sardines parted for a full ground-floor circle pit.

Gatecreeper’s portal, now four years in, glimpsed a marching, charging, no-frills fivepiece easily individuated by Chase “Hellhammer” Mason’s freakishly guttural exhortations. At first, his core basso profundo seemingly emitted a sonic illusion, as if the only way a human voice could sink so low was through some sort of technical microphone manipulation. As the gallop continued, his bottommost bellow gusted a hot wind on a warm night.

Power Trip’s mid-slot meat grinding swelled the venue to its fullest point over the three-and-a-half hour show, the band’s locomotive thrust pistoned by local metal polymath and sometimes beat master Chris Ulsh. Most metallurgical acts demand their drummers not only keep up, but blast beat above the din. Not Ulsh. He leads the Big D quintet with a tireless upbeat on sophomore LP Nightmare Logic standouts like “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe),” which prompted one fanboy scholar in the crowd to lay out a detailed dissertation on the band’s debt to Kill ’Em All-era Metallica.

Cannibal Corpse rightly decimated all that had come before behind George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s hair windmill and bull moose roar. Animal deep with a treble note like someone stuck a minor chord in a bog of industrial grind, the vocal cords of the now and future frontman legend bulged somewhere deep inside his muscled, tree stump neck – a picador’s dream. From an opening triptych off new and 14th LP Red Before Black to a closing run of CC classics highlighted by “I Cum Blood” and evening ender “Hammer Smashed Face,” the New York mob’s 18-song stampede crowned a supremely satisfying lashing bereft only of a full-fledged festival to frame it.

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Cannibal Corpse, Sound on Sound Fest 2017, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Chase “Hellhammer” Mason, Gatecreeper, Chris Ulsh, Power Trip, Metallica

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