Live Review: Cattle Decapitation, Psycroptic, Daemon Pyre

19 February 2018 | 2:55 pm | Brendan Crabb

"Vocal contortionist Travis Ryan's delivery was impenetrable, shrieking and grunting with vein-popping intensity."

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Performing with a couple of fill-in members (including Gods Of Eden vocalist Ian Dixon substituting for Sam Rilatt, who has announced his departure) and reportedly after limited rehearsal time, Sydney melodic death-metallers Daemon Pyre nonetheless acquitted themselves well, given the circumstances. Their riff-laden fare effectively drew from both the Gothenburg and Floridian schools of heaviness.

Being tight as a miser's wallet remained Psycroptic's default setting. Frontman Jason Peppiatt had been unable to undertake some of the Tasmanian tech-death maestros' recent overseas touring; triple j's Lochlan Watt deputised in his absence. Peppiatt revelled in being on stage again, inciting circle-pits and leading a receptive crowd through well-honed favourites such as Carriers Of The Plague, Ob(Servant) and The Colour Of Sleep. After gigging in support of their latest LP for three years, it became apparent that their setlist could do with a little refreshing. Therefore, it was welcome when the quartet announced that a new record is in the works.

Cattle Decapitation's previous Australian tour in 2013 was somewhat contentious; the announcement that they were supporting Thy Art Is Murder greeted with howls of discontent from fans, incensed that the American bruisers weren't topping the bill over a local act. The keyboard warriors finally received what they craved: the death/grind mob's inaugural headlining run. Fans responded by selling out the venue, the mass of bodies ensuring a sweaty room and bruise-inducing pit.

The band were evidently enthused to return and proved simply punishing. Vocal contortionist Travis Ryan's delivery was impenetrable, shrieking and grunting with vein-popping intensity, aided by meaty riffage, frantic drumming and welcome flickers of melody. Kudos also to Psycroptic bassist Cameron Grant for ably pulling double-duty. The sociopolitically conscious act proved as uncompromising in their live execution of Forced Gender Reassignment (the closest thing to a 'hit single' in Cattle Decapitation's world), The Carbon Stampede, The Prophets Of Loss and crushing closer Your Disposal as they are about their conviction and gruesome artwork. An early contender for most brutal set of 2018.

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