Live Review: Dead Congregation, Blood Incantation, Faceless Burial @ Metro Social

31 October 2022 | 1:40 pm | Mark Hebblewhite
Originally Appeared In

The metal scene is healthier than it's been in years with a co-headliner like this, writes Mark Hebblewhite.

(Blood Incantation, Source: Facebook)

I must admit to being previously ignorant of Melbourne-based old-school death metal bruisers Faceless Burial before now. However, with the veil of ignorance came a mini revelation as the trio churned out a very solid mix of crushing mid-tempo riffs interspersed with controlled blasting. Carving their set from three full-length releases, including this year’s Speciation, the boys seemed undaunted by being on the same stage as two modern death metal legends and left the crowd wanting more.

There’s no two ways about it. Blood Incantation (US) are the absolute darling of the modern death metal scene. Willing to take some very left-field chances (see their recent Tangerine Dream-styled EP for evidence) and even feted by the indie press, the quartet, who boast some of the best skullets in metal, are riding high. And rightly so, based on this performance. Although their lengthy and expansive soundscapes sometimes fell foul of the sound gremlins, the quartet delivered a well-balanced set that showcased their progressive chops and commitment to brutality. 

Leaning in with Inner Paths (To Outer Space), the band then blasted through the likes of Vitrification of Blood (Pt.1), Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood, Pt. 2), Slave Species of the Gods and the dictionary-defying Awakening from the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul) to huge applause. Pulling things off live could prove a challenge when your sound encompasses death metal, jazz, science fiction vision, prog and psychedelia. But these guys are consummate artists and didn’t waste a note as they weaved their way through a genre-bending set that had every fist in the air. It will be very interesting to see where this band goes from here, as they are definitely not afraid of putting their art before longevity.

Talking of audience reaction, shit got real as soon as Hellenic extremists Dead Congregation hit the stage. In comparison to Blood Incantation, Dead Congregation’s brand of murky Immolation-styled death metal with a hint of gut-ripping thrash and the melodicism of Morbid Angel demanded an instant pit. And they got one. Bodies flew as the band ripped through a rapid-fire masterclass in brutality and unrelenting riffage. 

Despite having been around for over a decade, the band only have two full-lengths and a couple of EPs to their name. Consequently, their set mined the peaks of each, including a thunderous rendition of the opening track from 2014’s Promulgation of the Fall, Only Ashes Remain. Often death metal vocalists fail to cut through live, but in this case, lead singer A.V. growled his way to prominence among the murk. Give that man a throat lozenge. This was a superb performance from a band that prizes quality over quantity. However, with it being eight years since they released new material, it’s probably time for a return to the studio.

Overall, this was nothing short of a fantastic package that showcased a scene that is healthier than it has been in years. The promoters, Southern Extremities, should be congratulated for taking a chance on underground bands. The fact that this show (and it seems others around the country) was a sell-out months before the date proves that tours such as this can thrive in our relatively small market. Now here’s hoping the post-pandemic floodgates open and we are treated to the likes of Teitanblood, Necrot, Gatecreeper, Tomb Mold and Grave Miasma selling out across the country.

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