Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Cannibal Corpse
& The Black Dahlia Murder

Monday, July 19th, 2004
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC Canada

Review and Pictures by Lord of the Wasteland

Call the neighbors and wake up the kids (OK, maybe leave the kids alone)…Cannibal Corpse hit Vancouver on July 19th and, whoa Nelly, did they ever leave a mark! Touring relentlessly since the release of THE WRETCHED SPAWN in February, I hung my head with great disappointment that the band missed our fine city on the first leg. However, when I spoke with vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher back on January 15th, he assured me they would be by in the summer and as sure as a skull full of maggots, they did just that. Bringing along Metal Blade label-mates, The Black Dahlia Murder, it was sure to be a vicious night of headbanging, vocal cord shredding and propeller-like hair twirling.

**Openers Severed Savior were left off the bill and an “official” reason was never given although the word on the street was that their bus broke down somewhere between Calgary and Vancouver. Too bad, too, because I had heard excellent reviews of the band’s live show.


What made this night extra special was that Scrape Records (www.scraperecords.com), Vancouver’s only exclusive metal shop, made arrangements to have Cannibal Corpse in store for a meet and greet autograph session before the show. While this is nothing new for Scrape, many bands want to get these out of the way before they do their soundcheck, so the bands are often at the store at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Not Cannibal Corpse! They did a 5:00 soundcheck and then came to meet the metal masses, which is SO much better for those of us who work, go to school or live out in the suburbs. The band arrived right at 6:00 but I was fortunate enough to be let in early by the Scrape staff (thanks JJ!!) to get my own stuff signed and to take pictures of the event. Despite the sweltering heat both inside and out, about 150 or so people met the overwhelmingly gracious band who signed everything from CDs, DVDs and vinyl, to skulls, boobs and arms. A few fans dropped off demos and received advice from “Corpsegrinder” on death metal growling and Alex Webster on bass plucking. New guitarist Jeremy Turner (ex-Origin)—who is a beefier doppelganger of Jack Owen—sat stoically at the end of the table flashing the occasional horns for pictures. Sadly, because Turner only knew the regular setlist, Cannibal Corpse was unable to play a longer set to fill the time that Severed Savior would have played. Webster and “Corpsegrinder” were extremely affable, shaking hands and posing for countless pictures with fans for just over an hour before finally heading back to the venue for the show. They were super-cool guys and seemed to enjoy talking with all the fans, so on behalf of Vancouver, I say THANK YOU CANNIBAL CORPSE!! (More pics from the in store signed are below the review!) On to the show…

The Commodore Ballroom holds a good 900 people and upon entering the venue, my jaw almost hit the floor because if the place was half full, I’d be shocked. Granted, this was a Monday night but Cannibal Corpse’s shows are legendary and they always play well to Vancouver crowds. Still, the attendance was quite disappointing.


Detroit’s The Black Dahlia Murder were new to me other than the mp3s I heard from Metal Blade’s website. These guys look as far from death metal as can be, but once vocalist Trevor Strnad starting barking out his lyrics with evil aplomb, I was hooked. New drummer Zach Gibson didn’t miss a beat as if he had been with them from the get-go. The band definitely has a charismatic presence to their live shows and the songs do sound better than what I had heard but the crowd seemed a bit tepid to them. They got a decent response but this clearly was a crowd here to see Cannibal Corpse. During their 35 minute set, The Black Dahlia Murder played most of last year’s UNHALLOWED including “Apex,” “Closed Casket Requiem,” “Funeral Thirst,” Contagion” and “The Blackest Incarnation.”


During the 30 minute changeover between The Black Dahlia Murder and Cannibal Corpse, I ran into Cam Pipes and Jamie Hooper from Vancouver’s own power metallers, Three Inches of Blood. The band just returned from Chicago where they recorded their Roadrunner Records debut, ADVANCE AND VANQUISH, due September 28th. After a brief chat about what to expect on the new record, I asked the guys for an interview closer to the release of the new album, so look for that in late September-early October.

At 10:20, the lights lowered and the mighty Corpse emerged from the shadows and launched into “Shredded Humans” from their 1990 debut, EATEN BACK TO LIFE. This wasn’t the only rarity the band played as they dusted off such little-heard gems as “Puncture Wound Massacre,” “The Cryptic Stench” and “Vomit the Soul” to mix with new tracks from THE WRETCHED SPAWN and staples like “Fucked With a Knife,” “Gallery of Suicide” and “Hammer-Smashed Face.” “The Wretched Spawn” was dedicated to Gene Hoglan while “Fucked With a Knife” was—as always—dedicated to the ladies in the house. “Corpsegrinder” encouraged the crowd to start a churning pit before “Pit of Zombies,” to which all were more than eager to comply. Heads banged, bodies thrashed and sweat flew for 75 minutes as Cannibal Corpse tore through an eighteen song set. Alex Webster’s nimble fingers tore away at the bass strings, while Pat O’Brien and Jeremy Turner alternated riffs and solos. The octopus-like Paul Mazurkiewicz was a blur of arms, feet and hair behind the kit keeping pace with the frantic music. Front and centre, though, was the helicopter headspins and unmistakable growls and screams of “Corpsegrinder.” The man’s neck must be two feet around, no doubt due to the fact that he headbangs constantly throughout the show. His guttural growls and piercing screams on “They Deserve to Die” and “Pounded Into Dust” are testament as to why he is such a formidable force in death metal. All in their mid-30s, Cannibal Corpse show no sign whatsoever of slowing down. The intensity of a Cannibal Corpse show is something to be witnessed and with plenty of steam left in this tour, do not miss the band if they come to your town.


Shredded Humans
Puncture Wound Massacre
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Fucked With a Knife
Decency Defied
Vomit the Soul
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Pounded Into Dust
The Cryptic Stench
They Deserve To Die
Dormant Bodies Bursting
Gallery of Suicide
Pit of Zombies
The Wretched Spawn
Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
Devoured By Vermin
A Skull Full of Maggots
Hammer-Smashed Face



Thanks to Kelli at Metal Blade (www.metalblade.com) for the ticket & photo pass and JJ & Dennis at Scrape (www.scraperecords.com) for the cool treatment at the meet & greet.