with Cephalic Carnage, Havok and Fallujah
@ O2 Academy Islington
13th May 2013
Review by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Graham Hilling
On Monday, the 13th of May, extreme death metal band Suffocation paid a visit to London’s O2 Academy Islington to cause some rather brutal debauchery. What they brought along was three exciting bands – Cephalic Carnage, Havok and Fallujah. We had the privilege to be there and experience it all ourselves, because what can possibly seem like a better idea than a death metal gig to brighten up your Monday night? Exactly. Absolutely nothing!
First band on tonight is the atmospheric death metal four-piece Fallujah coming all the way from San Francisco, California.
Fallujah instantly attract everyone’s attention, as they kick things off sounding real heavy and technical. Even though the venue is half empty, Fallujah deliver a full-on set of face-melting breakdowns, mind-blowing atmospherics and ripping technical skills. Performing songs from their debut album The Harvest Wombs and Nomadic EP, Fallujah put on a short, but thrilling set.
As this is the first UK tour for Fallujah, they strived to leave a good impression and they clearly did well. Their progressive approach to death metal sounded original and warmed up the audience just right.
Next up are thrashers Havok coming from Denver, Colorado. This is their second time in the UK and it is obvious that a large part of tonight’s crowd is here to see specifically them.
Havok deliver a speedy, pumping and exciting set with a sound highly influenced by the good old Bay Area thrash metal. Their performance instantly raises the energy level in the room, as the first mosh-pit breaks out to “Point of no Return” – a title track off their latest EP. But what really make the crowd go crazy are the last two songs – “D.O.A.” and “Time is Up”, both off Time is Up album.
In spite of the ridiculously fast thrash rhythms, Havok sound real tight and spot on. The singer David Sanchez sounds raw and pissed-off, while Pete Webber demonstrates you how to professionally beat the shit out of a drum kit. The guitar work of Reece Scruggs is outstanding, as he throws in some Dave Mustaine-like guitar solos.
Havok manage to create such an excitement, that their set seems unacceptably short and is over before you know it. Let’s hope that it won’t take too long for these guys to hit the road again and come back to UK sometime soon. …And when they do, make sure you don’t miss them!
Third band to take the stage is death metallers Cephalic Carnage from Edgewater, Colorado. At this point the venue is absolutely packed out and the crowd is ready for all things brutal.
Cephalic Carnage put on a show in their very own manner with a dose of good humour mixed with lots of serious riffing. Performing classics, like “Abraxas of Filth”, “Endless Cycle of Violence” and “Kill for Weed”, the band deliver a set that’s slightly weird and messy at some points, but that’s exactly what Cephalic Carnage guys are after. The weirder, the better.
Lenzig Leal provides vocals ranging from grindcore shrieks to death metal growls, while also being a great entertainer in-between the songs. Nick Schendzielos’ (also know as the bass player for Job For A Cowboy) bass parts are sounding immense and emphasize the characteristics of Chepalic Carnage music that incorporates styles like grindcore, death metal, sludge, doom metal and then some.
Cephalic Carnage deliver a fun show and makes it clear they definitely don’t take themselves too seriously, as they finish the set with “Black Metal Sabbath” wearing masks of war-paint and erm… a horse head.
Tonight’s headliners Suffocation are touring their latest album Pinnacle of Bedlam and are here tonight to cause absolute death metal madness. The band is fronted by John Gallagher (Dying Fetus), as their original vocalist Frank Mullen had to pull out of the UK tour due to ‘personal commitments’.
However, the band is sounding tight and seems to be in top form. As one of the innovators of death metal genre, Suffocation guys know how to put on a hell of a show. By playing classic tracks mixed with new material from Pinnacle of Bedlam, they find the perfect balance to satisfy the crowd.
Opening the set with killer “Thrones of Blood”, the band kicks things off just right for the crowd to go crazy within seconds. Not letting the energy level drop at any time, Suffocation blast out classics, like “Liege of Inveracity” and “Pierced from Within”. As well as that, songs from Pinnacle of Bedlam, like “Purgatorial Punishment” and “My Demise” are well accepted and go down as classic tunes.
Finishing their set with rather epic and overall death metal anthem “Infecting the Crypts”, Suffocation put an end to what has been an incredible show of four different, but excellent bands.
The musicians of Suffocation have been in the business for quite a while to know exactly how to put on an extreme death metal show on a Monday night. And with or without Frank Mullen, it’s clear that there ain’t no stopping these guys anytime soon.