Obituary/Carcass | 11.02.14

live carcassIt was a truly amazing night for death metal in St. Louis.

Pop’s, Sauget, Ill.

It was a cold, wintry feeling night when I arrived at Pop’s Saloon for the biggest death metal concert in St. Louis in many years: Carcass and Obituary’s “Inked in Steel” tour.

Baltimore’s up-and-coming deathcore, metalcore, melodic deathcore, or something band, Noisem, opened the show with a short set. The band was very heavy and well in sync. My biggest complaint was that the vocals were rarely in time with the music. I found this offputting, but there’s some real potential there.

San Jose’s Exhumed was up next. This is a longtime death metal band that recently came out of hiatus with a lone original member, singer/guitarist Matt Harvey. The Carcass influence was palpable without feeling like the band was aping its heroes. Their bass player also sang, giving Exhumed another dimension of anger. Their guitar solos were amazing. Among many other things, they did harmonic, two-handed tapping solos that were just jaw dropping. They played a great set with a lot of audience interaction.

Then the mighty Obituary took the stage, touring their brand-new record, Inked in Blood. The band played a set covering its entire catalog, while whipping their prodigious amounts of hair around. (Jeff Walker of Carcass mentioned later that Obituary is the only band they’ve toured with who has more hair than them.)

Their drummer was on fire, with blastbeats that sounded like carpet bombs. The guitars had that classic sound that only Obituary can create. John Tardy’s vocals were immense; he may very well hold the title of the best growls in death metal. Nearly 20 years on and he has not lost a step and can bring it live. Like most great metal bands, Obituary starts and stops on a dime. The band knows its songs, and nailed them with impunity.

After Obituary’s set, Carcass took the stage, complete with “Carcass TV” screens flanking their logo. The band is still touring its amazing 2013 comeback record, Surgical Steel. Like Obituary, Carcass played a set spanning its also very-long career—albeit with a long break in the middle—and we’re glad to have them back.

Both Jeff Walker and Bill Steer handled vocal duties with proper British aplomb. Walker joked that no one in the crowd could understand his Cockney accent; admittedly, it is very thick, but none of that comes through in his screeching vocals. Steer, like Tardy, is among the best in death metal, but on guitar. Seeing his hands playing those riffs, playing those leads, was awe inspiring; watching him play was an honor.

It was a truly amazing night for death metal in St. Louis. | Nik Cameron

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