Philadelphia suffered a rare earthquake yesterday and no, it wasn’t just because Cannibal Corpse was back in town. The first and last word in death metal, the stalwart institution was back on the road in support of their recent critically acclaimed 14th LP “Red Before Black”. Corpse is one of those bands that I literally can’t remember how many times I’ve seen over the years, but many smaller clubs have failed to contain the band’s catastrophic verisimilitude. Not the TLA though, as the typhoon of Corpse’s multi-pronged cacophony bellowed from the stage and throughout the venue with a clarity to match it’s ferocity, literal metal god George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s guttural lows and wailing highs in deadly high definition: a true, devastating force of nature.
Ever the gracious class act despite the savagery of their sound and imagery, Corpse recruited two of the most exciting up in coming aggressive acts to join them this time out, and in direct support was Dallas, TX’s Power Trip. After a gargantuan release of their own in early 2017’s “Nightmare Logic”, the anarcho-speed-metallers barreled through a thrash inflected set of punk influenced chug that barely slowed down to catch a breath. Getting the wildest crowd reaction of the night (the above quote from pint sized but razor throated vocalist Riley Gale says it all), the crowd surfing, slam dancing and circle pits continued apace with the band’s breakneck velocity right up until they closed out with the whirlwind of a title track to 2013’s “Manifest Decimation”.
Leading the charge was Gatecreeper. The groove laden, doom flavored, grind tinged yet supremely old school death metal of the Arizona fivesome has wormed its way into my heart and mind so much since their 2016 Relapse debut “Sonoran Depravation” first came across my “desk” last year that I had become almost ashamed that I was stuck doing some other bullshit the last two times they came through town. Sure enough, I finally caught up with Gatecreeper, and Gatecreeper did not disappoint, the band’s live attack even more of an oppressive revelation in person than on wax. Opening with fresh EP cut “Sweltering Mandness” and hitting all the high points of their catalog from there (including galloping fan favorite “Desperation”) the band won over the majority of neophytes in the audience and enthralled a clear contingent of the fully converted, putting on the exclamation point with “Sonoran” scorcher “Patriarchal Grip”.