Live Review : Decapitated + Dyscarnate + Baest @ Academy 3, Manchester on February 12th 2019

Baest are first out of the traps tonight and their name translates from their native Danish as brute which pretty much sums up their very old skool approach to Death Metal. Their heads down lightning fast version of the genre may lack the subtlety and technicality of their touring partners, but for an ageing metal head like me it has a real charm to it. It is basically a loveletter to the first few EntombedGrave and Cancer records and for me that's fine as its rather encouraging to see a bunch of youngsters hold Death Metal’s founding fathers in such reverence. On top of it all they also happen to be highly enjoyable.

Dyscarnate have hidden their drummer, in fact Matt Unsworth is so tucked away into one corner that for the first three tracks I am convinced they are using a backing track and had already composed in my head appropriate barbed and cutting comments for this review before Johann points him out to me. Dyscarnate are technically superb but have a serious man crash on Metallica and Trivium. What saves their set from simply being a carbon copy skip through their respective record collections is the dual vocal delivery as Bassist Henry Bates and guitarist Tom Whitty trade lines like an extreme metal Gene and Paul. The fact that Henry delivers his vocals in a Black Metal goblinesque style whilst Tom opts for a traditional deep throated death metal growl makes the whole thing even more interesting. For me the vocals give Dyscarnate distinct edge that lifts them above other technically proficient acts also doing heavy thrash. There is certainly something special here that is worth a second look.

It is safe to say the album cycle for the excellent “Anticult” did not turn out as Decapitated hoped. With “Anticult”, they had produced a record that felt good enough to propel them further up the metal's hierarchy and potentially out of the club circuit they seemed to have become perpetually stuck in. However the wheels well and truly came off with the incident in Washington state and by the time the whole sorry business was sorted out in January 2018 the momentum had well and truly been lost. Decapitated finally arrive in Manchester with the wind taken out of their sails as it now seems highly unlikely that “Anticult” will have the impact it should and that is a crying shame as it is a brilliant record. The evident stalling is even more of a shame as Decapitated are excellent tonight, Vogg’s brutal and crunching riffs are exquisitely delivered and the band have the air of musicians enjoying what they are doing. They whole set up tonight is tightly regimented and stand in drummer James Stewart blistering pounding provides a solid heavy core for the others to weave their music around. There is no mention of the upheavals of the previous years’ aside from an impassioned thanks to the crowd from Rafal Piotrowsk for sticking by the band. Tonight Decapitated, once again proved that they are a stunningly good and a technically superb modern death metal act and their rapid fanbase certainly lapped it up what they had to offer. The large elephant in the room though is that they may well have missed their big opportunity to expand that fanbase and move the band forward which is a real shame as “Anticult” promised so much.  

Words by Stewart Lucas
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki