Live: Carcass / Unto Others / Conjurer

Headliners and trailblazers Carcass (Picture: Niki Jones)
Headliners and trailblazers Carcass (Picture: Niki Jones)

The Waterfront, Norwich June 6, 2023

by Niki Jones

Conjurer have been causing quite a stir on the underground metal scene, and tonight it’s not hard to see why. The second they hit the stage they launch into a ferocious cacophony.

Bassist Connor Marshall taking centre stage, windmilling his hair so forcefully it makes your neck ache, he’s flanked by twin vocalist/guitarists Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose who spar with throat-shredding vocals and twisted, squalling guitar riffs blending the nastiest aspects of sludge, death and post metal.

Conjuring up a ferocious cacophony (Picture: Niki Jones)
Conjuring up a ferocious cacophony (Picture: Niki Jones)

With lyrics to match, songs such as Rot, Choke and Hollow are as suffocating as their titles suggest.

The crowd seem already clued in to their monstrous wonders as they play to a near-full venue – as they very much deserve to.

Conjurer: Causing a stir (Picture: Niki Jones)
Conjurer: Causing a stir (Picture: Niki Jones)

Unto Others may have formed in 2017 (although at that point under the moniker of Idle Hands) but they have both feet firmly in the 80s.

They blend classic metal with a dash of Sisters Of Mercy-style goth. It’s driving, melodic and slightly ridiculous, in a good, fist-in-the-air, spiked-leather-bracelet sort of way.

Soaring anthems: Unto Others (Picture: Niki Jones)
Soaring anthems: Unto Others (Picture: Niki Jones)

Vocalist Gabriel Franco stands stoic front and centre, adorned in black with dark aviator sunglasses obscuring his gaze, his deep baritone bringing the majority of the goth to the proceedings.

In contrast, bassist Brandon Hill and lead guitarist Sebastian Silver swirl and sweep around him bringing the metal, with fist-pumping bass and guitar-in-the-air solos.

Unto Others: Metal meets goth (Picture: Niki Jones)
Unto Others: Metal meets goth (Picture: Niki Jones)

Soaring anthems with such 80s sounding titles as Can You Hear The Rain and When Will God’s Work Be Done are a distinct but welcome contrast to Conjurer’s oppressive misery.

They are maybe an odd choice to be sandwiched between two such evil-sounding bands but one that gets a warm welcome.

It's a welcome contrast from the rest of the bill (Picture: Niki Jones)
It’s a welcome contrast from the rest of the bill (Picture: Niki Jones)

It seems weird to call a band who play horrible sounding songs about surgery disasters a national treasure, but it somehow feels appropriate for Carcass.

These Liverpool legends have been helping shape the face of extreme music since the late 80s and, if tonight’s performance is anything to go by, they show no signs of slowing down (well, maybe one sign, but we’ll get to that later).

Caracass: Liverpool legends (Picture: Niki Jones)
Caracass: Liverpool legends (Picture: Niki Jones)

The opening one-two of Heartwork classic Buried Dreams paired alongside the wonderfully monikered Kelly’s Meat Emporium from their latest release (2021’s Torn Arteries) shows how they’ve lost none of their power in their downtime.

Jeff Walker sounds as evil as ever, his bass held aloft as he spits gore into the microphone. Drummer Daniel Wilding is a force of nature, holding the chaos together with his propulsive drumming, while guitarists James Blackford and Bill Steer (who still, after all these years, looks like he’s strolled out of Lynyrd Skynyrd) chug and squeal away with ferocious intensity.

Carcass have lost none of their power (Picture: Niki Jones)
Carcass have lost none of their power (Picture: Niki Jones)

Almost every corner of their terrifying back catalogue gets an airing this evening, from Exhume To Consume from their 1989 opus Symphonies Of Sickness right up to The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing from the aforementioned Torn Arteries.

Amid all the horror, there’s the ever affable Walker. Even if his jokes about Norwich could do with an update, his genial Liverpudlian tone sits at odds with the terror of the music.

The Carcass set spans their entire career (Picture: Niki Jones)
The Carcass set spans their entire career (Picture: Niki Jones)

We are even treated to a drum solo from Wilding so Walker can, in his own words, “have a fucking sit down”.

Not a band to rest on their considerable legacy, they close with a brace of relatively new tracks – Tools Of The Trade and 316L Surgical Steel, the almost title track from their storming 2013 comeback album.

Jeff Walker sounds as evil as ever (Picture: Niki Jones)
Jeff Walker sounds as evil as ever (Picture: Niki Jones)

And it’s not just with their music that Carcass are trailblazers.

On the way out after the show, a cursory glance at the merch stand reveals – amongst the shirts and patches – a 7-piece Carcass Torn Arteries dinner set.

Bravo, lads. Bravo!

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