Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Cannibal Corpse @ Élysée-Montmartre, Paris - March 22nd, 2023

It's been eight years since Cannibal Corpse's murderous riffs have last resonated in Paris, and the world is a much different place. Concert goers were massacred by terrorists, the Trump years have come and gone, there's been a world-wide pandemic, a war in Europe... Geopolitical uncertainty, financial crises and general chaos... But one thing that has remained consistent, despite its personnel shake-ups (but even then it's keeping with tradition) is Cannibal Corpse.

Some bands like to evolve or expriment. Some bands mature, grow out of their early phases, transition into something different. But others find their sound and image early: The Ramones. AC/DC. Motörhead. Iron Maiden... for better or for worse, these bands have almost always stayed the course, never deviating from their signature style. Like them, the boys in Cannibal Corpse are dependable. They are not going to inject industrial beats into their music. They are not going to explore their Blues roots. They are not going to experiment with Jazz rhythms. And they are never, ever, going to tone down the gore.

The sick imagery and revolting song titles are as much a part of Cannibal Corpse as the violent riffs, the brutal blast beats, the super heavy breakdowns and the guttural vocals from beyond the grave. This is all rotting tongue in putrid cheek of course, and unless your sense of humor aligns with these sickos, it's probably best to stay away and give your Air Supply record collection a spin. One thing Cannibal Corpse does not fuck with however is the music. It's loud, it's brutal, it's confrontational, and it's a lot of fun.

And in 2023, this singular vision has earned them to graduate from the clubs they were previously accustomed to (their last gig here was at Petit Bain which holds 450 people) to theaters. With the help of Dark Funeral and a couple of choice openers, they managed to sell out the famed Élysée-Montmartre. It seems that extreme Metal is having a moment and we should enjoy and celebrate it. The underground is nice, but this level of fame and exposure, for a style usually relegated to the sewers of the music industry, is quite an achievement.

So on this rainy March evening, 1400 rabid gore hounds have amassed into this theater located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, amidst the sex shops, the prostitutes, the seedy night clubs and the dive bars, to witness Cannibal Corpse do what they do best, which is rip the guts out of their audience and splatter the walls of the venue with their blood. And that's what they did. We told you these guys could be counted on.

For nearly 80 minutes, Cannibal Corpse played a selection of tracks from mot of their albums, with a slight emphasis on the latest one Violence Unimagined and their breakthrough LP Tomb Of The Mutilated. There were no surprises, no ballads, no duets. Just a barrage of in-your-face Death Metal, executed with the utmost precision and brutality, to the delight of several generations of metal heads present in the venue.

In the pit, the ruckus started almost immediately and it was glorious. Yours truly didn't partake, because yours truly is too old for that shit. But to watch the ebb and flow of that ocean of hair, denim and tattoos is a truly beautiful sight. The best part? It was all in good fun. Yeah, it got rough. And some of the people in that crowd had probably imbibed a little more than they should have. Shame on them! But everyone had a great time, let out some energy and came out of it happy. 30 years after the first controversies started around the band, one thing is clear: Cannibal Corpse and their hordes of fans are not the dangerous, youth-corrupting, devil-worshipping delinquents some pearl-clutching organizations want you to think they are.

Inevitably, all of the songs start to sound alike after a while, and consequently there was no real highlight to the show, just a constant stream of decibels, power and aggression. That being said, and despite the quality of the recent albums, it's always special to hear the old songs that started it all. Tunes like A Skull Full Of Maggots, I Cum Blood, Fucked With A Knife and of course the absolute classic ditty Hammer Smashed Face.

Frontman George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher has an oddly affable stage presence, in fact all of them seem like a great bunch of lads. They just happen to be in the world's most infamous Death Metal band. A band that has been around in one form or another for over thirty years. A band that plays this sort of music in the purest, most unadulterated possible way. A band that will defiantly remain forever vile.

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