Cannibal Corpse was the band that got me into extreme metal. It was around 2010, when they released “Evisceration Plague”. I was listening to that album on repeat for a while, and a couple of years later, they came and played in Zagreb. I got the ticket in early pre-sale and prepared my vest for the concert. I didn’t know all the songs back then, only the newer ones, but that gig was just amazing for me. I was a kid seeing his heroes live. I moshed, got elbowed, got some beer in my hair and went home happy.
Five years have passed since then, and it was time to see Cannibal Corpse on my home turf again. I wasn’t excited as back in the day, I didn’t religiously listen to the latest album for three months straight. The old leather vest even stayed home. Perhaps I have grown old, or boring, but I wanted to hear some awesome death metal and grab a beer with some friends. And it seemed I met with all the people I knew on this concert. Old friends, work colleagues, people from other cities I remember from concert. I think everyone was there yesterday, and that was awesome! Perhaps people had a free day since it was a national holiday, or everybody just likes Cannibal Corpse. Anyway the venue was packed.
The opener bands were a riddle to me. Unfound Reliance, a Swedish death metal band from Karlstadt played first. They apparently have positive and philanthropic lyrics about unity, but that didn’t get quite through to me when i watched them perform. With a rather usual metal appearance, they sounded more like an In flames tribute than anything else. Note, In Flames themselves sound like a tribute band these days, so I guess it’s a compliment to Unfound Reliance. Anyhow, they performed rather standard and unimpressive as an opener band, and I had to resist the urge to go out of the venue and drink beer with my buddies.
After the short opener act came the… Second opener act. Another Swedish death metal band called Carnosus. This five piece from Orebro were a big step up in the death metal game. They performed violently and with haste. Without any memorable songs, they still managed to electrify the crowd and make the first rows bang their heads in unison. They motivated all the attendees to come closer to the stage and enjoy the show. It would be brutal to call these guys discount Lamb Of God, but they had songs with screams eerily similar to those of Randy Blythe. Cool, but not what I came for. Walking around the venue, I thought people standing outside and mingling were having a better time. Go figure.
After the warm up bands came a rather long stage change break. In that time, I had the chance to observe the heaps of younger generations flocking to the first row. It was a pleasant sight, long haired middle schoolers all clad in camo and denim. With no school tomorrow, and a national holiday above our heads, it really seemed that everyone came.
The hour struck 22:05 and the dudes from Cannibal Corpse climbed on stage. I think no introduction is necessary. They started playing 30 years ago, and have since become a household name (in households that know about metal). They are the most popular extreme metal band, with a huge discography counting 14 albums, several demos, EP’s and lives.
They have made the stage their home, which is awesome. They perform such complex pieces with ease. Countless tours have hardened their appearance and they truly are one of the best in what they do. Despite all the fame, the praise and glory, i had the feeling that this concert was just another gig, in another town somewhere far from home. This wasn’t a festival performance with 15K astonished fans, this was Croatia, and played like Croatia. There were several technical difficulties during the performance, with guitars falling out of the mix completely. The vocals were less understandable than usual, and I had a hard time keeping up with what was being sung. I’m pretty sure “They slave in fire, whips of Hades on their backs, the scourge of iron” was sung a bit differently. That may just be my picky elitist ass talking out of itself, but I was hoping for a bit more. Not brutality in any way, but motivation. The rest of the crowd seemed to dig it though. Despite the +45° temperature, people banged, moshed and enjoyed themselves. There was puking, broken noses (we counted two), everything that made a concert really fucking awesome.
All in all, I have to salute the local crowd for showing their best, giving it all and enjoying their beloved band despite all the nit picky errors. In my eyes, this was more of a family reunion than a rock solid concert. People came to party, and party they did.