When the average person thinks of Florida, they think of the sunshine state, golden beaches, palm trees, lovely weather and maybe even Disney. When I think of Florida I think of Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary and Deicide. The Tampa Bay death metal scene has produced some of the greatest extreme bands on the planet. A scene going strong for thirty plus years and one that has inspired a generation.
Tonight we may be missing the sun, sea and palm trees but in a rather moist Birmingham city centre we have the cream of the crop. Obituary are in town and it’s a shame they haven’t brought the weather with them.
To start the evening, The Revival catch up with Ashen Crown for the second time in as many weeks. In arguably their most high profile tour date yet they are opening for the death metal titans. The brummie lads may have a sightly different twist on the genre from the headliners but they are just as brutal. Kieran now a towering figure front and centre stage growls his way through thirty minutes of mayhem. Ferocious guitars and a throbbing bass and drum backend entwine to batter our senses, much to the pleasure of the headliners, watching side of stage.
To inject a bit of thrash into proceedings as California’s Exmortus. But these boys are not out and out thrash in the traditional sense. A two prong lead guitar attack gives an almost unique sound adding an element of technical melodic-ness to the occasion. Imagine Metallica meets Dragon Force and you’d not be far from home. Throaty vocals and an extremely fast pace keep us on the edge of our seats. Mixing new material with more established work, they don’t quite get the reception Ashen Crown did, but it’s still lapped up by the baying crowd.
As dry ice pumps out across the darkened room, figures move among the shadows on stage. A green light rises as a growl grows from the guitar amps, a throbbing repeating riff, an enticing beat that draws you in. The death metal instrumental Redneck Stomp acts as Obituary’s opening number tonight.
John Tardy enters the stage, towering above the crowd his flowing locks covering his face as Sentence Day kicks in. The bands sound has changed little over the years and that sound is now close to perfection.
The set provides the hardcore fans with a death metal greatest hits, mixing their older songs with newer ones. A Lesson In Vengeance stands out as a new track working so well sandwiched between classics Find the Arise and ‘Til Death, grinding guitars are met with banging heads and pumping fists from the fans.
The band may not be the most energetic, they may not have a front man bouncing off the walls, but they deliver the very best in the extreme. And that is exactly what the fans have come to see, as they finish with the classic Slowly We Rot you cannot fail but leave fully satisfied.