Whichever way you look at it this line up was without doubt one of the most brutal of the year as a reasonable sized queue had gathered outside the venue ready to have their auditory systems annihilated by three Stateside bands plus an Italian outfit. The Rebellion venue has increased its profile significantly in the last year or so and as a result has been putting on some fairly high profile tours. Dubbed the “Hell On Earth: There Is No Room In Hell” tour Gloryhole Guillotine, from the USA, hit the stage as punters were still piling into the venue and checking out the merch area first. Surprisingly all the bands had tour shirts except Cattle Decapitation which I thought was weird and the prices were decent and sales looked to be healthy. As Gloryhole Guillotine were on stage I found a spot and quickly stuffed my ear plugs in because the sound was absolutely deafening to the point of pain inducing. I was unfamiliar with the bands material, as their songs were rattled out in short successive bursts of machine gunning salvos. Their songs were similar to grindcore in parts and given that they had a 30 minute set that meant they could’ve played about 60 songs at the rate they fired the tracks out but only played for about 15 minutes. There was a lack of movement by the guitarists until about three quarters into their set after they’d played a couple of cover tunes. Whilst a little sterile overall the band had some nifty riffs that caught my ear as the drummer’s almost robotic decimation behind the kit held everything together.
Italian technical death metal act Hideous Divinity was a big draw to this gig for me, having just got into their latest album “Adveniens”, which is an absolute beast, the moment their intro piece started you knew there was to be a massive step up in quality, and there was. Decked out in matching black work shirts with a HD logo on the top right they blasted the audience with a technical masterclass yet retaining copious waves of groove. The bands singer Enrico engaged the audience throughout, and was totally at ease as the venue’s temperature started to increase as more people arrived. As the opener ended some bridging music was used to fill the gap to the next song, something I’m not sure I like as the band detonated into the next song with an intensity and technicality that was only rivalled by the headliners. With the usual thanks to bands on the tour, the bands relentless onslaught of riffs was unerring backed up by superb drumming. Whilst not recognising all the songs played the fluidised musicianship that oozed from the stage was staggering as “Messianica” from the latest album was aired and was one the most brutal songs of their set. As their set ended it was good to see people heading to the merch area to check out their stuff and support the band.
In complete and total contrast to Hideous Divinity, Broken Hope were utter knuckle dragging death metal of the lowest echelons of the evolutionary death metal pathway. With stage times running 15 minutes early Broken Hope bulldozed on stage, and I really mean that, with one of the most penetrating double kick sounds I’ve ever heard. As the set got under way Broken Hope was a caveman assault backed up by sledgehammering double bass throughout their show, as the vocals were also some of the lowest I’ve ever heard too. “Into The Necrosphere” was just pulverising and led into a track for ladies, apparently, called “Dilation And Extraction” as a pit finally opened up for the first time of the evening. The title track of the last album, “Mutilated And Assimilated” was meted out as I just stood completely hooked by the inexorable sonic demolition the band was inflicting on the audience. “Swamped In Gore” followed which everyone recognised, well it seemed like everyone when they cheered when it was announced. The singer always looked angry, a bit unhinged, as though he was seriously pissed off about something as their set came to an end leaving the audience in ruins and for the dust to settle after the band had completely flattened them.
Rumours were abound that the Cattle Decapitation show was being filmed for a promo video as the stage was a flurry of activity after Broken Hope had assailed the crowd. The venue was roasting inside and as the stage set up was sorted it did indeed look like something was going to be filmed as I could see three cameras at the back and there was a guy taking still pictures during the show too. I’ve seen Cattle Decapitation a few times now and one thing is certain you always get a hyper blasted technical obliteration and tonight was no different as the lengthy intro piece eventually gave way to the detonation of the band’s set of “The Carbon Stampede” followed by “Dead Set On Suicide”. Travis (vocals) always seems to look deranged on stage, his mannerisms had the look of unpredictability as the set paused for a bit of chat teasing the crowd by saying that we looked bored. Saying that we’re supposed to be filming and we’re getting as much footage in the UK as possible, was said purely to stoke the crowd ready for “The Prophets Of Loss”. It worked as the audience went mental as the first stage diver appeared and total carnage started, Travis seemed to like pouring water over his head repeatedly as the songs barbaric almost blackened riffing deluged the crowd. Travis is unique, his vocal theatrics make each song sound very different as the set blasted into “A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat” from the “Monolith Of Inhumanity” album from which many of the songs were drawn from. His vocal theatrics were in fine form here as he screeched the semi-clean vocal parts like a banshee to great effect. Sometimes it was difficult to take your eyes away from the singer because he was always doing something but the rest of the band are crucial, their musicianship was flawless and like Hideous Divinity their technicality was breath-taking, especially the drummer who I thought was magnificent.
With the venue being at skin melting point, it was packed too and I cannot understand why some muppets insist on having their rucksacks on their backs when the place is so damn full especially when there’s a pit pushing everyone outwards and that bag gets shoved into someone’s face. The pit was in full flow with stage divers taking their opportunities as “Kingdom Of Tyrants” was a swirling explosion of blast beats initially and caught the crowd out a little when it slowed down a tad and made for a superb contrast in the set. “Pacific Grim” was crushing and ended the set and foolishly a fair few people decided to leave but the ardent lot stayed put and were rewarded with an extra track even though Travis teased us by saying we’re not ready. A lad next to me who I’d been chatting to earlier and had travelled from the Middlesborough area was really hoping for “Your Disposal” and that’s what he got much to his delight as I saw him sing every word to it. As the song drew to a close Travis crowd surfed to the back of the venue and out the back.
A battering death metal night was had by all as a resolute calm befell on the Rebellion like the aftermath of sonic warfare.
WORDS: MARTIN HARRIS
PHOTOGRAPHY: ANDY POUNTNEY