The arctic blizzard and snow-scape has cleared just in time for these Floridian Death Metal legends and friends to roll into town, and deliver up one bone crunching, soul crushing, slab of guttural metal, that is exhibited with such clinical precision, only ‘Obituary’ know best.

First up are the Mancunian local lads, Ingested and they open the evening to a sparsely populated Club Academy, but despite Jay Evans best efforts to incite a riot, the gathered few are motionless, bar a few crazies at the front.  The band exudes energy from the outset and Evans is a non-stop barrage of grunts, growls and roars. The band are tight, and seem to be loving the chance to be entertaining their home town with their brand of death core. As much as they only had a short time on stage to entertain, towards the end they became a little samey and predictable with no variety to their stage show, attitude or music, and the only real highlight, in an otherwise faltering set, came in the form of ‘Skinned And Fucked’, which seemed to liven up the now visually stagnated floor.

Next up were Exmortus who had brought their technical thrash/death from across the pond to entertain us, and warm us up they certainly did. They were playing to a now packed venue and the confidence that was exhibited was paramount only to the technical ability that was on show. They opened up the crowd to an energising brand of thrash which oozed technicality and brutality in equal measures. The set was especially impressive as they announced that the drummer had only a feeble 2 weeks to learn his ‘lines’, and the guitar duties were remarkably, competently, being filled with a representative from fellow thrashers ‘Warbringer’. Highlight of the set though was ‘Immortality Made Flesh’ and this saw the die hards singing back the lyrics with ferociousness and venom that was built from pure love for the band. Frontman Jadran ‘Conan’ Gonzalez worked the crowd from end to end and these stalwarts definitely need to be on the radar of any self-respecting thrasher.

The place was now absolutely rammed, as you would expect for these legends of the death metal world, and when the lights went down, and Obituary strode out on stage, the crowd became rabid, and an overwhelming air of anticipation and excitement could be felt within the small confines of the Academy basement. The band kicked in, and then, after what seemed like an eternity, John Tardy entered the fray in his signature, and unmistakable, cargo shorts and white socks. Those distinctive aural guttural growls then exited his lungs, and the whole place kicked off.

Personal highlights for me had to be the absolute behemoths of ‘Chopped In Half/Turned Inside Out’ and ‘A Lesson In Vengeance’. Peres and Andrews contributed tonight with precision and clinical brutality, and they are the wings to this machine, whilst Donald Tardy and Butler are the absolute beasts that generated the back bone, and injected a pounding viciousness which was a true aural assault on your tympanic. You really can’t mistake the vocal talents of Tardy though and he had the whole place at his mercy. The band ended the proceedings with a blistering trio, ‘Turned To Stone’ ‘Straight To Hell’ and the infamous, violent, ferocious ‘Slowly We Rot’, and I can safely say, on behalf of the whole of the Club Academy tonight, it was all over way too soon.

(Review and Photos Phil Pountney)