When the Hell On Earth Tour was announced, death metal fans across Britain rejoiced at the announcement of the shows which were taking place across Wales, Scotland and England. The killer lineup which sees Cattle Decapitation return to the capital of Wales alongside Welsh debuts for Chicago’s masters of savagery Broken Hope, Italian technical deathsters Hideous Divinity and death/grind newcomers Gloryhole Guillotine with local heroes Sodomized Cadavar opening the show on this Cardiff date made them rejoice even more and it was with great anticipation that we went to see the bill at Fuel in Cardiff.
As a venue, Fuel, which is a cracking rock bar too, could be described as intimate and has a definite up close and personal vibe which is great for a show such as this, meaning there is no escape from the death metal carnage.
We arrived at the venue to catch the last few songs from Sodomized Cadavar who pummeled the crowd with their brand of straight to the point death metal and although it was a bit of a disappointment that we didn’t see the bands full set, what we did see was enough to get the night started off on the best possible way and that was pure unadulterated death meal from one of the UKs finest.
Up next were Gloryhole Guillotine whose mix of grindcore with a flourish of death metal impressed the rapidly growing audience. The band blast out material from their latest EP Amalgamation with the likes of Pigs and Buried But Not Dead going down a storm as does the bands short but very sweet Napalm Death cover and the band leave the stage after playing some relatively slower, deathly grooves although in true grind form, their set is over just as quickly as it has begun but the band leave the stage knowing they have made more than a few new fans this evening.
Italian technical death metal masters Hideous Divinity are up next and proceed to blast the audience with their precise and focused style of metal. Arriving onstage the bands frontman Enrico H announces that the band are going to “Spread some fucking death metal, is that ok?” to which the audiences reply is a resounding, yes!
Hideous Divinity focus the material in their set mainly on their latest album Adveniens but play a few older numbers as well, with the crowd whipped up into a frenzy throughout. A pit opens up for the first (but definitely not the last) time of the night early on and the headbanging masses up front are loving every minute of it, even more so when Enrico joins them for a joyous bout of banging your head in unison as the band carry on with the song, headbanging as enthusiastically as the audience.
The bands set ends with a defiant cry of “Stay hideous” and they leave to mass applause having slain the audience at Fuel on their first appearance on Welsh soil and cemented their reputation is one if the finest technical death metal bands on the planet.
After three great performances so far it would have been a great gig anyway but when Broken Hope take to the stage, they take things to another level entirely and the pit simply erupts as they start their set with Into The Necrosphere.
What follows is forty five minutes of the finest death metal brutality on the planet and the Cardiff audience respond in kind with the mosh pit simply exploding in a maelstrom of flying bodies. For the past thirty years, Broken Hope have been unleashing their savage death metal on an unsuspecting world and with their stunning latest album Mutilated & Assimilated (definitely a lesson in death metal) released earlier in the year, the band prove that they are still at the top of their game and the bands set us highly anticipated in only their second trip to the U.K.
Songs the band played from Mutilated & Assimilated like the title track fit in so well with earlier material like Incinerated from the Omen Of Disease album and the bands set is extremely well reviewed with the crowd running rampage to the bands slamming death metal assault.
Broken Hope play a blinder tonight with vocalist Damian Leski cutting a formidable figure onstage although his guttural deathly vocals are even more formidable alongside the
razor sharp guitars of Jeremy Wagner and Matt Szlachta while the rhythm section of drummer Mike Miczek and bassist Diego Soria held down the death metal grooves stylishly. The band end their set by going way back to their earliest days with a brutal Swamped In Gore and bringing it up to date with Outback Incest Clan from the new album, the crowd get one last chance to go crazy to one of the greatest death metal bands ever. Broken Hope were amazing tonight and while it has taken me twenty years to see them live, it was well worth the wait. An astounding performance in death metal brutality.
After that performance, a performance worthy of a headline band to be honest, it seemed to be a heady task to follow Broken Hope but Cattle Decapitation are also one of the finest death metal bands on the planet (proving what impressive bill that has been) and proceed to give it their best shot, which they with gusto. Blasting straight into The Carbon Stampede, the band proceed to give Cardiff another dose of their greatness and even though the audience should have been tired after the frenzied Broken Hope set given how crazy they went, they go just as mad for the nights headliners.
Cattle Decapitations last album 2015s The Anthropocene Extinction is their best to date and the set was focused on that album with The Prophets Of Loss, Apex Blasphemy and Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot) being blasted out but older songs like Regret & The Grave and Kingdom Of Tyrants were relieved just as well.
Travis Ryan proves himself to be one of the finest vocalists in metal with a stunning display while the rest of the band are just as good and the whole set is delivered with a technical excellence.
Cattle Decapitation finish their set with an unbelievable rendition of Manufactured Extinct and Pacific Grim before leaving the stage to a crescendo of applause and shouts of “Cattle Decap”. They return to the stage shortly after leaving to finish things off with a brutal version of Your Disposal and when they really are gone, the crowd leaves with smiles on their faces, happy that they have seen a whole load of essential death metal tonight.
The tour might have been dubbed Hell On Earth but for everyone in Fuel tonight it was definitely a case of death metal heaven instead.