After reaching unexpected celebrity status following the daft but brilliant #whynotdyingfetus social media campaign and their subsequent Download main stage appearance, Maryland's finest purveyors of grinding death metal are enjoying a mammoth European tour with rammed rooms every night. In fact, it's debatable whether this same bill 12 months ago would have attracted anywhere near as many punters.
Sheffield’s Malevolence  may be a little too ‘core’ for tonight’s metallic feast, but they more than show they’re equalling the headliner’s brutality with their iron-plated hardcore attack. Tracks from last year’s Reign Of Suffering sound even more vibrant in the live setting, with each juggernaut breakdown and slashing riff shaking the walls of the tiny venue. Gradually more interest is shown down the front as spinning arms and legs collide and the words of Serpents Chokehold are shouted back. Expect these guys in bigger venues soon.
New Orleans’ Goatwhore  arrive on a wave of blackened filth, igniting a floor-wide pit that doesn’t cease until curfew. Spikey-gauntlet clad frontman Louis Benjamin Falgoust II is a tornado of energy, screaming and air-guitaring his way through the band’s ferocious assault. New tracks from latest opus Constricting Rage Of The Merciless are welcomed as fervently as the likes of Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult. Though they might lack in identifiable hooks they more than make up for in unmatched fury and rabid enthusiasm. Few other bands could get away with a number called Fucked By Satan, with half the crowd tearing into each other while a few couples fondle lovingly in the corner. If this is what the apocalypse looks and sounds like it can’t come soon enough.
Though they might not be as lauded as some of their contemporaries, Dying Fetus’  consistency and influence over their seven-album career are beyond doubt, with the entire deathcore movement clearly owing a significant debt to their mix of hyper-speed blasts and swopping, groove-laden drops. With a set mixing earlier cuts and the violent attack of 2012’s From Womb To Waste, its heartening to see the packed room welcoming the band as heroes just a few years after they played to just a handful of punters down the road in Newport.
From the opening cataclysm of Into The Trenches onwards the scene is one of pure chaos, with Subjected To A Beating best encapsulating the belligerent onslaught delivered, with bodies and limbs being thrown in every direction down the front of house. The likes of One Shot, One Kill from 2003’s Stop At Nothing and the damning sledgehammer of From Womb To Waste epitomise the band’s strengths, with the trio’s incredibly intricate interplay giving way to muscular breakdowns and guitarist John Gallagher and bassist’s Sean Beasley’s guttural and scything vocal trade offs bringing to life humanity’s most grave frailties. The early cuts of _Grotesque Impalement _and Raped On The Altar from their more grotesque formative years show they were years ahead of their time, fitting seamlessly into the set, while the finale of Your Treachery Will Die With You’s final blitzkrieg comes as almost as relief, with even the most die-hard of fans looking utterly spent.
The band have clearly been give a new lease of life by last year’s viral campaign, and with such a wealth of awesome material behind them, there’s no reason that on tonight’s evidence Dying Fetus can continue to reap the plaudits and attention they’re deserved. However, a Download headline slot might be just slightly out of their reach.