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Opening the return of Decapitated is Scotland’s Man Must Die. With Kataklysm on the bill, it is unsurprising that Man Must Die would be here too, considering Kataklysm guitarist Jean-François Dagenais produced the UK band’s debut and the two groups have toured the UK together before. Man Must Die’s debut ‘Start Killing’ is a surprisingly well-accomplished slab of technical death metal. With their sophomore full-length ‘The Human Condition’, the band flirted with metalcore influences with corrosive results. Last year, they released their third album ‘No Tolerance for Imperfection’ which the quartet must be proud of, having taken their entire set from this release. The death metallers have returned to their former glory, only this time emphasising the rhythm section to borderline slam death metal moments. On stage, they are energetic and aggressive, particularly muscle-bound frontman Joe McGlynn who appears formidable and confident in the management of the live show. The punters who are present (which is somewhat underwhelming) appreciate the efforts Man Must Die go through and so they should, seeing as this is one of the UK’s premier death metal bands, too often overlooked.
Monday 8th February 2010
Islington Academy in London, UK
Kataklysm fans are omnipresent throughout the venue and as the Canadian four-piece open with ‘Like Angels Weeping (The Dark)’, temperatures soar as the audience emphatically rock out to Kataklysm’s new At the Gates-influenced melodic death metal sound. Typically, the band ignores the straight-forward death metal they played prior to ‘Epic: The Poetry of War’ but judging from the Kataklysm hordes in attendance, this is not a step in the wrong direction. However, the absence of ‘Taking the World by Storm’ is surprising but a great idea! ‘Manipulator of Souls’, ‘As I Slither’ and ‘Bound in Chains’ are executed favourably but the finest moment on the set is ‘Ambassador of Pain’ with its raw and relentless guitar. Unfortunately, the guitar could have profoundly benefitted from an increase of volume and drummer Max Dumahel is embarrassingly still not as tight as short-lived replacement drummer Martin Maurais. Nonetheless, frontman Maurizio Iacono instigates several mosh pits and is so dynamic, it is challenging not to enjoy the set in some way, despite weak tracks. Coupled with bouts of windmilling and vicarious headbanging from the band members, the show dons the look of a successful live death metal act. Indeed, it felt as if Kataklysm were the headliners. Iacono remarks that his pack is used to playing at the Underworld but the greater size of the Islington Academy is highly appropriate for them. Closing with the thunderous ‘In Shadows and Dust’, Kataklysm leave a gaping fissure in their wake that Decapitated will struggle to satisfy.
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Reviews by Elena Francis; Photography by Graham Hilling
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As most subscribers of the extreme metal scene know, much has changed since Decapitated last played in London three years ago. The band’s tour bus crashed later that year, leaving drummer Vitek and vocalist Covan critically injured. Unfortunately, Vitek’s injuries were fatal and he was pronounced dead in the following days. Covan is still recovering and it is unknown if he will ever return to full health. Bassist Martin Rygiel immigrated to America with his wife, leaving just Vogg as the sole member of the Polish group. Having assembled a new line up in 2009, Decapitated’s return to the live show has been hotly anticipated for some time. Opening with ‘A Poem About an Old Prison Man’, the efforts of the new members has to be applauded. They are certainly capable of dealing with Decapitated’s technical death metal; drummer Kerim Lechner is clearly well acquainted with Vitek’s signature bass drum-reliant style of drumming and vocalist Rafal Pitrowski’s growls are raspier than Covan’s and his attitude is respectable, evading any frontman faux pas. However, it does not quite feel like Decapitated; it feels like a band simply performing their songs. There is a lack of enthusiasm as they hammer out classics including ‘Day 69’, ‘Winds of Creation’ and ‘Mother War’. Remaining static on stage only makes the Kataklysm performance look better but things improve when Man Must Die frontman Joe McGlynn joins the Poles on stage to lend his growling abilities and up the amount of movement on stage. An obligatory tribute is made to Vitek and the band close with the fan favourite ‘Spheres of Madness’. While it is indeed pleasant to see Decapitated again, it is worth considering if they should have disbanded after the accident. Clearly they will never be the same and the new members have a fair way to go in terms of behaving like a cohesive unit playing Decapitated songs live.
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