Home Gigs Gig Review : Decapitated – Nihility Anniversary Tour Obscura/Inferi/The Materia Limelight, Belfast

Gig Review : Decapitated – Nihility Anniversary Tour Obscura/Inferi/The Materia Limelight, Belfast

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Review by Richard Henry for MPM

Well, if ever there was a death metal bill of the year in Belfast, this is without doubt it, I have only seen Obscura before in Dublin so first time seeing the rest of these bands, and I have listened to Decapitated ever since the first album, so I am really excited about this one tonight! Up first.

The Materia

So first up from Poland we have The Materia, now I have hand on heart never heard these guys before tonight, nor listened to them, they have a unique sound, where at some points I was hearing a more technical, nearly a sort of Djent style in some of the riffs and especially the drumming, then a lot of it was a sort of black and death metal mix, then all of a sudden you had some clean vocals in there as well, a really short set from the guys however I was definitely coming away looking to check them out, really impressive!

Inferi

Now I was really excited to hear these guys as I have been listening to them for a while, and they did not disappoint live!

Simian Hive – Straight onto the stage with this track from the new album “Vile Genesis”, drummer Spencer is right from the off getting a serious workout, the twin vocals are so punchy live with Malcolm handling the deeper vocals and Stevie on the more screamed vocal, the actual guitar work is just sublime as well, both Malcolm and Sanjay absolutely ripping, constant tempo changes and the song keeps twisting and turning, really grabbing your interest with all the different feels and changes, I think there are some tracks coming through as well through the Mac adding an orchestral texture to this one as well!

Eyes of Boundless Black – This one was just released in May of this year as a single, that’s a serious double bass groove there with a sort of slow enveloping atmosphere with the guitar then an absolute sledgehammer of a riff kicks in, again there is just so much to take in and I found myself just watching the guys, it’s just so technical on all fronts that you just want to watch it being performed, that slow grinding riff with the constantly modulating drum part is just class, that’s such a good solo, really melodic and lots of soul and then it just takes off on speed, frontman Stevie, foot planted on the barrier singing into the faces of the crowd, what a frontman!

Aeon’s Torn – From 2020’s, Of Sunless Realms EP, slower start to this one with an almost waltz groove to the start of it, again kicks off with a lovely solo, then the kicks come in and the riff starts to pound, but it still has so many layers to it, then when the second section comes in with a really crushing riff it just slams, the crowd are starting to wake up a bit, these early shows are like this where it takes a while for the place to fill up, when the tempo kicks in and the blasts start there are a few souls flying about behind me, the musicianship on display is just frightening but if you have heard these guys before tonight you knew that!

Tainted Pact – Newest track of tonight as this one only came out in October of this year as a single, sort of more mid paced with a cool pattern and then the blasts just come in and smack you round they head, almost atmospheric part then comes in before more of a thrash beat comes in while that swirling guitar riff keeps going, again the crowd that are hear are loving these guys and my fellow front rowers are banging their heads along with this one, another great solo, very James Murphy like I thought on this one, short and to the point.

Behold the Bearer of Light – Back to 2018’s Revenant album for this one, last song on a criminally short set for these guys tonight, atmospheric intro and then straight into almost a black metal Wintersun vibe part straight after that with the lead guitar parts, trem picked melody guitar line running under the vocals, lots of solo sections on this one as well, it’s really technical but it flows so well live, I couldn’t take my eyes off the guitarists on this one, bar Stevie still foot on the monitor screaming into your face, absolutely blinding track to finish with, again criminally short set and I really hope I get to see these guys again and hopefully get to see longer set, outstanding!

Obscura

Now this was the one band on the bill that I had seen before when they played Dublin, absolute masters of tech death and a huge influence on a lot of the newer bands, not a lot of space on the stage tonight for them but they put on one hell of a show!

Forsaken – Kicking off with the first track from the last album “A Valediction”, Alex getting the first notes of the night from his lovely six string fretless bass, then the band come in and I knew what was coming but still, when Christian kicks into that riff after the harmony guitar parts and the Gabe kicks in the blast beats it’s so epic, if you’re a guitar player I mean its heaven watching these guys, as heavy as they get it never loses the melody and that’s one thing I have always loved, loads of shifting tempos, Steffen over in the far corner tonight on a cramped stage, oh that solo, yeah I am indeed having one of many moments watching these guys play tonight, brilliant track to kick it all off!

Emergent Evolution – 2018’s Diluvium album is up next for this track, the drumming alone to start this, the little bass drum parts following the riff, again interesting to see live how all the parts are split up, the crowd have now warmed up and the place is filling up, bit of a pit going, love that tapping part from Christian, then you really get to see all the parts on the fretless bass under the guitar figures, Alex is constantly all over the neck, lovely solos from both Steffen and Christian on this one, and again getting to see the drum parts up close and personal is just another masterclass with Gabe absolutely smashing it!

Devoured Usurper – Back to the newest release for this one, sludgy riff and groove to the start of this one and a few people are waking up behind me and starting the circle pit, I love sinister groove songs like this and Steffen getting down lower in register for this one, almost Morbid Angel in vibe the more I think about it, then a real d beat section comes in, and I love those parts, then a really blistering solo, the blast beats are in and the whammy bar solo is there, then it just slows down again and that’s a really grinding section then after it with another awesome solo coming in, I love this track!

Akroasis – Title track from the 2016 album, nice drum fill intro and then into a tight syncopated riff and lovely bass work from Alex before you hit a crazy solo, I literally sat and watched Gabe for the most of this song, luckily I had three of the guys right in front of me, Steffen was the hardest to see, the tempo shifts and the bass work is just insane and if you haven’t seen it, go check out some live footage or get them on the rest of this tour, there is so much in front of you it’s hard to know who to watch at times, insane solos flying in and around, tempo change again and another solo then it breaks into the riff and the blasts again, staggering!

The Anticosmic Overload – For me I bought Death “Human” when it came out, Atheist, Cynic, Necrophagist all on release days, and then next on the evolution of Technical Death Metal for me, is 2009’s Cosmogenesis and this track here which opened it, the only surprise is it didn’t close the set, from the opening drum intro to the beat with the bass drum pattern underneath it’s just so technical, the bass work again on this, especially all those little harmonic slides and parts that you really appreciate seeing it live, all the tempo shifts and everything is just tight as a drum, the one thing even at the most violent is how melodic it all is no matter how heavy and technical is gets, for me this is a top tier tech death classic track, up there with Flattening of Emotions, How Could I or Mother Man, just amazing!

Ocean Gateways – Back to 2011 from the Omnivium album, again it’s just so grinding with that slow heavy riff just underpinned by the constant double kicks, I love these Obscura songs like this, also serves to give Gabe a bit of a break from the blasts, that sort of slower riff in the middle with the bass and drum interplay round it is really interesting then it kicks into a really cool syncopated part, for me its total muso heaven, and i am sure there are a good few musicians in the crowd loving this, again we have a brave few having a pogo in the middle of the crowd, that solo, Christian I love, he’s just such a unique player as well, when this one slows down at the end it just gets obscenely heavy!

When Stars Collide – We started with the new album, and we are closing with a track from the same album, according to Steffen this is their single, I mean the way it kicks off, that lovely counterpoint riff and then the blast beats come in, but that bass line is really cool over it, then when it breaks down a bit into that syncopated part is class then the sweeps come in before the double kicks ramp up, then there is a n almost classical counterpoint section before the riff comes back in on its own and then band kicks back in, now there it is, yeah it is a big chorus, but then back to the blasts and the sweeps, poor Chrisitan had me staring at him the whole section he was playing that, the solos, yeah I love it, think I drooled a bit there, what a track!

Criminally short set, honestly, I could have done with double that, the band where absolutely on fire tonight as well, putting on a full-on technical display of mastery and musicianship, unbelievable players every one of them, loved it!

Decapitated

Perfect Humanization – Well you have got to kick off with track one from the Nihility album, I find it so hard to believe this album is 21 years old, I remember buying and the first album when they came out, straight into that abrasive riff and blast beats, Rafal is an imposing figure on the stage, whipping those long dreads about and failing around the stage, this track is just savage, the stop start of the riffs and the middle section with that swirling riff and drum part dancing around it, very Suffocation in a way but very their own sound as well, James back there is an absolute weapon making it look super easy and we all know it isn’t, this track slams as much now as it did back in the day when I heard it first!

Eternity Too Short – Track 2 on the album and the kick drums are out for that riff, it’s so staccato in feel, that’s Voggs style but you know it’s one of his riffs, then the blasts come back but for me it’s the over the bar sort of drum part and the you get the open drum sections between the parts, the pit is really starting to go off and Rafal is demanding some action in there, at this point I realized I was literally sitting watching James playing this one for most of the song, it’s just nuts and it makes you think just how good Vitek was at such a young age when this was recorded!

Mother War – Yeah, we are going in order of the album, that’s a nuts guitar riff when you see it being played live, i can tell the pit likes this one from all the bangs in the back I am getting, mid-tempo double bass just splits right into full on blast beats, Vogg is just a riff monster, he just doesn’t stop, then another drum break and into a really lovely double bass riff section, nice solo break and then the blasts hit again, Rafal high fiving us in the front row after every song!

Nihility – Title track, real Morbid Angel vibe to that riff, when it slows down into that groove it’s so God damn heavy, then straight away into the blasts and another solo, before a proper dizzying riff after that with it locked into the double bass, the back to the blasts, plenty of movement behind me on this one and again you see Rafal motioning for a circle pit to break out, again I found myself watching Vogg and James and it’s hard not to, just serious display of technicality!

Names – I mean it just is like getting slapped with a bass ball bat, right from the off the blasts then into an octave riff with double bass and then back into the blasts, next you know it breaks down into a really grindy riff, then that trem picked riff with the double bass following it and into a solo, bit of tapping and not sure if I heard a harmonizer in there and then straight back to the brutality again, brutal!

Spheres of Madness – Now for me this is a signature track, between this and Winds of Creation this is my favorite track, that riff is so angular, the way it shifts, it almost like a cut and paste sounding riff and then you watch the interplay between Vogg and James on this and not to mention bass player Pawel, it’s so tight live and all those diminished riffs, there’s just so many parts one after another one this track, even the way it switches back into that intro riff in the mid-section of the song, it’s just so well put together, it’s one of my favorite Decapitated tracks!

Babylon’s Pride – The tempo is back on this one, double bass firing away with that trem picked riff then bang it slows right down and into a slow ominous groove, then it starts to pick up the pace and starts to drive, then its right into blasts, speaking of picking up the pace, the pit in here is certainly obliging with this one as a fair few bodies are flying about the place, little rum break and the insanity starts again with the blasts, it unrelenting tonight!

Symmetry of Zero – Last track from the album and we have gone in full order through it, and much like the rest of the album it doesn’t let up, tapped guitar riff and blast beats everywhere and then breaking in to groove double bass sections, every time I hear diminished riffs I think Cannibal and this song is no exception, you forget just how technical and insane this album was, but hearing it in full tonight was an absolute treat!

Suffer the Children – As soon as I heard that drum intro, I knew what this was, pretty sure Rafal realized I knew it as I was singing away, now i was not expecting a Napalm Death cover but they sure as hell did it justice, made my night after hearing the whole Nihility album, and for those who are reading this thinking why did they play that, well on the German only copy of the cd, this was a bonus track!

Day 69 – Now we head into the other half of the set, heading to 2006’s Organic Hallucinosis album, kicking in with a cool double bass section with the riff following, then the blasts beats stomp you round the face, again some of the sections are just so technically demanding on both James and Vogg, Rafal just prowling the stage, and genuinely looking like he is loving here tonight between singing, I love all the tempo shifts on this one, then a long drum break that brings us back into that opening section again!

Post(?)Organic – Staying with the same album, sort of tom and double bass groove to open this one, then it’s a full-on double bass assault, this has a ton of groove in the verse part of it, then it sort of grinds into the middle section with a deliberately slower riff, into an open string solo the Vogg starts to open up on the solo on this one, an almost old school black metal beat on the next part, with a really angular riff, the guys around me are loving this one as there is a good pit opening up!

Cancer Culture – Title track from the 2022 album, furious opening to this, full on blasting aggression, then the verse really grooves slowing the beat right down, this is a pit favorite as there are guys getting threw about everywhere in there at the min, then it slaps in with the blasts before hitting the groove again, some serious double bass work on this one, have they mellowed in 25 years, I don’t think so!

Just a Cigarette – The track directly after the last one on the same album, a real black metal style riff and beat to kick this one off, then it changes to a thrash beat and is that clean guitars… yes but not for long and then an absolute belter of a riff comes in after it, the drumming is absolutely insane on this one, the speed and stamina, again I sat and watched James for a good bit of this one, the riffs are god like, the man is just a machine and he makes it look so easy!

Earth Scar – Off to 2017’s Anticult album, different feel to this, more of like a D Beat sort of Vomitory style riff for this one, and I think it served as a bit of a break in terms of the double bass and blasts, when the double bass does hit it’s like you have had a break and it flows so well with that riff, definitely more hardcore sounding this track, tempo kicks up and a nice solo comes in again from Vogg, I love this track just for the groove that the whole thing carries!

No Cure – Back to the new album for this one, ok so after the break, we have just been hit with an iron bar of blast beats, frantic aggression is the best way to describe this one, Rafal is still staring at us like a lunatic from the stage, he’s not tired and no one in the pit should be as well, nice Wah tapping solo comes in next, but that tempo is just mental, then a really cool tom groove and the crowd is instructed to hey hey hey back to the stage during it, then the riff comes in again and some serious drum fill, cymbal chokes and right back into it again!

Never/Instinct – Hitting Anticult again, full on thrash beat and a grinding riff from the song Never gets us off first on this one, again i just get such a hardcore vibe from this one, I think it’s the vocal delivery in a way, but it so reminds me of that, I say the tempo has come down a bit but only in terms of the blast beats, then right into Instinct from 2014s Blood Mantra album, again it’s not full on blasts, a lot more grove to the riff at the start of this one as well, both Vogg and Pawel swapping sides of the stage again and then back again for Vogg to grab a solo, that middle syncopated riff is so sick, it’s hard to believe you are 16 songs into a set with the amount of energy coming off that stage!

Iconoclast – Back to the new album for the last song in the set, cool groove to open this one and a sliding octave riff to kick it off, and there we have it, the first crowd surfers of tonight again more of a straight up thrash style riff to open this one, before the unrelenting double bass kicks in, proper headbanger of a track this one as well, I love the riff and the drumming, what a set closer! I think we got something from everything bar the debut album Winds of Creation, Negation and Carnival is Forever, but what a set list!

That was some night of music and maybe one of the best Death metal bills i have been to in a good few years, every band as absolutely outstanding and i loved every single one of them!

Do not miss the rest of the tour, if you are in the U.K mainland you have a few dates left, do not miss this tour, it is amazing!

Photography by MPM

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