Gig Review: Carcass / Conjurer / Coffin Mulch – Slay, Glasgow (27th May 2023)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen some live death metal so when I saw the announcement for Carcass a while ago, I instantly added it to my gig calendar. They’ve killed it at past shows so I knew Glasgow was in for a bloody good time.

Descending the stairs into Slay and Coffin Mulch are tearing up the stage. There’s a fair amount of the sold out crowd present for the openers, with a handful of ragers in the pit possessed by death. The local lads have been on the rise in the scene and it’s evident with their fans out in force. The band’s brand is simple yet crushing death metal, with straightforward beats and riffs from punky bashing to crushing sludge, all infectiously rockin’ as heads throughout the room are nodding. The frontman in particular is captivating with his throat-shredding barks and maddening movements capturing the filthy sound of despair blasting through the speakers. Coffin Mulch definitely live up to the hype and are a furious force to look out for in the growing Scottish scene.

Conjurer © Paul Hutchings
Conjurer © Paul Hutchings

Turning round to see the room packed post-openers, the heat’s rising as the stage is being changed. It’s not long before Conjurer take to stage and the air filled with their wall of noise. The music on the whole is a slow, sludgy affair with gigaton chugs contrasted with eerie atmospheric arpeggios allowing moments of clarity among the cacophony. The energy is matching the general snail’s pace of the music with little movement save for a few heads dotted about. In sharp contrast the centre stage bassist is making up for everyone with his unrelenting hair cyclone between the statuesque guitarists/vocalists. Perhaps the sardine tin situation is hindering the overall energy. A quieter moment comes near the end of the set where one of the vocalists takes centre stage and growls without a mic, impressively matching the power as if he was behind one. Conjurer put on a good performance however their set feels like an age and it doesn’t seem to resonate much with the crowd who, save for a few, seem to be waiting in anticipation for the headliners.

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The room is refilled, bursting to capacity, and as the lights go down, the pathologist’s report creeps out of the speakers meeting with the roars above the floor. The Drab Four take to the stage as the intro track plays before gleefully launching into “Buried Dreams”. As the heat is rising, so is the energy with more hair assaulting the air indicative of the intensity to come. When the warmup ends, Carcass ramp up the energy for a series of speedier tunes in “Under the Scalpel Blade” and “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” as the neck wrecking continues all around.

Carcass © Paul Hutchings
Carcass © Paul Hutchings

Frontman Jeff Walker takes moments every few songs to banter with the crowd, roars greeting every sentence. The set has barely begun however as the sold-out Slay gets hotter and sweatier, Walker is prepared to keep the crowd cool, chucking water bottles throughout the show. Beneath the sweltering murk, one thing that’s clear is that everyone is having fun. Guitarist Bill Steer is rocking out with a smile on his face, making sure to perform to everyone around him. Carcass bring a choice cuts setlist representing their whole career. There’s the stomp of “Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp and Circumstance)”, the rockin’ “Keep on Rotting in the Free World” and plenty of melodic blasting in the likes of “This Mortal Coil” and the classic “Heartwork”.

The guys take their leave and it’s definitely too early. I’d been telling myself I’d jump in the pit if they played one of my favourite bangers which hasn’t been aired yet. Carcass return to the chants of the baying crowd and as soon as Steer hits the intro of “Exhume to Consume”, I charge towards the centre of the room. When the pace picks up the mosh gets mental. The intensity of the show from the sidelines is one thing but the thick of the action is something else, and I couldn’t leave a banging death metal gig without at least one trip to the circle of death. 

A final few minutes of blasting grind bring the show to an end for real and Glasgow evidently has lost no love for Carcass, more like all love gained given the turnout and reception to every banger played. Having seen the band a few times now, they’ve been on top form every time. They’ve gone from strength to strength in recent years with killer records and performances, and are clearly enjoying doing it. May Carcass’ final swansong be a long way off yet!

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Photos by Paul Hutchings

Carcass: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp | spotify | youtube

Conjurer: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp | spotify | youtube

Coffin Mulch:  facebook | instagram | bandcamp

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