(Apologies for poor picture quality, had to use phone camera instead)
Colchester Arts Centre is a quirky little venue, and a regular spot for all genres of music and arts. Tonight, the former church is host to Montreal’s finest, CRYPTOPSY. As the death metal fans of Essex start spilling into the room, opener A BRIBE FOR THE FERRYMAN get underway with their set.
Over the past year, the band from Colchester have gained momentum round the local scene. Metalmance last saw the band open for SEAWOLVES at Colchester’s Three Wise Monkeys, and since then the band has had a lineup shake up in the form of new drummer Joshua Moreton, the former drummer of REZINWOLF (RIP). ABFTF aren’t the most original band, their brand of recycled riffs making them sound more like a college band. That’s not to say everyone feels this way; the band had their own crew of hardcore fans and a small group moshing down the front, but the band and music just didn’t seem quite suitable for a death metal show. Luckily, Moreton has injected a new energy into the band, and bassist Chris May is well worth a watch purely for his stage presence alone. However you’re left wishing frontman Rob Norrington was less static on stage, but as a band they are still finding their feet and ABFTF really need to establish their own sound or risk failing to break out of the local scene.
Gracing the stage next were local troupe JØTNARR. Always a safe choice for an extreme metal gig in Colchester, the trio brought the gritty noise and chaotic energy to the Arts Centre and got the crowd warmed up for the noisy ruckus to come. The simplicity of the band being a three-piece is a deceiving disguise for the huge wall of sound and screams they make. Their performances are always captivating, with all members unleashing a sound akin to the soundtrack of the expulsion of demons. If you’re from the area and haven’t yet witnessed the mighty JØTNARR, then what has possessed you?
Iconic in itself, the painting Herodias with the Head of John the Baptist by the artist Elisabetta Sirani is no doubt more infamous now for being the artwork for CRYPTOPSY’s None So Vile, with John’s decapitated head decorating the scrims on the stage. It is this album which the masters of death metal are playing in its entirety tonight. With his exuberant long hair, frontman Matt McGachy whipped his locks round and windmilled enough for everyone down the front to caught tangled up in it or have it dip in their drinks at some point. Intense and loud as ever, it was evident the band were experts at their aural craft, oozing professionalism and menace with their fans lapping up each riff and scream. Unrelenting throughout the playthrough of None So Vile, when the opening riff for the classic track, Slit Your Guts resonated round the room, the band had the crowd eating out of their hands. Legends in their own right, it was a very special occasion that the band were gracing Colchester with their presence, it is hard to do the band justice with this little review. The only disappointment of the night was that the show didn’t have a larger turnout. This seems to be a repeating pattern at Colchester gigs recently (possibly even the region as a whole). If CRYPTOPSY played here ten years ago, it more than likely would have been near to selling out. But tonight is the present, and everyone in attendance had a ghoulishly good time otherwise.