Scotland Skinned Alive
Dismember, Akercocke, Infestation and Regorge
at the Cathouse, Glasgow, Scotland
May 22nd, 2000

by: Paul Schwarz
Regorge, the local support, show far more promise onstage tonight than on their comparatively derivative _Decerebate_ demo. Launching an instrumentally superior attack with an impressively clear live sound, they grind, groove and occasionally blast their way through a blistering twenty minutes of death/grind, interspersed with decent leads and a deftly executed finger-tapping descension into chaos. Successfully casting off most of their borrowed, Malevolently Created rags, Regorge display potential to move to a new level.

Infestation's commanding crowd control exemplifies just such a higher echelon to reach. Despite some muddiness in their sound and the crowd's likely unfamiliarity with their material, Infestation (as ever without bassist) belted out their Florida-influenced and pounding tirades drawing a crowd response second only to Dismember. The cries for more echoed even after Infestation had regretfully succumbed to the constraints of their allotted stage time, after squeezing in the traditionally death metal themed short-but-sweet "Butcher Knife".

Unsurprisingly, Akercocke's blend of grim death/black blasting and a darkly occult, semi-corporate atmosphere did not go down so easy with the gathered death horde. That the PA didn't bring to the fore Akercocke's infamous love for "the blast" (despite the fact that it did bring out their solos and dynamics), and that Jason's guitar went totally dead after about the third song in, did not aid the crowd's uneasy digestion of such sharply contrasting soundscapes to the rest of the evening's entertainment. Unconventional songs like "Marguerite & Gretchen" are just not instant death metal-crowd pleasers. The response was about 50 for 50 against as far as I could see, ranging from enthusiasm to open derision. Akercocke will shift that balance with more live work in Scotland -- this was their first show here, after all.

As Dismember's opening volley of _Hate Campaign_'s preliminary three song medley blasts from the PA, it becomes quickly evident that their first(!) Scottish performance will not be a let down either to the fanbase or to Dismember themselves. "Of Fire", "Bleed for Me", "Trendkiller" and "Hate Campaign" itself scorched their way from the speakers cementing my developing feeling recently that Dismember have somehow become timeless in their own sphere; their material sounds neither old nor new: just like them, just Dismember. Sure, Blomqvist's guitar went out for a song or so, and yeah, maybe the sound wasn't perfect all the way through, but by the time the final encore of "Override the Overture" and the classic "Dreaming in Red" came rushing like a storm from the stage, when soundboard, band and crowd had all got into the swing of things, there was nothing that could have stopped the crowd from moving, and my current sore neck becoming an assured consequence of the evening out. When a previously unexposed patron exclaimed his surprise at Dismember not being bigger within the metal scene, even a cynic like me had to stop and wonder.

(article submitted 12/8/2000)


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