Cattle Decapitation and Signs Of The Swarm Punish Birmingham

It’s nights like these, when you witness bands at the height of their powers that you realise why you love this genre of music. Tonight’s gig was upgraded from The Asylum to the O2 Academy2 in Birmingham because of the overwhelming interest in seeing Cattle Decapitation, Signs Of The Swarm, 200 Stab Wounds and Vomit Forth in the flesh.

Cattle Decapitation – Signs Of The Swarm

O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024

Words And Photography: Andy Shaw

You can read the 200 Stab Wounds and Vomit Forth review here.

Signs Of The Swarm

Signs Of The Swarm, from Pittsburgh, are known for their brutal Deathcore sound and unrelenting live performances. As the lights dimmed and the stage was bathed in an ominous red glow, the crowd erupted into cheers.

Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

The band exploded onto the stage, launching into their set with the crushing opening riff of Pernicious. From the very first breakdown, it was clear that Signs Of The Swarm meant business.

Carl Schulz’s intricate guitar work, Bobby Crow’s thunderous drumming, and David Simonich’s guttural vocals created a sonic assault. Tracks like Pray For Death, Nameless and Amongst The Low & Empty were delivered with precision and intensity.

Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Between songs, Simonich took a moment to address the crowd, expressing his gratitude for their support and urging them to take care of each other in the pit.

It was a small gesture, but it spoke volumes about the band’s connection with their fans and their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment at their shows.

Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

As the final notes of Shackles Like Talons echoed through the venue, the crowd found their energy undiminished despite the intensity of the performance. Signs Of The Swarm had delivered a set that was equal parts brutal and mesmerising.

Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Signs Of The Swarm are a band destined for even greater things in the world of Extreme Metal.

Cattle Decapitation

The atmosphere inside the O2 Academy2 was charged with anticipation as fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Cattle Decapitation, a Deathgrind band known for their intense performances and thought-provoking lyrics.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

The stage was bathed in an eerie green light as the haunting intro to Terrasitic Adaptation echoed through the speakers. The anticipation reached a fever pitch as vocalist Travis Ryan strode onto the stage, his imposing figure commanding the attention of every person in the room.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

From the first guttural roar, it was clear that Cattle Decapitation meant business. The San Diego, California, band tore through their setlist with relentless energy, delivering blistering performances of tracks, mainly from their latest album Terrasite.

We Eat Our Young, Scourge Of The Offspring, and The Storm Upstairs were impressive highlights. The crowd responded in kind, mosh pits forming and bodies colliding in a frenzy of movement.

Then, into a couple from their Death Atlas album, Bring Back The Plague and Finish Them. But it wasn’t just the sheer brutality of their music that captivated the audience. It was also the message behind it.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Cattle Decapitation’s lyrics, which often explore themes of environmentalism, animal rights, and human destruction, struck a chord with many in attendance.

As Travis Ryan delivered his impassioned vocals, his words served as a rallying cry for those who shared his concerns about the state of the world.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Despite the intensity of their performance, there was an undeniable sense of camaraderie between the band and their fans. Ryan frequently interacted with the audience, exchanging fist bumps and words of gratitude between songs.

Then into Mammals In Babylon and Time’s Cruel Curtain before finishing with Pacific Grim and Kingdom Of Tyrants. When the final notes of the latter faded away, the cheers that erupted were deafening, a testament to the band’s undeniable talent and connection with their audience.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

Cattle Decapitation’s gig was nothing short of unforgettable. From the blistering music to the thought-provoking lyrics, it was a night that left a lasting impression on all who were lucky enough to be in attendance.

As the crowd spilt out into the cool Birmingham night, buzzing with energy and adrenaline, one thing was clear: Cattle Decapitation had once again proven why they are one of the most important bands in Heavy Metal today.

Cattle Decapitation - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Cattle Decapitation – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk
Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk
Signs Of The Swarm - O2 Academy2, Birmingham - 16 March 2024
Signs Of The Swarm – O2 Academy2, Birmingham – 16 March 2024. Photo: Andy Shaw/MetalTalk

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