The Mill in Digbeth, Birmingham, played host to Viscera, Distant, Oceano, Despised Icon and Decapitated. Five Death Metal / Deathcore bands from all over the world. To be honest, I think the brickwork at this lovely, atmospheric venue will probably need re-rendering after this evening.
Viscera – Distant – Oceano – Despised Icon – Decapitated
The Mill, Birmingham – 3 November 2022
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
UK Deathcore band Viscera started proceedings, storming the stage at the ungodly hour of 6.30 pm. But a large crowd had assembled, and they were not disappointed with Viscera running through a six-song setlist that seemed to last only a couple of minutes. Frontman Jamie Graham smashed it from the start.
Viscera ran through tracks from their debut album, Obsidian, starting with Hammer And Nails, then Delilah and the title track Obsidian. By now, the sweat was pouring off Graham, and the rest of the band were right on track. Viscera finished with the new single Sungazer and the blockbuster track Lambs To The Slaughter. What a start, and it’s only just 7 pm.
Next up were Distant, a five piece Slamming Deathcore/Downtempo band from Rotterdam. Opening with Hellmouth, Aeons Of Oblivion, Oedipism and Vermilion Rivers from their latest album, Aeons of Oblivion. There was a real thudding beat and amazing growling vocals from the start.
The circle pits were going strong, and vocalist Alan Grnja insisted on a wall of death. Boom! We were off. New single, Exofilth, followed. The relenting beat never stopped, and this was a truly awesome set, closed wonderfully with Heirs Of Torment and False Gods from their first album, Tyrannotophia.
Then it was time for Oceano, an American deathcore band from Cook County, Illinois. Opening with Nephilim from the Ascendants album, Adam Warren’s guttural offerings are amazing. With Lucid Reality from their latest offering, Revelation, he was bouncing around the stage to a thudding backdrop from Chris Wagner, bass and drummer Matt Kohanowski.
Dawn Of Descent was followed by the new song Mass Produced, as Adam pronounced an album version of District Of Misery from their first album, Depths. The beats got heavier, and the vocals were increasingly rich and growly. The crowd in The Mill lapped up every second.
Oceano finished with Lucid Realty from Revelation and The Taken from the Ascendants album. They left no stone unturned with their set providing a perfect platform for the dual headliners.
The first headliner were the legendary Despised Icon, a Canadian deathcore band from Montreal, who have unique double vocalists in Alex Erian and Steve Marois. Erian makes use of a mid-range growl technique while Marois performs deeper growled vocals. It really makes for an impactful and amazing sound.
Kicking off with Furtive Monologue from their third album, The Ills of Modern Man and straight into A Fractured Hand, the six-piece band filled the stage and provided a fantastic spectacle and sound that filled The Mill.
The crowd kept up their high level of energy and were loving their evening. There was not much chatting, just a wall of noise which continued with Snake In The Grass from their latest album Purgatory.
The Sunset Will Never Charm Us inspired. The Aftermath and Doomed, both from the album Beast, were followed by its title track.
“It’s been four years since we set foot in the UK,” Erian said, “and we can’t thank you enough for coming out,” before leading us into Day Of Mourning. “the title track of their fourth album and into MVP. Eric Jarrin, lead guitar, Sebastien Piché, bass, Ben Landreville, rhythm guitar and sensational drummer Alex Pelletier were a bundle of energy complimenting the stunning vocals throughout.
Despised Icon closed with In The Arms Of Perdition. A truly sensational set and set a very high bar for Decapitated to match.
But match it, they did. Polish Death Metallers Decapitated are one of the most influential and important bands of the genre, and it was a real pleasure to see why they are still at the top. Their set consisted of a good portion of their latest album, Cancer Culture. Opening with the title track, we were off for an utterly phenomenal hour of music.
Just a Cigarette was next, with the lights and sound providing an intoxicating mix which had The Mill crowd into a frenzy of circle pits, moshing and crowd surfing. Earth Scar from Anticult followed, then a trio of songs from Cancer Culture – No Cure, Hours As Battlegrounds and Last Supper.
Rafał ‘Rasta’ Piotrowski is an imposing figure with his amazing voice, stunning stage presence and extra-long dreads. Rasta was ably assisted by Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka, guitars and Paweł Pasek, bass.
We went back in time for a couple of classic tracks. Spheres Of Madness from their second album Nihility and Nine Steps from their debut opus, Winds Of Creation, were buoyed by more incredible drumming by James Stewart, who kept an amazing level of power throughout.
Voga thanked everyone for coming out, the crowd responded, and the set finished with Never from Anticult and the brilliant Iconoclast from Cancer Culture.
That was a wonderful night of Death Metal at its rawest and finest, giving everyone a chance to lose themselves in the fantastic, inspiring music.