Napalm Death, Carcass and Extortion

The Hifi Bar, Brisbane, AUS, 19 Apr 2015

By Peter Zischke

28 April 2015

It’s been five years since grind masters Napalm Death toured Australia’s fair shores and while it hasn’t been long since we last saw the equally majestic Carcass, the Deathcrusher tour in April 2015 saw these masters of 30-odd years descend on the country in a joint billing, supported by local W.A. lads, Extortion.

Deathcrusher Tour (Extortion, Carcass & Napalm Death) – The Hi-Fi Brisbane, 19 April 2015

Images by Simon Milburn

The night kicked off with a set by Extortion.  While the crowd was somewhat small at this time, with most punters no doubt biding their time for the main course, those who missed the Extortion set missed some pretty impressive work by the local lads.  Extortion has been toiling away for a decade now and has clearly garnered some impressive support, including from none other than Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway, who first took a shine to the Australian group in the mid-to-late 2000’s.

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Affirming his support for the group, Barney came on stage toward the end of the set and performed a “duet” of sorts.  And, with no disrespect to Extortion vocalist Rohan Harrison, Greenway belted out a blistering performance, demonstrating that there are very few who can deliver with the power and intensity as he.  I hadn’t devoted much time to Extortion in the past, but following their set at this show, I have them well and truly on my “to do” list. 

Next, we were treated to the return of the mighty Carcass.  Walker, Steer and crew blistered through a set which covered the breadth of their work with songs from all the way back from Reek of Putrefaction to Surgical Steel and some of the best stuff in between, including from Heartwork.  It wasn’t too hot in Brisbane on this particular night, but Walker’s greying locks were kept flowing by a high powered fan at centre stage and with the lighting effects, he looked ominous. 

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Walker was his usual engaging self, breaking up the set with a subtle, at times self-deprecating humour, including a comment on the debacle that resulted in them not playing in Malaysia and a quip that Carcass felt like the meat in a grind-core sandwich and that all of the fans were just waiting for them to leave so that Napalm Death could get down to business.  Apart from the fact that I reckon Carcass fit in on that count pretty damn well, I think he got that one wrong if that’s how he really felt.  I for one (and I’m sure I wasn’t alone) was more than impressed.  Between Walker’s brutal vocals and Steer’s impressive work, this was every bit as good as their previous headline show from last year.

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And so for the finale; Napalm Death.  This is the first time I have seen them live and I was just blown away.  I cannot recall seeing a band which delivered with any greater intensity or ferocity, but at the same time, what also really stood out was the social and political awareness they brought to the performance and their interaction with the crowd. The set list spanned the many decades of their catalogue and watching Greenway march around on stage with the energy of a much younger man and spit lyrics with the determination he did really made it feel like the fusion of punk and metal that “Napalm” really have been bringing for many years now.

It was a tad disappointing to not have Mitch Harris with the band. He’s been part of the soul of the group since very early on in the piece.  But replacement “axe-man” John Cooke (Corrupt Moral Altar), or was it Munky from Korn (a little piss-take from Barney), performed admirably on the night.  Honestly, the emotional impact of Harris’ absence aside, no one could have been disappointed about the performance of the band musically.

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And then, it was over. We had warning there were two songs to go.  Then one.  And then, Greenway, Embury and co. departed. The house lights came on quickly – there was to be no encore, to the disappointment of some.  But that was probably fitting. Napalm Death came on, they destroyed, and they left. Veni, vidi, vici.

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