CANNABIS CORPSE EURO TOUR 2011’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTS – THE AWARD GOES TO…
(I am well aware that that is a shit title, but I’ve been hanging out with my grandma all day and she’s really excited about the Emmys, so it’s the best I could dredge up with visions of Mad Men buzzing through my skull. Also, I’m still wicked jet-lagged, so suck it).
RVA’s weed-obsessed death metallers Cannabis Corpse have just returned home from a triumphant month-long tour that took the four of them, our intrepid driver Michal, and yours truly on a whiskey-soaked, high-spirited adventure through Europe, the UK, and Russia. I started writing a full-on tour diary early on (check out the first installment here) but quickly realized that it was going to be nearly impossible to find the time or appropriate technological accoutrements to continue; the WiFi situation got pretty dire, and honestly, it gets boring after awhile to read a laundry list of “Italy ruled! France ruled! Austria ruled!” etc. I believe we did 28 dates total (give or take a few – I may still be hungover from London) and every show was a good one; some were amazing, others were more low-key, but it was a fantastic experience overall. There were tons of highlights – swimming in the Mediterranean, finding an old Russian tank and walking through a lit-up Red Square at night, drinking craft beer on a mountaintop in Austria, watching Mayhem from the side of the stage at a French festival, the mind-blowing food in Italy, absinthe lemonade in the Czech Republic, seeing old friends and reuniting with old ones, and partying in about four different time zones, to say the least. Essentially, this tour RULED, and there are now a few hundred heshers stalking the streets of Vienna, London, Moscow, Helsinki, and tons of other places sporting Cannabis Corpse shirts, so mission accomplished there!
One of the coolest things about this trip was being able to meet and hang out with metalheads from all over Europe and bond over a mutual love of brutality, blastbeats, and bongs. Of the many bands that shared the stage with the ‘Corpse, there were a certain handful that really stood out and made an impression on me, either through sheer musical might or by virtue of the awesomeness of the members themselves. There were plenty of utterly crap bands too, of course, but the odds were weighed heavily in the favor of high-calibre heavy metal. My perch behind the merch table generally afforded me the best seat in the house, and the following five bands were the ones that made me appreciate it most!
These guys were our first new friends of the tour – they played right before Cannabis Corpse at the Czech Republic’s Brutal Assault Festival and we ended up hanging out for most of the day. Killer dudes, and absolutely insane at what they do. Excrementory Grindfuckers are one of the weirdest bands I’ve ever heard. Imagine Crotchduster channeling Rammstein through a very German sense of humor, and you’ve got a decent idea of the genre-bending insanity these lads conjure up. For example, “Looking for Grindcore” marries schlocky disco beats and lounge crooning with virulent grind, and their John Denver cover is simply indescribable. A fan of keyboard-heavy European pop? Lend an ear to “The Final Grinddown.” There is sonic experimentation and genre-blending…and then there are these grindfuckers.
We had a killer time in Austria, and the Vibratör crew were a big part of it. After leveling Vienna, we headed west, all the way across the country to a smaller town called Hohenems. There were already a ton of thrashers milling around when we pulled up, reenacting their own version of Heavy Metal Parking Lot and clamoring to lend us a hand with load-in. They surged inside en masse when the first band, Vibratör, took the stage, and we quickly figured out why. These dudes worship upon the bullet-holed, speed-chasin’ altar of Motorhead, and boast a healthy appreciation for their peers within the original NWOBHM sound. Clad in a motley collection of army helmets, death metal shirts, and full-on Freddie Mercury glamazonia, Vibratör went up there and just NAILED IT. They were tons of fun to watch, reeked of sweat and sheer energy, and vocalist Ace Laze’s hoarse-throated bark is the spitting image of the one a certain be-moled Welshman we all know and love has been flogging for decades. On top of all that, they were a fucking blast to party with. Alongside one of the other bands, the excellent death-thrashers Indyus (who challenged the Hall brothers to a bloodthirsty WWE-style wrestling match, much to the bar owner’s dismay), the Vibratör guys stayed up raging with us until the early hours – and gave me a shirt that proudly proclaims “VIBRATÖR… were the best in fuckin’ my ass.” I’ll wear it with pride, boys. Prost!
DEFECAL OF GERBE
I very seldom reference it in my ramblings for this site, but behind my more pronounced blackened/doomed tastes, I actually have a massive (gaping) soft spot for disgusting goregrind of the absolute worst calibre. My poor roommate has had to put up with multiple living room Cemetery Rapist/Torsofuck/Dead Infection marathons in her day, and Rompeprop will forever be one of my top five live bands ever. I fucking love this shit. So, imagine my delight when we rolled into the picturesque French town of Puiseaux, replete as it was with elegant stone churches, winding roads, and hanging baskets of flowers, and saw that the ‘Corpse would be playing with the likes of Bathing In Vaginal Liquid, Necrophagy, and, my soon-to-be-favorites, Defecal of Gerbe. It was a really good evening. The kids at the gig were so excited and super friendly (especially the precious 8-year-old little brother who bought himself a massive Cannabis Corpse shirt and shyly hung around my table peeping up at me until maman declared it to be bedtime), and moshed their brains out besides. Defecal of Gerbe seemed to be local heroes – I saw a number of people wearing their shirts, and the place went off during their set. Gurgling, brainless, putrid pornogrind depravity, shat out by a handful of the nicest guys imaginable – what’s not to love? The vocal effect one of the guys was using was a dead ringer for Dead Infection’s patented inhuman toilet bowl vomit vox, and the music was by-the-numbers bouncy-bounce grind, but it’s not like a band who’ve named themselves after some sort of awful shit/piss amalgamation (Google Translate that shit, I don’t want to) are trying to reinvent any wheels. They ended up putting us up in one of the vocalist’s parent’s swanky country house after the gig, too, solidifying their status as my favorite French people ever. If you dig shitty (see what I did there?) up-tempo grind with subterranean vocals, you just might warm to these delightful scamps.
Finland was sheer insanity, and the fine fellows of Cannibal Accident were with us for both days, hanging out and grinding it up in between drinking bouts and wandering through Helsinki and Turku’s freakishly clean streets. They really impressed me, and I found myself corralling a ‘Corpse member into watching my table on multiple occasions so I could bound off to see their set. A wiry beardo and hooded madman in a butcher’s apron preside over a motley crew of depraved longhairs (including the grey-bearded Grindfather) and belch out meaty, guttural, fast-as-fuck and utterly disgusting old-school grind with considerable aplomb. Totally awesome. They more than do their fellow Finns Rotten Sound proud. Also, their cover of Twister Sister’s “Stay Hungry” is fucking classic. Kiitos!
Russia is something else. I only got the tiniest glimpse (we were there for about two and a half days) but even that was an amazing experience, and whetted my desire to return as soon as possible and really get to know the joint. We first met up with members of Komatoz at the airport in Saint Petersburg, when vocalist Aleksei picked us up in his little rust-red van. He, guitarist Kolya, and several of their friends/bandmates served as guides, drivers, and lifesavers for our entire time in the country, and his band also played both of Cannabis Corpse’s Russian gigs. They even took us to the Red Square in Moscow – something I’ll never forget. Komatoz serve up thrashy, politicized crust, and blew me away both times I got to sneak up to the front and catch their madcap sets. Wolfbrigade, Doom, Warcollapse, and Extreme Noise Terror are all good reference points, but the Russian language adds an extra dose of harshness that really makes the music stick. Aleksei is a killer frontman, and the band’s anarcho-thrash will definitely appeal to anyone with an appreciation for all things fast, ugly, and d-beaten, The passion dedication, and excitement I saw within the Russian metal/punk community was truly an amazing thing, and bleeds into the music it spawns. Support!
Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) scribbles for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Hails & Horns, and tons more), promotes wicked records with Catharsis PR, and road dogs for your favorite bands. Keep up with her exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter, or peep her blog Ravishing Grimness.