Altars, Defamer, The Rape, Splattergasm @ Fowlers Live, Adelaide (02/08/09)

A small but tight knit group of extreme metal fans were treated to the extreme metal equivalent of Shakespeare with both comedy and tragedy felt through the music of four bands under the Fowlers ceiling.

Splattergasm are a brand new band on the scene, playing the ridiculous style of goregrind, their sound taken from bands like Lord Gore and Autopsy. They had a mixed bag of tracks on show, mostly short, fast numbers with a couple of slow doom breaks thrown in for good measure. The track names are a crucial part of their show with titles like Garbage Bag Full of Animal Guts and Fucked Up By a Tyrannosaurus guaranteed to get laughs.

The lads already looked comfortable on a stage, with the exception of Max who was a little awkward in his demeanour and his crushing vocals fell out of time on a few occasions. His between song banter was quite entertaining though. The other band members were quite energetic and the music was solidly delivered to an already dedicated group of fans.

The next band The Rape was a mystery to all prior to the gig. Air raid sirens and war sounds were the prelude to the bizarre masked Russians’ entrance as they surprised everyone by entering from behind the crowd and making their way to the stage. Wearing an assortment of balaclava or gas mask, the English speaking challenged three piece grindcore band tore through short, blunt, assaulting tracks like Be Buried Among the Sea Cucumbers Which Are Disorder, their magnum opus with a “rape rape rape!” chant in the middle. Such hilariously poor grammar of their song titles and some of the more audible lyrics added to their stage show.

Intense, obtuse, angular riffage gave the boys an interesting sound. Aleksei’s leads were unexpectedly skilful and clear, Pjotyr’s drumming was masterful and devastating and Ivan as frontman had a hilarious manner and lethal vocals. The quirky masked Russians rounded out their show with some internal problems, arguments and putdowns toward each other, as well as some insults directed at the perplexed but amused crowd, and so ended the comedy portion of the night.

Defamer were the featured interstate band of the night with their first gig in Adelaide going without a hitch and achieving a respectable response. They delivered some of the darkest death metal I’ve ever heard this side of Incantation, truly turning my stomach as they powered through twisted riffs, smothered with low, doomy gutturals. They treated us to new tracks like The End is Here as well as older tracks from their debut album Chasm, a particular favourite being The Inverse Dominion.

All members displayed prowess but leads didn’t cut through the mix as well as they should have, but their bowel loosening lows were captured perfectly. These guys seemed genuinely happy to be playing here, despite the relatively small crowd. Between the dense, evil atmospheric journeys that are their songs, they were conversely very friendly people, making sure to thank all involved and would be very welcome on an Adelaide stage again.

Closing the night were the seasoned old school death metal locals Altars, who just seem to get better and better. Their set covered all their released tracks up till that point including the awesome Nepenthe/Sepulchre which will be featured on their long overdue next disc, a split cd with Tzun Tzu. The band broke stride with a stirring cover of Dominate by the mighty Morbid Angel, an influence which Altars wear on their sleeves. The only downside I could say of the set was a lack of new songs, but this is just my lust for more of this compelling material.

These lads seem to have a good work ethic and expect the best from themselves. A tight, cohesive show is a result of this dedication. Altars continue to impress and were a worthy headliner of the Grindhouse gig.