On a warm and sunny Monday evening in Amsterdam, Scandanavian death metal torchbearers Corpsessed and Undergang’s filth ceremonies echoed from OCCII’s weirdo vault. Since its foundation in 1991, OCCII (Onafhankelijk Cultureel Centrum In It) has become hub for attracting a wide variety of underground music, but what makes it just as peculiar is that when you know a band is playing there, it’s going to be extra special. Having missed Corpsessed’s appearance at Netherlands Deathfest 2017, in addition to experiencing Undergang’s live putridity in the same year, I was particularly excited to this gig.
Corpsessed dominated the stage and got heads banging and nodding right away. While their sound faithfully (and superbly) carries the Finndeath emblem, the band effortlessly crafts its own distinctive sound and atmosphere. Their ominous riffing, dual vocals of lows and high shrieks, complimented by no-fuck-around drumming do brew a recipe for Lovecraftian menace. I particularly enjoyed seeing them play around with the tempo live. Their sound could be mercilessly punishing in the fast and mid-tempo fashion, but at times they would slow things down; riff doomage and low lasting growls making for a grimy tortured invocation. At some moments they even evoked a Demilich vibe to me (not in terms of weirdness or song structure per se, but rather in selected riffs and especially atmosphere). Whether fast or slow, evil lurked throughout the performance nevertheless.
After finishing up their set of 45 minutes, a baffling feeling overcame the crowd. Drinks were refilled to exorcise the burning winds of indoor venues, and others recharged their engines with fresh air. After about a 30 minute wait, Undergang finally got on stage, and after setting up their slime drenched logo banner behind them, they immediately got to what they do best. Miasmic, dirty, barbaric, in-your-face old school death metal carnage. While I cannot pinpoint every single track in their discography (mainly due to my nonexistent Danish skills), I was able to tell that the setlist ranged of material from at least all of their full-length releases, so there was something for everyone. Beneath all the grime and filth, Undergang’s essence was the power of the riff, which reminded me over and over why they are one of the best metal bands hailing from Denmark right now. They were in fact a grinding riff machine, which also dabbled in doomier territories where Autopsy’s influence was reminisced. Needless to say, moshpits broke out. Last but not least, whenever vocalist David Torturdød addressed the audience between songs, it was done in growls. How primitive can you get?
For a Monday evening and a turnout of 80ish attendees at the intimate OCCII, the exuberance of the bands, audience and venue staff was contagious (or shall I say infectious?). I was chatting with Martin Leth Andersen, bassist of Undergang, who joined the guys about 2 months prior. He expressed his enthusiasm for the gig, venue and crowd, especially in comparison to the festival Undergang and Corpsessed played the night prior at Zwart Cross, in which they played to only three people.
This gig was the second show of the second leg of Undergang’s Eurotour. The first leg kicked off also in the Netherlands with Gorephilia, and the second one being with Corpsessed. All in all, my thirst for live old school death metal is quenched for now. Kudos to the sound guy of the night who co-conjured this sonic rancidification.