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Carcass, Crowbar, Night Demon @ The Complex, July, 20, SLC, UT – Photos by Madi Smith, Commentary by Bryer Wharton

Well, better late than never as they say. This fancy bit of coverage is more of a showcase of Madi Smith’s wonderful photos from the Carcass, Crowbar and Night Demon show that rolled through Salt Lake City in mid July. Check the photos and read my inane commentary. Agree, disagree it’s all up to you because everyone should know a critics opinion is just that an opinion!

To be honest I have never really listened to much Night Demon on record, you could consider that either a positive or negative when seeing a band live. Night Demon are a SLC favorite for many fans, they play in town quite a bit and have made a bunch of friends within or community. So past their introduction piece which had the theme from Conan the Barbarian playing – when the band hit the stage the crowd up front came with swirling masses of hair and cheers. Lots of high energy songs ala classic heavy metal. So what if I couldn’t get into it a lot – maybe I need to know more of their songs. Local artist Patrick Kendall who has designed a T-shirt for Night Demon got invited to be the grim reaper up on stage for the bands song “The Chalice.” It was a fun start to the show that’s for sure.

Next up for the night was Crowbar the NOLA band has been pumping out the sludge for decades. Unfortunately for the night thrashers Ghoul couldn’t make it to the show their bus broke down – it happens on the road of tour life – hopefully Ghoul will return to SLC because I have yet to see them. Back to Crowbar, leading up to their set I wasn’t sure what to expect. The tour line-up was one of those no band really match any other. Kind of a variety something for everyone gig. Classic heavy metal from Night Demon, Sludge from Crowbar and death, melodic death, grind from Carcass. But I’m totally no even talking about the show here.. Crowbar frontman Kirk Windstein just seemed grateful to play SLC after so many years. The band did pump out the sludge in droves. The sound for their set was spot on – thick muddy and gritty. I remember as a teen I bought the bands Oddfellows Rest album and was truly shocked at the despair I heard on record to this day it’s a pretty disturbing record. I’ve listened to a few other Crowbar records but never really became a hardcore follower. Towards the end of the set Kirk yelled out “do you want to hear a breakdown” I don’t recall the song… I wish I did because it was a crushing breakdown. Not a useless one like most deathcore, hardcore bands use these days but it fit made sense and cracked some skulls, I’d see Crowbar again if they rolled through town.

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I knew going into this show I was not going to get the Carcass I wanted to see. The days of the early 90s albums are gone and the band is different these days. I expected to hear some new songs and after cheating and looking up setlists for the tour, I knew they would play stuff from Swansong – Ironically became one of the highlights of the evening when Jeff walked invited a fan on stage to sing along with him for “Keep on Rotting in the Free World”

I also knew the band was going to play some older stuff, so I waited with anticipation. But the wait wasn’t worth it. Somehow the band made what are harsh grindcore type songs into more melodic pieces. It just didn’t fit for at least what I wanted to see, the did a combo of “Reek of Putrefaction and Exhume to Consume” and it was a far cry from what the original tunes sounded like. You could still hear grindcore elements but somehow Carcass what felt like to me at least melodicized them, hence a more tame version of what I wanted to hear. Gripes aside, Frontman Jeff Walker had a bit of stage chat, which was humorous and had the crowd going quite often. The visuals were also cool with video screens showing song related images and video for the entire set. Yeah I have my complaints it wasn’t exactly the Carcass I listened to when I was younger. That aside the crowd that was there had a blast for every moment so I’ll leave any opinion at that – if the main part of the crowd is having fun. Then my opinion is moot.

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