Feast the Meaty Riffs: Cannibal Corpse at San Antonio’s Aztec Theatre

Cannibal Corpse live performance at Aztec Theatre, San Antonio

Oct 19, 2023

Posted By Tracy Fuller

I am a music enthusiast with a deep love for the energy of crowded venues, loud music, & passionate fans. I have a diverse background that includes private security, talent buying, festival security planning, & media relations. I've also worked as a camera operator for various projects, including music videos featuring notable artists like Bernz, Tech N9ne, & Krizz Kaliko. Additionally, I am a camera operator for Full Moon Features, where I contribute to the production of horror movies.

Gorguts Brings Back The Nostalgia at The Aztec Theater

While some missed the opening band, Gorguts took the stage and delivered a performance that was truly a blast from the past. Fronted by the silver-haired, big-bearded scene elder Luc Lemay, Gorguts decided to stick to their early material for this memorable night. Five out of seven songs were from the band’s 1991 debut, “Considered Dead.” Despite their later material making massive waves in the scene, it was notably absent from their setlist.

Mayhem: The Infamous Co-Headliner

Mayhem, the co-headlining band, emerged from that same era as perhaps the most infamous group in extreme metal. Their macabre early years inspired everything from a movie to books, documentaries, and even prison sentences. Original frontman Dead is credited with inventing corpse paint, the ghoulish black and white makeup donned by many subsequent black metal performers.

Some audience members sported this distinctive look during the show, although the event’s proximity to Halloween meant that it was offset by other, less ominous costumes, like one enthusiastic attendee’s giant banana outfit.

Mayhem’s current lineup includes only the original bassist, Necrobutcher, from its early years. His appearance on stage during the band’s walkout provided an unusual and triumphant moment for long-suffering and under-appreciated bassists everywhere.

The Norwegian group was the only one of the night that included any sort of theatrics, but it brought along enough for everyone. The set included costume and background changes, most notably the band donning monks’ robes at one point. Theatricality has been part of Mayhem’s shtick for a long time, and it’s clearly left an influence on modern acts, such as Ghost.

Cannibal Corpse: The Grand Finale

Finally, it was Cannibal Corpse’s time to shine. The death metal Titans gave a no-frills performance focused exclusively on death growls, intense riffery, and headbanging. There was a lot of headbanging.

Despite the jaw-dropping riff skills of the band’s two guitar players, the focus for many fans remains on vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, known for his insanely thick neck and bottomless bellow. Fisher’s presence has even inspired the character Nathan Explosion in the metal parody cartoon, “Metalocalypse.

During the set, the frontman jokingly challenged the enthusiastic crowd to a headbanging contest, announcing afterward, “Fifty-three fucking years old, and I won.” He may have been kidding on the surface, but the thing is, it’s true: no one bangs their head like Corpsegrinder.

But you can’t overlook Cannibal Corpse’s bassist, Alex Webster, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. They form the foundation of the band and are one of the top metal rhythm sections this side of Iron Maiden.

Cannibal Corpse destroyed the crowd over the course of a 70-minute set that included bangers such as “Evisceration Plague,” “Chaos Horrific,” and “Pit of Zombies.” The group surprisingly began with a mid-tempo number, “Scourge of Iron,” concentrating on pure heaviness over speed.

Despite being known for playing fast, Cannibal Corpse relies on tempo changeups to maximize impact, sometimes incorporating several within the same song. This is the band’s real secret: there’s no fat. It slices riffs and arrangements bare so listeners are never able to catch their breath — and then Cannibal Corpse is off to their next thing.

By the time the band left the stage, it was 11 p.m., less than five hours since the first synth notes of Blood Incantation’s intro track. Given the efficiency of the crew and the minimal downtime between bands, that was packing a lot of brutality into not much time.

As the crowd filed out into the night, bruised but happy, no one could be heard complaining.


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