Carcass + The Black Dahlia Murder + Freedom of Fear – Brisbane [Live Review]

Review: Luke Hodges
Photography: Natalie Lorenz

“I saw two small flashes of lightning quickly illuminate the night sky while I was standing on the weathered concrete in front of the Princess Theatre. Regardless of the likelihood that most punters would have to stretch out a sore neck during their busy workday tomorrow, the queue forming from the large, dark double doors was teetering with eager death metal devotees; the myriad of t-shirt print designs forming an unholy tapestry winding around the corner.

Carcass, after nine long years and over 10,000 miles from merry old England, have returned to Brisbane. We had expected to see them four years ago as part of the 2020 Download Festival, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic their tour plans down under were delayed. This time, they have traversed Australia with melodic death metal veterans The Black Dahlia Murder in their stride, alongside Adelaide tech-death prodigies Freedom of Fear.

The quintet from South Australia took the stage first as the sound of harp strings began flowing from the giant speakers. The lead guitar tone was tight and sharp as it was followed by ferocious double kicks. Fans slowly continued to flood the space in front of the stage, captivated by Freedom of Fear’s seamless blend of technical prowess and blackened dissonance.

Vocalist Jade Monserrat utilised her range perfectly, rivalling that of fellow metal frontwomen Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) or Larissa Stupar (Venom Prison). Closing tracks “Entities” and “Zenith” both featured slamming outros, invigorating the crowd into a violent mosh that was tapered with thunderous applause.

The stage was dark; the sounds of squeaking rats and dripping pipes filled the ears of those in attendance as drummer Alan Cassidy proudly stood behind a large drum kit. His mere presence brought on a choir of enthusiastic cheers and exclamations. This latest incarnation of The Black Dahlia Murder saw former guitarist Brian Eschbach take up the mantle of vocal duties, with Brian’s responsibilities on guitar being carried by alumni guitarist Ryan Knight.

Despite the lineup change in the wake of the tragic passing of original vocalist Trevor Strnad, the melo-death group showcased an experience as impressive and engaging as ever before; Brian’s joyful presence on stage as well as his lead vocal abilities felt completely authentic and true to the spirit of TBDM, and witnessing Ryan performing solos from Ritual and Deflorate once again was a genuine homecoming moment.

A short but sombre acknowledgment was given to Trevor, with the rest of the set comprising of hits across the band’s illustrious two-decade career.

If your favourite modern death metal band was a pail of fresh water, then Carcass is the well from whence it came. These death metal pioneers demanded the attention of the audience with their crushing guitar riffs, heavily overdriven bass tones and tight snare shots. The crowd’s energy had waned ever slightly, with some fans choosing to spare the bangover in exchange for basking in the awe of death metal royalty.

Lead vocalist/bassist Jeff Walker, however, was having none of this – cheekily goading the crowd into further mosh participation by referring to us as “chicken parmis” and bestowing upon us the honour of inventing the worlds first “circle shit” before laying down a “big turd” in the form of a song from as far back as 1986.

These death metal trailblazers’ set merged both classic and modern musical styles featured across a catalogue spanning almost forty years, delivering a timeless live sound. Carcass utilised both audio samples and visual media as part of their stage show, with some die-hard fans recognising their favourite hits before the instruments even started playing. After over a dozen standout tracks and a drum solo, the mass of devout headbangers was also treated to a double encore, having insisted on such by shouting “CARCASS!” in repetitive unison until their demands were met.

The night then drew to a close, and this writer was incredibly impressed not only by the quality of the performance but also the laid-back aura of the evening; too often do we hear of the metal community taking itself too seriously, but with a combination of world-class musical talent and the occasional divulgence of wit, goofiness and larrikinism, this was a night to be enjoyed and remembered by all present. “


April 10th – Meow, Wellington*
April 11th – Loons, Christchurch*
April 12th – Galatos, Auckland*
*Freedom Of Fear not appearing

Full tour and ticket details at