Carcass + The Black Dahlia Murder – Galatos: April 12, 2024

Carcass, A name synonymous with uncompromising sonic brutality, these UK grindcore pioneers, were joined by US melodic death metallers The Black Dahlia Murder and Melbourne’s groovy death metal supergroup Flesh Merchant in a night of unrelenting metal crescendos that rattled the bones of Tamaki Makaurau’s Galatos.

Carcass, formed by Liverpudlian musicians in 1985, disbanded in 1996, and reformed in 2007 with three out of four original members, are considered, alongside recent visitor Napalm Death, pioneers of British Carcassgrindcore/death metal.

The current version of Carcass features core members Bill Steer and Jeff Walker, who, acting in a symbiotic, opposites-attract relationship, continue to shape Carcass’s narrative and feed into the history of metal. On this Australasian return, they are joined tonight on drums by Daniel Wilding, a veteran of dozenth years with the band, and recent co-actor James ‘Nip’ Blackford on guitar since 2021.

In their lifetime Carcass, have created seven studio albums, each teasing a new subgenre, each album storytelling a band that foments avant gardism in the metal genre. And while they first emerged almost 30 years ago, their latest album 2021’s Torn Arteries sounds as fresh, calculated and challenging as its predecessors.

Flesh Merchant

Melbourne-based, self described groovy death metallers Flesh Merchant are already onstage as I just made it into the crowded room late due to shit parking on K’rd and the snaking queue, to catch their last three songs. The groovy part was the slap bass, which, but what stood out was the guitarist’s magnificent beard wow! The group’s sound was traditional death metal with mandatory growl vocals and pace action. They warmed the audience verily, making fans from the effort, hopefully we’ll see these across-the-sea cousins back again soon.

The Black Dahlia Murder

The Black Dahlia MurderMichigan melodic death metaller stalwarts The Black Dahlia Murder, last here in 2018, have seen significant personnel changes since their formation in 2001. 2024 sees guitarist Brian Eschbach as the only original member of the band left, since the death of vocalist Trevor Strnad in 2022 and he has now shifted onto lead vocals, though past member Ryan Knight has returned to fill the vacant guitar slot. With nine albums under the belt and several current band members entering their second decade in the band, the current version of the group lacks no pedigree. Still, five years on, and a new album in construction or constructed, anticipation was in the air.

Gothic orchestral-like music sets the scene as the band bathed in red takes the stage. It is unrelenting aggression and energy that emanates from the stage with immediacy

Early on Brian Eschbach references the loss of singer Trevor as the crowd chants his name and shares that he would’ve loved the crowd out front tonight. Twin-guitars harmonize the melodic tag the band carries, while singer Eschbach energizes the audience between songs with banter and affirmation. 

With Brian Eschbach on point, the deep growls of Trevor Strnad are noticeably missing, Eschbach vocals are low in the mix ,though The Black Dahlia Murder signature guitar solos and immeasurably fast double kicks still rattle the venue’s rafters. The mosh pit is frantic, fueled and songs from albums: Nocturnal, Verminous and Nightbringers are rapturously received and is followed by older song Miasma that ensures roars in the room.

As the end approaches, the red diaspora returns, bathing them as they complete yet another chapter of The Black Dahlia Murders in Aotearoa. Brian as the last man standing, has certainly taken on the front person role with passion and pomp, demanding (and getting) audience buy in. All kudos to him and the other band members for continuing to raise the battle banner.


A Carcass TV logo silhouettes the backdrop in a very English way reminiscent of the 1970s, anticipation is rising as the crowd thins and then thickens as the stage crew complete their duties. Darkness comes and the room refill Carcass(a lot of smokers in the crowd tonight) little is said as Carcass launch into songs from two of their finest albums Buried Dreams (Heartwork 1993) and Kelly’s Meat Emporium (Torn Arteries 2021)

Already noticeable is the craftsmanship of Carcass’s sound and lighting crew. The visual show is at an explosive ranking, mixing the traditional cans with video manipulation, it has tonight’s feature band at a level above so many other shows seen at Galatos. Symbiotically, the sound mix is measured and restrained, perfectly mixed, minutely balanced, clear and punchy. The bassist from Head Like A Hole is next to me and we are in enraptured gaze by the perfection of it all. 

In a setlist led by songs from Torn Arteries, but not dominated, the cream certainly rises. The sampled intro to Incarnated Solvent Abuse displays care and reference to the studio recordings and compensates a little for the lack of chat with the audience early on.

Bill Steer’s shredding is not overpowering; its trajectory complements bass, drum vocals and Nip’ Blackford rhythm guitar, but his control, pedigree and mana are undeniable, meanwhile Jeff Walker brandishes his bass like a warrior, an axe ready to do battle.  And finally as the medley of Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody / Death Certificate begins, a brief recognition of Auckland comes, to be followed later by a Walker authorised stage invasion and invitation to sing along, until all are told to ‘Fuck Off’ causing mass stage diving into the ferocious mosh pit.


Whilst Melbourne’s Flesh Merchant may label themselves groovy, on this night, it’s the trifecta of tunes: Dance of Ixtab / Black Star / Keep On Rotting in the Free World that create a metallic groove that showcases Daniel Wilding’s drumming skills and mania. Carcass once again show off their unfettered capability to create outside the (metal) box, songs that cross genres and compliment their stage presence.

From groove to grappling in the moshpit, as Carcass return for a two song encore reaching way back, not to their first album Reek of Putrefaction, but to 1989’s Symphonies of Sickness, an album more favoured by the band, to pull out two classics Exhume to Consume and Reek of Putrefaction that bring the massive nights energy to a close in classic grindcore meets death metal style.

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Jeong:


The Black Dahlia Murder: