Live Burial, Coffin Mulch and Eyeteeth @The Cluny, Newcastle, July 9, 2023

It’s 2012 and outside The Cluny, Jamie Brown is chatting to Jake Bielby about creating a band to “rip off” Last One On Earth – the seminal album from Dutch masters Asphyx.

Great ideas often flow from a pint or two…

Fast forward to July 2023 and the pair are on stage at the same venue, administering the last rites to Live Burial, the death metal act which was born there, more than a decade ago.

And over the course of three albums, countless shows and a global pandemic, the quintet proved to be far more than an Asphyx tribute…

Live Burial’s organic, intelligent and utterly savage take on OSDM reached its creative zenith on 2022’s Curse of the Forlorn, and saw the band hit UK Deathfest and Holland’s Bloodshed Fest, among others.

They’d played with the likes of Slaughter Messiah, Undeath, Havukruunu and their heroes, Asphyx, and gained a reputation as a fearsome live act.

Brown, Live Burial’s vocalist, admitted that he never expected all that would follow from a booze-fuelled chat, 11 years ago.

And ‘the final burial’, delivered to a packed Cluny, was clearly an emotional night for the frontman, Bielby, bassist Lee Anderson, guitarist Rob Hindmarsh and drummer Matt Henderson.

There’s no animosity.

No hint of ‘musical differences’.

Indeed, Live Burial were gaining momentum following Curse of the Forlorn’s release and a recent European tour with Ripped To Shreds.

But the demands of balancing personal lives with the band’s progression ultimately proved too much.

So on a Sunday night in July, UK death metal said goodbye to one of its greatest hopes. “They’ve been a pillar of the UK scene for 11 years and were working hard long before the rest of us managed to get ourselves together,” said Tyrannus on the news of Live Burial’s split. The Scots’ sentiments were echoed by many.

Into the grave

Live Burial’s final show gave Eyeteeth (pictured above) the chance to air their politically-charged powerviolence to a healthy (if sweltering) crowd – and the likes of Premium dis(Content) hit like baton rounds.

Drawing on their latest album, Straight Edge Violence, plus a clutch of new songs, the UK crew certainly left a few dents in The Cluny’s old walls.

And that brickwork shook to the thundering OSDM of Coffin Mulch, who closed off their UK tour at the venue.

The Glaswegians conquered The Little Buildings, just up the hill, in late 2021 and the quartet have picked up the pace since then.

Spectral Intercession, their sophomore album, was released in June, and Coffin Mulch bludgeoned Newcastle with it.

Frontman Al Mabon seemed disappointed with the lack of pit action. However, that didn’t blunt his wild, energetic performance, as Into The Blood and Fall of Gaia, all caustic, HM-2 riffs and grimy bass, ate their way through the PA.

Scottish death metal is on the rise, and Coffin Mulch (pictured below) are leading the charge.

The end complete

It was a night of mixed emotions.

Joy on hearing Live Burial annihilate Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley with the soul-shearing riffs of Rotting On The Rope, from 2020’s Unending Futility.

Sorrow that a song like Condemned to the Boats, unleashed in all its bloody glory at The Cluny, will be condemned to history.

But at their last stand, Live Burial made every second count.

This was an intense, visceral show.

Nothing was held back.

The passion was there for all to see. As was the band’s taught musicianship.

Blood and Copper’s nightmarish tones bored deep and reminded us of the band’s penchant for sepulchral death doom.

Forced Back To Life – the title track of Live Burial’s 2017 debut – was greeted like a beer swigging old mate, clad in a Bolt Thrower shirt and grinning from ear to ear.

And My Head as Tribute was a twisting, contorted hellride… and proof that the boys were on to something special with Curse of the Forlorn.

Yes, in this band’s demise, the death metal community has lost one of its stars, just as it was starting to rise.

But the music – and the memories – will live on.

Photos used courtesy of Stefan Rosic of Conundrum Images.

Enjoyed this review? Check out our Best Death Metal Albums of 2022 here.