|» Kreator 2017 02 08||
Kicking off the evening's appealing entertainment package are Belgians Aborted, who have a good reputation as a live band which is probably why there is already a solid number present, which is not always the case with the opening act. With a good sound aiding them, the quintet deliver an uncompromising dose of extreme metal containing intensity and furious speed as well as colossal heaviness and breakdowns.
Frontman Sven de Caluwé possesses a strong voice and commands
the stage, spurring on the audience. Although the requested pits consist
of just a few younger participants, the overall reaction to the Belgians
is positive. They do their part as warm-up, although to be frank I find
their material rather ordinary and lacking highlights.
Performance: 5 chalices
As Soilwork open with the title track from last album The Ride Majestic, a couple of faces onstage are unfamiliar. I saw them with bassist Markus Wibom, who replaced long-time member Ola Flink, last summer, but it is certainly not him handling the bass tonight. Also missing is guitarist David Andersson for unknown reasons, with the replacement equally unknown to me and others. On drums, however, we have Bastian Thusgaard instead of Dirk Verbeuren who left the band because of his position in Megadeth. Whoever the players, the instrumental effort is very competent, while Bjorn Speed is impressive as always as a singer and frontman. Soilwork's music, however, is much more diverse than Aborted's and the stage sound is not ideally suited to the Swedes.
The majority of the setlist is comprised of songs from the latest three
albums, from 2010 and onwards. Although there is nothing wrong with that
material, one cannot help missing some old favourites, with an album like
Natural Born Chaos being overlooked, for example. The shorter playing
time as a support act plays its part of course. Although they still deliver
pleasurable music, the overall impression I get of Soilwork this time
is fairly average compared to other occasions, feeling like it's merely
another step while waiting for tonight's headliner.
Performance: 5,5 chalices
Sepultura start with two tracks from latest album Machine Messiah, followed by Choke from Against, the first album that had Derrick Green as vocalist. Although the feedback is positive, the atmosphere is raised significantly when Desperate Cry is next. Then it's two more songs from the latest album before another classic from the past, Inner Self, creates similar excitement. Whether it's older or newer tunes, they are played tight, forceful and with terrific groove by long-time members Paulo Jr (bass) and Andreas Kisser (guitar) plus drummer Eloy Casagrande. The latter impresses once again with intense, skilful and energetic playing.
But then there is the vocal department. Of course, Derrick Green is not
Max Cavalera, whose unique voice cannot be replaced, but all the same
it just does not sound right hearing Green singing the songs Max originally
performed. As for the material post-Max, that is another matter even if
I must admit I have never been a big fan of Green's voice in the first
place. The American is a confident frontman though and the audience response
for him and the rest of the band is warm, with frequent chants of "Se-pul-tura!".
The set concludes with beloved Sep anthems to much enthusiasm. Being a
big fan of the older era it is simply impossible to avoid comparisons
to the classic line-up, but there is no doubt that Sepultura still have
a solid fanbase all round the globe and are a strong live act.
Performance: 6,5 chalices
During the interval before the headliners, the front part of the hall fills up and one can really sense the anticipation in the air. That the support bands, not just any bands, have clearly been merely tasters ahead of the main course is testament to Kreator's popularity and form in later years. After solid opener Hordes Of Chaos and Phobia, which has become a live staple, it is time for some stuff from the new album, the celebrated Gods Of Violence. Satan Is Real and the title track are the first ones out and go down great. Other new tracks appear later in the show, namely Fallen Brother (with images on the screens of fallen musicians generating loud cheers), World War Now and Hail ToThe Hordes, and those are equally well-received and fitting live.
Otherwise, we are served a buffet of Kreator gems and what is striking is just how tremendous a repertoire the German group possesses, and that the majority of tonight's class tunes are taken from this side of the millennium. We get a solid slab of old classics as well, of course, and even a very cool surprise early on in the form of Total Death from debut album Endless Pain.
Although this is not really the spectacular show promised for this tour by Mille Petrozza, probably because it is only possible to set up in bigger venues than tonight, there is still a quality stage show. The light show is ambitious and effective, some screens display videos and pyro is used to good effect, not least in From Flood Into Fire where high flames shoot up. There is also a ramp behind Ventor's drum kit that is used by the members, not least bassist Christian Giesler. Standing quite close to the stage, it is obvious just how skilled guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö is, as he delivers tasteful and composed solos and melodies. Drummer Ventor's hard-hitting and intense style is notable as well.
But the main focus is still on Petrozza, naturally. The frontman is so
genuine in his whole persona onstage, playing and singing with passion
and eagerly addressing the crowd. Towards the end of the set, he asks
if we're ready for the "full old school treatment", before an
awesome thrash attack is unleashed with Flag Of Hate, Under The Guillotine
and Pleasure To Kill. While I have witnessed even better Kreator gigs,
where the crowd has also been more active than on this Wednesday evening,
this was simply another class performance by an experienced band that
continues to be in a prominent place in recent times.
Performance: 8 chalices