I've been looking forward to this show since I first heard about it in early July. The last time I saw Kreator was in 1996 at the lounge of a Chinese restaurant in Ballard. It has been even longer since I've seen Destruction play, that was way back in 1988 when they were touring with Cro-Mags. I took my 9-year old (at the time, of course) brother to that for his first concert. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of Cephalic Carnage and December, I wanted to check them out as seeing a band live often helps me to appreciate them more than listening to studio work.
First up was Reno, Nevada's December. They were very aggressive sounding and displayed a good deal of energy even though there were only around 50 people at the venue by the time they started playing. The various members of the band all showed a lot of technical skill, especially the drummer (Jason Thomas) who was simply all over the place. Vocalist Mark Moots reminded me a lot of a more pissed off version of Phil Anselmo, particularly when speaking between songs. The only problem is that there was just so much going on with this band, musically and technically, that it was really difficult for me to understand exactly what they were doing the majority of the time. While I will admit that they did keep me entertained for the 30 or so minutes they were on stage, it seems that they would be better billed with bands such as Dillinger Escape Plan or Today is the Day. Fans of those types of bands would be much more likely to appreciate December's style of technical metalcore.
After a brief changeover Relapse Records recording artists Cephalic Carnage came on to a crowd of maybe 100. A lot of death/grind bands are really statue like in their performance; this is definitely not the case with the Edgewater, Colorado five piece. These guys were probably the most physically active grind/death band I've ever seen, especially the guitarist on the left who didn't seem to stand still through the whole set. I'm not very familiar with their music so I couldn't pick much out of it lyrically other than the fact they seem to enjoy smoking (and maybe growing) marijuana. The whole band performed quite well on a technical level, but unfortunately their style of grindy death metal isn't exactly my cup of tea. After a while the music got a little to repetitious for my liking, but fortunately it was a fairly short set. I noticed that quite a few people left after Cephalic played and wonder why they didn't at least stick around to check out the headliners.
Their loss I suppose…
The twenty minutes after Cephalic Carnage and before Destruction were among the longest twenty minutes of my life. I secured a good position against the stage so I could have an unobstructed view of two of the greatest thrash/speed metal bands of all-time, Kreator and Destruction. A guy next to me talked my ear off about how he got his nasty looking black eye and insisted on showing me every picture in his photo album loaded with (admittedly good) pictures of people like Eddie Van Halen and Michael Schenker. Hooray for him. I didn't come to look at pictures -- I came to take my own and see some great thrash bands.
Destruction finally came on in a cloud of Metal Fog and my ears were in utter ecstasy. From the opener of "Curse the Gods" to the final of "Bestial Invasion", Schmier, Mike, and Marc played a set so strong and tight I thought it was 1988 again. A couple of newer songs like "The Butcher Strikes Back" were the only thing that kept me out of a total flashback situation. Schmier and Mike swapped sides of the stage frequently, allowing the people near the stage to get a good view of the legends at work. It was apparent that they had been playing a lot lately and were still enjoying it, as all of the songs were played perfectly and the band didn't once show any real signs of tiring out.
Metal Fog was thick throughout much of the set, something more of today's bands need to work into their shows. Destruction played a great assortment of songs that didn't leave a lot left, as far as the classics went, and the crowd responded extremely well at hearing many of their old favorites live once again. Destruction's set was one of the best I have seen from any band ever; they are true professionals in the business of metal!
I actually enjoyed the next changeover period as it gave me a chance to catch my breath and think about how sore my neck was going to be the next day from so much headbanging. If Kreator was anywhere close to as good as Destruction, I was going to be one hurtin' headbanger with only half a voice left!
The house lights dimmed, Metal Fog was pumped onto the stage and after 6 long years… out came Mille Petrozza, Ventor (Jürgen Reil), and the two newest members, Christian Giesler and Sami Yli-Sirniö. Though Mille and Ventor are definitely showing their age (so am I, though) they still played like they did back in the day, if not better! Unlike Destruction, they had no visible set lists anywhere, which made it seem as though they were taking requests from the audience.
The crowd was sort of into it up until the band started "Terrible Certainty," at which point everyone seemed to go nuts. The stagediving frequency went up around the same time which resulted in the mic stand being knocked down more than a few times. When the mic was actually knocked off the stand during "Terror Zone," Mille seemed rather annoyed and said something about it, but rather than walking off the stage like some "rock stars" of late he, and the rest of the band, just did what they do best, playing speedy, melodic, and angry thrash metal! By the time Kreator had finished their set I was sore and had little voice left from screaming along all out with the majority of the crowd.
This was a great show with two of my all-time favorite bands basically
co-headlining. If I had to say that one band was better I'd have to go with Kreator, probably because I always preferred them somewhat over Destruction. Both bands kicked ass like few others can; this was one of the best shows I have ever seen and I have been to a lot of them. Catch this tour when it comes your way, if you like any of the bands you won't regret it for a second.
Destruction set list:
Intro/Curse the Gods
Nailed to the Cross
Bullets from Hell
Tears of Blood
Antichrist/Reject Emotions/Release from Agony
Life without Sense
Intro/Thrash till Death
Kreator set list (approximate):
Reconquering the Throne
People of the Lie
Pleasure to Kill
Riot of Violence
Flag of Hate
Under the Guillotine