Toxik Attack

I’m currently sitting in a pub with the “boy” with one other guy in here who’s completey enthralled in the FBI enquiry playing out on the TV. Once again I’ve neglected the blog for what feels like way too long and yet again I have no real excuse. I haven’t been to many gigs at all since the last posting so I’ve had the time. Let’s see how long this run of last for. 

The last post was during the May bank holiday weekend for a local gig that I ended up not attending. Greek thrashers Domination and Bloodrocuted from Belgium were two more shows I missed. Both were on the same evening so one had to be sacrificed. My trip to Birmingham for the Greeks was scuppered by crossed wires and a horrendously busy day at work. 

The last show I went to was a six band power violence shindig above a vegan cafe on the outskirts of Manchester City centre. What more would you want in a tiny hot and sweaty room with no stage for 84p a band? My first time seeing and actually experience Boak from Aberdeen, ably supported by Nothing Clean and for the second time in eight days Horsebastard and further trio of noisy upstarts. 

Discharge playing an almost local show was on the cards for tomorrow. They’re playing Stafford, a thirty minute drive along the A34 isn’t an issue, the main band hitting the stage at 1210am, technically on Saturday morning, is though, especially as I’m at work at 5am. 

I could venture up to Liverpool for the third time in four weekends for the American death metal blasts of Exhumed, but with the trains home ceasing just before 10pm and having the audacity to be a rail replacement bus it’s another one I’d have to drive myself to. 

Ironically the next gig I am going to is headlined by Exhumed, but I’ll probably be on the way home by the time they hit the stage in London. I’m making the 340 mile round trip just to catch German thrashers Dust Bolt. 

Sunday will be the third time I’ve seen them. The first time was also in London, just up the road at the Electric Ballroom when they opened up for Obituary. The last time was over in France when I just about made it through the melee of the Hellfest entrance. Thanks to the sloth like queues they’d already hit the stage, but I saw most of their set. 

On both occasions I’ve dragged friends in early to catch the band, friends who up until that point hadn’t heard of the band. I’m pleased to say on both occasions all attendees were suitably impressed, and a couple of them can be notoriously hard to impress with new bands. 

The group are on British soil for a quaret of shows, two with Exodus in the south east of the country, a show up in Scotland then back to London for the Exhumed support slot. There’s a day off between the last two shows and I was hoping for a more middle of the country event on Saturday. Alas it never materialised and I have to make the trek to London. It’s been over two months since my last foray to the capital, so I’m not as tainted by the thought of another trip down south. By the end of the month though could garner a different response. 

Last time they were included in this blog it was with a track from their brand new third album Mass Confusion. This time we go all the way back to 2012 and their debut album Violent Demolition. 

Roll on Sunday when the DxBxTxCx demolish the nations capital. 

Mass Confusion

The first band I saw on the first day of Hellfest were young German thrashers Dust Bolt. I unfortunately missed the start of their half hour set as the sea of people trying to get into the main arena was absolutely horrendous. We had hoped to be in their in time for Delain on one of the pair of main stages, but we ended up viewing them on the huge side screens from within the confines of our sloth like melee.

So far their one and only show on UK soil was bizarrely opening for Obituary on their European tour back in February 2015. They were very impressive in London and made it worth getting in to the venue early for.

For an early 11:40am start with another 14 hours ahead for the festival faithful, they drew a very healthy crowd on the Altar stage. They sounded like they had a bit more of a punk / hardcore edge to their live sound from what I remember from seeing them 17 months ago.

Yet again, as in the 80’s, Germany is leading the way for European re-thrash metal, but in this era there is some really solid competition from the rest of the continent. Very few of them are doing anything overtly different from what was done in the genre three decades ago, but they all do it with precision and youthful exuberance.

Album number three, Mass Confusion, actually surfaces this coming Friday so this reminds me that I need to get it ordered soon as.

Top 10 Gigs of 2015

Now that was hard work trying to narrow down a top ten of shows I attended this year from over 70 shows.  In front of me now I have a list scrawled out of 17 memorable shows for one reason or another and enough scribble on the page to fill a small diary.

 

Some of the shows that I had to cut included debut UK shows form Belgium’s Bloodrocuted and Vektor from the United States. AC/DC rocking the foundations of Wembley Arena.  The mega line up of Carcass, Obituary, Napalm Death and Voivod on the Deathcrusher tour.  Intimate shows by Anthrax in Brighton and Iron Reagan in Manchester. And the merging of my teenage years and some of the newest bands on the Slam Dunk Festival (PVRIS, Beartooth, H2O and Millencolin).  Finally, a honourable mention to Discharge, the inovators of D-Beat, playing a home town show to a packed venue with their new vocalist JJ.

So here it goes…

10 – Bloodstock Festival (Catton Hall 7-9th August)

I was going to steer clear of lumping a festival as one, but there were some superb performances this year.  Finally seeing Dark Angel was a huge plus. Nuclear Assault’s last UK appearance.  Sepultura, Overkill and Re-Animator showing everyone the old bands still have it, and overlooking the technical difficulties, Within Temptation’s headline slot had everything you wanted.

  
9 – Overkill and Sanctuary (Hedon, Zwolle 17th March)

A flying trip to Holland to catch the Killfest tour.  The second time I’d seen Sanctuary, but the first time with a roof.  They were flawless and Overkill were as solid as ever.  An added bonus of the Hedon venue being so good.


8 – Hirax (Manchester, Sound Control 16th March)

I could have picked their debut show at Hammerfest a few days earlier, but after the initial disappointment of seeing what part of the venue they were playing, it was so pleasing viewing a band playing in such a small space with so much enthusiasm.


7 – Xentrix and Acid Reign (Dublin, Voodoo Lounge 16th October)

I could have picked anyone of the three shows I attended on this tour, but by the time they sailed into Dublin they had all hit their stride, especially the returning Acid Reign after a quarter of a century away from the stage, who were as much fun that night as they were in 1990.


6 – Obituary (Camden, Electric Ballroom 1st February)

The reason I didn’t include Deathcrusher on the list is thanks to this headline set from Florida’s finest. I had reservations about it being upgraded to the much bigger Ballroom from the comparatively tiny Underworld. By the start of their set any misgivings were put aside as the place was pretty much full.  They were on top form that night, plus there was the added bonus of seeing German thrashers Dust Bolt on the same night.


5 – Flotsam & Jetsam (Nuneaton, Queens Hall 19th May)

Another disappointing turn out in Nuneaton, but that didn’t deter the legendary Arizona thrashers.  Tonight was a complete master class of thrash metal. Such a tight performance and compared to when I saw them last year the live vocals were much better.


4- Metallica (Gothenburg, Ullevi Stadium 22nd August)

Metallica are my favourite band and can really do no wrong in my book (well maybe LuLu!), but they couldn’t make my top three this year.  This tour didn’t have to may surprises in the set list, but I got to see Frayed Ends of Sanity performed live and I had tickets for the Golden Circle so we managed to get pretty close and ended up with a few off stage souvenirs.


3- Slayer and Anthrax (Brixton, Academy 30th November)

Again, I could have picked either date of the tour that I saw, but with the added size of the stage in Brixton you got more bang for your buck. Two bands who are most definitely getting better with age. Slayer were just Slayer, no banter, no jokes, no roller coasters, no prolonged solos – just pure, unadulterated, evil, thrash metal (and dancing inverted crosses!)  What more could you want?


2- Tankard and Crisix (Barcelona, Razzmatazz II 25th January)

Finally the missing piece for me from the German Teutonic Big Four. If Tankard won’t come to me then I’d better go to them!  After Kreator these Frankfurt beer swilling maniacs are my next favourite band of the four.  Much like Anthrax or Acid Reign, they are often classed as the clowns of the bunch.  That night in January they were on top form.  The track (Empty) Tankard was superb sing-a-long, and seeing Gerre singing from on top of the bar right in front of me is something I won’t forget in a hurry. They were so much fun to watch.


1 – Nightwish (Wembley, Arena 19th December)

So my favourite gig of the year happened to be the last gig I attended.  Nightwish owned the cavernous Wembley Arena that evening.  We were promised the full European stage show and that’s what they delivered.  Metal fans have a weird preoccupation with fire in all forms and we had it all tonight! We also had smoke, ticker tape and giant video screens.  The visuals were well and truly backed up with some stunning songs performed to perfection by Floor Jansen who breathed life into tracks from the departed vocalists before her. Fantastic sound too in a place so enormous, and it only cost £25.  A real bargain. A truly superb evening.