Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 16/31


 
Day 16 – A song about the Devil.

Kreator – Satan is Real

Thirty one songs, thirty bands. You just knew Kreator were going to make an appearance at some point. 

They absolutely slayed the main stage at Bloodstock over the weekend, and for the life of me I don’t know why they weren’t one of the three headliners. 

Pleasure To Kill

This weekend marks my nineteenth visit to the Bloodstock festival, whether it’s at its inaugural Assembly Rooms home or located somewhere with in the confines of Catton Hall Park. Nineteen represents the total amount of festivals flying the Bloodstock banner, and I can say I’ve attended at least a day at every single one. There can’t be too many people who can claim that, as the first event was only fifteen hundred or so attendees.  

If anyone has read many of my 455 posts to date they might have seen Bloodstock mentioned on a pretty repetitive, and possibly boring, basis. I’ve seen about 280 different sets over those fifteen years, that’s more than double the amount of bands I’ve seen over thirteen Download Festivals.  

I’ve witnessed some stunning performances and I’ve also suffered some diabolical days, whether it be line ups, performances or weather. This weekend falls into the lower end of that equation. Over the two days I’m there I’m hoping to catch about sixteen bands if it all runs to plan. From those sixteen there is only one band I’ve never seen before. Nearly half of those bands I’ve also seen at the festival at some point too. If I took the main stage over the three days I’ve seen exactly half at Bloodstock already, and many of those multiple times. It’s fine if you go infrequently, but year after year with the same bands cropping up it makes you wonder why I keep going. 

More than a music event it’s a time to catch up with people you don’t necessarily see other than at the festival. The people I consider friends seem to be in many of the far flung corners of the UK and as we grow older, many have grown wiser and don’t necessarily go to as many gigs now they are used to. A few beers and much chat is higher on the agenda than most of the bands this year. 

The festival is only 44 miles from my house, so that’s one reason I go religiously. This year though I considered a trip to one of the two festivals in Belgium over the same weekend (Alcatraz and Ieper) or even the Brutal Assault event in the Czech Republic. I was even tempted with Chimpy Fest in London for an all out noise assault.  All because the line ups were offering me a better calibre of bands that I haven’t seen, or seen as much. Maybe next year? 

The one band that made my decision to go this year was a band I’ve seen more than twenty times, so sitting here writing that makes me sound like such a hypocrite after slating repeat performances, but the Teutonic thrashers Kreator are one of my top five bands and to see them again and again doesn’t get at all that stale to me. 

The thing that perplexes me most about their appearance this year is why aren’t they headlining? Over the six years since they last graced this stage they’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals throughout Europe and have a more than worthy stage show to go with their headline credentials. Without my rose tinted glasses on,  I personally feel they deserve it more than Amon Amarth and Ghost. Megadeth have the CV to close the weekend, but it’s something they did as recently as 2014. Maybe it’s not meant to be for them?

This video to Pleasure to Kill was released recently to coincide with the remastered versions of the bands first four offerings. As I’d already got them on CD I wasn’t too bothered about buying them for a second time (repeats again!!) but I listened to them on Spotify and just having a decent audio of the East Berlin show tempted me to part with my cash. 

To carry on with the repetitive theme, here’s Pleasure to Kill again for the second time since last October, but with a more imaginative and befitting video for the track. 

Betrayer

As if I need an excuse to post a video by Kreator! 

Last nights Havok show in Birmingham was absolutely superb – but more about that later, hopefully. 

Before the introduction of mobile phones more powerful than the computers used for the moon landing, 3G, 4G, wifi, Facebook, Twitter and the like, I used to pass my time reading the humble printed fanzine. Much like I do now, I like my own company too much, so in between bands I’d keep myself to myself and get engrossed in the humble fanzine. 

I’ve spent so much time over the years typing, cutting and gluing pieces of paper to other pieces of paper. It was a very time consuming process, but I enjoyed it and it gave this non musician a toe hold in the inner sanctum of a fledgling UK hardcore scene. 

Anyway I digress. Kreator. Last night between bands I was “keeping in the loop” with Facebook and I came across this awesome tour announcement….

Anyone want to buy me a ticket to Brazil? 

The four bands have performed as this package at a handful of European festivals a few years ago. I looked into the possibility of attending it in Spain one summer, but it wasn’t feasibly possible.  

For me that line up is to die for. If I get to that point where I end up “retiring” disgracefully from the gig circuit I really do hope I get to experience this show and I’d really like to see Metallica in their San Francisco back yard.  

It’s apparently a thing that all four bands want to do more often. There seemed to be speculation that it as Kreator that was the problem and it all revolved on their agreement. I was reading an interview with Destruction frontman Schmier that the stumbling block is more to do with Sodom and Tankard. Both of those bands now have to hold down regular day jobs unlike Destruction and Kreator who you could say are full time musicians. Tankard and Sodom tour, but it’s in fits and starts as they have to schedule shows around weekends and holidays. Hopefully more shows follow in the very near future and no doubt I’ll be making the trek in homage. 

If I played the lottery and won an obscene amount of money I’d love to put on some kind of festival in Stoke on Trent. I’d be like one of those oil rich sheiks and money would be no option. 

One night would be the Teutonic big four and maybe throw in some other Euro thrash bands. The second night would finally see Metallica play the Victoria Hall with either the classic Master of Puppets set or the Damaged Justice collapsing Doris on the stage and a much more relaxed and stripped back show. The venue should have been the scene of their first British show (not that I’d heard the band back then), but the tour got cancelled due to poor ticket sales I believe and only the London show went ahead. 


The weekend would all be for charity with donations from an invited audience of friends and acquaintances who like the bands, and in the case of Metallica’s forthcoming tour, and those who can’t afford the near on £100 for a ticket. I don’t even waste my money on the lottery so this will never become a reality, but I can have my pipe dream can’t I? 

Betrayer was released in 1989 on the Extreme Aggression album. I’d heard the three previous albums via tape trading and friends, but this album I think was the first release that I purchased with my own money and still remains a firm favourite with me. 

Total Death

Prior to the Dutch shindig, and on home turf I’ve got two more Kreator shows to look forward to before I set foot inside an airport. 

On Tuesday evening I’ll make the short drive up to Manchester’s Academy and after my last day at work on Thursday I’ll be at the mercy of Northern Rail and Virgin heading to-and-fro from London.  

I’m not sure what the plan is for Tuesday yet, so we might see one band or we might see all four. As with the previous show I saw on this tour in Tilburg, the doors for both shows are opening around about 1730 to 1800 – just in time for the evening rush hour commute for those who work on some kind of normal working hours. So a trip that I could possibly do in under and hour could potentially take me closer to two. 

I’m on the rail network on Thursday so that takes away all the hassle of road congestion – once I’ve reached the station. But the downside of this is the times the last train leaves to take me home. The venue curfew is 2300 – the save time as my train leaves. I’ll have seen the full Kreator show on Tuesday, so I don’t think leaving The Forum early and missing the encore will be too much of a hardship. They’re songs I’ve seen numerous times anyway and I’m more excited to experience the Gods of Violence material. 

Looking at the Netherlands DeathFest II line up for the Saturday and Kreator’s tour routing a bonus trip to Essen could be a real possibility. The extra curricular 74 mile jaunt with be addressed at several points over the next five days. 

For me seeing Kreator play in their home town would be like seeing Iron Maiden in East London, Black Sabbath in Birmingham, Sick of it All in New York City, Metallica perform in San Francisco or what a Discharge gig in Stoke should feel like. From the German bands humble beginnings in the city, and playing Zeche Carl then more than three decades later playing the impressive looking Grugahalle with a capacity in excess of 7,000. If I get to Essen it will be the biggest non festival Kreator show I will have experienced. 

Besides the new material, one of the highlights of the set is the appearance of Total Death. The track is from their very raw sounding debut album Endless Pain, which is several light years away from the polished and professional sounding Gods of Violence. That first album was recorded in ten days back in 1985, they’ve probably spent that much time recording a handful of songs in more recent years, never mind a ten track album. Before its resurrection on this tour the last archived performance of the track being played live was in the aforementioned Zeche Carl venue during the Pleasure to Kill tour on June 21st 1986 (now that is a nine song set list I’d love to have experienced!). So if you’ve seen Kreator a lot in the last thirty plus years it’s very doubtful you’ve seen this played on stage prior to 2017. 


Kreator – Tilburg, O13 – 2.3.17

My first chance of the year to spend plastic coins at Tilburg’s 013 venue and my first chance to catch the thrash metal juggernaut that is Kreator as they begin their assault through Europe taking no prisoners.

A relatively early start saw Belgian death metal stalwarts Aborted kicking off proceedings with a half hour visceral assault on those who bothered to turn up early. For an opening band they had a great sound afforded to them – and probably the best shirt on sale tonight with their Ghostbusters inspired attire. But I just can’t get into this band. Musically they’re exceptional, but the high pitch screechy whistling thing isn’t for me.

This venue is pretty impressive size wise – great views from all over the hall floor and it’s tiered standing, and the back stage area must be almost as big again. Each band used their own drum kits and with them set up out of sight there was the briefest of change overs before Swedish heavy weights Soilwork stormed the stage. Another fantastic bunch of musicians giving it their all, but as usual with me I was left bored rigid after their 40 minute set concluded. For me they just don’t seem to have that one anthem to get things going or look forward to.

One of Brazil’s finest exports graced the ever expanding Dutch hordes with an hour to impress. Their latest collection of songs is a pretty solid affair so I’d have expected them to kick off with something new and throw in another one, maybe two. Four new songs in the first six was a bit of a hard slog and the crowd didn’t really embrace them until Desperate Cry rumbled out of the PA. A few more Machine Messiah tracks were thrown in for good measure and before I knew it Territory, Refuse/Resist and Roots Bloody Roots drew their time to an end. It was a bit of a disappointing end as I was probably expecting a more classics set with the time constraints they had.

It’s The Teutonic Terrors were afforded a half hour change over and as per usual with modern day Kreator the stage set was pretty impressive especially for what you’d usually expect for a thrash metal band. There was so much attention to detail that time was taken to remotely align the on stage spot lights for optimum effect.

German precision was not met tonight with their shoddy time keeping – the Choir of the Damned intro tape rolled a minute early by my watch – and a deafening Hordes of Chaos kicked off proceeding to a hall filled with thrashers many covered in ticker tape from the get go. Crowd favourite Phobia followed before a pair of new songs – Satan is Real and Gods of Violence. An omission from recent sets in the shape of People of the Lie proceeded Total Death from their debt album for all the original die hards, a song that hasn’t been played live in thirty years.

A mix of new tracks, some from their more recent past and their 80’s heyday rounded out the main set before Civilisation Collapse closed the first 70 minutes. Flames, smoke and streamers were all in an abundance. At one point though it looked like some flames leapt from the stage unannounced. The glare frontman Millie Petroza gave to the side of stage could have killed, or caused serious damage at the very least.

A four song encore of Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate, Under the Guillotine and the punishing Pleasure to Kill left the 013 a fiery wreck and the hordes left suitably impressed.

The first three hours or so of the evening were a bit of a let down but Kreator more than made the admission price worth it. The five new tracks slotted in to the live area a seamlessly as if they’ve been there for years and some will be in future Kreator productions for as long as these road warriors continue. The Manchester Academy show can’t come quick enough. Only six hours until the next adventure begins.

Fallen Brother


Just like fabled London buses! Nothing for 50 days then 2 on the same day!! 

For me the album of the year has already been released – and we’re only 32 days into the year, but I could be pretty biased here. That could change when the Power Trip and Overkill albums drop, but I can’t think of many other bands who are scheduled to put out new music this year. It seems like all the big names (or those who I like) had new compact discs in the racks over the last eighteen months or so (Slayer, Metallica, Exumer, Destruction, Iron Maiden…. )

Five days ago saw Kreator’s 14th studio album Gods of Violence unleashed upon the World, and what a great 52 minutes of Teutonic thrash it is. I haven’t seen too many disconcerting voices towards the album, just a few attention seekers and those who would really like Pleasure to Kill XII in their CD player. 

The Essen terror crew were undoubtedly at their most extreme in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. They had their experimental phase just prior to the millennium, but since Violent Revolution surfaced in 2001 they have regained their German crown. You’re not going to get a carbon copy of Pleasure to Kill after 31 years. Mainstays Millie and Ventor have matured and improved, so all those early rough edges have disappeared, but the anger remains. 

I’m off work this week (even though I made an appearance there yesterday) and the first of Metallica’s four sold out Copenhagen shows fell conveniently in this time frame, and I have a slight obsession with the San Franciscan horsemen. 

From the middle of England getting to Denmark in good time isn’t exactly easy. The most straight forward route is from one of London’s airports, but that would include an early morning three hour drive each way or an added expense of an overnight hotel. 

Fortunately, or depending on who you are, unfortunately taking an extra day to get there via Eindhoven is a viable alternative. We’ll be in Copenhagen before noon on the day of the first show and there’s an added bonus of a Kreator show the evening before in the Netherlands in Tilburg’s impressive O13 venue. 

Tonight the European jaunt with Sepultura, Soilwork and Aborted kicks off in Metz, France and crushes Europe through to a hometown Essen show on March 4th. It might be a bit late to digest the set list before tomorrow’s event, but if the album release show that was streamed online is any indication we should be in for one hell of a show. Five new tracks were aired in Berlin and for the first time in three decades Total Death from the Endless Pain debut was played. 

The video for Fallen Brother surfaced a few days ago and is one of four songs to get a video made. It’s a great tribute to some of pop cultures and mainly heavy musics dearly departed. On their last tour they had projections of many of these heroes flickering on the back drop during Voices of the Dead. Now Lemmy, Prince and David Bowie have been added to this video with a few omissions from what I can recall. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and see how many of the photos you recognise. 


Pleasure To Kill

  

The headliners and the last band we need to cover from the Thrashing East video are the mighty Kreator. Considering this Essen mob are extremely high up on my favourites list I’m surprised I’ve only included them twice here, and neither of those are classic tracks either! 

When you discuss German thrash metal – and probably Europe as a whole – the absolute overlords of the scene are Kreator. I know people will have their own opinions and reasons but they will be wrong. Sorry. 

Take the Teutonic Big 4. Here in the UK, right now in 2016, Sodom and Destruction generally play rooms of around 500 capacity. Tankard haven’t been over here for more than fifteen years, but they’d be in the same venues. Kreator are regularly selling out venues of 1,000 upwards. Small fry compared to venues across mainland Europe, but no other thrash band out of the continent can claim that. They’re playing the same venues now that three quarters of the Big 4 have now come down to. 

They also appear to have embraced the stage show aspect more than the majority of thrash bands. Lights, screens, projections, props, confetti canons, smoke, flames – all incorporated into their stage show. The extra few quid on a ticket does feel justified for the extra visual display on offer. 

Apart from their experimental phase their albums have consistently been stronger and sold well. And unlike some of the heavyweights from the other side of the Atlantic they kept their trade mark anger and aggression in their writing process. 

This could all just be down to my fan boy yellow, black and red tinted spectacles, but I do feel Kreator are sitting pretty on the iron throne of European thrash metal. 

I feel like I’m always complaining about the repeat bookings of bands at Bloodstock, but considering it’s been over six years since they last graced the stage they are due a heroes return and in a headline slot. They’ve headlined festivals all over Europe and most bigger than Bloodstock. I’d have them in the top slot any day over the likes of Mastodon, Down, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper or Lamb of God who’ve all headlined since 2011. 

If I could book a lineup for a day they’d be headlining with Sodom, Destruction and Tankard below them. The other five slots would include Exumer, Accuser, Pripjat, Final Depravity and Assassin. The whole field would require the fans to wear lederhosen or dirndl and drinking from huge steins. Tyrolean hats will be optional. (OK. I’m tired and I’ve had one of Iron Maiden’s strong Red and Black beers!)


A new album should be out early next year and a comprehensive Euro trek begins in February. Two things I’m already anticipating for next year. Heading back in time Pleasure to Kill is taken from the band’s sophomore release of the same name and still sits pretty in their set three decades later. The original Live in East Berlin video was modernised for DVD in 2008 entitled At the Pulse of Kaptitulation. 

   
 

Enjoy some Germanic brutality.