Refuse / Resist

This week marks my twelfth and thirteenth time seeing Brazilian / American thrashers Sepultura. Even though the sixty minute set list I’ll be seeing twice in three days leans heavily towards this years Machine Messiah release I keep going back to the classic era of the band, that’s why the video for Refuse / Resist is below. This is the opening track from Chaos A.D., the album that will be a quarter of a century old next year. 

I should have already reached the dozen mark with my last trip to Holland, but I had to miss their show at Liverpool’s Royal Court with Paradise Lost on December 4th 1993 because I fractured my leg in a drunken stupor after a local gig by The Almighty. 

I was celebrating my birthday with friends at the rearranged show at the Victoria Hall. I drove to my friends house and we all caught the bus up to town. We were swigging from a half bottle of rum on the way there, so it was never going to end well.  The Almighty, The Wildhearts and Kerbdog all played well, then it was off for last orders in the Borough Exchange. That was the one and only time I ventured into that place and I think it’s now a gay club called Gossip!

A taxi back to my friends, but we all thought it’d be “fun” to kick an inanimate object in the shape of a metal garage door. It was just some drunken high jinx. I ended up on the floor and thought noting more of it. 

Roll on a few hours when I woke up abd the alcohol was wearing off, the pain in my ankle was agonising and it was the size of a football (maybe a slight exaggeration). After hobbling the gauntlet to the bathroom then to the front door all overseen by a hungry looking Rottweiler, I don’t know how, but I managed to drive home. 

It was my birthday on the Sunday, but that morning heralded a trip up to A&E in my uncles car for X-rays and eventually a plaster cast up to my knee. It wasn’t my first cast, but touch wood it has been my last. Back home at my parents modest terraced house my grandmother was living with us at the time.  Less than an hour of getting home she’d stumbled past my overhanging leg and knocked it hard. I may have swore!! On the upside though I missed three or four weeks of work and college. 

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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.

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.


Arise

Twenty Eight hours from now and I should be watching Sepultura tear up the Club Academy stage in Manchester. I’ve been listening to the band since I first heard Beneath The Remains, their first major label release, whilst still at school in 1989.

I saw them twice with frontman Max Cavalera, the final time with Max was at the Manchester Apollo in 1996 – one of the bands last appearances in the UK with him.

I have no idea why, but between 1996 and 2011 I only saw them twice, both at festivals. I think it’s because the intervening releases weren’t as good in comparison to their early output.

In December 2011 I went to Hamburg to catch the second edition of Thrashfest, a European festival tour opened by Mortal Sin, followed by Heathen, Destruction, Exodus and closed out by Sepultura. I remember thinking “I’ll give Sepultura half an hour and head back to the hotel“. I was captivated. Derek Green’s delivery of the old stuff was immense. They’d come on in leaps and bounds since those two festivals in the preceding 15 years. Tomorrow will be my fifth time seeing them in 4 years, they are that good.

Subconsciously I think I was in the No Max No Sepultura camp, and if I was I’m glad to have been proven wrong.

Sepultura 2015 consists of one founding member – bass player Paulo Jr., and a “classic era” member who’s been there since 1987’s Schizophrenia – Andreas Kisser. Over time the other two founding members – the Cavalera brothers – have decided to leave and be replaced. It’s been 18 years since Max left, they are celebrating the bands 30 year anniversary (it was when the tour started, but now over 31 years). So by my maths the current vocalist has been in the band longer than the original (well actually second as Max didn’t sing in the earliest line up)

To me all this “so and so isn’t in the band so no band” keyboard warrior stuff is nonsense. I’d hazard a guess that every band so far featured in this blog doesn’t feature the original line up at some point in their career. There is NO original member in Napalm Death but they are hailed as all conquering heroes! Slayer, Metallica, Voivid, Obituary, Iron Maiden have all had members pass away, leave or be fired but they still go on with little hassle – apart from Slayer.

Since when should a band call it a day when a member dies or leaves? And why do so many “fans” feel the need to bang on about the fact they should call it a day? If you truly believe a certain band is no longer relevant in your life then just ignore them. Don’t buy anything. Don’t go and watch them. More importantly, don’t waste your time telling others they should either.

1991 album Arise might just shade it as my favourite Sepultura release, but ask me in a few weeks and it could well be Chaos A.D. or even Beneath The Remains!

 

The Live Arena 4

Back from a decent, but tiring, weekend away at Hard Rock Hell. Feels like I’m back in the civilised world now – wifi, 4g and phone signal!! First world problems, eh??

Anyway, already looking forward to a couple of gigs this week. First up…

Tuesday – Manchester Club Academy.

  

Brazilian / American thrashers roll into Manchester as part of their 30th Anniversary tour. I’ve already seen them twice this year and they’ve been superb – hence my third viewing is imminent!


Saturday – Buckley Tivoli. 

  

That should of read Birmingham Genting Arena as the wife and I should have been going to see Nickelback there, but Chad Kroeger is having vocal chord issues so it’s a second weekend in North Wales to see the metal queen Doro. 

A bit disappointed in not off to see Nickelback to be honest as they’ve been great live every time I’ve seen them live, but Doro is a quite adequate replacement.