Time to sojourn out to the Palladium once again for another show on a brisk Autumn Saturday night! While I am hitting seemingly less shows than in past years (still about one every 1-2 weeks) there are certain tours you have to make sure you see. Kreator is one of the most legendary thrash bands ever and always puts on a satisfying live show. Arch Enemy, with the new blood injected by Alissa White-Gluz definitely had the curiosity factor going for it, but AE too has always been nothing if not very consistently excellent as a live proposition. Surely lots of fans wanted to know if the band still had the goods without Angela Gossow, but if you listened to War Eternal (Century Media), you had plenty of evidence to go on. Getting to the venue early, I saw a ton of people in early for the VIP/soundcheck and you could here for a block around the venue, the co-headliners had brought their A-game on this day. Also, I need to send a special shout out to my bro Dan for getting out to the show early and having a blast all day with me. Good times broseph!
Due to some Ghost Cult business, I missed the second stage opening bands, many of whom I was looking forward to seeing. It’s tough parsing up my time, but think in 2015 I am going to give more time to underground acts and locals when possible. Anycase the first band I caught on this night was Starkill and I was pleasantly surprised by how well put together they were live. The early light crowd in the venue early was definitely feeling these guys and their intense performance. They were heavy and tight and seemed very comfortable in what could have been an intimidating situation. I may have to give their just release Virus of the Mind Album (Century Media) another listen as perhaps I shelved that one away a little too quickly a few months back.
I’m not entirely sure what is going on with Huntress these days. They had me in the fold early on in their career with their blend of proto-metal, occasional thrash and occult rock influences. I knew Jill Janus was occasionally cheesy on the mic, certainly her lyrics you can skip, but she could deliver vocally and the band has been very solid at times. Perhaps I caught the band on a bad night, but they had a dismal performance. Jill voice was definitely suffering from some malady, sounding hoarse, and the band overall was lackluster. The set list didn’t help their cause either since other than a few songs off of their debut, they played a chunk of their latest album, which I also didn’t enjoy much. I think ahead of their next album, this is a band that really needs to evaluate themselves hardcore, and go back to playing to their strengths. There are a lot of bands that do what they do with making it such a poor mish-mosh.
By comparison Kreator was amazeballs, but you just knew they would be. Whatever fountain of youth these guys have access to, please point me in the right direction. There tireless Teutonic Thrash warriors just deliver every single time I have ever seen them, dating back to club shows in the 90s. They played a badass set of old jams and new classics for an unrelenting set that clocked in at about one hour. Mille Petrozza continues to be one of the best front men in metal, never sacrificing his immense playing ability for his vocals. Playing a set comprised of tracks from across their history, the highlights were opener ‘Violent Revolution’, Extreme Aggression’, ‘Enemy of God, and ‘Hordes of Chaos’ among others. The pit action was non-stop basically the entire set and I wondered how Arch Enemy would do to match this. The band performed like the seasoned, veteran act that they are had the crowd eating out of their hand. I am ready for 2015 to bring a new Kreator album, how about you?
As the roadcrew took a while to change over Kreator’s set for Arch Enemy’s staging (although they used the same lighting rig, I surveyed the crowd. It was a little on the light side for these top two bands and in this venue, but in fairness there had a plethora of shows this week and the annual Rock And Shock festival was the week before. Still, there was a full crowd in front of the stage and they were ready to get their Arch Enemy on, as it has been a while since the band was in front of their American fans to put on a show.
And put on a show they did! Following the into music the crowd welcomed back this long running institution of modern melodic death metal. From the very first notes and guttural roar of White-Gluz announcing the band to the stage with opening song, ‘Enemy Within’, it was on! The pit was active early on in the set as they chopped their way through tracks like ‘War Eternal’, ‘Ravenous’, and ‘Revolution Begins’ before even addressing the audience. The band just seemed to have a fierceness I had not seen from them in a long time, and dare I say they were up there having fun.
At this point, much has been made of Alissa’s rise to front the band, the departure of Gossow, and War Eternal. Hey, change is hard when it comes to your favorite bands. However, chances are, if you were not into the Angela years, you aren’t going to run back screaming for them. On the other hand, Alissa has already proven to be a more than worthy successor, even putting her own stamp on a few classics, but always doing the music justice and sounding brutal as fuck. Let’s not analyze her to death for no reason, just listen and enjoy.
As fun as she was fronting The Agonist, Alissa excelled at pumping up the crowd and getting the audience to participate. Although the moshers were looking tired from my vantage point, she kept extolling them to wake up, scream along and generally have a good time.
As far as the rest of the band, it is always the Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson show. Sure the entire band is talents, but Michael and Daniel are worth the price of admission, always. Amott’s soloing and tone sound a crisp and round as ever and he had his usual army of fan-boys in the crowd.
The band impressed me with their energy the entire set long, that went for almost 20 tracks and an hour and a half. It’s great to see a veteran band really act like one, and put on a long set night after night. If you want to just be a hater, then fine. But if you have ever cared about this band and are on the fence about their new front woman or new album, I’m here to tell you to get over yourself and give them a fair chance. You might just get blown away.
WORDS: KEITH CHACHKES