It was a busy night in Melbourne with the footy finals in full swing but the line that snaked around 170 Russell was nothing but black t-shirts, not a footy scarf or jumper to be seen. The punters were there for a night of mayhem and madness that only thrash metal can deliver.
Melbourne four piece outfit Direblaze were first up and did not disappoint. This was my first time seeing them and from the onset I was impressed. They had a large fan following in the crowd with fists pumping and hell yeahs all round. While their set was short in duration it was packed with quality music and some very talented musicians. I am sure you can find them playing around town, they are definitely worth checking out.
Hailing from Poland, death metal band Vader took to the stage with a flurry of blistering fingers as Wings rang out. Followed swiftly by Triumph of Death working the fans into a violent mosh that took hold of the floor. The energy was pumping and so were the songs, the one hour set moving at warp speed. Tempest, Prayer To The Gods Of War, Dark Age, Decapitated Saints, Send Me Back To Hell just to name a few of the extensive back catalogue they have to choose from.
James Stewart was amazing on the drums, his technicality faultless and his stamina endless, and while he may have resembled Jesus there was nothing saintly about his skills, he was a pure demon on the skins. Vocalist/guitarist Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek, terrific, together with Marek “Spider” Pajak on guitar and Tomasz “Hal Halicki on bass, all masters of their instruments.
This fierce foursome had the pit cranked as Cold Demons blasted out lifting the intensity another notch and knocking a few on their arses when they couldn’t keep up. Finishing the set out with God Is Dead, Vader were the ideal opener for Kreator, and after chatting with Mille a few weeks ago I can see why they enjoying touring together so much, they are a perfect fit.
Tension was mounting and 170 Russell felt like it had its own pulse as the lights dropped and chaos prevailed; Hordes of Chaos actually, sending heads whipping and bodies flying. Phobia and Satan Is Real came in a packaged deal of flame throwers, smoke cannons and ticker tape raining down. It was in your face and the metal army lapped it up, screaming for more. The title track off the new album Gods of Violence saw singer Mille Petrozza fire a smoke gun over the crowd, a great opportunity for the photographers who managed to get a guernsey to shoot this gig. People of the Lie, Total Death, Phantom Antichrist, and Fallen Brother were all sensational, Kreator living up the reputation of being the masters of German thrash metal.
The pit was volatile, a blur of half naked bodies bouncing off each other, dripping in sweat and spilt drinks. The crowd surfing had reached fever pitch and instead of a surf across the top it became more of a launch with moshers being hurled at a rapid pace. While I did find this quite frightening they all seemed to bounce on landing, jumping back in to do it all again. Maybe their hangover bodies wont feel quite so numb tomorrow.
Mille had his spirit fingers on speed dial constantly calling for a bigger mosh pit or a bigger circle, the fans answered this call as his fingers clawed to the sky in approval, a thrash metal master leading his black t-shirt brigade with authority and respect. Jurgen “Ventor” Reil sensational on drums, and while he may have been hidden behind his kit his sound was big and brash just the way I like it. Christian “Speesy” Giesler and Sami Yli-Sirnio shared the stage well, getting to see plenty of each no matter where your position was. All sensational musicians that make Kreator what they are today and what they have been for the last 35 years.
With several decades under their belt Kreator have so much music to choose from and we got a killer selection spanning the years. Enemy of God, World War Now, Extreme Aggression; the list goes on and on, with everyone more than happy with the set list that was delivered. Finishing out the first round was Civilisation Collapse but the exhausted fans were still screaming for more. After a brief step off stage they were back to finish it off with Violent Revolution and of course Pleasure to Kill.
As the final bows were taken and the screams died down I surveyed the carnage left in the wake of what was an absolutely brutal assault on the senses. Many shirtless, many shoeless and many staggering as we filed out to what was now Saturday morning. It was a great privilege to have Kreator visit us in Melbourne and we can only hope they will be back to do it all again, sooner rather than later.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Full Gallery by Jaidyn Hale can be found HERE