Words: David Creamer, Photos: Becky Callaghan
Manchester has quite the unusual scene for metal as it sports a variety of different genres. But the more notable one that’s slowly rising above the rest is thrash. Mancunians can’t seem to get enough of blistering speeds, patched up jackets and brutal mosh pits that never seem to end. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when three very popular thrash metal bands announced a gig at Academy 3, they swarmed in their numbers, hungry for sounds of the old school.
Kicking things off to a skull-crushing start, EXXXEKUTIONER stepped up to the plate to sate the crowd of rabid thrash maniacs. As a front for the old school thrash revival in Manchester, their brand of blackened thrash is very popular within the scene, as can be seen from the number of t-shirts of theirs being sported by the audience. Playing many songs off their Fear The Priest EP, they brandished a very crisp and streamlined guitar sound on top of some very bass heavy drums married to a chunky bass sound. The vocals were a bit drowned out amidst all the other instruments, and the cluttered stage meant that movement on the band’s behalf was lacking for obvious reasons. But the crowd loved it. A mosh pit broke out almost instantly as the main riff to March to Death kicked in, and many people turned up to witness them open. These Salford lads are definitely a band you’ll be wanting to keep a close eye on.
Up next came the classic act that is ENGLISH DOGS. Bringing their old school, punk infused thrash to the table, they quickly sought to rile up the crowd that had gone so mad for EXXXEKUTIONER and prepare them for the onslaught of the headliner. Sadly, the crowd did not respond as they had hoped. They had turned out in their numbers yes, but unfortunately nobody felt the urge to mosh. Still, responses in between songs were great when announcing older tracks such as Survival of the Fittest as well as newer ones. The crowd certainly gave respect where it was due, as each song was very well performed with lots of passion and vigour. Sound was very full, where all players involved were tastefully audible par the rythmn guitarist. Whether you stood and respectfully gave them your ear, or whipped your head to and fro, ENGLISH DOGS certainly got you into the mood for more.
Topping off a night full of thrash metal that came in different flavours and armed with their classic singer Steve “Zetro” Souza, EXODUS stormed on stage to really show the crowd what thrash metal really is, and what it can do. Sadly, Gary Holt was nowhere to be seen due to commitments with Slayer, but fortunately, Kragen Lum of HEATHEN stepped in to fill his considerable shoes and suffice it to say, he did a pretty damn good job of it. The Californian thrashers kicked off their set to a flying start with tracks of their new release such as Black 13, and then quickly mixed then many songs from their other albums as well, providing us with a great variety of the material spanning their 35 year career. The audience absolutely lost it. Instantaneously, a group of people patiently but anxious waiting for the madness to begin, descended into absolute bedlam. A never ending whirlwind of sweat laden hair, denim and leather battered through the audience as EXODUS unleashed their onslaught. This would go on until the gig ended, proving how well liked the band is from the response of the crowd. Oh, bruises galore.
The sound quality of their performance was phenomenal. If you shut your eyes during the performance, you would not be able to assume they were down a crucial member. Both guitars boasted a very meaty sound, even with single notes, the drums thundered through your ribcage with every strike of the sticks and the bass, albeit somewhat clicky and annoying at times, chimed through the mix alongside Zetro’s very distinguishable and recognisable voice. Altogether, the sound very much recreated the sound quality heard on Blood in Blood Out, a feat which many bands could only dream of achieving. Eventually drawing their monstrous set to a close with classic songs such as War is my Sheppard and The Toxic Waltz amongst others, EXODUS came to Manchester to destroy and left absolutely nothing in the wake. A brilliant performance, despite the suffocating heat.
Check out Distorted Sound’s exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester