The last quarter of any given year is always a busy time for heavy metal fans. With winter tours aplenty, the arrival of German thrash metal legends DESTRUCTION, with FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, ENFORCER and NERVOSA in-tow, to UK shores looked set to kick start gig season in full swing. But would the billing live up to the standard of the bands’ fierce studio sound?
Unfortunately for Brazilian thrash trio NERVOSA, a prolonged delay of the venue opening its doors had a impact on the band’s stage time and left the band in an awkward position. With their stage time cut in order to keep the rest of the event running to schedule, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for NERVOSA as if they were given the correct amount of time on stage, their performance would have been colossal. However, despite the issues NERVOSA will still utterly impressive on stage. Fernanda Lira‘s vocals are as venomous live as they are on record, with the snarls of Into Moshpit‘s infectious chorus being a particular highlight whereas Prika Amaral‘s guitar playing was intricate yet packed a powerful punch. Without the underlying issues, NERVOSA would of hit the heights they truly deserve. It’s unfortunate, but if a glimpse of the band’s live ability was that good, just imagine what a full set would bring.
With the show desperately still trying to run on time, the teething problems impacted NERVOSA‘s set carried over to Swedish heavy metallers ENFORCER which dampened the opening impact of the band. As the band tore into the first three track from their latest record, From Beyond, the vocal deliveries from Olof Wikstrand were difficult to hear in the mix of galloping riffs and tearing blasts from the drums. As ENFORCER ploughed through their set, things did improve. The dual guitar battle on Undying Evil from Olof Wikstrand and Joseph Tholl was performed to precision and the emphatic chorus on Take Me Out Of This Nightmare was utterly infectious. It wasn’t perfect and a few niggling sound issues were irritating but despite this, ENFORCER still provided a set of glorious and unadulterated heavy metal mayhem.
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM have been in the trash metal scene since it all started and over the course of their 35 year career the band has amassed a bountiful collection of tracks to perform at their disposal. With the band releasing their self-titled 12th record earlier this year, it made sense that their performance included a sprinklings of new material. Thankfully, the new songs held up well in comparison to their celebrated back catalogue. The pummelling riffs of Seventh Seal whipped up a strong opening as FLOTSAM AND JETSAM roared on stage. But, it was the ‘classic’ material that really showcased the strength of the band. Dreams of Death, No Place For Disgrace and Desecrator all made the cut and it was here where FLOTSAM AND JETSAM truly shined. From the slick riffs of Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley to the bombastic drumming of Jason Bittner, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM executed the typical thrash metal formula effortlessly on stage. Vocalist Eric A. Knutson‘s stage presence was commanding and oozing in confidence, giving the band enough aggression to hold their own. They’ve been kicking around in thrash for decades, but judging from their performance, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM still have enough energy to deliver live 35 years down the line.
DESTRUCTION have been considered one of thrash metal’s strongest bands for years now. The German trio have continuously been relevant in the heavy metal scene and on the back of album number 14, Under Attack, the band’s set in Manchester was everything everyone expected. Opening with the title track of their latest record, DESTRUCTION roared into life through the chugging riffs of Mike Sifringer and the iconic vocal deliveries from Schmier. Boasting a thirteen track set, the band ticked all the boxes, covering material across their extensive career, which was delivered at a rapid pace leaving the crowd little time to breathe. Nailed To The Cross‘ chorus was met with thunderous reception, Mad Butcher had heads banging aplenty and Thrash Till Death was performed with precision. As a unit on stage, the chemistry of DESTRUCTION was incredibly healthy. Wawrzyniec Dramowicz‘ drumming was thunderous at times, with breakneck rhythm keeping the tempo at an all time high, Sifringer‘s guitar playing was mesmerising to watch and Schmier‘s bass and vocal duties were exactly what fans expected; vicious. The band may not have brought anything new or unique to their performance but their set demonstrated a band who know exactly what they are doing, this was a refined and polish performance, one of superb thrash metal quality.
Check out our photo gallery from the night’s action in Manchester from photographers Jessica Howkins and Christopher Ryan:
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