KREATOR have been one of the biggest bands in thrash, and heavy metal in general, for years now. The German outfit’s uncompromising sonic assault, especially since the turn of the century, has resulted in KREATOR going from strength to strength. With album number fourteen, Gods of Violence, still fresh in people’s mind the band are aiming to maintain their choke-hold on people with a massive headlining run across Europe and the UK with heavy hitters SEPULTURA, SOILWORK and ABORTED in support. But does a bill that is thoroughly stacked meet the massive anticipation?
Despite the venue being barely full, Belgium brutal death metallers ABORTED wasted no time in laying waste through a barrage of whirlwind riffing and gut-wrenching slams. With the band still supporting their latest record, Retrogore, the band’s setlist was mostly comprised of new material but that proved testament to ABORTED‘s ability to consistently produce quality death metal. From the dual riffing assault from Mendel bij de Leij and Ian Jekelis on Cadaverous Banquet to the adrenaline-pumped blasts throughout Termination Redux, ABORTED wasted no time in pushing their sound to the absolute maximum. Frontman Sven de Caluwé‘s enthusiastic manner in both his stage persona and his guttural vocal deliveries kept the band replicating a well oiled machine and despite a relatively short set, ABORTED consistently delivered on whipping up a storm throughout their performance.
Compared to the rest of the band’s on the bill, Swedish melodic death metallers SOILWORK were certainly the most melodic band on the lineup and unfortunately the band’s performance was consistently flat. Largely throughout their nine song set the overall sound of the band felt like a muddled mess as many of the band’s key characteristics were lost in the mix, leaving much less to be desired from SOILWORK. Whilst sprinklings of guitar trickery from dual axeman Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson demonstrated shimmerings of brilliance, it wasn’t enough to leave a lasting impression for the band. Björn Strid‘s harsh vocals were easily heard, with opening song The Ride Majestic showcasing his powerful vocal deliveries, it was his clean delivery that fell absolutely flat and resulted in a sound that felt painfully average. There was little power and authority in the band’s melodic aspect with Sven Karlsson‘s keyboards feeling incredibly quiet and it resulted in SOILWORK giving a performance that was tipped to far to their heavier aspect, which resulted in their overall performance feeling flat and and largely forgettable.
SEPULTURA are one of metal’s most iconic bands and with an extensive back catalogue the band have a huge variety of tracks to unleash at their disposal. Despite the fact the band has long since operated with the founding Cavalera brothers, the modern era of SEPULTURA fronted by Derrick Green still consistently produce records and embark on widespread touring across the globe. However, their performance was largely uninspired and lacked enough standout force to really maintain their impact on the live front. Mostly, this was due to the band focusing their attention throughout the first half of their set towards material from their latest record, Machine Messiah. Granted, it makes sense to focus your attention to new material, but here, it lacked enough spark to keep people’s attention. As the band progressed to the latter portion of their performance, the focused switched to the band’s classic material and it certainly marked an improvement to SEPULTURA‘s impact on the live stage. Andreas Kisser‘s riffing on Arise kept the momentum at top gear, Eloy Casagrande‘s Brazilian-esque drumming on Ratamahatta felt powerful and Derrick Green‘s enthusiastic stage presence helped Roots Bloody Roots end SEPULTURA‘s set on a high. Despite moments of flair, largely SEPULTURA‘s performance lacked enough quality to live up to the band’s iconic status.
Despite confetti cannons jumping the gun before KREATOR even took to the stage, the German thrashers performance from the offset was jam-packed full of adrenaline fused riffing, power and utter carnage. Opening with Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite), the tone of the band’s performance was made clear; pure unadulterated thrash. The dual guitar riffs from Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö kept the momentum churning at top speed, with Enemy of God inciting chaos amongst the crowd and the lead solo on From Flood Into Fire being executed to pin-point precision. The combination of Christian Giesler‘s bass lines and Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil‘s Teutonic driven drumwork kept KREATOR‘s impact hitting hard, with Phantom Antichrist‘s explosive rhythm showcasing a band performing in their stride.
With the tour being in support of the band’s latest studio effort, Gods of Violence, it therefore made a lot of sense that the band’s setlist was largely comprised of new material. With six songs from the latest album making an appearance in the live environment, it showcases KREATOR‘s faith in their new material and the result paid off to brilliant results. From the emotionally charged delivery of Mille Petrozza‘s vocal deliveries on Fallen Brother, the ritualistic chanting of Satan Is Real‘s chorus and the pummelling riffing of World War Now, the new material from KREATOR held their own, proving testament to the band’s ability, years into their career. With the band’s encore comprising of a fiery rendition of Violent Revolution, largely thanks to the visual assistance of pyrotechnics, and a three song blitz of Flag of Hate, Under The Guillotine and Pleasure To Kill, KREATOR finished their lengthy set in the same fashion as they opened it; white-knuckle and adrenaline pumped thrash metal. At this point in their career, it’s incredibly impressive that KREATOR can still whip up a storm to such an effect, but the German thrashers more than showcased their quality, proving that they are still flying the flag high for thrash metal.
Check out our extensive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from photographer Christopher Ryan Photography here: