For the second time within a few months, Godset has invited thrash legends of yonder years into the wooden-floored halls. Last time it was Testament, this time it is Overkill and Mortal Sin.
The opening slot on this Wacken Roadshow evening has been allotted to German outfit Drone. Although they sound alright and the drummer of the band clearly impresses, I find it extremely hard to distract from the posing of the remaining three members of the band who seem overly conscious of climbing the stacks and putting on appropriately evil faces when their minds come to it. And why does that singer hit himself on the back of the head all the time? Don’t punish yourself, dude…
I know I should probably just turn around and only focus on the music, but I don’t, so there you go.
Ever since I reviewed their album I’ve been a fan of Drone’s technical thrash. Last year's concert at Wacken Open Air was a bit of a disappointment though, because of very (!) poor sound, so I hoped for a better sound and a better experience tonight, when they were set for a smaller stage, and probably an easier venue to make a decent sound in, than in a big tent on a field…
I’m glad I know their numbers so well, ‘cause the first three numbers weren’t easy to recognize; it was quite noisy, although I tried to move around to get the best possible sound – the last few numbers it got better, but still, for someone who didn’t know their numbers before, it could be quite difficult to set all the more or less complex parts of their songs apart. I enjoyed it though, especially the very tight and creative playing by the drummer, and him not seeming to have to strain himself to do the sometimes quite complex patterns – respect!
The three string guys in the front did a lot to seem fired up to the occasion, the singer/guitarist maybe a bit too much banging his hand against his head three times quite often during the show – what was that all about?!
Generally I got a good impression of them though - but making a good, clean sound for a technical thrash band like Drone is apparently a hard job to do…
Aussie veterans Mortal Sin is an entirely different ballgame to watch and listen to. With a sharp and clearly defined sound, the quintet plays an ultra-tight and professional set consisting of both new and old songs.
The new album is surprisingly well-represented, in fact, but the sinners prove that they have not lost the capability of writing tunes that work well live. Deadman Walking, Out of the Darkness, Tears of Redemption and Eye in the Sky have the anthemic elements that give them weight even for those who have not yet done themselves the favour of getting ‘An Absence of Faith’. Apart from that, classics like Voyage of the Disturbed, Lebanon, I Am Immortal and Mayhemic Destruction are played to the joy of old thrash-heads like my self.
Unlike Drone, there is no posing here. The two Mortal Sin guitarists, Mike Sultana and Nathan Shea, almost look like excuses for themselves as they rip through one riff after the other, whereas Mat Maurer and bassist Andy Eftichiou are the ever-moving Duracell bunnies of this band.
Generally Mortal Sin had the best sound of the night, but somehow it didn’t quite catch with me – sure it was nice to hear the classics from the late 80s, but I must admit it’s not what rotates in my player the most, and furthermore I hadn’t heard their new album until this afternoon – my fault. Some of the new stuff seems ok – gotta check it out some more I guess…
Where Mortal Sin won in terms of having a defined sound, Overkill win in the category ‘show’. Overkill is the kind of band that gets real, hardcore fans. A couple of folk show off their Overkill tattoos. A bunch of crazy Germans have followed them around for a good part of this tour ‘like lice’ as Blitz puts it.
And there is good reason to be crazy about this band. Although the sound occasionally fails the New Yorkers, the songs are definitely there, and Bobby Blitz overshadows everything as the sympathetic, humoristic and professional front man. And, yes, the man’s voice is characteristic, but if you don’t like it, fuck you. He rules. Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer on the flanks are surely more lively than the two Mortal Sin guitarists were (however not necessarily as tight) and DD Verni is his usual own cool self with the killer bass sound.
The thing is with a band like Overkill who have produced so many good songs over the years; you’re never quite satisfied with the selection of songs. But I have to say that I only miss one or two classics tonight (what happened to In Union We Stand?!?).
Covering the past 30 years or so, we get tunes like Wrecking Crew, Necroshine, Skull and Bones, Elimination, Hello From the Gutter, Hammerhead, an ultra-cool down-tempo (!) doom version of Skullcrusher, the metal anthem Bastard Nation, Nice Day for a Funeral, Thankx for Nothing, Rotten to the Core and the encores Old School and of course Fuck You!, the latter with AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds worked into it.
It’s not a huge crowd here tonight, but those who have turned up get a quality evening and those who want the opportunity to mosh get it. This sort of dies out towards the end of the Overkill set, though, since the wooden floor in front of the stage is now soaked in spilled beverages and therefore as slippery as an ice-skating course. But never mind, another fine evening for the thrashers in Kolding – hopefully more of those will come!
Overkill is a big favourite of mine, and I’ve enjoyed all their shows so far, all of them on bigger venues like Roskilde and Wacken. I had been looking forward to see them on an smaller venue, to get an impression of how they do their act on a club scene, hoping the show would be more intense and close. And I wasn’t disappointed, although I guess they played for just around 300 people.
It was obvious that they were the headliner of the evening, where D. and M.S. had shared equipment at the front of the stage, this had now been removed, and lights and smoke was used a lot more than for the two previous bands.
We got a good blend of old and new songs, live classics like Hello From The Gutter and Wrecking Crew, just to mention a few, but also some of my personal favourites: Thanx For Nothin’, Nice Day…For A Funeral and my newest “old” favourite number: Skullcrusher, which was done incredibly slow and heavy (this must be almost a new style: doom-thrash), a thrash-number done so that it sounded like the old classic Candlemass – damn cool guys!
The encores were the inevitable Old School and of course Fuck You, with some Dirty Deeds… blended into it… only problem for me at the end was, that I think it was too f**kin’ loud – intensity at a concert is not just made by playing louder – and I don’t think they needed that, the intensity was there already. Now, 24 hours after leaving the show, the hissing in my ears isn’t that dominant anymore, but I’d like to remember a concert by the music and the show, and not the possible aftermath…
The band seemed, as always, to enjoy themselves, and made a very solid performance, although the crowd wasn’t that big. I noticed that drummer Ron Lipnicki has furthermore become a more integrated part of the band since I saw Overkill at Wacken last summer, and to put it in Bobby’s words: he’s the best drummer in the band…and to put it how we do it in Jutland (understatements is the rule): Overkill could have done a lot worse, both with him and their show tonight – I’ll be there next time too.
Attending: Melsen, Kenn, Ditlev and Thomas
Bang that head that...
hasn't been banged yet...
or something: Drone
The two Duracell bunnies
of Mortal Sin, Mat and Andy.
A flash of light and sound -
See Melsen and Thomas'
pictures from the gig here:
> Mortal Sin