Two Concert Reviews
Bands: Destruction/ Hirax/ Into Eternity/ Anger As Art
Location: The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, California
Date: February 17th, 2007
The Knitting Factory is a small club in Hollywood with two stages: one small stage in the front bar, and the main stage down a hallway. The main stage area has a capacity of only a couple of hundred, and is a bit more intimate than, say, the House Of Blues in West Hollywood. Thanks to Dave Brenner at Earsplit, I had free tickets for a friend and myself for the finale of the Thrash ‘til Death tour.
At any rate, there were a few local bands given the opportunity to perform on the front bar’s stage prior to the main show, but I bypassed them completely to get a seat (after getting a Destruction “Thrash Anthems” T-shirt) on the balcony right next to the mixing board for the entire evening. Taking a look at the crowd, I noted a mix of young kids and more than a few late thirty/ early forty somethings such as myself. Soon after I settled in, local L.A. regulars Anger As Art took the main stage and ran through a 25 minute or so set of hardcore-tinged thrash metal. For those of you not aware of Anger As Art, they’re fronted by Steve Gaines, who also fronted the old 80s L.A. thrash band Abbatoir from way back when. I’ve seen them before, and they put on a good set that was well received by the crowd.
Up next was Canadian melodic thrash metal band Into Eternity, whose latest album, “The Scattering Of Ashes”, has been critically well received. Their sound was a bit off at first, but that was soon corrected and they blew through a 30 minute or so set consisting mostly of material from “The Scattering Of Ashes”, as well as featuring flashy guitar work from Tim Roth and a good drum solo.
Crowd anticipation was growing for the next band, L.A.’s legendary Hirax. I haven’t listened to Hirax for about 20 years or so (remember the screaming egg cover art for “Raging Violence”?), so I was curious to see how they’d do. Frankly, I was blown away. The crowd went absolutely apeshit during the set, and the drummer, Fabricio Ravelli, was phenomenal, absolutely beating the shit out of his kit. Katon W. De Pena was a great frontman, alternately praising the crowd for their enthusiasm, support, and participation, as well as putting on a great show. At one point, a skinny kid in glasses was thrown up onto the stage from crowd surfing and De Pena grabs the kid in a hug, and has him scream along into the microphone for a few moments before tossing him back. Hirax’s set was very impressive and had it all: presence, showmanship, and power. Fantastic!
After a long changeover of 45 minutes, Destruction finally takes the stage. For those of you familiar with my writings, you’ll recall that I’ve never seen this legendary band live, although I’ve been listening to them since 1984. Naturally my anticipation and expectations were high, especially after following a phenomenal set from Hirax. Opening with “Curse The Gods”, Destruction proceeds through a string of classics appearing on the “Thrash Anthems” album as well as a few recent gems, such as “Nailed To The Cross”. During their long set, Schmier even took a request of “Invincible Force” and also had the roadies pass out water bottles to the crowd, now exhausted and stifling in the heat. Finally, Destruction closes with “Bestial Invasion” and “Total Desaster”. Prior to finishing, Schmier also hinted at the possibility of a Destruction/ Sodom/ Kreator tour of America, which, as you might guess, was greeted with a roar from the appreciative crowd.
Frankly, this was a fantastic show and I finally arrived home at about 2:00 AM (way too late) in the morning. After a few hours sleep …round two.
Bands: Unleashed/ Krisiun/ Belphegor
Location: The Key Club, West Hollywood, California
Date: February 18th, 2007
Less than 24 hours later and with my ears still ringing, I arrive at the Key Club in time to catch local death metal act Letum Ascensus as one of the evening’s openers. I had just recently seen this band open up for the Dark Funeral/ Enslaved show a few weeks back and wasn’t overly impressed, but they were much better this evening with a tighter set and an excellent, new drummer. At any rate, my curiosity was piqued enough to keep an eye on them for the future. While waiting around after their set, I noticed more than a few familiar faces in the crowd from the previous evening’s Destruction show.
Next up was Belphegor, whose last album, “Pestapokalypse VI”, made my 2006 Honorable Mention list. Playing a rather short set on a darkened stage, Belphegor blew through songs from “Goatreich-Fleshcult” as well as “Pestapokalypse VI” and were given a good response from the crowd. Lille Gruber, the session drummer filling in from Defeated Sanity, did an excellent job and was most impressive. I even had a chance to greet and welcome the bassist to the U.S after their set in the basement near the merchandise tables.
Frankly, although Unleashed was headlining, I was there to see Krisiun. “AssassiNation” was my #2 album for 2006, and still sees heavy rotation in my stereo. They are also phenomenal live and can be every bit as mind altering in concert as, say, Slayer. Krisiun just blew me away. Playing a long set, highlights for me were “Vicious Wrath”, “Bloodcraft”, and the closer, “Conquerors Of Armageddon”. The only slight disappointment in their set was the absence of “Refusal”, my favorite song from the last album. Krisiun is rapidly becoming one of the few bands that I’ll go see every time that they appear in Los Angeles.
After a short changeover, Unleashed takes the stage and, although I appreciate this band, they’re not a personal favorite of mine, and I left after about four or five songs. This was at about 12:30 AM and I was thoroughly exhausted after two back-to-back marathon concerts. However, I will note that Unleashed plays songs from each of their albums on this tour and I did get to hear “Never Ending Hate” from “Shadows In The Deep”. I would also recommend “Midvinterblot” to anyone.
At any rate, both concerts were excellent, but I need a break. I’ll skip the L.A. Murderfest coming up and get myself geared up for the upcoming 1349 and Dimmu Borgir shows.
I have additional photos posted here and you can see all of the YouTube vidoes through the Widget in the sidebar, or via this link. Over the course of the next week or so, I'll periodically post some of the better videos after being re-sized for better resolution. Here are two pictures, one of Krisiun and the other is Destruction.
I also encourage you to look at my latest reviews at L4M. Once again, feel free to provide criticism.