Sunday, May 03, 2009
Kreator and Exodus Tour Review!
Bands: Kreator, Exodus, Belphegor, Warbringer, and Epicurean
Venue: House of Blues, West Hollywood, California.
Date: May 2, 2009
The spring concert season in Los Angeles gets into full swing as the Kreator/ Exodus headlining tour roars into the HOB Sunset Strip on a Saturday night. I haven’t seen Kreator live in concert since 1985 when they opened for Voivod on their debut trek across the United States in support of “Pleasure To Kill”, and Exodus are one of the few major thrash bands that I’ve never gotten around to seeing in concert. So, as you might imagine, I was greatly anticipating this tour, as was just about everyone else in the Los Angeles area (everyone was out for this one). Rounding out the bill were the monstrous Belphegor, Warbringer, and Epicurean.
Epicurean kicks things off for the evening just as I arrive. Not being familiar with Epicurean, I was not particularly impressed with their brand of melodic thrash metal, but the band’s level of musicianship and songwriting skill was evident. Most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with Epicurean, as well, but the band was well received for their 25 minute set.
Warbringer were up next with Epicurean drummer John Gensmer filling in for the injured Nic Ritter. I must say that I’ve never been all that impressed with Warbringer, but the band has definitely shown some growth in the 18 months or so since I had seen them the last time around. Warbringer just roared through a crushing half hour set that immediately had the crowd opening up a huge pit. The band played a couple of tracks from their soon to be released second album, and I must say that I am now looking forward to that album as Warbringer were just full of energy with great songs.
I thought that Belphegor’s inclusion on this tour was a bit unusual, as none of the other bands are flirting with death or black metal. I, for one, was looking forward to Belphegor, having been greatly impressed by their last couple of full-lengths, but I wasn’t sure what the crowd’s reaction to a blackened death metal band on an all out thrash metal bill would be. Belphegor were well received, after all, as the band blew through a 45 minute set hitting songs from their last three full-lengths. Most impressive is front man Helmuth’s absolutely roaring, brutally guttural vocals in a live setting. As an added bonus, Belphegor also had some blasphemous t-shirts; hence, my t-shirt purchase for the evening.
I’ve been listening to Exodus off and on since the release of “Bonded By Blood” (my friends and I wore out our VHS copy of “The Ultimate Revenge”), although, for whatever reason, I never got around to seeing the band live. I usually took notice when the band released a full-length (I lost track of them in the mid 90s), however, and I have generally enjoyed the band’s output since their reinvigoration with “Tempo Of The Damned”. Exodus were exceptional with a gigantic sound, and an enthusiasm (original members Gary Holt and Tom Hunting were all business and were obviously pleased with the crowd’s appreciation) not very often seen in a band that’s been through many ups and downs over such a long, sporadic career. Highlights included about half of “Bonded By Blood”, “Toxic Waltz”, and a sampling of songs from the last couple of full-lengths. Throughout the 70 minute set, Rob Dukes periodically paused to wax rhapsodic about current events such as swine flu and Islamic terrorism. The crowd ate it all up with gusto as Exodus brought down the house with “Strike Of The Beast”.
Kreator followed Exodus with a monstrous, 90 minute set. After about 25 years, Kreator can still fire on all cylinders in the studio with their last couple of great albums, and deliver in a live setting as Mille and company just blew the crowd away. A gigantic set hitting all portions of their career, Kreator also were able to bring down the jam packed house with highlights including “Pleasure To Kill”, “Coma Of Souls”, “People Of The Light”, “Hordes Of Chaos”, and a host of others. Mille, like many thrash metal veterans, is still able to project an air of enthusiasm, and he and the band continue to soldier on through a stellar career. Finally, it was all over just before 1 AM, and the truly spent crowd went home happy.
Here's the junk...
The t-shirt haul...
As always, thanks again to Dave and Liz.
On the horizon...