Knowing that Bolt Thrower was coming to MDF again this year, I had hoped beyond hope that they would make their way into Chicago for an appearance while in the States. Hope springs eternal, and I got my wish. Not only that, I was lucky enough to find out BEFORE the tickets actually went on sale. My better half, the Lady Skull Kelly, pushed all work aside at the moment that the tickets were released, and grabbed us two online before the door shut on the less fortunate. YES!!!
Arriving shortly before the doors opened at Reggie’s Rock Club, Kelly and I decided to head into the bar proper for a beverage. There, we were treated to a short blast of the free pre-show being offered by Reggie’s. We caught the last few numbers of the always delightful Elbow Deep. These guys slay as much as they crack me up. Following Elbow Deep, an interesting young thrash outfit called Beyond De-th cranked into a set. I enjoyed what little I saw, but alas, the doors to the main event had opened, so Kelly and I made our way next door.
The joint was already packed when we arrived. Anticipation was running high. My guess was that there wouldn't be many making a point of being "fashionably late" for this show. After about a 45 minute wait, Kenosha, Wisconsin's Jungle Rot fired up the first set of the night. Riding high on rave reviews for their latest release, Terror Regime, Jungle Rot welcomed the crowd to a strong set of in your face, meat and potatoes death metal. The fans at hand, obviously already well versed in Jungle Rot, thrashed, moshed, and roared their approval for the offerings. And now, we were rolling.
After a relatively brief changeover, The U.K.'s Benediction kicked into gear. Ashamed, with my tail between my legs, I must admit that I am not all that familiar with much of Benediction’s output from the last 20+ years of activity (stop booing me now, please), but I have to say they slaughtered the room with their own brand of high energy death metal. I enjoyed their set immensely. The house was going apeshit by now, and gave Benediction the support they well deserved.
Tension during the break was mounting. Outside smoking, all the talk was of Bolt Thrower and what was to come. We slipped back in quickly and, leaving Kelly in the safety of the balcony, I took the best spot on the floor I could fit in to. After staking my claim, I realized I was where all the action was going to be. I slammed my beer, so it wouldn't end up sacrificed to the gods of the pit, hunkered down, and waited.
Fog fills the room, Bolt Thrower take the stage, and tear into “The IVth Crusade.” The shit hits the fan and the house explodes! EVERYONE was either headbanging or stomping around in the newly erupted pit, which as I anticipated, was all around me. Moving to the rim to help keep the punters in play while thrashing my head off, when Bolt Thrower moved on to “Mercenary,” I couldn't help but throw myself into the melee. That's certainly a good way to help this 44 year old fart feel young again. It's an even better way for the human body to REMIND that 44 year old fart how OLD he is in the days following, as my old bones and joints are punishing me still.
However, I remained active repeatedly throughout the performance as Bolt Thrower floored us with their best, such as “Warmaster,” World Eater, "... For Victory," and “No Guts, No Glory.” They literally flattened the room and asserted command over their audience with “The Killchain.”
Even with a three number encore, the set was way too short for my liking. However, Bolt Thrower is one of those unique bands in, not just metal, but in music, that have truly created their own distinctive sound. For that matter, in my eyes, they are in and of themselves, their own sub-genre. So, even though I wished they would have played ‘til dawn, I feel very fortunate to have been there to witness their Return to Chaos. Bloody good show!
Special thanks to Dave for reimbursing us the price of tickets as a birthday gift!
Editor: Thanks, Skull!
Catching up on some reviews, here are quick looks at Deluge by Slidhr and The Hundredth Name by Demon Lung…
… and, here’s a full-length review of the self titled new album from Blood Red Throne….