Wednesday, April 14, 2010

OverKill's Killfest Tour 2010

Kudos to the veteran East Coast mob known as OverKill for assembling a fairly diversified bill when it came to touring behind the recently released ‘Ironbound.’ An album of that magnitude deserves a tour at least as equal, right? Well on paper it was a no brainer, being there was a little different.

True the evening started without me as both Woe Of Tyrants and UK thrashers Evile took the stage a lot earlier than most attendees arrival, but from what I heard it did little to dampen their sets. I know nothing about ‘WOT’ but have followed Evile for some time now and would like to see them at least once but tonight was not that night.

Similar in theory, I had never seen Warbringer live. Which is amazing seeing how often they tour, but combat that with how little I leave home and you can see its basic math. Tonight was different as I finally got to witness the California quintet take the stage with an absolute fury! I’ve got to say, they were everything a young, hungry and dedicated band should be. I like to think I know a thing or two about the genre and these guys simply delivered it in droves.

I was impressed throughout their set, for all the hoopla about “modern” Thrash bands and the hype surrounding them Warbringer stand shoulders above it all. No jokes, no gimmicks, no surfboards, pure music delivered with pure intent.

Holland’s God Dethroned were up next and truthfully I haven’t heard an album of theirs since the late 90’s/early 00’s so it was almost like seeing a “new” band for the first time. They were solid as hell, maybe a bit repetitious but the quality and professionalism of the band and how they performed as a unit was undeniable. Vocalist/Guitarist/Founder Henri Sattler led the band through, from what I could tell a decent smattering of God Dethroned history and I was duly impressed with their drummer who was a machine behind the kit.

Back in the day when you mentioned the words Poland and Metal there was only one word that came to mind…Vader! That was it, case closed. Vader were the premiere band from that country and their albums and live shows were about as brutal as they come. The year now is 2010 and I’d say for the past several years the axis of those sentiments have shifted, especially here in the US. Behemoth, once the snotty nosed cousins of the mighty Vader have slowly been nipping at their heels and while I would never admit a full usurped upheaval, tonight’s show may have sealed the deal.

Now I’m not sure if this is because Vader’s recorded output has slowly morphed into AC/DC territory where several of their most recent albums, more or less sound like the one previous? It may have something to do with it, but as with many a Metal band the proof is in the show and that’s where this reviewer’s job gets tricky. To put it bluntly I simply was not blown away. For the first time since 1993 when the last chord was struck and the band exited the stage, Vader just didn’t do it for me tonight. Was it the band themselves? No, not at all. Peter and the boys came ready to perform, but it wasn’t a mind blower nor was it a snooze fest.

Was it the material? Again, no. While I was a little bummed not being able to hear some of my all-time favorite songs, I understand this was a support slot and time was an issue. But even when they went into a favorite of mine like “Sothis” it was again, good but not great. I don’t mean to come across in any way that their set was a disappointment because it wasn’t, new songs off the ‘Necropolis’ album “Devilizer” and “Rise of the Undead” were probably more enjoyable live and when they went back to their debut with “Crucified Ones” that was killer too, but an overall feeling of a slight let down could not be erased.

Not helping things was the sight and sounds of the evening’s headliners. Blessed with crystal clear sound and expanded production values New York’s OverKill took the stage and pretty much obliterated those who played before them. Kicking things off with a monstrous 1-2 punch of “The Green and Black” and “Rotten to the Core” Blitz and D.D. Verni led their troops through 25 years of material near and dear to the frenzied crowd. Long time axe-team Derek Trailer and Dave Linsk were damn unstoppable running through old and new songs like “Feel the Fire,” “Hello from the Gutter,” “Necroshine” and the title track to the new album “Ironbound.”

For a band who has released one of their strongest records in their 25th year, it was an absolute pleasure to watch these guys work. Their energy level and enthusiasm for their craft after a quarter century is something to stand up and notice and ultimately salute.

Remaining Dates:
04/15 Vancouver, BC Red Room no Woe Of Tyrants
04/16 Seattle, WA El Corazon
04/17 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
04/18 San Francisco, CA The Grand Ballroom
04/19 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
04/20 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
04/21 San Diego, CA House of Blues
04/22 Phoenix, AZ O.K.'s
04/23 Tucson, AZ The Rock
04/24 Farmington, NM Gators
04/25 Tulsa, OK Marquee
04/26 Austin, TX Emu's
04/27 Houston, TX Scout Bar
04/28 Dallas, TX Trees
04/29 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
04/30 Springfield, VA Jaxx
05/01 New York City, NY Nokia Theater Times Square