Opening bands: Sherkhan Bakhra, Alcoholator
This is the first of the three shows in a row that I'm attending this week. My body's not going to like me anymore.
When I got to the venue, the first local band, Sherkhan Bakhra, had just started playing. I suddenly understood that I was witnessing a rare event: a show starting on time at the Katacombes. Usually, they are at least an hour late, if not two. Unfortunately, Sherkhan Bakhra were not that good: they looked like six kids in high school that all want to play their style of metal and can't fit them correctly in their songs. The transitions between the different (black, melodic death, prog or thrash metal) riffs were painful, partly because their drummer didn't seem like she knew how to play metal. Also, the second female in the band, the keyboardist, was totally useless. She played Cradle of Filth-esque "atmospheres" over the riffs, but it did not add anything to them. I preferred concentrating on the guitars and on the bass. The three guys handling these instruments were pretty skilled, but it they're probably lacking songwriting experience. I believe that this band has potential to become a really good band if they get rid of their keyboardist, and if their drummer and their vocalist (his vocals were pretty generic, and so were his lyrics) improve over time.
The other local band was in another league. This was my third time seeing the old school drunk thrash metal masters Alcoholator, and they slayed like they always do (maybe even more). Their bassist had left the band about a week before the show, but the replacing one did a hell of a job. Epic congratulations to fellow member and friend Holy_Nick1991 for learning the songs in five days and for giving an almost flawless and energetic performance. Even if the place was far from being full (it never really filled up through the night, there were less than 150 attendees), Alcoholator started to get the crowd going. There were small pit and tons of screaming and fist-pumping, especially during their cover of Exciter's "Pounding Metal".
After their set, I met with another MetalSetlists user, sarsip. He had came all the way from Vermont to see this concert. I talked with him throughout the night; he's a very nice guy
he made me dust off my English. We, and pretty much everyone at this gig, were looking forward to see the legendary Venom guitarist Mantas shred with his new band Mpire of Evil. None was disappointed. Demolition Man's voice fitted the old Venom songs well, and the ones from Prime Evil
and from the new album Hell to the Holy
sounded great live. I had listened to the latter album the day before the show and a wasn't impressed. I thought it was generic heavy metal and that the production was too "wannabe modern", but in a live context the songs worked really well. I also have to say that Demolition Man is a great frontman: he has an imposing presence and he knows how to make a roomfull of metalheads go crazy. Same thing for Mantas; he had a great stage presence and his guitar tone was fantastic. A few other special, cool things happened in their set. First, they placed the drumset on the balcony above the stage. It gave more space for the musicians on the small stage, especially for Onslaught later because they're five instead of three, and it kinda looked like in the big venue, where the drums are on a pedestal. Second, before playing "Black Metal", Mantas and Demolition Man simulated an argument: like if Mantas wanted to play his classic, "Black Metal", and Demolition Man wanted to play his, "Witching Hour". They alternated the opening notes to "Witching Hour" and the first riff to "Black Metal"; the latter got more screams so they played it first. The crowd completely went nuts for that emblematic song, but my personal highlight was "Witching Hour", one of my favourite Venom songs.
Then came the band I was waiting for. I had discovered Onslaught in high school with the album Killing Peace
, which I still consider as one of the best modern thrash records to this day. They started with one of my personal favourites, the title track to that album, then they went into "Born for War" from their last offering, Sounds of Violence
. Near the end of the song, they fucked up and decided to start the song over. That was pretty funny. Except for that mistake, Onslaught gave an incredible show. The songs from their classic album The Force
were epic live and Sy Keeler's voice was impeccable. The highs in the songs from that album were particularly good: they were a lot rougher and more aggressive than on the original recording. Mister Keeler also was really charismatic in his interactions with the crowd and he got a pretty decent crowd reaction. During the two last songs from the first record, he challenged us to beat the american crowds and the people in the Katacombes really took it seriously. The pit exploded to the sound of those two punk-thrashers. During "Onslaught (Power from Hell)", I jumped in there, but a knee entered in a fast collision with my balls, leaving me in agony for the end of the set.
I went back where I was before and headbanged silently. During "Thermoniclear Devastation", the crowd went FUCKING CRAZY, closing a good night of old-school metal.
Mpire of Evil
Countess Bathory *
Hell to the Holy
Die Hard *
Leave Me in Hell *
Blackened Are the Priests *
Black Metal *
Witching Hour *
* Venom songs
Into the Abyss (intro)
Born for War
Let there Be Death
Angels of Death
Destroyer of Worlds
Rest in Pieces
Fight with the Beast
The Sound of Violence
Onslaught (Power from Hell)