Kreator

support Morbid Angel + Nile + Fueled By Fire
author EW date 12/12/12 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

In the strange absence of any UK dates for this heavyweight extreme metal tour it seemed the perfect occasion for me to make my first soiree to Danish shores, just ahead of the annual Rockfreaks.net Julefrokost extravanganza, and see how a bill featuring Kreator, Morbid Angel, Nile and Fueled by Fire would be appreciated by the locals. In the plush modern surroundings of Amager Bio it seems the answer is 'very well' as the thousand or so could attest for, although that number was greatly reduced for the 6.15pm start date of Californian thrashers Fueled by Fire...

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Carlos Gutierrez of Fueled By Fire

Fueled by Fire

Based on the score of thrash metal's 1 to death metal's 2 from the established acts tonight a thrashing opener was probably to be expected, though the mixed feelings I possess towards this wave of retro bands has tended to make me more nervous than excited at what prospects could lie ahead. Ticking all the boxes required of a thrash act in terms of monicker, album titles and covers and on-stage appearance, FbF offer the straight-ahead take on aggressive thrash that recalls the heyday of Exodus' intensity while recalling any number of very similar recent US acts (Violator, Warbringer, Bonded by Blood, Havok) in their delivery.

Though the Amager Bio stage is a spacious one, the addition of Nile's and Kreator's drumkits plus a torrent of other equipment besides their own leaves FbF divided at the front: lead guitarist Chris Monroy is separated from his buddies Rick Rangel and Anthony Vasquez by Carlos Gutierrez' respectively sized kit with the resultant lack of stage movement a not unsurprising outcome but the furious banging from the youngsters (I'm old enough to get away with that now) upfront tells that the straight ahead nature of their material is working a treat. Songs of a menial 4-5 minutes and a slightly Slayer-esque vocal delivery from Rangel allow the band to benefit from a superb sound to provide a solid start even if it was to a half empty room.

Dallas Toler-Wade of Nile

Nile

Still on the touring rounds for this year's "At the Gate of Sethu" LP, Nile present their usual highly technical take on death metal to an ever-expanding audience once the workers had started to drift in on this cold Wednesday night. Regardless of venue a Nile performance I have always found to be an acid test for the quality of the sound system as their more recent material has made up for their earlier feel of darkness with increased rhythmic changes and in drummer George Kollias' case, punishing levels of drum speed, to really put pressure on their clarity of performance. In the Amager Bio the low mix of Karl Sanders' growled vocals is the main gripe as otherwise their set of mostly recent material is delivered more with professionalism than unbridled vigour as aside from live bassist Todd Ellis it is a feeling of muted energies from his comrades. Unlike their Bloodstock show reviewed earlier this year the set this time is based more around post-"Annihilation of the Wicked" songs, less to this writer's liking, but come standard closer "Black Seeds of Vengeance" one can't help feeling that better is still to come.

7

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

Morbid Angel

By now every man and his dog knows about the disappointment that was "Illud Divinum Insanus" and it seems Morbid Angel do too. A year and a half since that album's release and we now only hear two songs from it live - "Existo Vulgore" and "Nevermore" - in a set comprised otherwise mostly of A/B/C material with the odd forays into the D and F eras of the legendary Floridian's discography (if you don't know what I'm on about, seek out their list of album titles). Because when it comes to playing to one's strengths Morbid Angel do precisely that - "Chapel of Ghouls", "Rapture", "Maze of Torment", "Fall From Grace" - can only be the works of a legendary death metal act and in comfortable fashion show that to be the case. Although 'comfortable' is the word, as the current line-up does not feel fully cohesive - there is little stage movement or interaction between members, Destructhor in particular on guitars resembles a man in the rehearsal room rather than on stage, and in Tim Yeung they have a master blaster filling Pete Sandoval's stool, but the apprentice's super fast triggered blasts do not recall the same ferocity as his master's work with the band. Trey Azagthoth, of course, has not changed - his face completely obscured by hair focusses totally on the manic riffing and soloing as per his forte, leaving archetype cocksure frontman David Vincent to be the face and voice of the band. This he handles no problem but if you're looking for the angry or demonic Vincent we once knew then I'm afraid that was left long ago in the past, some time around when the quasi-vampire look was ushered in.

Ultimately the precise delivery of their classic-filled set is what everyone has come to expect from these old-timers; just ignore the fact this is a band living very much on past glories.

Mille Petrozza of Kreator

Kreator

Despite both having 75 minute sets Kreator are the real headliner - their ever more elaborate stageshow has certainly borrowed a trick or two from Iron Maiden in how to entertain both the ear and the eye. A lowered curtain in front of the stage turns into a projector wall as a collection of stills and album covers from Kreator's career are set to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" to instil a cinematic grandeur to the German's subsequent appearance. Add to this is the risen drumkit flanked by small platforms either side which allows Ventor to look down on proceedings, a few brazen velociraptor heads ejecting from various on-stage furniture and a trusty array of red lights and you've got yourself enough visuals to be entertained for a good couple of hours. Thrown in a bunch of middle-aged Germans doing their best to headbang like it's 1986 and you've got that portion of the show all sorted.

Sami Yli-Sirniö of Kreator

Having reinvented themselves in recent years as a thrash band with a highly melodic twist it is a credit to their songwriting panache that so many tracks like "Enemy of God", "Phantom Antichrist", "Mars Mantra" and "Civilization Collapse" possess enough power to work in the live environment, despite my suspicions over the compositional variation over their recent albums. The melodic nature of these songs and the clear sound however promotes an agreeable live delivery - neither too fast nor chaotic it doesn't even require an aware or fully sober mind to interpret just what is happening around you. Throw in Mille Petrozza's standard between-song banter about forming the biggest pit of the tour and, naturally, it being time to raise the "Flag of Hate" and you have the performance of a band who've worked on the stronger aspects of their live shows to make them as memorable as possible. Not the best live thrash band I've seen even this month but certainly a good way to round off my first Danish show.

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