at Trees, the bestest (I said it!) venue in Dallas, and one of my favorite places to see a show worldwide.
The Legends of Thrash Tour was here!
Showtime could not come soon enough and
I pretty much bounced around the house all day waiting.
First up was California’s own Warbringer.
One thing about this band is that they have gotten better with each record, and newest one IV: Empires Collapse really showcases a growth in them, and live I knew they were just gonna tear shit up.
Opening with “Living Weapon” from Worlds Torn Asunder followed by “Severed Reality” vocalist John Kevill had full command of the stage, leading the first charge of thrash madness for the evening. A pair of new ones was up next in “The Turning of the Gears” and “Hunter-Seeker”, which really seemed to incite those in attendance. Clearly people had bought and digested the new album!
I’ve said it before, Warbringer have a Slayer-type sound, but the vocals are a lot better, and this song really showcases that Slayer influence to a T. “Living In a Whirlwind” was next before another set of new tunes showed up. I really think that “Scars Remain”, much like “Hunter-Seeker” is one that will be in their setlist for years to come, the energy is just infectious, and the solo is insane.
The pummeling, but brief set ended with “Towers of the Serpent”, which was the perfect closer. Warbringer needs to come back on a headlining run, posthaste.
Up next was the Teutonic Terror, Kreator.
Now, I had never seen them live before, despite numerous chances. Why, I don’t know, but suffice to say I sure as hell won’t miss them again. By this point the place was packed pretty good, and there was just an endless sea of Kreator shirts. The coolest thing to me though, was seeing young teenagers, like 13 or 14, wearing them and headbanging furiously to songs like opener “Phantom Antichrist”, “Endless Pain”, and “Pleasure to Kill”. I even saw a couple of fathers with their sons rocking out, which is also great. Two of my all-time Kreator favorites, “Hordes of Chaos” and “Enemy of God” were back-to-back, and the floor was going batshit. So was this one fan up in the rafters, making devil horns and screaming every word. He was almost as fun to watch as the band was!
“Phobia” is definitely a crowd favorite and the call and response between Mille Petrozza and the audience of, “Is there something after you?!?” was LOUD. He knows how to get people going, that’s for sure. Other highlights included “Violent Revolution” and “United In Hate” with its acoustic-guitar intro that quickly gave way to jackhammer beats and riffs. The tribal drums of “Civilisation Collapse” seemed to give renewed energy to an already frenzied fan base before Mille came out for the encore with the signature Kreator flag for the landmark “Flag of Hate/Tormentor” during which he screamed “CIRCLE PIT!!” over and over, and the maniacs happily obliged. Goddamn, that was one hell of a first Kreator show!
And now the time had come: Overkill time.
My favorite thrash band in all the land took the stage at Trees with “Deny the Cross” from Taking Over, my first Overkill album, and still one of my favorites. A once-sated crowd seemed to have a new lease on life as “Bring Me the Night’, an exercise in full-on raging speed was up next, immediately followed by “Electric Rattlesnake”.
Oh man, I was gonna have a sore neck in the morning but I didn’t care! The band reached back into the archives for a pair of oldies from Feel the Fire, as vocalist Blitz introduced “Hammerhead” and “Rotten to the Core”. It’s always easy to spot the longtime fans when this one is played.
Eddie Trunk from VH-1 Classic’s That Metal Show was there, too, and he was going just as nuts as the rest of us, decked out in his Overkill hoodie. The familiar guitars of MTV hit “Hello From the Gutter” from 1988’s Under the Influence quickly rang out, drawing one of the loudest cheers of the night. Blitz’s voice and the band have never sounded better, all these years later.
Even I wasn’t prepared for the blitz (no pun intended) attack of Ron Lipnicki’s drums on the title track “Ironbound” from 2010, and as soon as I recovered from that punch to the jaw, “Necroshine” was next! Now, this is easily in my Top 5 Overkill songs EVER, and live it fucking tears the house down.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Thanx For Nothing”, one of two Horrorscope songs to be played that night, the other being the title track. “Overkill” was also one of the show highlights, and I have to say, this line-up of the band takes these old songs and makes them a thousand times better. Like “Elimination” from 1989; it has so much more power and energy now, and it was a badass song back then. Blitz being in possibly the best of health probably has a lot to do with that. Live his voice is just fucking amazing!
Of course “Fuck You” was the closer, as is usually the case, and of course, everybody raged. When the dust had settled I was exhausted. I had just seen a thrash show that was the stuff of legend, not FIVE days after getting my ass kicked by Slayer, Gojira, and 4ARM, and I went home one very happy metalhead!
The tour is over, so if you missed it, I sure hate it for you. But fear not, Overkill will be back next year, and the new album drops in March, so you can look forward to that, right?