Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail, Bonded By Blood
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
In my opinion there is nothing quite like a kick ass Metal show on a Saturday night and what better band to headline a gig like this than the one and only Exodus. Truly they are one of the Thrash Metal founders and even though the years have found a number of lineup changes taking place, the man with the axe has remained Gary Holt. Together with Lee Altus, Tom Hunting, Jack Gibson and Rob Dukes the band has been revitalizing the Thrash Metal scene with a brass knuckled punch in the jaw. They would return to the headlining spot for the tour and bring along their label mates Malevolent Creation and a rising star band called Holy Grail. The show would be opened by both Korotory and Bonded By Blood. Sadly I would miss Long Island’s own Korotory in full and arrive just as Bonded By Blood was doing their thing. Having limited background on them besides knowing that there was a “Thrash Metal” outfit that used an Exodus song as their name. They didn’t sound bad but I really was not getting to absorb their material as best as I would have liked. The opening bands generally only get about 25-30 minutes when they play this early so missing half, you might as well miss the whole thing. I would pick up my event documenting with Holy Grail who came up almost immediately after BBB had gotten their gear offstage.
Holy Grail: Tonight would mark my second time seeing Holy Grail who are a Prosthetic Records recording artist and the first time was about four months ago when they were opening up for Amon Amarth over at The Fillmore NY. The band was still supporting what I know to be their debut album “Improper Burial” and tonight would get the audience started with an “Old School” premise. The singer is James Paul Luna and he is pretty much a Metal madman on the stage. Of course the other guys are quite adept at getting your attention and tonight one of their guitarists decided to perform with a bare chest and had me thinking “very Manowar”. I think if you are a fan of the Traditional Metal style that you will enjoy Holy Grail. Their new release is set for October and it’s called “Crisis In Utopia”. The band has also already been named as support for some upcoming Metal shows so you will be seeing them around more than you will not. Give them a chance if their name is still new to you as I think you will enjoy them. Now it was time for some Death Metal as only Malevolent Creation knew how to deliver.
Malevolent Creation: This would be my first time ever catching Malevolent Creation in concert and I had wanted to do so for awhile but just never did. The last time I knew of a regional gig for the band was when they had played a place called The Haunt out in Yonkers but I seldom make it that far for shows. I will be honest in saying that while I have enjoyed most of what I heard from the band that I never really followed them, and considered myself more of a casual observer to their Metal adventures. The last album I heard was 2007’s “Doomsday X” and it was a solid effort. Tonight the guys would be fortunate enough to have their most recent release be available in “Invidious Dominion”. It had only come out four days ago but like many releases of today had been made available to listen on streaming sites like the bands MySpace and that of their record label Nuclear Blast. They hit the stage tonight with a forceful presence and that was something I expected based on the bands overall relevance to the Death Metal genre. Its been said that thanks to the efforts of Malevolent Creation, that bands like Slayer, Possessed and more were suitably inspired. The bands set was not as long as I had expected given their direct support slot but oh well, I am not in charge of such things. I guess the new albums very recent release was also the rationale behind their only doing two songs from it. In any event the crowd enjoyed them and it was a perfect opener for the mayhem that would soon be taking place when Exodus hit the stage. That time was now upon us so let the powers of legacy Thrash Metal be unleashed.
Exodus: I had not seen Exodus in concert since very early in 2010 when the band was opening up for Arch Enemy and while they surely cleaned everyone’s clock at that show, it was nice to see the band headlining this intimate theatre on their own with some killer Metal support. The band has a new album in Nuclear Blast’s “Exhibit B: The Human Condition” which is the follow up to 2007’s “The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A” and the band would start off the set with two of that albums numbers, the very speedy “Ballad Of Leonard And Charles” and “Beyond The Pale”. The interesting thing to observe almost immediately was just how intense the band dishing out the Metal was and how insane the crowd that was swelling back and forth in front of them was. This was nothing less than chaos that was being commanded by Exodus and singer Rob Dukes was enjoying it immensely. If you’ve seen any Metal shows at the Gramercy or other venues of its kind, you know that there is a barrier between the stage and the audience. This is to protect the band and the crowd of course and people who make their way over the trench are quickly escorted out to the side and back into the mix. Tonight the security guys deserved overtime pay because the bodies kept on coming like some jackpot winnings out of an Atlantic City slot machine. I guess I should have expected this from a tour that was being labeled as “The March Of Brutality”. It might sound corny to say but watching the audience from a safer vantage point made me feel as though I was watching blood soaked shark infested waters and I felt pity for any Metal head that was hoping to safely stand on the sidelines since there was no quarter being given anywhere.
Rob Dukes is a monster onstage and really riles you up from the second that the show begins. He was happy to be back in NYC performing for a hometown crowd but that was not going to stop his snarling growl and threatening mannerisms up on the stage. I’ve mentioned about his being intimidating before and tonight’s gig only firmed this up in my mind. He wore a shirt that said “Infidel” which he alluded to being and used this reference when it came to the song “Children Of A Worthless God”. He usually insults Osama Bin Laden with this one and no one ever minds that fucktard being shat upon but tonight it would be different and he would lambast organized religion. Through it all the terrific guitar playing of Gary Holt was on point and he really has to be one of the finest out there for the Thrash genre. More people should recognize this. His talents are perfectly complimented by Lee Altus while bassist Jack Gibson keeps the mania grounded as drummer Tom Hunting destroys his ample drum kit. The sound of the show was like being in the middle of a storm. The venue while already in a crazed state managed to pick up the pace a little more when “Toxic Waltz” and “Bonded By Blood” came up and this was great to see. The last song was “Good Riddance” which seemed to be an appropriate choice of closer.
All in all it was great to see a band with this much history being given the proper respect for their work. They destroy the stage and leave you hungry for more. The younger bands out there would be smart to study how they have managed to do this for so long if they ever have any hope of success in this industry. Next on my agenda would be the KISS tribute band KISSNation. Given my love of KISS music I was looking forward to this as an unwind from the Metal overload that I got this evening. Thanks Exodus. Continued success in your domination of the Thrash genre.
Malevolent Creation Set List:
2. Multiple Stab Wounds
3. Blood Brothers
4. Injected Sufferage
6. Infernal Desire
7. Living in Fear
8. Manic Demise
9. Malevolent Creation
Exodus Set List:
1. The Ballad of Leonard and Charles
2. Beyond The Pale
4. Children Of a Worthless God
6. Fabulous Disaster
9. War Is My Sheperd
10. The Toxic Waltz
11. Bonded By Blood
12. Strike Of The Beast
13. Good Riddance
Here’s a shot of the venue marquee since it was great to see the bands name up in lights again.
Downstairs at the Gramercy Theatre’s Lounge Area was a little bit of chaos, so photos are minimal. Here is one showing the Holy Grail front man at their Merchandise Table. They had some shirts and their debut CD up for sale.
Oh and I couldn’t resist sharing the nice new Thor’s hammer that I received as a gift from one of the Metal Republic. I’m also sporting my cool Vic Firth lanyard and my bat ring. I don’t do it up as much as some others, but this suits me fine.
This next image is just proof that even the Metal bands need to play by the rules of the club they are performing at. Otherwise it means a shorter set.
A curfew of midnight might not seem all that late to some of you but after a five hour night of Metal I was cool with that. I mention in the review how ravenous and insane for Metal the fans were, well, here is a shot of them from behind the “safety” of the barricade. I felt as if I was standing over a cliff looking down 500 feet.
Official Website: http://exodusattack.com/
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/malevolentcreation/
Official Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com/
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/officialbondedbyblood/