Venue: Nokia Theatre Times Square (New York, NY)
Opener: Voivod, Nachtmystium, Evile, Lazarus A.D.
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
And thus we began what I had been referring to as “March Metal Madness” in the weeks that actually led up to its arrival as Kreator returned to the USA for the second leg of their “Hordes Of Chaos” tour and also to celebrate the bands 25th anniversary. I’ve been lucky enough to see Kreator at what appeared to be every one of their NYC stops over the last few years and while I didn’t follow them “back in the day”, I had to say that I became one of those quick studies who greatly enjoyed the Metal devastation that they unleash. The show this evening at Nokia Theatre Times Square was going to be both a long and an early one with four opening acts leading us into the Kreator set and as result the doors opened at 5pm and the show commenced at 6pm. Joining Kreator for this go round would be Lazarus A.D., Evile, Nachtmystium and the one and only Voivod. Lazarus A.D. would be the first band up tonight but an emergency technical faux pas found me needing to miss them in order to address it. I did manage to catch the end of their second to last song and final number and found them to be a really solid group and definitely one of those bands that I will make note about seeing the next time around. Evile was coming up almost immediately and that was to be expected if tonight was going to run on time.
Evile: The band Evile had been making the Metal news recently and it was sadly not all good stuff that was causing this to be the case. It was only a few months ago that their bassist Mike Alexander took ill at a show and would pass away before even making it to the hospital. It was a shame for the band to lose one of their number, but with all things music the mantra of “the show must go on” screamed louder than ever and they now carry on with his spirit of Metal keeping them stronger than ever. I was really happy to see them going over as well as they were because this was the bands first time ever performing in the states and in front of a Metal hungry New York City crowd. Lead singer/guitarist Matt Drake joked about how our cops all use guns while their use sticks and the smile seldom left his face based on the reaction his bands tunes were getting. His Brother, Old Rake was not only ripping up the chords but also making sure to toss the ever appreciated guitar pick concert trinket to eager hands. The band has two albums out with their latest being entitled “Infected Nations” and both are available on Earache Records. The rhythm section was giving us a pounding as Ben Carter slammed the drums while new bassist Joel Graham was doing his predecessor’s role some justice. It’s safe to say that if traditional Thrash Metal is your thing that you will like the way that Evile brings it into the modern era of Metal. Time to make the night a little blacker as Nachtmystium took the stage.
Nachtmystium: I last caught Nachtmystium when they were opening up for Marduk back in December and while I have enjoyed what they do in the live sense, felt that they were the odd choice for tonight’s proceedings. If you have never seen the band before then you should know that while primarily Black Metal in their musical theme, there is a lot of Stoner and Psychedelic feel to what they are doing. It’s powerful when delivered live and there is little banter or bullshitting when they are performing. Straight ahead delivery of the Metal is what is paramount to these guys by my observation and while I had some reservations about their being a part of this tour I had to say that the audience appeared to be getting into them as well. The band is now signed to Century Media Records and their latest offering “Assassins: Black Meddle, Part I” is a worthy slab of heaviness to own. The set was a fast-moving one and of course a quick one which made sense as two more bands were to come. I didn’t make much of a notation of their set list but can say that many of the numbers were the same as during that Marduk show. They had some fans in the crowd but since most of the diehards were anxious for Kreator there were some others who hardly seemed to “get” what this band was offering them tonight. I felt it was good to have them on a different bill than a conventional Black Metal one since it exposed them to a newer crowd.
Voivod: When the album “Katorz” came out a few years ago, the interviews with Voivod were rather straight forward about the band’s halting their live activity based on founding guitarist Piggy’s death. There was interest in tribute shows for the most part but eventually they would change this stand and once again begin touring and bringing their music to the masses with guitarist Dan Mongrain now handling the guitar duties. Their latest release is entitled “Infini” and following in the fashion of “Katorz” features more of the final compositions of Piggy that have been completed by the surviving members. They opened up with “Voivod”, and lead singer “Snake” or Denis Belanger to the unschooled in their nick names, appeared in a gas mask. It was a great dramatic intro to the bands first appearance in New York City in quite some time but I had to be honest, I couldn’t recall when the last time they even appeared in this region outside of the Ozzfest that they did a number of years ago. Pounding away on the drums with great energy was the band’s longtime drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and they were rejoined by bassist “Blacky” Jean-Yves Thériault. I will admit to never being much more than the casual fan of what the band did and while I was not big on their Speed Metal years, I did gain some appreciation with albums like “Nothingface” and “Angel Rat” based on their changing the manner in which they delivered the Metal. It was more like Progressive Metal at this time so it was good to see these albums visited in some fashion as well tonight. Their set this evening would touch some of their classic ground as well as the most recent release and if the interviews being done are to be believed, this fifteenth album by the band will be their final recording together. Only time will tell because we find band’s calling it a day and then returning again and again when it comes down to it. The crowd was mixed on their set and I noticed a strong amount of support for what they were doing, and especially pleased to see a majority of the younger demographic giving them proper respect. It might not have been my thing growing up in Metal but I was glad to see that their appearance on this tour was met with approval. If I had set this up, I would have swapped Nachtmystium for Voivod and put a larger super power in place as direct support. They would close out their nine song set with the Pink Floyd classic “Astronomy Domine” which I think is a terrific version and one that would make Syd Barrett proud. In addition to the “final album” Voivod has released a DVD entitled “Tatsumaki Voivod Japan 2008”.
Kreator: So here we were at the main attraction portion of the night and clearly the hordes of chaos had returned en masse to support the one and only Kreator who would dole out the Metal like a vengeful Emperor upon his kingdom. I mentioned how I was very late to the game with Kreator, but clearly they are one of the top three when it comes to the German Thrash Metal bands and I say if a tour ever happens with Sodom and Destruction as well, that people would be in the hospital afterwards since that much damage would occur to their person. Kreator always means business on the live stage and when you are new to the band its best to stay off to the far side of the stage rather than be mired in the swirling mosh pit that brews at the very second that the band hits the boards. Tonight would be what amounted to the second US leg for their “Hordes Of Chaos” tour and that’s never a bad thing since the album was so well-received and is perhaps even a couple of points better than its predecessor “Enemy Of God”. The interesting thing about these shows were how they were also celebrating the band’s 25th year of activity and while the only founding members are Mille and drummer “Ventor” Reil, they are keeping solid company with Sami and “Speesy” on guitar and bass. I’ve always had fun at the Kreator shows and that surprises me based on my own “newness” to the band and I guess a strong part of this is based on just how intense Mille is up there. It’s admirable the amount of drive he still is able to deliver to his crowd and instead of growing complacent and tired after two plus decades, he is apparently driven all the more and making you not only realize, but accept without question his Metal message.
Since the show was celebrating such a grand anniversary, the set list tonight would reflect that and not only feature material from the two most recent albums but also from their storied past. We only got two from “Hordes Of Chaos” and “Enemy Of God” which left the remaining fourteen numbers to be their long established classics. The crowd was an organism that took new vindictive life this evening and moved almost as one entity as song after song progressed. It was safe to say that this hurricane of humanity was like something owed money based on just how angry it was. The novice was wise to stand off to the side or rear of the Nokia Theatre tonight. Interestingly enough, they had closed out the back seating area tonight and that surprised me since I know this particular show was one of the “hot” ones to see in March. My guess at the crowd numbers based on this being halved was that at least 1000 fans were in the venue. I admit that I don’t like when they close off the seats because these old Metal bones need a break sometimes and it’s easier to document what is happening when you don’t have to fight off or catch flying bodies around you.
In the end this was a satisfying if even a slightly oddly lined up bill and everyone who played did so with great energy and Metal drive. It’s safe to say that people were exposed to some stuff that they might not have been primarily interested in tonight based on the unusual grouping of acts and that is a good thing since you know many of them will be returning in some configuration or another. Congratulations to Kreator on your twenty five years of smiting the infidel enemies of Metal – May your reign continue on for another twenty five years. I mentioned in the opening how this was the beginning of “March Metal Madness” and I was not kidding because in less than twenty four hours Hammerfall would be at the Fillmore NY and the day after in B.B. King’s would be Orphaned Land and Suidakra. That’s not a bad presentation for the Metal community in such a short time.
Voivod Set List:
2. The Unknown Knows
3. Ripping Heads
6. Tribal Convictions
7. Global Warning
8. Missing Seq.
9. Astronomy Domine
Kreator Set List:
1. Intro – Choir Of The Damned
2. The Pestilence
3. Hordes Of Chaos
5. Enemy Of God
6. Impossible Brutality
7. Endless Pain
8. Pleasure To Kill
9. Terrible Certainty
10. Extreme Aggression
11. Coma Of Souls
12. Servant In Heaven – King In Hell
13. The Patriarch
14. Violent Revolution
15. Demon Prince
16. When The Sun Burns Red
17. Flag Of Hate – encore
18. Tormentor -encore
Over the last few show coverage pieces we have been snapping images of the marquee if it visually blew us away and this would be the case with the Kreator show this evening.
An imposing little visual as the band’s name summoned their legions from the streets of Times Square and into their Metal maw. We had approached the venue from below Broadway and this sign shined brightly but we wondered why the Nokia Theatre part of the sign was unlit. Perhaps the power of Kreator’s very name drained it of its energy and perhaps we sometimes have a little too much flair for the dramatic.
Kudos to the graphics design team inside the Nokia Theatre for their solid work on presenting all of the supporting armaments for the Kreator tour. Clearly “chaos” would be an understatement inside the venue when all of these powerhouses got to work.
A quick shot of some of the Nachtmystium guitarists tech for the show. Nice gear and it really sounded great during the show. I expected this of course from this Psychedelic Black Metal outfit.
Official Web Site: www.kreator-terrorzone.de
Official Web Site: www.voivod.net
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/nachtmystium
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/evileuk
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/lazarus1