Live Review: Kreator / Municipal Waste / Pest Control – Leeds Beckett University, Leeds 09.03.2023

Phil Pountney

A brisk walk up to the venue in the blizzard that had hit Leeds tonight was enough to wake anyone up and by the time I had reached the doors I, along with many more, struck a definite resemblance to a generously covered snowman. On parade outside the Beckett Uni was a veritable feast of leather jackets, battle jackets and a huge advert for double denim along with a vast array of patches which charted the entire thrash scene from the eighties right through to the present day. I have to say, if you were none the wiser you may have thought the thrash maniacs were entering the building for a Slayer gig given the amount of slayer shirts and patches adorning chests and backs but no, we were there to bear witness to one of thrash’s greatest spawns, the true Hordes of Chaos, the one and only Gods of Violence, the mighty Kreator with one of their breakaway gigs from their current touring cycle with Lamb of God and The State Of Unrest Tour. Strap yourselves in for this was going to be carnage and an absolute dream to be able to catch the Germanic Teutonic masters in such an intimate setting. 

By the time I had made it indoors and was starting to thaw off a little, I traversed my way to the stage and found residence just in time for Leeds’s very own Pest Control to entertain us. As they took to the stage it was clear that there were some nerves kicking around but they all but disappeared once they launched into their set, managing to manoeuvre around the cramped confines of the stage and navigate their way past the various pieces of kit which were occupying much of the space but they smoothly delivered an impressive and aggressive opening act. Leah stalked the stage, unloading an absolutely brutal vocal performance and making many in the room sit up and take notice. The drums were battered from start to finish by Ben and the various strings were all delivered with a hunger which was evident for all to see. As the set drew to a close, they were greeted with an enthusiastic ‘Pest Control’ chant from the crowd and one which was only too evident as to how well the local thrashers had faired tonight. 

Next up were the flamboyant and truly dedicated thrashers Municipal Waste and they were welcomed to Leeds by a rapturous response as they emerged from the wings and propelled themselves into ‘Demoralizer’. Leeds was about to be decimated with some good old thrash and a massive lesson in the art of partying was about to be delivered to every single soul stood before Foresta and his brothers in arms. As the set progressed the temperature in the venue soared as mosh pit after mosh pit erupted alongside a healthy continuous flow of crowd surfers infiltrating the front line and getting a close encounter with the security team who were on hand to ensure their journey back down to earth was a safe and secure one (we won’t mention the few that had more of a colourful journey over the front and onto the floor while their comrades were getting help from security on their respective voyages) The set was punctuated with true Municipal Waste anthems, ‘Beer Pressure’, ‘Headbanger Face Rip’, ‘Sadistic Magician’ and the spontaneous addition of ‘The Art Of Partying’ (which was added last minute when Foresta discovered that they had 12 minutes of stage time left). Land Phil and Ryan Waste didn’t disappoint with the thrasher poses throughout the set, although they seem to be able to make any stance look very cool, and Poulos was reliable as ever in occupying the stage left wing and injecting solo after solo through his mesmerising illuminous axe. As the set ended with ‘Unleash The Bastards’ and then the truly feel good and thrash inducing ‘Born To Party’ we were all well and truly left battered and bruised from the spectacle of quintessential thrash we had just been witnessed to, a seminar in the epitome of thrash metal and how to embrace a crowd and headbang as one.

With the stage transformed by a crew of frenzied roadies which bore a striking resemblance to an army of worker bees keen to please their queen, the venue had filled up nicely and the air of excitement and anticipation in the sweat soaked air was well and truly palpable. The lights then dimmed which only went to draw our attention to the illuminated drum kit bearing the Kreator logo under several of the individual units, and then Mille and the thrash giants entered the fray and fired into a truly venomous ‘Hate Uber Alles’ which was swiftly followed by ‘Hail To The Hordes’ and then the iconic ‘Enemy Of God’ which triggered the whole place to erupt and become one heaving, swathing mass of sweaty and passionate bodies, all singing and chanting every single god damn word back at the stage with overflowing passion and love for the anthems they have grown to adore and love with every ounce of their very beings. As the set progressed the band became more demanding of the crowd and the adorning masses obliged by building bigger and faster pits and becoming louder and more deafening with each track that fell before them. Mille was his usual charismatic self, caressing his guitar with power and precision in order to be able to deliver inch perfect riffs and solos and deliver vocals which sent chills down your spine in between banging your head as if a marionette and Mille was the puppet master. The bass was crunched and pounded through the whole evening with a reliable and masterful air and swagger from Leclercq with Sami working the fretboard and strings on his guitar with mesmerising dexterity and obvious ease. 

The set was cited leading up to the evening as an old school set, and one not to be missed, and this selection of tracks they put together for us tonight did not disappoint. Sure, they had the obligatory ‘Satan Is Real’ and ‘666 – World Divided’ along with the impressive ‘Strongest Of The Strong’ but boy did they treat us with their unexpected additions. ‘Betrayer’ was absolutely stunning, ‘Terrible Certainty’ and ‘Endless Pain’ were sublime and masterful in the decadent violent presentations they were unleashed with while ‘People Of The Lie’ was a personal highlight of the evening for me, absolutely magnificent and commanding with each word being sung back at the band, word for word, heralding it as the anthem it so rightly deserves to be.

‘Flag Of Hate’ and then ‘Pleasure To Kill’ closed out the event and gave each and every soul who had been witness to this piece of thrash perfection a chance to reflect on the evening, and the chance to be able to well and truly scream it from the rooftops that they had indeed survived this piece of history, one which will certainly be talked about for many years to come. The Kreator had returned. 

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