Another trip over the Pennines, this time with a full thrash assault set firmly in the sights courtesy of the unmistakable chaotic Municipal Waste and the mighty Kreator bolstered by a huge slab of American metal by way of Virginia’s very own Lamb of God. This was going to be special and as such, I made sure I was there to catch the, now more common than not, early doors at the Academy.
As I entered the cavernous Academy it was evident that not everyone had got the memo re the door times but were probably still taking the more sensible option of nurturing a craft beer or chilled glass of something in one of the many surrounding establishments because the venue was relatively empty but as the clock struck 7 pm the venue had filled up nicely in order to witness the very competent and entertaining set from U.S thrashers Municipal Waste. Foresta hit the stage accompanied by his fellow denim and bandana advocates and it was evident that they had certainly brought the party with them and they were here, along with the loud congregation before them, to get that damn party started with a vengeance.
The set was crammed full of the classics and the tunes we have grown to love, ‘Headbanger Face Rip’, ‘You’re Cut Off’, ‘Breathe Grease’ and the purely anthemic ‘Sadistic Magician’. The set was frantic and frenetic, Poulos and Waste orchestrated the set with their six string assaults and the bass from Land Phil was behemothic and titanium in its delivery. Foresta worked overtime, covering every inch of the stage as if his life depended on it, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy with his equal measures of demands and encouragement and even requested a barrage of crowd surfers to come over the top, citing their infamous Bloodstock record of the most crowd surfers for any one band, and the crazy moshers did not disappoint as body after body fell over the frontline and into securities waiting arms, to be fair hats off to the security team as they kept up and ensured that each surfer made it safely onto dry land without a hiccup, huge kudos for that.
As the set was then brought to a close with the absolutely crushing ‘Born To Party’, this had been an opening set of great success and as the denim clad warriors departed we were left recovering from the shindig we had just been a part of but also looking forward with palpable excitement and anticipation for the Gods of Violence who were up next.
As the backdrop hung eerily in between two staked corpses it was just a matter of time before we were catapulted into the world of Teutonic German thrash and as the lights dimmed we were dragged into the fray with power and brutality from the off. Mille, Sami, Frederic and Ventor then launched into ‘Hate Uber Alles’ and we were met with a barrage of violent and vicious Thrash Metal of the highest order. Milles vocals were on point and sounded as venomous as ever, each word truly spat out with poisonous spite and passion. The set progressed with ‘Hail To The Hordes’ and then the battering ‘Enemy Of God’, a true lesson in the epitome of Thrash Metal. The set them steamrollered its way through the Academy, one success after another, fresher offerings such as ‘Satan Is Real’ and ‘666 – World Divided’ for the newer recruits while the more mature headbangers were left salivating with the deliverance of ‘Hordes Of Chaos’, ‘Flag Of Hate’, ‘Violent Revolution’ and the awesome ‘Pleasure To Kill’.
As the house lights illuminated once more, the crowd were left chanting the Germans moniker with obvious passion and overflowing enthusiasm for what they had just survived, a resounding success but one that we have now come to expect from these Germanic thrashers, and they never disappoint. For some this had been episode one in a two part northern drama, for Kreator will return to Leeds in a couple of days’ time to lay their trademark onslaught on Yorkshire, so if you are going to be in town for Kreator part two then strap yourselves in, you are in for one hell of an evening.
The stage was then transformed into a home for an elevated drum kit and impressive back and side drops, all aiding in the eagerness which was tangible, for this was a gig which was 3 years out of date, yet as fresh today as it would have been back in the day, it was time to get that circle pit moving ladies and gentlemen because Lamb of God were now in town.
‘Memento Mori’ saw the stage attacked with authority and supremacy, Morton and Adler took up their places on the wings with Campbell entering the fray with a glint in his eye which only seemed to ignite the hunger and desire which flowed through his digits, down the fretboard and out into the rammed crowd. Blythe hit the ground like a man possessed, stalking and hunting every inch of the construction with a decadent rage and fury which only seemed to propel his vocals to be expelled with forceful and passionate aggression.
‘Walk With Me In Hell’ was a highlight of the set and a point at which the band seemed to settle comfortably into their surroundings. Blythe was afforded the opportunity to climb atop of the drum riser and launch himself into the air in one of his trademark jumps while the kit was battered from here to eternity by a feverish yet controlled Cruz. With each song that passed, the crowd grew ever hungrier for the offerings being served from the rabid troop before them, soaking up each track with a lust and desire which had been bottled up for so long. The set contained the obvious and almost obligatory ‘Laid To Rest’, ‘Ruin’ and the iconic ‘Redneck’, all ensuring that no one in attendance had any scope for disappointment and each allowing every single soul the opportunity to give their all in appreciation for the set which was so vigorously and emphatically delivered on Manchester soil tonight.
Tonight had been a resounding success of epic proportions from all facets of the bill and the evening left me pondering the question, was this the last time we would see Lamb of God on a stage of these dimensions, surely they will be targeting arenas on their tour of duty.