Live Review: Sepultura / Sacred Reich / Crowbar -O2 Ritz, Manchester 02.11.2022

Phil Pountney

With a bill that was dominated by thrash, what better way to keep the evening grounded than by kicking it off with a heavy dose of New Orleans sludge courtesy of the legend that is Windstein and his troops of doom. With another early door time the ritz wasn’t as full as Crowbar would have liked but they didn’t let that stop them at all and as they launched into set opener ‘Conquering’ from the huge ‘Broken Glass’, not once, not twice but three times given a few slip ups on what Windstein himself called an embarrassment as it is the song they sound check with every single god damn day.  The set then progressed and with each track that passed, the crowd seemed to be thawing out from the cool temperatures they had had to endure in order to be a part of this evening’s gathering. By the end of the set, the crowd had swelled and judging by the response being thrown back at the stage, fists pumping, heads banging and pits moving, this could easily have looked like a headline set by the doom masters themselves. The set was a healthy length and scattered with Crowbar anthems, new and old, ‘Conquering’, High Rate Extinction’ and ‘The Cemetery Angels’ were my definite standout highlights from the set.

As Crowbar exited the fairly cramped stage and the Sacred Reich banner was displayed, the anticipation in the room seemed to go up a notch. The amount of Reich shirts adorning chests tonight was impressive and as the band entered the fray and kicked off with ‘Divide And Conquer’ from latest opus ‘Awakening’ all hell broke loose.  The set was top heavy with tracks from ‘Awakening’ although it was also punctuated with classics and fan favourites, ‘The American Way’, ‘Who’s To Blame’, ‘Surf Nicaragua’ and ‘Death Squad’, each encouraging the assembled masses to make the journey over the top and have a close encounter with the awaiting security team beneath them. The number of surfers was fairly impressive and this was only trumped by the colossal pits which formed with more vigour and gusto as the set built momentum and was delivered with more and more aggression and venom. As the thrash legends bowed out to a rapturous response, tonight had been a success of epic proportions, we just need a Sacred Reich headline tour now to really seal the deal.

As ‘Warpigs’ blasted out of the speaker stacks, the anticipation was palpable, ‘Policia’ then followed and then the thrash giants launched into an enthusiastic ‘Isolation’ and then an epic ‘Territory’. The energy and power being served from the stage was admirable and impressive, Green seemed to be sweating out his entire body weight by the time the band kicked into ‘Means To An End’, only going to show the passion and effort he injects into his fiery performance. Kisser and Paulo Jr set up camps on each flank, each infusing their own brand and style into the performance whilst the drumkit was literally beaten and hammered as if Casagrande’s life depended on it. The set progressed with a good cross section of Quadra hits and back catalogue icons, ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Arise’ were brutal in their deliverance and the iconic ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ closed the set out in true style. 

The presence of these thrash legends has been long overdue and boy have they certainly made up for the time, the band delivered a near perfect set and the crowd showed their appreciation with vocal appreciation set to a ten on the volume, singing every lyric back at the band with huge pride and appetite. The hunger and desire that the Ritz crowd had for Sepultura tonight was commendable and a true visual delight, Sepultura shirts had flooded the venue and this only helped confirm the love that so many had for Green et al and this love was most definitely reciprocated by each and every member of the band on this cold November evening. 

Take a Bow gentleman, you have certainly put in a shift tonight and one which was mirrored by the packed out Ritz hordes. Under a pale grey sky, you certainly did, Arise and I for one cannot wait to meet again on the hallowed Catton Hall turf next August. Obrigado. 

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