Overkill And Exodus Destroy London
Band Photo: Exodus (?)
There's so much to see in London. Marble Arch, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and on this night, two of the greatest thrash metal bands to ever grace the stage. New Jersey legends Overkill and Bay Area gods Exodus are kicking off their European tour and look set to destroy every city and every country they invade and tonight it's London's turn. The show took place at the infamous Islington Academy and was booked as part of the Hellfire Festival.
I unfortunately arrived too late to see Brazilian death flavoured thrashers Torture Squad but got there just in time to catch Irish thrash band Gama Bomb. Gama Bomb displayed a great sense of enthusiasm and joy in the music they play and got the crowd going very well. Unfortunately their set experienced some sound difficulties with a lot of bass feedback and a sometimes quiet microphone but they worked through it like true professionals. With songs about Robocop and a new song about the movie Poltergeist (entitled "Polterghost") it's impossible not to have fun with them. I've never been a fan of the new wave of thrash metal but Gama Bomb are undoubtedly a good live band and well worth checking out.
Next up was the band that some people (including guitarist Gary Holt) would claim invented thrash metal, Exodus. A lot of people talk about the dark atmosphere that Slayer brings with them when they take the stage, but if you multiply that by ten you have an Exodus show. They proved that every rumour you've ever heard about them was true and they are certainly the most confrontational band I've ever seen. The band played a great selection of songs from new songs such as "Iconoclasm" from "The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A" album to "Bonded By Blood"'s anthem "Piranha." Frontman Rob Dukes fits so well into the band and anyone who has any doubts about him when comparing him to former Exodus frontmen Paul Baloff and Steve "Zetro" Souza, needs to see the man perform live. The whole place turned into an orgy of violence, headbanging and to a lesser extent crowd surfing as soon as Exodus took the stage, and it didn't stop until Exodus did. My only complaint about the performance is that they didn't play anything from the "Shovel Headed Kill Machine" album, but that's a small price to pay to see such an amazing show. Drummer Tom Hunting was absent from the band due to previous engagements but Nick Barker did a fantastic job of filling in for him and rarely made a mistake. The band allowed the fans to choose the last two songs which of course included the always classic "Bonded By Blood" and, much to the dismay of Rob Dukes, "Toxic Waltz." Exodus is the greatest live thrash band I've ever seen. If you're a thrash fan and you haven't seen them, then you need to make it your life's priority.
Going on after Exodus, Overkill had a hell of a job instore for them but took on the challenge with open arms. They're a very different style of thrash from Exodus, but that's what made the pairing so good. They have a unique stage presence and one of the greatest frontmen in all of metal in the shape of Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth. They unlocked the gates of Hell with opener "Deny The Cross" and played alot of fan favourites including "Elimination" and "E.vil N.ever D.ies." They gave the fans exactly what they wanted and then some. Lots of headbanging, lots of stage diving and the always comical air guitaring. Nobody went home disapointed. More songs like "Rotten To The Core" and "Feel The Fire" went down a storm. As I said earlier, Blitz is one of the greatest frontmen in any field of heavy metal, as he has a connection with the audience which is rare and is a very funny man, making him not only one of the best, but a strangely lovable frontman too. Set closer "Fuck You" had everybody throwing the middle finger in the air and the band incorporated the Motorhead classic "Overkill" into the song too which was, for lack of a better word, awesome. Blitz ended the show by throwing himself with full force into the crowd which was a really nice touch. It was an absolutely fantastic show by the band.
Bottom line: Exodus rules, Overkill rules, thrash metal rules!
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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