Riots Of Violence With Metal Hearts Rule The Palladium In Worcester As Kreator And Accept Left Bodies On The Floor
Band Photo: Accept (?)
When heavy metal came into my life in 1985/1986, one of the many reasons I fell in love, married it and grafted it into my very soul is due to one special band: Accept. “Metal Heart” was the second album I ever bought, and the love affair with this music grew. Through all the the ups and downs in the band’s career - the initially dreadful David Reece album “Eat the Heat” (which I later came to appreciate a little more), feeling heartbroken about the loss of Udo Dirkschneider (twice), the near disaster of “Predator,” the angst of the band’s return with yet another American vocalist back prior to the release of “Blood of Nations” - Accept has, and always will be, the source of my own metal heart. In the 80's, I joked a lot about how it was the “Nazi choruses” that drew me in. Today, that kind of statement would put me squarely within the crosshairs of overly sensitive individuals who would have no understanding of where I came from with the description should I dare to use it today. Of course, it didn’t help that the band is German. That long abandoned reference from my youth merely refers to the deep, low all male backing vocals that, for me, made Accept one of the greatest bands ever. “Bound to Fail” was the song that coined that phrase and “Stand Tight” reinforced it. Needless to say, I was ready to finally see the one Udo-less Accept incarnation that has found a way to rejuvenate the band and capture the old metal spirit with a whole new set of young fans, which is just glorious. The pairing with Kreator, another band I discovered when “Endless Pain” was released on Noise Records shortly after the band changed its name from Tormentor, seemed almost as perfect as it was slightly “genre mixed.” Add Finland’s Swallow the Sun, who seemed like the oddball out, and this bill became a “lust see.”
It was with great fortune that the show was held in the much more appropriate lower section of The Palladium. Walking in the door and seeing a sparse turnout was an immediate let down, save for the much appreciated leg and arm room. In hindsight, the show turned out to the one of the most comfortable “riots of violence” I have ever been a part of. Swallow the Sun did its thing, walking out on stage with no elaborate intros at about 7:30pm. Now, I know the band was limited to a small front part of the stage, but they did have enough room to move about, which didn’t quite warrant the statuesque way they went about the set. From the start, the slow death doom of the band was a bit underappreciated (save for a few fanatics), but it grew on the crowd as the set progressed. The band seemed a little lethargic, seemingly going through the motions, but they sounded nice. Vocalist Mikko Kotamäki was incredibly soft spoken, which fit the somber mood of the music, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at how much keyboardist Aleksi Munter reminded me of a “taller” version of Peter Dinklage. The highlight of the set was the amazing “Psychopath’s Lair” from the breakout album “Ghosts of Loss.”
From the moment Swallow the Sun left the stage and the black veils were removed uncovering the fascade of Marshall stacks emblazoned with the unmistakable logo of Accept, I knew this would be the moment of the night for me. What followed can only described as a ball of energy that I didn’t quite expect. In what was one of the finest moments of my life, this band of supposed “old aging rock stars” (one that was/is at the butt end of most elitist metal fan jokes) rocked the stage better than any young band can ever do. Rejuvenation is an understatement. As if risen by the challenge of playing with Kreator (the German embodiment of “civilization collapse”), Accept played their songs heavier and faster than I have ever witnessed. “Fast as a Shark” was played at triple its album ferocity. “Princess of the Dawn” was played double its speed. The classic “Breaker” should have been renamed “Neckbreaker.” In the two times I had previously seen Accept (both with Udo), I have never heard them play with this much enthusiasm and energy. I was proud to see them in this moment. Mike Tornillo is the perfect replacement for Udo. His presence helped Accept once again ascend to the top with “Blood of the Nations” and “Stalingrad” (See my review at this location), much like he made TT Quick’s “Metal of Honor” one of the most underrated gems ever.
Through it all, there is my favorite guitarist of all time, Wolf Hoffman. It matters not that he “cannot be compared” to greats like Dimebag Darrell or John Petrucci. To me, Wolf Hoffman is the greatest guitar player for his distinctiveness, memorability and utterly classic guitar playing. He is one of the very few guitarists who can instantly evoke memories of years past while inspiring a whole future generation. So as I put my aged back against the barrier on stage right, all I could do was air guitar the solos that were played with as much perfection and mastery as what was encrypted into my genetic code. I knew each and every note exactly as if it was drawn from my essence and Wolf.....Wolf is a god in my eyes.
The thrill of the evening is that no matter how big or sparse the crowd may be in Worcester, those who arrive at the show are a learned and energetic group. I feel proud to be a metalhead every time I go here and the crowds reinforce my hope for the future of the metal. I saw teenagers and old schoolers like myself, proudly singing the background choruses. Accept stole this night with a raging set consisting of the following: “Hung, Drawn and Quartered,” “Hellfire,” “Restless and Wild,” “Losers and Winners,” “Stalingrad,” “Shadow Soldiers,” “Pandemic,” “Breaker,” “Bucket Full of Hate,” “Princess of the Dawn,” “Up to the Limit,” “Teutonic Terror,” “Metal Heart,” “Fast as a Shark” and “Balls to the Wall.”
Now in all these years, this was my very first live exposure to Kreator. As much as Accept is one of my all time favorite traditional metal bands, Kreator is my all time favorite thrash band - even more so than Slayer and Testament. They were everything I wanted to see and more. As the banner of the “Phantom Antichrist” was raised in the air in back of the stage and the blood red lights shined down upon the stage, I could anticipate the “Endless Pain” to come. A large part of the crowd knew what awaited them as they retreated the floor to the safety of the first and upper levels of the old haunted theater. Kreator’s very essence is a “riot of violence.” Mille is a commanding frontman who doesn’t just politely ask for circle pits...he demands it. Fans who expended tons of energy during Accept dug deep and the diehard pit creatures did not disappoint even though in smaller numbers. I should note for the record that some of the pit oddities included a fan face painted like Heath Ledger’s Joker and another who donned a “tramp stamp”....and yes, it was a dude (“not that there is anything wrong with that,” mind you).
Kreator spewed forth a smackdown of brutality, the bodies of which are still being counted. Now I am not one of those whiners who long to complain about a band’s set list, whether they choose to lean heavy on the new material rather than the old. Sure, I wouldn’t complain if Kreator played an entire set of old stuff, but I would be a liar if I said I didn’t want to hear the whole new album. Outside of Testament’s “Dark Roots of Earth,” the thrash world will find no better album in 2012 (and of all time) than what Kreator “created” with “Phantom Antichrist” (see my review at this location). The band rightfully chose to beef up its set with five tracks from the latest, including favorite “From Flood Into Fire.” While many fans go for the band’s blazing speed (as do I), nothing can incite riots and bloodshed more than the band’s uncanny brilliance in “kreating” those hateful riffs that litter the bands entire catalog, case in point “Phobia.” No band instills more brutality in a fan than Kreator, and on this night that brutality was escalated. Songs played at hyperfast speed caused bodies to fly and heads to shake. “Hordes of Chaos” summed it up perfectly....“everyone against everyone.” The band left me broken and clinging to the barrier for dear life, suffering from over dehydration and absolute pain.
Petrozza spent a emotional and touching moment speaking about how Worcester was one of the few places where metal remained strong in the United States. Just after he returned with a flag pole and a roar from the crowd, which could only signify one thing. As soon as I saw it, I yelled “its time to raise it.” It took five tries to satisfy the level of blood Mille demanded from the crowd to simply scream the one word that personified this set: “Hate.” So “Flag of Hate” and “Tormentor” rounded out a brutal set consisting of: “Mars Mantra (Intro),” “Phantom Antichrist,” “From Flood Into Fire,” “Enemy of God,” “Phobia,” “Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite),” “Civilization Collapse,” “United in Hate,” “Voices of the Dead,” “Extreme Aggression,” "Betrayer," “People of the Lie,” “Death To The World,” “Endless Pain” (w/“Coma of Souls” intro), “Pleasure To Kill,” “Violent Revolution,” “Flag of Hate” and “Tormentor.”
Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.
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