The "Tour Of North American Aggression" - Overkill, Kreator & Warbringer Kill Worcester
As if the ante of seeing Testament, Overkill and Flotsam & Jetsam needed to be raised, the thought of seeing Kreator, Overkill and Warbringer was much too tempting an offer. I was fortunate enough to see Overkill on that fateful day – February 16, 2013 – the last show that Blitz would sing on the tour due to contracting pneumonia – which forced him into the hospital in Buffalo the next day and forced the band off the tour. Looking back on that day, I thought despite the illness, Blitz sounded great – however, he did leave the stage nearly every time he stopped singing. Chuck Billy of Testament, who was also sick, sounded pretty awful, but he was a trooper and put on a great show regardless. Flash forward to November 1st and The Palladium in Worcester would be witness to what I can only describe as the “Tour of North American Aggression.”
If you follow anything I write for any length of time, my love of German thrash exceeds that of American thrash by a pretty large margin. Adding Kreator in between two American thrash greats – one of all time and the other one of the quickest rising thrash stars – would only elevate the tour, even if Kreator played nearly the same set list as they did a year ago with Accept. It matters not, for these three bands are too damn great live to miss every single night of every single tour.
As Warbringer took the stage, limited by the gear of the two headliners, they unleashed an assault that makes them such a growing talent in the scene. The band is relentless road warriors, but man would it be great to see them properly come out to an intro and huge applause – something I think they have earned over the last couple of years. John Kevil is one of the most photogenic frontmen, which as photographer is great to see, especially since he is with two of the most photogenic frontmen in Mille Petrozza and Blitz. Kevil loves to make insane facial expressions and grab those invisible pineapples (as Chris Bowes of Alestorm has emblazoned in my mind). The band stormed through some new (like “Turning of the Gears” “Black Sun, Black Moon” and “Tower of the Serpent”) and old tracks (“Beneath the Waves” and “Shoot to Kill”). New guitarist Jeff Potts and bassist Ben Mottsman have fit right into the band. If you haven’t had the pleasure to see them live yet, it is a must see.
Co-headliner Kreator was up next (on its alternating schedule with Overkill) and did not disappoint. Victims a bit of muffled sound, Ventor’s snare drum was abnormally high in the mix…it mattered not – this is one of the best live bands regardless of technical issues. It is nearly impossible to watch Kreator without violent movement and though the set was eerily familiar in this fourth time I saw them since September of 2012, its always a pleasure. Mille’s stage presence is immense – even if you become acutely aware of the script. There were tons of frozen claw movements over a hanging guitar as he demanded circle pits as the band plodded a path of destruction in “Civilization Collapse,” “Hordes of Chaos,” “Enemy of God” along with old school classics “Riot of Violence” and “Tormentor.”
This is not truly a complaint, but just once, I would love to see the band delve into the catalog and play some stuff from the “forbidden two” – “Renewal” and “Endorama.” I appreciate that the band has such a catalog of crowd favorites that render the two useless, but one can dream. It ultimately is just one man’s dream, though I was perfectly content bashing neighbors (with camera flying) during “Pleasure to Kill,” “Endless Pain,” and “Flag of Hate.” Mille recognized what a great place Worcester is to play, hilariously stating “Worcester is the largest city in ALL of the United States.” Few people evoke such pride, loyalty and humor then Mille. It was yet again a total pleasure (to kill).
Overkill were up last on this night and Bobby threw out 100 times more energy than I have ever seen him do before. The band is so genuine and pure – giving off the “fuck you, we are just having fun” vibe that I love. I had the pleasure of seeing this show with friend and co-writer Michael “OverkillExposure” Smith, who astutely pointed out that Overkill has one of the best attitudes in the business and with that they can add nearly any element into their style and make it sound cool. If you look back at Overkill’s career there is no let up, no break – they just pump out quality music on a continuous basis for 30 years. The live performance is so energetic, there are few younger bands that can compete.
After telling the crowd how much he loved playing in Worcester – saying “You make me feel like 53 again” - Blitz recalled his sickness in February, stating “So I was sitting in a hospital room in Buffalo smokin’….” On this night, Overkill brought the aggression, opening with an all-time favorite “Deny the Cross” and spicing the night up with a mix of old and new – “Hammerhead,” “Rotten to the Core,” “Electric Rattlesnake,” “Ironbound,” “Elimination,” and “The Green and Black” before capping the night off with “Fuck You.” The crowd ate it up, whipping up into a fury of pits and violence and the band was pleased.
Another thrash night to remember in Worcester, one of the places I most love to watch a show. Over the last year, having seen Overkill twice, Testament three times, Death Angel twice, Kreator four times – I can say with great pride that thrash is alive and well and the “old-times” still run circles around their younger counterparts. What an honor it is to see them…because it won’t last forever.
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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