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Exodus Holds The Headbanger's Ball In London With Sodom, Death Angel And Suicidal Angels.

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Band Photo: Exodus (?)

December has been one Hell of a month for tours. Great Britain has been treated to a wide array of bands visiting this month, while there's also been some real treats when it comes to tour packages. Perhaps there was no tour with more to offer, especially to fans of thrash metal, than the Headbanger's Ball tour, which made its only British stop in London a few weeks ago. Denim vests, high top running shoes and band patches at the ready, it's a night of old school thrash.

Opening the show, all the way from Athens (Greece, not Ohio,) was Suicidal Angels. Many will remember about ten years ago, there was the thrash revival, which saw a number of young bands bring back the thrash of the eighties, many going full retro and singing songs about Robocop. While many of these groups simply rehashed the style, there were some who brought a freshness to the genre, either by putting a modern spin on things or adding some new elements. Suicidal Angels were one of the few that fall into the latter category and proved on this night that they're still going strong not just because the music's good, but because they're a real force live. Obviously, they had the shortest set time on the bill, but fans who arrived early were treated to a quality display of thrash metal, which instead of being a nostalgia act, was an energetic outburst of metal. Opa!

The first of three legends were then ready to take to the stage. Hailing from the Bay Area, which many feel is the capital of thrash metal, beloved quintet Death Angel made the most of their seven song set, treating fans to material both old and new. Death Angel are one of the few bands that have continued to put out stellar material since their return and so hearing such songs as "Left For Dead" from the excellent, "The Dream Calls For Blood" album was just as delightful as the likes of "Mistress Of Pain" or "Kill As One" from "The Ultra Violence." The five piece are as energetic as they've always been and whether this was one's first time seeing them or tenth, they're almost guaranteed to have enjoyed the show.

On to the next band now and a quartet whose arrival on British shores always sparks great intrigue among metal fans on the island; Sodom. The German thrash legends make a rare appearance in London, their first with their brand new lineup, after frontman Tom Angelripper decided to start the band over. Anyone who doubted if Tom was wise to do this would soon feel like a fool, as the Teutonic titans tore through the Camden stage like a cheap velcro wallet. There was plenty for longtime fans to enjoy during their set including three songs from "Perseuction Mania" including opening number "Procession To Golgotha" and finisher "Bombenhagel," as well as three helpings from the classic "Agent Orange" album. Add to this two new excellent songs "Partisan" and "Conflagration" as well as some more staples such as "Blasphemer" and "Outbreak Of Evil" and some more absolute ragers and you have the perfect example of why Sodom are held in such regard and are one of the three most beloved names in German thrash.

Finally, we come to tonight's headliners. After two European bands, here was the second band from the Bay Area; Exodus. Exodus are rightly regarded as one of the greatest names in thrash metal, their post reunion material arguably outshining much of their earlier work, save of course for the classic "Bonded By Blood" debut. Speaking of which, it may come as no surprise that it was the title track from this record which let loose the dogs of war and whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy, followed, just as it was on the album, by the song "Exodus." I unfortunately missed a large chunk of their set after this as I was summoned upstairs to interview Tom Angelripper (which along with my interview with Exodus drummer Tom Hunting, can be seen below.)

When I returned, "Bonded By Blood" was still getting a good airing, this time in the guise of "Piranha," a favourite of any Exodus fan which has gone on to be covered by the likes of Sepultura. After another "BBB" song, "A Lesson In Violence," it was time for "Tempo Of The Damned" to get some representation with, "Blacklist," which was then surprisingly followed by a cover of Metallica's "Motorbreath." Every thrash fans favourite dance was up next, when everyone was invited to take part in "The Toxic Waltz," followed by another song from "Bonded By Blood" to close the set, just as it did the record, "Strike Of The Beast." Thrash metal is something which can get boring really quickly if there's nothing interesting on offer, but tonight's variety such as the melodic tones of Death Angel, the youthful energy of Suicidal Angels, the intense atmosphere created by Sodom and the good, friendly, violent fun provided by Exodus showed just why thrash metal is alive, well and not going anywhere.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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1. albert b. writes:

3 bands that i like...but no news about them MA.

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