Whilst Manchester can effectively be considered home turf for me, I’ve never actually been to a concert there. Whether that’s due to there being a dire train situation for returning home post gig or that London can sometimes be easier to get to, is hard to say. That being said, it’s not too far away from my ‘seasonal’ home of Preston and given this stellar lineup was playing, I figured it worth popping down to witness this.
First up on the rather large stage at the Academy were Belgian death metallers Aborted (9.5). Arguably the odd band out on the bill, they seemed to pay this no heed as they proceeded to warm up the cold and wet punters that slowly trickled in. Opening with “Divine Impediment” from last year’s Retrogore (which we reviewed at the time), Aborted took no prisoners as they set to deliver what, in my opinion, was the performance of the night. Frontman Sven was moving around like a madman and both he and the rest of the band looked like they were having the time of their lives. Ending with probably my favourite track from them, “Bit By Bit”, the band delivered a near flawless set and set the bar very high for the next act to follow.
Swedish metallers, Soilwork (7), were that next band. It was their turn to grace the stage at the Academy and win over the masses that had gathered. Coming on stage to “The Ride Majestic” from the album of the same name (which, of course, we reviewed), the initial response to them was somewhat frosty. Whether this was due to them being rather different to the opening band or the drummer not really keeping pace, is hard to know. As time went on, however, the majority of the audience started to nod their heads and applaud at the end of each song. Had the band been given one more song or chosen to play some slightly more well known songs such as “Rejection Role”, the audience may well have received them better. Despite this, they still delivered a good set and I look forward to seeing them again in the future.
By the time Sepultura (9) came to the stage, the venue had nearly packed out and there was somewhat of a buzz in the audience. No sooner had the lights gone down than a massive cheer shot up and the inevitable chants of “Sepultura! Sepultura!” erupted. Coming on stage to “I Am The Enemy” from the recently released Machine Messiah (you guessed it), the crowd immediately exploded into the first real moshpits of the night. Whilst the set was primarily made up with songs from that album, they did play a good mixture of older material with songs such as “Desperate Cry” and “Choke”. Ending with a slightly sped up version of “Ratahamatta” and “Roots Bloody Roots”, the quartet delivered an outstanding performance and it could be argued that they are at the top of their game at the moment. I heartily look forward to seeing the Brazilians (and adopted American) in the future!
After a relatively quick changeover and an accidental early firing of the confetti cannons, it was time for the German thrash legends that are Kreator (8) to take to the stage. Coming on stage to the slightly odd opener of “Hordes of Chaos”, the crowd fired up once more and began to do what they do best. For some reason though, something felt slightly off about the performance initially. Whether that was due to the band having to start slightly earlier than was advertised, is hard to say. By the time the band came to play “Enemy of God” however, they seemed to have rectified any issues and were on their top form.
At points during the set, various graphics were shown on the digital displays either side of Ventor’s behemoth of a drum kit. During “Fallen Brother” in particular, they showed pictures of some of the musicians that we’ve lost in the past few years. This made for quite a nice touch and seemed to go down well with the audience who cheered when someone they recognised came up. Ending with “Pleasure to Kill” from the 1986 album of the same name, the titans of thrash delivered what was arguably one of the best thrash metal performances I’ve ever seen. Until next time when the Kreator shall return!
All photos by Katie Frost (taken at the London Show)