A lineup featuring three thrash legends is bound to bring the battle jacket headbangers out to mosh. Descending upon the fitting industrial backdrop of SWG3 is Overkill bringing their Killfest tour featuring fellow thrash heroes Destruction & Flotsam and Jetsam.
Unfortunately I arrive a lot later than expected and only catch the last song from Flotsam & Jetsam. There’s already bodies sailing over the barrier upon entering a busy SWG3, giving a flavour of what’s to come. The song in question, “No Place For Disgrace”, goes down well as chants ring out and more crowd surfers emerge. The band are putting on a solid performance, and frontman Eric A.K. nails his timeless screams. F&J have never disappointed live and despite it only being one song, I’m certain they killed the rest of their set.
After a quick change onstage, the mob gathers as a familiar 35-year old demonic intro tape fills the room… And “total Destruction” ensues. Beginning with “Curse the Gods”, the band waste no time in whipping the crowd up into a frenzy. The mental mosh never relents through back to back Destruction classics. The pit is raging as the band slay the stage with the likes of “Release From Agony”, “Nailed to the Cross” and “Mad Butcher” – the pit seemingly swelling to its largest throughout. Frontman Schmier is as charismatic as ever, engaging the crowd in brief bursts between songs. The addition of new six-stringer Damir Eskic marks the first time Destruction have been a 4-piece since the Release From Agony-era, and he fits in like a raised horned-hand in a studded leather glove. He shreds alongside legend Mike Sifringer like he’s been there since ‘88, while drummer Randy Black and Schmier hold down solid rhythms.
The foreshadowed “Total Desaster” drops and the thrashing doesn’t stop. The closing duo of “Thrash ‘Til Death” and “Bestial Invasion” send bodies flying, be it slamming in the pit or sailing over the barrier. Schmier even reckons that this may have been the most crowd surfers on the tour. Destruction are on top of their game as they leave Glasgow’s metal hordes baying for more. With a new album due this autumn and hopefully a headline tour to follow this time next year, Lucifer’s legions of death are ready for the the attack – and we know that can only mean one thing…
There’s a longer break while the moshers grab a beer and a smoke while the sweat drips off SWG3’s cold brick walls. The room fills and the lights go down as a pounding industrial-style intro rings over the speakers. The crowd roars as Overkill make their way onstage before launching into “Last Man Standing”, and the mosh instantly picks up where it left off. The massive mosh is infectious as it seems more and more folks take to pit-raging and crowd surfing in seemingly every song. Through “Electric Rattlesnake” and a handful of classics (namely “Hello From the Gutter”, “Elimination” and “Deny the Cross”) a thrashing good time is certainly being had. If heads aren’t banging, voices are screaming along with ever effervescent frontman Bobby Blitz.
Blitz’s back and forth with the crowd is great fun, especially with doses of humour as he announces “We’re your ugly cousins from New Jersey!”. Showcasing another new song from latest album The Wings of War – “Distortion” – and follow-up “Necroshine” sees Overkill enter groovy territory as the beats invoke flailing hair throughout the room. It’s joyous to watch the band rock out onstage, especially D.D.Verni as he attacks the bass and Dave Linsk as he shreds his solos.
The latter half of the set is full of classic Overkill, old and new. “Rotten to the Core” sees the insanely fun continuation of barrier jumpers carried on the shoulders of their thrash family for a run round the pit before greeting security on the other side. The closing combo of “Fuck You” and final The Wings of War representative “Welcome to the Garden State” is punky power-chord smash-fest seeing a room full of raised middle-fingers, screaming voices and final moshing. SWG3 is well and truly thrashed as Blitz declares “You are all officially honorary citizens of the great State of New Jersey!”.
Overkill, Destruction and Flotsam & Jetsam have put on one of the best gigs of the year. All three bands have played awesome sets and killed their performances. The crowd have been mental non-stop throughout the show making for an overall insanely fun night of old-school thrash. You know those old concert VHS tapes and TV showings from the 80s that the bands released? The Glasgow Killfest show honestly felt like being a part of one of those crazy crowds minus the stage diving (one day security will let us do it again!) – here’s looking forward to Overkill, Destruction and Flotsam & Jetsam’s return, and the next thrash show!