Kreator & Arch Enemy In Newcastle: Live Review

By on 25 February 2015

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Just before Christmas, thrash legends Kreator left a trail of devastation as they toured across the country with Arch Enemy and Shining. Kat Gillham caught them in Newcastle, and here’s what she reckoned…

KREATOR
+ ARCH ENEMY + SHINING & MARTY FRIEDMAN
O2 ACADEMY, NEWCASTLE
DECEMBER 22nd, 2014

The Newcastle and North East metal contingent came out in force for the final show of the Kreator/Arch Enemy tour which had been steamrolling its way across mainland Europe and the UK.

Upon entering the venues main gig room my ears were immediately assaulted by the sound of a wailing saxophone as Norwegian black/jazz oddballs Shining were opening up the nights proceedings to an already very sizeable crowd. A rather odd addition to such a bill, their unorthodox approach to heavy music seemed to  get a rather muted response from those in attendance who obviously didn’t know quite what to make of their sax driven sound until their special guest Marty Friedman joined them on stage for a cover of the King Crimson epic ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ where the ex-Megadeth lead guitarist showed off his guitar acrobatics. It was an energetic, if not rather long winded affair, very accomplished musicianship all round but not quite fitting for the bill in my opinion.

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Pic: Daryl Parson

Next up was Arch Enemy who wasted no time in taking things up a gear and hitting full throttle and Alissa White-Gluz immediately commanded the crowds attention and made her presence felt. The pint sized frontwoman is a bundle of energy, seemingly hardly pausing for breath as she bounded across the stage, her striking coloured hair flying about as she whipped around like a screaming, growling mini tornado. Looking very comfortable and confident in her newish role within the band and more than filling the boots of her predecessor Angela Gossow. A natural frontwoman in every aspect and very entertaining to watch.

The band’s set revolved heavily around the new album as well as various anthems (of rebellion) from the Gossow era and we were treated to very sharp powerful renditions of ‘Ravenous’, ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’, ‘We Will Rise’, ‘Under Black Flags We March’, ‘No Gods, No Masters’ and ‘Nemesis’ as well as newer songs such as ‘War Eternal’, ‘As The Pages Burn’ and ‘You Will Know My Name’. The whole band sounded flawless, a clearly well oiled touring machine, Michael Amott and his new guitar partner Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) trading off licks and harmonies with impressive ease. If you didn’t know any better you’d have thought they had been playing together in the band for years but the fact is Loomis has only been in the band for a matter of weeks, apparently learning the entire set in a mere two weeks before hitting the road, a very impressive feat and his guitar prowess and experience was clearly evident tonight. The longstanding rythmn section of Daniel Erlandsson and Sharlee De’ Angelo is clearly bonded like superglue providing the heavy rumble and low end to the melodic guitar masterclass of Amott/Loomis. Their set was delivered with such precision and professionalism and they really were a pleasure to watch and listen to – and this is coming from someone who hasn’t listened to a great deal of Arch Enemy on record in recent years but there is no denying how good and tight a live band they are. A great warm up for the long awaited headliners, just a shame there wasn’t any material aired from the earlier albums.

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Pic: Daryl Parson

After what seemed like quite a lengthy changeover it was finally time for the long overdue return to Newcastle of legendary German thrashers Kreator and the very vocal crowd were clearly up for it from the get go, a mosh pit erupting as soon as ‘Violent Revolution’ came charging out of the speakers, Mille and co immediately asserting their dominance as the night’s headliners with their razor sharp teutonic thrash assault. Mille Petrozza’s trademark rasping vocals were on fine form, spitting each lyric with venomous intent as he unleashed aggressive riff after riff. Mille was very energetic as usual instigating circle pit after circle pit from the stage and had the rabid crowd very much under his command as we were treated to a set which spanned the whole of the bands illustrious career/back catalogue with newer songs such as ‘Warcurse’, ‘Phantom Antichrist’, ‘Suicide Terrorist’ and ‘Enemy Of God’ perfectly slotting alongside older classics such as ‘Extreme Aggression’, ‘Endless Pain’. ‘Pleasure To Kill’ and ‘People Of The Lie’. Even ‘Phobia’ was aired and seemed to fit perfectly into the mix demonstrating what an impressive and varied armoury of songs the band has to draw from and aurally assault crowds with.

It was great to see Ventor back behind the kit and for this longtime Kreator fan it was actually the first time seeing the band in the flesh with him, a powerhouse of rolling tom fills, bulldozing beats and fierce, pummelling double kick attack. Bassist Christian was helping to anchor down the lower end whilst Mille and his fellow guitarist Sami traded off classic riffs, solos and harmonies. Sadly there was no ‘Riot Of Violence’ though but we were treated to a thrashed up Kreatorized rendition of the Maiden classic ‘Number Of The Beast’ as an encore and the band closed the set with the double whammy of ‘Flag Of Hate’ and ‘Tormentor’ which had the crowd in a complete frenzy. There were horns in the air, heads banging, hair flailing, bodies moshing and people shouting lyrics left, right and centre and it left smiles on many a face as the crowd filtered off back into the cold damp Newcastle night.

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Pic: Daryl Parson

Kreator stormed the O2 with menace and proved tonight why they are worthy headliners of such a venue and why they have been in the premier league of thrash metal for nearly 3 decades now. If their immensely powerful performance tonight was anything to go by then there is still plenty of life and energy left in them yet! Just please don’t take so long to make a return to the UK again Mille, Ventor, Christian and Sami!

Words: Kat Gillham

Pics: Daryl Parson

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