Thrash 'Til Death: Destruction - 24.10.2023, London, UK
|Event:||Destruction: 40th Anniversary European Tour 2023|
|Written by:||omne metallum|
As winter starts to draw near, it's often a time that people become sullen and forlorn at the nights drawing in early and generally poorer weather. For metalheads, winter is a time to look forward to; with summer festival season in the rearview mirror once more, winter tours start ramping up in their place. Tonight was one such tour that I knew I had to be in attendance for way back when it was announced, to not only celebrate the lengthy career of one of the best bands to come out of Germany, but also enjoy what had to be one of the most stacked line-ups I’d witnessed in a while.
The tour wasn't without its tribulations before it got started, with Razor dropping out for health reasons; thankfully, however, their replacements in Whiplash meant the promoter didn't skimp out and instead secured a like-for-like swap. The other issue was the belated choice to condense the second London show (yes, oddly enough, this UK tour originally had two London dates) into the first for "logistical" reasons (I suspect ticket sales may have been a factor, myself).
Still, as I turned up for my first ever show at The Garage (as it turns out, a great venue that has good views everywhere and solid acoustics), I was excited to finally get to enjoy a night of metal done right (read: in the thrash style).
Opening tonight's proceedings were Spanish thrash mob Crisix, who have been building up quite a name for themselves in the last decade. With a crowd eager to get the night's mayhem under way, Crisix didn't need to work hard to get some movement going. Playing a tight set that ran through their strongest material, the band hit the ground running from beginning to end. "Leech Breeder" got the crowd in a frenzy that threatened to burn them out far too early, though kudos to the crowd for keeping the energy up through "Ultra Thrash".
Crisix gave the audience a breather when they swapped instruments with one another and ran through a short medley of metal hits like "Walk", "Hit The Lights" and "Antisocial". As the band's set drew to a triumphant close with the guitarist in the centre of a circle pit, it became safe to say that Crisix will be a draw the next time they return to the capital.
01. World Needs Mosh
02. Macarena Mosh
03. Leech Breeder
05. One By One
06. Full HD
08. Ultra Thrash
What cha gonna do, when the unroided Swedish Hulk Hogan runs wild on you
Up next after a short changeover were Swedish trad metallers Enforcer, a group not unused to propping up bills featuring bands far heavier than themselves. I've often wondered how the band aren't bigger than they are in the UK, or indeed headlining venues like this in their own right; tonight itself felt almost like a condensed headliner set. Kicking off with a trio of modern metal classics off of the From Beyond album, Enforcer were immediately on top form.
The four Swedish blondes dazzled the crowd with plenty of calls and responses and flashy guitar work; they ran through a set that kept the adrenaline pumping at max levels... well, except for when they cracked out new cut "Nostalgia", which derailed the momentum train more spectacularly than a car flying off of an incomplete ride in Rollercoaster Tycoon.
Quickly picking the pace, the band even managed to fit in a drum solo, as well as the quickest walk off and back on for an encore that you will ever witness in their short set. Enforcer deserve more success than they currently enjoy; tonight was yet another in the long list of performances I've witnessed where they've pushed the headliner a hair’s width close to being band of the night.
02. Undying Evil
03. From Beyond
04. Coming Alive
05. Zenith Of The Black Sun
07. Mesmerised By Fire
08. Live For The Night
09. Take Me Out Of This Nightmare
10. Midnight Vice
After a short changeover, it was time for thrash luminaries Whiplash to try and follow two blisteringly hot sets. With an audience eager to witness a rare appearance from the band, it was Whiplash's for the taking and... well, they fumbled it. With the prior crystal-clear sound turning muddy and unclear, they had an uphill struggle that they valiantly tried to overcome, but ended up falling short.
While Whiplash did roll out gem after overlooked gem, including the likes of "The Burning Of Atlanta", "Red Bomb" and "Power Thrashing Death", the lack of rhythm guitar left a gaping hole that even the enthusiastic bass work could not fill. To add to the muddy sound, if there was an award for most incomprehensible frontman, then Portaro would win hands down; I could not understand anything beyond the choruses.
Still, the crowd took their cue and promptly began turning into a blur of flailing limbs and flying hair. though oddly enough, there was no stage diving to "Stage Dive".
01. Last Man Alive
02. Killing On Monroe Street
03. The Burning Of Atlanta
04. Insult To Injury
05. Skull Meet Sword, Sword Meet Skull
06. Stage Dive
07. Walk The Plank
08. Red Bomb
09. Spit On Your Grave
10. Power Thrashing Death
Destruction 21:35- 22:45
After a so-so set from Whiplash, the crowd was at fever pitch while waiting for tonight's headliners Destruction to take to the stage. Celebrating 40 years, tonight saw the band celebrate by doing what they do best: deafening crowds with some of the best Teutonic thrash going. After the final short changeover, Destruction emerged from darkness and jumped right into a blistering "Curse The Gods". The crowd immediately began moving, and found another gear that they had somehow not hit already. Unfortunately, a high-pitched whine emerged from Furia's guitar towards the end of the song that tore everyone out of the moment, and continued through the following "Death Trap".
Thankfully, it was fixed soon after, and the band continued unabated but now fully audible (and the prior crystal-clear sound of the night also re-appeared). Running through a set largely culled from the band's 80s output (save the odd track from their 00s work), it was veritable hit after hit that served as a deafening reminder as to why Destruction remain such an integral band in metal.
The lone long-term member left, Schmier is seemingly ageless, for he sounds just as vital as he did all those years ago. His stage presence was immediate, demanding your attention and issuing instructions to sing, move and go crazy, which the audience did with gusto. The new-look band were all in fine form, giving classics like "Mad Butcher", "Eternal Ban" and "Nailed To The Cross" the platform to shine like the gems they are.
The set flew by in a whirlwind of shredded notes; so compelling was it that the show came to its end far too soon, leaving you wanting more. The band's encore featured the lone representation of anything beyond 2005 in "Diabolical", which made you realize that Destruction didn't so much celebrate their back catalogue, as just compile a set guaranteed to please fans. Still, I'm not complaining!
01. Curse The Gods
02. Death Trap
03. Nailed To The Cross
04. Mad Butcher
05. Life Without Sense
06. Release From Agony
08. Thrash Attack
09. Eternal Ban
10. The Butcher Strikes Back
12. Bestial Invasion
14. Total Disaster
15. Thrash 'Til Death
It was with that, that perhaps the tour package of the year finished. Tonight was a reminder why the coming of winter is often the best time for a metalhead, with the amount of tours being a veritable feast for the senses. Destruction were run close, but the solid performance of their stellar back catalogue was enough to hold off their challengers tonight. Here's to 40 years and hopefully many more!
||Written on 09.11.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.|
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