With fantastic new albums from Kreator and Sepultura this year (check out my reviews on this blog here and here), I was really looking forward to this show. I must confess that I didn't turn up in time to see Aborted. I could hear them playing their last song as I was walking to the venue's front door. I still think that 18:10 is insanely early to start a Metal show, but anyway.....
Opening with The Ride Majestic, Soilwork delivered a tight set of the melodic yet brutal Metal that they're known for. With a large back catalogue such as theirs, and only a 45 minute set, there were always going to be songs that I wanted to hear that they wouldn't have time for such as Tongue, Vesta, Exile and Black Star Deceiver. Gutted! However, they did play some killer tracks such as Nerve and The Living Infinite 1 then ended in style with the popular Stabbing The Drama. It's worth mentioning that their new drummer is awesome, and a great addition to the band. I'll have to catch Soilwork at a headlining show when they next come round.
Up next were Sepultura. I've been a fan for many years and have seen all of the different line-ups since the 90's, and with the recently released Machine Messiah album under their belts, I was really looking forward to their set. They did not disappoint. They opened with the explosive I Am The Enemy and played several more tracks off their new album throughout the set including Phantom Self, Alethea and Resistant Parasites, as well as a good mix of classics from all eras of Sepultura's history. The studio version of Choke didn't impress me on first listen when it came out, but the live version they played tonight was killer and utterly savage. The Cavalera era material sounded awesome too. I do think those tracks such as Inner Self, Refuse/Resist and Arise would benefit from a second live guitar again, but they sounded tight and the delivery was fierce. They ended the set with Ratamahatta and Roots Bloody Roots to a rapturous applause from the audience.
Headliners Kreator are Thrash Metal royalty and there was a huge buzz about their return to Manchester. There were a lot of people there, and from the amount of Kreator T-Shirts and the sea of denim jackets covered in every obscure Thrash and Extreme metal band patches imaginable, it was clear that this was their crowd. The undisputable quality of their new album Gods Of Violence has clearly paid dividends and their target audience has been mobilised. I noticed a lot of younger metal fans there too, all in T-Shirts that are clearly older than they are, showing that Kreator's fan base is continuing to grow.
With a full 90 minute set, Kreator played a good chunk of the Gods Of Violence album including the title track, Satan Is Real, Fallen Brother, World War Now and Hail To The Hordes, as well as fan favourites spanning their back catalogue. Other highlights included Enemy Of God, Phantom Antichrist, Phobia and the classic Extreme Aggression. The encore included the essential Flag Of Hate and Pleasure To Kill, so Kreator played pretty much everything I was hoping they'd play. Musically, the band are a slick, oiled machine and I can't fault them at all. The sound was fantastic, and their show was everything I hoped it would be.
If you haven't seen Kreator yet, now is a really good time to catch them as they're on a creative high, enjoying a resurgence in popularity and are clearly on top of their game as a live band.