Overkill/Kreator – November 1, 2013- The Palladium, Worcester, MA

Sunday, 3rd November 2013

The “Legends of Thrash” tour hit the Palladium in Worcester, MA on a Friday night, with an emo-core oriented show headlined by Attila upstairs in the small, sold-out confines. Heckling ensued outside between both lines, as shouts of “How many breakdowns are we going to hear tonight?’ and “Korn sucks!”  were lobbed mostly at the teenagers awaiting entrance to Attila from the Overkill/Kreator faithful, and kept me entertained as I waited in line for entry.

Not knowing much about the first band Rope from Connecticut when they hit the stage at 7 pm, their 20-minute set flew by without much of an impact. The guitarist on stage right struggled with technical difficulties, and their sound seemed to be a mish-mosh of Pantera staccato grooves with a little bit of crossover slam. I’d advise the band to let people know who you are though social media, as an informal poll of the crowd puzzled many as to how to learn more about this act.

After a 15-minute changeover, Ventura, California’s Warbringer hit the stage. With their new album IV: Empires Collapse fresh on the market this week, as well as three new members firmly ensconced in the group (two from the defunct Mantic Ritual no less), mainstay vocalist John Kevill and guitarist John Laux appeared ready to slay the masses right out of the gate with “Total War” from their debut album War Without End. Mixing up their 30-minute set with old favorites like “Severed Reality” and “Living in a Whirlwind” with 4 newcomers (of which “One Dimension” and “Hunter-Seeker” seemed to go over best), the band’s incessant touring schedule has given them a faithful audience who dig their thrash ways. Impressive most to me is new drummer Carlos Cruz, who has a very dynamic fill style that is part traditional, part punk, and part progressive, and very entertaining to watch visually.

Next we have German legends Kreator. Mille Petrozza has always expressed a love for New England audiences, and tonight would be no different. He led many a chanting session, fists banging away in unison like a battalion leader charging up the troops. Their set list included familiar numbers of old (“Flag of Hate,” “Pleasure to Kill,” “Endless Pain”), and from Violent Revolution forward (“War Curse,” “Hordes of Chaos,” “Enemy of God”) – also touching on the last studio album Phantom Antichrist for the title track, “From Flood into Fire” and “Civilization Collapse.”

Bringing out an acoustic guitar for a flamenco styled solo spot, guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio gave the ears a little bit of respite before the band launched into the next thrash number. I did feel there were times where Mille used too many arena screaming techniques to try to get the audience involved – who needs a shouting match from left-right or front to back when they’ve already been screaming out every chorus of every song without prompting? By the time “Flag of Hate/ Tormentor” closed their 75-minute set, the sweaty crowd delighted in another violently thrashing good outing- ice packs to soothe the bruises and bang ups.

Overkill didn’t waste any time going old school from the start, as “Deny the Cross” would be their opener and Bobby Blitz and the boys had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. It was nice to hear him sound 1000% better (last time in February they had to leave the Testament tour following the Worcester, MA day for his walking pneumonia) and the man’s energy is unrelenting, charging the stage during the end of instrumental breaks or the beginning of songs. What you always know at an Overkill show is the green and black will come at you all guns blazing; strobe lights and fog accenting all the key parts.

With 16 full-length studio albums to choose material from, it’s never easy to capture a band’s history in only 75 minutes. But I can safely say Overkill were firing on all cylinders tonight- “Necroshine”, “Thanks for Nothing” and the aforementioned “Deny the Cross” working very well to these ears, as well as a bevy of material from “Ironbound” and “The Electric Age” like “Electric Rattlesnake,” “Bring Me the Night”, and first encore “The Green and Black.” People banged their fists in the air, a couple of daring customers stage dived, and once again the circle pit reigned supreme. Bobby and D.D. Verni had ear to ear grins all night, and so did the thousand strong fans as “Hammerhead,” “Hello from the Gutter,”“Rotten to the Core” and “Elimination” reverberate through the walls of the venue.

Who says the live market for thrash is dead? Not the Palladium or audience in Worcester, MA on this fall evening.

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