The Legends of Thrash Tour (Kreator, Overkill, Warbringer)
City National Grove of Anaheim
The City National Grove of Anaheim was a thrasher's paradise on Friday night as the Legends of Thrash Tour, featuring Kreator, Overkill and Warbringer, made its only Southern California stop to thousands of rabid head banging fans.
By the time Overkill went on just before 9:00 p.m., fans in the front near the pit were already pumped up and ready for action. The New Jersey thrash band has been on the scene since 1980 and still know how to thrash better than younger bands today. Lead singer Bobby Blitz can command an audience with a twisted sense of humor and charisma that not many front men in thrash can compete with.
With a his skinny frame, long curly hair and a demented grin, Blitz and the rest of Overkill, which includes bassist D.D. Verni, guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer and drummer Ron Lipnicki, doled out whiplash riffs in their set of old fashioned speed metal, with heavy doses of melody and a power metal vibe that fans couldn't get enough of. The intensity of the head banging in the pit was enough to induce cranial damage as a continuous swath of crowd surfers hovered around throughout Overkill and Kreator's set.
“I'm still an old man, but I've got the savage in me motherfuckers!” Blitz screamed to the crowd. Overkill, is a band that although not one of the 'Big 4' should not be disregarded when it comes to thrash metal. Although the band performed some recent songs in a set that last an hour, fan favorites included the band's older material, and classic songs such as 'Elimination,' 'Horroscope,' 'Overkill' and the set closing song 'Fuck You.'
At 10:30 p.m., co-headliner Kreator took the stage as fans went apeshit in the dim light of the venue. These German thrash metal titans are sometimes under rated in American circles, when it comes to thrash metal, and this is a shame. Having a career that spans three decades, the band's live show is like a well-oiled machine; gears and switches grinding away to create a sound of thrash metal and sonic destruction.
The security at the venue had to work for their money, because not only was the circle pit an intense hurricane of flailing bodies smashing into eat other, head bangers all over were losing it, and there were more than three dozen crowd surfers, which resulted in several people falling over and getting hurt, one man had to be carried out in a wheel chair after injuring his knee falling from the barricades.
Kreator are all about speed and aggression, and it works. With music focused on death, war and destruction, the show became a violent catharsis, as lead singer/guitarist Mille Petrozza spit out his trademark evil, Teutonic vocals while the rest of the band, bassist Christian Giesler, drummer Jurgen Reil, and guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio held it town musically to bust out some of the tightest, fastest thrash fans have come to known since the mighty Slayer.
Petrozza also attempted to created the of infamous 'Wall of Death' by dividing the pits from the middle. “Southern California, this is where thrash metal all started!” he screamed to the crowd. He was content on pointing out the three huge circle pits that had formed, and fed of the fury and energy coming the slam dancing thrashers, who didn't stop the pit for one song from the band's first song to last. With a 14-song set that lasted over an hour, the band left the crowd chanting 'KREATOR!'
Kreator Set List:
1. Mars Mantra-Intro
2. Phantom Antichrist
3. From Flood Into Fire
6. Pleasure To Kill
7. Hordes of Chaos
8.Riot of Violence
9.Enemy of God
13.Flag of Hate
Opening act, Southern California based thrashers Warbringer have evolved to become one not only one of the most hard working of younger bands, but also one of the most dedicated and talented. Though many older fans were still outside tailgating and drinking beers by the time the band finished a 30-minute solid set of no frills thrash metal, there was still a crowd of head bangers to cheer them on. This was a perfect band to showcase the longevity of thrash, and its clear influence on the next generation of bands to emerge. Warbringer might not have a career that spans decades like Kreator or Overkill, but they are on the right path.
The Crowd: Both young and old, male and female, the Grove was full of punks, metal heads, and tons of younger thrashers with Slayer, DRI and DEATH shirts were interspersed throughout the venue.
Overheard in the Crowd/Quote:
“Nothing but denim and longhair everywhere I see,” said one fan in a line longer than a city block for the restroom drinking a beer. “Just imagine this times a million, that's how the Battle for San Bernardino was, except it was 110 degrees out!”
Random Notebook Dump: Both Kreator and Overkill have toured extensively, and taken thrash metal to the far reaches of the globe, but this it he first time the band has co-headlined a tour of North America.