Exodus w/ Kreator and Belphegor – [Live]

Sunday, 07 June 2009

Every so often, the Gods of Metal smile down upon the masses and offer up a tour that is so packed with nothing but stellar bands that it almost seems too good to be true. Tonight's bill of Warbringer, Belphegor, Exodus and Kreator definitely fit that description, and I made sure to get myself down to Slim's to be at the epicenter.

Unfortunately some minor problems at will call kept me outside the venue for much of Warbringer's set, but having seen these kids a few times already, I can tell you that they are nothing short of a total breath of fresh air among the "newer" metal bands that are out there these days. Warbringer totally get it, and I expect a lot of killer music from them in the future.

After making my way into Slim's, just before Austria's Belphegor hit the stage, I had just enough time to grab a quick Newcastle and push my way past the masses and into the photo pit. And just as I got my camera out of my bag and dialed in, the band hit the stage and delivered an almost 45-minute set of total blackend death metal. This was my first time seeing the band with new guitarist Morluch, and I'm stoked to report the he is a nice fit with vocalist and fellow guitarist Helmuth and bassist Serpenth. And as he and Helmuth traded riffs while the band blazed through a set list that included "Stigma Diabolicum," and the always near epic "Bondage Goat Zombie," I was left totally impressed with Belphegor, and hope that they are going to continue to gel together, because this was without a doubt the strongest version of the band that I have witnessed live, and watching them was a great way to start the evening.

Up next was Bay Area legends Exodus, and to put it quite bluntly, they fucking owned. It has been a long time since I have seen a band take a venue hostage the way Exodus did, and when the dust settled, it was made quite apparent that this band still has that certain something that made them a stand-out in the Bay A rea metal scene all those years ago.

Opening their set with "Bonded by Blood," Exodus tore through nearly a dozen songs in less than an hour. Singer Rob Dukes has proven to be more than worthy of fronting the band, and he gave Exodus classics such as "Piranha," "Strike of the Beast" and "A Lesson in Violence" (complete with Machine Head leader and long time Bay Area metal head Rob Flynn on back-up vocals) a whole new sound. As always, bandleader Gary Holt was a shredding machine, and he and his tag-team partner Lee Altus gave me flashbacks to the H-Team guitar attack, but with even more of a brutal guitar tone.

And as if the Bonded By Blood material wasn't enough, the band also delivered a few tracks off of their last studio release, The Atrocity Exhibition…Exhibit A, including "Children of a Worthless God" and "Iconoclasm." It was almost an hour of old school thrash metal forced upon the Slim's with machine-like precision, and when it was over I doubt there was one person in the venue who wasn't wanting more. Hopefully Exodus will be doing a headlining tour once their new record is released later this Summer.

And just when it seemed that there could not have possibly been any more metal crammed down the collective throats of Slim's, it was Kreator's turn on the stage, and although Exodus might have stolen just a bit of their thunder, the German thrash legends didn't disappoint. While new songs "Warcurse," "Amok Run," and "Destroy What Destroys You" (all off of the bands latest release Hordes of Chaos) all sounded great, it was timeless shrilling vocals and heavy-as-fuck riffs of "Pleasure to Kill," "Flag of Hate" and "Tormentor" that the metal heads came to hear, and is what kept them banging their heads. Vocalist and guitarist Mille still has both the voice and the guitar chops to deliver, and he and the rest of Kreator pumped out and almost twenty song that was enhanced by rapidly pulsating strobe lights, a blanket of thick smoke, and the old school metal vibe that was in the air. Not a bad way to spend an evening.


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