It's the first really cold autumn night here in Denmark. I've travelled the long way to Copenhagen to see one of my all time fave bands, Annihilator. The first you see outside The Rock is a huge, red bus. And a relaxed and as always smiling Jeff Waters comes out and says hello to the few who are here before the doors open.
Expectations run high for the evening for yours truly. It's the first time I see Annihilator as headliner on a club tour, otherwise I've only seen the band at festivals or as support for Priest (yes, I've been a fan that long) or Trivium.
But first off we must see what the first support band of the evening, Adimiron, have on offer. The Italian outfit sport lots of enthusiasm although their singer looks cronically sleepy. The technical level is high, they certainly have stamina, and have a modern approach to thrash metal, but the songs aren't really taking off. The crowd is, to put it mildly, lukewarm in its reception and the somewhat misplaced make some noise calls from the front man are met with little enthusiasm. This is a band that needs an expression of its own and a revision of the way the sing songs.
Striking a much more traditional thrash note, Sworn Amongst, the British up and coming thrashers, are greeted much more warmly by the crowd. Thoughts of Vio-Lence, Forbidden and other thrash bands of yonder years spring to mind as the four-piece thrash their way through a convincing set. Approved performance - we'll hear more from these fellows, no doubt!
Jeff Waters, Dave Padden, who now officially holds the record as the longest lasting singer in Annihilator, tour drummer Carlos (an Italian who for some reason never smiles) and tour bassist Al Campuzano enter stage and launch into Ambush from the 'Annihilator' CD. The sound is really good tonight, luckily. Everyone in the band come through in suitable portions which, in the case of a band like Annihilator, is very, very fortunate.
Waters draws much of the attention as usual as he moves around on stage, constantly smiling and grimassing. There is so much energy in that man. Padden is not a big entertainer and is naturally tied to the microphone much of the time, but bassist Campuzano definitely adds to the stage action.
It is striking how tight Annihilator is. Especially the speed metal parts are monsters in their own right. I spot a couple of mistakes in the clean intro of Hell is War and much later in Crystal Ann there's a bit, but otherwise it's scary how well this band plays. Carlos, the drummer who never smiles, is like a machine. Padden does a fantastic job behind the mike.
The two biggest surprises of this evening is the inclusion of Tricks and Traps, a song that in the recorded version isn't one of Annihilator's greatest moments, but here works really well, and the ballads mini-set with Phoenix Rising and Sounds Good to Me. This is a bit of a dream for yours truly as these songs are two of the best metal ballads ever. And I mean ever. There's a bit of microphone trouble during Phoenix, however, the trouble is solved and on it goes with Sound Good to Me. Again, Padden handles these two songs amazingly.
Alison Hell ends the evening on a real high for an old thrasher like me and thus satisfied, I and a couple of hundred of other punters, young and especially old (like me) wander into the cold Copenhagen night.
King of the Kill
Hell is a War
Set the World on Fire
The Fun Palace
Tricks and Traps
Phoenix Rising/Sounds Good to Me
Attending: Thomas Nielsen
High technical level - but where are the songs? Adimiron
Traditional thrash from Britain - Sworn Amongst The Hands of Gold - Jeff Waters, Annihilator Surprise ballad set
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