I can’t recall an earlier start for a gig than 5:30PM start, but having the day off had made this significantly simpler to get in with plenty of time. I arrived to see the queue in its infancy, so decided to drift to the local pub to pass the time with a mate before joining a lengthier queue around 5PM. The venue audience had already filled the better part of the upper floor and some room around the pit. Aborted are on slightly late due to ferry delay according to the chap at the merch stand, so I grab a drink and head down to just in front of the sound desk. Aborted begin with the ominous “Divine Impediment” which immediately kicks up a pit and pushes those who aren’t expecting it back from the centre. While being moved along, I’ve time to notice some of the set design including some light up corpses which have been propped up for good measure. Initially the cleaner vocals from Sven “Svencho” de Caluwé are a little quiet but these are swiftly rectified and the set moves along with a much better sound. Continuing on with the songs that I can recall, a visit from the doctor begins “Meticulous Invagination” with the sound being extremely good this starts a faster larger pit which is welcomed by those not clutching a newly bought pint. Next up is “Coffin upon Coffin”, then “Termination Redux” the crushing riff of which reminds me of why I’m really enjoying the new album ‘Retrogore’ and lastly “Bit by Bit” which sees the pit kick off into a final frenzy. All are played in what feels like quick succession, and it is over too quickly (around 8 songs total) but very well received. (KD)

I’m pretty certain the intro music for Soilwork may have been The Cult, or that may have just been the house music starting a new song just as the lights went out, but either way they entered stage and took their positions while waving to the crowd. It came to me as they kicked of their set with “The Ride Majestic” that I hadn’t watched them live or listened to any of their stuff in around 15 years, so I was unlikely to know any of their material. They also appear to have gone through a number of line-up changes with Björn Strid being the only member still around and others looking like they are barely out of their teens. Fuck I’m getting old. Anyway, Björn was doing all he could to get the crowd riled up with songs like “Rise Above the Sentiment” and “Bastard Chain” getting the pit moving while his clean vocals were ringing out loud and clear with the angrier vocals coming across a lot softer in the mix. Guitarist Sylvain Coudret and Ronny Gutierrez were in constant motion, as was bassist Taylor Nordberg with his constant headbanging. There were some nice melodic moments during “The Living Infinite I” for Sven Karlsson’s keyboards to impose its weight on proceedings before all hell broke loose on “Two Lives Worth of Reckoning” where Bastian Thusgaard beat his drums rather soundly. The leads on “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” cut through with ease for the sound where I was standing just below the sound-desk wasn’t particularly bassy and occasionally didn’t feel extremely heavy for any of the bands to be fair. I think they wrapped up their set with “Stabbing the Drama” which had a fair proportion of those standing around me singing along rather happily.

Without mincing about, Sepultura launched straight into new song “I Am the Enemy” from their January release ‘Machine Messiah’ with Derrick Greene roaring convincingly into the mic and it reverberating throughout the venue. Unfortunately Paulo Jr’s bass was fairly inaudible from where I was standing and as soon as Andreas Kisser played a lead, you could literally hear nothing else bar the odd cymbal being bashed by Eloy Casagrande. This slowly got rectified during the set, but not enough to feel the bass thumping you in the chest whenever it was being slapped. “Phantom Self” went down a treat and I’m actually surprised by how many already knew the lyrics to the new material, but having reviewed the album, was quite aware of how well received it would be. Heading back nearly 20 years to Derrick’s first album with the band the rather gutturally shouted out “Choke” had everyone bouncing around as you would expect. However it was “Desperate Cry” that really got things moving, myself included, and was as tight as a duck’s posterior. Swinging back to the relatively slow new song “Alethea” which starts with a drum solo followed by the slow driving guitar rhythm and as it picks up pace the vocals dive in kick home an angry message, but nowhere near as angry as on “Sworn Oath” which too started out nice and pleasantly as it maintained the pace whilst increasing in intensity. The mosh pit was certainly heaving when “Inner Self” was belted out with everyone singing the refrain rather enthusiastically before sandwiching new song “Resistant Parasites” with 1993’s “Refuse/Resist” which had the security behind the barrier working for their money as the crowd surfers started being hurled their way and went on unabated during “Arise”. Things got nice and tribal with Derrick and Eloy beating out the “Ratamahatta” drum tattoo before Andreas joined Derrick in shouting out the vocals with everyone else as we bounced around. And like with all good things, they come to an end and in this case it was with an emphatic delivery of “Roots Bloody Roots” making the crowd go wild.

After what thankfully felt like a relatively short wait “Choir Of The Damned” ushered Kreator on stage in order for them to welcome the “Hordes of Chaos” to the party quickly following it up with “Phobia” to get all of us chanting along. They had LCD screens on either side of Jürgen “Ventor” Reil’s kit which showed us slivers of the “Satan Is Real” video as Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö wielded their axes expertly and traded leads back and forth without dropping a note. Sadly this was a turning point of the gig for me, as the tool standing in front of me started scouring around on the floor for a discarded pint container before launching it over the “Gods of Violence” mosh pit… But no longer empty. When he started fist-bumping his mates for congratulations I was slightly more aghast. It’s fucking wankers like this that should get singled out in a mosh and have the shit kicked out of them by everyone they drenched. And therefore from this point forward I was an overly aware of any flying objects, especially if any contained liquid. After that minor digression from what I’m really doing here, Kreator slowed things down for “People of the Lie” where Ventor’s snare was a sharp snap cutting through both Mille’s vocals and the leads like a tongue. Taking us back to ’85 with its no holds barred thrash “Total Death” was spat out with all the required venom that made the following intro “Mars Mantra” all that much more melodic and slower. What I’d also noticed long before the leads on “Phantom Antichrist” was that every lead Mille played was angry and violent, while Sami’s were all far more refined and melodic as he gently caressed his guitar and made it sing at just as high a pace. But those juxtapositions of style worked seamlessly to show both the violence and beauty that could be rendered from the same instrument. Coming back to the rather heavy featured new album “Fallen Brother” is a fitting tribute to all the metal gods that come before and are now gone. “Enemy of God” was a nice change of pace and a perfect pick-me-up thereafter with Christian Geisler running all over the stage, from on the raised platform behind the drums to either end of the stage. Things certainly hotted up for “From Flood into Fire” as not only were there flames on the screens behind the band, there were actual great balls of fire in front of them which surely warmed up the security behind the barrier rather nicely considering I could feel their heat from where I was. The trumpets in “Apocalypticon” drove us to “World War Now” where the circle pit got moving once more and all those that hit the wet and slippery floor were hastily returned to their feet to prevent any mosh piles from forming. Keeping things rather up-tempo “Hail the Hordes”, “Extreme Aggression” and “Civilization Collapse” followed in quick succession to end their set leaving us all baying for more.

Thankfully “The Patriarch” announced their return for the encore which they commenced with “Violent Revolution” and its extremely catchy chorus. Rather appropriately Mille stood addressing the crowd waving a large “Flag of Hate” when forcing us to yell out the name of the song to come, which happened to have “Under the Guillotine” conjoined to it. There could really be no other Kreator song to end a show with and “Pleasure to Kill” well and truly delivered the required kick to have everyone leaving the venue sated with huge grins on their faces. (MG)

Review:  Marco Gaminara with Kris Dutton

Photos: Phil Pountney at Manchester