I’m kinda annoyed that I missed Suicidal Angels, as I was looking forward to getting to see them. Granted I only have ‘Bloodbath’, so their set would have been mostly unfamiliar material, but from the roar of approval they got when Zetro was thanking the other bands on the bill at the end of the night, they must have made a decent impression.

Having only been in the venue for about five minutes and putting myself in a good spot to watch Death Angel, the lights went out and the stage was bathed in purple. After a couple of seconds, the opening bars of “Evil Priest” had the crowd roaring and surging forward, and by the time Mark Osegueda got to the chorus, I’m pretty sure everyone was singing along as he was quite convincingly drowned out. Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar’s twin guitar attack on “Left for Dead” had Damien Sisson working hard to keep up on his bass. By the end of “Claws in So Deep” I was thinking ‘Awesome, some new material’ only to be surprised to find it’s only new me, as for some reason ‘Relentless Retribution’ completely passed me by. Thankfully, the venture into the unknown was short-lived as we went back 31 years to “Mistress of Pain” and Will Carroll’s very rapidly beaten drums and a medley of over enthusiastic falsettos to go with Rob’s spot on leads. Slowing things down a touch, we got to experience the first few minutes of “The Ultra-Violence” before heading straight into the 2003-comeback album’s “Thrown to the Wolves” which certainly got the crowd going again, both in the pit and around it with plenty of headbanging. Introducing it as a song about unity, “Kill as One” definitely united everyone on the dancefloor as they roared out the chorus without abandon. They wrapped up their set with a newish song, I know it’s nearly 3 years old but “The Moth” still managed to deliver all the required energy they need to the stage in the same way their old material does.

For some inexplicable reason I never really got into Sodom, maybe it was the fine art on their covers or that they were too heavy for me when I first heard them, but either way that ship sailed and while I know who they are and appreciate their music, I’m never going to be able to list myself as a fanboy. Anyway, they took to the darkened stage to the backing tape playing “Procession to Golgotha” before Tom Angelripper started spitting out the lyrics to “Blasphemer” while strumming his bass like a maniac. Don’t you hate it when you don’t bother reading the liner notes of an album and only 20 years later discover it’s a cover? Well, that happened while hearing the 30 year old “Sodomy and Lust”. And going from old to “Partisan”, the title track from an EP that was released only this year before heading back to the title track of one that shall be 30 next year, as in “Agent Orange”. Slow but heavy “One Step Over the Line” allowed the guitarists to play their leads with additional dramatic flair to ham it up. After introducing the newest members of the band Yorck Segatz on guitars and Husky on drums, along with guitarist from their seminal 80s albums Frank Blackfire, before he headed over to Kreator, Tom took us into the fast new song “Conflagration” with its abundance of bass riffs. “Outbreak of Evil”, “Tired and Red” and “Remember The Fallen” kind of merged for me, but certainly didn’t wane any of the energy from the crowd as the body surfing and moshing carried on unabated. Final song for the night “Bombenhagel” went down a storm, as everyone around me appeared to know the lyrics and were singing along, especially to the chorus, but not to the national anthem at the end though.

It occurred to me as Tom Hunting, Kragen Lum, Steve “Zetro” Souza, Lee Altus and Jack Gibson took to the stage, that the last 3 Exodus shows I’ve been to in as many years have all been sans Gary Holt. I guess I was hoping that now that Slayer have put things to rest, that he would be returning. Perhaps this gig was a little too soon for that to occur and hopefully we’ll be graced with his presence the next time they visit these damp shores. Wasting no time between songs they broke into the first three songs from their début and had the crowd whipped into a frenzy as soon as the guitars kicked in for “Bonded by Blood” before having us running in a circle to “Exodus” and singing along to “And Then There Were None”. It may have just been me, but those old songs didn’t seem as fast as they did in my youth and new song “Body Harvest” did nothing to dispel that feeling by having Tom play faster than he had up to this point with the only thing sharper than Jack’s bass cutting through the guitars was his snare. While “Impaler” may have been written before Kirk Hammett left, it was only recorded over 20 years later for ‘Tempo of the Damned’, but it make a perfect build up for my favourite album of theirs and its title track “Fabulous Disaster”, where the live leads were superb. For some reason, everyone seems to love “Piranha”, even though they are shy little fish. 😉 Before playing “A Lesson in Violence”, Zetro asked us if we wanted something faster, and I vainly hoped they would actually be playing the vastly underrated “Faster than You’ll Ever Live to Be”, but sadly no, that did not come to pass, not that anyone in the pit minded at all. Another song that got everyone riled up and singing once more was “Blacklist” with its slow but groovy tune and excellent lead trade-offs. For some weird reason it took me more than a couple seconds to realise they were playing “Motorbreath” after building us up to expect “The Toxic Waltz”, which they went into after the first chorus and made the moshing up to this point look like a dress rehearsal. As we’ve all come to know and expect, they end the show with “Strike of the Beast” and a rather martial wall of death.

All in all a really good night out and great show.

(Marco Gaminara)