Underground thrash metal is not exactly a great draw for London's metal loving elite, but this gig was surprisingly well attended indeed with the final crowd approaching 300 or so. It was of course my first time seeing tech thrashers Vektor and Dutch band Distillator though I have seen Angelus Apatrida on this very stage some years ago. This gig was supposed to have taken place at Our Black Heart which is basically a room above a pub. That place would've collapsed if all 300 people went up there so it's a good job the venue was upgraded to the Underworld round the corner. It allowed for a more comfortable night for every one including the numerous moshers that started pits to have their fun without bashing into the regular headbangers.
First up were Dutch thrashers Distillator, whose album Revolutionary Cells is definitely one of the year's best in that genre no doubt. I didn't know they were actually a three-piece band before as on record they pack such a punch, but there they were just the three of them ready to kick ass. And kick ass they surely did indeed! These guys were super tight with the guitarist playing neck breaking riffs throughout their allotted thirty minutes. I really enjoyed their set with the title track being completely awesome. They finished with a cover of Slayer's Black Magic which went down a storm with the moshers at the front. A great start indeed for all the thrash nuts on a dreary Sunday night.
Next up were Spaniards Angelus Apatrida. Their album this year also makes my thrash with ease. They sounded much heavier than Distillator thanks to being a two guitar attack. The singer's vocals were a bit drowned out at times from my vantage point at the side of the stage but it's a small quibble. Thrash singing ain't exactly something to worry about! It's all about the riffage melting your face and boy do the Apatrida have some face melting riffs! A few crazy pits soon started up when they hot those wicked staccato grooves and the kids go crazy. They played a touch longer than Distillator and every one loved them. A crazy whirlwind of a performance and played at unrelenting warp speed to keep the punters necks wrecked. Great stuff and the main band was still to come.
Vektor were treated like royalty as they got the stage ready and huge cheers erupted as they got ready to play. Vektor is a band that I like but don't love. I should love them but there are a couple of factors which slightly detract. First of all those OTT screaming vocals can really annoy and secondly I find the songs a bit too long at times and lacking in focus. The things I love however are some of the totally awesome technical riffs they display and their general coolness in the music.
Oddly enough the singer's vocals don't annoy as much live as they do on record. Live he sounds pretty much like any other thrash screamer but perhaps a little bit more grim than the usual screecher. I must admit though I was amazed by their technical skills and their ability to breath more life into the songs in a live setting. The songs are of course very long but still pretty catchy when they dazzle you with their fingers dancing across their fret boards. The lead guitarist on the right of the stage is especially a wiz. Some of his leads and riffs leave you pretty amazed. The singer/guitarist is a relaxed looking dude playing awesome rhythm and he makes it all looks so effortless.
They played a number of new songs which went down very well with the moshers although they seemed a bit long to me. I like my thrash a bit more concise but I guess Vektor are not that kind of band. Their sc-fi themes fit very well though with their technical playing which was pretty much flawless as a live spectacle. The song Black Future was perhaps the most enjoyable of the night and got the best response. The band played almost 90 minutes including a 2 song encore before they left to huge cheers and a tired but very satisfied crowd. This was the last night of this European tour and the bands bade each other farewell and you could tell that they genuinely enjoyed themselves on this very cool threesome of thrash with all three having slightly different styles making for a very cool night indeed.
The Cygnus Terminal