OVERKILL / NILE / FATAL ORDER
OVERKILL always deliver the goods from the stage, but this time around, they had the absolutely fantastic album “The Grinding Wheel” freshly out of the oven, so spending that Friday night with the boys from New Jersey was the perfect occasion to get a hearty Metal meal. As the icing on the cake, OVERKILL had NILE as the main opening act - a band that I had not seen live before, so this was a nice opportunity.
Fortunately, the Friday evening commute was good to us, so upon entering Concord, FATAL ORDER were in charge of warming up the already gathered audience. Yeah, the “Perfect Strangers” DEEP PURPLE cover was a nice welcoming tune, while we were in search of the perfect viewing spot. The audience inside Concord was a nice mix with metalheads from both sides of the age spectrum; the usual youngsters (a must-have to get the mosh-pit going) and the well-seasoned veterans who I am sure had seen OVERKILL quite a few times in the past. Sure, the FATAL ORDER set went down pretty smooth, even though I do not consider myself as a die-hard fan (not even close) of a covers' band. Anyway, the mood was set to the ‘party’ zone and the beer was already flowing, so everything looked ready to welcome the technical Death Metal shredders of NILE. There was a solid fanbase of NILE situated at the front rows, so they were occasional cheering while the brutally fast and technical drummer George Kollias was prepping up his gear. I think it was one day before getting onboard this tour with OVERKILL when NILE announced the departure of guitarist / vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade, so there was a huge question-mark about the effect on the band’s live performance without enough time to rehearse.
The bouzouki sounds during the taped “Dusk Falls Upon The Temple Of The Serpent On The Mount Of Sunrise” intro made it clear that it was show time and there was already some commotion in the front rows; “are you fuckin’ ready?” Karl Sanders asked and then let the shredding begin with “Sacrifice Unto Sebek”. Soon enough there were bodies flying all the way towards the photo-pit, so NILE seemed to be totally unaffected from the lineup change. In fact, it was just before “Kafir” when bassist Brad Parris made a comment about the latest band change / addition; “we have a new face onstage and it is not me-ee”. Yeah, this one sounded really good, even though I think the mix could have been a little bit better because the guitars where not as audible as I’d like. From the looks of it, Brian Kingsland did a great job being Karl’s wingman but I don’t think I can really comment on his growling capabilities from a live setting where everything gets a bit blurry, especially when there is so much drum action going on. “I have to say real quick that this is my first tour with this band and it’s fuckin’ awesome!” Brain said and then introduced “In The Name Of Amun” that was welcomed with some chanting along from the already sweaty front rows. NILE ended their set with the brutal “Black Seeds Of Vengeance” and, judging by the size of the nice mosh-pit at the center of the club’s main floor, they did a killer job getting everyone charged up for OVERKILL.
01. “Dusk Falls Upon The Temple Of The Serpent On The Mount Of Sunrise” (taped intro)
02. “Sacrifice Unto Sebek”
03. “Defiling The Gates Of Ishtar”
05. “The Gods Who Light Up The Sky At The Gate Of Sethu”
06. “In The Name Of Amun”
07. “Hittite Dung Incantation”
09. “Black Seeds Of Vengeance”
(click to enlarge)
There was a lot of activity onstage but still it took almost 30 minutes to get everything ready for the grinding machine called OVERKILL. It is funny how the frustration builds up when more time is passed before the show and how it vanishes the moment the lights are dimmed... Yeah, the metalheads’ excitement takes over all the sensations and it's ‘go time’ right away. The taped pompous intro and the strobe lights brought the NJ boys one by one, with DD assuming his center stage position with this trademark feet-apart pose. The lights were too bright and the smoke effect made things only worse for the purpose of taking decent photos, but really, who cares? I mean, the drum intro of “Mean, Green, Killing Machine” with the basslines hitting your chest and the guitar setting up the stage for uncle Bobby to rush towards the mic in a teenager’s energy is priceless. By the way, he almost knocked over this stage monitor which was not ready to absorb Blitz’s momentum. As you can imagine, there was no warming up period, even though this song comes from the band’s latest LP and usually the US audience is more into the old stuff when a veteran band is onstage. Yeah, the oooh chanting made me smile out of content since there were a lot of people inside Concord who seemed to be sharing the same opinion with me for “The Grinding Wheel”. “Good evening Chicago, let’s do this like never before” Bobby said before asking the fans to fill this sentence; “Chicago is...” with a loud “Rotten To The Core” being the loud response. There is no space for questioning OVERKILL’s performance which is pedal to the Metal from the first to the last minute, but to be honest, I was expecting / hoping to hear more songs from the new LP. Sure, there are people who still want to enjoy live the classics but it is great seeing a band honoring its latest studio work, especially if it is that good. However, how can one say ‘no’ to the massive headbangers “Electric Rattlesnake” and the older “Hello From The Gutter”?
“God bless this mess” Bobby said acknowledging the energetic response from the Chicago fans before topping off this Thrash cake with another new song. Yeah, the trademark basslines, the OVERKILL-smelling guitar riff and Bobby’s cue to “let’s go” marked the time for the massive and full of attitude “Goddamn Trouble”. This is one of the songs that makes you feel indestructible, no matter what life throws at you and now that I think about this, this generally applies to almost all of the OVERKILL songs and I guess the rest of the band backing singing helps a lot... And this is where the Punk-lining resides in OVERKILL’s music somewhere between the bass, the backing vocals and the ready to fight attitude. “Chicago, let me introduce the original monster of the Midwest. This is the meanest man in Chicago right now” was the exact words Bobby chose to introduce the already smiling D.D. just before the old-school tune “Feel The Fire”. One of the things I really like with OVERKILL is how all the songs, old and new, fit each other, so the age-distinction between different eras is getting blurred and the result is a solid as granite set. I just wish they’d bring back “Necroshine” on the set because this one fits perfectly to the live setting with the way it builds the tension from the intro-like start...
“Infectious” saw a nice mosh-pit going on (with the occasional crowd-surfing) before Bobby’s trademark saying: “I can hear you, I can smell you but I cannot fuckin' see you” with which he requested some lights to see all the way to the back everyone inside the venue. And then it was time for my favorite of the new album; “Our Finest Hour” is one hell of a song for concert with the groovy rhythm and then the steamroller-like drums, with Bobby’s screeching vocals on top. I am sure he is drinking tea with stainless steel spikes whenever he steps off the stage... By the way, the melody carried by the riff in this one is to-die-for! The ton-heavy “Armorist” fit perfectly the previous new song and then it was time for a cover... I will repeat my request for more new songs and then complain a bit for having “Emerald” on the set; it was nice to be among the lads and lasses to hear this Irish tune getting OVERKILL-ised but I’d prefer an original each and every time. And this is how the 11-track set ended and got the band off the stage but - of course - there would be more. Ok, the crowd was not as loud as I’d like, but after putting out so much energy (and of course, moshing around), I can definitely cut them some slack. The “Ironbound” encore kicked with Bobby standing on the stage right ready to sprung himself towards the mic stand just before the opening lyrics - just priceless.
The show ended with an ode to the Punk backbone of OVERKILL with the thrasher “Elimination” and with the famous / infamous (it’s up to you to decide) THE SUBHUMANS cover. Yeah, a might “Fuck You” was heard inside Concord and was dedicated to everyone who deserves that treatment... The set had 13 songs but felt more to wish for, so I hope we’ll get another OVERKILL show before the end of this year.
“...and if I had just one more day
I'd say it to your face
pull the plug on everyone
eliminate this race...”
01. “Mean, Green, Killing Machine”
02. “Rotten To The Core”
03. “Electric Rattlesnake”
04. “Hello From The Gutter”
05. “Goddamn Trouble”
06. “Feel The Fire”
07. “Nice Day... For A Funeral”
09. “Our Finest Hour”
11. “Emerald” (THIN LIZZY cover)
14. “Fuck You” (THE SUBHUMANS cover)
(click to enlarge)