Exodus @ Fuzz Club, Athens (GRE)

EXODUS / OBITUARY / HEATHEN / MORGOTH

Date: 09th June, 2012
Venue: Fuzz Club
Ticket: €35 ($44)
Promoter: RockHard


The package was great, really great. A value for money, indeed, including two Bay area Thrash Metal monsters and two old-school Death metal freaks ready to burn Athens down on a warm Saturday evening. I was in full thinking whether the Greek crowd would honor this mini festival, to be honest, since the news from the attendance in the Salonica show were rather disappointing. Thankfully, the capacity of Fuzz Club was gradually taking its toll and I hope the organizers did finally make it to overcome the costs since it’s a rare case to see four ‘big’ bands at the same time and place ready to blow our brains out.

German 90s deathsters MORGOTH hit the stage a little bit earlier than it had been officially announced. I’m not the biggest European Death Metal fan (not even the average one, I admit) but I have to give them credit for an excellent performance that confirmed the reunited monsters are ready to haunt you down again. A fresh compilation is lately out via the Century Media and MORGOTH performed most of the songs off it. Appearing as a quartet (the second guitarist had some health issues if I heard correctly), they had a somehow fuzzy sound backing them throughout their setlist but don’t imagine something disappointing.

Instead, it helped creating an elusive atmosphere helping the band presenting its fast-and-slow Death Metal signature style with deep semi-growling vocals from Marc Grewe that fitted like a glove and the rest of the band (was it ex-DESTRUCTION skinsman Marc Reign behind the kit?) helping in the construction of a heavy, heavy, heavy sound that surely left no one disappointed in the arena. I grade this as a positive performance from MORGOTH; they seemed to enjoy their set and I’m pretty sure their fans enjoyed it too.

Enough thrashers in Greece swear they are fans of HEATHEN’s music but I’m pretty sure they lie. And this was verified in the Speed/Thrash Metal quintet’s live set; the reaction was everything but warm and some occasional mosh pit only brought laughter since it was something more of a gimmick reaction rather than an inner wish to thrash the pit. And that’s sad since HEATHEN – apart from having offered a duo of great albums back in the late 80s/early 90s and a reunion masterpiece in 2009 with “The Evolution Of Chaos” – proved they really are offering lessons in musicianship and live performance.

Led by the charismatic figure of axeman Lee Altus, the Californian quintet performed for some 90s minutes playing virtually everything from their discography. The sound was not good in the beginning and gradually improved but I think the vocals were kinda of buried throughout the whole recital. Nonetheless, the guitars shined on and ambitious guitarists amongst the crowd probably reconsidered for what it takes to play Bay Area Thrash Metal with a strong melodic/harmonic extension. HEATHEN said they were recording this gig for a live release but I think – judging from the reactions of the fans – maybe they should think again.

I have not been hooked in the latest news regarding OBITUARY but why did they appear as a foursome onstage, wit just one guitar? Not that something matters, frankly, since having the solos missing in this style of music is not something we cannot live without…Anyway, the kings of the Florida Death Metal style hit the stage in a non-star way and broke our necks for 70b minutes with their groovy sick extreme Metal signature style based on the rotten music and growling singing that has certified OBITUARY as one of the most respected bands for 25 years now.

Trevor Perez continues to be an outlaw figure in his extra long hair and relentless beard while the rest of the members (including the legendary DEATH bassist Terry Butler) also did their best to smash or ears in one of the best sounds I have ever heard in an indoor venue in Greece. The reaction of the crowd was hot and immense; it was some kind of a ritual in the arena with slow wheelbarrow headbanging to the hearing of some sick riffs and pounding drumming shaking the whole club. The setlist featured nearly all the songs we’d like to hear and I like the band’s attitude on stage; no extravagant thank-you’s, no long interruptions in between songs, just music and growling. An excellent performance, by all means.

The name of EXODUS is already written in gold forever for the historical and musical price of the Thrash Metal masterpiece named “Bonded By Blood” and only. Headlining this even the Bay Area veterans stormed in ready to kick our asses with no mercy. The style they have developed once they reunited in 2004 is more aggressive and more brutal than their 80s works and that’s something that has brought a whole new generation of fans in their camp. Maybe that’s why older thrashers were not around that much in the 90 minutes EXODUS killed on sight; because they did, even if you like their newest material or not. Mosh pits and crowd surfing was typical and the band seemed to be in a fine mood. The one and only ex-member Rick Hunolt filled for original guitarist Gary Holt and you could see a wide smile on his face while kicking guitar ass in a cruel way.

Making a killer duo with Lee Altus (I wonder what his fingers feel like today, after performing demanding Thrash Metal guitar for 3 hours), they set the standards for a live holocaust mixing old and new material for our pleasure. The crowd responded in a furious way, even if being quite tired after some 5 hours of presence in an indoor venue) and the only negative comment I would make is that the “Bonded By Blood” material loses its vicious feel by being performed in a more ‘modern’ way (especially the drums parts are too overloaded, leaving minimum space for the riffs to breathe). I also do not like current singer Rob Dukes’ vocal pattern – he sounds over-aggressive too – but I have to admit he’s more than challenging and energetic onstage, giving signals for some ruthless headbanging and dancing.

After a total of 7 hours of extreme Metal music, what I could only think is why the hell these old bands still blow our minds away and the newer ones have real trouble to create enthusiasm. Is it the volume of the history of the name, the classic songs that never fade away, the spirit of the older musicians…what? Anyway, I’m pretty sure most of the participants in this mini festival had a nice time and we should also give credit to the promoters for organizing such a brutal billing for our entrainment.