Zeus Himself Would've Been Proud
Bolt Thrower, Crowbar and Totenmond
by: Matthias Noll
Due to heavy traffic, I arrived a bit late and completely missed German death metal outfit Disbelief. As I entered the packed venue, their fellow countrymen, Totenmond, were already on stage. Their sound reminded me a bit of Carnivore: rather simple but brutal songs, alternating between ultra slow and faster paced hardcore eruptions. The German vocals were delivered in a commanding death metal style. The three-piece's latest album, _Fleischwald_ (Massacre Records), should appeal to most CoC readers who can tolerate German lyrics if the music is heavy enough. Decent show -- check them out!

Crowbar received a huge welcome from the fans, which was definitely well deserved. Their sound was not perfect, but fortunately the heaviness of their material wasn't compromised. As with Bolt Thrower later on, older songs worked as well as the newer, more melodic material from _Odd Fellows Rest_. Crowbar demonstrated their respect for the fans when one of the crowdsurfers landed behind the barriers and a bouncer overreacted with the band witnessing it. I have seen bands yelling at the security before, but I wasn't prepared for the Crowbar way of dealing with such things. Sexy T and Kirk simply put their instruments down and started to move towards the security crew. This immediately solved all issues, and I tell you, I would run as if chased by Godzilla if these two guys were coming at me. Needless to say, the set continued without further incidents. Watching Todd's face during the gig while he churned out those monstrous bass riffs was by itself well worth the money. This is a guy who definitely feels what he's playing. To sum it up: if this band is on stage and you hear the vicious riffing of songs like "1000 Year Internal War", what other choice do you have but twist your facial muscles as if you're dying from internal bleedings, clench your teeth -- or better, bite on a piece of wood -- and suffer?

After a short intro, the Hafenbahn instantly became a killing zone as Bolt Thrower mercilessly started their engines to unleash "Zeroed" upon the crowd. Driven by their new drummer Alex Thomas, who delivered a concrete backbone throughout the whole set, the band impressed from start to finish. One of the most noteworthy things about this gig was definitely the crowd reaction. While at death/black metal shows the audience usually stays rather quiet between the songs, Bolt Thrower received such an amount of cheering, yelling and fists up in the air as if the lost son had finally come home again. The set featured lots of new tracks from _Mercenary_ which proved to be as heavy and effective as older material. "Mercenary" turned out to be as vicious and brutal as the majestic "The IVth Crusade". "No Guts, No Glory" stood proud alongside "Cenotaph". Former Benediction frontman Dave Ingram, who has now joined Bolt Thrower, turned out to be a better replacement than I had expected, being very active on stage while his vocals weren't very different from the original versions with Karl Willets, whom I will nevertheless miss on future records. The rest of the band also performed very professionally and both guitarists constantly banged their heads like madmen while pumping out their grinding riffs. With the load of killer material Bolt Thrower have released so far (I'm just listening to _The IVth Crusade_ while I'm writing this review), my ultimate setlist could in no way be shorter than two hours, but this time the war machine seemed to be a bit short on ammunition (maybe because of the early curfew in the Hafenbahn) and finished their set after only 60 minutes. Besides that, they destroyed everything in sight.

(article submitted 14/3/1999)


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