Kreator and Vader at the Masquerade in Tampa, FL
by: Aaron McKay
To have a pairing like this one, teaming together two heavyweights of extreme music such as Kreator and Vader, is a cause for celebration. Kreator live is a thing to behold, while years ago I missed my only opportunity to see Vader (they were unable to enter the United States for the first show of the Broken Hope tour beginning in Virginia). Since then I had been anticipating a set from this Polish extreme foursome. A long time ago I spun a groove in the _Litany_ disc blasting "Xeper" at full volume for many weeks.

Being back in my former home state of Florida the week of May 5th, when this tour moved through the Sunshine State, was a stroke of luck -- one in which I celebrated. Hastily I secured access to the show going on that night at Masquerade in Tampa.

Unknowingly blowing off The Autumn Offering and Hell Within, I arrived when I was told the doors were to open. Seeing Hell Within loading their van outside soaked in sweat from their performance, I knew there must have been some miscommunication as to the start time -- something I have come to expect from a metal show. What also seems to have become a pattern with this band, Pro-Pain, slated for the show, never came; that's twice that has happened to me in particular with Gary Meskil and the guys. They were booked and promoted for the show and didn't wind up playing. Regardless of that point, I regretted not being able to catch any of Hell Within or The Autumn Offering.

Not having to wait too long, Vader hit the stage with a vengeance at about 8:40pm to an anxiously energized, yet rather sparse crowd for a show in the death metal Mecca of the continuous 48 states. Amid fans shouting out requests down in front, Vader poured out blistering renditions of "Silent Empire" from 1995's _De Profundis_, "Crucified Ones" off of _Ultimate Incantation_ and a personal favorite "Reborn in Flames" straight from _Reborn in Chaos_. After _Litany_'s "Wings", Vader wrapped up a forty minute set with an inspired version of "Reign Forever World". Vader is one of the hardest touring bands in the business and all that experience was brought to bear full force on that balmy Florida evening in Tampa.

At exactly 10:00, as if they were waiting for the exact moment, Kreator ripped forth with the title track of their latest disc, _Enemy of God_. Clear and full of passion straight from their souls, the Kreator machine stirred the pit voraciously song after masterful song. "Impossible Brutality", also from the new CD, "Pleasure to Kill", "Phobia", and "The Patriarch" ensued seamlessly for the next 25 minutes in an absolute torrent of German-style hostility. The crowd was dripping wet with sweat and never happier.

The set wasn't even half over yet. More to come in the vein of "Suicide Terrorist" and the always well received "Extreme Aggression" off the album of the same name -- I never get tired of that song or that disc. "People of the Lie", then "All of the Same Blood (Unity)" followed, opening with a question posed by Mille about the crowd's (dis)belief in unicorns. "Reconquering the Throne" finished reverberating from the balcony as Kreator announced "Betrayer" as their final song of the night.

The Tampa throng wasn't through with Mr. Petrozza and the band just yet. Kreator iced the cake for the fans with never better versions of "Flag of Hate" and "Tormentor" bringing things to a close about 11:20. While I could have used maybe another cut or two from _Extreme Aggression_, admittedly there was a nice cross-section from the Kreator catalog, albeit with little variation from what one might find on a live recorded release.

Once when asked what the secret to Venom's longevity was, Cronos replied: "Not dying". A modest, smartass answer, but also a true one. Like Venom at the time, Kreator hasn't given up the ghost. After more than twenty years, it is easy to see how Kreator has stood the test of a merciless genre and continue to spawn their own violent revolution.

(article submitted 31/5/2005)

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