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Kreator Live at Brookline, MA’s Paradise Rock Club

Kreator at Paradise Rock Club
Kreator at Paradise Rock Club

All words and photos by Ben Stas

Another spring, another Decibel tour. Now in its sixth year, the magazine’s curated roadshow continues to bring reliably stacked lineups of metal veterans and hungry newcomers to decimate venues across North America. This year’s installment found German thrashers Kreator and Floridian death metal greats Obituary topping the old-school side of the bill, while Cleveland’s Midnight and Philadelphia’s Horrendous rounded things out. The tour packed Boston’s Paradise Rock Club to the gills on one of its final stops in mid-April.

The infectiously enthusiastic Horrendous took the stage first, barreling through a set that successfully synthesized a range of death metal styles. They were technically brutalizing one minute and taking progressive, melodic turns the next. And just as the case was with their opening slot for Tribulation last year, the foursome were visibly having the most fun on stage of anyone on the bill. Horrendous put in the work as a supporting band, and there’s doubtless a larger audience for them on the horizon.

An old-fashioned guitar smashing is typically reserved for the end of a set, but for Midnight, the demolition of a sacrificial axe (read: cheap bass) served as an opening statement that effectively set the tone for the masked power trio’s set. Their scuzzy speed metal was in-your-face aggressive – literally, if you were standing along the barricade – and wore a proud streak of early Venom influence. There wasn’t a whole lot of depth here, but it was difficult to argue with the band’s commitment to the style.

Obituary’s career-spanning set was the night’s most successful. Led by the dynamic growl and unassuming charisma of vocalist John Tardy, the band offered a split between their late 80s/early 90s classics and some solid 2010s selections. Tardy, his brother Donald on drums and guitarist Trevor Peres form the core founding membership of the band, and joined by more recent additions in bassist Terry Butler and guitarist Kenny Andrews, the five-piece effortlessly honed in on the groove of their sludgy brand of death. Nearly three decades on from the release of their 1989 debut Slowly We Rot – whose title track closed the set – Obituary displayed none of the rust of their years.

In contrast to Obituary’s no-frills presentation, headliners Kreator brought a bit of visual flair to the table with their own high-powered lighting rig. It was a welcome change from a venue whose dim lights often evoke a dive bar rather than a rock club, but also an indicator of the arena-sized ambitions that Kreator still harbor. Frontman Mille Petrozza spent plenty of time during a lengthy set egging on the crowd, directing the pit and even engaging in some tired left side/right side audience cheer exercises. The effort was admirable, but combined with an overflowing setlist heavy on the band’s recent output, it was a performance with momentum issues.

Still, that’s not to say that Kreator disappointed. This year’s Gods of Violence, which received a healthy share of the spotlight, is a perfectly serviceable thrash record – some say more like career highlight – and cuts like “World War Now” and “Satan is Real” were certainly suited to the live setting. On a technical level, they were a well-rehearsed quartet giving both those songs and a few from their early days an enthusiastic go. They sounded great, in a club not always renowned for its stellar acoustics. A leaner presentation would’ve benefited Kreator, but it’s hard to imagine that many hardcore fans or circle-pit participants left disheartened.

Horrendous

Midnight

Obituary

Kreator

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