Overkill/Infernal Majesty/Stress Factor 9 Live In Vancouver: September 15, 2005

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Overkill/Infernal Majesty/Stress Factor 9
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Richard?s On Richards
Vancouver, BC  Canada


**Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland

Thine head bangeth before me?and thrash be thy name!  For the first time since 1990, New Jersey thrash veterans, Overkill, decided to grace western shores and anoint us with their groovy trade.  Their latest slab of neck-wrecking mayhem, RELIXIV, is their best in years and with fifteen years between visits, there was a lot of catching up to do.  As if this event were not monumental enough, old-school thrashers Infernal Majesty were second on the bill lashing out with their leather-and-spike assault.  The real surprise, though, was Stress Factor 9, a new band featuring ex-Annihilator vocalist Randy Rampage, ex-Annihilator drummer Ray Hartmann and three local musicians.  The band has yet to release any music but Stress Factor 9?s punk/thrash mix (and member pedigree) was enough to get me interested.  Get ready for it?GO!!!

With little to go on other than a pair of 30-second, poor-sounding MP3s on their website, Stress Factor 9 was a bit of an anomaly.  Randy Rampage has virtually disappeared since being unceremoniously ousted from Annihilator in 2000 but despite this hiatus, his voice is still intact.  Looking every bit the weathered, rail-thin ne?er-do-well from his days in the seminal punk band, D.O.A., Rampage tore through a 30-minute set of originals taken from the debut?s upcoming debut.  Tracks like ?Pig Farm Willy? and ?Suck-cess? were standouts and the riffs on ?Like A Bitch? definitely kill, but the band still seems to be finding their footing.  New guitarist Frank Fright and bassist Markus were only in the band for a short time and in all fairness, this was only Stress Factor 9?s third live gig.  Guitarist/vocalist Kick appeared to have come straight to the show from a job at the docks, while Hartmann is fairly unassuming behind the kit.  In other words, next to Rampage?s charisma, there isn?t much in terms of dynamic to recommend with this band?so far.  Most of the almost non-existent crowd seemed indifferent to the band and I don?t think many more were swayed, but hopefully a few more live performances will shift things into place.  Rampage?s roots in Annihilator (ALISON HELL and CRITERIA FOR A BLACK WIDOW) and D.O.A. are enough to make people stand up and take notice of Stress Factor 9.

Home Sweet Grown
Spare Change
Pig Farm Willy
My Leech
By-Tor & The Snow Dog (Rush cover)
Like A Bitch


The mighty Infernal Majesty unleashed a tornado of a set and given the stage and technical limitations they were up against, it was especially impressive.  Overkill?s sound man would not allow Infernal Majesty to do a soundcheck, nor was drummer Kris DeBoer allowed to use triggers for his kit.  Even the smoke machine was banned!  To make matters worse, the Fear Factory house CD continued playing over the band?s intro and ?One Who Points To Death,? and then ?Cathedral of Hate? was plagued with static echoing through the speakers through most of the song.  With a high profile gig like Overkill, it was a shame that things went awry for Infernal Majesty but like the heavy metal troopers they are, they played on.  Dressed in full leather, studs and spikes, Infernal Majesty is all metal, all the time and as Steve Terror set up his rig, his Dark Funeral t-shirt proved this fact.  Kenny Hallman delivered ripping solos throughout the band?s set and still-new vocalist Brian Langley seems to be gelling with the rest of the band at last.  Langley?s growls and screams on ?None Shall Defy? were perfect.  Sadly, ?Overlord? and ?Roman Song? were not played but a new track (?Against All Gods?) was premiered (with a dedication to local cult black metallers, Blasphemy)  and being the second song from the upcoming CD, SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION, that I have heard, this release is sure to be among the band?s best.  Langley even announced that ?we are looking forward to the new CD as much as you.?  I can?t speak for the other 150 people on hand, but SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION is among my most eagerly awaited releases of 2005 and given the band?s spotty schedule of releasing albums, getting new IM material a year after ONE WHO POINTS TO DEATH is a metal miracle.

One Who Points To Death
Cathedral of Hate
Against All Gods
None Shall Defy
Skeletons In The Closet




The anticipation was killing me as this was my first time seeing Overkill.  When vocalist Bobby ?Blitz? Ellsworth gave me the ?hot off the press? scoop that Vancouver had been added to the band?s itinerary during our chat back in March, the seed had been planted.  Being a fan since 1988?s UNDER THE INFLUENCE, Overkill may have been on another planet since they never came out west, which was always disappointing to me.  Still, it was great to finally get the chance to see Overkill live and the band did not disappoint.  In front of a simple green-on-black background featuring the band?s mascot, Chaly, a sixteen-song, 95-minute set that covered the band?s entire career was played to a rather sad turnout of about 200 people (COME ON VANCOUVER!!!!!), but Overkill played as if they were on stage at Wacken in front of 40,000!  Blitz is definitely aging in the face, but he has the lean body of a man half his age and his boundless energy was capped off by diving into the crowd after the medley of ?Fuck You/Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.?  His between song banter is still sharp, too.  After screaming his head off through ?Bats In The Belfry,? Blitz announced he ?had just lost my good lung? and he warned everyone to ?get ready to bite down hard? before ?Powersurge.?  The perennial chugging groove provided by D.D. Verni and new drummer Ron Lipnicki (Tim Mallare left the band earlier this year shortly after the release of RELIXIV) thundered through a killer version of ?Necroshine,? while the revisiting of ?Blood and Iron? and ?Rotten To The Core? from 1985?s FEEL THE FIRE brought back memories of tight jeans and high-top sneakers.  ?Old School,? the ode to punk music from RELIXIV with Verni?s help on vocals, is an absolute hoot live and both the band and the crowd really got off on the energy generated by it.  Likewise, the blistering brutality of ?Wrecking Crew? saw a moshpit develop faster than a corn-fed Iowa girl.  Newer songs like ?Within Your Eyes? and ?Damned? were balanced nicely with classics like ?Elimination? and ?Hello From The Gutter? and the fact that it had been so long since Overkill?s last trip to Vancouver, many fans were hearing these songs for the first time.  Hopefully another generation won?t have to pass again before they return!

Within Your Eyes
Rotten To The Core
Blood and Iron
Hello From The Gutter
Nice Day For A Funeral
Under One
Bats In The Belfry
Thanx For Nothing
Old School
Wrecking Crew
Fuck You/Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

***Thanks to Jamie at House of Blues Canada for the press pass, and Jay at Spitfire Records, Kenny Hallman of Infernal Majesty and Stress Factor 9 for photo approval.

Overkill?s official website
Infernal Majesty?s official website

Stress Factor 9?s official website


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