Kreator, Dimmu Borgir, Hatebreed & Bloodbath
The Roundhouse, London
16th December 2018
Review & Photography: Graham Hilling
It’s a damp, cold evening at the Roundhouse on Sunday, however the weather cannot dampen the attitude of the assembled metalheads for a stellar lineup of metal on the European Apocalypse Tour. This sees 4 bands from different corners of the metal spectrum coming together for one massive evening of metal.
An early start can be forgiven on this occasion as it allows a good length set for each of the bands. However, Bloodbath are a little late taking to the stage (and we later find out this was because of border delays in getting into the UK earlier in the day) and this means a shorter set than I expected. Plus, from the get go they have a few technical troubles to deal with; Nick Holmes comments that it’s always good to start with a fuck up!
Starting with “Fleischmann”, it’s clear that the sound this evening is not going to be particularly kind, although the Bloodbath sound is already pretty dirty so it’s not a massive issue. Knocking out some full on death metal wall of sound style, they soldier on through the problems.
Nick Holmes introduces the band with a, “We’re from Sweden, well, I’m not, I’m from Yorkshire!”, to much amusement. Sounding much like Entombed at times without quite the ear for a good hook, Bloodbath have managed to draw a massive crowd, especially impressive given the early start. The band are all dripping blood and looking slightly the worse for wear, as if the name needed to be emphasised more.
And it’s an appreciative crowd too, with no shortage of horns up when required. I have to say, the sound issues were enough to leave me a little cold though and as set closer “Eaten” grinds to a close, I’m looking forward to a change of pace and style with Hatebreed.
Let the Stillborn Come to Me
So You Die
Outnumbering the Day
So, for the second metal genre of the evening, Hatebreed bring their own brand of metalcore, combining the best bits of hardcore and metal into an effervescent cocktail of grinding guitars and pounding drums.
The already large crowd swells again as the band take to the stage with little fuss or introduction. “To the Threshold” gets everyone bouncing and allows vocalist Jamey Jasta to warm up his vocal chords suitably!
It’s not long before he calls for a circle pit and there’s a transference of energy going on with the band in full swing. One thing you cannot say about Hatebreed is that they just go through the motions, the songs sound like they are belted out with passion and a belief in what they’re doing. They’re all well constructed and the breakdowns are to die for.
“This is Now” sees more crowd activity, paced just right for the crowd to nod in perfect time and lots of singing along. By this time the surfing has already started and the security are kept appropriately busy for most of the set.
Jasta is quite chatty between songs, musing on when they got the call for the tour – “…when you get a call from Kreator saying do you want to go on tour….fuck, yeah!! We’ve been listening to Kreator since we were 15!”. “Destroy Everything” has the crowd in fine voice, singing along with lots of fists in the air.
And then the set is over, with Hatebreed promising to return in June 2019 for a headline tour – one to watch for sure.
To the Threshold
Live for This
As Diehard as They Come
Looking Down the Barrel of Today
This Is Now
Driven by Suffering
Beholder of Justice
A Call for Blood
I Will Be Heard
Next up in our breakneck speed tour of metal genres is symphonic black metal in the form of Dimmu Borgir. I have to say, probably my favourite band of the evening, certainly on paper. And about as far away from Hatebreed as you can get.
While Hatebreed look like they have just walked in from the street, Dimmu Borgir make a massive effort with regards their stage show and how they look on stage. Coming onto the stage one by one, clothed in cloaks and garbs that make them look like a cross between Game of Thrones extras and something out of one of your nightmares, Dimmu Borgir turn the evening from a gig into an event.
The lighting is used to great effect throughout, making the band look very otherworldly along with smoke and haze aplenty. And let’s not forget the music! This is the first Dimmu show for ages in the UK (happy to be corrected) and they play a set this evening mixing a few songs from the latest album, Eonian, an opus that marks an 8 year hiatus between studio albums, and old classics.
Opening with “The Unveiling” and following it up with “Interdimensional Summit”, you could be forgiven for thinking they were going to play the new album in full, but it’s not long before some of the older songs are ringing out from the PA. Crowd surfing starts for real and there is a steady stream of bodies coming over the barrier (security confirm 67 at the end of the set!).
“Gateways” showcases everything that makes this band great. Massive symphonic structures and great articulation with enough metal injected into the composition to wrap everything up nicely, combined with great song writing and execution. Not bad at all!
By now the sound troubles and technical issues have all been fixed and it’s a pretty good balance filling the venue. Shagrath comments that it is good to be back and the band are clearly enjoying playing this evenings gig (even though, in keeping with the image, there are very few smiles). He comments that they are celebrating 25 years of existence and that we can all partake in the celebrations!
“Indoctrination” picks up the pace and increases the volume of crowd surfing and then “Mourning Palace” sees the end of the set. Shorter than I would have liked to be honest, but time is short and the mighty Kreator beckons…..
Dimmu Borgir leave the stage, throwing all manner of memorabilia into the audience: picks, drum sticks, a drum head and even their wrist bands. All clasped at desperately by the crowd. Top marks.
The Chosen Legacy
The Serpentine Offering
Council of Wolves and Snakes
Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
So the delayed start has been a little unkind to Kreator, who are videoing this evening for a forthcoming live DVD. This means they have less time between bands for setup. A large stage curtain is raised while the stage is dressed and prepared.
After what seems like an eternity, the curtain drops and Kreator stamp their authority with “Enemy of God” which leaves no doubt as to how they’re going to approach this evenings gig, absolutely no compromise here! Breakneck speed and maximum aggression.
The stage has all manner of set design built into it, Mille Petrozza is on form, chatting to the crowd and I swear every time I see Kreator the bass of Christian Giesler is slung lower. Sami Yli-Sirniö, always calm and collected as he pours the riffs out.
The crowd reacts exactly as you’d expect, and now, with the venue looking pretty much full to capacity, the sound is top notch. Confetti canons blast the crowd and we also have pyrotechnics heating up the front rows and all manner of smoke.
“Satan is Real” provides an opportunity for the crowd to join in with the infectious chorus, “Satan is real!” echoing around the venue. Some virtuoso guitar playing here too, very nice. “Flag of Hate” sees Petrozza wielding a large flag on the stage and inviting a noise competition between the crowd at the front of the venue and those at the back. This leads into an absolutely furious rendition of the song. Truly awesome.
The last couple of songs of the evening, “Violent Revolution” and the classic “Pleasure to Kill” take us way back in time and serve to only remind us what a long lived band Kreator have been and how long they’ve been at the top of their game. That’s certainly where we find them this evening.
Thrash done badly is just a mess but thrash done well is a feast for the ears, and it doesn’t get much better than this. Not a foot wrong, fantastic performance and a fitting climax to a stunning evening of metal allowing us to drink in metal some of its varied formats. Together we rule!
Enemy of God
Hail to the Hordes
Awakening of the Gods
People of the Lie
Gods of Violence
Satan Is Real
Flag of Hate
Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
Pleasure to Kill