Overkill + Destruction + Flotsam and Jetsam
@ SWG3, Glasgow
Sunday, 24th March 2019
Review By: Pete Mutant
Photography By: Gavin Lowrey
Overkill were back in Glasgow, almost three years after their last visit to these parts where some stuff happened which messed with the supporting acts, and what could have been a mess was salvaged by their excellent performance. That was the Killfest tour before ‘The Grinding Wheel’ was released, and this time round they had a brand spanking new album out in ‘The Wings Of War’. Also having the duty to review the new album, I was in quite a fortunate position of being familiar with the new product and was looking forward to seeing it getting the live treatment.
They were bringing with them a sizeable package and what had been referred to as the ‘Thrash Lineup of 2019’. The titanic Teutonic force of Destruction were to follow the American stalwart thrashers in Flotsam and Jetsam to complete an absolutely frantic force to reckon with.
The venue of choice was the SWG3, a venue that seems to be putting on more and more metal gigs of late. I like the venue too. It was the second time that I’d been there after seeing Sepultura here the year before. Sound: good, space: good and beer: good. Ticks all the right boxes and there was a sizeable crowd there from the start, queuing to get in and get themselves some thrash. And they were going to get some, a shit ton of it too.
First up were Flotsam and Jetsam [3.5/5] who were themselves touting a new album in ‘The End Of Chaos’, and we were going to get a taste of it from the very start. ‘Prisoner Of Time’ opened proceedings and there wasn’t much impact at first. The band were tight and the drums sounded amazing but the crowd’s response was tepid at first. Some of the older stuff was implemented as ‘Desecrator’ took us to the band’s very beginnings and we were getting a fine display of the lead guitars from founding member Michael Gilbert and his counterpart Steve Conley. The harmonisation sections were executed with grace and precision and there was plenty of it.
Things were getting heavier as the set wore on, and by the time we got to the 5th track, ‘Demolition Man’, we had our first real crowd participation with the first of many crowdsurfers going up. It seemed very out of the blue considering but that was the spark that ignited the flame and there was no going back. Vocalist Eric A.K. seemed happier, as did the rest of the band, and Eric advised that “this next one, you will not recover from” as we got to the penultimate track of their set in ‘Recover’, funnily enough. There were smiles beaming on the band as the crowd was definitely in their moment and throwing in lots of energy. The final track ‘No Place For Disgrace’ provoked an almighty roar of approval from the punters which was outdone by the collective shout at the end of the set.
Prisoner of Time
Suffer the Masses
No Place for Disgrace
Destruction [4.0/5] had an easier start with the crowd well lubricated from the exploits of the opening act. They brought more production to the stage with some skulls on their mic stands and some smokey pyro to create more of a visual effect.
Things started off very fast and heavy with some rapid chugging from the muted tremolo as ‘Curse The Gods’ opened up the set. That giant German Schmier seemed to take up half the stage as he pounded away on the bass and shrieked out the lyrics.
The sound quality wasn’t as good as before as the bass sounded as if it was swirling around a tunnel, but the crowd were not caring and the pitting and crowd surfers were endless. ‘Nailed To The Cross’ brought some ‘hey, hey, hey’s from the crowd and an even bigger pit.
Schmier wanted a circle pit but he was going have to wait for some choreographed pitting. He didn’t have to wait long as a small wall of death was formed whilst ‘The Mad Butcher’ was building. The wall caved in on itself and then we got a circle pit for big Schmier going. He seemed to be loving it as much as the crowd were and gave a mad cackle as the metal heads went at it. He thanked the crowd for their efforts but there was plenty more in store.
A chainsaw rang loudly as ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’ kicked in, becoming one of the top songs of the set. We were nearing the end of the set too as ‘Thrash Till Death’ brought a huge circle pit from the crowd and plenty more crowd surfers. Schmier said that this Glasgow crowd was by far the craziest of the UK leg of the tour and it was believable. The whole band looked more than satisfied and were clearly enjoying themselves. Alas, the last song of the set arrived, but it was a belter in ‘Bestial Invasion’, which brought the best out of everyone. The biggest circle pit, an unholy number of crowd surfers and some fantastic shredding to culminate in a massive climax to the set.
Curse The Gods
Release From Agony
Nailed To The Cross
Life Without Sense
The Butcher Strikes Back
Thrash Till Death
It was time for the main event and a chance to get some more new music displayed. The crowd had put in some tremendous levels of energy into the first two bands but they were audibly up for the final act, with shouts of “Here we, here we, here we fucking go!!!”. As I assumed (and without checking Setlist before, smart arse), Overkill [4.0/5] were going to open with the opening track of their new album in ‘Last Man Standing’.
Great riff to that song and a worthy opener to any set. Bobby Blitz stormed on stage and greeted the pit that had kicked off from the start and was only going to just keep on raging.
The pit was growing in mass with each riff, each solo, each blast from the drums and each scream from Bobby Blitz spurning the crowd into more and more fits of friendly rage. The sound had definitely improved and the music was good as Overkill gave us a run through their history.
Surprisingly, ‘Elimination’ played fairly early on in the set which was great but unexpected. Some excellent lead guitar from Dave Linsk took us into a massive crescendo to end the song. A massive riff opened up ‘Deny The Cross’ as the impetus was turning towards the heavier and groovier stuff.
Bobby Blitz said that he could smell us but couldn’t hear us, grinning widely as the seismic groove-laden riff on the new track ‘Distortion’ was welcomed with fits of headbanging. He has a way of working the crowd which to a novice would appear insulting, as he would deliver the middle fingers to the crowd, until you see the reciprocation with hundreds of middle fingers returning which brings that smirk back onto his face.
‘Mean, Green, Killing Machine’ took us to the previous album, ‘The Grinding Wheel’, and was a belter of a track. We had D.D. Verni come on with drummer Jason Bittner for some rhythmic exploits before we went way back in time for the next two tracks as ‘Feel The Fire’ went into ‘Rotten To The Core’ before the band walked off the stage.
It was encore time and ‘Ironbound’ started us off rapidly, which drew a big pit in from the crowd. The clean section had some lovely swirls come in to give us a different side of the band before kicking back into high gear. Bobby Blitz let us know that his Scottish was terrible, as was his English, but his sign language was “perfecto” as the middle fingers were once again presented to the crowd.
The Subhumans cover of ‘Fuck You’ was up next with middle fingers flying about everywhere before we had one final serving of new music in ‘Welcome To The Garden State’ after being made “honourary citizens of the great state of New Jersey” by Bobby Blitz. It was a nice sentiment and a communal sense of pride was there as the band finished with a final Fuck You and the night ended. What a night, but I am sure most were dead on their feet by the end. No matter, it was all worth it and always is when Overkill steamroll your city. Hast ye back is a required statement and I’m sure they’ll be back in the not too distant future.
Last Man Standing
Hello From the Gutter
Deny The Cross
Mean, Green, Killing Machine
Feel the Fire
Rotten to the Core
Welcome To The Garden State
Fuck You (Reprise)