Overkill, Exodus and more at Markthalle (2009)

Markthalle (Hamburg, Germany)

Overkill, Exodus, Torture Squad, Gama Bomb
What I relay like about Germans is that they seem to have so much more […]
By Erika Wallberg
February 24, 2009

What I relay like about Germans is that they seem to have so much more fun when they get out compared to Swedes. In Germany there's hardly no one that stands in the back with their arms crossed looking a little superior and awfully bored. There are no such things like that going on at Markthalle not even when the openers were playing. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves at this date of the 'Killfest'-tour and the beer is flowing, even if it's a Tuesday night.

Just half an hour after the doors opened GAMMA BOMB hit the stage. I was a little surprised that they were the first band out, since there's been quite a buzz around them the last year while TORTURE SQUAD have not been heard of at all, not at my northerly latitude at least. But I must say I was a little disappointed with GAMMA BOMB, they didn't look as happy and energetic they normally do and the exchange between Philly Byrne - vocals and Domo Dixon - guitar was non-existent. Ok, they overdid that a little last time I saw them but it was still fun to watch so I missed that a bit. The main show this time lay with bass player Joe McGuigan that really stirred everything up on stage, even if he was in the absolute darkest corner of the stage he got to be the center of attention for me. So he, together with the rest of the rhythm section pretty much saved the show. I don't know if GAMMA BOMB only had a bad day or if they're not ready for this type of arrangement yet because they didn't really. Everything sounded perfect though, so perhaps they only had a bad day.

As I said, I haven't heard much of TORTURE SQUAD prior to the concert but that will certainly change now. They put everything to the extreme, speed, attitude and absolutely performance. Judging by the drums they could just as well have been Black Metal and that sure made a very cool contrast towards the very edgy riffs. The KREATOR-like vocals on top of it all put yet another angle to the whole construction. Above all, the musical performance was perfect, all was a very neat combination. Even if I can't say anything but great things about the music there was still something missing. A band as good as TORTURE SQUAD good should have been a real boost but it never really got me started. I really can't say what was wrong, perhaps they tried a little too hard to create a show and it all got a little forced. Perhaps, it just didn't feel 100% natural. But I'd say, give them a few more tours and they will kick as hard as visually as they did musically.

Nick Barker or Tom Hunting? EXODUS sure knows how to pick substitutes I tell you. Tom was apparently on vacation in Mexico and then Gary Holt and his shoal drafted Nick to step in on this tour. I doubt that EXODUS ever have been better than they are today. Rob Dukes takes steps forward every time they tour and he actually sounded awesome this evening. Most of the Hard Core styled vocals were gone and even if he don't have as much character in his voice as Steve Zetro Souza had he suites EXODUS music better and better every time I see them.

Of course, it could be a matter of getting used to the change but his attitude was a lot different this time too. And he didn't look as mean and dangerous with the beard. Not all cuddly perhaps but at least the bad-ass visuals was toned down. EXODUS was a lot of fun to watch too, I just love Lee Altus (guitar) energy and he really passed it on to the crowd too. It only took a few minutes before people were diving off stage and raising hell on the floor. The most fun thing with this concert was that the new songs got the same response as the classics, not many bands have managed that. Sure, the German crowds are a lot easier to please than any other in the world but still it was amazing to see Markthalle boiling all through their set. The only thing to complain about was Rob Dukes vocal effort on the last couple of songs. Then it was all back to the very aggressive screaming and barfing out the words. The Toxic Waltz and Strike Of The Beast was hardly recognizable and it was impossible to make out the melody. But just think about it, this was what he was sounding like the entire time a couple of months back. I don't doubt his vocal skills any more, he just need to get in a little better shape to last a whole concert. If I prefer Tom or Nick? I'll take Tom any day!

Sometimes I wonder what makes me go out and see bands over and over again. When it comes to OVERKILL I must have seen them if not 15 times at least well over 10. Still, I made up my mind in less than a second and booked my trip to Hamburg to see them once more. There are a few bands you know what you get when you go out and see, OVERKILL is certainly one of them. But I must say I was surprised this time. To kick off a set with Deny The Cross, I can only say WOW and with that EXODUS was wiped off the tracks. OVERKILL normally serves a lot of goodies when they come out and play but this time they surely outdid themselves. Hello From The Gutter, Rotten To The Core and Elimination is perhaps not the biggest surprises but the song that opened the set and Feel The Fire, all of it just an awesome setlist. One more thing that always amazes me with OVERKILL is that they've managed to keep all brutal energy bands normally just have for the first few tours. But it's more to them, musical perfection is an understatement. It was so tight I could almost feel every strike of the guitarstrings, Dave Linsk and Derek The Skull Tailer makes a perfect match. The thing with saying you know what you get when you go out and see OVERKILL is true but absolutely not a bad thing, yes everything is about the same from time to time but they're never boring, never predictable. It's hard to imagine that Bobby Blitz Ellsworth has been doing this for almost thirty years now, he's disturbingly fit still and I wouldn't believe it if I didn't knew that he's been in this for so long. Another surprise, and really nice one was that they put In Union We Stand back in the set. Normally I don't appreciate these best-of sets, especially not when it is bands I've seen as many times as I have seen OVERKILL. I do think bands should add a little from their whole career but there's really nothing I can complain about here.

(photos by the photo snipper Erika)





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