The only other show I have seen here in Berkeley was EPICA/LACUNA COIL earlier in 2017. It's a nice venue ran by volunteers through the College and locals and has a cool vibe and the concert goers are 'well-behaved' for the most part so props to the staff for controlling the crowds in a positive manner. But tonight definitely belongs to the metal heads in their black tees, black jeans, and long hair whipping in fury.
The evening kicks off 30 minutes earlier than I was informed by Whittier's own EXMORTUS. Less of a light show due to their opener status, the quartet managed to get the horns raised by the crowd early on with their pure thrash/shred attack. They had a short set that was filled with a BEETHOVEN (yes, you read that right) and even a snippet from BOSTON. While Exmortus have a defined sound, what's missing from them is the element of 'song.' They have chops, but they haven't quite honed their craft to have 'the song' which limits the memorable piece from the puzzle. While only a short set, they served their purpose, but not much was that memorable.
Now KREATOR takes the stage and are true veterans of the genre and what Exmortus missed in the songwriting process Kreator did not. While a thrash band, they do have 'hooks' in their songs to keep them in mind of the listener with songs like Satan is Real, Phobia, and People Of The Lie. This NorCal crowd was treated to a 75-minute set complete with full sound, smoke machines, and those bright stage lights (a la SLAYER) that sort of defined the live experience of the Thrash movement. MILLE PETROZZA(vocals, guitar) still have the voice he had 30 years ago and Kreator remains one of the most underrated of their genre. If you can, get out to this tour because their most recent releases are more relevant that albums they did 20 years ago.
As for SABATON, what else can be said about a band whose focus is writing about historical events, battles, and war. It's apparent in their stage gear (all in camouflage pants) complete with a video projection behind the drummer showing tanks, war scenes, flames, logos, and the such that these 5 Swedes have engulfed their entire career into this unique genre. While it's easy to lump them into the Power Metal category (HAMMERFALL, ICED EARTH), there is something about Sabaton that has paved an easier path than others in their genre. Whether it's their connection to their fans, the use of hooks throughout all of the song, or the fact that they travel in Tour Buses that are wrapped with Tanks and Flames, they have created something unique. Live they play fan favorites and keep the crowd engaged with on stage banter and chants that start before they even hit the stage. Ghost Division, The Last Stand, and To Hell And Back all keep their fans chanting and singing along. And is it just me, or does vocalistJOAKIM BRODEN possess an uncanny to DAVID DRAIMAN (DISTURBED) in his vocal delivery and stage presence? And no, that's not a slam on either person as both are successful and unique forces on stage.
Overall, this was a night where openers Exmortus score a 🤘🤘🤘, Kreator score a 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘, and Sabaton score a 🤘🤘🤘🤘.
Please enjoy the photos, see this tour if it comes your way, and always remember to SHARE, LIKE, and FOLLOW!
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