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Kreator - The Forum, London - December 18 2014 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Do not adjust your dial. There is a saxophonist on stage at a Kreator gig. It’s not a bad dream. It’s Shining from Norway, and they're here to rock. A fair few 'what the fuck?' faces are pulled by sceptics in the audience, but the band's industrial-tinged black metal-cum-jazz nightmare soon sways naysayers.

Guitarist Håkon Sagen bashes his instrument like it's cheated him of Christmas presents during The One Inside and My Dying Drive and a wee circle pit erupts. Then, the Marty Friedman slinks on stage, clad in what appears to be Steel Panther's wardrobe.

The ex-Megadeth axeman utilises Shining as his backing band, flying through a virtuoso 20 minutes or so of fret-wanking perfection. It's a wonder to see Friedman in his element, and the harmonies and interplay with Jørgen Munkeby's saxophone during 21st Century Schizoid Man ice the most appetising of cakes.

Arch Enemy have a lot hanging on tonight. It's Alissa White-Gluz's first show in the capital since replacing esteemed screamer Angela Gossow, and they're playing for the unmovable Kreator crowd. It looks like a death sentence but the band soldier through. Ravenous is aired two songs in, igniting some cheeky sing-alongs throughout the venue.

White-Gluz is a commanding presence, stalking across the stage and rallying her troops with gusto and one of the gnarliest harsh voices in metal. Some of this stuff might be considered a bit 'light' for the Kreator faithful – You Will Know My Name sees a few balding thrashers discontentedly tapping their watches – but for the most part, Arch Enemy's melodic death metal prevails. A monumental Nemesis tops it off and a hefty challenge stands before Kreator.

Then again, it is Kreator. This is their second time headlining this venue in as many years and the German thrash titans have experienced a resurgence of sorts, clambering from the depths of 'that thrash band who used to be good' to spitting venom, bile and hatred into the 21st century with some of their strongest albums to date.

There's no messing about with this band. Foreboding, apocalyptic intro video aside, Kreator spend the best part of 90 minutes tearing skulls apart and trampling them underfoot. Mille Petrozza is as spiteful as ever, introducing Enemy Of God as a way to 'fuck religion! And motherfuck politics!'

The only criticism you could possibly throw at Kreator is that they don't play enough old material. Thirteen albums into their career, half the setlist is plucked from their latest three efforts. These songs are amazing – and we're still treated to the obligatory Pleasure To Kill – but a few more oldies would be appreciated.

A ridiculously raw cover of The Number Of The Beast destroys vocal chords and the inevitable one-two assault of Flag Of Hate and Tormentor is preceded by a birthday tribute to Petrozza. They give him a caterpillar cake and everything. He even smiles. Briefly. As the final note rings out, filthy hands grapple for random things thrown from the stage and haggard chunks of cake are chucked to those in front row. If that's not metal, we don't know what is.





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