[I’m sorry in advance but I wasn’t able to write this review completely objectively or open-mindedly since it was and will surely stay one of the best shows of my life.]
Concert review: Overtures of War tour 2014 – Bolt Thrower/Morgoth/Incantation – 25th of September 2014, Wien
Review by Estelle on the 28th of September 2014
At the end of September 2014, Bolt Thrower has started the Overtures of War tour along with Morgoth and three different support bands – Soulburn from the 21th to 23rd, Incantation from the 24th to 28th, and Vallenfyre from the 29th of September to 5th of October. On the show on the 25th that I myself went to we had Incantation as a support.
Incantation started punctually at 8 pm. Even though there were a few times less people seeing them than Morgoth’s show one hour later, even though the drum sound was somewhat weird and not all the people were getting their energy at the beginning, they perfectly managed to move and prepare everyone for 2-3 hours of pounding cruelty.
Incantation’s setlist was really fresh since it consisted of songs from many albums – they have played 4 off their last record from 2014, Dirges of Elysium, 2 off Diabolical Conquest, and the other 4 were all from different other albums.
- Shadows of the Ancient Empire
- Vanquish in Vengeance
- Oath of Armageddon
- Portal Consecration
- Impalement of Divinity
- The Ibex Moon
- Carrion Prophecy
- Impending Diabolical Conquest
Later when quite many people gathered at the Arena already, the louring intro of ‘Cursed’ started to play and then Morgoth got on stage powerfully with the devastating ‘Body Count’. The crowd was starting to go crazy – and I can certainly say that the band didn’t let us rest until the very end of the last song.
They continued with three huge classics off Cursed (Exit to Temptation, Suffer Life, Sold Baptism), and then came the title track off their recent 7″ LP, ‘God is Evil’, dedicated to myself and the other Hungarians there. (After my interview with Marc he asked who I went there with, and I told him we were like 30 Hungarian people there – so during the show before ‘God is Evil’ he randomly said “this song is for Estelle and the whole Hungarian long-way traveller group” – I was blown away.)
‘God is Evil’ is rather a mid-tempo track, so that it was a right decision to put it after such a blast of 4 mortal tracks off the first album. The song sounded great live and created the basic atmosphere for the next two songs from ‘Odium’ as well, ‘Under the Surface’ and the strong opener ‘Resistance’.
After the recall of ‘Odium’ we could hear the other track from the recent single, ‘Die as Deceiver’ which was also a pure and massive death metal song, then here came ‘Burnt Identity’, the opener of the second outstanding EP. After that, expectedly we got to one of the highlights again with ‘Isolated’ – my neck hurt since the third song yet I was headbanging to this tremendous classic like never before, along with all the other people in ecstatic state in the pit and first 10 rows. Then, still no room for settling down, we got the title track off Morgoth’s first demo from 1988, ‘Pits of Utumno’ straight to our face as the last song.
I have heard and read a few critics about Morgoth’s somewhat bad sound on some shows or festivals in the past, but here in the Arena the band sounded flawlessly. Marc’s voice is unexpectedly still nearly as strong as back in the day and its tone is more similar to the old tone than in case of a lot of other vocalists; and on top of all this, the band played this oldschool setlist with so much energy that I felt like a bulldozer went through my body as we reached the end of the almost one hour performance.
- Cursed (Intro)/Body Count
- Exit to Temptation
- Suffer Life
- Sold Baptism
- God is Evil
- Under the Surface
- Die as Deceiver
- Burnt Identity
- Pits of Utumno
Epic. Just epic. And it wasn’t nearly over!
Bolt Thrower got on stage with the popular War/Remembrence combo from the beginning of …For Victory. Their combination of songs was a bit of everything: they played off every album except In Battle There Is No Law and Honour-Valour-Pride, mostly concentrated on Those Once Loyal, …For Victory and Mercenary, a little bit to my disappointment. After the two openers they continued with the intense Mercenary, and then we got to the top straight away concerning my taste with the two beautiful classics ‘World Eater’ and ‘Cenotaph’, that I personally would always expect to be the last song as for me it reaches up to something like ‘Isolated’ in case of Morgoth (– and I believe I’m not the only one who thinks that mighty song is probably Bolt Thrower’s strongest track).
As I have already mentioned the atmosphere was crazy on Morgoth, yet it became even more unbelievable during Bolt Thrower. Everyone was out of their minds; the pit was full; there were at least two people (once including me) stagediving during every song they played from about the third-fourth track on… people cheered and hugged Karl on stage; once a guy came to me, grabbed my shoulders and shook me shouting “waaaaaaah”. The band’s sound was excellent, they truly managed to retain the sound and feeling we can have while listening to the albums; and their energy was also overwhelming: they were absolutely cheerful and easy-going on stage, vocalist Karl Willetts definitely seemed to be enjoying the show and the enthusiastic audience as he was smiling from the beginning to the end of the gig. I had the feeling that they could have played the setlist once again as a whole and the crowd would have been able to party to it ’til the first rays of the Sun appear in the morning.
The gig reached its other highlight I could mention probably with ‘No Guts, No Glory’, but since the vibe in the place was almost touchable and the overall mood was really on its top for the whole time, maybe there is no need for emphasizing certain songs from the setlist – it was a mindblowing experience as a whole.
Bolt Thrower came back with an encore two times: once with At First Light and When Cannons Fade from Those Once Loyal, and secondly with Silent Demise off …For Victory, which gave a nice frame to the show as it started and ended with songs from the same album.
Personally, I was expecting that Bolt Thrower were going to favour the first three classic albums by playing a bit more (or in case of ‘In Battle …’, simply playing) songs from them, but as I have already mentioned, after this amount of devastating power and brutality I think there is not a single person who would feel any kind of emptiness or regret after coming to see these three death metal lords.
3. World Eater/Cenotaph
4. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
6. Forever Fallen
7. This Time It’s War
8. The IVth Crusade
9. No Guts, No Glory
10. …For Victory
11. The Killchain/Powder Burns
12. + encore: At First Light
13. When Cannons Fade
14. + encore 2: Silent Demise
Regarding the quality of the sound, tightness, professionalism, enthusiasm and reaction of the audience in case of all the 3 bands, I can certainly say that this show was something that one cannot see and hear often, and that one can deservedly regret in case he or she missed.
[Oh and just a little note: dedicated Morgoth song by Marc + headbanging on stage in front of 700 people during Bolt Thrower 1 meter away from Karl – not a bad way to celebrate my 18th birthday, I guess!]