“The different types of music I’ve played have had satisfied different aspects of why I like playing extreme metal”

Interview with Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, ex-Anthrax, ex-S.O.D, ex-Brutal Truth)

Interview by Estelle at Brutal Assault on the 5th of August 2015 

Hey Dan, first of all thank you so much for doing this interview with me! First I’d like to ask, if you could go back to the very beginning of your metal career, would you do anything differently?

Dan: Maybe making decisions about signing to certain labels, but not artistically. I’m completely satisfied with the paths I have taken even though I could have maybe sold out and made money or something; but I couldn’t really do this, it would go against my heart. So now I can’t think of too much I would do different as far as a musician. Maybe some business decisions, but not as an artist.

Out of all the bands you were involved in, which one was the most fun to work with?

Dan: This is a difficult question because the different bands I’ve played with have satisfied different feelings inside me: thrash metal is fun, you’re drinking beer and smoking weed; if you’re playing black metal it makes your hair stand up (this is such a special feeling), or if you’re palying grindcore, it’s like there’s lightning in the air. So the different types of music I’ve played have had satisfied different aspects of why I like playing extreme metal. As far as having fun, it’s difficult to have fun playing black metal because you must stay in a very serious vibe – and it’s hard to because sometimes something happens and you have to laugh, something falls over or I don’t know. (laughs)

I’ve read that you are still kind of satisfied with how your first record with Nuclear Assault, Game Over sounds – as I’ve noticed that is not something common among musicians. Do you want to recreate the same vibe and sound both on an album and live or can you accept the fact that we don’t live in those times anymore?

Nuclear Assault – Game Over (1986)

Dan: Honestly, I think the guitar sound on Game Over is not distorted enough. But this was the analog days – and now we live in a digital world. We accept the fact that the old process of recording is different now, but we have technological advantages; it’s much easier to fix a mistake immediately instead of having to start from the beginning. The sound of analog recordings had a special real warm sound to them that’s hard to recreate digitally, but there are ways to imitate this.

John Conelly (vocalist of Nuclear Assault who just sat down next to us): How hard is it?

Dan: What’s hard?

John: Well, to recreate the sound of old recordings. How hard is it Dan?

Dan: Are you being perverted? I’m talking to a woman, have some taste for Christ’s sake! (John’s laughing)

[To John who was hoping that I’d do the interview with him instead of Dan:] Aren’t there any conflicts in Nuclear Assault because of Dan being the center figure?

John: Nah, no problems.

Dan: Nobody wants the attention, I just have to take it.

[To Dan:] Seeing the huge success of and interest around Anthrax counting right from Fistful of Metal, don’t you ever feel awkward for being fired from the band in ’84? Didn’t you ever think about going back?

Dan: I was asked to leave Anthrax – I didn’t have the opportunity to continue with them, they told me to go. So it doesn’t matter. I called up John and said “we have to start a band” and that’s how Nuclear Assault came. Anthrax’s music went to a more commercial direction than I think I would have enjoyed playing; but it’s all okay, everything happens for a reason – that’s what they say.

Daniel Lilker

Daniel Lilker

I’ve read in one of your earlier interviews when a guy asked you about your further plans with S.O.D. that you said “the more we do, the less special it becomes”. Is this a general view of yours or does it only apply to S.O.D.?

Dan: Absolutely. S.O.D. was kind of a weird thing where we just didn’t have any idea it was going to get popular, we just said “oh, we’re just gonna play some pop-rock songs and record them” and the more you try to recreate that, it would become less. We had a surprise attack at the time, you can never repeat that. So just forget it, just be happy with that and don’t try to milk the cow too much.

It’s clear that you do not like today’s metal – still, have you found any new bands (let it be thrash or anything else) recently that did surprise you or gave you something you haven’t really heard before?

Dan: I can’t think of anything in the recent past that I’ve heard that was totally original, but it’s understandable because people playing thrash metal in 2015 have a lot of influences. When we started, we did our own thing to get things from hardcore and maybe a couple of Slayer riffs or whatever, or maybe more Venom, Hellhammer or Discharge. The point being, it’s harder to be original 30 years later.

Nuclear Assault (1986)

Nuclear Assault (1986)

[To both of them:] What is the thing that you mostly miss from the old days when it comes to music?

Dan: I’m not sure I miss anything from the old days. Maybe just the fact that back then everybody knew each other. There was a community, and now it clearly is exploited.

John: We got to play with Exodus on a fairly regular basis. We saw the guys in Testament often too, great guys, fun to be around.

[To Dan:] You are not only a bassist but a really diverse talent as you also play the guitars, piano, drums and you’re a vocalist as well. Where does all this come from?

Dan: It’s the same source. I played piano when I was five years old and heavy just came in later. But playing music – whatever you’re doing –, it’s all from the same well. It depends on what instrument you are using at the time and of course I’m not the best guitarist or anything, I’m a bassist. But I write songs on guitar because it’s easier to explain to the other guys.

John: The nice thing is that we both have a qualification in classical music, we speak the same language. So if I tell Dan “do you need something in E-minor and 6/8 time signature?”, he knows what I’m talking about. A lot of people don’t even know what E-minor is – it’s odd because they are really good musicians. For Dan and I it’s like common vocabulary.

Do you want me to ask a particular thing from you?

Dan: “Why are you guys so handsome?” – I don’t know! Or: “Why do you do what you do?” – Because we don’t give a fuck.

Okay guys, thanks for taking the time and doing a quick interview, also thank you for your nice show!

Dan: Thank you!

Advertisements

A little piece of the interview made with Donald Tardy

Here’s an audible answer of my Obituary interview made with Donald in January 2015 [read the full interview here].
The reason why I wanted you guys to hear how he speaks is that I guess he is one of the best interviewees any journalist could get: I didn’t have to stop for a minute thinking about any section of the interview or word he mentioned as he speaks in such an understandable and composed way. Listening to the recording and just writing continuously, it’s like the dream of an interviewer, I was done within 2 hours. So enjoy!

My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky
.

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves
.

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame
.

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen
.
.

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull
 .
.

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey
.
.
.

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star
.
.
.

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior
.
.
.

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time
.
.

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

“We kept it very true to what we used to do back in the day”

Interview with Donald Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers) on Obituary’s new album ‘Inked in Blood’

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 21st of January 2015 

obi1Hello Donald, thank you so much for doing the interview for the magazine!
Could you select 3 albums that you either consider your all-time favourites or that had an impact on you for some reason?

Sure. Holy Diver would be the first one because it’s the best album in the world. It is the best drumming record I have ever experienced, it is still my favorite drum album. Another one would be Led Zeppelin II because of John Bonham – as I was a child John Bonham really showed me how rock ‘n’ roll music or heavy metal doesn’t need to be the most technical as long as the drummer plays very solid – and John Bonham was just one of the best drummers in the world.
And then, I guess Psycroptic’s latest album (The Inherited Repression, 2012 – ed.). I think they are an incredible band that is so technical and the drummer does things that I could only dream of doing because he’s so fast. (laughs)

If you could start your whole career in Obituary again, would you do anything differently?

No. (emphatically)

Obituary – Inked in Blood (2014)

Your new album, Inked in Blood was released in October 2014. What was the main goal you wanted to achieve with releasing it?

The main thing we wanted to do is make sure that it sounded like Obituary and that the songs were written in the Obituary style – and that’s an obvious answer, but that was the main goal, to make sure that it was a true Obituary album. And then along with that came making sure that when we recorded the album we stayed true to what recording albums used to be and kept it very old school. We did not use too much modern technology with the recording, we only used microphones and instruments so we did not do any sound replacing or triggering of bass drums or anything, we kept it very very true to what we used to do back in the day – so those were the two main goals.

You recorded the album in your own studio called RedNeck. How was the recording or writing session different from any of your previous albums’?

The main thing was that it was relaxing and it was enjoyable. In my career I’ve always experienced that sometimes the studio can be a bit intimidating and a bit nerve-racking for band members. And because we practiced at the studio, we would live at the studio, we were always there – it made things very easy-going and it made it actually fun. It’s not often you can use the word ‘fun’ while recording songs because sometimes it really is nerve-racking, but the own studio made it very enjoyable for the band members.

Some people still seem to be quite suspicious in connection with your Kickstarter campaign and the fact that you were planning to put the album out completely yourselves and when it came to distributing it, you made a partnership with Relapse. What would you say to these people?

Well, if people are confused they can simply see how much money was raised and the amount of awards that Obituary had, because everybody that contributed got what they wanted which was the t-shirts, the hats and the albums and everything we gave. So it is very obvious how much money was spent on all the material, to buy all the hats and the t-shirts; along with the amount of money that we needed to actually record, mix, produce, master the record – we got the album cover paid for at the same time, so that was just a portion of the amount of money that is needed to actually release an album on your own. Hundreds of thousands of dollars go into marketing campaigns and to literally print the vinyl and print the CDs and distribute them around the world. It’s hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars; with the amount of money we raised we were able to record the entire album AND pay for the material needed for the Kickstarter campaign. But if anyone does research they can look at how expensive it is to truly do an album on your own. To get a distribution deal with the company and the thing that you are going to put it in every record store in the world takes much much more money than what Obituary raised. We tried to do it, we looked into it but it simply was too expensive to actually pull it off. That’s why we partnered with a record label – we simply used the record label to distribute and to print the actual physical CDs and that’s what Relapse did for us.

Donald Tardy – Photo: ricky-adrien.com

Donald Tardy – Photo: ricky-adrien.com

Could you choose one or two songs from Inked in Blood and explain what they mean to you, how they were made or what they are about?

I’m super proud of every song so I could talk about any of the songs on the album but a couple little stories are: The first song on Inked in Blood was one of the last ones we wrote for the album and when I recorded it drum-wise, I’m proud to say I did it in one try. One take, we call it. You know usually you can get almost through a song and you mess up, you have to back up a little bit and the engineer can fix the end of the song with you – and on the first song on the album I did it in my first try. (raises his hands, looks around proudly then laughs) I’m very proud of that.

Also, Inked in Blood is the title track, it’s one of those songs where when we first wrote it, I didn’t know if the song was complete, I didn’t know how good of a song it was until it was recorded and now that we’re playing it live it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. So it went from my least favorite to almost my favorite song. 

‘Visions in My Head’ was the first track to be released from the new album in August. Do you think it was the catchiest one?

Yeah, it was. It was an obvious choice. At the minute we wrote it, it only took me and Trevor maybe five or ten minutes and we knew that the song was going to be the first one released. There was a strange feeling we had, we knew it was very catchy and very simple. When we recorded it, all the record label people, all my friends, everyone that came in contact with ‘Visions’ – we knew that was the one that stuck out. And so we knew to grab the world’s attention we wanted to grab a catchy song that isn’t the heaviest song on the album, but it definitely grabs your attention and it has all the pieces to a good song. It has a middle part, it has a great solo and it has a terrific ending.

Obituary (Slowly We Rot era)

Obituary (Slowly We Rot era)

I’ve read in some of your recent interviews that you guys were listening to Obituary’s old albums in order to get the same kind of sound and vibe for Inked in Blood as for the earlier ones. Is it because you didn’t really want to risk much and didn’t want to distance yourselves from something that seems to work?

Actually we didn’t listen to the old albums to try and get the sound, we were in the process of writing the new album for many years. We took three or four years writing the new songs and at the same time we were invited to play a classic setlist. So when we were recording, we took a break from recording the new songs and we had to listen to the old songs to re-learn them because we had an offer to come and play at a festival, but they wanted songs only off of the first three. So I had to go back and listen to the old ones to re-learn the songs, not the production but I had to go and really re-learn because they were twenty years old. (laughs) So I think what happened was, we went and played at the festival and played all the old songs and when we came home we kept writing new material – and I think whether we knew it or not, re-learning the old songs gave us some really cool ideas that brought back that old Obituary sound. And we didn’t deliberately do that but there was definitely some influence from the old stuff by having to re-learn some of the old ones while writing new songs.

Do you bother reading critics on the new album or Obituary in general? 

I don’t mind reading, I know you’ll never make everybody happy. I think Obituary fans love the new album and that’s all I care about. If you read everything you’re going to find people that cry and complain and bitch about things – and they’re allowed to, it’s freedom of speech.

Obituary (2014)

If we can talk about a next album, do you plan to record and distribute it in the same way as Inked in Blood?

I think the partnership that we have right now with Relapse makes a lot of sense because the band is able now with their fan support to record albums completely on our own – and nobody does that. In the history of rock ‘n’ roll bands write records and they tell the record label “we’re finished writing the album, we need to borrow money to go into the studio and record”, and the record label says “okay, here’s X amount of money, we will pay ourselves back when the album comes out before the band sees any money”. This time with Obituary we actually did it on our own with the support of our fans so it is a really good chemistry and solution that we found here because the band pays for the album, the record label pays for the printing of the CDs and the distribution around the world and the marketing campaign. So we both put the same amount of effort and time into the recording and then we’re a partnership so we split the profit – so it’s working out very well for Obituary right now. We’re very happy.

What was your greatest fear in connection with Obituary throughout all the years?

God, there was never fear. You’re always going to get fans that will listen to your music and compare you, whether they think it’s great or they are okay with it or they think it should be something different or that’s just not what they want. But I never let that bring fear into me because I have a very good ability of playing drums, I know what I do well and I know that I’m doing the right thing for Obituary’s style of music. So I don’t bring fear into it, because again I think there are many, many, many metalheads that love Obituary and love my drumming; and that’s enough for me, I don’t need to win everyone’s heart. (laughs)

obi5In which aspect do you think that Obituary will change the most in five or ten years’ time? 

Or bodies, because we’re getting old so the only thing that’s going to change is maybe the tempo of songs in the future because I can no longer play fast. But seriously, Obituary is so solid right now and I’m very proud to say that with the addition of Kenny Andrews and Terry Butler in the band we are a very tight band right now. We’re very close friends, there’s a hundred percent respect with and for each other and we are having so much fun. That’s what is amazing about it, I know there are bands that are successful and can do it for a living but not all the band members get along – but they make it work because it’s a business and they can go and make money. Obituary right now is very lucky because we’re making a living doing it but we love each other, we are having so much damn fun on stage every night. It’s a wonderful feeling. So that’s the main thing that I’m very proud to see in the future. I know for a fact, this is a very tight band right now and we’re best of friends. 

You’re like a family, literally.

We are, yeah. (laughs) I’ve known Trevor since I was eleven years old so he’s like a brother to me as well. We’re just very excited about the future and it’s very exciting for Obituary fans too because more music is being created and the future is looking really bright now for all of us. 

That’s great to hear. Okay Donald, thank you so much for the interview, I’m also really excited about the show tonight!

It will be a treat tonight! We also learned songs tonight, a couple for this tour especially that we had to go back and re-learn. We also brought some now in from the “Don’t Care” album because we want to play other stuff. It sounds really good. So yeah, I’m very excited about it too.

“I don’t think you can go out and say ‘I want to be different’, because if you try to set that goal, you are never going to get anything done”

Interview with John Tardy (Obituary, Tardy Brothers)

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on Brutal Assault XIX, on the 7th of August 2014

Hello John, first of all thank you very much for doing this interview for Metalegion Magazine! What do you think is the main reason of Obituary’s success?

I guess we just like what we are doing. It’s pretty much it. It’s important just to have fun in what you are doing – if it becomes a job, it becomes work and it sucks, then don’t do it. Just go out, have a good time and do what you do.

Could you tell me about some of the highlights of your career in metal that you are the most proud of or mostly like to think back of?

Out of all the albums that we’ve done I can remember where I was when I got the first copy of Slowly We Rot, and was very proud of it. We also got to see a lot of the world, we’ve been to lots of different countries, got to meet a lot of cool people – to me it’s the best part of it, to get to see all the different cultures around the world.

How did it affect your relationship with your brother, Donald throughout the years that you had to work together in Obituary? Did you have any massive misunderstanding in connection with music?

Not really, we get along pretty good actually. We have a studio at my house and he’s pretty much there seven days a week – not that we never argue, but nothing serious, we get along really great. I think the good thing that works so well is that we just talk things out. We talk it out, we argue it out, and then we make a decision.

Obituary is one of the most fan-based and active metal bands out there – you run your own websites as well as the facebook page – you actually interact with the fans. In terms of your upcoming album, Inked in Blood, why did the band decide that you would “make the music for the fans instead of a label”? Did you have any bad experiences so far that made you do this?

We’ve been a band for thirty years, we’ve been at multiple labels, and even years back we’ve just been always wanting to do it ourselves. We finally said “you know what, let’s go ahead and TRY to do this ourselves”. Not that we expect to put CDs in the back of our car and drive around the world to sell them on our own, I mean, you just still need help from somebody because there are distribution companies, there are multiple countries and lots of problems.
We met the Relapse people, and the guys at Relapse are super cool. We got to get the album ourselves, it’s our album, we just got to kind of use their engine to get it out to the fans, and it really worked out good for us. There are all those Roadrunner records of ours, but we don’t own those things, we couldn’t even do anything with them even if we wanted to. So the cool thing about this is that it’s our music, it’s our album, we get to do what we want to do, and we get Relapse to help us to get it out to the people.

What is your opinion about the fact that some people say you “begged” for money to do this album?

Actually, it’s just about as much money as we got to now go ahead and send everybody everything that they ordered – so that rumour was a little bit weird. We have a lot of work to do, there’s just so much stuff now that we owe fans. The amount of money that we’ll see after the fact, it’s not going to be very much.
It was very cool though, to see this fan support and all the people who did what they did, and as soon as we get home we’re going to start going through that and sending all the merchandise out to the fans.

Obituary – Cause of Death (1990)

As far as I know, the artwork of your classic album from 1990, Cause of Death was supposed to be the cover of Sepultura’s record Beneath the Remains from 1989. Why did Roadrunner let Obituary use the Michael Whelan cover first?

It was not our decision. There were actually two albums coming out at the same time, they had two pieces of artwork, and Roadrunner was the one that made that decision, it really didn’t have anything to do with us.

So you didn’t communicate with Sepultura at all on this matter?

No.

Was there any tension between the two bands as a consequence of Obituary using the artwork? As far as I know, you also worked as a guest on Sepultura’s Beneath the Remains (you helped with the vocals in song ‘Stronger Than Hate’).

I don’t know, it’s kind of odd, they once asked me that question so long ago, so I kind of heard that Sepultura wanted to use that artwork – at the time I had no idea, I didn’t even see the other artwork, I just knew that we got stuck with what we got.

Obituary (Cause of Death era)

Obituary (Cause of Death era)

No tension, I mean it was way before. The album was actually recorded in Brazil, Max (Cavalera, Sepultura – ed.) sang, he did the lyrics and he mixed the album at Morrisound (recording studio – ed.) in Tampa. That was the first time I met them. Max didn’t speak good English at the time, he stayed at our house, we hung out, the whole time he was doing that while I sang them some lyrics of the album. That was awesome, we were taken motocross races and monster trucks and all kinds of crazy shit. That was pretty funny.

You mentioned in some of your earlier interviews that you were influenced by Savatage and Nasty Savage, because even though they were not as heavy as Obituary, they were different from the traditional metal styles at the time they made their music. Did you always have the desire to just be different and unmistakable, or do you just do your thing and don’t think about it?

I don’t think you can go out and say “I want to be different”, or “I wanna be fast”, or “I wanna be this, I wanna be that” because I think if you try to set that goal, you are never going to get anything done. We met Nasty Savage and Savatage, they were young, we were even younger, we were still back in high school. Riding our bikes on the street and hearing them jam in their garage, and we kept running back and forth hoping that they would come outside. It’s cool because like you said Nasty Savage and Savatage – nobody sounds like those two bands. Nobody. Most of music that I like, that’s what I like to see, I like a band like the AC/DC, or Lynyrd Skynyrd – they are who they are, there’s nobody else like them. But you can’t practice that, you can’t work at that, it’s just what happens.

John Tardy (Germany, 1991)

For the end: If you could change one thing on any of your previous works with Obituary, what would it be?

Obviously our early albums, we were still in high school when we recorded Slowly We Rot – so if you go back and listen to the productions throughout the years, there are always things you wish you could re-change or re-do. On our earlier albums, we just wrote the songs and then recorded them. With the new album Inked in Blood we really took our time, like three years of writing the songs and then jamming the songs, and giving yourself the chance to hear them, make changes, let your mind really fill the song out – so we really had the luxury with this album, we’ve really taken our time, and let the natural progression of our writing.
There are always things you can change, but at the same time you listen back and there are different points in your life, different times in your life… after all I wouldn’t change anything, even though I’m not happy with any of our albums played. (laughs) I don’t think I would ever be, nor would anybody in the band, there is always going to be stuff that you don’t like, that you wish you could do again or do better.

Okay John, thank you very much for your time, and enjoy the Slayer show!

Thanks for the support, take care!

One word: epicness

[I apologize in advance for not all parts of this report being completely objective as it was such a personal treat for me that I’ll most likely never forget. Can be considered as some kind of an experience-report. :)]

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

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, consisting of songs from many different albums – they have played four tracks off their last record from 2014, Dirges of Elysium, two off Diabolical Conquest, one (‘Profanation’) off their classic first one Onward to Golgotha and there was a variety of albums being brought up in case of the others songs as well.

Incantation’s setlist

  1. Debauchery
  2. Shadows of the Ancient Empire
  3. Vanquish in Vengeance
  4. Oath of Armageddon
  5. Portal Consecration
  6. Profanation
  7. Impalement of Divinity
  8. The Ibex Moon
  9. Carrion Prophecy
  10. Impending Diabolical Conquest


Later as quite many people gathered at the Arena already, the louring intro of ‘Cursed’ started to play, followed by Morgoth powerfully getting on stage with the devastating ‘Body Count’. The crowd was starting to go crazy and the band, playing upon it, didn’t let us take a break until the very end of the last song.

Morgoth

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 [read it here] 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 massive track from the recent single, ‘Die as Deceiver’, 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.

Morgoth’s setlist

  1. Cursed (Intro)/Body Count
  2. Exit to Temptation
  3. Suffer Life
  4. Sold Baptism
  5. God is Evil
  6. Under the Surface
  7. Resistance
  8. Die as Deceiver
  9. Burnt Identity
  10. Isolated
  11. 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 might agree that that mighty song could be Bolt Thrower’s strongest track).

BT1

Bolt Thrower

If the atmosphere was crazy on Morgoth, 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 some 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 get 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 stand and watch them ’til the first rays of the Sun appear in the morning.
merch1The 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, giving a nice frame to the show by starting and ending it with songs from the same album.

Personally, I was expecting Bolt Thrower to favour the first three classic albums by playing a bit more (or in case of ‘In Battle …’, at least playing) songs from them, however, after this amount of devastating power and brutality I think there is still not a single person who would feel any kind of emptiness or regret after coming to see these three death metal lords.


BT2Bolt Thrower’s setlist

1. War/Remembrance
2. Mercenary

3. World Eater/Cenotaph
4. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
5. Warmaster
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 one cannot see and hear often, and that one can deservedly regret in case he or she missed. 

[And just a little bragging as I can’t stand not to share: 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!]

bt22