Legends of Thrash: Kreator and Overkill coming to The Granada
The history of thrash metal is long and storied – everyone knows about Metallica and the Bay Area – but what about the other bands that popped up all over the world? Two of thrash metal’s biggest bands outside of the “Big Four” (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax) will be stopping at The Granada in Lawrence on Thursday, November 7th.
The first of these legendary bands is New Joisey’s (gotta say it with the accent) own Overkill. Forming in 1980, Overkill predates almost every other thrash band in existence, and have been making some of the most consistent albums the genre has seen since. Being from the east coast, Overkill’s take on thrash metal is much more rooted in melody and guitar solos, a shift away from the brutality and crushing riffing and harshness of West coast bands like Slayer and Megadeth. That said – some of Overkill’s most classic songs are as hard-hitting as they come. Take “Elimination” from 1989′s album “The Years Of Decay.” It has enough speed and intensity to match it up with the bands from that time combining thrash and death metal for that extra oomph – but Overkill does it seemlessly.
Not only does Overkill have their classic albums (I dare you to find a band, heavy metal or not, whose first five albums are as perfect as Overkill’s) they’ve been thrust back into the public eye with a pair of excellent modern-yet-classic albums. 2010′s “Ironbound” really came out of nowhere with how good it was. It’s just as heavy and fast as their classic albums from almost 30 years before. 2012′s “The Electric Age” continued the trend and solidified Overkill as one of the best American thrash bands still around from the 80′s.
An Overkill show on its own is enough reason for attending, but on this tour, they are joined by co-headliners Kreator, the legendary German thrash metal band. Thrash metal in America has the Big Four, but Germany was buzzing with their own thrash metal scene at the same time, creating the “Teutonic Big Four” thrash bands, which include Sodom, Destruction, Tankard and, of course, Kreator. Where Overkill has some melody and groove to their brand of thrash, Kreator is almost the sonic opposite – Kreator wants to go as loud and fast as they can and leave no room for breathing. Early Kreator records praise dissonance and lo-fi aggression – with albums called “Pleasure To Kill” and “Extreme Aggression,” would you expect anything less?
Most classic thrash bands sort of fell off the deep end in the mid-90s because of Pantera – they tried to incorporate way too much melody into their songs and lost sight of the original purpose of thrash – unrelenting speed. But Kreator has barely let off the gas pedal in their near 30 years. Even their more recent albums have been praised as being faithful to the original sound of Kreator, while still managing to stay fresh and tread new ground. 2005′s “Enemy of God” is one of the best “comeback” albums of all time, and last year’s “Phantom Antichrist” might just be faster and heavier than anything in their back catalogue.
If it wasn’t enough that two of thrash metal’s titans will be at this show, they’re also bringing along one of the best young bands in the scene to open for them. California’s Warbringer is opening the show, guaranteeing a frenzied pit and lots of sore necks before the headliners even start. The best thing about Warbringer is that they are ot one of the multitude of younger bands trying to recreate the 1980′s glory days of metal – they take influence from it but add their own spin to it to make it something unique and unrelentingly heavy. Warbringer has just released “IV: Empires Collapse,” their fourth album in five years – and it’s only continuing their rise as one of the best thrash bands around today.
This is going to be a show for the ages at the Granada come next Thursday. I predict many circle pits, lots of stage diving and plenty of bangovers the next morning. You wanted real metal shows? You got it.
Overkill and Kreator with Warbringer play at The Granada Theater in Lawrence on Thursday, November 7th. Tickets are $25. Doors are at 7:00, show is at 7:30. Go pick up all the thrash records to your heart’s content at Mills Record Company.