11 April 2016

Review: OVERKILL, Vader and One Machine – Rainbow Warehouse Birmingham, 5 April 2016

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Overkill

Overkill

OVERKILL is celebrating 35 years of thrash metal! Unbelievably this is their first time playing Birmingham, the birthplace of metal. The Rainbow Warehouse is a huge space and it isn’t packed out but everyone is really excited for tonight’s show. As OVERKILL vocalist Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth says, in his thick New Jersey accent, “there aren’t many of you but you’ve got heart.”

One Machine

One Machine

Support act, London’s ONE MACHINE, is having a shitty day. They explain to the crowd that they’ve had to splash out on a new van just to get to tonight’s gig. Their problems don’t stop there with a set marred by technical issues. They spend the first song with the lights turned off, which doesn’t help the band get this Tuesday night crowd going. Vocalist, Chris Hawkins, apologises for the quality of his voice this evening. It may have been on purpose to mask the singing, but the vocals are getting lost in the mix. However, ONE MACHINE play with such enthusiasm to a crowd that clearly isn’t feeling in the mood yet, it almost makes up for everything else. Some highlights include; title track from their 2015 album ‘The Final Cull’, ‘New Motive Power’ and a slower progressive track ‘Summoning of the Soul’.

If, like me, you enjoy old school death metal, then Poland’s VADER will be right up your street. They formed in 1983, originally a speed/thrash metal band before taking the plunge into death metal in 1986. Tonight they own the stage looking every bit the part; leather, chains and studs. I love vocalist/guitarist Piotr Wiwczarek’s voice. Deep and smoky; it’s how I’d imagine a dragon would sing. It wouldn’t shock me to learn the man can breathe fire!

Vader

Vader

VADER play a setlist covering their long career, including; ‘Reborn in Flames’ from 1995’s ‘De Profundis’, ‘Come and See My Sacrifice’ from ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ (2011) and ‘Triumph of Death’ from their most recent 2014 album ‘Tibi Et Igni’, which in Latin means ‘For You and Fire’. It was nice to see lots of Polish fans in the crowd and the band takes the opportunity to speak to them in their native tongue.

Sometimes these legendary bands can be a bit of a let down live. You can always guarantee a technically spot-on performance with a band as experienced as OVERKILL, but sometimes the passion has gone. They’re just going through the motions and don’t really want to be there. This isn’t the case with OVERKILL. You can tell they love doing what they do.

Overkill

Overkill

Potty-mouthed frontman Bobby commands proceedings with the crowd hanging on his every word. Tuesday gigs tend to be pretty laid back – not tonight. The mosh pit hasn’t stopped, beer is being sloshed everywhere and the smell of sweat hangs heavy in the air. OVERKILL delight with their fast-paced thrash and Bobby’s soaring wail.

All the classics are here: ‘Rotten to the Core’ and ‘Hammerhead’ both from 1985’s ‘Feel the Fire’, their Subhuman punk cover ‘Fuck You’ from 1987 and more modern tracks like ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ from 2011’s ‘The Electric Age’.

Another excellent gig by Surprise You’re Dead Promotions. It was my first time at the Rainbow’s Warehouse venue – it’s a cool space, the gritty industrial look really suited the thrash metal on stage. Tip for any ladies heading there – the loos are tucked away upstairs. I searched for ages until eventually finding them.

Review by Rebecca Collins

Photos be Paul Thruppsee the full gallery here.