The Force is the second album by the UK thrash veterans Onslaught. It was released in 1986, and hence this year it is thirty years old. The lads thought it a good idea to tour in celebration of this anniversary. They brought no less than four bands with them and played in the Baroeg on the last Sunday of the summer this year. I skipped the first band Monolythe, as their description of melodic death metal did not appeal much to me.
The first band I actually saw was Blaakyum. They are from Lebanon – one doesn’t see Lebanese bands everyday. They mix mostly thrash – not too much unlike Onslaught at times – with NWOBHM in the vein of Judas Priest and spice that up with some middle-eastern influences, most prominently in the traditional hand drum besides the regular drumkit. The intros sometimes have some eastern touches as well, and so the lead guitars. The thrash parts sounded actually quite good, the more heavy metal oriented sections were less interesting to me. But overall an interesting gig.
That cannot be said of the French No Return. I wasn’t familiar with them, but they were described as a thrash metal band. But they actually sounded much like early Arch Enemy. Gothenburg style melodic death metal. Most of the riffs were actually quite boring and simple and the focus was on the melodies of guitars. These were kind of okay. Some major screw ups in one of the songs in those harmonic sections doesn’t help much either. Only the last songs was thrash metal, which came from their debut album – released somewhere in the 80s or so. That sounded more interesting.
Mors Principium Est – not the easiest band name to pronounce, and the singer couldn’t actually – were next. This was more melodic death metal – this time from Finland. The majority of the crowd seemed to have come for this band. But actually I found them really boring. And in particular the drums were annoying – it sounded like the drummer couldn’t keep his hi-hat hits in time with the rest, as it sounded awful.
Onslaught certainly did not have that problem. Their drummer did a really great job, even playing double hi-hat hits during the fast sections – one doesn’t see/hear too often. They started off playing the The Force album from start to finish. The songs are mostly dead-simple but there is a lot of energy in them. Most of the line-up has changed since the original release as only Nigel and Sy are part of the team, but the new lead guitarist does a good job. And Sy still sounds as great as before. After The Force, they played a couple of songs of their newer album to end their set with a couple of songs from the debut: the title track and Angels of Death. Only to come back for the really old Thermonuclear Devastation of the Planet Earth. That was the part where some 20ish members of the audience jumped on stage – the band didn’t seem to mind it at all and kept playing. So in the end a really good show.