Onslaught and Artillery @ Hedon, Zwolle, 24 September 2017

Onslaught and Artillery were supposed to tour a year ago or so, but unfortunately that tour got cancelled. And two cult 1980s thrash bands on a tour is quite rare anyway. Strangely enough the two two gigs in the Netherlands were both in the northern region. I went to the southern most one, in the new Hedon, a club I hadn’t been before. There were two support acts on the tour, both strangely enough from Greece.

Some band have been putting out records for quite some time and I never have heard of them. Chronosphere is one such a band. They released three albums already. They play speed/thrash mostly in the early Metallica vein, although quite a bit slower. And that is the biggest problem for me, they sound okay, but they lack the thrash energy completely. Only when the song was about an ex-girlfriend the pace increased. Must have been some nice girl to get all excited about.

The second band Exarsis, was a bit of a different beast. They play fast thrash with lots of energy both in the music as on the stage. In particular the bass player ran around the stage like crazy and even raced through the audience to get them to move a bit. Which didn’t work that well. There was nothing original musically, but that is hardly possible in a limited genre such as thrash. It was the singer however that annoyed me with the very thin sounding falsetto, that didn’t match the music very well.

Then it was Artillery who got an hour to fill. Their first three albums are classic thrash metal albums, and I rate By Inheritance as one of the best thrash metal albums ever. This year Terror Squad, the second album was released 30 years ago. So the tour was in celebration of that. This didn’t mean that they would play that album in its entirety, which is quite in vogue these days. The opened with a song of their latest album. But most of the set consisted of older material anyway with emphasis on Terror Squad from which the first 4 songs were played. The band has changed lineup and frankly I pretty much lost track of who is in the band. Metal Archives isn’t all that helpful either. Only the drummer and Michael Stützer is still in the band from the previous time I saw them. The downside is that band members don’t seem respond to well to each other and lost track of time a few times. Generally though a good gig, but they can’t stand up to the magic they delivered in the 80s and early 90s. Kmomaniac and Terror Squad completed the hour long set and that is a great way to end a set regardless.

Then it was time for Onslaught. They are still touring in celebration of the release of The Force also 30 years ago. And they opted to play it in its entirety. And it is their finest album chockful of great riffs. They played it very solid, well they have been playing it now for over a year in 3 or so tours. But there is still is a lot of energy on stage, even though founding member and rhythm guitarist Nige Rockett stays a bit to the back, the rest of the band make up for that. After the album they played another 7 songs. Of which 3 from Killing Peace as that was released 10 years ago. Maybe it isn’t all that good as their 80s material, it does stand up against most bands from the thrash revival. And their set ended with two really old song, namely the title track of the debut album Power From Hell, and the song from their early hardcore days Thermonuclear Devastation Of The Planet Earth. Quite a good gig, actually.

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