Another postponed tour finally took place. The Headbangers Ball Tour – named after the TV show of the 80s and 90s – brought four thrash metal bands on the road from that time period. Although only about 10 shows long, the tour kicked off in Amersfoort of all places.
The opening band was Artillery. By Inheritance is one of the best thrash metal albums and its earlier albums are quite good too. The albums they released after they reunited went into a more power metal direction. And particularly the vocals are quite different Flemming Ronsdorf has a very unique voice. Never the less they opened with The Challenge and the title track of the aforementioned album. Soundwise it wasn’t really great, especially the drums were a bit loud in the mix. There were some misses in the playing too. But overall it was quite good, even the newer songs they play off the latest two albums sounded a lot better than the records before that so I might give those a listen too. Khomaniac, Terror Squad and The Almighty were two more classic songs that they played. So a cool, old-school set.
Whiplash I had seen some 10 years ago. Only Tony Portaro is left now of the three Tony’s and he brought a couple of younger guys for the rhythm section. The haven’t released an album in 13 years or so, hence it would be an old school set regardless. The newest songs were from Thrash back and for the rest it was the first 3 albums. Yet they did play one new song. Nearly all the songs started out a bit sloppy but somehow fell into place after a couple of measures. And everything seemed a tad slower that on the albums. Other than that it was a pretty good show and very cool to watch a band that doesn’t play live all that much. Songs like the Burning of Atlanta, Stage dive and I spit on your Grave are still very good. The somewhat bluesy lead guitar is something that sets them apart from other bands from the ear.
The mean reason for me was the UK thrashers Xentrix. Their first two albums are quite interesting thrash in the bay area style – particularly bands like Metallica and Exodus. And even though they had released 2 albums since reforming, the set consisted only of songs from the first two albums -five from each. At this point the sound was good. The band played very tight and with a high pace throughout. And these songs just work live too. They didn’t play Ghostbusters though.
The final band was Vio-Lence. I never really got into them in the 80s. And I am not really sure why they are headlining this tour, as I can’t remember them being all that popular over here at the time contrary to many other US thrash bands. The played quite tightly throughout the set, even if I didn’t know any of the songs. It sounded a bit run-of-the-mill thrash in the bay area style. I’m not a huge fan of the singing style, but it kind of works. Decent gig but a bit too long for me.