Kreator / Kataklysm / Evile / Lightning Swords of Death / Lazarus A.D. Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC March 19

Kreator / Kataklysm / Evile / Lightning Swords of Death / Lazarus A.D. Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC March 19
Despite five touring metal bands sharing the bill, it was clear from a quick scan of the T-shirts in the packed crowd that most in attendance were here to see the mighty Kreator. Even the guy power-puking near the back of the Rickshaw was yelling "Kreeeeeaaator" in between midnight upchucks.

The four opening bands were a blur of thrash and blackened death metal, which ended up being a raw, nasty melting pot. Yes, Katakylsm, Evile, Lazarus A.D. and Lightning Swords of Death could have been the same band, and the headbanging in the crowd would have continued regardless.

But let's give the edge to Evile and their UK gallop thrash. Lightning's blackened death was a little too, let's say, oppressive, and Lazarus A.D. were rote but solid melodic death/thrash metal. Evile, however, had an occasional mid-tempo embrace that would have put them up there with Sacred Reich or, at the very least, Xentrix had they been legit participators in the late-'80s thrash scene. Later, Kataklysm did their "northern hyperblast" to a tee, sounding as full and tight as ever, much to the delight of their seemingly growing minions.

The German thrash masters in Kreator hit the stage with blazing metal, not taking a breath until three songs in and the title track of their latest, Hordes of Chaos. In fact, the band had an affinity for title tracks, running through the namesake tunes from nine of the 12 albums in their repertoire, "Violent Revolution" sounding particularly spot-on. About halfway through their 80-minute set, when vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza screamed, "I want you to kill each other," he meant it, believe it or not, with good intentions, and the band ripped into "Pleasure to Kill" (yes, another title track).

Promises that they were playing a "special" set with rarely heard live songs were mostly empty, the band running through a similar set as that found on last year's Canadian tour. But they did end their short encore with a "Flag of Hate/Tormentor" medley, harkening back to the glory days of mid-'80s thrash. Watching drummer Ventor stumble off stage, drenched in sweat, was proof enough that Kreator had, once again, killed it.