Kreator / Napalm Death Opera House, Toronto ON - February 24, 2006

Two of heavy metal’s most influential and enduring bands proved themselves with a renewed vigour that was as inspiring as it was shocking to witness on an evening packed with type of fan coming out of the woodwork — from crusty punks to old school ’bangers. First up, British grindcore granddaddies Napalm Death performed with unprecedented — at least for them — ferocity and energy. Recharged with the power and socially conscious drive of latest effort The Code Is Red… Long Live The Code, this quartet turned the Opera House floor into a "swirling vulgar mass of grindcore virulence,” to paraphrase cohorts Carcass. Their energy was infectious. Singer Barney Greenway’s sincere and almost eerily conversational banter can be summed up as thanking the audience profusely and interjecting the odd profound yet understated politically charged comment. Racing through a sadly brief 45-minute set, Napalm Death belted out tracks from The Code interspersed with favourites from Utopia Banished and a shit-hot cover of Cryptic Slaughter’s "Lowlife.” Capping their show-stealing performance with a number of tracks from debut effort Scum (highlight: the one-second hit "You Suffer… But Why?”), they set a high bar for headliners Kreator to match, which they almost did. Full-on rock showmen with more guts, gusto and bravado than any new band seems to muster, German apocalyptic thrashers Kreator were in fine form, blending jaw-dropping tightness with an enthusiastic stage show thanks to singer/guitarist Mille Petrozza. Raging from the get-go, he head-banged as if his life depended on it, tossing around his guitar and prodding the crowd with shrieks and horn-throwing that only made renditions of "People Of The Lie,” "Violent Revolution” and "Extreme Aggressions” feel like it was still thrash metal’s heyday. Excavating "Awakening Of The Gods” felt like a special treat, as did explosive set-capper "Betrayer.” While Kreator did not quite have the Opera House in the palm of their hand like Napalm Death, it was clear that their recent upswing in popularity is certainly deserved and both bands are better pushing 50 than they ever were at 20.