An exceptionally well-curated bill for a large metal tour is rare, so it goes without saying that when Decibel Magazine's annual bonanza comes to town, you get your ass to the gig.
Horrendous kicked off the evening exactly on time, to an already massive crowd, at 7 p.m. Their dissonant death metal was intricately composed, evoking bands like Atheist, Gorguts and Cynic. The band are definitely growing more progressive courtesy of their rapidly expanding discography, and while older albums conjured up cavernous visions of Swedish death, their newer offerings are becoming more off-kilter. They appropriately played a set heavy on tracks from their latest offering, 2015's Anareta, while smiling a whole hell of a lot. The guys are having the time of their lives on this massive tour, and it shows.
Midnight was up next. Their sing-along punk/black/thrash hybrid with a huge hard-on for Motörhead is a joy to behold, but the band were ill-suited to a massive stage with a barricade separating them from the audience; they belong in a basement venue where attendees are obliterated drunk and the stage is two feet off the ground, where Athenar is kicking photographers and fans alike for the mere act of getting too close. Seeing them smash a throwaway guitar they'd sourced on Facebook before jumping into a set was technically "good," but the atmosphere was lacking in the belligerent foolishness that typically buoys them.
Reliable death metal icons Obituary played a set featuring material from their new self-titled offering alongside a peppering of classics. John Tardy and company were technically and physically proficient; there were few surprises in their tight delivery of meat-and-potatoes death metal. Of course, the crowd erupted when Tardy announced that their last song was "the title track off our first record!" 1989's Slowly We Rot is a classic, and the song was exactly what the audience wanted to hear.
Headliners Kreator took the stage to an unnecessarily bright light show and ample banners; soon, though, the air was thick with fog, and faces became difficult to discern through the lights. Quickly jumping into their set, the Teutonic thrashers were slick and stylish, flashy and lacking in filth. The proudly anti-Fascist thrashers delivered, though some in the crowd yearned for the crusty carnage of the Noise years. That said, the band have been soldiering on for over 30 years, and still irrefutably deliver.
With the temperature in the ballroom reaching critical heights, the exhausted, sweaty and drunk crowd poured into the streets, satiated by an excellent evening of heavy metal.