After not being to this place in the previous years of its existence I now find myself here two weeks running. I’d like to say I was “fresh” from the seeing the headliners Sepultura just a couple of days earlier at Bloodstock but in fact I was still a bit reeling from that excellent weekend and maybe “pungent” would be a more appropriate. The Brazilian outfit had put on a storming show in the sunshine there, getting a strong reaction from the gathered throngs, and that made it all the more appealing seeing them up close and personal in Chester.
In fact I was bit worried when they finished that previous set and said “we’ll be back in the UK in November” that they might have forgotten about this gig and gone home! I wasn’t familiar with the support bands but also wasn’t particularly impressed when I listened to them in advance so did some “preparations” in the Crier before heading in. Rammed and seeming busier than for British Lion last week too, with the balcony opened up too, it was great to see a lot of old skool (as opposed to old school) friends gathering for this relatively rare heavy treat on the door step, reminiscing about Wrexham’s Central Station now in the same way we used to about the Memo Club. But as last week, I find this place more than up scratch in terms of set-up and sound, so look forward to what’s to come.
They take the stage with no great ceremony but a warm reception from the crowd, and man mountain front man Derrick acknowledges the pleasure of playing these intimate shows for them too.
It’s already intimately sweaty but then it all kicks off fine style when they launch into one of their standards, “Troops of Doom”, it’s been responsible for broken ribs for me on their previous visit to North Wales so I am glad to survive the chaos. And plenty of it we get, as the set is about twice as long as they had time for at the festival. A scattergun sampling of a little from their newer releases but to be fair they indulge with us plenty of their earlier material, often that even predating the current singers output with the band. A real treat for us older types though, stuff like “Dead Embryonic Cells” and “Arise” still tear the place apart. They all seems to be enjoying themselves on stage too, and while they are often criticised for being weaker now they have only one guitar it’s not something I see matter much here, as Andreas is a really solid enough guitarist by himself, and a lot of his lead work is often quite experimental almost industrial loops as opposed to flailing solos.
An unexpected bonus to hear them revive their cover of Motorhead’s “Orgasmatron”, as well as the political punk that remains an undercurrent in their music with “Policia”. I was even more blown away to hear them introduce “Bestial Devastation” at the start of their encore, really back in to the mists of their thrashy origin times for that (“From the past come the storms” indeed!), swiftly followed by the craziness of “Biotech is Godzilla”. New song “The Vatican” stands up well against these legendary tracks, good ho[pe for the continuation in this vein. There’s a huge tribal ending to the show with the back to back rhythms and bounce of “Ratamahata” and of course, to finish their biggest “hit” “Roots Bloody Roots”. Universal acclaim from all who attended and loved it, they really demonstrated how consistent they have been over their convoluted history but have ultimately ended up as force still to be reckoned with.