Tuetonic Terror: Destruction, Flotsam and Jetsam, Enforcer, Nervosa Bring Their Thrash To Club Academy
An absence on the guest list when I arrived meant missing the first half of Brazilian thrashers Nervosa’s set, but witnessing the latter half of their assault served as a timely reminder of why you should always get there early to see the support bands. With latest album Agony to promote, the trio from Sao Paulo tear through the stunning thrash of Intolerance Means War and Hostages, inciting some early pit action in the process. Fernanda Lira on bass and vocals connects with the audience, part Cronos of Venom and part Gene Simmons, leading the charge as buzzsaw riffs burst from Prika Amaral’s guitar. It’s an unmissable performance, so keep an eye out for Nervosa on future bills.
Bringing the heavy metal, in the full traditional sense, is Sweden’s Enforcer. Old-school is the name of the game here and if you are longing for something new and original then you are sorely missing the point. Anthemic, catchy riffs bring a celebratory almost party like atmosphere to the evening although here and there some of the lead guitar parts almost get lost in the mix. This band have loads of charisma and a magnetic stage presence that’s hard to resist. Add this to just the right mix of cheese and it’s a fantastically digestible metal sandwich. Best served with a couple of alcoholic beverages and your finest dancing boots, Enforcer don’t just deliver the party, they are the party.
Like the headliners, Flotsam and Jetsam have been kicking around for over 30 years. Their experience is evidenced here this evening with an amazing clarity to their live sound that showcases their brand of tight, thrash splendour. Knutson’s voice soars dramatically over some sophisticated melodic pummelling that at times evokes Iron Maiden at their most majestic whilst hanging to keep it heavy. New material sits comfortably along side old, although as is to be expected, the audience go ape shit for early anthems like Hammerhead. Cue pit number two.
Representing over three decades of Teutonic Terror, headliners Destruction bring the thunder to a relatively pleasant Manchester evening. With the stage flanked with skull microphone stands and upside down pentagrams adorning fiery banners, it’s safe to say we are not in for an evening of Take That covers. Thank fuck.
Considered one of the Big Four of German thrash metal, they launch proceedings with the title track from their latest release, Under Attack which marks their 14th studio release. Frontman and bassist Schmier is charismatic enough and looks huge on the small stage of Club Academy as they tear through old and new favourites for a rabid, although certainly not massive crowd. Still, what lacks in numbers is made up by sheer enthusiasm and the assembled go appropriately ape shit for beasts like Nailed to the Cross and Thrash Attack - which is eloquently dedicated to fallen Evile bassist Mike Alexander. Clearly good friends, the Evile connection doesn’t end there. After set closer The Butcher Strikes Back the three-piece become four when they are joined on stage by ex-Evile six stringer, Ol Drake. A brief intro and it’s straight into Thrash Till Death, something I suspect bands like Destruction will do for real, and Bestial Invasion ends the night in brutal fashion.
Although not the best turn out tonight considering the legendary status of two of tonight’s bands and the quality of the two supports, the evening was far from disappointing. All the bands were firing on all cylinders and brought the noise regardless, laying waste to those that did make it. But, Manchester thrashers, we know we can do better, right? You missed out this time but be sure not to next time, yeah?
Words: Paul Cooke