Kreator with Deathblow and Bestial Karnage Show Review @ The Complex, SLC, Utah. 04.03.17

Photos by Madi Smith – Review by Bryer Wharton – All works © BS MAG 2017


So Salt Lake City may not have got the full Decibel Mag tour, Kreator headlining with Obituary, Midnight, and Horrendous. The thrash metal gods, did give the headlining Kreator two primo SLC area thrash acts to open up the show – Bestial Karnage and Deathblow. I don’t know many that would argue oh let’s just have these bands over getting to see say the likes of the mighty Obituary. I’m not going to complain. The Monday night was full of speed riddled mighty thrash and was a damn good time. On to the breakdown of the show!

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Bestial Karnage – For some reason I felt like I had seen these riff raging maniacs before but I’m pretty sure I had not. I think I had just seen vocalist/rhythm guitarist Daniel Valencia and guitarist Zakk Kelly  constantly tearing it up at SLC shows. In fact I’m quite certain either both guys or at least one of their long hairs have hit me in the face or I’ve been pushed around in the pit by the guys. Rounded out, by whom I’m sure are a bit newer members Gunner Bandura (Year of the Wolf, Darklord) an all around nasty bass slinger and drummer Miguel Gomez who can hit them skins for sure. I mean this in the most complementary way possible Bestial Karnage seem like a band that somebody would invite to a home/garage show and ruin everyone’s fun with their raw and dirty style of speed/thrash. They don’t stick to a tight set BK are happy with sounding ugly with a shit-ton of ferocity behind them. I know the band has some sort of physical release out and I’m curious to hear how their live intensity translates to record. I’m also pretty sure the band did not want their show to end the house shut the lights off (I don’t think that was part of the show) but hey at least they didn’t get their audio cut… well I think they finally did – it’s hard to tell and I don’t care. They had a blast on stage (and in the pit during Kreator). I was still home by 11 and it didn’t fuck with the show flow.

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Deathblow – Thankfully this is not BS MAG’s first run in with Deathblow. I did an interview with Holger for issue 3 – I’ve also had the pleasure to see the guys over the years. The four-piece whom I’m pretty sure gone on record to say they have sonic influences from Kreator just keep getting better with age. I can’t remember how long it had been seen I’d seen the band, but long enough to not have had seen them play some new shit live. Like their latest single release “Demolition Deployment” and its other original song (I’m fairly certain they played it) “Implements of Destruction.” It’s always a good thing that every time I have seen Deathblow live I have not been disappointed and their opening slot here was proof in their live chops as well as ferocious fans. SLC has a great variety of metal music from all genres Deathblow not to gush but they are at the top of my list – hell under my sweatshirt I was wearing my old beat up Deathblow Prognosis Negative shirt. Seriously though those riffs in “Demolition Deployment” – quite a coup de grâce.

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Kreator – This was the first time for me to go out to show for a while (well I did see Immolation in mid-March). February and March were not nice to me. Plagued with migraines and body pain – it’s fitting that the start of April saw me out to see the German thrash stalwarts. Before I talk about the show, please readers if you disagree tell me. Kreator seem to reach the largest audience and the most consistent out of the German thrash titans when it comes to new tunes. The last few Destruction albums have not really given me much interest to go back and listen to them. And newer albums, for instance Holy Mosses were let downs comparatively to not too long ago when the German thrash scene seemed to be bouncing back. I mention this because it translates to Kreators’ live show quite a bit. The fact that the new songs fit right in with the old and the fans are singing and moshing along to new track “Satan is Real” right in line with say “People of the Lie”.

Kreator also did a fantastic job that seems out of the norm for many band that are touring with a new record – they played at least four new songs but integrated throughout their set. The norm I mention seems like when a band has a new album they throw the new songs together right at the beginning of their set almost like they’re trying to get them out of the way. That dispersing of new tracks –  to me shows that Kreator see the strength in the new tracks just as much as the old favorites or the newer cuts that have become fan favorites, like “Hordes of Chaos,” “Phantom Antichrist,” and “Civilization Collapse.”

I feel like there should be a warning about the lighting for folks going to Kreator shows – hell they put them on pretty much every video game now. Strobes and flashing lights galore – this has been the case for every time I have seen Kreator. I actually think it highlights the bands live ferocity and chaotic nature. When all is said and done judging by a moshpit that put last year’s Slayer, Cannibal Corpse (well the whole Summer Slaughter tour) shows pits to shame – with tons of smiling faces a screaming crowd. Kreator nailed their show – but I’ve never seen them not do that. They just seem to have a knack at putting on great live shows. The crowd interaction is there, but not too much to come across as a band trying to eek attention from the audience. The song selection keeps the flow and interest going. This show had something special that the other times I had seen Kreator felt like was lacking – the sound. The sound was not pristine by any means, but in times prior the sound felt bulked up and more bass heavy with at times an over bearing triggered drum sound. This instance had that old school German thrash vibe more treble crunchy guitars and yes the drums were triggered but not too overbearing. Also the vocals were perfectly in the mix to where you could hear every lyric. Closing out the set with “Pleasure to Kill” was a nice icing on the bands exit – Long live Kreator!


Michale Graves – Solo/Acoustic concert Review. 4.11.17 @ Club X, Salt Lake City, UT

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Every time I go to a show I generally have some sort of expectations – a preconceived notion of what is to come. For the most part that’s true but Tuesday, April 11’s Michale Graves show at Club X in Salt Lake City included a big fuck-up on my part and a totally unexpected solo acoustic set from the former Misfits vocalist Michale Graves.

My fuck-up? – Well I forgot to change out the batteries in my camera, but I was expecting to see a full-band with crazy lighting. I got some cell shots, took a crappy bootleg video. Back to those preconceived notions – if I would have done research I would have known that Graves was going to be performing solo acoustic. I was not disappointed in the slightest in fact it was at times somber and at times a fun filled atmosphere with the small but loyal crowd signing along and requesting songs.

I remember in High School I had some Cross Country and Track buddies that new I liked metal and kept asking and telling me that I should listen to the Misfits – I finally got around to listening to them. It’s really not a debatable fact that Glen Danzig era Misfits are superior in every way. That said when the Misfits reformed with Graves as the vocalist, the enjoyed a lot of success he made his mark as the frontman and for the die-hard Misfits folks Graves era is just as important as the Danzig era.

While yes, Graves played versions of Misfits cuts he wrote he also played a wealth of his own material which peaked my interest quite a bit, the songs that were written as acoustic songs such as “Blackbird,” “Wanderer,” “Man Versus Train” and “Butcher Shop” saw Graves change up his vocal style significantly. After the said, I thought to myself his addition of a little country twang or just that less kind of rockabilly persona that comes out of his Misfits and electric songs sounded better for his voice the next morning I jumped on the ole youtube and re-listened to those original songs and promptly changed my mind – having that versatile voice especially as a solo artist is hugely important. Out of his solo material in the end I found the track “Wanderer” to be my favorite with “Man versus Train,” a close second.

The acoustic renditions of the Misfits material that Graves wrote of course seemed to be the crowd favorites, with Graves taking on “Dig up Her Bones,” “Saturday Night,” “Forbidden Zone,” “Fiend Club,” “Scream” and more had the crowd singing along and hanging on every word. Graves made those songs feel like a special treat playing them acoustic while he sat on a chair the whole show – where the original songs are rocking and hard hitting he transformed them into a different form “Saturday Night,” and “Dig up Her Bones,” especially had a vastly transformed feelings, “Saturday Night,” turned into a dark but kind love song, “Dig Up Her Bones” came out particularly somber.

Although the whole night Graves sat in a chair playing his set he rocked and kept the beat with his feet the genuine emotion he put forth just in his face and vocal expressions gave a great credit to his showmanship. I wasn’t bored for one minute of the set where sometimes an acoustic set can become tedious. I’m now out to pick up some of the acoustic non-misfits material from Graves. I do have to say it was interesting to see a