German thrash metal veterans Kreator and Polish death metal warriors Vader returned to Tokyo for night of furious heavy metal and circle pit fun, writes Caroline Misokane.
On Wednesday 13th September, it was a cloudy evening in Ebisu and as I got closer to Liquidroom, an agglomerate of black shirts started appearing. All of them waiting anxiously for a night of the pure Polish death metal of Vader mixed with the finest German thrash metal of Kreator.
The lights turned off a little earlier than planned and the screams of approximately 900 people marked the beginning of a sonorous destruction. When Vader entered the stage, they were welcomed with people swimming over the crowd and banging their heads. Starting with the amazing “Wings” and ending with “Triumph of Death”, the riffs of Piotr Wiwczarek and Marek “Spider” Pająk made the crowd open a violent circle pit and go totally mad – for the bliss of the band. After “Tempest”, a little pause was made for Piotr to say how they were happy to be back in Japan and how this night was the best one they’ve had in Tokyo so far. He then introduced the epic heavy track of their latest album, “The Empire”, to Tokyo: “Silent Empire” is definitely an anthem for every brutal death metal fan and it was impossible to keep my head calm during this song. As Vader has been on the road since 1983, it is very complicated pleasing everyone with the golden classics and the strong new tracks. But the old classics “Sothis” and “Dark Age” were gifts to the old-school fans and tons of more riffs and the amazing performances of both bassist Tomasz “Hal” Halicki and drummer James Stewart led to an end with “Send Me Back to Hell”, a brutal yet beautiful demonstration of what these guys are made of.
During a short break for the Kreator crew to set the stage, it was visible how much love these German men receive from Japan. Most of the people stayed exactly where they were to guarantee a better view of their favourite band and as time flew by, more and more people came in, pushing each other to not miss a single detail.
Right before 8:30pm the lights turned off again and only smoke could be seen from the stage until the band hit it. Opening the spectacle with “Hordes of Chaos”, just before the first riffs, the venue staff became busy with the crowd getting rid of the security grids in the middle of the hall and with many people crowd surfing as Miland Petrozza screamed his first words of the night. “Phobia” was next followed by “Satan is Real” from their latest album “Gods of Violence”.
The combination of Miland and Sami Yli-Sirnö‘s riffs completely blew my mind and the intensity of the whole band’s performance is stunning. Heads banging on stage and in the crowd gave a great idea of how powerful Kreator can be, but it was the huge circle pit that was opened in the middle of the hall that really enchanted the band and the others around, including me. For those who think a Japanese audience doesn’t know what a circle pit looks like, you should check a Kreator concert in Tokyo. Music kept flowing with energy and craziness until “Fallen Brother”, a requiem to those in the heavy metal world who are already gone but never forgotten. No pits, no surfing, only horns up and silence in a cathartic moment to homage our heroes.
A brief pause to breathe followed and then Miland asked the crowd to open up the biggest circle they could and on his signal do a wall of death to celebrate “Enemy of God”. After the “Apocalypticon” intro, another track of the latest album, it was time for “World War Now”, one of my favourite songs of the album, with a very powerful message through the lyrics, especially in times like those we’re living in now. Another dedication to the loyalty of the fans, “Hail to the Hordes”, came to prove that when Kreator is on the stage, there is no time for resting. One of the greatest moments was when Miland announced “Extreme Aggression”, remembering their trajectory in Japan since 1993 and how much support they receive from here from old and new fans in good and bad times. People got thrilled before they got crazy again. For the encore, the four guys came back to the stage to play the amazing “Violent Revolution”. The bass of Christian Giesler hypnotised me here. Unfortunately, the last song was then announced. They couldn’t end the show with any other track but “Pleasure to Kill”, their biggest classic and probably the most awaited song of the night for many fans. After all these years, the drums of Jürgen “Ventor” Reil still give goosebumps to many while the killing is spread by the rest of the band. As Miland said, this was the last chance of the night for Tokyo to write another epic chapter in the circle pit history. Although some people were a little too tired for that, many others were more than ready to destroy everything and once again salute the German guys with a strong, energetic and violent welcome.
The only difficult things with the Kreator show are the dark lights and the smoke, making the sight a little hard. But even if you can’t see a thing on the stage, being there, with that sound entering your ears and shaking your soul, it’s totally worth it! And I’m sure that the Japanese audience is thirsty for more violence, war and death soon.