Monday, October 8, 2012

Kreator & Swallow the Sun bring soft/heavy dynamic to the Masq

Mille Petrozza, frontman of thrash metal outfit Kreator, will accept nothing less than the best moshing from his crowds.

"This is the part of the show where we ask everyone to form the biggest mosh pit possible."

It took some serious convincing on Mille Petrozza's part. The Kreator frontman looked over the sparsely populated floor of Atlanta's Masquerade and did his best to energize them. Attendance can be notoriously bad on Wednesday nights, but this is Kreator. They were one of the quintessential thrash metal bands of the 1980s, and built a huge name establishing speed metal legacy. Though there weren't many, the small throng that turned out to see them were full of fight.

Lights and fog machines were a big part of their set, but the German quartet still showed excellence in delivering intensity and bringing the best out of a crowd. Petrozza is a perfect example of a vintage 80s thrash frontman; his maniacal shrieks and yells made you feel like you were in a dingy L.A. metal club sometime around 1984. Eventually a sporadic pit formed. The moshers must have not been in good shape; they'd start raging for awhile then totally taper off, only to begin again later.

They were aided by Kreator old and new. Setlist staple "Extreme Aggression" is a buzzsaw packed full of sweat soaked adrenaline and rancor, which includes a verse riff that ranks up there with anything the Big Four ever put out. "Hordes of Chaos," a relatively newer number, got fans shrieking along with its "everybody against everybody" closing refrain and its hard edged slashing nature.

Petrozza is still vocally impressive. Most modern death metal growlers sound like copies of one another, but Petrozza's high pitched raspy shriek is all his own. He also took time to poke fun at Accept for skipping out on the show. Their fellow 80s metal titans were originally scheduled to headline, but dropped out for undisclosed reasons. Kreator still got to play to a diverse crowd. There were several metal chicks clad in leather, but there was also one massive afro dude with a glowstick who knocked nearly everyone else out of the way on his charge to get to the front.

Not to be overlooked were Finnish doom metallers Swallow the Sun, fresh off the release of their fifth LP, Emerald Forest and the Blackbird. Their set opened with the 10 minute title cut from that album, although it seemed to go by in half the time. This was my third time seeing them, and they keep getting more intricate. They're not a flashy band; you gotta pay attention to reap the full rewards of what they're sowing. But the beautiful lead melody of "Cathedral Walls" or the visceral, Bodom-like assualt of "Hate, Lead the Way!" are rich elements that anyone could pick up on.

Even now it's still easy to see lead guitarist/head honcho Juha Raivio onstage as he effortlessly conjures his flowing leads and melodies. Keyboardist Aleksi Munter is looking pissed off, while vocalist Mikko Kotamaki is in his trademark position, hunched over with head downturned, gripping his microphone stand while the band devours the earth before them in a ravishing vortex.

Swallow the Sun guitarist Juha Raivio injects subtle melodies and wining leads into his band's sound.

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