ANNIHILATOR / MASON
Date: 09th November, 2016
Tickets: 350SEK (€33/$35)
Promoter: Triffid & Danger Concerts
Photos: Erika Wallberg
Concert or no concert? This had been the worst snowstorm in 70 years or so in Stockholm which resulted in the traffic standing virtually still; no buses and people trying to get to work got stuck on the freeway until it was time to go home again. But a little snow couldn't stop the seasoned Canadians...
The Aussies in MASON opened up the evening and took on the stage about an hour later than announced. If the delay was due to the show, I don't know. But it really didn't build on the spirit to stand with a dozen other metalheads in the foyer of the venue with absolutely nothing to do. I was thinking of leaving when the doors finally opened and then it went fast, still it felt like the bands had to do really well to turn around the evening. To my surprise, MASON was a true pleasure to watch; they had a very good spirit in their performance balancing between fun and musical perfection. The guitar duels, or twin lead/harmonies between Jimmy Benson and Grant Burns was absolutely solid and they had a whole bunch of really nice songs. It would of course have been beneficial to study their material prior to the show but there wasn't time enough for that. Still, if I walk out of a show with a band I had hardly heard of before the show thinking I need to pick up their records, that's a really good grade.
By the time MASON hit the stage, the crowd had tripled at least - still it was a very sparsely crowded venue and since it was close to ANNIHILATOR's gig time when MASON took off, it wasn't looking too good for the night. The majority of MASON's set was from their full length “Warhead” released in 2013, the ones that struck the hardest from it was “Wretched Soul” and “Product Of Hate”, two mighty fine Thrash Metal songs. MASON are listed as Thrash/Groove on a few online places, something considered as modern which isn't really my favorite style, so I was pleasantly surprised that most of all coming out from stage that night sounded very classic. It was more the technical riffs and melodies that made it lean towards more contemporary bands.
It seems MASON have new music on the way, because “Burn” was introduced as a new one and it sounded alright too. So, MASON was definitely a good start of the night and they managed to lift my spirits, and the thoughts of leaving were completely gone not even halfway through their set.
02. “Tears Of Tragedy”
03. “Wretched Soul”
05. “Product Of Hate”
08. “Cross This Path”
(click to enlarge)
I'd heard some really good things about ANNIHILATOR's show in Gothenburg the night before. That it was a killer show despite the fact that Jeff Waters was ill and had troubles carrying the vocals on occasion. And also that it took a while before he came around and had a good time. Still a bit of a struggle with his voice in Stockholm but he was in a superb mood right from the start joking with the crowd. After the opening track “Suicide Society” he had to take a bit of a break and excused himself because of his voice. The cool thing was that he interacted with the crowd in a way this gig became very intimate. By this time people had managed to get to Klubben and even if it wasn't packed at least most of the floor was filled. He asked help from the audience to sing “King Of The Kill”, especially the extremely high-pitched bridge which went so and so... It's a hard part to sing even if you're completely healthy. I love that part but without the vocals on it, it became clear how damn clean and precise the band is, how crisp the sound is and how damn tight it all is. The sound at Klubben normally is ok but the balance between clean and distorted guitars was amazing, far better than normal.
After another round from the new “Suicide Society” and “King Of The Kill” in songs as “Creepin' Again” and “Annihilator” followed by “No Way Out” from previous LP “Feast” it was time for some classics.
It wasn't much change in response from the crowd though, just a few responded a little extra for “Set The World On Fire” and fantastic “Stonewall”. I should have been around here he started to talk about when they toured Sweden for the first time, it was back in 1991 opening for JUDAS PRIEST. PANTERA were also on that tour and apparently Jeff had done some silly comments about their appearance saying something like you can't play Metal looking like that... Everyone knows where PANTERA went and that was the last time Jeff said anything about another band in an interview.
And the show continued in the same vein, it was fun to be there and the setlist was amazing, a very good mix of new and old material. That Jeff didn't deliver perfectly with his voice didn't matter, the rest was perfect. The band he has with him now is awesome, with Aaron Homma on guitars, Rich Hinks on bass and drummer Fabio Alessandrini. And to force the crowd to participate, provoke a bit even worked really well. Jeff asked the crowd to sing those crazy screams in “Alison Hell” (he actually messed up the intro in the song and restarted it all after a few phrases, giving the crowd a good laugh at the same time), stating that normally, out of the 12 Alison Hell screams the crowds normally do the first 4, then there are a few doing no 5 & 6 before all stops. He challenged Klubben to stick to it to the end. Which worked, ok some dropped off after the first 4 but it turned out really good.
Fantastic “Second To None” was a true pleasure to hear live. I realized it was ages ago I last saw ANNIHILATOR play. How did that happen? Just before and around the “Metal” album they were here constantly but after that I've hardly seen them at all. Which was a contributing factor I enjoyed this show so much.
Then the ending with “Phantasmagoria”, “W.T.Y.D.” and “Human Insecticide”, how can that fail? The set was almost 90 minutes, including a fake leave-the-stage-scream-the-band-in-for-encores thing, but it still felt very short. I could easily have gone another hour. So I guess it was a good thing I stuck around even if it was damn boring to wait. It turned out to be a fantastic night, a fantastic show by ANNIHILATOR and definitely a mood-booster.
01. Intro - “Murder”
02. “Suicide Society”
03. “King Of The Kill”
04. “Creepin' Again”
06. “No Way Out”
07. “Set The World On Fire”
09. Drum Solo
10. “Syn. Kill 1”
11. “No Zone”
12. “Brain Dance” / “Chicken And Corn”
13. “Alison Hell”
15. “Second To None”
18. “Human Insecticide”
(click to enlarge)