SODOM / ANTIDRASI / BLYND / EXARSIS
Grigoris: One weird motive for having yourself dig this German band is - among the other 666 reasons - the way your mouth feels full by saying their name plus the enchanting profile of their logo artwork; both mean fuckin’ business, needless to say. Added to SODOM’s illustrious career, a live gig by Tom Angelripper and Co. was/is/will be value for money and there’s nothing more encouraging in the tough times Greece goes by than having a good time with neat music and no room for posing. Still, enjoying approval for their last studio album released in 2011, the Germans were doing a mini tour which brought them to Athens too.
Minos: Three bands were supporting SODOM in their Athenian show; the thrashers EXARSIS from Kiato, Corinth, the deathsters BLYND from Cyprus and the legendary Hardcore/Thrash Athenian band ANTIDRASI. Although the promoters had set the starting time 7:30pm, the doors didn’t open until 8:25pm and that is because Greece runs with a different set of rules that don’t apply to somewhere else on the planet. Finding a spot opposite the stage and in a safe distance from the “arena” the METAL KAOZ family prepared for a very promising night.
Fortunately we didn’t have to wait much for EXARSIS to begin their show. This is a pure Thrash band with US influences from the 80’s. With the first song the guys in the front rows started mosh-piting even though there was not a strong encouragement by the band. I have to admit that I found their music kind of predictable making the songs sound familiar to each other. The recipe is already well-known; typical and straightforward songs, with bombastic riffs and blast beats. Furthermore, the band faced some sound issues: there was a really annoying noise (I didn’t identify its origin - probably from the guitar amp) that you could only compare it with a machine gun, a jackhammer or with the sound that your neighbor makes in the upper floor, dragging a very heavy furniture. Also, the band made a pause after the third song because there was also a problem with the snare drum; the problem was fixed but the annoying sound unfortunately was not. Despite these mishaps EXARSIS was the perfect opening band fueled by their love for good old school Thrash. The moshing stopped only during the breaks between songs and people were constantly stage diving; they were jumping onstage to give the singer or the musicians a hug and then jumping back to the crowd. An over-enthusiast fan pushed one of the guitarists away from the mic so that he could sing the refrain, and then he dived: amazing atmosphere! After five of their songs the band covered “Kill On Command” by VIO-LENCE. Six songs was all that the band played, but they were more than enough to shook us for good, and I wouldn’t mind hearing more from these guys.
Minos: Then it was time for the Death metallers BLYND to get onstage. Although there was no shortage of energy it was obvious that the atmosphere had changed. Surprisingly, the crowd was quiet during the first two songs, but they did give a warm applaud to the band after each song. During the third song the band encouraged the crowd to “Smash everything!” And the crowd didn’t require further encouragement: the moshing and the stage diving begun with the same intense. Musically, the performance of BLYND was excellent: the sound problems had been solved, allowing the band to deliver their great music in top quality. Their songs were solid, with heavy and fast tempos and some Deathcore elements. Andreas asked if there was any Cypriot fan among the audience. When one was found the singer asked the crowd to be split in two and have him in the middle gap: “When I say go, kill the Cypriot!” Of course he was joking by this created some chaos and gave more reasons to mosh pit. That was a classic and hearty Thrash atmosphere during the six songs well performed by BLYND.
After a couple of minutes that the band from Cyprus left the stage, it was time for one of the oldest hardcore/punk Greek bands. ANTIDRASI (translates to opposition). I am pretty sure that no one outside Greece knows them, and probably won't give him a chance, since their lyrics are in Greek. Memories from my youth filled my mind when they hit the stage with one of their well known songs “Αυτή Είναι Η Ελλάδα” (translates to this is Greece). Their lyrics deal with the system, the police and everything shitty going on in our country. Their appearance made me feel like I was 16 years old again. I don't think there is meaning to mention the songtitles but I have to mention that everybody had a great time with non-stop headbanging and moshing. The band seemed that was enjoying the gig as much as we were, even though it turned out more like an anti-system, anti-police gathering (something not bad if you ask me). A great performance from a great band that, I believe, all of their old fans, including me, are happy they are back after their hiatus between 1998 and 2004. They closed their set with their self titled song "Antidrasi" and left the stage for the Gods to come as the band’s singer George said about SODOM. ANTIDRASI is a band formed from real people for real people with lyrics speaking the truth and I'm really glad that they are the same after 18 years.
Grigoris: Digging SODOM does not necessarily means you are a Thrash addict. Still, the other way round gives an added proof for the band’s everlasting respect; you cannot escape but fall on your knees if you consider yourself a thrashin’ mad lunatic. SODOM is the ideal drug, the fitting companion and a great source of awe and hallucination in Thrashl history. I did know what to expect before the show, no questions asked; the only truth to be confirmed was whether the new skinsman Markus “Makka” Freiwald would do his thing as needed. And then the lights went dim...
...and “In War And Pieces” did burst off. Little is to be said - pardon me - for what the Athenian crowd witnessed (and helped taking place, too). With a nice sound backing their set, SODOM raped ears and disfigured faces with their furious music and I have the belief no one left unsatisfied that evening. With a setlist trying to include works from their entire discography (we’re speaking about 12-13 studio album by now, remember) SODOM did what they surely know what and how to do it and the rest is golden history. Tom was in good mood, Bernemann remains a loyal silent force and Makka did his best and finally offered the most to the band’s consistency.
Each and every song was a good reason for moshing, headbanging and stagediving and the young clan of thrashers did not leave such an opportunity for body fitness. It was good, now speaking, to see so many second generation fans in the arena but I admit I god a little bit disappointed only a small bunch of older Thrash fans did honor the show. One way or another, Tom did not seem to care much and every song carried his own energy and prospect. Older (80s) cuts had their share in the setlist and it was a nice surprise to listen to “Proselytism Real”, not to forget. The band seems to neglect stuff from my favorite “Persecution Mania” LP (Ok, a cover and a party song is not enough) but nonetheless SODOM is the kind of band you know you’ll have a good time with no matter what the setlist or the sound or the venue is.
Clocking to nearly two hours, the appearance of the German legends can be entitled as at least successful (see the tracklist below, too). SODOM has rarely - if ever - let their fans down and this gig was another proof for their honest profile. I felt a little bit embarrassed such a historic band has ended up playing in front of only 400 fans, and believe me that’s not the band we have to blame for, but anyway the show was more than adequate and Tom confirmed he still has a lot to offer both in studio and onstage. Next time we’ll be there again, promise!
SODOM setlist (in release date order):
01. “Outbreak Of Evil” (1984)
02. “Blasphemer” (1984)
03. “Burst Command Til War” (1984)
04. “Proselytism Real” (1986)
05. “Sodomy & Lust” (1986)
06. “Iron Fist” (1987)
07. “Bombenhagel” (1987)
08. “Agent Orange” (1989)
09. “Remember The Fallen” (1989)
10. “Ausgebombt” (1989)
11. “The Saw Is The Law” (1990)
12. “Eat Me!” (1994)
13. “Sodomized” (1994)
14. “Fuck The Police” (1997)
15. “The Vice Of Killing” (1999)
16. “I Am The War” (2001)
17. “City Of God” (2006)
18. “In War And Pieces” (2010)
19. “The Art Of Killing Poetry” (2010)