Friday, 18 August 2017

Concert Review and Photos: DESTRUCTION at the Gramercy Theater

Destruction Photo: Mark Neal

Germany’s Destruction Attacks New York City’s Gramercy Theatre

1 June 2017

With summer just around the corner, the weather is just right – not too hot, with that cool breeze in the air, perfect for a night out in the city.  What a perfect night to spend at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre watching Germany’s thrash metal powerhouse Destruction. After seeing Kreator a couple of months back, I could not wait to catch one of the “Big 4” of Germany. So, I arrived at the theatre a bit early and to my surprised there was no line formed outside with fans eager to enter.  Destruction has been around for over 30 years, so a lot of their diehard fans are a bit on the older side and are usually known for not standing in line. So, I went off to the closest bar for a few beers and some dinner before the show. That’s where I would see the diehards taking advantage of Happy Hour while enjoying the awesome weather. Eventually, it was time for the doors to open, so off I went.

Demons Within
Demons Within
Photo: Mark Neal

As I entered Gramercy Theatre, to no surprise there weren’t too many people there. Being casually late for shows, unfortunately, seems to be the thing these days. When it was time for the show to start, the crowd was a bit thicker then when I first entered but was by far not full. The first band up on stage was Demons Within, a brutal death metal band out of Cleveland, Ohio. The band came out with a high energy, in-your-face sound, mixing both thrash and modern-day death metal. With the band’s frontman J.C.B. coming off stage more than once to get in the mix with some crowd, he shows us all the intensity the band is known for and gets everyone hyped for what’s still to come.

Following Demons Within with a noticeably fuller audience was Ventura, California’s very own thrash masters, Warbringer. Underground thrash at its finest. Fresh off the March 31st release of the band’s fifth studio album, Woe To The Vanquished, they come out and start their set with the album’s first track, “Silhouettes” and would continue through with the album’s following four tracks in order as they appear on the album itself. A fierce onslaught of riffs with classic style and explosive guitar solos, Warbringer had everyone in the building banging their heads, leaving me reminded of such Bay Area thrash legends like Exodus and Testament. Warbringer would go on to play two more songs before ending their set with “Combat Shock” from 2012’s War Without End.

Jungle Rot
Jungle Rot
Photo: Mark Neal

Warbringer delivered the intensity but there was obvious divide within the crowd. Some left satisfied, while others were clearly restless and ready for the third and final opener to hit the stage. From Kenosha, Wisconsin that band would be Jungle Rot. A band I wasn’t too familiar with at all. Categorized as death metal but known also for having a hard-core sound. As they would deliver their violent beatdown of hardcore rhythms with a good dose of death metal on the side, producing a unique sound that would have me very attentive throughout the set. Just by the reaction given off by the crowd, Jungle Rot attracts a select audience that showed their aggressive presence throughout the pit as others would look on and stand clear.

The floor now fully packed with everyone who had been lingering downstairs watching the opening bands on monitors or drinking in nearby bars anxiously awaiting the headliners. The time would finally arrive for Germany’s Destruction to take the stage.

Destruction
Destruction
Photo: Mark Neal

With the stage dimly lit in red lighting, Schmier, Mike, and Vaaver would begin their hour-long set. Only fitting for the tour, the band opened with “Under Attack”. The crowd would react by heading with fist in the air and getting the pit up and running. Fueling the fire further, they would then go back ten years to “Curse Of The Gods”. Known as one of Germany’s “Big 4”, this thrash metal powerhouse trio is armed with brutal hit after brutal hit. The attack would continue, going further back with “Nailed To The Cross”. As the crowd would rage through the sonic onslaught, singing along to the chorus with great intensity, it was apparent Destruction had set the pace and had everyone’s blood pumping. The hour-long set would eventually begin to take its toll on the weak, as the crowd would start to thin out at about the three-quarter mark of the set list, but not leaving it too thin. The end of the set would include such 80’s classics like “Thrash Attack”, “Invincible Force”, “Antichrist”, and would follow up with an encore of “Thrash till Death” and ending it all with 1985’s “Bestial Invasion.” With over 30 years of thrash under their belt, Destruction has not lost a step. With the solid setlist put together, along with the opening bands, North America is truly Under Attack.

About Smitty Neal

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