Block 33, Thessaloniki, Greece
It was a night of brutal expression. The mighty Napalm Death, the pioneers iof what we call grindcore today, did us the honour and visited Greece for the third time. First was in 2001 on the ”Enemy Of The Music Business” Tour but only in Athens, having also back then Homo Iratus as the support group. Second time was with their fellow British thrashers Onslaught in 2007 on the ”Smear Campaign” tour and that was the third time, in order to promote their latest release ”Time Waits For No Slave”.
First band that opened the show were the Athenians Slavebreed. The grindcore five-piece delivered once more a relentless assault consisting of 18 songs in half an hour of playing. Being the third time to see them, first one with Severe Torture and second with Fear Factory, they made many jaws drop with their flawless performance.
Presenting songs from their debut ”Pain Syndicate” and some new ones, in a more experimental and less grindcore style (but still brutal as hell), they gained the honest applause of their crowd. The crazy vocalist will always remain their trademark, sounding like someone got a foot in his throat. Masterfully done!
Homo Iratus are back with a vengeance. After some years of break, they are passing through second youth. Presenting for their first time their new vocalist Alex, who is known from his presence in the brutal death elite band Human Rejection, and with a punky and anarchistic sound at the beginning, they presented tracks from all releases so far, starting with ”Life-Like Violence” and then things took the right course, with the sound fixing after the middle of the show.
Angel on bass and Argyris on drums were always a remarkable rhythm section, whose power can only be witnessed live about ten times better. But to be honest, Alex made all lights fall upon him. It takes a lot of talent and guts from the first gig to make some old songs sound like they belong to you, even more brutal and straight forward than his predecessors.
With tracks like ”Protection Through Surveillance” or the newest ”Ka-Mate” (a tribute to the Maori race) and of course the godly ”Tomahawk Cruise Messiah in the end, the game was won easily. With such recruitment in the band, I can’t help but waiting for some new material as soon as possible. The best we could see before the grindgods.
And of course, it seems so naive to be in the position to say or describe who Napalm Death is and what they have offered so far. Entering with ”Strongarm”, the feeling that the place would be smashed down was easily pre-known. They continue with no mercy with old and new tracks and one of them being ”Suffer The Children”, creating mosh-chaos and hysteria. Of course the set was based on the new album with ”Life And Limb”, ”On The Brink Of Extinction” and ”Diktat” showing us that it’s still a powerful release. The band is in tremendous shape and they seem to have a lot of fun.
A good surprise was that we heard songs from the second album ”From Enslacement To Obliteration”, with the title track and ”Make Way!” representing this release. And of course the classic ”Scum” suite, representing the legendary debut of 1987 with the title track, ”Life?” ,”The Kill”, ”Control” and of course ”You Suffer” (hailz!). Before leaving for the encore, we also heard ”Persona Non Grata” and of course ”When All Is Said And Done”, for which Barney always expresses the opinion that it is the current Napalm Death hit song.
They returned about three minutes later to close the set with ”Mass Appeal Madness” and the classic set closer ”Siege Of Power”. It was a great performance, not better than the previous two in Greece but better than the last month in Brutal Assault in Czech Republic. The rhythm section of drummer Danny Herrera and bassist-totem Shane Embury provided the right energy for Mitch Harris on guitars to build a gigantic sound, also helping with the ”AIAIAIAIAIAIAIAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIII” backing vocal style. Barney Greenway was as always. An unleashed frontman with a high spirit and a rolling mind.
Capable, ready, comfortable and above all: Leaders, not followers. Napalm Death. No further comments!
Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras
Photos: Louis Konstantinou