Aura Noir, Omega, Slaughtered Priest, Astrarot
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece
After many combined drawbacks, we finally had the chance to see the Norwegian black/thrashers Aura Noir for the first time in the city of Thessaloniki. Strikes in the capital Athens brought the cancelling of the show and the band had just a meet’n’greet night with their fans. The live at Eightball Club not only managed to take place, but also started at 20:30 sharp, with three great local bands doing the best they could to warm up the crowd and in total, we had a blowing Friday. Adding the fact of the postponing of the Benediction show which was supposed to be held on Sunday, with a combo ticket alongside the Aura Noir one, and you can surely understand why most of the fans had hell of a fun that night. A crowd of more than 200 people attended the show, being a much better capacity than Decapitated some days ago.
Astrarot were the first ones to begin and for about 35 minutes they played a great sample of pure thrashing metal, which made the fans shake their heads for good. At first the whole picture inside the club was really disappointing with only 30 people inside but as soon as the fans saw that the gig started, they started entering ten by ten inside and what we were seeing became much better with more metalheads to shout a bit. This time Astrarot were really great, they had a great sound and they added two Sepultura covers on their set, ”Troops Of Doom” and ”Anticop” (which is a newer version of the song ”Antichrist” from ”Morbid Visions”). They gained a lot of applause and positive reactions and they did what they didn’t do at the Whiplash show. Excellent and thrashbanging! Way to go kids!
Slaughtered Priest were the next ones and their old school approach to music found a lot of fans going to the front to have some kind of movement while the band was playing its thrashing metal, close to the one of the headliners Aura Noir, with some harsh sub-woofer like vocals, rather low tuned. The singer looked like a clone of Deicide’s Glen Benton in his early days, amazing look alike situation. Unfortunately due to time limit, they didn’t play more than 30 minutes but they made the crowd energetic and they had a great sound too. It’s the first time I see a band playing a Razor song on a gig, and I got so happy about it that in this current moment I have forgotten which one it was. I apologize but it was surely something from the first albums of the Canadian cult thrashers. A super continuation to what Astrarot had started before.
Omega is a live guarantee, as it is the third time I’m watching them for the year of 2011. Their Venom meets Hellhammer meets Celtic Frost style is something easy to play, but is difficult to be so great on stage every time I see them. For about 40 minutes they had the better response compared to the rest support groups and it seems that it suits them to play at Eightball Club, for they can find the right sound to make their music easily accesible. The singer invited Aura Noir’s Apollyon on stage for the last song, which was as usually a cover of Venom’s ”Black Metal” and the Norwegian bassist accepted this with joy. The end of the support groups found us all warm and willing to give 100% of our energy for the headliners, who had last stepped on Greece in the year of 2004 (that was only in Athens though).
Aura Noir enter the stage only a few minutes after 23:00 and it’s the first riff of the title track of their latest album so far, ”Hades Rise” that start the massacre that follows for the next 70 minutes and approximately 15 tracks. Aggressor (a.k.a. Carl-Michael Eide) on the left, sitting on a chair after his almost deadly five floor fall some years ago, torturing the guitar and spitting lyrics like never before, Apollyon on the center, making his bass bleed and complaining for about five songs about vocals going up and Blasphemer playing continuous riffs and leads, are the trio that unleashes this hyper fast attack, supported by the great new drummer Kristian Valbo, who would either blast his way into the songs or just keep the rhythm with tremendous ease. Ideal sound from a point and on, that even some fans pulling Blasphemer’s guitar (especially on ”Black Thrash Attack”) didn’t ruin completely.
The band was in perfect shape and mood and songs like ”Condor” or ”Snake” in the beginning, ”Condor” or ”Destructor” in the middle of the set and ”South American Death” or ”Conqueror” in the end of their set, made the fans ecstatic and praising the band for its performance. Some really excellent chaotic moments in the whole set, with Blasphemer especially banging his head relentlessly and Apollyon taking over the communicating part, showing who the leader of the band is. Highlight of the night maybe the ultra heavy version of ”Released Damnation” but anyone could pick his own. Most certain of all was that all people left Eightball Club smiling, having already enjoyed a perfect gig with four bands giving all they had and with a very cheap ticket. If I could catch up an XL t-shirt after the show, I’d feel even better. I hope this happens next time, they will surely want to come again after what they saw. Total attack!
Report: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou.