Sodom, Spider Kickers, Blynd, Chaos Virtue
Boxx Live Stage, Ioannina, Greece

Life brings out many great moments when you don’t expect it, so I was lucky and able to be together with Sodom in the cities of Thessaloniki and Ioannina to enjoy two great shows. Especially for the city of Ioannina it was the biggest metal event of all times (until the next one of course). Also, two of the bands that accompanied them in Thessaloniki played in Ioannina too, talking about the local heroes Spider Kickers and Blynd from Cyprus. The only thing that changed compared to Thessaloniki was the group that opened the show, where instead of the great Vermillion Days we had the also great Chaos Virtue. The gig would be more late than imagined but thanks to the help of the sound engineer, it managed to start at about half past nine and finished after 2 A.M. !!!! Let’s have a look on what really happened that great night.

Chaos Virtue was a band whom I first encountered and little did I know about their style and playing. Without any stress, knowing that it was a lifetime opportunity for them, they came on stage and started banging their asses down, taking the crowd by their side from a very early point. These guys surely know how to play well their demonstrating ideas, which sometimes sound as a great mixture of the old and new Swedish scene but adapted to their personal sound. A band covering Death in a gig can’t be anything but special, they played ”Bite The Pain” from ”The Sound Of Perseverance” and after about half an hour, they knew they had done the right thing. Despite the sound which wasn’t as they wanted it, they stood their ground and didn’t bow under the weight of such an event. Praises to them, I wish them such events in the future too.

Blynd this time played before Spider Kickers (in Thessaloniki they played before Sodom), but this didn’t prevent them from smashing the Boxx club into pieces. A great sound and an even better performance showcased their skills and even not sounding as old school as the other bands, their worth was such that all fans admitted they are a great band. A modern groovy thrashy sound is what comes out of the speakers when you listen to this quartet and adding the fact that they covered the worlds best band today, Lamb Of God with ”Laid To Rest”, well, it simply makes things a lot clearer and better for them. Shortly after their performance fans came to buy their t-shirts and I think this shows some things better than I describe. Something tells me that we may meet them soon again in Greece after such performances. Way to go folks!

Spider Kickers on the other hand, is the opposite situation. Welcomed like heroes in their hometown, they represent the term ”old school” in the best possible way. In Thessaloniki they were very good but that night, they were colossal and the crowd didn’t stop stage diving and moshing throughout their whole setlist. A thrashy death metal sound, like the old Cancer for example, caused fans to explode and with such a sound, it was obvious they would dominate the club. Great guitar work and even greater rhythm section, with James on drums and vocals being the trademark of the band and reminding old memories where I first met drummers/vocalists like Mike Browning of Nocturnus or Dan Beehler of Exciter. And without losing a note at all. Amazing performance and honest headbanging. That night, their homemates loved them even more.

Sodom came on stage ten minutes after midnight and it was to be a long night indeed. Starting with the title track of their latest album ”In War And Pieces”, they set the stage on fire and not even ”Sodomy And Lust” can wipe it away. It is clear from the first moments that Sodom play much better than Thessaloniki (logic in a way, because this time they didn’t have 20-30 people on stage) and proving that it was worth the wait. ”M-16” follows and in joy I realize that the fans of Ioannina really know how to mosh (compared to the ones in Athens last year at least). ”Outbreak Of Evil” reveals the depth in Sodom’s discography and ”The Saw Is The Law” which opened their shows last year is another hit below the belt for the fans, which however, seem to enjoy more than words can describe. ”Nuclear Winter” makes me dive off the stage (they FINALLY played it in Greece) and the ”sweet” dedication comes with ”Fuck The Police”, with the fans shouting the very known song after its end. Everything works in order but there’s much more to come.

Time for an older one with ”Proselytism Real” giving its place to the new ”The Art Of Killing Poetry” and shortly after, ”City Of God” from the previous self-titled album gives its place to ”The Vice Of Killing” (which they didn’t play in Thessaloniki). Then comes ”Iron Fist” by Motorhead and the place totally explodes as much as possible. ”Blasphemer” sounds like on triple speed compared to the original recording and ”Eat Me!” is the groovy tune before we come to enjoy the absolute holocaust. ”Agent Orange” and officially Ioannina celebrate their biggest metal moment ever, while ”Ausgebombt” shows that some things get better as years pass by. Fast and furiously, the place gets ”Sodomized” and Tom Angelripper plays something from his personal career with ”Es Gibt Kein Bier Auf Hawaii” (which was played last year too). The party atmosphere cannot be hidden. Time for the first encore with ”Among The Weirdcong” (also not played in Thessaloniki) and ”Remember The Fallen” with the crowd totally freaked out by the power trio.

A chord from Tom’s bass gets damaged but this is not enough to stop Sodom. I don’t know how many times they’ve done it, but Ioannina also enjoyed ”Ace Of Spades” and for the end, which else but ”Bombenhagel”… Sodom seem to be living a second youth and especially with the entering of new drummer Markus Freiwald (hailz Makka!) they show even more comfortable on stage. Bernemann always smiling and teasing the fans, does a great guitar work and proves why he is by Tom’s side for about 15 years. Mr. Angelripper couldn’t keep his smiling and joy for being in a country that shows its love for his band and told us we’re the best place for heavy metal (certainly meaning it). I think that we’ll see them soon again and then, a bigger party will follow. Until then, Sodom circa 2011 are inevitably perfect!

Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras