Destruction / Onslaught
17 November 2007
Camden Underworld, London

OK, apologies to openers Amenti but we were late into the venue due to my need to watch Israel do the English a favour in the football. I’ve never seen so much excitement for an Israeli goal!

Making our way into the Underworld we make out Metal Forces emanating from the stage and it was a swift dash down the front to catch Onslaught. Instantly noticeable was the excellent sound which benefited the Slayer like twin harmonies of guitarists Nige Rockett and Alan Jordan during Twisted Jesus.

At Onslaught’s reunion gig, now two years ago, Rockers Digest interviewed James Hinder who commented that they were taking things as a serious hobby. I’d since read a comment from Nige Rockett that they were behind things 100%. With Hinder now seemingly permanently replaced by Jeff Williams on bass, and by the ferocity and professionalism of tonight’s performance, it would appear Rockett’s comments ring true. There was distinctly more onstage movement tonight and the band came across as a tight unit.

The crowd chant-along to Planting Seeds of Hate showed the fans appreciation for Onslaught’s latest release and that they weren’t just here for nostalgia. Material from Killing Peace sat well alongside The Force classics, which seem to have a new lease of life.

Star of the show tonight though had to be frontman Sy Keeler. I’ve said it before, but it still beggars belief that Onslaught’s record company wanted to oust him back in the late 80s. His vocals tonight were vicious, precise and wide in range. With a seemingly permanent grin, he conducts proceedings with confidence.

Wrapping things up with their own title song, Alan Jordan stands with arms outstretched as he lets a fan batter the strings on his guitar, with the crowd punching the air to the “Power from hell” refrain. The last couple of times I’d seen Onslaught had been hugely enjoyable, but now they’ve moved up a gear and really do mean business.

Onslaught set list:
Killing Peace / Let There Be Death / Angels Of Death / Metal Forces / Twisted Jesus / Fight With The Beast / Planting Seeds Of Hate / Demoniac / Burn / Onslaught (Power From Hell)

With a previously cancelled tour and word that the early part of this one had been rather disorganised, it was a relief to see the Destruction banners adorning the small Underworld stage. Obviously I wasn’t the only one to think this, judging from the reaction when the German three- piece launched into Curse The Gods. However, in terms of sound, Onslaught’s thick guitar tone had set a benchmark which was not matched by the soundman for Destruction. The fact that Onslaught have two guitarists most likely had a bearing, but it was a bit of a struggle to pick out guitarist Mike Sifringer’s classic thrash riffs. This continued throughout the set and did take an edge off a performance which was undeniably good.

Sifringer himself must pop into a cryogenics tank between shows, as he appears exactly the same as he did in the 80s. His mass of hair bobbed around and covered his face as he darted from left to right each time frontman Schmier chose a different microphone stand as a base.

Schmier asking a London crowd how many were English was not as mad as it sounded, with the usual multinational attendance in the capital. It didn’t matter where you were from when the opening riff of Mad Butcher commenced and a pit opened.

There’s been a lot of calls that thrash is back, but Schmier is right when he stated it never actually went away. The Defiance Will Remain is a fitting anthem for the resurgence. Thrash has found a new young audience and none younger than the ten year old Micky who was brought up on stage and given a guitar to strum after Total Desaster.

Schmier asked the crowd who’d seen Destruction before and recalled the bands first ever UK show at the Brixton Academy some 20 years ago, supporting Motörhead. Respect was given to Lemmy and crew, who themselves were in town tonight playing at Wembley with Alice Cooper.

Considering the past, next year marks Destruction’s 25th anniversary and prior to a devastating Bestial Invasion, Schmier commented it would be good to mark that event with an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air. Here’s hoping that the organisers can sort that out.

The Butcher Strikes Back wrapped up a very enjoyable set, taken down a notch by the lack of umph (for want of a better word) in the guitar sound.

Destruction set list:
Curse The Gods / Nailed To The Cross / Mad Butcher / Eternal Ban / Life Without Sense / The Defiance Will Remain / Death Trap / Thrash ‘Til Death / Tears Of Blood / Release From Agony / Invincible Force / Soul Collector / Total Desaster / Bestial Invasion / The Butcher Strikes Back