Review of Destruction/Whiplash/Enforcer/Crisix

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Tuesday 24th October 2023

The Garage, Highbury, London

Review by Smudge

Another grey, drizzly October Tuesday in London brought us all together for some rip-roaring molten thrash metal on a ‘school’ night. The general consensus was that work the next day could get stuffed because right now we had some serious rockin’ to do.

The doors were opened at 6 pm and less than 30 minutes later those thrashing loons from sunny Barcelona Crisix got stuck into us. No messing they got us by the jugular and refused to let go. Lead singer Julian Baz was like a demented ringmaster who got the crowd whipped up early. It was raw-boned old-school banger after banger then the band decided to swap instruments for some snippets of ‘Hit The Lights’, ‘Walk’ and ‘Anti-Social’ which got the crowd even more steamed before they went back to their ‘day jobs’ for the final ‘Ultra Thrash’.

I had been looking forward to seeing Enforcer after my mate Adrian told me he had seen them literally slay the opposition at Copenhell earlier this year. Four blonde Vikings in leather and studs bounded onto the small stage and tore the place a new arse with their epic-speed metal. They raced through opener ‘Destroyer’, ‘Undying Evil’ before we got ‘From Beyond’ and ‘Coming Alive’.

It was hard heavy and fast with guitarists Olof Wikstrom and Jonathan Nordwall ripping out the solos life like their lives depended on it. ‘Zenith Of The Black Sun’ throttled back a bit and got us banging our heads before the title track of their phenomenal new album – ‘Nostalgia’ got us back the speed metal along with the ‘Mesmerized By Fire’ and the huge ‘Live For The Night’.

‘Take Me Out Of This Nightmare’ got the crowd singing again before the final sprint of ‘Midnight Vice’. Enforcer absolutely blew us away with their old-school speed metal that combines all the best bits of Maiden, Priest and the Scorpions.

Whiplash entered the fray and brought back the old-school thrash. These guys have been going since I don’t know when and they showed no signs of slowing up. Singer/Guitarist Tony Portaro still has his chops and made it look easy. The rhythm section of Dank DeLong and Rider Johnson was tighter than a duck’s arse with DeLong helping out on the vocals too.

I’ll be honest I’m not too familiar with their material but rest assured I’ll be sourcing their back catalogue ASAP especially the brutal ones like ‘Killing On Monroe Street’, ‘Burning Of Atlanta’, ‘Sword Meet Skull..’, ‘Walk The Plank’ and ‘Red Bomb’. Things got even more intense on ‘Spit On Your Grave’ then the final number ‘Power Thrashing Death’ brought it to a superb conclusion. Jeez, these guys brought it in spades and dished it out with maniacal glee.

Now these bands were great and on any other day if they had been playing this gig without Destruction, I would have gone home happy, but Destruction took it to another level. Head honcho Schmier has been at this for over forty years and is another that doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. The utter savage brutality of openers ‘Curse The Gods’, ‘Death Trap’ and ‘Nailed To The Cross’ was incredible and there was no let up as they torpedoed into ‘The Mad Butcher’, ‘Life Without Sense’, ‘Release From Agony’ and the monumental ‘Antichrist’.

The instrumental and aptly named ‘Thrash Attack’ brought us to some shred-tastic soloing from Damir Eskic who was joined for a riff-a-long by Martin Furia. ‘Eternal Ban’ sounded vicious and ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’ just gave us another pummelling. Unfortunately, I had to leave to catch my train home as the dulcet tones of ‘Tormentor’ propelled me out the door, so I missed the final quartet of ‘Bestial Invasion’, ‘Diabolical’, ‘Total Desaster’ and ‘Thrash ‘Til Death’ but I made up for it by listening to them on my iPod on the train.

One slight moan about the night and it’s nothing to do with the bands – the bar was card only, Enforcer where selling merch that took both cash and card, but the rest of the merch was cash only. Go to a cashpoint I hear you shout – the venue policy was no re-entry, so when bands tell us they rely on merch sales to survive maybe they should look at all possibilities – just saying. A minor gripe from a night I will never forget.

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