Sat 25 May – Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, BenedictionBolt Thrower
is a band I never thought I would have the chance to see. They hadn't been to California since 1991 on tour for War Master
. So when this show was announced I was completely shocked. It seemed too amazing to be real. It wasn't just Bolt Thrower though. The whole lineup was mind blowing. Benediction
, another one the UK's finest, had never played on the West Coast before and who doesn't love Autopsy
? Needless to say, I bought tickets the second they went on sale. There was no way I could miss this.
To ensure a good spot in line I arrived at the venue an hour and a half before the doors opened. With the show being sold out I expected there to be a fair amount of people lining up already, but to my surprise there were only about ten or fifteen people. Shortly after I got there Ben & Jerry's parked their truck out in front of the venue and gave out unlimited free ice cream to everybody. They even walked down the line to pass it out. When the doors finally opened everybody rushed to the merch tables. The tables were set up on the balcony and there wasn't much room up there. It was a giant swarm of people. Luckily I was able to get my shirts quickly since I got to the show so early. I picked up three Bolt Thrower shirts since they were so cheap. I was considering getting an Autopsy shirt, but I decided to just get as many Bolt Thrower ones as I could since it would be my only chance to do so. After going back downstairs I could see the massive line that had formed for the merch. There were so many people trying to get shirts that the security started to only let small groups go upstairs at a time.
While waiting for Benediction I talked with a guy who drove all the way from Salt Lake City to see the show. It wasn't a long wait though and before we knew it Benediction's intro began playing. They came out and destroyed. For whatever reason not everybody was inside for them though. They made a poor choice in missing them. Their riffs sounded ridiculously heavy in a live setting and Dave Hunt's vocals were great. They played a nice mix of new and old material; the highlight for me was "Nightfear". Going into the show I wasn't sure what to expect from them, but I ended up being really surprised by how good they were.
- The Grey Man
- They Must Die Screaming
- The Grotesque
- Unfound Mortality
- Shadow World
- The Dreams You Dread
- Suffering Feeds Me
- Jumping at Shadows
- Subconscious Terror
Next up was California's own death metal masters, Autopsy. They were crushing when I saw them last year, so I was really looking forward to seeing them tear it up again. They set up quickly and were ready in no time. They didn't have an intro; they just burst right into "Severed Survival" and mass headbanging ensued. They continued on with two more cuts from Severed Survival
and then Eric Cutler took over on vocals for "Dead". Both Eric and Chris sounded like sadistic killers. In between some of the songs Chris was letting out some torturous screams and the reverb made it sound insane. Somehow from behind the kit he still manages to be an awesome frontman.
They played a couple new songs from The Headless Ritual
for the first time. "Arch Cadaver" had a slow, eerie intro that reminded me of the material on Mental Funeral
. Both of the songs sounded good. After a track from Macabre Eternal
they stepped back into the '90s with "Voices". Up to this point the pit hadn't very active. One guy was pissed about it and decided to start pushing everybody who wasn't moshing. Moments later somebody slammed him to floor. He took a few seconds to get up while people laughed at him and then he staggered off and didn't return. Autopsy finished off their set with more classic material and that's when the pit finally got intense. The band put on an awesome performance and the setlist ruled. I'm really glad I was able to see them again.
- Severed Survival
- Pagan Saviour
- Gasping for Air
- Arch Cadaver
- Mangled Far Below
- Seeds of the Doomed
- Critical Madness
- Charred Remains
- Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay
- Ridden with Disease
The show was getting progressively better as it went along and now we were awaiting the grand finale: Bolt Thrower. It only took them twenty minutes to get ready. The lights went out and the crowd was roaring. As their intro began to play it felt like a completely surreal experience to me. I've only felt this way a few times in my life. While watching the band appear on stage I thought there was no way this was actually happening. Then they started playing "The IVth Crusade". At this moment I was in awe that I was actually witnessing Bolt Thrower live. As they continued with "Entrenched" the pit opened up and there was a headbanging frenzy. Then they pulled out "In Battle There Is No Law" and everybody went crazy, myself included. The Glass House has a wide open floor, so there was plenty of room for a big circle pit. It was intense to say the least. They trudged onward with "Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)", opening with the driving bass intro by Jo Bench. The band sounded incredible. Karl's vocals were commanding and the guitars sounded spectacular. Nothing was overbearing in the mix.
After a couple tracks from ...For Victory
Karl announced that it was time to roll out the big guns. They started to play "World Eater", prompting the most violent pit of the night. It was pure chaos. I couldn't help but completely lose it in there. The end of the song segued into "Cenotaph", keeping the pit going strong. The band seemed to be feeding off the energy of the crowd. They were headbanging just as much as everybody else. After a couple more songs they finished the main set with the monolithic anthem, "When Cannons Fade", which sounded even more powerful live.
After leaving the stage the crowd chanted their name. They returned for a few more songs before saying the final farewell. When it was over I really couldn't believe how incredible the show was. I still can't. It's hard to properly explain it. It was truly an experience to see Bolt Thrower live. Adding Autopsy and Benediction to the equation just made it that much better. I've never headbanged and moshed so much in my life. I can honestly say this is the most fun I've ever had at a show.
- The IVth Crusade
- In Battle There Is No Law
- Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
- When Glory Beckons
- ...For Victory
- World Eater
- No Guts, No Glory
- When Cannons Fade
- The Killchain
- Powder Burns