6 November 2014, Substage, Karlsruhe, Germany (Photos by Björn Schmiterlöw on Flickr)
The Substage club in Karlsruhe, Germany, seems to be a regular on the touring schedule of New York´s Thrash institution Overkill, visited 2 years ago on the Killfest Tour (w Purified in Blood, 3 Inches of Blood). This time Prong, Swedish Enforcer and Darkology are part of the tour. The latter are quite unknown to me, and due to my difficulties to find parking space, I only get an impression of their last 3 songs.
Vocal-wise, Darkology could be an Overkill Cover Band, technically they seem to be influenced by Prog. Still they only receive polite feedback for their efforts, as the Substage is only half filled until the end of their gig.
Which rapidly changes when the first tracks of “Mesmerized by Fire”, the new Enforcer, album, get the headbangers going. Olof Wikstrand is not only singing, live he also replaces Adam Zaars on the six stringer. “Live for the Night”, “Take me out of this Nightmare” and “Death rides this Night” inspire the crowd, only the Venom Cover “Countess Bathory”, sung by Guitarrist Joseph, reduces the speed a bit. Why they put a drum solo into their short 40min support show remains a mystery, though. Midnight Vice ends a highspeed Enforcer show, leaving behind an obviously satisfied audience.
Why Prong are part of this package was first not clear to me, because I had put the US guys around Tommy Victor into the Industrial genre, probably because I don´t know more than their hit “Snap your Fingers,…”. And because I connect Tommy Victor with Ministry, as he also plays guitar there. Sometimes a 3-man act does not offer much action on stage – which is not the case with Prong. T.V. Jumps like hell, which gets the crowd jumping along right with the second song “Beg to differ”, and the first crowd surfers can be spotted. Prong deliver an energetic performance, therefore it is difficult to decide which band caused more action in front of the stage, Prong or Overkill. And Substage is constantly filling up, which causes chaos during their final song “Snap your fingers, snap your neck” – 10 min of hard labour for the security staff.
Overkill kick inot full gear with “XDM”, “Armorist” and “Overkill” – despite his 55 years, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth still runs around on stage, honoring his nickname, but during the gig you notice that he occasionally needs some time out in the aisle to recover, during soli or instrumental parts. They continue with “Electric Rattlesnake” from the 2012 Album “The Electric Age” and “Wrecking Crew”. In between Blitz expresses his gratitude for the fan support, and that he feels quite at home in Germany. “Rotten to the Core” is the last well-known classic until the encores, but you have to make tough choices having 18 albums out and not being able to credit all of them with more than one or two songs in the set list. Nevertheless, hearing “In Union we stand” or “Bastard Nation” live would have been nice.
“Bring me the night” and “End of the Line” represent the Under the Influence Album, where – so it seems to me – they had some inspiration from Phantom of the Opera. The crowd is totally into Overkill, and Overkill love this totally insane crowd – a win-win situation. A powerful “Pig” from the recent album and “Hello from the Gutter”end the official part, only after a short break D.D. Verni & Co come back with “Bitter Pill”, “Elimination” and the obligatory “Fuck you”, in hyperspeed and with rather unorthodox drumming, to say a good bye to a fully satisfied, happy audience.