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ConcertsOverkill and After Forever at B.B. King Blues 10/21/2007

Posted on Monday, January 28 2008 @ 09:54:23 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Hot on the heels of the release of their latest slab of brutality, East Coast Thrash Metal veterans Overkill were on the road promoting it at New York City's place for Metal B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. The band had performed earlier in the year on a spectacular bill that included Metal Church, Joey Belladonna and Meliah Rage and judging by the attendance observed as the night progressed no one seemed to mind that they had only caught the band a few months previous to this show. Tonight's show would only find one band performing and it would be the Dutch sensation After Forever. Here's a little bit about how the night went down.

After Forever: I've been fortunate enough to have had some experience and background with After Forever's music and since the first time I heard them I have been a fan. The band isn't new by any stretch of the imagination and has been around since 1995 delivering their very Melodic and often Dark Symphonic Metal. They are fronted by Soprano vocalist Floor Jansen who many might know from the works of Ayreon (another Dutch group of note). Tonight would be the bands very first time performing in NYC and this visit with Overkill would be part of the groups first ever visit to the USA. Oddly enough, as soon as the band arrived on US soil they would headline the ProgPower USA Festival as one of their first shows. The appeal in After Forever music is pretty wide because they are just such a "big" band in their overall sound. There is a healthy amount of melody going on and moments where they touch into darker territory via the use of growls and grunts on top of the crushing and powerful guitar riffs. The keyboards bring out the flourishing moments and the drumming is on the money as far as I have observed and this is what I had come to the conclusion of from only being exposed to a couple of their albums. Tonight would be a little bit of a celebration for After Forever as well, for it was not a month yet since their debut release was delivered on Nuclear Blast Records. They would leave the album as a self-titled one and having heard it already I knew the audience would be in for some thrilling music from these guys. They hit the stage like a hurricane with the opening track from their new album "Discord", and when it came to "Transitory" you could feel that they meant business from the stage. They definitely had fans in the crowd tonight but based on the looks on their faces you could tell that AF wanted to be sure that all in attendance remembered them. For the most part After Forever would kept the all too short set list focused on the new album, and I cant blame them since this was now the only album that fans could easily get their hands on. The dissolution of their previous label has caused quite a bit of problems on the bands back catalog and this is a shame since the stuff is so good. I had to admit that as much as I love catching an Overkill show a lot of my excitement was based on the After Forever appearance as well since it's always great to catch a band when they are first playing somewhere. They did not disappoint during the show and while it was a bit of a bummer that they only would deliver nine songs it really gave the audience a healthy sampling of their new record which I am confident many people made sure to buy when the show ended. From beginning to end the After Forever set was an exciting one and Floor was very cordial to the fans in the audience and I viewed some even singing along with the tunes they knew. My own favorites from the new record were still "Energize Me" and "Equally Destructive" and they sounded fantastic in the live sense. Tonight's appearance proved that this is a headlining band without any question so watch for a return trip soon and make sure you don't miss it.

Overkill: I think I have seen Overkill far too many times over the course of my life to find any disappointment with them in concert. I've always maintained that you get what you pay for when it comes to the band and I will stand by this statement for a long time to come. Their most recent album is entitled "Immortalis" and it finds the band not only going back a little to their earliest sound but also reuniting with John and Marsha Z who were instrumental during the formative years of the bands career. Now as seasoned veterans to the format they helped to launch they are a band who never has trouble selling tickets to a show, and everyone who attends knows in advance exactly what they are in store for. With this being the model for tonight's show we would be treated to some new material as well as their established classics and I have to admit I enjoyed the fact that the set would be changed up from the last time around. Lucky for us fans Overkill as not the kind of band who keeps one set list and instead choose to change it up every so often. It keeps the older tunes on the audiences mind and allows the performance to maintain fresh to the band as they deliver it. This evening would also be the second time I caught their drummer Ron Lipnicki slamming it down in the back and while I was a big Mallare fan I am happy to report that Ron has done a great job and seems to fit right in with everything that the band throws at him. The twin guitar work of Derek "The Skull" Tailer and Dave Linsk was also showing as tighter than ever and perhaps this was because I preferred the new material tonight as opposed to their last effort, or perhaps its due to their showing that they were worthy candidates to the task at hand. Which ever it was it worked and that was all that mattered to the Metal hungry crowd of B.B. King's this evening. For those who have never had the pleasure of hitting one of the bands shows they should be aware of just how crazy the audience is prone to get while the band is onstage. There are times when the action in the crowd equals and even surpasses that which is happening up on the boards. Through it all singer Bobby Blitz and bassist D.D. Verni snarl happily at that which they wrought. At this point in the bands history they are the sole remaining original members in the group. This particular venue has instituted a "no mosh" policy and remember this is more for everyone's protection since a lot of those who mosh do it like idiots who are aiming to hurt someone, but even with this in place the bodies still launched into the waiting arms of security in the photo pit. There was so much of this happening tonight that I lost count and realized that trying to tabulate such an occurrence was madness. The guys were tight as ever and always on the energetic side is Blitz, whose signature voice has grown over the years since they began while Verni proves night after night why he has influenced so many of the Thrash Metal bassists over the decades . Some of the highlights for me where the tracks "Skull & Bones" (a new one that features Lamb Of God's Randy on vocals) and the classics "Rotten To The Core", and "Wrecking Crew". Sadly, Blythe would not make a surprise appearance to share the mike with Blitz but if he did the place would have exploded more than it already was. I had no problems with the set but admit I would have liked to hear "Hello From The Gutter" but they did that last time, or perhaps even "The Years Of Decay" since that is such a great tune. The show would end with the bands favorite closer it would seem of "Fuck You" and at the songs climax Blitz dives into the moshing, and swirling bodies and causes his team a little difficulty getting him back out of there. Once again Overkill had done the job and very well, reminding us all that the Old School is by no means ancient history when the day is done.

Overall the evening was a great one with not only Overkill kicking ass as usual but for their powerful opening band After Forever who I am sure everyone who witnessed will be looking into once again. Kudos to the guys in Overkill for once again bringing around another amazing European band to their first New York City gig (Metal fans might remember that they brought Sonata Arctica on their first Big Apple jaunt). Another amusing aspect of the night was regarding the Overkill shirts for the new tour. It had their signature skull and bat wings logo and a year of origin listed along with the text "this is ours, get your own logo". This was an obvious dig into the band Avenged Sevenfold who have been using a logo that is much too similar to be a coincidence. Check out the new CD "Immortalis" when you get a chance and keep your eyes peeled for the live DVD from the Wacken Open Air Festival that was filmed last year as this is going to surface sometime in 2008.

Ken Pierce


After Forever Set List:
1. Discord
2. Transitory
3. Pledge 1
4. Monolith Of Doubt
5. Energize Me
6. Face Your Demons
7. De-Energized
8. Equally Destructive
9. Forlorn Hope


Overkill Set List:
1. New Machine
2. It Lives
3. Rotten To The Core
4. The Wait
5. Skull & Bones
6. Thanks For Nothing
7. Necroshine
8. Skullcrusher
9. Long Time
10. Hammerhead
11. Walk Through Fire
12. Wrecking Crew
13. Fuct
14. Devils In The Mist
15. Old School
16. Fatal If Swallowed
17. Elimination
18. Fuck You


Official Web site: www.wreckingcrew.com
Official Web site: www.afterforever.com



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