Thrashfest 2010

The venue where the event took place, Betong, is more or less the cellar of the building hosting a bunch of entertainment and artistic departments belonging to the Students’ Society. And the years of experience in organising various concerts there make it a good location for a metal show, since it offers a really good sound, wide space in front of the stage for moshpits and those who enjoy sweat exchange with the people around them, some tables where you can place your beer, a decently big wardrobe… mainly the right ingredients for the event.

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Mark Osegueda of Death Angel live @ Thrashfest 2010 in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / StudioRock

We heard the first band would start around 8:15, but at 8PM when we got there the doors were not open yet. Once they did, everyone stood nicely in a line and, to my surprise, by the time we got in the first band had already started. And by the fourth or fifth song it felt as if the venue was full, despite the cold on a Tuesday evening.

So, we got in on the rhythms of Suicidal Angels’ music, which, according to what we were told, was coming from their latest release, Dead again. I spent some time finding the right camera settings, so I just realised I don’t remember much of their stage presence. That is, not much apart from the long hair, black clothes, mean t-shirts, chains, studded guitar stripes, all of these in big contrast with their white sport shoes. Some people in the front seemed to be familiar with the Greeks’ music and got very active at the barricade. The music managed to get the rest of the crowd in the mood for the upcoming shows and the band got warm applause after a performance of about 40-45 minutes.

It was only natural that after we'd seen some suicidal angels, the Death Angel took the stage. I had seen the Americans this year, as headliners for the Inferno festival, and that was one hell of a performance. The one at Thrashfest was at least as good as the one in March. Some of the members have been in the band for a bit over a year and a half, and by now their chemistry on stage has improved and set the starting point for the evening’s moshpits and circles. They started with a very soft guitar intro, but there was little time for softness in their insane music that tried to promote their latest album, Relentless Retribution, without forgetting stuff from their previous 5 releases. Besides the musical skills of each band member, I feel like mentioning the very impressive headbanging performed by the vocalist and his long dreads. I also really enjoyed both the continuous interaction between band members on stage and how each of them was communicating to the crowd on their side of the stage. A moment to remember was when a member of Keep of Kalessin was invited from backstage as a friend of the band and he was given big thanks from the vocalist.

Time for more Thrash from the USA, this time Exodus, who had Kirk Hammett among its original members. I so much preferred the music of the previous band, because Exodus really exaggerates with never ending guitar solos (good guitar skills, I don’t deny that) and I’d much rather enjoy the thrash without that, only with its insane fast drums and rhythms. But I give them a big round of applause for the energy and the mood they set among the crowd. It’s not that the Norwegian crowd, static by default, wasn't quite on fire at that time, but the singer Rob Dukes kept pointing at them to make circle pits, he directed a wall of death and asked for stage divers. He even took a dive himself. It was getting really warm in front, and you would see more and more people coming in a hurry from behind to live the experience with the stage-front intensity.

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Rob Dukes of Exodus live @ Thrashfest 2010 in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / StudioRock

After some curtains were added to each side of the stage and a short check of the instruments, on a Johnny Cash song we got to applaud the appearance of the German legends Kreator, some of the pioneers of the genre. They are quite in shape after many years of activity, and still enjoy being on stage. Their show is not as intense as the previous bands when it comes to stage presence — being only 4 on stage and the vocalist also playing the guitar. But with the crowd who mainly came to see them — as many have grown up with their music — I think they could have as well just sung from backstage and would still have gotten the same response. Instead, they had a much better light show that at times was making the vocalist look really evil with his scary t-shirt (check the photos for that). With each song the music seemed to just get better and better, ending in the perfect combination of their encore — The Pestilence, Flag of Hate (for which they brought a flag on stage) and Tormentor. Pure old school thrash at the end of this mini festival was the best treat for the audience who went crazier and crazier. And finally we got to clearly see the drummer and the pace at which he hits every piece of the kit. Previously, it was either too dark or too much smoke to be able to get a glimpse of those who define the speed of the songs.

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Kreator live @ Thrashfest 2010 in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / StudioRock

All in all, it was a very successful night for thrash metal lovers and for those who wished to see their childhood idols live. During their performances, all bands thanked each other for the Thrashfest, and it’s really great to see the result of such a friendly collaboration. For those curious about the setlists, I found them on various pages, from other concerts in the tour, and I'm adding them at the end of the post. You can also find photos from the concerts at the links below:
Death Angel
Suicidal Angels

A playlist with the videos I took is here

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Crowd @ Thrashfest 2010 in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / StudioRock
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Death Angel live @ Thrashfest 2010 in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / StudioRock

Reborn In Violence
Bleeding Holocaust
Dead Again
Violent Abuse
Beggar of scorn
Final Dawn

I Chose the Sky
Claws In So Deep
…Thicker than Blood
Mistress of Pain
Relentless Revolution
Seemingly Endless Time
River of Rapture
Thrown to the Wolves

The Ballad of Leonard and Charles
Beyond the Pale
Children of a Worthless God
A Lesson In Violence
Bonded By Blood
War Is My Shepherd
The Toxic Waltz
Strike Of The Beast
Good Riddance

The Patriarch
Violent Revolution
Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
Terrible Certainty
Voices of the Dead
Enemy of God
Destroy What Destroys You
Amok Run
Endless Pain
People of the Lie
Pleasure to Kill
Coma of Souls
The Pestilence
Flag of Hate

By Andrea Chirulescu