Gig Review

Vader, One Machine
Bristol, Fleece
12th April 2016

Photo Of One Machine © Copyright Robert KnightThis was the 2nd time I had seen Overkill. I was fortunate to see the band when they played Bloodstock last year. While they provide a great set for the time they had, I just didn't get what I was expecting at the time from them.

So when I saw Overkill was playing my local venue The Fleece in Bristol. I jumped at the chance to go along and photograph a night of old school Thrash Metal, while giving my review of the night (hoping that this time round, I would get the Overkill experience I was expecting at Bloodstock).

Photo Of One Machine © Copyright Robert KnightShortly after coming out the nearby pub, soaking up all the pre gig conversations and stories that fellow fans had to tell, I made my way outside to queue up for the opening of the doors. 

While queuing, it was apparently from all the Polish accents (luckily I had done a little bit of research beforehand, of the bands supporting Overkill for the nights gig), that a very well known Polish Metal band was in town and they was supporting Overkill, that was in the form of the mighty Vader, who I will go into more detail later on.

While people started getting through the doors, the night was off to a very quick start, as soon as the first person was through the door, the first support band of the night had already taken to the stage. 

Greeting the fans as they walked through the door's was One Machine.

One Machine from London, was formed in 2008, by well know metal guitarist Steve Smyth (ex-Testament and ex-Nevermore). 

Photo Of One Machine © Copyright Robert KnightSteve is joined by Jamie Hunt on Guitar, Chris Hawkins on Vocals, Stefano Selvatico on the Bass.

 As soon as I was able to get through the door the band had already got through 3/4 of the first song, from what I could hear from outside and then entering the venue, it was a fresh and full of energy sound, with a metal groove and hook!

Once I had gotten set up and started taken photos, the fresh and full of energy sound that I heard as I was entering the venue, certain showed on stage!

One Machine played several songs for their set which included; The Final Cull, Armchair Warriors and Forewarning.

During the bands performances, I must admit I did find it difficult to photograph the band while a guitar solo from Steve Smyth was happening, soon as he blasted into a solo note, my eyes where drawn to his finger work on the fretboard (this was a highlight of the night for me), man can he nail a metal solo. 

Photo Of One Machine © Copyright Robert KnightEach member of the band put everything they had into the time they was given for their set, Chris Hawkins using every bit of the stage he could to give the fans in attendance his energy, while Jamie Hunt and Stefano Selvatico, utilising the right hand side of the stage, for their guitar and bass work! 

One Machine are a fresh and full of energy band, which came across fully in their set, I enjoyed each song they played for the show at The Fleece, which opened the proceedings for a night of Thrash! 

If the band are nearby again, I will check them out, as they are definitely a band I will keep on the radar!

After a quick stage change round, The Fleece became pretty much full with the impending arrival of Polish Death Metal legends Vader!

As the lights dimmed, the band members from Vader took their place on stage, with various shouts and yells of VADER, VADER, VADER from the crowd, my first time seeing Vader was going to be epic!

Photo Of Vader © Copyright Robert KnightVader from Poland, was formed back in 1983. The band is made up of the following members; Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek (founding member) on Guitars and Vocals, Marek "Spider" Pajak on Guitar, Tomasz "Hal" Halicki on Bass and James Stewart on Drums.

Straight off the bat, Vader are not really a Thrash band. To me they are a Death Metal band, while Thrash Metal is at my heart, I've started to get into Death Metal. 

Photo Of Vader © Copyright Robert KnightVader opened with Wings which is pretty much a "Hello, we are Vader and here is Polish Death Metal!" 

Wings, I found interesting for the fact that for so very early into the set they showed that they had one heck of a Drummer in James Stewart on the kit, the drumming in that song is something else, this pretty much set the bar for the drumming for the rest of their set, if Wings was anything to go by then double bass pedals would be a highlight of the night! 

Up next was Go To Hell from Vaders latest record Tibi Et Igni (which I recommend everyone to have a listen too). Which had a slight Thrash feel to it from the opening intro but soon went down the Death Metal riff route which after Wings, I was sold on! 

After Go To Hell was Reborn in Flames, Sothis and Carnal, which yet again mixed the Thrash with Death and I can safely say they nailed it! Each song had me blown away from the musicianship of each member playing their instruments.

Photo Of Vader © Copyright Robert KnightNext was a song I had came across, when I first thought I would have a quick intro to all things Vader, Triumph Of Death.

This song from the get go has a Thrash rhythm to it, then shortly after the chorus it takes you into a Death Metal riff and beat, which takes you on this journey of what Death Metal can bring. Once again the drumming from James Stewart on this track really puts across the Death Metal in Vader. Hearing it live, then for it to rattle your chest is a double thumbs up for me! 

Photo Of Vader © Copyright Robert KnightNext up on Vader's setlist was Come and See my Sacrifice (check this song out for its drumming!!), Cold Demons and Dark Age. 

Through-out Vader's set, Piotr and Mareks duelling guitars was like Polands answer to Slayer, every song they passed solos (finger tapping to fast and well executed fast solos) to each other and simple Thrash riffs to Death Metal riffs was spot on! Piotr's presence on stage was like a Tom Araya (Slayer), yet he was kitted out like Kerry King with metal studs and to a inverted cross hanging from his belt! 

Photo Of Vader © Copyright Robert KnightVader ended their set with the song Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead), what a song to end with for a full on set!!! 

This song started all Death Metal till it took you to the chorus which just went down a Thrash route, while the song title might not be for the faint hearted, the song alone was a great closing song for a top notch set from Vader! 

As Vader exited the stage, the near too capacity Fleece was left with ears ringing and the theme of Darth Vader from Star Wars playing, to reflect on what the Polish Legends brought to the Fleece. Soon as the first song was over I was hooked from that moment! 

Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert KnightWhile Darth Vader's theme played throughout the Fleece, the road crew for Overkill wasted no time getting the stage ready for New Jerseys Wrecking Crew! 
The lights dimmed and the crowd began chanting Overkill, Overkill. 

The grand finale of Thrash and for the night was about to hit the stage, but in the back of my mind was Overkill going to change the way I saw them and the thought of them I had after Bloodstock, was they gonna deliver the Thrash goods?

Overkill from New Jersey, USA, was formed back in 1980. Leading the Overkill assault on The Fleece's crowd is Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth on Vocals, D.D Verni on Bass, Dave Linsk on Lead Guitar, Darek "The Skull" Tailer on Rhythm Guitar and Eddy Garcia on the Drums.

As the lights went down, the opening intro on Overkills latest record XDM, came through the sound system to prepare The Fleece for the opening song Armorist!  With all the members of Overkill on the stage, bar Mr Blitz, Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert Knightwho came running on in true Thrash style, the band wasted no time in proving why they call themselves the Wrecking Crew of New Jersey! Armorist was great opening song to say "Here we are Bristol!".

With the final riffs of Armorist coming to a end, Mr Blitz took the time to welcome the crowd to Overkills first show in Bristol, with a true Mr Blitz introduction the band got into a classic Overkill track Rotten To The Core! 

Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert KnightIt was clear from the start of Rotten To The Core, that Overkills first show in Bristol wasn't going to be a normal Thrash concert, this was going to be a special night for all in attendance. At the half way point after the chorus, the first mosh pit of the night erupted, with the energy of the band, the fans gave back in some good ol'Thrash pits to the delight of the band! 

Next up on the Wrecking Crews list was Electric Rattlesnake, Hello From the Gutter and a personal favourite for me was Hammerhead. Hammerhead is just a pure smack you in the face Thrash song, to hear it live with the crowd chanting along and singing the chorus trying to match Blitz's high vocal range was a highlight of the night! 

Following from Hammerhead was the title track from Overkills debut record Feel The Fire, as the title track states, Overkill made sure everyone in the crowd felt the fire, to which the fans gave back in the way of another mosh pit of the night! 

Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert KnightOverkill had a massive set-list for the night, they brought 19 thrash songs to the stage, but in the way they delivered that setlist, was something I really thought was a great idea. They started with their latest songs bar Rotten To The Core, then took you on a time machine of Overkill thrash and went back to the old school songs, each song delivered gave the fans in attendance everything they wanted from Overkill. 

As this was Overkill's first show in Bristol, they couldn't just play a plain Thrash gig, with that in mind Mr Blitz and the rest of the band gave the fans a very special treat and after a Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert Knightlittle back story, the band played There's No Tomorrow, for the very first time since 1986. 

After some more classic Overkill tracks the band came back after a short break to close the night with Elimination and Fuck You (cover of the Subhumans song). 

During Fuck You, the mosh pit had turned into a crowd surfing machine, with several fans being carried to the stage in a true 80s thrash fashion.

As the song and Overkills time came to a close, a personally highlight of the night happened when Mr Blitz took it upon himself with a little help from the crowd, he went and did a little bit of crowd surfing, while the band carried on playing. Once Mr Blitz was back on stage the band finished off the song and Overkills time came to a close. 

The doubts that I had of Overkill at the beginning of the night and just before they came on stage, was all a thing of the past. From the time they hit the first notes and beats to the very last ones, the Wrecking Crew gave everything they had and more. D.D Verni bass playing was in your face thrash style, Dave Linsk and Photo Of Overkill © Copyright Robert KnightDerek Tailer guitar playing just gave you a thrash assault on your ears, Eddy Garcia pounding the drums ensured your chest felt every beat and Bobby Blitz Ellsworth commanding the stage and spitting out the catchy thrash lyrics of Overkill tunes that all the fans at the Fleece have come to love.

One Machine 4/5
Vader 5/5
Overkill 5/5

Review By Robert Knight


Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth
Dave Linsk
Derek Tailer
Ron Lipnicki - Drums

Latest Album - 'White Devil Armory'



Latest Album - 'Tibi Et Igni'

 One Machine

Steve Smyth
Jamie Hunt
Chris Hawkins
Stefano Selvatico

Latest Album - 'The Final Cull'

 Band Related Links
Overkill Facebook
Vader Facebook
One Machine Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?