review: Kataklysm, Exhorder, Krisiun & Hatchet @ Market Hotel
Deep in the heart of Brooklyn, on a hot September night, a meeting of international, transcontinental metal was held. The ingredients were simple enough: two parts thrash, two parts death, and a supersized helping of groove. The Market Hotel, a small venue that doesn’t typically host shows like this, occupies a space right next to the platform for the Myrtle Ave J/M/Z subway stop; the trains coming and going act as a living art piece in the window behind the drum kit, adding a surrealistic touch to the stage show.
Being a tour opener is tough, especially as an underground metal band on a Monday night. That didn’t discourage San Francisco’s Hatchet, who ripped through their brand of old-school thrash at a machine-gun clip. Clearly inspired by home state heroes like Megadeth and Exodus, the foursome play tight and almost effortlessly, with guitarists Julz Ramos and Clayton Cagle trading solos like baseball cards and a lockstep rhythm section holding it down. The band has only gotten better in their decade of existence, in both musicianship and songwriting quality, and that translated seamlessly to their live show.
Forget Dolemite: the three brothers from Brazil that comprise Krisiun are true human tornados. There are no segues, no ambient passages, no acoustic interludes: this is 100% death metal, 100% of the time. Guitarist Moyses is equally adept at shredding solos as he is at writing meat hook riffs, and Max may be the most relentless blastbeat drummer on the planet. Bassist/vocalist Alex served as the perfect anchor, providing not only the voice, but the spirit of the band, profusely thanking the crowd (which steadily grew throughout the set) for coming out to support them.
Exhorder brought decades of history, struggle and perseverance with them all the way from New Orleans. The legendary thrash/groove pioneers have been recently injected with fresh blood, with Marzi Montazeri (ex-Superjoint Ritual) on lead guitar and Sasha Horn (Forbidden) behind the kit. Kyle Thomas, perhaps metal’s most underrated singer, fed off the band’s newfound energy and commanded the stage, alternating between harsh growls and soaring clean passages at the drop of a hat. Classics like “Unforgiven” and “(Cadence Of) The Dirge” meshed seamlessly with new tracks “My Time” and “Hallowed Sound”, proving Thomas and guitarist Vinnie LaBella haven’t lost a step since ’92. Thomas later remarked he wasn’t sure why people were still coming out to see Exhorder these days, but their stellar live show was more than enough proof.
Quebec’s Kataklysm play a style of grooving, melodic death metal that has seemingly fallen out of favor with many critics (and some fans) over the last decade. Ironically, their early albums – whose songs they never play live any more - are much more in line with current death metal tastes. Despite that, by the time they took the stage, Market Hotel’s room had filled out well and this crowd could not care less about trends. The set consisted of a wide swath of their 21st century output, notably 2004’s Serenity Of Fire (including fan favorite “As I Slither”) and their most recent effort, last year’s Meditations. The grand, hook-laden riffs Kataklysm specialize in are tailor-made for headbanging and fist-pumping, which coursed through the throng for the duration of the set. Concluding with the one-two punch of “Crippled & Broken” and “At The Edge Of The World”, the band sent everyone back into the muggy September night, high on riffs and the best Monday night a metal fan could ask for.
The tour continues in Reading, PA tonight (9/25) and wraps up in Worcester, MA on Thursday (9/26). A few more pics and a video from Market Hotel below...