When the first few dates started leaking for this year's Metal Crusaders Tour, I was delightfully surprised first that Cincinnati was even on the list of shows, but also that June 6, 2006 would be a day not soon forgotten as Vader invaded Southwest Ohio for the first time in years. With their new EP "The Art of War" garnering approval from the masses (including this writer), I was set to enjoy 6-6-06 in dramatic fashion with the lads from Poland. Not to mention the other bands on the lineup including Kataklysm, Graveworm, The Absence, Destruction, and Speed\Kill/Hate. This was my first time seeing all of these bands live and I could hardly wait for the show.
Unfortunately this concert started with some disappointment. The show was set to begin at 6:00 P.M. on the tickets due to the amount of bands on the bill and the fact that weekday shows have to end by 11:30 at Bogart's. So I walked at 6:00 P.M. on the dot only to find out that The Absence had just finished their set. I was extremely pissed as The Absence were one band that I couldn't wait to see after enjoying "From Your Grave" as much as I did. Would've been great to hear the title track and "Necropolis" to start off the night but hopefully I can catch them sometime this year. So Graveworm was actually the first band that I saw play. They played 3-4 off "N(U)Topia" and a few off some of their older albums that I'm not too familiar with, but overall their set was pretty good. Next up was Speed\Kill/Hate, a band that includes members of Overkill and Prong, that I had maybe heard one or two songs of but nothing that really made me anticipate them too much. Their brand of thrash metal sounded alright, but as with most thrash I just found them to be more repetitive than anything else. I will say this however, just before the last song of their set, Dave Linsk put on quite a guitar clinic. The lead vocalist started shouting out names of well-known guitarists (Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag, Kerry King, Randy Rhoads, etc.) and Linsk would play a solo by each of them and nailed them to a "t". Quite an amazing sight actually, even though I'm not the biggest fan of Overkill nor Speed\Kill/Hate, Linsk is a helluva guitarist.
Leather clad thrash metallers Destruction were next. Everyone in the joint went completely nuts for this band and rightly so. They have been one of the mainstays in the thrash community for a long time. I was happy to see them play solely for that fact alone actually as I'm not really a fan of thrash. But nevertheless, they put on a great show, with a few tracks from "Inventor of Evil", "Nailed to the Cross" and a few others of "The Antichrist", not to mention a few older tracks that I once again wasn't familiar with. But all in all, a good jolt of the best thrash in the world for Cincinnati.
Kataklysm was next and surprisingly to me, not too many in the crowd were familiar with the Canadian hyperblasters. I was floored, but that wasn't going to stop me from being ecstatic to see them play. Opening with "Like Angels Weeping", Kataklysm destroyed every band including my beloved headliner Vader on this night. They won the crowd over very quickly and we couldn't get enough of this band. "Let Them Burn", "Crippled and Broken", "Embassador of Pain", and "For All Our Sins" followed quickly after as Kataklysm blew me away. "Open Scars" and "To Reign Again" closed out the "In the Arms of Devestation" portion of the set as Kataklysm rumaged on, throwing in a few tracks from "Shadows and Dust" and "The Prophecy" to round out their set. The only thing I was disappointed about was that they didn't play my favorite track off "In the Arms of Devestation" entitled "The Road to Devastation" but oh well, still an unbelievable show. If you have never seen Kataklysm live, I would highly recommend that you do, these guys were flat out amazing.
Now it was time for Vader. My anticipation grew as the lights dimmed and "Para Bellum" crept onto the P.A. "This is the War" opened Vader's hour long venture on the stage. "Lead Us" quickly followed with "What Colour is Your Blood?" signalling the end of the newer material. Vader dove back quite a ways for this show. Playing a few off "Blood", a few off "Black to the Blind" and "Reborn in Chaos", not to mention 3-4 off thier most recent full-length "The Beast". Once again however, I didn't hear my favorite track off "The Beast" entitled "The Sea Came in Last", but still Vader, live, you can't beat that. So Vader finished up and left the stage to a roaring crowd only to come back to "Vader! Vader!" chants for an encore. Peter slides up to the mic and says "You guys having a good 6-6-06" as cheers fill the venue. Then he says "I feel blood raining from the sky", then the all too familiar riff to Slayer's "Raining Blood" grabs everyone's attention. Bogart's went absolutely ballistic. What a great way to finish out an absolutely great show from Vader not to mention Kataklysm, Destruction, Graveworm, and even Speed\Kill/Hate. 6-6-06 will live long in my memory. 'Til next time, stay brutal,