CONCERT REVIEW: Destruction – Whiplash – Enforcer – Crisix Live at KK’s Steel Mill


There’s an A4 sized piece of paper gaffer taped to the wall inside KK’s Steel Mill tonight.



A sign that, to everyday folk, might seem a little worrying but to everyone congregated here on this cold October evening, it’s positively reassuring. The world might be in a horrible state currently but at least some things can be relied upon. The mood in the venue is positive, the drinks are flowing and even the merchandise stand is selling their wares at affordable prices. It’s going to be a good night.

Or at least it would have been if not for heavy traffic and earlier than usual doors meaning I missed opening act, Spanish thrashers Crisix. And after speaking to people and overhearing conversations at the bar, it seems I really did need to be cursing my luck as the general consensus was that they did a great job.

Thankfully, I did arrive in time for Swedish trad/glam act Enforcer who get the decent sized crowd banging their heads to the likes of ‘Destroyer’, ‘From Beyond’ and ‘Coming Alive’ among others. Vocalist Olof Wikstrand commands his audience well while guitarist Jonathan Nordwall prowls the stage with his mighty Mantas from Venom meets 1980s porn star moustache, the band blasting through an extended ‘Take Me Out of This Nightmare’, followed by closer ‘Midnight Vice’ and even finding time for a brief drum solo.

Added to the bill after Canadian veterans Razor were forced to pull out due to health issues, New Jersey thrashers Whiplash fill the void perfectly. Consisting of just one founder member these days, frontman Tony Portaro is joined on this tour by former Razor drummer Rider Ripperson and the magnificently moustachioed Will Winton from Thanatotic Desire on bass. Getting straight into it, Portaro’s distorted guitar tone literally seems to be ripping the speakers from the inside out as they tear into opener ‘Last Man Alive’. As expected, the band cover material mostly from their first couple of albums but also include ‘Killing on Monroe Street’ from 1998’s Thrashback (Massacre), ‘Insult to Injury’  from the 1989 album of the same name, and 2013 comeback single ‘Sword Meet Skull, Skull Meet Sword’. But it’s the classics most people are here for and nobody goes home disappointed after ‘Stage Dive, ‘Red Bomb’, ‘Spit on Your Grave’, and ‘Power Thrashing Death’ plus, of course, ‘The Burning of Atlanta’ and ‘Walk the Plank’. Along with his quirky crowd banter and overhand fretting technique, Portaro’s beard might be Santa Claus white these days but you certainly can’t doubt his energy.


With necks nicely warmed up, the lights go down and the intro to ‘Curse The Gods’ starts playing, heralding the entrance of German thrash legends Destruction. Promptly taking the place apart, a circle pit breaks out straight away and for the next hour and a half, people are throwing each other around the room to the likes of ‘Death Trap’, ‘Antichrist’, ‘Eternal Ban’, ‘Tormentor’, Thrash Attack’ and a particularly savage ‘Nailed to the Cross’.

Not only smashing out the classic ‘Mad Butcher’ with maximum aggression but also its equally vicious sequel, ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’, more classics arrive in the shape of ‘Life without Sense’, ‘Release From Agony’ and predictably brutal closer ‘Bestial Invasion’ plus a punishing encore consisting of ‘Diabolical’, ‘Total Desaster’ and ‘Thrash ‘Til Death’.

With drum and guitar solos breaking things up a little, Destruction frontman Schmier cuts an imposing figure, all six feet of him shrouded in shadow for the most part, covered entirely in sweaty hair, denim, leather and studs. Sometimes all at once. It’s only towards the end when the snarls disappear for a moment or two, replaced by a warm smile as he applauds the venue and thanks the fans for their support, showing just how happy he is that the band has made it to their 40th year.

After handing out all the usual plectrums and set lists, the band leave the stage to the strains of ‘Strangers in the Night’ by Frank Sinatra, everyone filing out of the door with bruised limbs, sore heads and many shouts of, “how good was that?!”


Very fucking good.

That’s how good.


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