Teutonic Terror Attack Tears Through Hollywood

By Avinash Mittur

September 26th 2012, The Avalon, Hollywood CA: For most fans, Kreator or Accept alone are reason enough to go out and pay good money for a night of German heavy metal. For the last few weeks though, the two titans have joined forces for the “Teutonic Terror Attack” tour and have been slaying audiences all across North America. I managed to catch their stop in Hollywood at the Avalon, and was treated to full night of absolutely top-notch heavy metal from the German veterans. Though I’ve seen both bands before, I was more than happy to come out to Hollywood on a Wednesday night to catch the two play headlining sets for scores of rabid Southern California metalheads.

I entered the venue about halfway through Swallow the Sun’s opening set. Sadly, the gothic and doomy style of death metal played by the group frankly proved an ill fit for the rest of the show. While guitarists Juha Raivio and Markus Jämsen and keyboardist Aleksi Munter banged their heads frequently enough, the band’s vocalist Mikko Kotamäk hardly moved a muscle onstage and actually looked a little bored. As for the music, it just didn’t gel well with that of Accept or Kreator one bit. The anthemic classic metal of Accept and Kreator’s neck-breaking thrash stood in stark contrast to Swallow the Sun’s slow, lurching death metal. This was a satisfactory set by a talented band, but they just didn’t belong on this tour.

After a short wait, the intro to “Hung Drawn and Quartered” began to play over the PA and Accept came out to deliver an extremely tight and crushing 75 minute set filled with a near-perfect balance of new and old material. I had last seen the band some time ago on their headlining tour in support of “Blood of the Nations.” It’s tough to compare the two performances in a fair light- the prior show saw Accept performing a two hour set filled with rare tracks, fan favorites, the warhorses and plenty of new songs while this set was split evenly between new material and their absolute classics.  When it came to the band’s performance however, Accept actually managed to top themselves. They were already a fierce live unit a year ago, but the band seemed just a little bit more active, a little bit more energetic and just a bit more alive this time around. It would be easy to say that this was because drummer Stefan Schwarzmann decided not to play to a click on this tour, but I know that everyone in the band gave their A-game and then some at this show. Guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes, the two longest serving members of Accept, couldn’t help but offer wide grins for the entire set and ran about like they were youngsters all over again. It’s obvious that these two were having the time of their lives, and seeing that really elevated the set to another level.

Guitarist Herman Frank and singer Mark Tornillo were not to be outdone however, and both turned in perfect shows even if their stage presence was a bit more subdued compared to that of Wolf and Peter. Herman also sported a big smile throughout the entire set and made sure to line up with Wolf whenever the two had a harmonized solo, while Mark once again proved why he is the best thing to happen to Accept in twenty years. The man doesn’t sound a lot like Udo, but he really doesn’t need to. His raspy whiskey-stained wail adds an American metal sound to the band’s European melodies that I think makes their classics sound even better than before. The man gave an ace performance this night, and once again made me wonder what size nails he had to gargle to be able to sing that great. As for the new songs, I’m really happy that Accept played so many from both “Stalingrad” and “Blood of the Nations,” but I feel that having them comprise half of the set may have just been a little much. The set was very well composed for 75 minutes, but dropping just one or two new songs for a couple of rarely performed tracks would have made it perfect. Accept hardly took breaks between tracks though, and wasted literally no time (their setlist adds up to a little over what they actually played for!). The band cut down some of the sing-a-long bits from the last tour to accommodate the short time, and didn’t waste any space on lame solo bits. The sound was also completely perfect for the entire set- no matter where one was in the Avalon, every instrument could be heard clearly. For me, the new songs from “Stalingrad” were what I most excited for. Out of those, “Hung Drawn and Quartered” and “Shadow Soldiers” were my favorites, but there’s nothing that can compare to the seizure-like fit of joy I get into when “Fast as a Shark” is played- a fit that can only be alleviated by a few rounds in the pit.  Accept delivered a stunning set that was sure to have pleased every fan in attendance, and even though the four songs from “Stalingrad” were the only tracks I hadn’t heard live before, I still loved every one of Accept’s 75 minutes onstage.

Accept Set List:
1. Hung, Drawn and Quartered
2. Hellfire
3. Restless and Wild
4. Losers and Winners
5. Stalingrad
6. Shadow Soldiers
7. Pandemic
8. Breaker
9. Bucket Full of Hate
10. Princess of the Dawn
11. Up to the Limit
12. Metal Heart
13. Teutonic Terror
14. Fast as a Shark
15. Balls to the Wall

The final act on this short but insanely stacked bill was my all-time favorite thrash band, Kreator. I had also seen them on their last US tour but like Accept, Kreator trounced their prior performance. Guitarist and vocalist Mille Petrozza seemed to take a cue from his fellow German thrashers Destruction and set up additional vocal mics to the sides of Ventor’s drum kit. Having him run about the stage and occasionally onto the drum riser to sing on the other mics made the visual component of the set all the more dynamic and exciting. On the whole, Kreator were much more energetic than the last time I saw them. Mille, guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö and bassist Christian Giesler were much more active onstage at this show than the one I caught at Slim’s in San Francisco two years ago. In addition to being much more active, Mille’s vocals were much more potent and ferocious compared to the last tour. Two years ago his vocals sounded worn and weathered, but this time he gave a commanding performance with every rough-hewn chorus belted out with full conviction and authority. Ventor gave an amazing show on the drums, tightening the older songs with superior performances and nailing his recent parts perfectly. While I enjoyed hearing the rare songs played on the last tour, I was much happier to hear the classics and newer songs performed at a much higher level this time around. Even though many reports from this tour have complained about substandard sound, the band sounded great at the Avalon. Mille and Sami’s solos cut through with ease and there were no issues with hearing the vocals. If I had a complaint, it’s that Christian’s bass was tough to pick out in the mix, but the sound was otherwise perfectly fine.

Though I personally love “Phantom Antichrist,” the rest of the crowd didn’t seem to enjoy readings of the title track and “From Flood into Fire” as the opening songs. When the band burst into the opening riff of “Enemy of God” however, the Avalon exploded and the audience maintained their energy for the rest of the set. I was really happy to hear my favorite song from the new album “Civilization Collapse” played but getting to hear live classics like “Voices of the Dead” and “Betrayer” was even better. The crowd also reacted wildly to “Endless Pain,” which made a return from the last tour. This time, the band performed the full song and Mille used the breaks in it to engage the crowd. I was happy with the setlist over all, but not playing a single song from an album as stunning and monolithic as “Terrible Certainty” should be against the law. The balance between old and new songs was still very solid though. Teasing the first minute of “Coma of Souls” was probably the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen a band do onstage however. The pit was in full force for nearly all of the set, and Mille seemed to appreciate it, constantly thanking the crowd. He even made sure to acknowledge the fans that came up from south of the border by holding up their flags made just for the show. In this reviewer’s opinion, Kreator managed to live up to the lofty standard set by Accept and gave Hollywood a show worthy of their time and money.

Kreator Set List:
Mars Mantra
1. Phantom Antichrist
2. From Flood Into Fire
3. Enemy Of God
4. Phobia
5. Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue To The Elite)
6. Civilization Collapse
7. Voices Of The Dead
8. Extreme Aggression
9. People Of The Lie
10. Death To The World
11. Coma Of Souls Intro/Endless Pain
12. Pleasure To Kill
13. Betrayer
The Patriarch
14. Violent Revolution
15. Flag Of Hate/Tormentor

The Avalon asked $40 per ticket at this show and I feel that fans received every dollar’s worth out of this concert. Normally I would complain about the headline sets being shorter than 90 minutes, but I feel that two outstanding 75 minute sets were more than enough for the attendees. Though Swallow the Sun was a bad choice of an opener, the show was still a wonderful time for everyone involved and I absolutely encourage everyone who can to attend the remaining dates of the “Teutonic Terror Attack” tour.

Overall gig rating: 9/10

Related: Kreator video interview | Kreator photos | Accept photos | Kreator photos (El Paso gig)