Onslaught + Beholder + Anihilated, The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin, November 5th 2016

this tour is firmly focused on that seminal album released thirty years ago, and fans are excited to hear it played live in its entirety....


Words by Alan Daly

© Olga Kuzmenko

Photos by Olga Kuzmenko



Walking into the Voodoo Lounge a few minutes after the scheduled stage time for the first band of the night, we are met with an eerie silence. As we feared, the aftermath of the expensive Halloween holiday weekend and an autumn crammed with touring bands have apparently stretched the budget of Dublin metal fans that little bit too far. Coupled with a clashing rugby match in which Ireland astonishingly beat the New Zealand All-Blacks, it looks like tonight’s show is going to be even more intimate than most. Good for us!

The first band in tonight’s British metal extravaganza is Anihilated, and despite the sparse crowd before them, proceed to deliver a heavy thirty-minute set as if performing in front of a sell-out audience. The four-piece, all clad in matching metal-patch-emblazoned vests, serve up a feast of galloping riffs and thundering drums with their punk thrash style. Originally formed in 1981, the band has a loyal fanbase in the UK, but sad to say, the audience here do not appear familiar with their material. Those gathered show their appreciation with approving head-nodding and applause, and by the third track, ‘They lie we die’, they seem to be more active.


Anihilated Setlist:

1. Death to the Deviant
2. Seas of Red
3. They lie we die
4. Chase the Dragon
5. Somewhere Underneath
6. Anti Social Engineering
7. Scorched Earth Policy
8. Blood of the Martyr
9. We are Legion

Next up are Beholder, a self-professed must-hear for fans of true traditional progressive thrash metal. Frontman Simon Hall is more familiar to us as the man to makes metal dreams come true at the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses battle of the band’s contest each year and a tireless Bloodstock crew member. Indeed, as the band is sound-checking, Simon assumes the role of stage manager, before transforming a la Jekyll and Hyde into his alter ego as venomous vocalist for Beholder. Hall is under no illusion regarding the attendance at tonight’s show and nonchalantly directs the audience to “bring it in” as the foot-stomping opening track ‘Frozen Steps of Utoya’ kicks their now-in-reach asses. The majority of the setlist is taken from their brand new release Reflections, except for ‘Razorline’ taken from their 2009 first full-length album The Order of Chaos.

Hall is his usual jovial self and imitates those standing idly with hands in their pockets, while at the same time taking his vocal duties with utmost dedication. There is definitely fans in the crowd, spotted mouthing the lyrics in unison and the band seem genuinely humbled by their appreciation. Wrapping up the set with ‘Speak to Me’, Hall informs them that the track is dedicated to old school headbanging, and sure enough the fans oblige.


Beholder Setlist:

Frozen Steps of Utoya
I. Machine
Here I Stand
Breathe in the Silence
My Revolution
Razorline (On the Edge of Insanity)
Speak to me.

Tonight’s headliners began their careers as a British hardcore punk band in 1982, quickly evolving into old school thrash metal and recording classic album The Force in the golden year of thrash, 1986. After disbanding for over a decade, Onslaught regrouped in 2005 and have gone on to record no less than three new albums. But this tour is firmly focused on that seminal album released thirty years ago, and fans are excited to hear it played live in its entirety.

A backdrop featuring the artwork from their latest offering VI takes up most of the back wall and two large banners bearing the “666” logo flank the drum kit leaving little room for the quintet to perform. Air raid sirens herald the beginning of the onslaught and the opening riffs of ‘Let There Be Death’ draw the now respectable crowd to the front of the stage like moths to the flame. Founding member and lead guitarist Nige Rocket shreds the blistering intro solo before long-time vocalist Sy Keeler joins his bandmates onstage in time to scream the lyrics.

“It’s an honor to be back”, Keeler proudly announces, noting that it is also thirty years since Onslaught first played in Dublin, and the entire band is visibly reveling in the experience, regularly making physical contact with the fans. The first seven tracks are no surprise to the initiated, with The Force being performed in its original sequence, and the classic thrash tracks sounding incredibly sharp. Calls for a pit are willingly obeyed as a handful of denim-clad moshers let it loose in the small floor space in front of the stage.

Once the final riffs of ‘Thrash Till the Death’ ring out, Keeler promises some “new shit” from 2007 and a song about ‘Killing Peace’ which sees the audience chanting along with the memorable line “Spitting blood in the face of God”. Pits and crowd-surfing ensue, and the band actively encourage the willing stage invaders and stage diving.

The latter part of the show features half a dozen tracks ranging from ’66 Fucking 6′ from their 2013 album VI all the way back to the surprise encore duo of ‘Power From Hell’ and ‘Thermonuclear Devastation’ from their debut studio album recorded in 1984. Wrapping up, they promise to return to Dublin next year with a brand new album, before gladly signing autographs and mingling with their fans. Undoubtedly a treat for those who turned out tonight for this intimate performance.


Onslaught Setlist:

Let There Be Death
Metal Forces
Fight With the Beast
Flame of the Antichrist
Contract in Blood
Thrash Till the Death
Killing Peace
The Sound of Violence
Destroyer of Worlds
Power From Hell
Thermonuclear Devastation

Tell Us How You Feel


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