It is a wet, cold and gray February day, when fans of extreme metal gather at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle and four bands are on the agenda tonight – Heaven Shall Burn, Trivium, Obituary and Malevolence.
Patiently and with a beer or two, fans wait until the doors to the Sporthalle open and at 5:30pm the time has come. Slowly and steadily the fans flow inside and so the venue is already well filled when the five Brits, also known as Malevolence; enter the stage. With their very groove-oriented metal five guys are the ideal opener. Immediately there is action in the room and also on stage everyone is active. The starting point for an energetic level is set here, which will continuously increase during the evening. The center of the 30-minute set is frontman Alex Taylor, who doesn’t miss the opportunity to take a quick dive into the crowd by simply entering the pit and then jumping into the audience. All in all it can be noted that Malevolence did a good job and surely gained one or two new fans.
Obituary are always an elemental force on stage and that they have to be the second band this evening is understandable and yet also a bit of a pity. With 45 minutes playing time the guys still have the chance to present the fantastic songs of the new album. ‘Dying of Everything’ and especially ‘The Wrong Time’ are welcomed enthusiastically and of course the closing ‘I’m in Pain’ has to be on the setlist too. Overall, the guys from Tampa focus on the more recent albums, which means that we don’t get any songs from ‘Slowly We Rot’ and ‘Cause of Death’ performed tonight. Instead Obituary include with ‘Circle of the Tyrant’ a Celtic Frost homage.
And of course nothing goes with Obituary without smoke. Right at the beginning when the first riffs of ‘Redneck Stomp’ rock the house the whole stage is covered in thick fog and only slowly you get to see the five guys. Obituary, that is down-to-earth death metal, driven by passion, experience and an irrepressible will to put the maximum into their shows.
After Obituary really got fans into a great mood, everyone deserves a beer before Trivium start their set, framed by an Asian-inspired stage scenery. In contrast to Obituary, Trivium focus more on the older songs. So Matt Heafy and bandmates start with ‘Rain’ from the ‘Ascendancy’ album from 2005. With ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr’ and ‘Like Light to the Flies’ two more songs from the second album are played, the latter with support from Josh Bains from Malevolence.
With Trivium, as usual, there is not only good music, but also an entertaining show on the agenda. Matt Heafy shows all his entertainer talent and also animates the audience with his announcements, often in German, gestures and facial expressions. And more than once we hear him saying “You’re fucking wunderbar”.
It is also no coincidence that Heaven Shall Burn and Trivium are co-headlining this tour, because for both bands this year is a kind of anniversary year. It was in 2003 when Trivium, at that time quite unknown, came to Germany for the first time to perform at the Conspiracy Festival in Saalfeld. Also in the festival line-up were Heaven Shall Burn. This was 20 years ago and since then the contact between the bands has never broken. Therefore it is only logical that Alex Dietz comes on stage for ‘In Waves’ to support Trivium with rich riff power.
Trivium tonight, that means a metal party with circle pit, crowd surfing and a lot of riff power.
Slowly we approach the climax of the evening. Heaven Shall Burn are about to start and the curtain, covering the stage, adds to the tension. At 21:45 sharp the curtain falls, accompanied by a loud blast from the confetti cannon. What follows are almost 1.5 hours of finest metalcore. Heaven Shall Burn leave nothing to chance and start their set with full force. As with Trivium, the security in the pit has to do their best to handle all the crowdsurfers. Up to three crowdsurfers arrive in front of the stage at the same time. In addition, an almost continuous circle pit is underway and the atmosphere in the hall is approaching its boiling point. Despite all the wildness, everyone takes care of each other and if it does get a little too wild, then it’s frontman Marcus Bischoff who points out to watch out for the fans in the front row and not to push too hard to the front.
With more than 6,000 fans, the Sporthalle is almost sold out and thus the biggest show on the current tour. But does that also apply to the atmosphere? Of course. Animated by Bischoff the whole place gets into action, no matter if in front of the stage or on the stands. A mega circle pit develops that embraces almost the whole hall and takes its turn behind the mixing desk.
Slowly it gets really hot in the sports hall, which is not only due to the massive pyro. Thousands of voices sing along with “We are the final resistance” after the well-known intro announces with ‘Endzeit’ a classic.
Heaven Shall Burn are a real musical wrecking ball tonight. The power of this concert still resonates for a long time and even on the way home the one or other hymn still echoes.
Setlist Heaven Shall Burn
- My Heart and the Ocean
- Bring the War Home
- Voice of the Voiceless
- Hunters Will Be Hunted
- Whatever It May Take
- March of Retribution
- Thoughts and Prayers
- Behind a Wall of Silence
- Profane Believers
- Black Tears (Edge of Sanity cover)
- Numbing the Pain
- Inception of the End
- Pillars of Serpents
- Like Light to the Flies
- The Defiant
- Down From the Sky
- Like a Sword Over Damocles
- To the Rats
- The Heart from Your Hate
- Capsizing the Sea
- In Waves
- Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
- Redneck Stomp
- Sentence Day
- A Lesson in Vengeance
- Visions in My Head
- The Wrong Time
- Don’t Care
- Circle of the Tyrants(Celtic Frost cover)
- Dying of Everything
- I’m in Pain
Location: Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Date: February 11th, 2023
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