Kreator @ HQ (Adelaide), 27 Sept 2009

From start to finish, this show was absolute gold. Aussie thrashers Mortal Sin put on a killer set and did their best to warm up the crowd for Kreator; but when Kreator hit the stage they weren't so much upstaged as seen to be in a completely different class. The German thrash gods played thrash the way it's meant to be: fast, intense, and without compromise.

Sunday night shows are always a bit hit-and-miss in Adelaide, regardless of whether they're all ages or 18+ shows. Being a fucking cold and wet night, with the Kreator gig just one of a huge amount of international acts hitting the town between now and December, I was a little bit skeptical of a large turn-out.

Well, I was right to be skeptical. HQ was far from full; in fact, I'd go so far as to say it wasn't even half full. Of those who did, a huge number had already had a big weekend and large amounts of them were still hungover from Saturday night's shenanigans. With all of these factors, then, it's probably not surprising that people were a little bit subdued, and that the crowd took a while to warm up.

Hitting the venue at nearly dead on eight, we arrived to find that they weren't yet letting people in. In fact, our photographer, Foss, who rocked up in reinforced boots nearly didn't get in at all. The venue has a limited dress code, we discovered: no reinforced boots and no singlets. For those who don't know it, HQ is usually a nightclub filled with the type who like to dance, and while the club is great for metal shows, they are actually few and far between there these days. By virtue of him being an official photog, and the security being cool enough, they let him in, with a cautionary, 'no mosh alright, mate, so don't jump in there even if you get excited'. However, being advised that there was a media pit between the crowd and the stage, being debarred from the mosh wasn't exactly going to be a big deal.

Except, there was no media pit. It didn't matter in the end, anyway. He got in, security inside couldn't have cared less about whether he was in with everyone else or not, and everything turned out ok.

Rocking up at the stated doors-opening time is normally enough time for a Sunday show for you to get in, grab a beer, go out for a smoke, and then run inside for the support act(s). But, there being just two bands: Mortal Sin and Kreator, we had a full hour to chill (damn near literally, given that we were out the back for most of it) and catch up with people before heading inside.

Last time I saw Mortal Sin was in 2005 (I think?) when they supported Anthrax, in this very same venue. I wasn't impressed with them then, and so was hoping they could redeem themselves this time around. Don't get me wrong, Mayhemic Destruction ranks amongst my all-time favourite albums. It's just that last time was on the eve of their release of An Absence of Faith and from memory, most of what they played was 'new' material. Most of what is on An Absence of Faith I found (and still find) disappointing.

So, it is with great pleasure that I witnessed Mortal Sin at this show: they played a stack of old-school material – including Lebanon; Mayhemic Destruction; Blood, Death, Hatred – and the material they played from An Absence of Faith was, while not exactly in the same vein, executed far better than last time. The previews of tracks from the band's forthcoming release, which is due out in 2010, appear to show a hearkening back to earlier Mortal Sin days; from my perspective at least, this is a good thing. And it's about time these guys jumped in on the wave of the thrash revival! I was worried that they were going to miss it.

Mortal Sin played a great set. However, the crowd were still subdued, despite frontman Mat Maurer and bassist Andy Eftichou doing their best to get people moving. There's one thing about an Adelaide crowd that must really be frustrating as hell for some bands, and that's that it's difficult to get a response out of. In fact, it wasn't until Maurer pulled the, 'Kreator are watching this' card that there was a decent roar of appreciation.

Still, I got into it. Mortal Sin disappointed me last time, but definitely not this time; and if their new album is as good as the material they played tonight, then I can't wait to get my hands on it.

After a fairly sizeable interlude, Kreator eventually hit the stage with the title track off their latest release, Hordes of Chaos. These guys thrashed through a killer set, in the way that only Kreator can. I missed these guys last time they played here, for whatever reason, so unfortunately I don't have a comparison for you. From what I've heard, though, the performance this time was comparable. Some of the tracks I managed to scrawl down included Pleasure to Kill, Flag of Hate, Enemy of God, Violent Revolution, Betrayer, Extreme Aggression, Phobia.... and so it went on.

Blasting their way through material from as far back as 1985, through to their latest release, Kreator put on a damn fine show. Frontman Mille Petrozza, aggressive, amusing, and appearing slightly pissed at the mostly lukewarm audience, did his fucking damndest to get people moving. What a fucking showman. Honestly, so many bands could take a lot of tips from how Petrozza works on stage.

And he won out in the end: most people went hard for most of the set. But when Petrozza told us that they'd be back in 2010, the screams of appreciation had to be heard to be believed.

Stand-in drummer, Marco Minnemann, who as our Sydney reviewer noted in his review, brought a new level of precision and execution to the role, didn't disappoint. His extended drum solo proved this without a doubt. The solo was something that really hit the spot with the Adelaide crowd: it had people going bananas – screams of 'fuuuuuck yeeeeeahhh' from up the back, people next to me going 'this guy is off the hook', and tens of phones and cameras were pulled out to capture the moment. It was a long drum solo, every bit of it appreciated by every single person who was there. Yes, that's a huge generalisation, but the reception it received was incredibly warm.

And happily, as is often the case at HQ, the sound was really good. It makes a nice change to be at a gig where the mix is excellent and far from being muddy. Kudos to whoever worked the desk, you did a fucking great job.

While it may be debatable as to whether Kreator played a full 80 minutes as promised, it didn't really matter, because it was gold from start to finish. In fact, it was really quite so good that at the moment - writing this after the show - I'm a little bit beyond words. I wrote, way back in March this year, that Death Angel played what looked like the set of the year. For sheer energy they totally win out, but Kreator, in my opinion, are still sitting on the podium alongside those guys. Each set was absolutely top of the line, just in different ways. And I'm not going to play "let's choose the best of the year". Not yet, at least.

The most poignant moment in the show, however, was the old footage playing across the screen behind Kreator - of old posters, of shows from the 80s, of thrash back in the day when these guys were young and thrash was in its golden era. If it did nothing else, it highlighted to you just how long Kreator have been playing for. Seeing Kreator on stage, though, you realise that there is a fountain of youth. And that fountain is metaaaaaaaallll.

Let's hope these guys keep to their word and come back again in 2010 – because if you missed it this time, you really don't want to miss out next time. One phrase sums up this show: fucking awesome. I can't wait to see 'em again.