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SODOM / Exarsis / Bio-Cancer @ An Club, Athens, Greece

SODOM / Exarsis / Bio-Cancer
in Saturday, 26 April 2014 at An Club
by Kostas Kiriakis

A rainy day, rare indeed for April, with the Greek Football Cup Final taking place in Athens at the same time, with SODOM returning to Athens after three years. Truth be told, I was afraid that the venue would be half empty because of the football match.

Turned out that my worrying was misplaced. Solidly packed right from the beginning, it all started about 21.00, with the Thrash Metal carnivores of BIO-CANCER opening the show. I was aware of those guys, and their recent releases, but never had the chance to hear them live, and in that show I felt fortunate right from the first minute their guitars screamed through the air of the club. It was a dynamite performance by this local group, stating that they are definitely not your run-of-the-mill Thrash act, craving to become a part of the big boys’ club, and eventually, if playing the cards right, they will eventually find themselves over there. Surely they earned my respect, as everybody else in the house, setting my radar on them from now on and I will sure try to catch them again live.

1. Intro
2. Ear Piercing Thrash
3. Obligated to Incest
4. Get Cancered…Now!
5. Tormenting the Innocent
6. Killing Habit
7. Backstabbed Again.
8. You Scream You Die
9. Spread the Cancer

40 minutes later rising, after setting the taking some breath of fresh air, the Thrash underground stars EXARSIS continued right on cue of where their predecessors left. Having heard them before with their old lineup, and also tuned to their latest release, I was half-convinced that this show would be a killer and curious what the new singer will bring to the table after the last one left quite a mark. Fortunately for me, EXARSIS did all this, and even more, breaking the place apart with no other than bone breaking Thrash. It was a tight-knit performance, a crazy band charging and banging the stage in every direction, and their new frontman Nick, just as insane as the rest, keeping the crowd excited as he should. A job well done guys, I really hope to keep tabs on you on a more frequent basis.

1. Intro
2. Surveillance Society
3. Toxic Terror
4. Addicting Life Waste
5. Dying Earth
6. Suicide Disorder
7. Under Destruction

After done with foreplay, which was amazing by any standards, the time came for one of the three German Thrash Metal gods, SODOM, to take the stage and devour it, condemning it to become a full blown warzone. The An Club was already packed to the walls, talk about hard to breath, but still I could muster my efforts to remain observant, they casually entered the place from the front door, throwing everyone into a complete frenzy, this straightforwardness. A little more waiting, just to keep us warm and pick up their gear, and they hit the stage amid a raving crowd bonded by blood, hailing them as the gods they are.

Right from the start SODOM grabbed us from the face with their relentless Thrash assault. Not much to say here, SODOM is really a fantastic band, and they lived up to their reputation. Through a three hour long setlist with all the fundamental classics and newer songs, several of their latest album, SODOM consumed our souls with the likes of “Agent Orange”, “Outbreak Of Evil”, “The Saw Is The Law”, constant stage divings that felt as if it was the late 80’s, mosh furious pit that just didn’t know how and when to quit. Once again Tom, the long lasting commander in chief, and Co. did what they do best, and living up to their bestial name as Thrash maniacs, they left us sprawling on the floor screaming for more.

1. My Final Bullet
2. An Eye for an Eye
3. Outbreak of Evil
4. M-16
5. Burst Command 'till War
6.  Proselytism Real
7. I Am the War
8. Iron Fist (MOTORHEAD cover)
9. Christ Passion
10. Fuck the Police
11. Among the Weirdcong
13. Stigmatized
14. Agent Orange
15. Ausgebombt
16. Into the Skies of War
17. Blasphemer
18. City of Gold
19. In War and Pieces
20. Surfin' Bird / The Saw is the Law
21. Napalm in the Morning
22. Remember the Fallen
23. Bombenhagel

Interview – Lefteris Hatziandreou (Bio-Cancer)

Right after their performance, I had the chance to have a few words with BIO-CANCER's frontman.

Hi Lefteris. Introduce BIO-CANCER to our readers.

Hi man. BIO-CANCER is a five man trash band formed in late 2010. Up to now we have released our first full length album, "Ear Piercing Thrash". After some line-up changes, now we are Antonis and Stavros on guitars, Giannis and Tomek on bass and drums respectively, and me on the vocals.

Opening for SODOM. Can you describe the experience?

SODOM is a huge band, we all love them. When I heard we'd be one of the opening acts I simply couldn't believe it! The whole experience was really awesome. The house was packed from the very beginning with an excited crowd, motivating us to perform to our fullest. A great thumbs up to all the metal-heads that came here instead the Football Cup Final.

I know you're recording your next album. How's things so far?

Yeah, currently we're working on our follow-up album, "Tormenting the Innocent", so far having recorded everything except the vocals. I hope we'll have a promo track out real soon, so far everything has worked out really well.

Putting the new album aside, any other immediate plans?

At the moment we are working exclusively on the recording. Our immediate plans, after finishing the recording and mixing/mastering process, is to promote the album the best way we can. Of course we plan to have as many live appearances as possible.

Every day I see more Metal bands emerging from Greece. What's your view on that? Is there really a Greek Metal scene?

Yes, its true that there are virtually infinite bands playing various metal styles in Greece. I think this can lead only to good things. I believe there is a Greek scene, even if there are whiners saying otherwise. When we have 200-500 people attending to concerts by Greek bands, without a big name from abroad, what more do we want? We only need hard work and patience, then the rest will follow.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I believe we've covered everything. Thanks for the interview man. And a last thing. The Greek scene has a lot to offer guys. So keep supporting your favorite bands!

Interview - Christos Poulos (Exarsis)

While waiting for SODOM, me and Christos (Exarsis’ bass player) had the chance for a little chat.

Good evening Christos. Really enjoyed the show! Tell me, were you nervous opening for a band like SODOM?

Hi Kostas, I'm glad you liked us. Opening for a big band is always a great honor. Having opened shows for bands like ANTHRAX and SEPULTURA among others, we don't have any anxiety of performing a good lead-in for a big band anymore. You could say there's the usual amount of stress before hitting the stage, since we want to please our fans, and above all make everyone have a great time. That being said, I can say with certainty that, since our first support of a big band was again for SODOM back in 2011, that time we were really anxious for that next step as a band.

To tell you the truth, I haven't heard Nick live so far. I believe he suits the band like a glove, both as a performer and a front-man.
Yeah, he's just insane with the full meaning of the word. He's really committed to working with the band, which is a big deal for us. I don't believe there's anyone better here in Greece that could step up to fill Alex's shoes, and I'm really glad Nick was at the right place the right time.

Barely over a year since you released "The Brutal State". Do you have anything planned for a new album?

After releasing "The Brutal State" we had some line-up changes, while doing some concerts here in Greece and in Cyprus for promoting the album. After making the final line-up changes we went on the European Tour. Just as we got back we started working on new songs and prepared for tonight's show at the same time. Now we are ready to devote to the new material and set a timetable for our next release.

How was the whole thing with the recent European Tour?

It was an amazing experience. The people there, from the promoters to the fans, that really respect the bands. If you haven't lived it, I really can't describe it with words. There were many rock 'n' roll moments, like the ones we see in movies! (laughs)

What's your view on metal in Greece, particularly nowadays with the austerity? Is the scene alive?

It's alive as long as people keep supporting the scene. We don't have any complaint at all from our fans. You could almost say that the whole austerity thing revitalized the Thrash movement.

Thanks for your time, anything you'd like to add?

Thanks for the interview and the positive feedback. Take care and thrash 'till death!

Interview – Tom Angelripper (Sodom)

Amazing show as always! Did you enjoy it?

Thank you. Every time you know, it’s like I told em on the stage, that’s the best crowd in Europe. It's like South America, people getting crazy, enjoying every single note. You could play in Germany, people just sit there… (grimaces and folds his arms on his chest) This is the place to be for metal.

I have seen you here in Athens every single time, and each time was just as amazing. How do you do it? What's the secret?

It's like time standing still here in Athens. It's a big metal scene, maybe not a commercial Metal scene, it's an underground Metal scene, but that's what I like you know, after all the years and all, I always enjoy it coming back here, I love it!

About the lyrical themes. What's with the war and violence?

We changed the lyrics in '87 with "Persecution Mania" because I wanted to write lyrics about the real life, you know, that's what people understand. I don't want to do that satanic occult stuff anymore, it doesn't help you, it makes you sick sometimes and all. I just want to say about war and real life, about things that really happened. I can't change any of it, but I can scream it out. There are so many satanic bands, but I don't like that, sometimes it's like a comedy, that's not the real life. Now in my age I get more serious and more interested in political things, because that's the real life.

I know you've stated in the past that you don't want to do anything political, yet many of SODOM's songs are political statements as they are.

Well, I don't have time for that (getting involved with politics). We are against violence, we are against war, we want a peaceful world, which is the message. I hope Putin never makes our songs come true. You can't change anything, but you can scream it out, you know. Now we are standing close, very close before World War III, that's what I've started writing for the next album. It's amazing; you can get so much material, so much inspiration from that. I'm really afraid of it, because I don't know if Russia is going to war this year, what's going to happen. I really don't know what the political situation is going to be like, it can change over a couple of months, it’s really distressing.

So, you're planning a new album soon?

Yes. We've started writing the songs, after we finish with the tour, I think next week, we'll start mixing on the new material. Besides that, we got an option from a record company, we're talking for a live album or maybe a DVD, I don't know yet. But that's a another option, the next album will be released next year.

What's the state of the market with the digital releases and the downloads? Is it harder now to live a musician?

Yeah. It's only the live shows. You can't live by selling records anymore, no matter the numbers, it’s just impossible. I don't get that mp3 download thing you know, illegal or not, I believe the metal fan should get the original. That's what keeps the bands alive, keeps the music alive, that's what keeps the scene alive. That's what I do. When I want something I go to the store and buy it. You know, it’s not only the musicians in this, we get a small fraction of the sales. Music is not just the music, it’s a complete product. It's the cover art, the physical copy, the packaging, and everyone wants to get paid for that, so you have to pay the price for that. I think that 20 euros for one CD is too much, it must get lower. I believe that 10 euros for a CD is ok. But you can't make a living out of it nowadays. I hope it changes someday, but you have to go to the store and buy the stuff for that to happen. But we don't mind, we just tour on. (laughs)

Have you heard anything new that you really liked?

No. (laughs) There's no new band I'm really interested in. There are a lot of good bands out there, very good musicians, young bands, playing guitar better than we did in the 80s, but it’s too much. There are hundreds of bands coming out each month, I always wonder where is the money to buy all that stuff. I get a lot of CDs, but I can't listen to them all. Sometimes I hear one or two songs, but there's no time to listen to all that. The metal scene has become too confusing. The bands have become too many. I try to keep informed all the time, every month, but there are so many things changing. The press gets more commercialized. The big bands, which are not really metal bands anymore, they pay the price. They pay the price for getting titles and all. That's the way it works. But we never mind, we just do what we want. We never look at other bands, magazines, reviews, we just go and do what we want.

Do you ever get bitter that SODOM have remained more of an underground band, while your contemporaries have reached commercial success?

You talking about KREATOR? (chuckles) The difference is that KREATOR are touring constantly. We've never done a big US/American tour. Music is not the most important thing in my life.

What's the most important thing in your life?

Doing what I want, doing what I like. Hunting, seeing my kids growing up, being together with my friends at home, that is important. It's not touring all the time of the year, every day, it never was, it never will. But if you keep touring you get bigger. The record company told me "Tom, if you get more touring, you'll get bigger". But I'll have to pay the price, the band will have to pay the price, not the record company. I enjoy every minute on the stage, I enjoy being here. But I also enjoy sitting in my home, or shooting a buck, and that gives me more sometimes. It's not the real life. It's been on the stage for two hours, having a good time, but it's not the real life. So, KREATOR, they're so big because they're touring around all the time, now they're in China, then they'll tour Australia, then they'll tour US. All the time you know. I don't want to leave my friends or my kids alone all the time. I have two kids, while Mille and Schmier for example don't have any kids, they're not married. They have other priorities, that is a big difference. I enjoy it, but I also enjoy coming back home.

Thanks for your time Tom. Anything I forgot to ask that you'd like to say to the fans and our readers?

Ah, I love you know, I really love it! I've been here so many times, and always when I come back I remember everything. If we get the chance we'll come back. We always want to come back in Greece, its a great audience, they love it. I don't know, maybe next time we should play at a bigger place. Because this time it was packed, just like last time, and we played, what, three hours? (laughs)

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Edited 29 January 2023

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