Onslaught, M-Pire of Evil - Reggie's, Chicago 3/30/12
This was a long time coming for Onslaught. They were the British thrash sensation from the 80s, who never before had a chance to play in the United States. Nearly three decades later, they finally make it happen.
The show began with variety of local bands warming up the anticipating audience. Much respect goes to Severed, Perversion, and Absconder, who did a great job, and played with real conviction and enthusiasm. All three bands showed talent, and a lot of potential.
M-Pire of Evil was a band consisting of two Venom members. Legendary guitarist, Mantas (Jeff Dunn), and bass player/vocalist, The Demolition Man (Tony Dolan) and a newly recruited drummer taking place of Antton Lant. The above mentioned duo continued as Venom back in the late 80s, and early 90s. Tony Dolan of course replacing Cronos as the front man.
M-Pire of Evil played a very intense mixture of classic Venom material from all eras, and mixed up with songs from the "Hell To The Holy" album. The Venom material was exactly what the fan base needed to hear. The reaction to such cuts as "Countess Bathory", "Die Hard," or "Black Metal" was furious. The place transformed into a mad house. These cuts have a deep history with the Chicago fans, and their influence is undeniable. In the middle of their set, the band introduced a brand new cut, "Metal Messiah," and that one just completely brought the house down. A very fine introduction of a new and exciting band!
Onslaught had big shoes to follow once M-Pire of Evil left the stage, but they did great! Once again, this was a band with a great legacy to live up to. Onslaught gained massive recognition due to their "Power From Hell", and "The Force" albums. Especially "The Force" cemented the band's reputation as one of premier thrash metal bands of the 80s. Then came a darker period, and the break up, but the band managed to put the pieces together, and worked hard to regain the respect of the fans.
Onslaught came on strong, the band was very tight. They were ready to rock, and the Chicago audience was more than ready for them. The band quickly established a very solid ground on stage, and just aired old classics combined with the newer material. Vocalist, Sy Keeler, celebrating his birthday, and singing his heart out, was in mighty fine shape. And it's great to see him back in the band he was born to front! Nige Rockett's guitar sound experienced some technical problems, but his riffing was just spectacular. He could've used more of a crunch on his guitar, but sometimes you're just too powerless in the face of technology. His playing however was uncompromisingly good.
Onslaught unleashed some great classics upon the roaring Chicago crowd. Everyone loved "Let There Be Death" or "Metal Forces" from the classic "The Force." These tunes more than withstood the test of time, and rocked as hard in 2012 as they did back in 1986. And let's not forget the new material from the excellent, "Sounds of Violence," which proved there is plenty of life left in Onslaught. When you're able to write an album this good in 2011, you know you're onto something. Onslaught might have gone through a lot, but they managed to get it together at the end of the day. And this Chicago performance certainly validated their great legacy! With the new album planned for early next year, let's hope Onslaught will visit U.S. once again!