On February 12th, 2023, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, with TRIVIUM and their friends from OBITUARY and MALEVOLENCE, hit the Verti Music Hall in Berlin as part of their Deadmen and Dragons Tour.
MALEVOLENCE opened the show. The crowd was a little sleepy and since a good offense is the best defense, shouter Alex Taylor demanded the biggest circle pit of the evening – and was rewarded impressively. The guys’ current album, “Malicious Intent,” quite rightly appeared on some metal best-of lists in 2022 – the power, groove, and also melodic moments worked very well live. Konan Hall‘s grating voice in the best CROWBAR manner fired up the crowd. Despite the short set length of only 30 minutes, MALEVOLENCE should have won over at least one TRIVIUM, HSB, or OBITUARY fan that evening. This band have a lot of forward momentum right now and really seem to be making the very best of it.
The Florida death metal legends of OBITUARY played this club show in front of a nearly sold-out multi-purpose hall. They kicked off with “Redneck Stomp,” with no notable announcements. Between the songs, only the band members whispered in a low voice, then a nagged half-sentence, and then it was onwards to the next southern roller. Particularly impressive was Donald Tardy, topless but with the legendary OBITUARY camouflage cap on his long-haired head, thrashing his cymbals and skins as if “Slowly We Rot” had just been released fresh. Sure, OBITUARY didn’t deliver any breakdowns and there was no material for the next wall of death, but they did provide the music-historical foundation on which all other bands playing this evening stand with at least one toe or another.
A little later, the lights dimmed to the chorus of IRON MAIDEN‘s “Run To The Hills,” to which the audience roared along loudly. Finally, at the height of the tension, TRIVIUM welcomed the audience with the opening riff of “Rain.” Matt Heafy‘s shirt was as colorful as the stage set, which was lavishly decorated with shogun iconography. But above all, TRIVIUM brought an impressive back catalog and a lot of desire to finally present it live in front of a European audience again. The juxtaposition of sprawling and thoroughly technical thrash epics like “Amongst The Shadows & The Stones” or “The Sin And The Sentence” and catchy anthems like “Strife,” “Down from the Sky,” or “The Heart from Your Hate” live was a special triumph and ensured an incredibly dynamic show. Matt could now make the announcements almost entirely in German, which earned a lot of sympathy points.
HEAVEN SHALL BURN started rather unusually with the epic rolling “My Heart and the Ocean,” accompanied by haunting Sea Shepherd visuals. For those who liked it more uncompromising, “Bring the War Home” followed on its heels. Marcus Bischoff has had his hair nice (long) since COVID, but his shirt was blood-red and soon sweaty, as ever. In the hall, all hell broke loose from the first second. “Endzeit” triggered a wall of death in the first wave, which was not everyday business, even for HSB. But even before that, there was absolutely no respite between circle pits and a lot of pyro on songs like “Voice of the Voiceless” and “Behind a Wall of Silence.” Shortly before the end of the set, Maik Weichert, the political and intellectual heart of the band, stepped up to the microphone to say thank you and call for vigilance.