The Bay Area has a rich history when it comes to metal music, especially when you consider the caliber of thrash bands that have come out of the area. Exodus, Testament, Metallica, Forbidden, Vio-Lence just to name a few. On the other hand, the Floridian death metal scene has been just as important giving birth to some of the biggest death acts including Tampa Bays very own Obituary. And thus the perfect ingredients of a tour were made.
The Battle of the Bays! Where one of the biggest thrash bands goes head to head with one of the biggest death bands in a no holds barred brawl. By the end of the night, we were not quite sure who was flying the flag of victory. They often say there’s no winners in war. We’re calling bullshit on that because each and every person who walked away from this show came out a winner, including the bands themselves.
As always, there are some support bands to get through before the battle commences and in all fairness, the supports bring as much to the table as the main attraction with Australian crazies King Parrot who are clearly here to party on Tuesday and they're not afraid to show it as they bust through their viscous set and proceed to squirt water at those on the front. The set acts as a big welcome to those entering the building. "We're just happy you can understand what we’re saying" says frontman Matt young. It's noisy fun from Down under that does a great job at getting this battle started and even garners the attention of the boys in Orange Goblin of which the last song is dedicated
Heavy metallers Prong should really need little to no introduction given their rich history in the scene and for those in attendance that is just the case as there are nodding heads all around to the grove laden sound of the band. The set consisted of some well known tracks such as ‘Ultimate Authority’ which does a good job at keeping the momentum going with its galloping beat. ‘Sense of ease’ offers a thrashtastic break from the groove that's made up the better part of the set and its tempo is enough to get a few folks jumping around for sure. Ending with ‘snap your fingers, snap your neck’ allows the old school fans a moment of nostalgia as the signature drum and bass of the song fills the room right before the guitars kick in. It's a worthy end to a worthy support act.
Half way through the show and a sea of exodus T shirts appear as if from nowhere. That very same sea erupts in to maniacal thrash frenzy with the photographers having to watch their backs for the surfers that find their way to the front of the stage. The album ‘Blood In Blood’ out is well represented as front man Steve Souza introduces one of the bands favorites to play ‘Body Harvest’ The band take a moment to praise London especially the underworld "across the street" where they’ve previously enjoyed the sweaty dirty and violent atmosphere. At this point its time to visit the ‘Tempo Of The Damned’ album as they thrash their way through ‘Blacklist’ as well as ‘War Is My Shepherd’. It's really a greatest hits set and in providing this elicits a huge response from the London crowd that have made the first move in turning the Electric Ballroom into a warzone. Exodus say their goodbyes with “a see you next year with a new album” much to the delight of the fans.
It's hard to draw a conclusion as to which of the opponents the fans are here to see tonight as Obituary arrive on stage. It really is 50/50 in terms of reaction and although the sheer speed and ferocity of exodus and their thrash attack, Obituary win when it comes to the sheer amount of hair flying around both on and off the stage that swings in time to the monstrous beats to the bands songs. Tracks such as ‘chopped in half’ are obviously present along with ‘Ten Thousand Ways To Die’ which are the tracks that really kick things into gear. The band choose to end the set with ‘Slowly We Rot’ as well as the Celtic Frost cover ‘Circle Of Tyrants’ which draws the show to a close. Obituary are great tonight, better than great, having seen them at this years Brutal Assault, we knew what to expect but there’s something special about the band in a smaller environment and its clear the fans loved every second of it.