Gig report: Kataklysm, Soilwork, Horizon Ignited – Zagreb, Croatia, 22.04.2023

Gig report: Kataklysm, Soilwork, Horizon Ignited – Zagreb, Croatia, 22.04.2023

- in Reviews

This report is for all the guys in the first row who smoked during Soilwork. What happened? Read on!

To be brutally honest, these kinds of gigs I usually avoid. Kataklysm was one of those bands that you like in your younger years, especially when albums like Shadows and Dust and Serenity in Fire were all the rage. The last few albums, besides several songs, are very much Kataklysm on an autopilot snore fest in league with several other bands that share the same label.

Nevertheless, anyone who saw their impressive DVD documentary named Iron Will knows very well that they shed their blood and tears to get where they are now. It’s a true example of sheer will and determination. Even if you are not a fan of the band, it’s still a strong recommendation. Solely by that documentary, the guys have my respect.

As for Soilwork, I completely missed that train and stayed under my radar until the last two weeks where I needed to do my homework and see what the fuss was all about. Honestly, I was lukewarm pretty much through their whole discography. I’ve heard way better melodic death metal albums than theirs, and their new sound is really not my thing. I can always appreciate the musicianship, and certainly way more thought and skill went into writing their newer albums than Kataklysm‘s recent catalog.

Back to the gig; as usual, the first band opened at 19:00 Eastern Standard Time. The band was the Finnish Horizon Ignited who, to my knowledge, was a last-minute replacement for the initial band that dropped out. Nevertheless, they fitted right in like it was meant to be. The sound was quieter (which is not uncommon for support bands) but quite good. You can hear pretty much everything, especially the bass. The vocalist Okko switched from extreme to clean vocals with little effort. Again, this kind of “melodic death metal” is not my thing, but still, you can appreciate the musicianship and skill put on by the entire band. Funny enough, they seem to be the most versatile band of the night.

The thing I liked the most about them was that there was little pretense. They know they are a support band, and 98% of the audience came to see either Soilwork or Kataklysm. Nevertheless, the band gave it their all during their 45 minutes, having fun on stage, being cool with the audience, which was solidly filling up the club Boogaloo.

After them, the mass equipment switch was on its way. The massive full drums sets with one being replaced by the keyboards, decorations, guitar checks… If you sell their entire equipment, you could pull the Balkans out of recession immediately.

After a 10-minute delay, the intro kicked in and the gang of mixed countries got on stage, as Bjorn later mentioned. Like I said before, Soilwork is not really my bottle of Jack Daniels, but boy do they sound great live, objectively speaking. I planned to sit out in the back and watch the performance, but my ignorant ass somehow got in the first row. It was that good. They started with Övergivenheten, and pretty much the whole setlist was flooded with material from the last album with picks from a less recent catalog that I could really care less about. Despite that, if the band were more professional musically speaking, we would have robots on stage. Speaking of professionalism, during the latter half of the setlist, out of the blue, Bjorn started telling the audience in the front row who smoked to get in the back. I was in the front row, and maybe I saw two guys smoked a cigarette one or two times. Keep in mind that there is a fair distance between us and him, unless someone pulled out a big Indian pipe and sent long-distance signals to the other tribe. So dear Bjorn, if you want to sing in areas where there are no smokers in your distance, I suggest you do a tour in abortion clinics. They don’t smoke there, as far as I know. Despite the alleged smoke that brings destruction to his vocal cords, Bjorn is everything you hear on the studio albums, and he is nailing it.

1. Övergivenheten
2. This Momentary Bliss
3. Stabbing the Drama
4. The Living Infinite I
5. Is It in Your Darkness
6. Electric Again
7. The Living Infinite II
8. Bastard Chain
9. Valleys of Gloam
10. The Nurturing Glance
11. Harvest Spine
12. Death Diviner
13. The Ride Majestic
14. Arrival
15. Nerve
16. Stålfågel

So the last band of the night I was waiting to see was Kataklysm. After a complete equipment overhaul, the intro started, and the song “Push the Venom” kicked in, one of the better songs of the newer material. Now, I can bitch about their newer catalog for lacking their edge, but live, those songs kick ass, although after some time, they very much sound the same. The sound was amazing on the two previous bands, and so was the same for Kataklysm. Maurizio on the vocals sounded great, and the same goes for his audience contact. It’s very obvious that he can do all this in his sleep. Even if they played a terrible setlist, he would get you pumped up for it. Nevertheless, the real hell started when they played “Where the Enemy Sleeps” of Shadows and Dust release. The same goes for “To Reign Again,” “Crippled & Broken,” “As I Slither,” and, of course, “In Shadows & Dust.” The intro from Gladiator certainly got the biggest cheer of the night. In summation, this is an example that you don’t have to be 100% into certain bands but still appreciate the performance. This was Soilwork and Kataklysm at their peak, whether you like their previous albums or not.

1. Push the Venom
2. Guillotine
3. Narcissist
4. Underneath the Scars
5. Where the Enemy Sleeps…
6. Manipulator of Souls
7. To Reign Again
8. The Killshot
9. Outsider
10. Crippled & Broken
11. At the Edge of the World
12. As I Slither
13. Taking the World by Storm
14. In Shadows & Dust
15. The Black Sheep
16. Blood in Heaven

Photo report is HERE.

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