Metallica + Kvelertak@ Genting Arena, 30th October, 2017

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It’s been six years since Gods-of-rock, Metallica, graced the UK with their World Magnetic tour. Giving us one-off spectaculars by headlining such festivals as Glastonbury and Sonisphere, we finally get to indulge again with their WorldWired Tour, in support of their latest album Hardwired … To Self-Destruct.

The lights went down and the crowd roared as Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ slid out of the speakers, heralding the arrival of James Hetfield and Co. Two minutes into the gig and it’s clear Metallica are on top form, energetic and tight as ever, commanding a stage presence like no other. Following with Atlas, Rise, they had everyone on their feet, it was clear they already had the crowd in the palms of their hands.

With a new take on video screening – dozens of video cubes hanging around the stage area, showing black and white graphics one minute then flashing coloured cubes the next, with illusions that made you really believe there were people inside trying desperately to break free, reflecting the frantic mayhem of the songs.

The energetic onslaught continues with The Shortest Straw before the pace slows a little with Welcome Home (Sanitarium), with Hetfields iconic vocal rung out so effortlessly and the stamina of drummer Lars Ulrich is second to none as the night presses on. ‘Are you alive Birmingham?’ Cries Hetfield which has the stadium filled with the roar of the crowd.

The night was full of unique extras, such as drummer Lars Ulrich leaving his revolving drum kit and joining all four band members drumming on separator video cubes that had descended around the stage, showing beautiful unity amongst the chaos.

For me personally, it was when the bells chimed in for Whom The Bell Tolls that hit the special spot for me. It’s incredible seeing a band with such an iconic history and seeing how they’ve progressed and stayed present, but it’s something else to see them perform the very songs that were such an influential marker in my fathers life as well, it really makes it personal.

Another personal touch was a nod to Birmingham metal legends Black Sabbath covering War Pigs, allowing the fans to sing in full support. Not done with covers, they steamed into another Midlands link in the form of Am I Evil, from the 1970s band Diamond Head, before rounding off the main part of the show with Moth Top The Flame in tribute to the late Amy Winehouse – another beautiful touch.

“Do you want heavy? Metallica gives you heavy” shouts Hetfield before launching into Sad But True, this band really gave no signs of slowing down. Even the power-cut through One, didn’t knock the band off pace. Though happening seemingly at the perfect time during the song, you could be forgiven to think it was part of the performance. As the band remained unfazed and when the technical issues were fixed they went on with even more ferocity than before, closing the show on Master of Puppets.

They was no need for the ‘One More Song’ chant here, we all knew Metallica wouldn’t disappoint, before bursting back on stage for their encore. Although we’d just had two hours of solid heavy-rock, the atmosphere hadn’t died down nor did anyone feel tired, we all just craved more.

Spit Out The Bone, the closing track from Hardwired, which features arguably the band’s fastest riffs since their debut, opened the night back up with a burst of fire, before closing with the epic ‘Nothing Else Matters’ which had every member of the crowd singing. Ending the night, as we all knew it would, with the ever-popular ‘Enter Sandman’, a brilliant way to end such an incredible night.

It was a larger-than-life night from a larger-than-life band, true rock-royalty, still able to prove they aren’t just a name from the past, clinging to the former glory they once had – but still a force to be reckoned with.

Set-list; The Ecstasy of Gold, Hardwired Intro, Hardwired, Atlas, Rise!, Seek & Destroy, The Shortest Straw, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Now That We’re Dead, Dream No More, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Halo on Fire, Guitar Solo’s including cover of Black Sabbaths War Pig, Am I Evil?, Fuel, Moth Into Flame, Sad but True, One, Master of Puppets

Encore; Spit Out the Bone, Nothing Else Matters, Enter Sandman

 

Reviewer: Jordan Wynn

Photographer: Andy Watson

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