For roughly 1,000 metalheads, the weekend already hit a high point as the Decibel Magazine tour featuring Kreator, Obituary, Midnight and Horrendous descended upon New York City's Irving Plaza on Friday, April 14. The sign above the entrance read "Sold Out" as fans lined the streets far ahead of the door time to ensure a spot on the rail as Horrendous prepared to hit the stage with their twisted take on death metal.

Tasked with the ironic misfortune of addressing the crowd, "Hello, we are Horrendous," the Philadelphia quartet were anything but, delivering cuts from across their three records with a spirited performance. Traditional metal leads and solos alternated turns with doomier moments that help distance the group from the typical death metal pack and the dual vocal attack was as refreshing as it was visceral. Those in attendance took note as Horrendous obtained a legion of new fans.

Next up were Midnight, who bring a punked up brand of black 'n' roll, unabashedly taking cues from both Venom and Motorhead. Steamrolling through nine songs, including "Satanic Royalty," "Lust, Filth and Sleeze" and "Unholy and Rotten," the hooded power trio prowled the stage with raging energy. At the end of their set, bassist / vocalist Athenar grabbed a Flying V, ripped the strings off the neck and extended it out to the headbangers at the barrier, who then fought over the axe before it was recovered by security.

Midnight's performance pushed the needle into the red, where it stayed for the rest of the night as death metal's resident caveman thawed out and stepped under the lights in support of their new self-titled record. From the opening note of "Internal Bleeding," the capacity crowd went ballistic, opening up a massive pit that consumed most of the floor, pressing the bodies outside the moshers even tighter. For 45 minutes, three security guards faithfully and attentively hurled bodies over the barricade and were not impervious to Obituary's tectonic grooves, hand-drumming on their thighs and irresistibly bobbing their heads while John Tardy's swamp-monster growl drove the message home.

Don Tardy began tearing his drum kit down before the last of Obituary’s feedback signaled the finality of their set, quickly making room for the German thrash tyrants Kreator. The swollen Irving Plaza erupted, jumping in unison to the stomping chorus of “Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)” as they began the set. Kreator then delved into their mid-’90s catalog with the Outcast cut “Phobia,” before doubling up on new material with “Satan Is Real” and the Gods of Violence title cut.

The middle of the set found frontman Mille Petrozza orchestrating a wall of death, dividing fans up on his left and right, challenging them to clear the middle of the floor from front to back. Instructing the sides to charge on the count of four, the German count of “Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier!” was lost on some as they got pummeled by a cavalcade of stampeding metalheads towards the end of "Army of Storms," which was quickly followed by "Enemy of God."

Petrozza was all business, shying away from casual stage banter, maintaining his aggression screaming at the New York City crowd and invoking a sense of competition, demanding the loudest roars from particular sections of the venue and other times just basking in the ceaseless spinning violence of long hair and raised fists in the center of Irving Plaza. Mixing in classic tracks like “People of the Lie” and the blistering “Total Death,” Kreator leaned heavily on their recent output, assaulting fans with dizzying strobes to the tune of “World War Now,” “Hail to the Hordes” and three Phantom Antichrist offerings in total, closing out the first portion of the set with the anthemic “Civilization Collapse.”

There is really no understating the powder keg energy of the room throughout the night. Perhaps Kreator’s portrayal of brutal, totalitarian regimes cut with fist-raising moments of rebellion and class uprising struck a particular nerve with the New York crowd in light of the current political climate around the world.

It was hard to imagine the crowd had any energy left to expend as the show entered its fourth hour, but their deathly, bellowing chants of “Kre-a-tor!” showed intent to empty out the tank completely. The Germans reclaimed the stage, launching into “Violent Revolution” and the circle pit whirled up once more. With three songs remaining, Kreator reached far back into their catalog, unearthing the Endless Pain favorite "Flag of Hate.”

Per usual, Petrozza held the Kreator flag in hand, screaming “It’s time! To raise! The flag! Of!...” to which the exhausted crowd meagerly whimpered “Hate.” Completely dissatisfied with this result, the frontman knew this otherwise impassioned crowd was capable of more than a dull roar, firing up the chant another two times before discarding the flag in favor of his guitar. The end of the night finally brought some material off Kreator’s heralded Pleasure to Kill album with “Under the Guillotine” and the album’s life-stealing title cut before the battle-tested veterans walked offstage one last time.

This tour was one of the most powerful packages to come to New York so far this year. All four bands on the bill are a must-see act, giving off the sense of a quadruple co-headlining show of sorts as fans genuinely showed up for a full night of neck-wrecking mania rather than filtering in as the night rolled on. If you were one of the thousand in attendance, you’ll be talking about this one for a long time and if you weren’t, you’ll be hearing about it for even longer.

Now, scroll through the gallery above to see photos of Kreator, Obituary, Midnight and Horrendous in action!

Kreator Set List — April 14, 2017

01. "Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)"
02. "Phobia"
03. "Satan Is Real"
04. "Gods of Violence"
05. "People of the Lie"
06. "Total Death"
07. "Phantom Antichrist"
08. "Fallen Brother"
09. "Army of Storms"
10. "Enemy of God"
11. "From Flood Into Fire"
12. "World War Now"
13. "Hail to the Hordes"
14. "Extreme Aggression"
15. "Civilization Collapse"
16. "Violent Revolution"
17. "Flag of Hate"
18. "Under the Guillotine"
19. "Pleasure to Kill"

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