The Summer of 2018 will be remembered as the time Europe melted. Experts say that the reason it is so hot is because of reckless industry, deforestation, and our need for more and more energy. But the experts have it wrong this time. Had they witnessed Crossfaith perform at one of their 14 concerts across Europe over the last couple weeks in June, they would understand who brought the heat.
On a comfortable, sunny day in June, Crossfaith came to perform at the Schlachthof Kesselhaus in Wiesbaden. It is a city that most Germans even forget exists because it is directly between the business-minded big brother of Frankfurt, and the constantly partying little sister that is Mainz. On this day, eager concert-goers of the forgotten city shuffled through the ticket line and into the club. Even though the venue was near capacity, the air conditioning managed to keep the temperature from becoming uncomfortable.
As the lights dimmed, only a single person, Terufumi Tamano, came out onto the stage. He started some electronic sounds from a keyboard and a laptop. A small cheer from the audience quickly faded as the sounds became louder; slowly increasing to concert level. As this was happening, the rest of the band came out and took their places on the darkened stage. As the audience held their breath, the noise continued until it was chopped off with a single hit of the snare. Then all hell broke loose.
A mosh pit opened up midway through the opening song, Xeno. Unlike most mosh pits, it didn’t remain contained to a small group of over-exuberant youngsters. It grew, and continued to grow as they transitioned into Monolith, which they played next. By the third and fourth songs (which I don’t have the names for) the mosh pit was wall to wall and the only sanctuary was at the back, by the bar. A brief rest was allowed before the fifth offering, as vocalist Kenta Koie held his arms straight in front of them, palms together. When he spread them wide, the audience parted down the middle and pressed against the walls, facing each other. Sweaty faces stared at each other across the room. When the beat dropped and the song started, the scrum began with a crash of bodies. It wasn’t a sport. Nobody was losing, everyone was winning, and the only goal was to feel the smack of people colliding in time with the beat.
During the MC portion, the band thanked the audience and talked about how awesome touring Europe was. They told us that Europe was the best place for metal and that they were coming back very soon. They said they had an album coming out and that it would be available on streaming services. They said all this in very good English and even some passable German.
Nobody listened. The break in the music allowed everyone time to race back to the bar and slam as many beers as they could before the second half of the show. Hydration is key in events such as this. The temperature in the Kesselhaus had increased by at least 10˚C, and there was no chance the air condition was going to win the battle against 300 raging metalheads.
If you, dear reader, are asking yourself, “If it was such chaos, then from where did the author observe all this?” The answer is that, like a professional, your humble author moved about the room throughout the show. Sometimes from one side, then the other, front to back, and so on. Sometimes these transitions in vantage were rapid and frequently punctuated by body-blows from other concert-goers. On more occasions than I care to admit, I got a great view of the stage from flat on the floor; shoe-level as it were.
Following the break, it was more of the same. The music started and people began collecting bruises. Everyone there spent the better part of an hour galloping about the room feeling the joy of impact, of brutal sonic assault, of kinship with those around them: and they didn’t give a thought in the world for anyone who was not in the room.
The show ended, but the crowd managed to coax one of the members back onto the stage. Tatsuya Amano, the drummer, returned to launch into one of the best drum solos this writer has ever seen live. The fact that the drum solo started a mosh pit stands as evidence. His rhythms, which all night had varied from dance, to thrash metal, to almost samba were the fuel that kept the crowd moving. It was only fitting that he came out alone to entertain the crowd and get his due applause. Kazuki Takemura on guitar and Hiroki Ikegawa on bass, as well as the rest of the band did eventually join them, and the encore gave all in attendance one last chance to prove they had some, if any, energy left to give.
Looking back on that day now, I realise that we witnessed the beginning of Summer. The energy that was released in that room leaked out into the atmosphere, as it did from every stop Crossfaith made on the tour. The result was a hot summer. The intensity of it will be remembered for decades. And the crazy thing is, it’s far from over. After releasing their new album, Ex-Machina, on August 3rd, Crossfaith is returning to Europe in late September. They will start in St. Petersberg, and follow the sun’s path until they run out of Europe in Dublin twenty concerts later. So get used to the heat, it’s going to be a long summer.
Crossfaith’s new album, Ex-Machina, will be available 3 August 2018 for purchase from the Crossfaith website, and for streaming on Spotify, I-Tunes, Deezer, and Tidal. To order CDs and see European Tour dates, visit their official website.