It’s not a regular thing to see Alitor perform in Belgrade. They are not quite a local band, coming from a neighboring town, but still their appearances are few and far between. However, as outsiders of sort, their following remains loyal and expanding, thus proving their status as one of the pillars of homegrown thrash metal. Gone are the days when we could’ve thought of them as young, up and coming hope for the future of such sound. As proven on this particular Saturday.
Building up to the Inđija-based heroes, we had a couple of much younger musical entities. Younger, but diametrically different in age of their respective membership and even further so, their area of expertise.
Opening the evening, with a slight delay, were the youngsters called Geger. I’ve heard them once before, live, since they are yet to debut with a studio output, and remained unimpressed. Not much has changed in the couple of months since. They performed an ultra-violent type of grindcore, which is as far from my personal taste as humanly possible. To my ears, it’s a chaotic noise that covers up any attempt at concise and organized songwriting. Notion of a discernible, catchy riff, partiture that could at least inspire aim with a furious shot at an issue discussed in the lyrics… All of that fails under the meatgrinder that takes no concern of its surroundings.
And then there’s the humor which intersects some real social awareness on display in the lyrics. Obviously, Geger wants to address the issues at hand, which is commendable, especially in the younger generation too often accused of being indifferent to their surroundings. Still, it is hard to take them seriously when they open their show with an introduction that sounds like Aqua on speed or songs that are parodying children’s tunes.
Yet, their youth shows up in the utter energetic devastation no one can deny. And judging from what I’ve seen, they’ve got a fine number of kids supporting them by absorbing the exuded nucleon.
Next up, the fresh name comprised of quite a few grey hairs. With a single demo behind, Reckoning was a first for me. I’ve seen the members in a bunch of different bands before, but I was yet to witness them in this incarnation. Now, speaking of this old school hardcore band, the biggest impact on this reporter was left by the vocalist. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I forgot how Mr. Ćurčija sounds live. The mentioned last year’s demo proved him as one of the most unique voices on Serbian hardcore scene (and beyond). But I haven’t heard him on stage in what seems like a couple of eons, and that is where his vocals shine brightest. Boy, the man can sing! Actually sing, not scream, shout, grunt, but really sing. Brought back memories of him fronting Tibia those eons ago.
Behind him, a sturdy hardcore trio packs a lot of groove, but doesn’t forget the melody needed to fall into place with the vocal flow. The band retains aggression even in the slower parts, and basically pulverizes when getting to the primal, rough and tough hardcore.
I would’ve liked them to have another guitar in the lineup, as it would give weight to their live sound, but their half an hour stint up on the stage was still a neat introduction into what happened next.
Alitor had a counterpart of a triumphant procession for ancient Roman emperors. Such was the performance, such the production, stage presence, the whole show… As far as the underground goes, for a band running on not much more than dedication and devotion, this was close to a pinnacle. Dynamic, precise, experienced… I had a feeling this stage was too tight for them. Such was the energy produced by the quartet. They were flying about. Mr. Todorović was commanding the crowd in front with epic confidence. I was impressed.
What’s more, Alitor’s music is pretty complex. They’re fusing a sort of technical thrash metal with melodic death metal and even hardcore on some of their more recent work. Keeping the music tight, fairly concise and still deliver the punch with those tools at hand is a task and a half. Particularly in a live setting where necessity calls for passionate delivery, even if it means loosening the grip on technical precision. Alitor managed both to energize the audience and distribute a nutcracking intensity of their music.
Simply put, they headlined the night with decisive prowess that absolutely convinced me they are a massive force that is about to outgrow the “local hero” status. Their aim already needs to be much higher than Dom omladine and I, for one, am cheering for them.