Friday, 26 February 2010

Overkill and The London Wreckin' Crew!

Last night was my first time with the New Jersey wrecking crew and what a great night it was in the end. Having never seen Overkill and never really been a fan at all, I approached last night's show with caution but I was completely won over by the end. One of the main draws for attending the show were two of the three support acts on offer. Namely UK thrashers Savage Messiah and new Greek sensations Suicidal Angels. There was another support band as well but they were not a big draw for me at all, the band in question being heavy German thrash/death mob Cripper.

Cripper took to the stage at 6.30 prompt and played for what seemed like a very long 30 minutes to me! I have heard them on record before and they are ok. They are most notable for having a girl on the mic, growling her tits off(what she had of them that is.. I know I'm a sexist pig!). The sound was way too loud for me even with protection! Their songs are a bit boring. They have some modern sounding jump up jump up type riffs here and there and regular thrash the other times. The girly on the mic had a fearsome death metal growl it must be said. about 20 punters down the front enjoyed them and that's it really.

Savage Messiah came on at 7.20pm and played for 30 minutes also. They were better than Cripper and got much more of a response from the crowd. Their brand of thrash is a mix between Megadeth, Testament and Metallica. Unfortunately they just don't have the songs to match the legends. They are quite good though. The vocals are not so great though but I suppose ok for a thrash band. Quite good effort from these guys but there is better in the UK thrash scene.

Suicidal Angels were perhaps even the main draw for me above the 'wrecking crew' if that's possible. These guys album from last year is absolutely incendiary old school thrash somewhere between old Slayer and Seps but with a way more up to date and killer sound. The Greeks strode on confidently and got the first pits of the night going. They didn't win everybody over but damn their riffs are jaw droppingly awesome for me. I love the way the vocals are spat out really fast in pace with the riffing. The sound was also much better than the previous bands. Tighter and meaner and actually funnily enough quite similar to how the album sounds. The band plays so damn tight it's untrue. These guys really nailed it for me and thrashing like a maniac was mandatory whilst these guys were playing and many kids did just that.

Finally at 9.15pm the Wrecking Crew took to the stage. Now of course I know almost zilch about these guys. I've had albums of theirs in teh past but no longer do due to not being able to get into them. However I must admit Ironbound is just an awesome thrash record. The band started off with You and Me from said album and what a stormer of a song it is. The band were all pretty much animated. Blitz looks very emaciated as usual but I guess being thin like that is good for him and he can whirl round like a dervish all he likes. The sound was very very loud but pretty clear overall. The sound of the band is anchored by DD Verni's rumbling bass which was actually very cool indeed. The band whilst looking quite old these days is still very energetic especially the guy to the left whose name I believe is Derek. He's always pulling faces and making eye contact with people in the crowd.

Bobby Blitz's yelp was in full effect too. The band had the crowd eating out of it's for more or less the whole show and there was barely a song that didn't have a relentless moshpit. Some songs brought along or more insane pit than others of course. Feel the Fire from the debut was absolutely killer and got a huge pit going. Elimination was also mental too as was the new song Bring the Night. In Union We Stand was the metal anthem that got mass participation. Old School was a funny song which had a hardcore flavour to it. Necroshine was the first encore and followed by Fuck You as the final song to send the punters delirious. It must be said Overkill provide an intense and exhilarating live show and all necks were fully wrecked by these old timers who still know how to thrash hard even when pushing 50!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Blaze Live!

Down to the Underworld again to see the "man who would not die" once again after not seeing him for many years. The new album Promise and Terror is quite good so I was really looking forward to this show. First up I had Northern Irish band Sinocence to entertain me which they did pretty much. I gave their album a pretty glowing review on the pure metal site as I recall so I was looking forward to seeing them. The singer's voice is a bit limited in the live setting but they have some great thrashy melodic riffs going on in their songs which helps to loosen up the crowd nicely. They played for about 40 minutes and got a decent response from the crowd.

Speaking of the attendance it was much better than I thought it was going to be. Camden Town station was closed but that didn't stop a fair sized crowd of around 300 or so turning up to witness the Blaze Bayley Band. At 8.30 prompt the band strode on to the stage and started the first song before the main man finally walked on and launched into the first song from the new album. The sound was pretty good and the band looked hungry and driven especially the bass player and of course the ever enthusiastic Blaze. To be honest I've seen Blaze round around more before but he's got a bit older and bigger since those days and the Underworld stage ain't exactly big either!

Anyway the beginning of the show featured tracks from the first two albums in the main which all sounded very good indeed. Blaze was using his Vibrato a lot at the end of the lines and whilst his range is limited, his baritone vocals sounded very powerful live. The band were on fire as well and the crystal clear sound helped matters no end. 1633 from the new album was an epic and brilliant track but there were so many good ones that it's hard to pick favourites. Letting go of the world from the new album was yet another highlight from a blinding set list.

Mid set we had the customary two Maiden tracks which had the best response of the whole night. Man on the Edge and The Clansman were both incendiary. The crowd even started mini good natured mosh pits for both of them. The Clansman was definitely the song of the night for me and immensely enjoyable and even a bit emotional.

Blood and Belief was also a magical heavy song as well with lots of head banging all round. Stare at the Sun was massively well received by the crowd. Blaze seemed to be genuinely moved by the adulation he received with regular "Blaze!" chants starting up in between songs and drowning out the man himself. Blaze is a rather humble guy with what seems an immense inner strength to play heavy metal and no one in the room was going to deny him that right. After 90 minutes the last song of the night was played as there was a strict curfew of 10.15. Kill and Destroy was a very heavy end to what was a great night of pure heavy metal and all for only a tenner. No doubt about it - this geezer Blaze is here to stay and bleed metal from every pore!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2010 new albums

Well 2010 has got off to a brilliant start as far I'm concerned. Some great albums have been released so early in the year and I hope we've not shot our bolt eary as the saying goes!

Gamma Ray - To The Metal.
Not the best of this bunch but it holds it's own. The "Kiske" song whose title escapes me right now is absolutely brilliant and the album is fairly consistent in my eyes. One song sees Kai doing his best Halford impression again the title is not at hand. Other songs show the usual Maiden worship that kai is well known for. And yes "To The Metal" the song is not representative of the album as a whole but when listened in between the other songs, sounds fine and shows that the album has good variety.

Freedom Call - Legend of the Shadowking
Some of the anthemic choruses here are way over the top catchy. I am not totally won over by the slower moments as I recall. However the album is a genuine highlight over all with great choruses.

Fozzy - Chasing the Grail
Not exactly a power metal record but has more to do with PM than their previous album being far faster and shreddier than All That Remains which I was a massive fan of. My first listen to this whilst good left me thinking it could have more songs like Enemy from the debut. I do however love the 2 songs Watch Me Shine and broken Soul which is my fave song on first play though there are other great tunes too. This will grow on me I'm sure.

Orden Ogan - Easton Hope
Talked a little about it already. I think it's head and shoulders above Vale. I am still not a fan of the singer but I think he's improved a bit since the debut album. The choirs are totally amazing and the Blind Guardian worship seems very evident. Although I have never been able to appreciate the Guardian as much as their legions of fans, I think this album is better than any BG record I've ever heard.

Dream Evil - In The Night
I read some pre-album hype saying this album was better than United. I thought that album was absolutely fantastic but I have to admit these previews are not far wrong. This is easily the heaviest DE album. Niclas sounds the most aggressive he has ever done and sings some seriously addictive melodies with huge gang vocals as well. The songs are huge and the guitar crunch dislodges any loose fillings you've got in your molars!

Versailles - Jubilee
Now this one is maybe not gonna be for everyone but I found this album to be totally over the top amazing. The talent in this band is unbelievable. The music is hyper melodic shred metal with Japanese vocals which is gonna be the problem for most. However I think the singer is fine for this band. The music is so expansive and wide rnaging in scope that leaves me bemused a lot of the time. They even include latin elements in one tune which goes down fantastically well. One of the best symphonic power metal albums ever IMO.

Astral Doors - Requiem of Time
Been in love with this band since the beginning and the love affair shows no sign of ending. In fact it grows stronger with this album. They've changed tack slightly and gone back to the classic heavy rock style and reduced the more power metal elements from the last album. In the end when you have one of the best singers in rock and metal today at the helm it's hard to go wrong and go wrong they jolly well don't! It's hard to even say which are my fave songs but I will list 3. Power and the Glory, St. Peter's Cross and I think my fave song of all the hugely er...anthemic Anthem of the Dark! Unbelievable album really and in time might be their best ever.

Rage - Strings to a Web.
Finally the most amazing album of 2010 so far. This is just absolutely incredible. I can't find a single fault or something about it that I don't like. Everything is perfection as far as I'm concerned. Viktor is pulling out riffs that will leave your jaw nailed to the floor and then some. It seems that he's been practicing loads cause the technical level of the riffs has gone through the roof. This is just blazing guitar with both groove and melody and of course his leads are brilliantly melodic as always. The sound of the album is fantastic too with awesome thick crunch and still warm which makes for a great listening experience. Peavy sounds great and it seems he worked really hard to make the choruses on each song outstandingly memorable. So much so that I can't pick a fave song amongst this bunch at the moment anyway. However I will mention Hunter and prey and The beggar's Last Dime as being two of the best. The symphonic songs are very tastefully done as well. Rage just gets better and better. I loved the last album and I have to say this album already betters it. This might be the best album of Rage's career, it's that good IMO. So a great start in 2010 and let's hope it continues. It's gotta be some album that will knock Rage off it's "fave album of 2010 perch" I can tell you for nothing!(only band that has a chance is the Saba warmachine!)