Sunday, 19 July 2015

Ripper Owens Live at the Garage

A Gumtree alert popped up in my inbox. Some guy had a ticket for Ripper Owens at the Garage on Friday night for a tenner. Now I actually knew about this gig but had decided against going, mainly 'cause I'm no huge fan of Mr Owens and his vocal style and his two Priest albums meant jack to me and were rather bad in fact. Anyhow I thought let me contact this guy as £10 is less than face value and it's a Friday night out and it's not too bad even if it's not a great gig.

So I arranged to meet the guy and bought his ticket off him and off I went to see Mr Owens and his live band. There was no queue outside the Garage at the allocated door time so I had a moments thought that it had been cancelled but I knew it hadn't and it was just that no one had turned up as of yet I walked into the venue and there were basically about 10 people in there. I sure hope more turn up for Ripper otherwise it would be totally embarrassing for an ex singer of Judas Priest.

2 locals support bands were booked and unfortunately neither were any good. The first band was Memories into something and were just boring. No screaming vocals actually but the songs failed to moved the 5 people gathered at the front. Nice stage banter from the singer though.

Second band were Past The Fall from London. They were 04ch better than the first band band but still no great shakes. They also played a colossal volume in a cavernous big room so the sound made understanding the one dimensional song writing hard to grasp. I suppose they had some potential if you are into modern heavy thrash metal but live I couldn't make head nor tail of the songs.

Finally at 8.20pm Ripper's band took their positions whilst the man himself strode on with his big leather jacket and shades on looking every inch the rockstar. Miraculously the crowd had some how managed to get somewhere near three figures. There were quite a few die hard Priest fans there of the Ripper era as they were singing the words to the Ripper era Priest tunes that he played. Having hated both Jugulator and Demolition it was funny to hear those songs which I didn't like live. They sounded heavy and groovy and still boring haha. Dead Meat yeah whatever and Bullet Train is so annoying even though I was singng stupidly along! Cathedral Spires is a song that people go on and on about but it's just a boring long tune. Having said that Ripper was in fine voice make no mistake. He did play a lot of cool tunes as well not directly from his tenure in Priest.

Painkiller was awesome as expected and nearly worth the tenner I paid for the ticket alone. The Ripper was also aptly played. His rendition of Abigail from King Diamond was also a highlight. He played a medley of Iced Earth tunes which was pretty cool including Red Baron/Blue Max, Ten Thousand Strong etc. He played a mix of stuff from his band Beyond Fear and also from his solo album Playing The Game. We got a lot of songs and it was very good value for money. Ripper played a long time and it was past 10 as they played Living After Midnight with Ripper on Guitars himself. A great singalong and good way to end a night of screaming metal.

Ripper himself comes across as a very nice and amiable man who is truly happy to still be singing and rocking though at a far lower level than his Priest days. An attendance that barely reached 100 and was probably less,(in a venue that holds 700) is very disappointing indeed and this on a Friday night. It's a shame for him but he still put on a good show. Probably my first and last time seeing Mr Owens but he's still got a live scream to rival most in metal vocal land.


The Ripper
Diamonds & Rust
Greenface / Red Baron/Blue Max / Ten Thousand Strong
Dead Meat
Cathedral Spires
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
(King Diamond cover)
Lost and Found
Scream Machine
Metal Gods
Bullet Train
Starting Over
Blood Stained
Burn in Hell

Death Row
One on One
Highway to Hell
(AC/DC cover snippet, with Ripper on guitar)
Living After Midnight

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Kobra and The Lotus Live

It's been only 8 months since I saw Kobra and her Lotuses but they were back again for another rocking performance at the Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park. Going to indoor metal shows in a middle of a heatwave is a perhaps something only a diehard metal head would do and indeed the attendance for the Kobra show wasn't huge and would have been around 150 at best. Not that it seemed to bother the band and Kobra herself as they seemed to attack the songs with great gusto and played them even sped up as it were to increase the energy levels all round. I was standing right in front at stage right, oddly enough I had a very similar position as I recall at the barfly the last time they came. More of Kobra later but first we had two support bands to get through.

Dethonator is I guess a local London band although I don't think I've heard of them. They played a traditional kind of heavy metal with clean melodic vocals from the guitarist. Quite good but not amazing although I've heard far far worse opening bands in London recently so I guess I should check out their music online 'cos they weren't bad at all.

Next up were more Londoners and Boston regulars Neuronspoiler. It seems these guys open for most bands that pass through this way. These guys are super talented instrumentalist especially the fiery little guitar wiz who plays shapes galore as he taps his frets like there's no tomorrow. Very damn nice cover of Holy Diver as well so bonus points for that guys.

Finally at 9.30 the Lotus boys took to the stage minus Kobra herself as they played the opening to High Priestess before the young metal priestess helself strode on confidently to begin singing the title track to their latest and best CD. The band was on fire and playing the songs super fast and invigorating although the sound mix was a little loud on music and it was hard to hear Kobra's superb vocals in amongst all the music. He live vocals are a little more shrill and higher pitched than her studio efforts. I guess she has to put more into it live to complete with the boys in her band. The set was energy packed and soon enough they had played most of the new album and of course regulars from the previous album too. After a rapid fire 60 minute set of sweat and plenty of energy it was time to venture out into the warm night air having been fully Kobrafied and Lotusized! Looking forward to their next album hopefully in 2016. Love ya Kobra!

2015 Half Year List

Half way done for this year and this is what I've got and my rate for each album.

4Arm - Survivalist - thrash - 8/10
Airstream - Kingdom of Isolation - aor/melodic rock - 8/10
Angelus Apatrida - Hidden Evolution - thrash - 8.5/10
Anihilated - Anti Social Engineering - thrash - 7.5/10
Arida Vortex - The Illustrated Man - power - 8/10 
Arsenite - Apophis - thrash - 8/10 (very late 2014 release)
At The Dawn - Land in Sight - power - 7.5/10
Battle Beast - Unholy Savior - power - 9.5/10
Beyond the Black - Songs Of Love And Death - power - 7.5/10
Blackwelder - Survival Of The Fittest - power - 8.5/10
Cain's Offering - Stormcrow - power - 10/10
Care Of Night - Connected - aor/melodic rock - 10/10
Comaniac - Return to the Wasteland - thrash - 7.5/10
Conquest - Taste of Life - power - 7.5/10
Continuum - The Hypothesis - death - 7.5/10
Crystal Ball - Liferider - power/melodic rock - 8/10
Dead of Night - The Dead Shall Rise - power - 8/10
Defloration - Created to Kill - death - 7.5/10
Distillator - Revolutionary Cells - thrash - 8.5/10
Dr.Living Dead! - Crush the Sublime Gods - thrash - 7.5/10
Dracula - Swing Of Death - heavy metal/melodic rock - 9/10
Eclipse - Armageddonize - aor/melodic rock - 10/10
Emerald Sun - Metal Dome - power - 7/10
Enforcer - From Beyond - trad - 7.5/10
Entheos - Primal EP - death - 7.5/10
Evil Invaders - Pulses of Pleasure - trad - 7/10
Exarsis - The Human Project - thrash - 7/10
FM - Heroes & Villains - aor/melodic rock - 8/10
Forefather - Curse of the Cwelled - melodic pagan trad - 9/10
Gruesome - Savage Land - death - 9/10
Harlott - Proliferation - thrash - 10/10
Helloween - My God-Given Right - power - 8.5/10
House Of Lords - Indestructible - aor/melodic rock - 8.5/10
Impellitteri - Venom - power - 8/10
Incinerate - Eradicating Terrestrial Species - death 7/10
Inlegend - Stones at Goliath - piano metal - 7/10
Iron Savior - Megatropolis - power - 7.5/10
Issa - Crossfire - aor/melodic rock - 7.5/10
Judicator - At the Expense of Humanity - power - 7.5/10
Kyrbgrinder - Chronicles of a Dark Machine - modern prog melodic - 9.5/10
Lancer - Second Storm - power/trad - 7/10
Leave Scars - Chains Of Redemption - thrash - 8/10
Messenger - Captain's Loot ep - power - 7/10
Michael Kiske & Amanda Somerville - City Of Heroes - aor/melodic rock - 8.5/10
Mindslip - st - modern metal - 8/10
Mortiferous Scorn - Visceral Nemesis - death - 7/10
Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat - deathgrind - 8/10
Nightmare World - In the Fullness of Time - power/prog - 7.5/10
Orden Ogan - Ravenhead - power - 9/10
Perzonal War - The Last Sunset - thrash - 7.5/10
Peterik & Scherer - Risk Everything - aor/melodic rock - 8/10
Pyramaze - Disciples Of The Sun - power/prog - 9.5/10
Radioactive - F4ur - aor/melodic rock - 7.5/10
Regurgitate Life - The Defiled Face Of Existence - death - 7/10
Revolution Saints - st - aor/melodic rock - 7.5/10
Room Experience - st - aor/melodic rock - 7.5/10
S.A.Y - Orion - aor/melodic rock - 9/10 
Satyrasis - ...Of The Dead - thrash - 7/10
Scorpions - Return To Forever - aor/melodic rock - 7.5/10
Serious Black - As Daylight Breaks - power - 8.5/10
Shadowbane - Facing the Fallout - power - 7/10
Shadowquest - Armoured IV Pain - power 8.5/10
Sickening - The Beyond - brutal death - 7/10
Signum Regis - Through The Storm ep - power - 8.5/10
Smash Into Pieces - The Apocalypse DJ - modern rock - 8/10
Spellbound - Nothing But The Truth - thrash 7.5/10
Stargazery - Stars Aligned - aor/melodic rock 7.5/10
Sympuls-E - Solarstorm - melodic death - 8/10
The Darkness - Last of Our Kind - melodic rock 8/10
The Devils Of Loudun - Entering Oblivion ep - melodic death - 7/10
The Gentle Storm - The Diary - melodic rock - 8/10
The Poodles - Devil in the Details - modern/melodic rock - 8/10
The Storyteller - Sacred Fire - power - 8/10
The Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment - prog rock - 9/10
Three Days Grace - Human - modern rock - 7/10
Toto - XIV - aor/melodic rock 8/10
Tremonti - Cauterize - modern metal 9.5/10
Triaxis - Zero Hour - power - 9/10
Trust X - Paradox - power/prog - 8.5/10
U.D.O. - Decadent - power/trad 8.5/10
Veonity - Gladiator's Tale - power - 8/10
Viking - No Child Left Behind - thrash - 7/10
Visigoth - The Revenant King - power/trad - 7.5/10
Von Hertzen Brothers - New Day Rising - modern rock - 8.5/10
Weak Aside - The Next Offensive - death - 7.5/10
Weresquatch - Frozen Void - thrash - 8/10
Wind Rose - Wardens Of The West Wind - power - 8/10
Within Silence - Gallery Of Life - power/melodic - 8/10

88 albums in total if I counted correctly of course and there's a few eps in there as well.

Albums that should have made my list but I haven't quite got to grips with yet.

Virgin Steele, Luca Turilli, Civil War. Degreed, Kamelot, Ironsword, Ten, Level 10, Burning Point, Damnation Angels, Borealis, Guardians of Time, Pantommind, Black Star Riders, Breaking Benjamin, Snakeyes, Majesty, Sacral Rage, Serpentine, Ensiferum, Bonfire, Jaded Star, Nightwish and a few more lesser known ones. Some of them are quite difficult albums and need more plays maybe to reveal their charms I dunno really if I have the will to go back and try again. I used a 7/10 rate as my cut off point for inclusion in my list. Quite a few 7/10 albums so in a final list those may get culled if I get round to listening to them again and seeing how it goes.