Taste Nation LLCPresents: Cirith Ungol – King Of The Dead: Resurrection Day, Saturday, June 10th, 2017! Here is what we have in store for you:
Metal Blade Records‘ Cirith UngolKing Of The Dead – Ultimate Edition unboxing video with Matthew Thomas
An in-depth Album Review of the Cirith UngolKing Of The Dead – Ultimate Edition from Ric ‘Suisyko‘ Dorr
An Interview With Cirith Ungol Drummer And Founding Member Robert Garven with Pat ‘Riot‘ Whitaker
Every so often in hard rock history there comes a game changing record release, an album that serves like some sonic barometer. One where an offering is so monumental that it can be used to gauge music before that album’s release and of course, music after its release as well. In 1984, the up and coming Ventura, California based Cirith Ungolreleased such an album with their sophomore opus, ‘King Of The Dead‘. The album, which was issued through Enigma Records, featured the musical talents of vocalist Tim Baker, guitarist Jerry Gogle, drummer Robert Garven and bassist Michael Vujea and, bluntly put, heavy music would never be the same again. Not bad for a band started by some high schoolers under the name Titanic, changed it to Cirith Ungol around 1972 and only played instrumentally at first.
This second studio album from Cirith Ungol followed their equally revered debut, Frost And Fire, but this record contained an undeniable shift in musical direction for the band. Where the debut was based a bit more in Seventies hard rock elements, King Of The Dead embodied a defined turn toward progressive hard rock and doom metal. The band produced the record themselves while Baker and Garven handled all the lyric writing though some folks aren’t aware that at least three songs (‘Atom Smasher‘, ‘Cirith Ungol‘ and ‘Death Of The Sun‘) were originally written in the mid-70s. The iconic artwork that adorns its cover, itself titled ‘King Of The Dead‘, was painted by Michael Whelan and inspired by the literary works of Sci-Fi/Fantasy author Michael Moorcock.
After two more studio albums, 1986’s One Foot In Hell and 1991’s Paradise Lost, Cirith Ungol would disband in 1992 due to their frustration with the music industry. However, the mythos and legacy of Cirith Ungol would build and increase unabated during the subsequent decades. Their influence was felt across numerous genres and sub-genres of metal and hard rock while countless musicians cited Cirith Ungol as a constant inspiration. Then, in 2015, members of the band came together for the 2015 Frost And Fire music festival in Ventura, California. Their first public appearance as a band since 1991, they participated in a meet-and-greet and item signing where they were immensely well-received. Soon after, Cirith Ungol announced that they would reunite for the 2016 Frost And Fire event, playing their first live show since December 13, 1991 which they did in October 2016.
Now we arrive in 2017 where Cirith Ungol have returned to bless the doom loving masses with a variety of ongoing events. Just last month, in late April, the band played their first ever live show on European soil at the Keep It True festival in Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany. To mark the occasion, as well as celebrate both Cirith Ungol and their landmark 1984 studio album milestone, King Of The Dead, Metal Blade Records have graced fans and collectors both with the utmost must-have release of recent years: The Ultimate Edition Of Cirith Ungol’s King Of The Dead!!!
Every fan of underground heavy music knows how the legendary Scott ‘Wino‘ Weinrich-fronted band The Obsessed are back in a major way currently, circa 2017. The band has been the centerpoint of mass focus and near hysteria since announcing their return in 2016. That announcement eventually led the band, with drummer Brian Costantino and bassist Dave Sherman alongside Wino, to sign with Relapse Records. From there, the guys went to work on writing and recording a new studio album, the band’s first since 1994’s The Church Within. Eventually, said album did manifest as the hugely successful ‘Sacred‘. Since that time in the studio, the band underwent a couple of membership tweaks, ones that have now settled with bassist Reid Raley completing the trio’s line up. As is the case with new records and oldschool legends, The Obsessed soon decided it was time to take things to the road and so they compiled a powerfully alluring touring package that included Karma To Burn and Lo-Pan. Others would join along at some legs of the trek like Fatso Jetson, Weedeater and Primitive Man so all in all, this was a tour that only a damn fool would miss. I had no intention of being that fool when I hauled ass over to The Hideawayin Johnson City, TN. back on May 10th for this Volunteer State stop of The Obsessed, Karma To Burn, Lo-Pan and Navajo Witch caravan.
First up this night was the regional heavyweights and purveyors of pummeling sludge, Navajo Witch. The beloved trio of guitarist Allen Keith, bassist/vocalist Dylan Rutherford and drummer Ross Grindstaff are all well known fixtures within our area’s music community. The band itself now has two official releases under their belts with the 2013 Skinwalker EP and 2016’s full-length, Ghost Sickness. Tonight saw the trio unleash their heavily volatile but totally groove-fueled style of sonic abrasiveness. Navajo Witch are loud and very musically dense, they do not rely on any bells or whistles to augment what it is they do and what they do is savage. Melding a variety of tempos into their crushing stage delivery, they keep it tight and heavy with some alternating vocal stylings. So heavy in fact that you’d have a hard time believing they are a threepiece without seeing them yourself. The beast that is Navajo Witch also treated us to some new tunes this night, so new in fact that a couple are not even titled yet, ha! Their setlist consisted of the well known standards ‘Rites Of Divination‘ and ‘Ghost Sickness‘ but it began with what we will call ‘Untitled 1‘ and ended with ‘Untitled 2‘. There was also a titled new track in there too, one being called ‘Still We Rise‘..a bit of a misnomer seeing as how Navajo Witch‘s thunderous rumbling nearly brought down the room to rubble.
Next up this night were the continually astounding Columbus, OH. quartet Lo-Pan. If you’ve seen these guys before then you already know that they are one of the tightest bands in all of rock and roll, seriously. Setting up in their usual unusual configuration with vocalist Jeff Martin toward the back behind drummer J. Bartz, bassist Skot Thompson and guitarist Chris Thompson, the guys tore it loose. The rhythm section of the band are nearly impossible to avert your gaze from when watching Lo-Pan and I’ve said it before but here it is again: Bartz & Thompson may be the absolute best in the business (outside of Clutch’s Maines and Gaster). A phenomenal sight to see and an even more powerful one to hear, the pair powers each Lo Pan song like some rhythmic dynamo. Meanwhile Martin croons some of the most solidly soulful vocals there are and, for the third time in a row of my seeing them, this was a recently acquired new guitarist in Chris. I say new but he’s fell right into place after providing the axe-work for the band for several months now and came on board around the time Lo-Pan recorded their latest effort, the In Tensions EP.
There is always more than just universal recompense ablaze when West Virginia’s Karma To Burn grace a stage somewhere. Tonight was no different either as guitarist Will Mecum, bassist Eric Clutter and drummer Evan Devine did what they do best onstage next. Exactly what that is must be witnessed to fully comprehend as these three have somehow harnessed the truest, most legitimate power of the trio. 99.999% instrumental, Karma To Burn are 1000% unbelievable and so finely tuned that they operate like a machine. I say that despite Will’s having some tuning issues once or twice but undetered, they blistered every ear within earshot with their furious onslaught of numerically designated songs. Always a spectacle to observe, the animated intensity with which all three of these guys go at it live is something that’s beyond merely impressive. Mecum’s maestro-like hand gestures are used to accentuate the guitar-fueled grooves he is constructing at that very moment while Clutter’s all-over-the place bass abuse nearly rivets your eyes in place. And Devine, you ask? He is like some unholy tempest upon the drum kit, furiously pummeling said kit in a manner befitting of someone with multiple appendages. No, I don’t mean the normal two or even four in his case, what he does only seems within the realm of possibility for someone that happened to be an Octa-ped.
Now three bands in, The Hideaway‘s crowd had grown quite immensely and was gradually becoming a standing room only audience. But there would be no agitated wait like some shows, where some primadonna indulged their status and disrespected their fans with an unneeded, extensive wait. No, the legendary Scott ‘Wino‘ Weinrich and his bandmates in The Obsessed, Brian Costantino and Reid Raley commandeered the stage at this point. The trio instantly unfurled their critically-lauded new album’s glorious title cut, ‘Sacred‘, before veering right into one of their beloved classics, ‘Streetside‘. Hearing the crowd sing along to the lyrics and choruses revealed that those present in this house were familiar with output both past and present. With each new song rendered, ones ranging from ‘Blind Lightning‘, ‘Protect & Serve‘, ‘Decimation‘, ‘Climate Of Despair‘ and ‘Hiding Mask‘, The Obsessed seemed a band possessed.
Wino’s playing has increasingly become more and more fierce with each new set that I attend and knowing him as I do personally, I dare say that he is rejuvenated these days. Reviving his beloved band, new blood in it, new album from it, whatever the case may be, Wino seems to really enjoy himself lately and it shows. Another showing that comes shining through is that from the backline anchor, the man that holds it all down and in place, Brian Costantino. His concrete-like heavy handed, hard-hitting style of playing reverberates shudders across the airwaves with each strike laid. Plus, make no mistake, Reid Raley is a bottom-end monstrosity himself, generating visceral vibrations in such cuts as ‘Be The Night‘, ‘Skybone‘, ‘The Way She Fly‘ and ‘Streamlined‘. In fact, The Obsessed played most, if not all, of ’94’s iconic The Church Within along with a respectable number of tracks from Sacred.
Two of that latter album’s tracks were especially enjoyable for me personally as the introductory cut, the re-working of the band’s first-ever song release, ‘Sodden Jackal‘, is so damned heavy now. Even Wino commented about how he’s had the desire to revitalize that old tune for a long, long time and now that he has, Jeee-zus! The depth and density now permeating the song is nearly inhuman while another Sacred selection, ‘Razorwire‘, is just a lively, kick-ass good time of a song. Clearly I was not alone in that appreciation either as people all over the place lost it during its roll out. Playing somewhere near fifteen songs or so as only they can, The Obsessed showed all in attendance why they are the focal point of so much attention at this time. Sure, it is more than deserved by the threesome, they are great musicians and all that but also because Sacred was decades in the making so to speak. In some bizarro world, we might have never gotten this new album or worse, God forbid, a reformed incarnation of The Obsessed! But, thanks and praise to whomever you wish, we do have Sacred and more importantly, we have The Obsessed..and Wino, Brian and Reid. And Karma To Burn, Lo-Pan and Navajo Witch as well!
One of the best, largest gatherings of underground extreme Metal and Hard Rock bands and their music has been announced with the first annual Starkfest 2017! The two-day and a half day (with pre-show) event is set to ravage Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina beginning on June 1st to the 3rd. There will be a pre-fest show atRadio Roomin Greenville as well that will include several must-see bands. But that is just the start of festivities as the roster of acts for it and the full-on fest weekend is an impressive array of sonic brutalists.
Along with all of the enjoyable features atThomas Creek Brewery itself there will also be food truck vendors and folks on hand from retail record outlets including Greenville’s ownPharmacy Records. Starkfest 2017 is being brought to music fans from these sponsors along with Iron Rust Productions.
Tickets for Starkfest 2017 are on sale NOW and available at this location.
The line-ups for each day are as follows:
Thursday, June 1st (6/1 Pre-Show) at the Radio Room:
Black Mountain Hunger Death/Of Kingdom Faust Tone Waft (special set)
Friday, June 2nd (6/2 Day 1) at Thomas Creek Brewery:
Abacus All Hell Cazador Dreaded False Light Mothmother Uninhabitable Wvrm
Saturday, June 3rd (6/3 Day 2) at Thomas Creek Brewery:
Avalon Steel Bask Bathe Canopy Cikada Come To Grief Crawl Heathen Bastard Midmourner Swallow The Sky Tar Hag The Asound Waft
Two of the biggest, most iconic bands from the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement are returning to North America together this fall. Following their hugely successful tour together in March and April, UFO and Saxon have announced more dates in the U.S., plus two in Canada, in September and October. Vocalists from both bands commented on the announcement saying:
UFO‘s Phil Mogg shares: “Seldom do you get the chance to have a tour with such great bands and great personalities. We have been offered such a chance and will be grabbing it with both hands. We are looking forward very much to our autumn tour with the lads from Saxon, Biff, Paul, Doug, Nigel, and Nibbs, Jared James, Eric and Dennis, just so you know every one. I hope you enjoy these gigs as much as we will, rocking/kicking, your proverbial arse/bottom. Love UFO.”
Biff Byford from Saxon adds: “It’s great to be coming back with UFO, we had such a great time on the last tour – it’s a great package with three great bands, what’s not to like BRING IT ON!!!!!”
UFO, featuring the long-running line up of Phil Mogg (Vocals), Paul Raymond (Keyboards / Guitar), Andy Parker (Drums), Vinnie Moore (Guitar) and Rob De Luca (Bass) are currently working on a studio cover album after the last studio release, A Conspiracy Of Stars, in 2015.
Saxon are touring on their latest release Battering Ram, together with the new live DVD Let Me Feel Your Power, both on the UDR Music label and are currently in the studio working on a new studio album for release early 2018. Saxon are: Biff Byford (Vocals), Paul Quinn (Guitar), Nigel Glockler (Drums), Doug Scarrett (Guitar) and Tim “Nibbs” Carter (Bass).
22 – Newton, NJ – Newton Theater
23 – Huntington, NY – Paramount Theater
24 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
26 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater Of The Living Arts
28 – Plymouth, NH – Flying Monkey
29 – Worcester, MA – Palladium
30 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
1 – Portland, ME – Aura
3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theater
4 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theater
6 – Flint, MI – Machine Shop
7 – Traverse City, MI – Ground Zero
8 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall
9 – Akron, OH – Tangier CabaretRoom
11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Jergels
12 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
13 – Merrillville, IN – Star Plaza
14 – Indianapolis, IN – The Egyptian
Tickets are available from all usual agents and outlets.
The past and the present, the old and the new, the hard and the heavy. A juxtaposition of variances would be embodied on the night of Friday, April 21st as the legendary Y&T, with support from Temptations Wings, came to Asheville, North Carolina. The setting would be The Grey Eagleand the broad spectrum of rock music to be presented would be impressive to say the least. So would merely making it to the show as I, and shotgun rider Tomm Huff, departed our home in Kentucky amid a battering hailstorm and torrential downpours. Three nerve-wracking hours of travel through non-stop inclement weather would not deter us though and eventually we arrived safe if not a little soaked.
My first trip to The Grey Eagle revealed a nice, well maintained older building of good size with a cool music hall, bar and kitchen/dining area. I had been eagerly awaiting this show for months now since learning that the current incarnation of the iconic Y&T were coming to the region. Not just that alone either as regional band Temptations Wings, who are riding high on their recently released album, ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, were on the bill as well. In fact, I conducted an A/V interview with those guys prior to the show, in the rain somewhat, that will be coming soon.
When it came time for Temptations Wings, aka Micah Nix (gtr./vox), Jason Gardner (drums) and Chad Barnwell (bass), to take the stage, the venue was quite packed. Guesstimating somewhere near 400 – 450 people had filed in to see these AVL hometowners unleash their heaviness. The trio recently released their critically-acclaimed conceptual album, the aforementioned ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘, and have been in high demand ever since. The album weaves the tale of a mythical warrior who returns home to find his family slain and and village destroyed by an evil witch. To reap vengeance, he journeys to obtain a mystical sword and once acquired, goes to slay the witch herself. Quite an intriguing storyline, is it not? Truth is, the story is only but a small part of what makes this band so solidly kick-ass though..it is really more about the music.
The music of Temptations Wings can only be described as Appalachian Power Doom for that does suit it rather well. Comprised of chunky, thick riffs, pulsating rhythms and thunderous drumming, the music is heavy and engaging. And it was clear the guys have a large, loyal support base here in their home region. After a taped intro segment, they delivered the barrage of songs that included ‘I, Destroyer‘, ‘Treachery Of The Blind Raven‘, ‘Lair Of The Gorgon Queen‘, ‘Into The Maelstrom‘ and ‘Crush The Weak‘. Each was well received and it was clear that many of those in attendance were already familiar with the tracks. The guys provided a fantastic set that went over really well with such a diversified crowd, one where all ages from the younger to the elder, were well represented.
An interlude and then the stage was commandeered by the legendary Y&T! Y&T 2017 sees the only surviving band founder, guitarist/vocalist Dave Meniketti, joined currently by guitarist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule. Many of the bands that got their start several decades ago, and are still around, exist solely to relive their glory days by rehashing their earlier material. Such is not the case with this band as they continue to record and release new material, like they did with 2010’s Facemelter album. The repertoire of material that Y&T has available in their discography to select from was well plundered on this night too.
The origins of Y&T date back as early as 1974 and the band began officially releasing studio albums in 1976. Some of their albums have achieved both commercial notoriety as well as cult status amid massive reverence. One of their most beloved records, In Rock We Trust (1984), would provide the one-two punch to start their set this night with the fantastic ‘Lipstick And Leather‘ and ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’‘. The place was roaring with excitement as the band followed up with another classic, ‘Hurricane‘, before visiting material from another landmark album, 1981’s Earthshaker. ‘Shine On‘ and clear crowd favorite ‘Dirty Girl‘ had the place erupting with sing-along choruses and crowd enthusiasm. Then Meniketti & Co. unleashed one of their most well known songs, the scorching title cut from 1983’s Mean Streak and the audience went haywire. In case you don’t know it, Dave is one hell of a damn good guitarist too and he himself scorched the frets on the song’s solo while Nymann too delivered his own axe wizardry.
Things would wind down to the lighter side of the band’s music as they delivered a great version of ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark‘ from 1990’s Ten. What came next was the most touching period of the night as Dave spoke about the now deceased longrunning Y&T members Phil Kennemore, Leonard Haze and Joey Alves. He dedicated the next song, ‘Winds Of Change‘, to them and then delivered a powerfully stirring delivery of the song which clearly moved all present. Before anyone could dwell on the touching significance of that moment the guys launched into the high energy of ‘Blind Patriot‘ from their most recent studio effort, Facemelter. The uptempo track is a hard rocking number that rolls out at a frenetic pace from the start and it sure got everyone’s blood pumping again including Y&T‘s. Not to mention some fiery guitar pyrotechnics from Dave and John both throughout the song.
The next block of cuts would touch upon all the bases, i.e. hit albums, first with the stellar rendition of the melodic rocker ‘I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)‘. Then came the lively title track of one of my personal faves, ‘Black Tiger‘, and they toned things down again with ‘Midnight In Tokyo‘. Keeping the formula going of tapping into some of their best, well-known albums, Meniketti and the mob delivered up rousing cuts like ‘Let Me Go‘, ‘Hang’em High‘ and ‘I Believe You‘. Then came the inevitable title track of the band’s 1987 album, one of their most well known records and songs both, ‘Contagious‘. Needless to say, the packed house clearly knew the song by heart, inside and out, upside and down as they involved themselves in some way or another. Women of all ages, makes and models were dancing around the auditorium and before the song was finished, Mike Vanderhule delivered a jaw-dropping drum solo. It was the perfect segue into one of Y&T‘s most upbeat, metallic-tinged tracks ever, ‘Open Fire‘, and that is exactly what the quartet did with the track. Now had come the time that everyone knew was inevitable, the delivery of Y&T‘s most well known, biggest commercial hit song of their legacy, ‘Summertime Girls‘. The beloved MTV / Billboard Hot 100 hit song that hails from the ’85 LP Down For The Count is the sole song that many people know Y&T for. That’s really a shame too because the band truly has such a remarkable body of work built up throughout the years that some people are tragically missing out on. A trip back to 2010’s Facemelter record came in the form of the anthemic set-ending “I’m Coming Home‘, another song that elicited sing along choruses and intensified audience participation.
To be honest, things could have just ended at this point and I would have been more than satisfied with what I had just experienced. Seriously, I had just seen a band truly perform their very heart and souls out for the house attendance and it was utterly incredible to put it mildly. Yet the show was not quite over as the quartet returned and served up two more remarkably rousing renditions of great older songs: ‘Rescue Me‘ and ‘Forever‘. The latter was quite the appropriate finale for the night too because rock ‘n roll is forever and for me, the experience of seeing Y&T will remain with me forever as well. But not just Y&T of course as I got to see my good friends in Temptations Wings open for the legendary act and thus share their own killer music with a wider audience. Between the two bands they had the spectrum well covered, just as I eluded to at the start of this recap. The Grey Eagle in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. served as ground zero for this spectacular night of Rock ‘N Roll where both the Old School and the New were well represented.
For many, Easter is all about church services celebrating the New Testament era of the bible and the savior Jesus Christ. However, I was party to a whole other kind of religion with a Testament all its own on this most recent Easter Day, April 16, 2017. Yes indeed, the Brotherhood Of The Snake itself, Bay Area oldschool thrash legends Testamentwere at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina and they brought friends. The revival of classic metal would also be preached by Prong, Sepultura and new converts, The Convalescence. Before the night’s electrified sermon would unfold, we had the opportunity to meet Testament for a signing session and brief interaction with the guys which was cool. And for the record, the guys currently in the long running powerhouse are vocalist Chuck Billy, guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, bassist Steve Digiorgio and drummer Gene Hoglan.
The evening’s events would kick off with a band totally unknown to me, the Toledo, Ohio sextet,The Convalescence. I’m not totally certain what genre you’d classify the act as since they incorporate some Metalcore and Death Metal (Deathcore?) into their sound. But oddly, there are keyboards, varied vocalization styles and yes….corpse paint! Now the band received decent crowd support and interaction, I’ll give them that but to be added to support this bill of oldschool acts was an ill-conceived plan on someone’s part I believe. I am sure it was some label employee’s big idea perhaps but a modern metal act like this would be better served on a more accommodating roster like a Van’s Warped Tour or Knotfest (do those still exist?). Being unfamiliar with The Convalescence, I’m clueless to what songs they performed but allow me to add that the band was not bad or terrible or anything…just a tad out of place in my opinion.
Next up were a band I have had a long, ongoing love for over many, many years…Prong! My seeing the band, albeit with differing line ups, dates back to their touring cycle for their third release, 1990’s Beg To Differ. Tonight would see band founder and frontman/guitarist Tommy Victor joined by drummer Art Cruz and bassist/bkg. vox Jason Christopher. If you are a fan of Prong‘s then you should be well aware that this band are on a roll and they only get better with each new album, and each new day it seems. Clearly, there was a venue full of Prong fans here too as people were singing right along to classic tracks from the trio. Songs like ‘For Dear Life‘, ‘Beg To Differ‘ and ‘Unconditional‘ elicited energetic sing-alongs during their oh-so catchy choruses. Other, more current songs like ‘Cut And Dry‘ and ‘Sense Of Ease‘ from 2016’s critically acclaimed X – No Absolutes were also well received but the most involved tracks were the one-two-three punch of some really well known selections. Just like how they unfurl on 1994’s landmark Cleansing record, the trio of ‘Another Worldly Device‘, ‘Whose Fist Is This Anyway?‘ and ‘Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck‘ nearly brought down the house.
The legendary Brazilian metal band Sepultura would take the stage next and I have a confession to make concerning them. I was an avid fan of the earlier era of the band, seeing them numerous times when Max and Igor Cavalera were still present but I kind of lost touch with the act many years back. No particular reason other than my tastes changed and as most people know, so did the iconic band’s membership. Currently, only longtime guitarist Andreas Kisser and bassist Paulo, Jr. remain from those early days and they’re joined by vocalist Derrick Green and drummer/percussionist Eloy Casagrande. Sepultura has thrived in the years since I saw them last, releasing several albums and furthering the legacy of the beloved band. In fact, 2018 will make twenty years that Derrick has fronted the band so truth is, he’s as much a part of that legacy as anyone else at this point.
Fans in attendance at The Fillmore were more than ready for the Sepultura onslaught too as the band opened with back to back tracks from their recently released fourteenth studio album, Machine Messiah. ‘I Am The Enemy‘ and ‘Phantom Self‘ activated the crowd and they remained involved for a flurry of songs from that same record like ‘Sworn Oath‘, ‘Alethea‘ and ‘Resistant Parasites‘. For me, the most interesting moments came when the band played the earlier era’s material such as ‘Desperate Cry‘, ‘Inner Self‘ and the set closing ‘Roots Bloody Roots‘. Hearing these songs that I knew so well being done by band members I’d never heard them performed by previously was a somewhat surreal experience. Needless to say, for me, Sepultura circa 2017 are just as impressive now as the band was back a few decades ago and clearly able to stand on their own merits.
Then the time had come for one of the Bay Area’s most enduring thrash band’s to bring their aural legacy to the stage. Speaking of which, Testament‘s debut album, 1987’s The Legacy, turned 30 years old this past week on April 21st. The current incarnation of the band is 3/5 of the one that recorded 1999’s The Gathering, a much heavier-oriented album and that same heavy vibe comes through in the live line up as well. The guys immediately unleashed a quartet of tracks from their more recent albums with ‘Brotherhood Of The Snake‘, ‘Rise Up‘, ‘The Pale King‘ and ‘Centuries Of Suffering‘. Chuck’s vocals bellowed throughout The Fillmore as the crowd’s excitement went off the register and during the latter track, Peterson performed a scorching guitar solo. That set things up nicely for the catchy, melodic hooks of ‘Electric Crown‘ from the band’s 1992 album, The Ritual. Alas, the melodic moments were soon obliterated by ‘Into The Pit‘, a song proceeded with Chuck sharing a tale of about a night of too much booze in Texas back in the day. That, and them going to check out an up and coming band that night, Pantera. Another flurry of songs ensued including the death metal-ish ‘Low‘, ‘Throne Of Thorns‘ and ‘Stronghold‘. The latter was prefaced with Chuck’s commentary supporting the Standing Rock protesters and went out with yet another intense guitar solo, this time by Alex.
A return to that aforementioned 1999 album came with The Gathering track ‘Eyes Of Wrath‘ and then came a jaw dropping spectacle to behold: A furious drum solo by Gene ‘The Atomic Clock‘ Hoglan! One of the unquestionably best drummers on earth unleashed upon that kit like a man possessed before the band returned to the stage for a volatile delivery of ‘First Strike Is Deadly‘. From there another astounding event to witness, Steve Digiorgio‘s unhinged bass solo! In case you don’t know it, Steve has nearly four decades under his belt playing bass..and playing bass like only he can..and like he does. It cannot merely be described, it must be observed to comprehend and then come another block of fantastic songs: ‘Urotsukidôjí‘, ‘Souls Of Black‘, ‘Seven Seals‘ and the set-ending ‘The New Order‘.
Of course just as soon as Testament exited the stage the thundering chants of “Test-a-ment! Test-a-ment!‘ erupted in the auditorium. The call went forth, building and building until the guys came back out and hit us with staggering one-two of ‘Practice What You Preach‘ and ‘Over The Wall‘. The crowd was in a frenzied state by the time the band wrapped up these two favorites and there was no escaping the feeling that we had been subjected to some of the best oldschool metal on this planet…which we had of course.
Disclaimer: I am not a photographer. Bear that in mind when viewing the pictures included in this show review but then again, one thing I learned at Metal Nexus is that anyone can call themselves a photographer..even if they really aren’t!
Friday, April 21st, one of hard rock’s longest-running acts will descend into the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina when the legendary Y&T comes to town. They will be playing one of the region’s best venues, The Grey Eagle, and will be supported by AVL’s own Appalachian power doomers, Temptations Wings. Y&T’s origins date back to the early 1970’s when the band’s only current surviving member, Dave Meniketti, and his bandmates took the Yesterday & Today moniker inspired by The Beatles compilation sharing it. After an eventual shortening to Y&T, the group has spent decades sharing their music with the globe and now boast a discography of 18 albums, 3 greatest hits collections, a boxed set and have collectively sold over 4 million albums since their 1974 inception. Alongside lead gtrst./vox Dave Meniketti in the current incarnation of the band are rhythm gtrst./vox John Nymann, bassist/vox Aaron Leigh and drummer/vox Mike Vanderhule and without question they are going to rock The Grey Eagle.
To support such an iconic act, regional favorite sons Temptations Wings have accepted the challenge and will bring their heavy hitting talents to the stage as well. The trio, gtrst./vox Micah Nix, drummer Jason Gardner and bassist Chad Barnwell have just issued their critically acclaimed new conceptual album ‘Skulthor Ebonblade‘ and are eager to bring the new material to life at such a beloved hometown venue, The Grey Eagle. This is truly a show not to be missed!