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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Out Of The Beyond Part 6

Silverlane: Above the Others

This is a Melodic Power Metal band from Germany, featuring the usual mix of speeding drums, shredding guitars and keyboard flourishes they manage to immediately catch the attention of the listener, the first 4 songs in particular all link together very well and provide a great start to the album. The band play ably the guitarists Christoph Alexander Schmitt and Uli Holzemer in tight harmony, the bass of Daniel Saffer is both rhythmic and driving with a suitable gallop, the drums of Simon Michael Schmitt pounding out a back beat. These are held together by the superb classical playing of Keyboardist Dorothee Schmitt and the band is topped off by the rough and powerhouse vocals of the conveniently named Ecki Singer. His voice is much rougher than other power metal singers but it suites the music well. The album itself goes through the first 4 tracks of powerhouse metal and then slows the pace with ballad The Game and before changing it again with the industrial The Dark Side in You which is followed by the poppier Ready to Rock. After these 7 tracks the next 4 tracks are part of a mini concept suite of four songs based around a White Lady character, before ending with another OTT ballad and a stormer of a closer in the song In the End. If I was to make a criticism of this album it is that it maybe a little over long at 13 tracks (The White Lady suite could have been on an e.p) but it is a good album that is very well produced and filled with great songs. It is also an album for fans of driving metal but without the falsetto vocal theatrics, all in all a real crowd pleaser. 8/10

Scenes: Call Us At The Number You Provide

It’s always strange heading into a second hand CD shop you never know what you will find. This album is one such gem. I had an inkling of the genre by what label it was on however for a £1 I took the risk and I'm glad I did. What I purchased was an album of great progressive metal from a band called Scenes with some research I found that they were from Germany and this was their debut. The band are obviously all virtuosos as the playing is fantastic throughout with particular notice going to Bassist Jan Ebert (although this maybe due to the bass heavy production). The vocals of Alexander Koch are strong and with a lot of gravel along with having the European style of pronunciation that is the norm in bands from Europe. The songs are well balanced with shorter songs breaking up the gaps between the prog epics that are 6, 7, 9 or 10 minutes each. While the album is good there is a small thing that annoys me about it, that is that on two of the songs they have another vocalist someone called Nektarios Bamiatzis who despite being a good singer and suited to the genre he does not to be an official member of the band so why is he credited as such on the album (he is not credited anywhere else) maybe it's just me but it seems a little cruel to have a vocalist and let someone who is not more well known to sing two of you songs. This aside the album is well written and well performed, like most prog, a good investment for £1. 7/10

David Readman: S/T

Known primarily as the singer of German metal band (what is it with German bands this time) Pink Cream 69 (after original singer Andi Deris joined Helloween). Englishman David Readman is more recently known as the singer of Neo-Classical/Hard Rock band Voodoo Circle. This is Readman's first solo album and it is in keeping with both of his day jobs albeit in a lighter sense. The album features Eden's Curse Bassist Paul Logue and Readman's Voodoo Circle cohort Alexander Beyrodt on guitar. The album is a primarily a Melodic Rock album that has a similar sound to bands like Y&T and 80's period Whitesnake (mainly due to Readman's voice). The songs are good and the playing is great Readman's voice is also fantastic as usual. Why then don't I like this as much as I do Voodoo Circle or Eden's Curse, it could be to do with the ratio between rockers and ballads, there are just too many of the latter, the album is a bit too schmaltzy and the rockier songs don't really have the punch they should, the opening track Without You is a big rocker but after about the sixth track the album starts to falter and the following tracks just don't seem to generate any feeling. A slightly disappointing album although not a total failure because of the quality of the playing and the production (which comes from Pink Cream 69's Dennis Ward) 6/10

Silverlane: http://youtu.be/GDWvFpnyjGI
Scenes: http://youtu.be/o8XW-V48FkM
David Readman: http://youtu.be/EzLCghc8j4Q

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Out Of The Beyond Part 5

I am only going to do two in this update because really any fan of Prog/Power or just Metal should buy these albums. They are both from a band called Seventh Wonder.

Seventh Wonder hail from Sweden and were formed when Bassist Andreas Blomqvist's former band broke up. He formed Seventh Wonder and they have in total released 4 albums. I'm going to concentrate on the last two as they seem to be the most accomplished. The first is their third album which is called:

Mercy Falls- this is a concept album that focuses on the life of a man left comatose by a car accident, he creates his own city called Mercy Falls which is attacked by a flood, while in the real world his wife deals with guilt of infidelity and coping with her loss. The story for this album is very well written and it is very well told throughout the album with actors playing the parts described, usually on top of some great instrumental passages. There are few concept albums that work and this is one, in places it can be quite an emotional story but don't let that put you off and dismiss this as lightweight the music on offer is fantastic with guitar, bass and keys all being played with expert virtuosity. The majority of the tracks are driving prog/power metal epics with acoustic and instrumental passages added to increase the power of them. The two acoustic songs Tears of the Father and Tears of the Son provide two great introspective moments that sum up the real world situation of the album whereas the epic Break The Silence is a clinic in how this type of metal should be done. Some would say that a fault would be the length of this album and it is long, nearly 75 minutes, but when the playing and song writing is this good the time flies by. Also this time is needed to adequately tell the story. The album is well worth picking up if you’re a fan of the genre, concept albums, storytelling or metal in general. An essential purchase if there ever was one! 10/10

The next album is the most recent:

The Great Escape- Unlike the previous effort this is not a concept album but does feature two tracks that are linked. It is also more towards the power metal end of the spectrum. Only featuring 7 songs it may seem much shorter than its predecessor but as it features a track that is 30 minutes long, this is not the case. Again the playing is fantastic and Tommy Karevik's voice is one of the genres best, he shows the right amount of melody, power and emotion. All of the tracks are good but it is the first and last that are the heart of the album, first track Wiseman is a great opener and also serves as a prequel to the events that take place in the final track. The final and title track The Great Escape is based on the poems 'Aniara' by Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson. It deals with the tragedy of a space ship which, originally bound for Mars with a cargo of surviving colonists from a ravaged and destroyed Earth, is ejected from the solar system and becomes entangled in an existential struggle. (Thank You Wikipedia) despite an unknown concept Seventh Wonder's knack for drawing you into a story is still their biggest power here as they are able to maintain your attention for the 30 minutes and for those who are not avid Dream Theater fans (I am an avid Dream Theater fan by the way) this is no mean feat. Another great album from a little known band again I urge you to seek this out and you will not be disappointed. 9/10

Seventh Wonder:

The 30 minute song: http://youtu.be/PEuaBvZkJLQ

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Reviews: Borealis, Malefice, Machinae Supremacy

Borealis: Fall from Grace (Lion Music)

Seeing the production company and reading some previews and also having not heard their first album. I thought this would be a straight up Power Metal album (Not like that’s a bad thing) However upon listening to the album I have found that it is so much more than that. There are Power Metal influences e.g. Keyboards, melodic solos etc. albeit they are American Power Metal in the vein of Kamelot and Iced Earth. Seeing as Borealis hail from Canada this would be why, however form the first track they try to distance themselves and do something different. Employing screamed vocals backing their singer you get a Gothenburg style opener that has the frantic kick drumming of a band like In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. As the tracks progress the Power Metal element is still there but is diluted by progressive song writing, some orchestral and acoustic passages and a generally modern sound. In some places the band have more in common with Killswitch Engage or Trivium than they do with the aforementioned Power Metallers. The playing is superb throughout, with the drumming being a particular highlight as is singer and guitarist Matt Marinelli who has a strong gritty voice that is similar to both Symphony X's Russell Allen and Iced Earth's Matt Barlow. So despite this being in essence a Power Metal album, don't think that it will be a wizard and goblin fest, this is Power Metal for the modern day, building on a template set by Iced Earth but also by Trivium and kin. An absolutely cracking release. 9/10

Malefice: Awaken the Tides (Metal Blade)

Hitting you like a juggernaut from the opening track Malefice return with their third album. What immediately strikes me about this release is that it sounds much more accomplished than their previous efforts. They have managed to develop their sound into one that shares similarities with genre leaders Lamb of God and Devildriver. Each track is a whirlwind of double kick drumming and precision riffiage with the addition of some great soloing on most of the tracks. Frontman Dale Butler's voice has also developed giving him a powerful shout and a great scream. All of the tracks are well written and ebb and flow very well giving great light and shade, the album as a whole is very well produced making them sound even more professional. However despite similarities between the tracks (as is the case with this type of metal) it is final track The Haunting that gives the feeling of a band trying to broaden their horizons, as it features programmed drums and leads into a melancholic secret track that leaves the listener with room to breathe after the assault of the rest of the album. 8/10

Machinae Supremacy: The Beat of Our Decay (Spinefarm)

A unique band in that they have a classic European melodic metal style that is akin to modern In Flames, the difference is their sound is boosted by the presence of a Sid station from a Commodore 64. This means that the band has blips and effects that you wouldn't associate with a metal band and also ones that you wouldn't associate with an electronica band either. The band all play brilliantly, with frontman Robert "Gaz" Stjärnström's voice sounding similar to Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom. This album is a compilation that was released to coincide with their UK tour with the C.O.B it encompasses tracks from their three albums and a cover of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi thrown in for good measure. This is a great introduction for anyone who has never heard of Machinae Supremacy, they are well worth your time. 8/10  

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Live & Dangerous 8: Judas Priest, Queensryche and Rival Sons

The end of an era, the passing of legends, the last hurrah of an old warhorse. Call it what you will this night was going to be historic anyway you look at it. The first date on the UK leg of Judas Priests final tour. Quite rightly called the Epitaph tour it was a chance for their legendary band to play one last headlining tour for their fans of nearly 40 years. The crowds who came had both excitement and sadness as many believed that this could be the last time they would see Priest live. This was a one band night however both supports did an admiral job warming up the crowd.

Having seen Rival Sons at Sonisphere 4 days previously I knew what to expect from this L.A based band. Classic 60-70's rock riffs infused with Morrisonesque vocals. Despite the band coming on to little fanfare just 15 minutes after the doors opened they managed to catch the attention of the small crowd that was there early. Playing just 6 songs their set was short sweet and rocking providing a nice difference to the metal that was to come. 8/10

Next were Queensryche who have not graced Welsh shores for a very long time. They also had a stunted set that meant they had to produce a hits-lite set that was able to hold the audience’s attention. Big hitters such as I Don’t Believe in Love and Jet City Woman they were able to give the songs there all but I can't help thinking they were a bit too workmanlike in their presentation. Despite this they were able to prep the crowd for the Metal onslaught that Priest were going to bring. 7/10

As the Epitaph curtain was raised the sense of excitement followed it. The crowd brimming with a nervous, joyous energy about what was to come. As the opening riff of Rapid Fire hit the crowd went nuts, the band casting there spell over the full to the rafters audience enraptured with every, note and scream. Rob Halford was on top for all night despite using an echo effect on some of the higher notes he was still able to hit them well. Glenn Tipton and new boy Ritchie Faulkner were in sync the whole time, Ian Hill was a stoic as ever and Scott Travis flailed like a mad man throughout. After the blitz of the opening track there came the anthem that is Metal Gods (no cutlery included this time unfortunately). The set list was not just a 'greatest hits' that would be too easy for a band like Priest. This set was a fan favourite run through of the bands career. Featuring songs from all the bands albums, including their two post reunion albums and early record Rocka Rolla. As always the majority came from their breakthrough British Steel album. However some tracks were genuine fan favourites. Big hit Breaking the Law led to a mass sing-along with Halford not even singing a word leaving the fine Welsh voices to do the work for them. The set ended with the aural assault of Painkiller before a small rest bite led first encore and the one two of The Hellion/Electric Eye before another small break and the emergence of the iconic Harley for Hell Bent For Leather and You Got Another Thing Comin' ended the first encore. The crowd exploded after this applause and cheers abound they had been entertained by True British Metal for 2 hours. Priest then came out one last time and played one final song the classic Living After Midnight before saying their final goodbye to the delighted audience. Priest are legends and as such any small technical errors (of which there were a few) can be forgiven. One of the founding members of the metal fraternity Priest have done everything to imprint their legacy on the world rarely has there been a band that has linked together so many people under one roof. They are proof that no matter what walk of life you come from it is the Metal that matters and there is no more fitting Epitaph for a band like Judas Priest than that. 10/10

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Live & Dangerous 7: Sonisphere 2011 Day 3

Another early start to go and catch Danish Elvis -Metallers Volbeat. After coming on early they were able to play a very solid 45 minutes, packing it with their unique brand of old school Rock & Roll mixed with Metallica style metal. They managed to get the crowd moving and were a great wake up call for 11 O Clock on a Sunday morning. Good time rock & roll served up with some metallic brutality. 8/10

Next came the biggest disappointment of the weekend, having released a great album when they were so young Black Tide were a promising young thrash band, how things change. Opening with their version of Hit the Lights (the same track Metallica opened with) the band were overselling themselves somewhat but if they played their strong first album they would be fine. This did not happen they instead played tracks from their unreleased second album. A very bad move as 1: No one knew these songs and 2: They were shit. Sounding like a crap BFMV this was wuss metal in the extreme, it is just not something you do with a festival crowd. I for one do not want to buy their album or see them again. Piss off Black Tide come back when you are good again. 3/10

Having played Sonisphere Switzerland the day before Arch Enemy admitted that they hadn't slept. This meant the show was not as energetic as it could have been, the Amott brothers shredding was fantastic as usual as was Angela Gossow's demon voice. The songs such as Nemesis and We Will Rise managed to destroy but with the band as lacklustre as they were I was glad (As they were too) that the set only lasted 30 minutes. 7/10

Following a small break I caught Mastodon a band I have wanted to see live for ages, they did not disappoint, despite their lack of movement and static stage show they played a set of their most well-known songs (hard when you have 4 concept albums) and caught the audience’s attention for all of the set. The playing was tight and the melodies and riffing great, Brann Dailor's drumming was a particular highlight. A good set perfectly fitted for a Sunday afternoon, crushingly heavy yet not to exerting saving people’s energy for the headliner. 8/10

They consistency is good (take note Black Tide) and this is one thing Airbourne have in spades. The world’s foremost AC/DC tribute managed to work the crowd brilliantly with their High Voltage (Sorry for the pun) set. Hitting with Raise the Flag the new songs fitted perfectly with their older material to form a cohesive whole during the raucous Blackjack frontman Joel O'Keefe did his Spiderman act and climbed up the rigging of the Saturn stage and played a solo on the top of it. This still manages to get the crowd going and even his fake slip was a good addition. However I wonder how much longer he can do this before it gets boring to watch. Despite my cynicism they played great party set that ignited the crowd, brilliant. 8/10

The veterans of the day were Motorhead who dedicated their performance to former guitarist Wurzel who had died Saturday night. No time for reflection or sadness though as Motorhead ploughed through a heavy hit laden set, what I notice was that they were LOUD louder than any other band on the Apollo stage with the exception of Slipknot (who were the headliners). Playing classics such as Killed by DeathAce of Spades and Overkill the band were able to have the crowd eating out of their hands. This is due in part to the humour and charm of Lemmy who was able to mask any cock ups by playfully ribbing himself and his band mates. A true gentleman at the heart of one of the world’s greatest bands always a pleasure guys. 9/10

How Opeth would fair with a 45 minute set would be anyone’s guess. They managed to squeeze 5 songs into the set, with their Progressive-Death metal providing a welcome relief after the bombardment (again sorry for the pun) of Motorhead. Mikael Akefeldt proved himself to be a charming frontman by making jokes and putting the crowd at ease. So much so that they took part in a silent headbang before Opeth's final song. The band did well in a criminally short set which meant they couldn't achieve their full potential. 8/10

Back to the main stage for a bit of my childhood nostalgia. Having reformed 2 years ago Limp Bizkit has just released a new album and this was their first Sonisphere set. Starting with Hot Dog the band asked the audience to make the choices of their set and they of course picked all of the classics as well as two strange choices in new track Douchebag and George Michael cover Faith, why they chose this instead of Counterfeit or Nookie. Despite these two the band played a set that took me back to my childhood and probably did the same for much of the audience. My only criticism would be there were too many breaks in the set where there could have been songs and that Limp Bizkit will never be the world’s most vital band. Despite this a good showing from Fred and crew. 7/10

Over to the Saturn for headliner Bill Bailey. Being backed by a band The Devil Said No he managed to turn his comedy songs into proper out and out rock songs, with opener Insect Nation becoming a prog rock epic along with the Leg of Time. All of the songs benefited from the use of a full band which meant some of the Kraftwerk parodies became Rammstein parodies. Bailey's voice also toughened up slightly from his usual perfectly pitched voice which meant he could sing his tribute to Emo Bleed On Your Panini with the angst it required. The news theme gave a break to the rock with its trance infected back beat before coming back with Chas and Dave’s occult song Satan Leave Out. Ending with his car horn rendition of Enter Sandman. A fantastic and hilarious set from Bill Bailey that was a great light relief before the emotional roller-coaster that was to be Slipknot's set. Bill should definitely start touring with the band as he would be a great opening act for many top rock and metal bands. 9/10

I have to be honest here and say that Slipknot has not always been one of my favourite bands. I do tend to prefer a little melody rather than a relentless bludgeoning. However seeing as this could be one of their last shows I wanted to see them live. After the two minutes silence earlier in the day for Paul Gray the band put his boiler suit, mask and bass on to the stage so he was with them throughout the set. Emotions were clearly running high for the set but Slipknot didn't let their emotions get the better of them. Opening with (sic) and Eyeless the band showed there would be no soppiness in their set they were going to hit as hard as ever. Clad in their original Red boiler suits and masks form all of their era’s they this was a celebration of Slipknot and Paul Gray’s life. More heaviness followed before the mid set destruction featuring Wait and Bleed, The Blister Exists, Before I Forget, Pulse of the Maggots, Left Behind and Psychosocial the band played their greatest hits set with aplomb, using explosions, spinning drum kits and precision playing throughout. The main set ended with Spit It Out which left just one of the 9 metal Slipknot S's burning overshadowed by the large '2' backdrop. The band then came back on stage for their encore of People= Shit (featuring the whole crowd jumping) and the hectic Surfacing ending the set as it had begun in powerful style. As the band waved their goodbyes and the crowd parted the haunting strains of 'Til We Die came over the P.A leaving the emotional crowd with the memory of the show and of Paul Gray. Having the seen the show I was struck by how professional and technical the band were, however with hindsight I can see that it was a great heavy metal show featuring a barrage of killer songs which served as a fitting memorial to a fallen brother. Now if only this was done more often for others we could commemorate them the same way. 9/10    

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Live & Dangerous 6: Sonisphere 2011 Day 2

The second day was somewhat of a mixed day with the persistent rain dampening some of the day's entertainment.

Having already not been impressed by Sylosis as a live act I made my way to the Jagermeister stage to catch Sons of Icarus who I had not heard much of other than they were a classic rock style band. I must say I was impressed, despite playing to a small crowd at 11am they managed to get the crowd rocking with their classic influenced but modern sounding hard rock, if I were to make a comparison then I would say Audioslave would be a good one with frontman Andy Masson sounding uncannily like Chris Cornell. A very promising debut for this new band. 7/10

Moving to the Bohemia tent I was looking forward to how Vintage Trouble would cope in a festival setting. Having been very impressed with them when they supported Kerry Ellis and Brian May, I wanted to see if they could continue to be as good as they had been. Starting with Hand Me Down Blues the band again started explosively and throughout the fast paced set managed to win over the crowd throughout the set with more people entering the tent as they progressed by the end everyone was swinging swaying and clapping along to the blues, funk, soul mix of Vintage Trouble. I urge people to go and see these guys in Swansea this year. 8/10

Back to the Jagermeister tent for another three bands. First were Jettblack whose album is one of my favourites of this year. They didn't disappoint live era their sleazy brand of classic metal ala W.A.S.P and Y&T went down well with crowd the dual vocal delivery also setting them apart from other bands. they played well and the seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. A slice of cheese that was more enjoyable than first thought. 8/10

The Treatment were next their set not changing form the one they played supporting Black Stone Cherry. However it was their stage presence that had improved. When they release their new album this band will also have a better show as the air of familiarity will have worn off. 7/10

The next act was going to be as emotional, perhaps not as emotional as Slipknots performance but for the faithful it was going to be upsetting. Panic Cell are a British groove/thrash metal band that despite being great live and releasing 3 good albums never got the critical or label backing they deserved. Their entire success came from a core band of supporters. This performance was to be their last after having been around for 10 years they had finally decided to hang up their instruments. They came out playing their hearts out hitting all of their most well-known songs as well as their fantastic version of SEAL's Crazy. Frontman Luke Bell thanked the crowd in person by climbing into the crowd during the set. After 30 minutes it was all over and with the surprisingly large crowd cheering it was a fitting end to another great British band. 9/10

With the rain hitting thick and fast I retreated back to the tent before reappearing for Weezer. Playing a hits set they managed to win the crowd with River Cuomo playing rock god on the Knebworth stage. The band event threw in 2 covers, one Wheatus' Teenage Dirtbag which suited the band and another which was a slightly misjudged version of Paranoid Android which added a small gap in an otherwise upbeat set for Weezer. Now just a UK tour would be nice. 8/10

On the second stage were The Mars Volta who managed to bore the crowd to tears very quickly. A band like this are not suited for a festival as their strange jazz-prog cannot be taken in in a short period of time. 5/10

Back to the Jagermeister stage for the final three bands (I avoided Biffy who as I will have a chance to see them again) Rival Sons have just produced the most classic sounding album in years and they aware equally as good live despite a short set they managed to hold their own on the festival stage their US gigging experience showing through. Whether this will be true when opening for Judas Priest we will have to wait and see. 8/10

Next were the female fronted Saint Jude whose sultry blues rock was able to bewitch the audience, getting them into a great groove. The bands playing was tight but with enough room to jam a little bit. They had a small club mentality keeping the banter to a minimum and just playing, it was single Soul On Fire that stood out of the set of jems. Definitely ones to watch. 8/10

The headliners were the Black Spiders, a big ballsy British biker rock band. The crowd were packed for this one. A band that encouraged drinking and rocking were a good fit for a festival and the Jagermeister stage. they attracted a huge crowd and ran through their album. Opening with the cheeky Kiss Tried To Kill Me they set the tone for the show. More heavy rocking came in the shape of Stay Down with its refrain of "Fuck You and This One Horse Town" saw the crowd in fine voice. The audience got more and more rowdy as the show went on and when the last song ended there were chants of more only to be followed by boos when the road crew appeared. I haven't seen this kind of "Fuck You" attitude from a band or fans for a long time and it shows that Rock N Roll isn't dead after all. 9/10

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Live & Dangerous 5: Sonisphere 2011 Day 1

The world's first touring festival arrives again in Knebworth House ready to rock everyone for another year. This year’s highlights included the British debut of the Big 4, a performance by Slipknot and a surprise headliner in the shape of Biffy Clyro. So here we go with my review of this hectic weekend

With the Big 4 performing it was left to long term NWOBHM nearly men Diamond Head (and main influence of Metallica et al) to open the proceedings. Performing a tight set of hits and faced with some minor technical issues caused mainly by the wind (which affected much of the sound throughout the weekend.) Despite they're experienced tightness the set seemed lacklustre with much of the crowd not responding to it. 6/10

Anthrax came next and played a similar set to the one they played last year (and have been playing for years), the difference was that this year founding guitarist Scott Ian was noticeable by his absence due to his wife's pregnancy, in both the guitar playing and crowd interaction. Replacement Andreas Kisser of Sepultura tried his best but has neither the stage presence or guitar playing were up to Ian's standards. (Messing up the beginning of Antisocial was just the start). It also meant that frontman Joey Belladonna had to do the announcing which he made a hash of being almost incomprehensible in his speech. New song Fight 'Em Till You Can't provide a variation to the set list but was too similar to Master of Puppets for my taste. The set ended with the evergreen I Am the Law which was preceded by a snippet of Refuse/Resist. An enjoyable if a little boring set. 6/10

Bypassing Megadeth a band that always leaves me cold live (despite seeing the end and them seeming to be on form) I made my way to Bohemia tent to catch Firewind an band that I have not seen live for a few years. They have improved in leaps and bounds since I last saw them with frontman Apollo being the highlight. Gus G's guitar playing was as usual flawless, but he was overshadowed slightly by keyboard/rhythm guitarist Bob Kastanotis who managed to both brilliantly, sometimes even doing the both at once. Brilliant set but it was a little short due to festival time constraints. 8/10

Moving back to the main stage I saw Slayer, always the most evil of the Big 4, they didn't let the crowd down. Featuring Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, substituting for ill Jeff Hanneman and starting with Disciple Slayer started off strong. Following this with War Ensemble which as always got the crowd really moving. The last half of the set consisted of the major Slayer hits with oldie Black Magic thrown in for good measure. Slayer were as always consistent, brutal and very entertaining. 8/10

Next were headliners and world’s biggest metal band Metallica. Starting with the Ennio Morricone track Ecstasy of Gold which gave way to Hit the Lights starting the set in a powerful fashion. Metallica were clearly enjoying themselves while seguing into Master Of Puppets following this was The Shortest Straw which was a surprise. In fact much of the set list was culled from Ride the Lightning and ...And Justice For All. With only All Nightmare Long and The Memory Remains coming from the post Black album era. The set was somewhat killed by the long instrumental The Call Of The Ktulu which seemed to stop Metallica's momentum, they then followed this with an explosive rendition of One. Metallica too were plagued with sound problems with James Hetfield's acoustic guitar cutting out on Fade To Black. Following the closer of Enter Sandman. They reappeared with the other members of the Big 4 and Diamond Head guitarist Brian Tatler for a run-through of the latter's Am I Evil before returning to their own set and closing with the one-two-punch of Battery and Creeping Death. Metallica are always a great band to see live as they're songs are world renowned however one or two set choices made this particular performance slightly patchy. 9/10