Archive for Nuclear Assault

Happy New Year 2016!

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by 80smetalman

For the first time in seven years with the company, I am working a sleepover on New Year’s Eve. At least I get double time for it. Therefore, I will wish everyone a happy new year now and reflect on 2015 and what there is to look forward to for 2016.

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

Huntress

Huntress

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

The year started with a great concert in Bristol featuring Amon Amarth with special guests, Huntress and Savage Messiah. I can’t think of a better way to start any year. While it seemed that on some occasions in the year, I was in danger of disappearing up my own rectum, with work, blogging and other commitments, music of past and present kept me sane. Although, I did have a wonderful break in August to go to Bloodstock and see three bands, two of them I missed in the 80s and the third, I was too partied out to fully appreciate them. They were Nuclear Assault, Armoured Saint and Overkill plus I headbanged to the likes of Sabbaton and Trivium that day while discovering a great little known band in Fire Red Empress. I hope the new year brings all of those bands greater success.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing

As so many of you have pointed out, there was some great music throughout the year with new releases from Iron Maiden, Queensryche and the Scorpions to name a few. Plus there was a new album from The Darkness. Let’s hope their resurgence continues into the new year.

imbos

Of course, we can’t forget out losses with the recent passing of Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. Two-thirds of a great band gone in the same year is nothing short of a tragedy. However, I am confident that they are jamming away together in another place. On a personal, non musical note, the year also saw the final episode of my favourite television show, “Sons of Anarchy.” Fortunately, my eldest step son got me the entire series on DVD for Christmas, so there will be some happy viewing for me.

Lemmy

Lemmy

20121115-sons-of-anarchy-306x306-1352997102

Like with every year, the new year gives everyone a chance for a new start or things to look forward to. For me, while Sons of Anarchy is gone, I still can watch “The Blacklist” and so far in season 3, I like what I’m seeing. Then there’s the chance to see Twisted Sister’s farewell gig at Bloodstock this year. That is something I intend to move mountains to go to.

blacklist

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister

So it leads me to say that whatever your hopes and dreams for the new year are, I hope it all works out for you. Just remember one thing, no matter what the year may bring, there will always be some great music to keep you going.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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Bloodstock: Friday August 7, 2015- Part II

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

When we last left our story, our heroes had just been completely blown away by Fire Red Empress. Uplifted by such a great set from the fore mentioned band, we now move back to the main stage and take our positions close to the stage in order to appreciate the full impact of Overkill who were coming on next. While we waited two fellow metalheads came up to me saying that the recognised me from attending both Armoured Saint and Nuclear Assault. One gentleman, Waylon from Mid-Wales as he introduced himself as, stated that the thing about a metal festival is that metalheads from all over can get together and enjoy great music. I fully support his sentiments and Waylon, if you are reading this, thanks for that. It has given me food for thought at the end.

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Waylon and pals showing their love of metal

Anticipation increased as the sound checks were carried out before Overkill made their dramatic entrance onto the main stage. Some caught a glimpse of lead singer Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth prompting a guy near me to shout out “Hey Bobby!” I don’t think Bobby heard him. Then the inevitable happened and Overkill were out on stage bringing mayhem and destruction with them. As soon as they were out, mosh pits opened either side of where I was standing and wave upon wave of crowd surfers started being passed overhead. I’m sure I passed the same young lady to the front three times because those skimpy denim shorts and thin black tights were looking all too familiar. One person told me that I was getting too old for this shit, I beg to differ.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with Overkill’s sound because I could hear the bass over both guitars and it just didn’t sound right, not that it mattered that much to the crowd. They were all enjoying the mayhem. Fortunately, it must have gotten sorted because twenty five minutes into their set, Overkill played the song I wanted most to hear, “In Union We Stand,” and it sounded fine. What was better was that they followed it up with “Rotten to the Core.” So it was a double helping of metal nostalgia for me. Other great Overkill anthems included “Hello From the Gutter,” “Electric Rattlesnake” and saving it for the end was “Fuck You,” to which Bobby got the audience singing along to. Yes, a very appropriate song to end things with I thought.

Having never seen Overkill before and having seen a lot of bands with front men who possess varying degrees of charisma, I have to say that I was more than impressed with the showmanship of Bobby Ellsworth. He definitely knew how to work the crowd even if did refer to us as mother fuckers throughout. I guess it was a compliment. Overkill could have covered a Wham song and Bobby would have had me singing along to it. It just shows how good he and Overkill are live and credit to Bloodstock for getting them to play there.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Playing In Union We Stand

Playing In Union We Stand

Overkill establishing their dominance

Overkill establishing their dominance

 

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Teal with his souvenir from the festival

Just when we had recovered from the carnage caused by Overkill, Sabaton took the stage with intent of causing more destruction. Being second from the top of the bill, they had more use of lights and effects and they took full advantage of it. The drums was on the turret of a tank and I also liked the army helmet and M-16 theme on the microphones. Coming out below the strobe lights and through the dry ice all dressed in camouflage trousers, it gave me the notion that this was somebody to see. Their music proved the notion right. The combination of power, speed and viking metal was a sound to behold. Admittedly, I don’t listen to the bands of today as much as I should because of my love for the golden decade, the name of the blog bears witness to this but Sabaton has made me promise to myself that I will pay more attention to them and other more modern bands. I have to say that I was very impressed with them.

The mosh pits dwindled down to one and the waves of crowd surfers thinned out during Sabaton’s reign on the stage but it didn’t matter. They orchestrated a new way to go nuts by having the entire audience start jumping up and down. I could do that and so I did. In fact I jumped a lot during their performance. Still it was the music that won me over. I knew very little of their music before that particular evening but one song that I remember and loves was “Panzerkampf,” which was about a big battle in World War 2 between the Germans and the Soviets. Maybe metal would be a good way to teach history. That’s the one thing I found paradoxical about them. They played several songs from their “Art of War” album and that had me wondering that for a band from Sweden, a country who hasn’t had a proper war in 250 years, they seem to write a lot of songs about war. It didn’t matter that much because again, the power metal had me until the end when Sabaton released blue and yellow confetti into the crowd marking the finale of a really great show.

Sabaton's ascent to the stage

Sabaton’s ascent to the stage

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Great fire effects

Great fire effects

Jumping to Sabaton

Jumping to Sabaton

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

Hail to Sweden

Hail to Sweden

Wanting to avoid having to leave before the end, my stepson and I went and got some energy drinks and rushed back to the main stage to await the headliners, Trivium. The stage set up alluded to the idea that this was going to be a great show. I loved the two devil skulls in the background on either side of the stage. When they came out, they didn’t disappoint the huge crowd assembled in waiting before them. However, their appearance didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Guitarist Corey Beaulieu disappeared for two songs. When he came back, he stated he kept getting shocks of the electrical system but thank God, it was fixed and he showed what a good guitarist he is.

Back in full flow, Trivium let their music do the talking for them. Sure they had some great effects being the headliner but it was the music that did it for me. They were another band who I considered too modern for me, (yes I got to stop being such a stick in the mud,) but like Sabaton, they made a believer out of me. At one point, lead singer Matt Heafy stopped to talk about the time he met Ronnie James Dio when Trivium supported Heaven and Hell in Japan in 2007. Heafy explained how gracious Ronnie was in talking about his vocals and what a great man Dio was and reminded the Bloodstock fans that the main stage was named in honour of him. I thought that was cool but of course, Trivium went back to making great music and taking the crowd all the way to the end, even playing three encore songs and ending a great day in metal history.

The stage

The stage

 

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing 

Trivium under the lights

Beaulieu wailing away

Trivium in a blur

Trivium in a blur

Near the end

Near the end

One thing I noticed on this very eventful day is that metalheads are a family. There was one blind man who had to be led by his friends to the front of the stage and another with profound special needs in a wheel chair. In both cases, fellow metalheads accommodated them, allowing them to get through the crowd. I wonder if a One Direction audience would have been so thoughtful and considerate. Another thing I would like to see as a result of the day is Armoured Saint on a UK tour with Fire Red Empress as support. They could play the Thekla in Bristol, I would go see that show for definite.

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Three Lock Box

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Bloodstock: Friday August 7, 2015, Part I

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

Metal concerts aren’t just simply concerts, they are pieces of history. I said that about many of the concerts that appeared in “Rock and Roll Children” and it applies today as much as it did back in the 80s. On August 7, literally less than 24 hours before the time I am writing this now, another chapter in heavy metal history was carved in stone. History was again made at Bloodstock.

Having never driven to the festival on a Friday morning, I was concerned about getting caught in Birmingham rush hour traffic. I have been caught in it in the past and it’s not fun. Furthermore, I’ve never driven through the British city of Tamworth on a weekday morning, so I had no idea what to expect. The in flight entertainment provided by Axel Rudi Pell’s “The Masquerade Ball” and “A Real Live One” by Iron Maiden did a great job in taking the edge off my anxieties. It also helped that my worries were for naught as I cruised around Birmingham and straight through Tamworth with little bother.

Arriving earlier than expected, my stepson and I had to wait to be let into the complex as they had no one to take the one day ticket but fortunately, the wait was only a few minutes. It was the same with access to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Once we were let in, we went to the main stage. Not much seemed to be happening, so like two years prior, we went to the New Blood Stage in the hopes that I might discover another Black Emerald. However, people seemed to be blundering about with no sign of any band taking the stage. Suddenly, a riff from a guitar coming from the Ronnie James Dio Stage sent us back there. Things were looking serious so we found a place near the stage and eagerly awaited Nuclear Assault to emerge. After nearly half an hour of waiting and listening to lots of sound checks, Nuclear Assault’s bassist, Dan Lilker, came out on stage and explained that the band’s gear had gotten tied up at the airport. He further explained that they had left Frankfurt on six hours prior so the band was feeling “a bit bushed.” I’m nuot sure if he convinced the crowd but he left to let the crew sort out the sound checks.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd

When Nuclear Assault finally came out on stage, they put to rest any question by me or anyone else in the audience over the wisdom of the promoters to put such an iconic band as the very first act of a three day festival. The answer came straight away. Normally, the very first act on any day at Bloodstock plays to about fifty people and in some cases, that band is very gracious in thanking those fifty people for turning up to see them. Not the case with Nuclear Assault. A brief glance over my shoulder saw that there was a very large crowd and they were lapping up everything the band on stage threw out. I now see the move of putting Nuclear Assault first was genius. Their hardcore thrash pummeled the Bloodstock crowd into submission. What songs they played have kind of slipped my ageing mind although I do remember the classic “Critical Mass” being played and they played “Died in Your Arms” from the new EP. Mental note to buy it. Nuclear Assault succeeded in setting the bar for the rest of the day and my stepson was converted.

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

 

And again

And again

When you are at a festival for three days, when a band leaves the main stage, you usually head for the bar. When you are only there for one day, you try to fit as much in as possible. So not even taking a second to catch our breath after being battered by Nuclear Assault, we headed over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to see what was there. What we saw was quite unique, a drum and bass act. You are now probably thinking ‘what in Sam hell is a drum and bass act doing at a metal festival?’ Well, they were a drum and bass act because they had a drummer and a bass player and boy the bass player could shred. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone shred a bass quite like it and it worked along with his heavy metal vocals. So, you have to give Oaf credit where credit is due. They rocked without having a guitar player. I did manage to catch the drummer a few hours later, you couldn’t miss him, he was dress in very bright colours, and compliment him on how good Oaf was. I just hope that the band forgives my unsteady hand when taking the photos.

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

Oaf, This one was the better of the two I took

When Oaf finished their highly amusing set, we headed back to the Ronnie James Dio stage to get ready for Armoured Saint. However, Raging Speedhorn hadn’t finished making their mark on history for the day. If Oaf hadn’t have been so entertaining, I would have seen more of Raging Speedhorn. I was fortunate enough to catch the last few songs and I did like the two lead vocalists trading off vocals they way dual lead guitarists trade solos. What I did hear did arouse my interest in them in the future.

Raging Speedhorn

Raging Speedhorn

Armoured Saint was the only band on the day who I had seen previously. That was back in 1986 and I partied a little too much before the show to fully appreciate them. This time was different. When they came onto the stage, I was ready and so was the crowd and so was Armoured Saint. From the moment they got onto the stage, they set out to dominate. The first song got my attention but the second one was their old faithful classic, “March of the Saint.” A few songs down the line, they premiered their new song, “Mess,” which only had me making mental notes to buy their new album. A veteran of thirty years of shows, vocalist John Bush worked the Bloodstock fans very well. Even going out to the sides of the stage to encourage audience participation. For me though, the big story was the guitar work of Phil Sandoval. He just shredded the whole set and it left me asking myself, ‘why hasn’t anyone taken notice of him before?’ Just when things were winding down, Armoured Saint pulled one more surprise when they brought out Sandoval’s young son to play with them on stage. He looked about five or six but he did genuinely play the song the band was playing, excellent. When they did finish, (they weren’t on stage long enough) I was pleased to have converted my stepson to another great band from my era.

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

John Bull singing to the crowd

John Bull singing to the crowd

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Phil Sandoval shredding away

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

Armoured Saint with their newest young member

After a morning and part of the afternoon of headbanging away to the likes of Nuclear Assault and Armoured Saint as well as being entertained by Oaf and Raging Speedhorn, we decided to go for lunch. Upon our return, we heard some very good metal sounds erupting from the Sophie Lancaster stage, so we had to check it out. Those responsible for that sound were called Re-Animator. We literally caught the last song of their set but it was a good song played well. Therefore, I decided it was worth taking their picture and putting it here.

Re-Animator

Re-Animator

Once Re-Animator had cleared the stage, we decided to head back to the Ronnie James Dio stage. Shortly after, Norwegian prog metallers Enslaved ascended the stage. I had listened to a couple of songs in You tube in the days before the festival but hadn’t formed an opinion of them one way or the other. At first, I wasn’t so sure about them, especially when the lead singer made an awful joke. However, about fifteen minutes in, they were starting to grow on me. However, my stepson wasn’t impressed and asked if we could go back to the Sophie Lancaster tent. He stated that Enslaved were sending him to sleep and I wanted to avoid the situation of two years ago when we had to leave before the end, so we left.

Enslaved

Enslaved

Maybe Teal was guided by some heavy metal light because when we returned to the Sophie Lancaster tent, a better band called Neobliviscaris was on stage. These guys were unique in a couple of ways. Many bands have either a left handed guitarist or bassist. Neobliviscaris had both. Furthermore, they had a violinist in the band. The only bands where that has worked have been the Charlie Daniels Band, Jefferson Starship on their first two albums and most notably Kansas. I have to say, this was the second surprise of the day arising from the Sophie Lancaster stage. The violinist played a solo with guitar back up and he complimented the band very well. We were both impressed.

Neobliviscaris

Neobliviscaris

When Neobliviscaris left the stage, it was announced that the next band would be Fire Red Empress. My stepson’s eyes lit up immediately. He has been following this band on line and so we had to see them. I had converted him to two bands so far this day so it was his turn to convert me. I had never heard of this band before so like Leaves Eyes in 2010 and Black Emerald in 2013, Fire Red Empress won my award for band I had never heard of who impressed the hell out of me. All of their songs were in excess of five minutes but with the musicianship they displayed, it was worth it. It was straightforward metal, I think the best comparison, actually I can’t think of anyone to compare them to, they were phenomenal. I hope all of you will keep your metal radar out for this band in the future.

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

And again

And again

As it’s late, I have decided to bring the post to a close and save the top three bands for next time. Sorry, if you’re disappointed but I think all would agree that the likes of Overkill, Sabaton and Trivium should possibly have a separate post where I can write with a clear mind.

Next post: Part 2

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Michael Schenker Group- One Night at Budokan

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-One_Night_at_Budokan

After letting their great studio album “Assault Attack” slip through my fingers, it was the live album from the Michael Schenker Group, “One Night at Budokan,” that I finally bought. This was because I was looking for one song in particular and although my record buying rule has always been never to buy a entire album on account of one song, I was so determined to get something with the song “Cry for the Nations” on it, that I broke my rule. On this occasion, my gamble paid off because not only I got the song I wanted, I got twelve other kick ass tracks as well.

“One Night at Budokan” adds the Michael Schenker Group to the list of bands I regret not having seen live. From what I hear on this album, I’m sure that they would have totally ruled in concert. Like with so many live albums, great guitarists just use their time in the spotlight to just let loose and Michael Schenker does that so well many times here. The most stand out for me is his efforts on “Lost Horizons.” Schenker just goes into a long mad solo and I find myself lapping up every second of it. Needless to say, though I’m going to anyway, his guitar work is just as mad on many of the other tracks and it’s a shame I took so long to recognize his talents.

Graham Bonnet does not appear on this live album but Gary Barden does an excellent job at the mike here. His vocals are enough to make me wonder why I haven’t heard him anywhere else. Another thing I didn’t acknowledge all of these years is that the Michael Schenker Group are part of the Deep Purple family tree. I have already pointed out Graham Bonnet but beating the drums on this album is none other than Cozy Powell. I don’t think I need to say any more about the quality of the drumming, do I? He is recognized on the album as he is introduced to the audience who show their appreciation to having such a great drummer on stage. With all of these elements in place, it is little wonder why “One Night at Budokan” is such a great live album and yes, they also do a great rendition of the song I was looking for in the first place.

Track Listing:

1. Armed and Ready

2. Cry for the Nations

3.  Attack of the Mad Axeman

4. But I Want More

5. Victim of Illusion

6. Into the Arena

7. On and On

8. Never Trust a Stranger

9. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

10. Courvoisier Concerto

11. Lost Horizons

12. Doctor, Doctor

13. Are You Ready to Rock

Michael Schenker Group (as on One Night at Budokan)

Michael Schenker Group (as on One Night at Budokan)

Michael Schenker- guitar

Gary Barden- vocals

Paul Raymond- rhythm guitar, keyboards

Chris Glen- bass

Cozy Powell- drums

Breaking my record buying rule on this occasion paid off. I got myself a killer live album. However, there will be a tale when I get to 1983 where doing the same would bite me on the bum. So for the moment, let us linger on the success with Michael Schenker Group.

On another note, it was an eleventh hour decision buy my step son and I will be going to this years Bloodstock Festival on the Friday only. For my step son, it will be the headliners Trivium  and Sabbaton that interest him. As for me, I’m dying to see Overkill, Armoured Saint and Nuclear Assault and of course, I will post a full account of the day.

Next post: KISS- Creatures of the Night

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London