Archive for Ronnie James Dio

Bloodstock 2016: Friday- Well Most of It

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by 80smetalman

Old age had caught up with me just after midnight on the Thursday so I decided to call it a night. Trying to get to sleep, I was disturbed by several loud crashes that went on through the night. When I awoke the next morning, Teal, my stepson, tells me about the latest sports craze sweeping Bloodstock, bin jousting. From what he tells me, you get two large dumpster bins, one or more persons to stand on it and then a group of people to push the bin into that of their opponent’s. Whoever falls loses. I would have definitely done something like that in my youth but these days, nah!

My first morning at Bloodstock, I wolf down my breakfast and head for the arena. With no apparent appearance of anyone on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, I head over to the New Blood Stage. Maybe, I’ll find another band like Black Emerald. At 10:30, a three piece band called Witch Tripper from Mansfield, England ascends the stage and immediately blows me away. They were a great power metal band. The guitarist, who is also the lead singer, can definitely shred and he is supported by a very capable rhythm section. They were that good that they held my attention to the point that I never even noticed the first band of the day on the main stage had begun playing. If there were any record scouts watching these guys play and didn’t make them an offer, then shame on you. Witch Tripper was a great start to the Friday morning.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

When Witch Tripper finished, I immediately beat feet to the Ronnie James Dio Stage to catch the second half of Hark. I’m glad I did. Hark’s brand of metal followed very nicely from what I had just seen. They were powerful, fierce and hungry and their performance on the stage showed it. While Witch Tripper might have kicked things off for the day, Hark definitely got the show started on the main stage.

Hark

Hark

It was on Teal’s recommendation that I check out the second band on the main stage on Friday, Gloryhammer. My first impression when I heard them was, “They sound a lot like Hammerfall.” Melodic keyboards, fantasy lyrics and at times, a good power sound, yes, all the elements I know of from Hammerfall. Furthermore, all the mannerisms of the band while they were on stage gave the impression that they were from one of the Scandinavian nations. Even the actions of lead singer, Thomas Winkler, had me thinking they were from said reginon. Well, the last bit was all wrong. The members of the band are from Scotland and Switzerland! In fact, Winkler claims he is the heir to the throne of Fife. Still, their music and stage show was very good. I especially liked when they brought a young lady dressed as a medieval serving wench to refresh them. So, while there was still a definite Hammerfall influence here, they were unique enough to rock the stage.

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

More Gloryhammer

More Gloryhammer

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

With a break in the action on the main stage, I heard loud sounds from the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Going to investigate, I discovered the band Brutai blasting away. Silly cliches but Brutai were brutal. They were loud and proud. So loud in fact that work phoned my mobile during their time on stage and I had to walk a good ways from the tent in order to hear the call. They proved to be an enjoyable bridge between Gloryhammer and the next band to ascend the Ronnie James Dio Stage.

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Gloryhammer played melodically to people’s fantasies. The next band on the main stage, Evil Scarecrow, simply scared the crap out of people. Their Halloween make up combined with their aggressive thrash metal was not for the feint-hearted. Evil Scarecrow pulverized the stage and anyone who got near enough to hear them. It must be my sub-conscience masochistic tendencies but I kind of enjoyed what I heard. Still, not one to play when your grandmother is visiting.

I wasn't the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

I wasn’t the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

For some reason, Evil Scarecrow left me feeling a bit hungry. I mean there was no drinking of animal blood on stage or anything like that but my stomach was calling. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to feed my face, down a couple of cans in preparation for the long time I was going to be at the front of the main stage. It was always my plan to see three of the last four bands on the Friday and since the other band was the one on before the headliner, I thought I would see them just so I wouldn’t lose my place for the main event.

The first of those bands was Corrosion of Conformity. I listened to one album of theirs back in the 1980s, but that was all. My memory of them was always them being a thrash metal band but this night, I was educated. While they were definitely metal, I couldn’t help hearing some of their Southern roots in their music. Well, they were announced as being from North Carolina, so I can certainly see where that comes from. Nevertheless, they were metal on this day, through and through. Really loved it when they played “Vote With a Bullet.” They were a great start to the marathon.

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Actually, the wait between bands wasn’t as excruciating as I was fearing. So, it didn’t seem all that long before, Venom emerged. Not to be outdone, Venom hit the stage like a formula one car and only accelerated more as they went on. Playing a good mix, it was only four songs before they played the first of their classics, “Welcome to Hell.” From there, they only created more mayhem on the stage and I have to admit, compared to when I saw them in 1986, Cronus has definitely matured as a musician, singer and showman. Plus, new guitarist, La Rage, was definitely a welcome addition to the band. The only thing I could nit pick was the fact they didn’t play “Women, Leather and Hell” but only a minor disappointment from what was a rather good set, especially when they ended with “Black Metal,” fantastic! At one point, Cronus stated that Venom hadn’t played Britain in ten years but I think that on this day, they earned their place back in the hearts and minds of British metalheads.

Venom comes back

Venom comes back

Cronus proves he still has pipes

Cronus proves he still has pipes

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

I thought that this might have been my first time seeing Behemoth but I now realise that I may have seen them in 2010. I can’t be sure. If I had, back then, they definitely didn’t enter the stage as theatrically as they did on this day. With guitar and bass waiting under a wooden frame while eerie music played, Nergal made his dramatic entry onto the stage and then all pandemonium broke loose. Behemoth’s brand of black metal and death metal provided an interesting gap in what had gone before and what was to come. While I only realised it since coming home from the festival, Behemoth played their latest album, “The Satanist” in it’s entirety. Knowing this and seeing them on stage, has made me want to listen to the album. I have to say, their stage show was quite good except at the end when they released the black confetti, all I could think was that Sabbaton did that last year.

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Nergal hits the stage

Nergal hits the stage

Behemoth go for it

Behemoth go for it

Cool light show

Cool light show

Black Confetti

Black Confetti

One band was to follow Behemoth on this night. However, you will have to wait til next post to read about them. After all, I did say that I would do a separate post for them alone and trust me, they deserve it.

Next post: Twisted Sister at Bloodstock

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 1983: Dio- Holy Diver

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

dio
Like with David Bowie’s and Motorhead’s 1983 albums, I was hoping to write about the debut album from Dio, in 1983, under much happier circumstances. With the passing of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, I feel that it should be a fitting tribute to him that I post about this iconic album now.

Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

What can I say about “Holy Diver” that hasn’t already said? Probably nothing, therefore, I am going to speak about it straight from the heart and yes the pun is intended. From my first listen, I admit it wasn’t til early 1984 when I got that opportunity, til now, I was and still am completely blown away by it. No wonder it’s my fourth favourite album of all time.

Why is this album so good? Let’s start with the opener, “Stand Up and Shout.” That is one of the best album and concert opening songs of all time. A great opener will grab you by the throat and make you listen to the entire album. It’s no wonder, Dio opened with this song three of the five times I’ve seen them live.

You are the driver
you own the road
you are the fire — go on, explode

Then comes my favourite Dio song of all time, the title track. If I were running a ‘Headbanging for Beginners’ course, “Holy Diver” would be the first song I would use. This unique but catchy riff is just plain phenomenal. I still remember at the local nightspot in London for heavy metal, scores of metalheads all in a huddle headbanging away to it. The song is so easy to do that with. Not only that, there are Ronnie James Dio’s lyrics, (he was top of his game here), and Vivian Campbell just nails the guitar solo. For me, it’s always been truly an amazing song.

Between the velvet lies

There’s a truth as hard as steel

A vision never dies

Life’s a never ending wheel.

Following the title cut are two more excellent songs in the form of “Gypsy” and “Caught in the Middle.” With both songs, we see some heavy chords being struck while in sync with more of Ronnie’s lyrics.

Take a look at yourself, you might see someone you don’t know

If you haven’t already figured it out, the above lyrics were from “Caught in the Middle.” After that is what many claim to be the best non single or song that should have been released as one on the album. Anyone who has any experience of Dio will know “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Its eerie intro followed by lyrics that can be of sound advice before exploding into pure heavy metal mania with Campbell’s solo probably being the best one on the album. There’s something for everyone to like here. It is most likely the reason why Dio has played this song all five times I’ve seen them live.

Having originally procured “Holy Diver” on cassette, I should go on about side two. However, the age of CD’s and MP3 downloads has made me stop dividing albums into sides. “Straight Through the Heart” is a very powerful rocker and maintains the standard the album sets but after that is my choice for best hidden gem on it, “Invisible.” Don’t ask me to explain why or how but I just love that song. I think it’s the way like “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” it starts melodically before hitting you over the head with more power chords. Those chords may not be quite as in your face as the other song but it does the job.

If your surface stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man

Cause it never, never, never has for me

In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of your soul

And it’s likely you will find the answer there.

Again, Ronnie’s lyrics are amazing, especially matched with his truly one of a kind voice. Following “Invisible” is the more known “Rainbow in the Dark,” which maybe was Dio’s most successful single. Hell, I remember in 1984, a Budweiser advert being played to this tune. This is the one song where keyboards play a major role but still, they don’t detract from the power of the song.

Now onto the closer, “Shame on the Night.” If I have to pick a least favourite track, it would have to be this one. Don’t get me wrong, it is no way a bad track, I just don’t rate it quite as high as the other eight but what it does do is close the album very nicely, I guess that’s what Ronnie had in mind with it. That is yet another reason why I think “Holy Diver” is so fantastic.

Track Listing:

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Gypsy
  4. Caught in the Middle
  5. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  6. Straight Through the Heart
  7. Invisible
  8. Rainbow in the Dark
  9. Shame on the Night
Dio

Dio

Ronnie James Dio- vocals, keyboards

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Jimmy Bain- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

I don’t give a flying fart as to how cliched this statement sounds but I know in my heart that Jimmy has now joined Ronnie and they are jamming away together in a better place. Probably their former Rainbow band mate, Cozy Powell has joined them and if they had any sense, they would invite Jon Lord to do the honours on the keyboards. However, I can’t think of any guitarist who has played along side of these guys who has departed from our world. Therefore, I would suggest they take Criss Oliva from Savatage as his guitar work would fit Ronnie’s vocals perfectly. Who knows, maybe they would make an album as great as “Holy Diver.”

Next post: Billy Idol

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

R.I.P. Lemmy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by 80smetalman
Lemmy

Lemmy

My wife broke the sad news to me this morning and it’s already all over Facebook. Last night, heavy metal suffered its most tragic loss since Ronnie James Dio with the passing of Motorhead bassist and singer Lemmy Kilmister, who died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

Ace_of_Spades

It would simply be a case of preaching to the choir if I start spouting how valuable Lemmy was to heavy metal. He defined a whole new style of bass playing and had a voice that you will never forget. But Lemmy was more than just some stereotypical metal musician. Many of his songs spoke about history, his disdain for authority and even wasn’t afraid to take on the issue of child abuse, (Daddy Don’t Kiss Me.) Furthermore and this is a given, he was a major architect behind the creation of thrash metal. Motorhead were certainly pioneers in that field.

My main regret is that I don’t paint a good picture of him in “Rock and Roll Children.” See, the night I saw Motorhead live in New York, he spent the entire night complaining about the sound and to some, he came across as a bit of an asshole. My reaction to his complaints was that he sounded fine to me, so he should shut up and play. Fortunately, I would see him again at a later date and he had no complaints about the sound, Motorhead just beat your ears to death like they always do. So, I hope he forgives me for this because right now, Lemmy joins Ronnie and so many of the other great musicians who are no longer with us and are jamming away together in a better place.

R.I.P. Lemmy

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Straight_between_the_eyes

Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

 Hence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.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: Loudness- Devil Soldier

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

LOUDNESS_DS

Funny thing about Loudness, I spent the last three months of 1982 and the first three of 1983 in their home country, Japan, and never heard of them. Thinking back to my time there, I do not remember hearing any home grown music of any kind. The juke boxes in any bar I went to or even in the night clubs, all they seemed to play was Western music. My conclusion is that the Japanese are more receptive to Western music and for an act to make it there, it has to first make it outside of Japan. Loudness would certainly do that three years later but at this time, they would remain beyond my attention.

One thing that Loudness certainly prove with their second album, “Devil Soldier,” is that metal can rule no matter what language it’s sung in. As long as there is a great band behind a brilliant voice, great metal can break down barriers. Some of the songs are sung in the native tongue with some parts sung in English. Take “Rock the Nation,” I tried to follow along with the lyrics written down in English but they didn’t sound like English to me, except for parts of the chorus. Nevertheless, lead singer Minoru Nihara sings it very well and he is yet another singer whose talents haven’t been given the respect it deserves. I’m going to put my hand in the piranha’s tank and put him in the same class as Dio, Meine and Gillan. His vocals just come through on each and every song.

Talking about talent, guitarist Akira Takasaki has gotten some well deserved respect. Some have said that he copies other great guitarists but I don’t hear it. The closest he or the band in general come to copying is on the title track where the beginning of the song reminds me of Heart’s classic “Barracuda.” Thinking about it, I did see that song on at least one juke box when I was in Japan. Back to the subject, Akira lays down some good riffs on many songs, most notably, “Hard Workin'” and “Angel Dust.” When he’s not shredding, he does very well in accompaniment with the rhythm section. So, what do I think? Simply, this album kicks ass.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Player
  2. Angel Dust
  3. After Illusion
  4. Girl
  5. Hard Workin’
  6. Loving Maid
  7. Rock the Nation
  8. Devil Soldier
Loudness

Loudness

Minoru Nihara- vocals

Akira Takasaki- guitar

Masayoshi Yamashita- bass

Munetaka Higuchi- drums

In 1985, many in the West would say that thunder would come from the east and it did. However, in 1982, Loudness were still gearing up for their conquest with a great album in “Devil Soldier.” It’s proof to me that heavy metal could unite the world.

Next post: Whitesnake- Saints and Sinners

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishingroup.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 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

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