Monday night I decided to take this one man heavy metal tailgate (I am not friendless, AM NOT.) to the Fallen Angels, White Wizzard, Sword of Judgement, Havok, Revocation and Forbidden show. It was the best thrash metal experience I’ve had since seeing Destruction a few years ago. Tons of pics and sweet video of Forbidden jamming with Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) on “Eyes of Glass” after the jump; all nuts-flexing aside, it’s the best video I’ve shot yet.
First off, check out “Consumed By Darkness” by the dudes in Sword of Judgement, always an awesome thrash metal opener ’round these parts. As mentioned in installments on local metal; keep an eye on these guys!
I did not catch Fallen Angels because I was partying by myself in the parking lot and I’m chronically late to shit. Though I have warmed up to Revocation in recent months, mostly due to their first release Empire of the Obscene, what really put me over the edge in deciding to attend the symphony this particular evening is the fact that White Wizzard was featured on the bill. This band is real fun. Said to be one of the “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal”, their music is very upbeat and Maiden-esqe most of the time with outstanding vocal delivery from Wyatt Anderson. The sustain and falsetto is really remeniscent of the Geoff Tates and Rob Halford of the 80’s. I was going to record a live video of “Over the Top”, which has one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a long time, but decided that rocking out would have to take priority. Their upbeat, somewhat tongue-in-cheek style actually meshed well with the hardcore thrash elements on this bill and though the band isn’t always known for guitar virtuosity, there were some blazing solos from Lewis Stephens (below).
Havok played a gritty set with good amount of breakdowns, the good thrash metal kind with the drummer using lots of ride, not the chugalugg stereotypical of modern day “-core” sub-genres. “Afterburner” is a blistering thrash track that came across great live. Check out a live video, as well as other fun pieces of mischief on our Youtube Channel. Though the band has garnered some criticism to go along with the praise of their last two full-length releases, it’s tough for me to hate on any band with this kind of time machine element. Havok really pays homage to the speed juggernauts of the 80’s where shades of Exodus riffing and Slayer song structures can be heard throughout much of the band’s material. These young dudes play retro thrash while many of their peers are busy getting plugs and listening to As Blood Runs Black in their lifted trucks. Not only that but the guitarists were cheeky enough for a mid-song high five. Respect.
Revocation was a great live thrash experience; their mix of old school death metal riffing with scorching speed demonism is really the highlight for me. However, it’s the random note fills that often turned me off; it’s the guitar equivalent of Primus and really seems like a shortcut to achieving “technical thrash” status. This is a to-each-his-own moment, though. The band is writing riffs they like so no biggie. Their set was split pretty evenly between Empire of the Obscene and Existence is Futile, which I was happy about, and also included two new tracks that f’ing slayed.
Now for me the real wild card was Forbidden. As big of a thrash head as I was growing up I didn’t know much about the band aside from “Chalice of Blood” and “Eyes of Glass”. I didn’t even know Gene Hoglan was in the band many moons ago! Earlier in the day, Nuclear Blast USA’s Facebook page alluded to a special guest set to join the Bay Area thrashers on stage. That guest was Jeff Loomis formerly of Nevermore (sad face). Rumor has it that Warrel Dane was in attendance as well. Perhaps the guys are on good terms still and a reunion is not out of the question. Nonetheless, it was great to see him join the guys for a triple-pronged shred assault on “Eyes of Glass”. We post many videos, being blog and all, but we are particularly proud of this one. I shot it rather well for how much…..fun I was having. Check it out before you read any further!
That’ll make you wanna pick up the ol’ axe! It was a pretty hectic set of old material and cuts from the new release Omega Wave. Anyone who is a fan of the band from back in the day has to pleased with the new material. Also, huge non-instrument-lead-singers take note; you have to have an ominous laugh for banter between songs. Russ Anderson is almost as good as Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg in the spoken word department. A poetry reading may be in his future (don’t say I didn’t say, ok?). Maybe it was a sparse crowd because it was Monday and people are lame here during the week (it’s a hangover, brah, not paralysis; man up and make the work day happen) yet these thrash metal warriors didn’t spare an ounce of effort. I give this gig a gazzillion horns.