November 18th,2005-SkullShifter,Sotto Voce,One Brick Down,Among Us at Connections in Clifton,NJ
I hadn't gone to a show in a while...at least none really worth reviewing. Last show I went to before Friday night was to see DTA at this dump named the Bloomfield Avenue Cafe (sometime in early September) and it sucked because the amount of people there to see DTA play could have been counted on one fucking hand. It sucks too because I've missed alot of shows recently but with money troubles and everything I had to cut something out of the budget. The first thing to go was DVD's (last ones I picked up were "Nail Gun Massacre",the 2-disc "Cannibal Holocaust" set and "The Warriors" directors cut mainly for the better picture quality) and the second thing that had to go was concerts (I've missed Alchemy X twice,DTA once and a few other bands I wanted to check out and I feel like an asshole having Ant loan me money to get in) unfortunatley. Sure,it's pretty cheap to go to shows and all but with the search for meaningful employment I have been spending a shitload on gas recently and it's taken more out of me than I expected. So this was the first show I had been to in two months. Even better was that it was at Connections which is maybe twenty minutes away from where I live and third of all SKULLSHIFTER was playing and I loved their EP (check out the review if you haven't done so yet and the get to ordering it!) so I knew I was going to check them out as soon as I heard about the show. Broken limbs,the runs,extensive surgery...no matter what I was going to be there!
Antony and I parked the car after listening to this ancient metal compilation tape I had and we went into the club talking about ACCEPT and how bad-ass they are. Surprisingly the place was packed. I had been to alot of shows at Connections and I had NEVER seen the place as busy as it was on Friday night so the expectations were high for a great turnout for SKULLSHIFTER who were the only band I was really interested in seeing (at least after DELIAN LEAGUE,a good local metal band,had cancelled) and I was hoping that maybe a few of the other bands playing would have been worth checking out as well.
We went towards the stage area and AMONG US were basically finishing up their set. We caught their last two songs and they didn't impress me one fucking bit. Boring Emo-type shit that the crowd responded to. At least we only saw two songs because any more than that might have driven me insane.
ONE BRICK DOWN assaulted the stage next and they also assaulted the audience with their fake-ass bullshit hardcore/metalcore crap. Actually these guys had someone playing the bongos so maybe they could be considered tribalcore or someother equally stupid term that anyone decides to throw the term "core" after. Fucking garbage! They ended their set with a shitty cover of an equally shitty SEPULTURA song (Roots Bloody Roots) while idiots started a pit. Fuck...if you're going to cover SEPULTURA cover a song from "Beneath The Remains" or "Schizophrenia" or one of those albums.
SOTTO VOCE were even worse. How? If I have to describe it to you then you honestly don't know and you're a better person for not knowing all together. The people up front had a pit going once again while these guys droned on with their shitty "core" music which drove me nuts. If you want to play hardcore now-at-days (which is mainly the Northern NJ undergound scene) at least do it right. Shit...rip off a legendary band like AGNOSTIC FRONT or WARZONE...sure you won't be original in any concievable way but that's hardcore music for you. SOTTO VOCE just fucking sucked but people seemed to like them which just goes to show why I hate people in general. They support garbage while leaving good talented bands to forever languish in the underground until the band desolves out of frustration while garbage gets signed to major labels and gets shoved down peoples throats on a global scale because they have the backing that great underground bands don't recieve because they dare to do their own thing and not imitate the mainstream.
Finally SKULLSHIFTER hit the stage and played to an almost empty building. As soon as SOTTO VOCE got off the stage most of the crowd left as well. Typical! Of course people miss the best band of the night because for some reason "metal" alone has become something to be avoided while "metalCORE" flourishes with suburban idiots thinking that they are "hard" when they have never stepped one foot in NYC or even Newark. The crowd was small but at least they were appreciative and supportive which made it a great show despite the fact that the number of people was small. SKULLSHIFTER opened with the title track from their EP "Hell Is Here" and to say that these guys were just as heavy live as they are on the EP is a gross understatement. Live they were even heavier and proceeded to kick a major amount of ass. They also played "I,Punishment" which was great as well and then the rest of their set consisted of other songs which didn't appear on the EP but could have easily competed for space with the other songs.
The two songs which really stood out to me were "Etched In Sand" which was fucking awesome and "Exploiter" which reminded me alot of the song "Crawling" by SACRED REICH if it were just a tad slower. Their entire set was amazing but those two songs really stood out,made an impact on me,and proved that as good as the EP is that their really good stuff hasn't been unleashed on the listening public just yet and proved that the EP is just the tip of the iceberg for these guys. Just wait,people...SKULLSHIFTER are here to stay!
Ant and I spoke with the guitarist CJ and the guitarist/vocallist Tom after the show...good dudes. CJ told me that they're all busy and that SKULLSHIFTER won't be doing any shows until the beginning of next year. At least there is something to look forward to. After bullshitting for a while and thanking them for at least playing out (which alot of NJ bands don't do too damn often which is why we usually go to NYC for shows) we decided to roll out (Ant had work in the morning and I was just fucking tired from running around all day). Next time SKULLSHIFTER play out definetly check them out...you won't be disappointed.
August 6th,2005-Alchemy X,Euphoria,Exit To Eternity and Robert Kathrik Band at The Hook in Brooklyn,NY
Another week,another show at The Hook.
Normally when we go to The Hook,we can be assured of a few things...one is that we're going to get lost going to the club depsite having ten sets of directions and another thing is that there is going to be a good show.
Tonight,however,was an exception...we didn't get lost...we found an easier way to get there and took it,saving us a huge headache and alot of complaining. We got to the club and decided to hang out...Anthony and Shannon called up one of the dudes in Alchemy X and asked where they were (we didn't see them when we entered the club) and then they proceeded to drink. I had a Red Stripe and stuck with soda for the rest of the night (I hate buying drinks at a bar when I can just buy a six pack and pound it down at home) because I was supposed to be the designated driver.
After awhile,The Robert Kathrik band started their set and kicked ass despite a few technical problems. The crowd cheered them on through each track they played and they reminded me a bit of an old band named Sound Barrier. The one track which really stuck out (to me at least) was "Never Say Never" because the vocals were amazing and the guitar work was insane.
They finished their set and I went outside to where Alchemy X were hanging out. I went down to where they were hanging out and just B.S.'ed with them for awhile about all kinds of stuff until it became a "quote Spinal Tap" contest between me,Steve,and Chris from A-X. I eventually made my way back into the club to see roughly half of Exit To Eternity. These guys were pretty good...Thrash metal which reminded me alot of both early Slayer and Sacred Reich. The vocals were good,the solos were great and their drummer was an absolute lunatic...the dude rules. Overall I wish I had caught more of their set but from what I saw I really enjoyed it.
I went back outside after Exit...and hung out again with the Alchemy crew. Originally I though they were going on stage and I wa sbewilderd why no-one was going inside...then EUPHORIA started playing. Now if you're reading this you've seen the flier on the front page of this site. Looks like EUPHORIA was supposed to headline but gave the spot to A-X instead. So EUPHORIA went on and I didn't really care (had seen a small bit of these guys before...maybe two or three songs and wasn't to impressed then) because Steve and I were talking about Hockey (the greatest game played today) and how it was so much better back in the 80'swhile Shannon and Steves girlfirend Kim were subjected to us bitching about Jacques LeMare (former NJ Devils coach) and his infamous "trap" system and the "left wing lock" (which reduced the game to bascally playing half the ice surface with everyone on defense and resulting in lower scoring contests because your offensive players are now stuck defending for almost half the game) and how they weren't similar to any of the bands that were playing that night. I caught maybe three songs by EUPHORIA and they got off the stage. Unfortunatley alot of people left the club as well so now there were maybe twenty people there to watch A-X play.
I was outside having a smoke and bullshitting with some really cool people about metal in general,talking about how we're the scene because we show up and support the bands that play as well as talking up the bands themselves. Sara kept popping out from behind the door to let me know that A-X had their stuff set up and were ready to play so after a few more minutes of hanging out and talking with these dudes (all good dudes by the way) I made my way back into the club to watch ALCHEMY X
ALCHEMY X played another strong set of their progressive-style metal with their newer songs mixed in (and the newer stuff is much more audience-friendly then the older stuff IMO)and they played hard for the few of us who stuck around. Honestly I thought more people would have stuck around to watch them but that's just the way it is sometimes. Despite playing to an almost empty club (Steve referred to it as a "practice") they still kicked ass and had a great sound in there.
In the meantime Anthony hung out with Demitri from DEVILS ISLAND (another strong NY metal band and Demitri's a good dude) and we hung out after A-X finished their set. We talked for a bit about a few things (we were both kind of ticked off at A-X for basically isolating themselves from everyone else in the club all night but whatever...not my problem. I shouldn't talk because I isolate myself from people at shows constantly.) while the Beastie Boys blared in the background. I went outside for a smoke,hung out with Demirtri and Ant a bit more...then Shannon wanted to leave. We heard her twice but were engaged in conversation...eventually we left and made it out to the car.
We went to a diner in Jersey City with Steve and Kim,b.s.'ed some more (and I owe Steve about ten bucks because I figured out where I went wrong when I went up and paid the bill. He'll get it when I see him.) and eventually made it back home.
Overall it was a good show...I wish I had seen EXIT TO ETERNITY's whole set and I wish more people had stuck around to see ALCHEMY X play but overall it was a good night and another great show at The Hook.
June 15th,2005-3 Inches of Blood and Quick Kill Formula at Dingbats in Clifton,NJ
If you have checked out my RANTS page,you'll know that I have one written about my exploits with "The Clique" following around the band 3 INCHES OF BLOOD around the NY,NJ area a few months ago. Sure,it was only two shows...no big deal to most but considering that it's rare to go to two good shows around this area in the same month,let alone the same week,it was a great experience for the most part.
The last time we saw 3 INCHES OF BLOOD was pretty funny...the four of us were basically the only people there for the fucking show because we were really the only four people who knew about it besides the band (great promotional work on behalf of The Saint in Asbury Park,NJ),the other bands who played that night (and were alright for the music they played,but they weren't METAL by any concievable stretch of the imagination),and the people who came out to see the other bands (which was maybe a total of twenty people in the club all night). That was it!
Anyway,soon after that 3 INCHES...went off to Europe for a tour (which I heard went really well) and their first show back was at Dingbats in Clifton NJ. My first question when I heard this was "why dingbats?" because I thought they were going to open for Man o bore and crhapsody at BB Kings in NYC. Oh well...thank god...at least I wouldn't be paying a decent amount of money to see one band that I really like a hell of a whole lot and two bands I could give a shit less about. So Wednesday comes around. Anthony calls me and Ray IM's me about the show making sure I was still going. Around 7pm we got going for food.
Ray and Anthony walked into the dinner while I ran across the street to pick up cigarettes and use the ATM for some cash to cover any other expenses. So I walk into the dinner and Ant and Ray are talking about interview questions for the band which was cool but at the same time I didn't say anything about because this was going to be on Unstoppable Force(Ant's site)...not here. After eating we went to Clifton which is basically a fifteen minute drive and after missing the club I turned around real fast and dropped them off while I went to park the car. Before Ant got out of the car I asked him if he had a facemask. When he asked me why I started making sucking noise (a joke about the "verbal blowjob" comment I made about him in the "3 INCHES..." rant) as he took his overstuffed bookbag out of my car. I parked the car and met up with them outside the club. We were standing there waiting for Ant's brother Joe to show up because he didn't know where the club was so the three of us were bullshitting about stuff. It was a nice night...better than the heatwave which had gripped the area for almost two weeks (I hate the heat. I'm fat and I melt like a candle in the fucking heat.) so it was a relief to have a night where I could breathe well.
Finally Joe shows up. The opening band that was playing sounded lousy so there was no big hurry to get inside the club. Eventually we went into the club and QUICK KILL FORMULA was playing. Nothing special but it was alright. They had a good sound and a good guitarist but their vocallist wasn't anything special and dragged them down. Besides,I was kind of helping Ray find a good angle to videotape the band. Eventually Shannon and Celia showed up and we were all hanging out,grabbing beers and such (which Shannon offered to buy for me but I take care of myself when it comes to drinks at shows). QKF finished their set (which DID get better as they went,I'll say that) with a cover of "Domination" by PanterA which had the meatheads among the masses moving but did nothing for me (and the guitarist seemed to nail the song note for note during the solos and such). Not a bad band but I think they could have been better. I'll probably wind up seeing this band again down the road so maybe they'll be better.
After about 20 minutes,3IOB hit the stage and they did so with the force of an atomic bomb vaporizing humans miles form the blast site. The three times (actually,two and a half because when we went to CBGB's I didn't get in until halfway through their set) I have seen them they have just kicked ass and this night was no exception. They played most of the "Advance and Vanquish" album and the crowd was going nuts for them...headbanging,throwing up the horns,pounding their fists and so on. I can tell you for damn sure that I was singing along with most of the set headbanging the enitre time...having a good fucking time watching a great fucking band do their thing. During their last song "Deadly Sinners" Ant's brother and I started a small pit which was at least ten years in the making (Joe hardly ever goes to shows with us) and I think Ant caught it on videotape.
Almost an hour later their set was over and people were shouting "play more" and I had probably sweat out about five pounds. After their set was over Joe left (he had work the next morning) while the rest of us were just goofing off and hanging around. Finally Ant asked their vocallist Jamie (the dude who does the death shrieks and growls) about an interview which he agreed to,so when we left the club Celia and I hung out by the door while Ant,Ray,and (eventually) Shannon went over to do the interview. While Celia and I were talking,some dude in a motorized wheelchair asked us who was playing and if there were any more bands that night. We told the guy "no" and he went off driving his motor-chair down the street. Eventually Shannon had to leave and Celia went with her (same reason Joe left...work the next morning) so then Shane (the guitarist from 3IOB) and I started talking. I asked him about Europe and he told me that it went really good for them over there and that they are going to be touring with SIX FEET UNDER and returning to the area around August.
Eventually Ant and Ray came over and we were all talking before the band had go get going to the next gig. Again...like I said,they'll be touring again in August with SIX FEET UNDER and a few other bands (check out the tour dates page for more info. Five shows are up so far) so we'll definetly be attending. THRASH!!!
April 23rd,2005-Avatar/Arctic Flame/Artikay/Core Device/OVERKILL
Starland Ballroom in Sayerville,NJ
After going to Vintage Vinyl in Fords,NJ (I showed restraint in picking up only two cd's this time around) we set out to go to the Starland Ballroom for a night of OVERKILL music. The only band I knew who was playing besides OVERKILL was ARCTIC FLAME (more about them later,though) but even armed with that knowledge I knew I was going for OVERKILL.
After getting lost a few times tensions were kind of running high in the car,but finally we got to the club. Let me just say that this place is huge. I thought that the Birch Hill was a large place,but this place is even bigger. Not better by any stretch of the imagination,mind you,but it's larger and from the outside it looks like an abandoned VFW lodge. After going through the typical bullshit (getting ID'd for drinking,removing everything from my pockets,etc...) I got into the club and after taking a wicked piss (which felt wicked good) I got down onto the floor to catch maybe the last three minutes of AVATAR's set. I liked what I heard though and hopefully I can catch another set by this band sooner than later.
After AVATAR got off stage,the projection screen came down and started showing some "extreme" motorcross DVD (part of the "Crusty Demons of Dirt" series) while playing some music which was heavy but boring. Next up was ARCTIC FLAME.
Oh boy...where do I begin? Well,I saw these posers before and I thought their shit was weak. It was still weak (so expect them to be signed to Nuclear Blast within six months,touring with Hammerfall and trying to keep their self respect in the name of selling shitty power metal to the unsuspecting metal masses) but the people right in front of the stage were throwing the horns up to these assholes,so I guess I might be alone in my opinion but that's fine with me. I couldn't honestly reccomend this band if I liked you as a metal fan. You want to re-create the ARCTIC FLAME (ARCTIC GAYME is more like it) experience in your own home,here's how you do it. Take a bunch of albums by shitty Metal Blade bands from the mid-eighties,find the most boring and cliched songs possible,record them to a cassette and listen to it. There you go.
I thought to myself after seeing ARCTIC GAYME that the other bands HAD to be better. I mean,ARCTIC GAYME are just so boring that nothing could top their rise to mediocrity...but I was in for the fucking shock of shocks.
I remember seeing ARTIKAY (ARTIGAY) YEARS AGO...they seemed to be at EVERY BIRCH HILL METAL SHOW DESPITE THE FACT THEY AREN'T FUCKING METAL!!!!!!!! I swear to got,this band must have some incriminating photos of the club owners or a blood relationship to them because the fact that this band still exists just proves how shitty the New Jersey underground scene is. Alright...their music is total garbage and the fact that there are two women in the band means they get the MBH thumbs down rating right there. Bitches have no place in metal bands! But anyway,calling this shit "metal" is an insult to every band that has ever formed (except,of course,ARCTIC GAYME). The fat whale bitch singer was still as shrill and shrieky as I remember,the bassist (I'd rather fuck her over the cow singer,but I'd still hate myself for lowering my standards) still can't fucking play,and the guitarist (a huge guy) had absolutley nothing to do except pluck the same two strings over and over. I was hoping,for the sake of entertainment,that the guitarist and singer would have engaged in some sumo wrestling (but they would have to pay for a new stage) or something equally funny. You know,I shouldn't talk about peoples weight because I'm a big guy myself,but they were fatter than me and the rule is that you can rip them for being fat if you aren't as fat. Despite the fact that they sucked (and the female empowerment speech the whale gave before their last failed attempt at song-writing) I'd still rather listen to this non-stop than ever hear ARCTIC GAYME again in my lifetime.
The screen came down again and showed the rest of the motorcross dvd only to start showing backyard wrestling antics which are always fucking funny because people are getting injured and it's much better than anything the WWF has done in YEARS! Again,more shitty music started playing (and it's only shitty because I couldn't figure out what the hell it was) and I kept smoking. After about twenty minutes,the next band came on.
I don't know WHY I thought this band was going to be any better than those who proceeded them,but I was still clinging to a shred of hope...then CORE DEVICE hit the stage and began their suckfest. Oh man...I know I'm a sinner and I have done ALOOT of bad shit in my time,but even I didn't think I deserved this kind of punishment. They were better than the other two bands but nowhere NEAR as good as AVATAR. Saying that SNORE DEVICE was better than ARCTIC GAYME and ARTIGAY is like saying I'd rather have someone hand me a shit sandwich than a bag of shit. Their singer could scream like he was getting gang-raped and that alone got most of the crowd moving and into their "not as shitty,but shitty nonetheless" brand of power metal. Again,look for SNORE DEVICE to have their debut on Century Media within a year while good bands like INVIDIA and DEVILS ISLAND languish in the local underground like all the talented bands do now at days.
After praying for an unfortunate mishap to befall me on the way to the pisser after SNORE DEVICE left the stage,I began to think heavily about why I got to shows in New York more often than shows in New Jersey. I mean,the crowds are basically identical and the ticket prices/bar prices are roughly the same but there's something about going to NYC for a show that I don't get from going to shows in Jersey (New York Junior) anymore. Oh well...up next was the reason I went...motherfucking OVERKILL!!!
Unfortunatley the road to OVERKILL was paved with another poser making his way to the stage,but while it took all the bands that played before hand four or five people,this man's collective "suck factor" is more powerful than all the shitty bands which came on the stage to pollute the air before him this night. The "mans" name is Eddie Trunk and he's truly one of the lowest pieces of shit in the world of metal. The local scene would be better off with this fucking cum-queen dead. He comes out on stage thinking he's hot shit (he does a local "metal" show which is a fucking joke in itself as well as shit for satelite radio) and tossing garbage out to the audience while all I wanted was my fix of OVERKILL. More on this douchebag,though,because I have a true and inner hatred for the guy.
The guy "claims" to play metal but most of the time it's 80's poser garbage (except when a band is in the studio for an interview,then he plays nothing but them all night) and the guy sounds like a pompous pretentious asshole on the radio. It's truly an abomination,and when he brings in his friend,a washed-up baseball played (Mike Piazza-N.Y. Mets) it goes to hell faster than when he's left alone because all Piazza knows about "REAL METAL" is IRON MAIDEN...otherwise it's the same old 80's poser garbage. This guy needs a curling iron shoved up his dickhole for insulting "REAL METAL" fans everywhere with his poser-fest. Enough...let's get on to OVERKILL,damnit!
OVERKILL NEVER DISAPPOINT LIVE! I had to point that out because after having my ears assaulted and bombarded by ametuer-rate,Z Grade bullshit masquerading as metal OVERKILL delivered in spades,opeing the set with "In Your Eyes" from the new album (which is excellent and essential) they proceeded to blow the fucking roof off of the Starland Ballroom with the fury and force than only TRUE METAL can deliver.
During their set they included alot of songs which you KNEW they were going to play (If you have the new album,you knew "Old School" was going to be played at one point or another,"Elimination","Hello From the Gutter","Rotten To The Core",etc...) but they also threw in a few surprises in "Nice Day for a Funeral","Under One",and "Blood and Iron" which had the crowd moving (and after the shit I've been through this week,hearing "...Funeral" was exactly what I needed) and everyone was yelling out the chorus to "Wrecking Crew" and "Fuck You". After having witnessed OVERKILL live a number of times in the past I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed and tonight was no exception.
Just seeing oVERKILL made the night worth it,but with all the shit I had to go through to hear OVERKILL live it's like finding an island while navigating the course and choppy seas of shit.
Mar 25th,2005-The Robert Katrikh Band/Invidia/Devils Island/Euphoria/Viscid
The Hook in Brooklyn,NY
What a fucking night!
Driving to the venue this night was an adventure in tiself. Last time we went to The Hook,we had only the slightest of problems finding the club itself. This time,I don't know how the fuck it happened but we wound up taking the most ass-backwards way to get to The Hook that I wanted to fucking murder about twenty people. Shannon and I are trying to figure out the directions,where we went wrong,and how to get to the club while Anthony and Rich sat n the back seat like a bunch of jackasses...infuriating me and annoying Shannon. After getting lost for roughly an hour (it was probably longer than that...for more,click HERE)
We finally got to the club. The only problem was that we missed the opening band,THE ROBERT KATRIKH BAND. We did catch the last minute or so that they were on stage and it looks like we missed out on something really good.
Next band up was INVIDIA who rocked the fucking place. I had never heard this band before the show (partly due to trying to get this site up and running and partly due to the fact that I didn't have time to download any of their stuff due to other shit coming up at the last minute.) but they were fucking awesome. Killer thrashy metal with semi-death metal vocals and alot of energy which the small crowd was digging big time. I really enjoyed it (shit,I bought a t-shirt...the true sign of liking what you hear. Nothing says "I like a band" more than paying to basically advertise them on your body.) and I look forward to checking their stuff out REAL soon (they were out of demos.). Funniest part of the night waswhen the guitarist throws his guitar down from the stage to the audience then leaps on top of it,snapping the guitar like a toothpick. When I saw that happen I couldn't stop laughing.
DEVILS ISLAND were next and they were really good as well...power/true metal with a slight hint of NWOBHM. Couldn't tell you the names of any of the songs they played,but that doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters is that the music is good and DEVILS ISLAND did not disappoint.
EUPHORIA came on next and to say I was unimpressed would be an understatement. In fact,I didn't even watch them for most of their set to be perfectly honest with you...I went outside The Hook's side door and smoked during their set. Fortunatley,this being a metal show,the band was loud enough so that I could hear the music and what I heard wasn't impressive. They seemed to take forever to begin a song,and when the vocals kicked in they were mixed so horribly I couldn't understand a damn word he was singing but heard faint shreaks and metal yells (and I was standing by the bar at this time (the first two songs)...not outside the club.) They aren't a bad band,I just wasn't getting into them the way I did with INVIDIA and DEVILS ISLAND. We wound up leaving during EUPHORIAs set to head back to Jersey.
Overall it was a good night...the metal more than made up for the shitty trip coming into Brooklyn and there seemed to be more people at The Hook than there were last time which is a good thing. With LaMours closed down,The Hook is now officially the NEW Rock Capital of Brooklyn. This is a rather good place for metal shows,and there are a fair amount of shows coming up there (Including SUFFOCATION at the end of the month and MAGIS BEAST returning in June) which should spark alot more intrest in heavy metal shows at the club. At least it isn't some shitty New Jersey dive bar where bands play and people tell them to stop because Bruce Springsteen is on the jukebox. GET OUT AND SUPPORT THE HOOK! Click the banner below for club info.
Feb 25,2005-Zandelle/Magus Beast/Arctic Flame/???
The Hook in Brooklyn,NY
We got to the club early enough to catch the first band. When I saw keyboards on the stage I knew I was in trouble and I was not disappointed.
To be honest,they weren't a bad band,but they were "misplaced"...meaning that they didn't sound much like any of the other bands following them. They were a little more mellow than the other bands playing,but they were alright I guess. I was more concerned about sucking down beers and honestly didn't pay them much mind.
The next band was ARCTIC FLAME and they were mediocre at best. They reminded me of some of the bands that Metal Blade Records would have signed a two record deal to between the years of 1984 and 1988. Competent enough power metal...but nothing they played really stood out for me. During alot of their set I was talking with John from MAGUS BEAST about alot of stuff. They weren't bad,but at the same time they weren't very good either. They're opening for an up-coming OVERKILL show at the Starland Ballroom in Old Bridge,NJ coming soon. If I can get to that show,I'll see if they have improved any.
MAGUS BEAST was up next and their set was fucking great. Opening with their signiture tune "Magus Beast",they quickly tore into some of the newer material that they have been working on and it sounded fucking killer...like recent OVERKILL only faster. Their vocallist Ron was drunk out of his mind (and he reminded the audience between every song) but still hitting the notes and maintaining his vocals the whole time. MAGUS BEAST had three different bass players this night. The first half of their set was played by the guy from TWILIGHT ODYSEE who was really good (make a note of that,for that's the only time you'll see that band mentioned on this site from here on in.),a new bass player they were auditioning (John told me later that he was in. Nice) who was good as well,and Joe from ZANDELLE played a track. I was glad they played mostly new stuff (the only other song they played from "Say Your Prayers" was the awesome "Death Before Dishonor" despite me screaming "Born To Kill" the whole time) and I can't wait to hear those tracks recorded (especially "Lost"(?)...that song fucking ruled).
Finally,ZANDELLE hit the stage and played their warmed over fiftieth rate PRIMAL FEAR/Hansen-era HELLOWEEN music which was fine...I just can't take their singers voice. No power,no balls,he'd be perfect for HAMMERFALL or one of those other toothless NUCLEAR BLAST-signed flower metal bands. Apparently they have a new album coming out soon,but I don't think they played anything from it (I wouldn't know it if I heard it anyway). Musically,they are a good band but their singer does nothing for me. I was of an opposite opinion from almost everyone else in the club,though. They were eating it up while I sat at a table smoking cheap cigarette after cheap cigarette until their set was over. Oh...and they did a rather shitty medley of old IRON MAIDEN classics (Run to the Hills,Aces High,The Trooper,etc...) which almost had me going into siezures.
It was a great night overall...I saw who I wanted to see and had a great time while they were on the stage. Hopefully this club,The Hook,can gain a bit of a following (considering LaMours is gone for good,this is the only place in Brooklyn for metal) and get more bands in there for more nights of heavy metal shows.
Despite the fact I cut down ARCTIC FLAME and ZANDELLE,I hope there IS a metal scene in Brooklyn. The Hook is a great club,and if I have to support bands I don't like/care about for that to happen,so be it. It sure beats the shit out of Jersey,where every club is basically a "pay to play" venue. The only reason most places in Jersey stay open is because they make decent money at the bar,no matter what shit happens to be on the stage. No club owners in Jersey give a shit about nurturing and supporting a local music scene...they just want to see which watered down SLAYER-esque band can sell the most tickets so they can make the real money at the bar charging four bucks for a beer and more for shots of "anything good" (hard shit). It's a fucking shame,and if you happen to live in the NYC area,I suggest checking out/supporting The Hook when shows come around. Good turnouts are the only way we can send a message that Metal music is still alive and well in the area.
Concert Reviews from RUSH OF POWER WEBZINE.