Reign In Metal
Zodiac : Metal Reputation : 1
Join date : 2014-02-25
Location : Global Metal Domination
|Power & Glory Fest 2014 Live Review|| |
Power & Glory Fest
The Rock Den, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK 23rd August 2014
I had to miss Den Fest last month at The Rock Den, due to my ongoing back problems, but that only made me more determined to get to the first Power & Glory Fest. With my health allowing me to endure the car journey it was with great anticipation that the wife and I set off from Lincolnshire to enjoy what was hopefully to be an absolutely fabulous day of 'Old School Heavy Metal'!
Unfortunately, due to a pretty nasty tailback of traffic, we arrived at the venue too late to catch first band of the day Sonic Scream. I am extremely apologetic to them for that but I have since checked out their music and they are very good. Sonic Scream are a two piece Rock band from Hertfordshire, UK and their influences include Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath with an alternative twist. I very much hope to get to one of their gigs soon to make up for it!
When we did roll up, we just had time to get settled in before Toledo Steel hit the stage and any annoyance from missing the first band was quickly washed away in a tirade of screaming guitars and air raid siren vocals. Having seen them at The Rock Den earlier in the year I already knew they were good but this performance was even better and coupled with the fact I'm now more than familiar with their songs it wasn't long before I was heartily singing along. Toledo Steel are a newish band but they are steeped in the classic metal sound of the early 1980's. Vocalist Rich Rutter looks like a young Bruce Dickinson and has the voice to match with a fabulous group of musicians behind him. 'Escape From Alcatrazz' is my favourite song and they could have played much higher up the bill. I cannot wait to see them again!
During the break we had a chance to catch our breath and go and say hello to many familiar faces that were popping up everywhere. With a welcome cup of coffee in hand (how Rock n Roll is that?) I awaited the arrival onstage of Midnight Messiah. Now this band are another newish band, but unlike Toledo Steel they are not made up of young musicians. Vocalist Paul Taylor and guitarist Phil Denton are former members of Classic NWOBHM band Elixir. I loved Elixir back in the 80's but never got to see them live. They finally disbanded in 2012 but thankfully Midnight Messiah were born and this gig was a dream come true for me because the band had decided to put some older songs into the setlist which went down a storm. They didn't overshadow any of Midnight Messiah's own material though. Their debut album 'The Root Of All Evil, which Paul very kindly gave to me is a storming beast, reminiscent of Saxon and Demon and live they are a force to be reckoned with. Young guitarist Dave Strange is a real talent and 'The Evil One' is a song destined to become a metal classic. When they had finished their set you couldn't wipe the smile off my face!
With two great bands already having played it was beginning to look like this really was going to be a fantastic day. Any doubts that Dream Overkill would struggle to follow Midnight Messiah were unfounded. Formed in 1979 and originally known as just Overkill, they were another band that failed to get the record contract that they deserved, they even played the massive Reading Festival in 1982 when it was a true Metal/Rock Fest and not the Pop/Indie event it has become these days. Due to US thrash band Overkill's current popularity when vocalist/guitarist Mick Fowler and the rest of the band met up and reformed in 2009 they changed their name to Dream Overkill and as they say, the rest is history! Their brand of 70's infused Metal and Rock went down an absolute treat with the assembled crowd and they are a lovely bunch. As they say on their Facebook page, 'The Dream is not over yet' and long may that continue!
Next up were a completely new name to me 'Ruler', a young four piece band from Milan in Italy and I have to thank them immensely for making the effort to come over to the UK. They suffered a fair bit of bad luck in getting here and ended up paying out a lot of their own money making the trip! They certainly made the right decision though because their set was absolutely fantastic and the crowd were heartily impressed! Only formed in 2010 they have gigged relentlessly around Mainland Europe with some very established bands and that exposure to playing live has really honed them into a tight outfit. Like Toledo Steel their music pays homage to the classic UK and European Classic Heavy Metal acts of the early 1980's. Even though they were very tired after a sixteen hour journey their power and enthusiasm were an absolute joy to behold and they made plenty of new fans. Speaking with them afterwards confirmed to me what a dedicated and humble group of musicians they are and I'm looking forward to receiving their albums to review soon!
Soldier were another band I should already have seen at The Rock Den when they played with Dawn Trader in March, but this was another time when my back problems had scuppered a trip. This was therefore my first time seeing them live, in fact, considering the amount of gigs I've been to over the last 32 years, I had only seen Toledo Steel before today so as you can imagine I was a bit like a child in a sweet shop. Soldier were formed in 1979 and only founding member Ian Dick remains in the band today but they were still absolutely brilliant, the musicianship was fabulous and Richard Frost (vocalist since 2012) was immense. Soldier are obviously having great fun playing at the moment and the humour on stage and smiles are infectious! They mixed tracks old and new, their 2013 album 'Dogs Of War' was a fabulous comeback! What was even better was when they invited two former members Vocalist Gaz Phillips and Drummer Steve Taylor on stage for the finale 'Sheralee', arguably Soldier's best known track from 1982! A fitting end to a stunning performance!
Six bands down and I would have been more than satisfied had the day ended there but another three acts were still to play. Next on the bill were 1980's band Sacrilege, another criminally overlooked band from that period. Founding member Bill Beadle only reformed Sacrilege in late 2012 but the band already have a healthy fanbase and it's clear to understand why from this gig. This band are melodic but thumpingly heavy. To me they come across as an almost Gothic Black Sabbath and the riffs are thunderous. Bill's voice/guitar work is as good as it ever was and the band he has behind him now, Bassist Jeff Rolland, Guitarist Steve Weller and drumming genius Neil Turnbull are the perfect team for him to finally get the sound he wants. They were my wife Helen's band of the day, in fact she totally fell in love with them and purchased just about everything on their merch stand and I really cannot disagree with her. Just listen to 'The Unknown Soldier' with headphones on and appreciate how powerful this band are. They are no less brilliant live and if you get a chance to go and see them gig then don't miss the opportunity. You will not be disappointed!
With my head and notebook full of scribblings, my tummy full from the excellent catering van serving Brazilian style food and my drink replenished I once again headed back into the venue to watch Deep Machine. They are another New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band that formed in 1979. Founding member and guitarist Bob Hooker even auditioned for Iron Maiden very early on in their career and nearly got the job. I think it's fair to say that Deep Machine never really made the impact they deserved because of all the lineup changes that occurred within the ranks. They are however, another band who wanted to give the music a second chance and reformed in 2009. Yet again they proved a more than worthy addition to this incredible lineup with a majestic performance of old and new material. By the time they came off stage my neck was hurting ( I really shouldn't be headbanging at my age and with a bad back but the music their material was infectious). Deep Machine are another name who have now been ticked off my 'to see' list but it certainly won't be the last time I get to one of their gigs!
Now that the evenings are drawing in again it was completely dark outside when headline band Witchfynde's set time arrived. A single candelabra on stage heralded their arrival and it was the perfect setting for a band I have waited over 30 years to see live and guess what? It was fantastic. Formed in the early 1970's Witchfynde gained recognition during the NWOBHM period of the late 70's and early 80's. I may be a reviewer nowadays but at heart I am just a true and passionate fan sharing my love of Rock & Metal music and finally witnessing Witchfynde live was a tingling experience. They, like so many others at this Festival, may never have got the breaks they deserved but it doesn't make their music any less good or meeting them any less incredible than it would have been had any number of much more familiar musicians been standing there! Guitarist Montalo is probably one of the most underrated players of his style, his fingers dancing around the fret board in beautiful fashion. It was also an absolute treat to see vocalist Luther Beltz doing his thing. He is quite an unorthodox character but it perfectly fits with the style and content of Witchfynde and their music. Their set, which seemed to go by in a flash, was the perfect end to a wonderful day!
So there brings an end to my description of the first Power & Glory Festival. I keep saying it in my Rock Den reviews but Dean Archer and the whole team have once again provided not only another great gig but hopefully the start of something very special. There is very definitely an interest in this genre of Metal and Rock again and it is about time many of the bands got some overdue recognition but there still aren't many venues in the UK willing to take a chance and promote an event like this. Dean is willing to do that and works relentlessly to achieve his goals. Sound during the gig was once again faultless, DJ The Metal Priestess played plenty of great music in-between bands, staff were friendly (as always), food and drink was plentiful and best of all the bands were superb and the friendship and camaraderie of everyone that attended was second to none. Power & Glory Fest 2 is already a done deal, expanded to two days, with many bands booked even at this early stage. It would be a very pessimistic person to say that 2015's event won't be even bigger and better than this year!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:
Photos by Helen Tilley for Brutiful Entertainment