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Friday 19th July 2013
Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK
Reviews by Rick Tilley
There has been a fair amount of publicity in the media over the last few weeks leading up to the 'Headbangers Balls' tour. Itís been devised by thrash band Reign Of Fury as a way to raise money and awareness for 'The Teenage Cancer Trust', and to celebrate their lead vocalistís five year, all clear check up after suffering from testicular cancer. With the tag line "If you've got a pair, you'll be there" Reign of Fury are playing twelve major UK cities with a different guest lineup of bands on each night (over forty in total), including Hatebreed, Xentrix, Triaxis, L Sol Tace, Bull Riff Stampede, Def-Con-One and Beholder, and an August, all day grand finale in Birmingham that will include a good selection of all the bands that have appeared over the course of the tour. As far as I am concerned, a fantastic idea for a fantastic cause.
Up first were local Nottingham band Incinery and if it was hot in the Rescue Rooms beforehand then this lot sent the temperature soaring! Incinery are a new name to me, but their mixture of very Testament sounding, 80's thrash and more modern metal was an absolute pleasure to witness. Playing songs from both of their EPs to date, 'Dawn Of War' and 'Nothing Left', they were blisteringly tight and blessed with a great mix. Vocalist 'James Rawlings' is a veritable ball of energy on stage, barking out lyrics with real venom. They have really started to get noticed over the past year, and the fact that straight after this show they were making their first trip over to Europe for more gigs proves that point. Incinery are very definitely a name to watch out for and got the evening off to a great start.
After wringing my t-shirt out and getting a much needed pint it was time to get back in the hall for the instigators of this awesome tour, Reign Of Fury. I love this band and have been following them and their Metallica/Evile/Kreator style thrash assault pretty closely for about a year now. Any doubts that they might be put off by the fantastic performance from Incinery were quickly stomped on with a pair of size twelves, as they hit the stage like a tornado. If you love thrash then their EP 'Psycho Intentions' and album 'World Detonation' are must haves and both were represented tonight. Reign of Fury's allotted stage time flashed by and the musicianship was absolutely top class with Jon Priestly and Ed Westlake providing some breathtaking guitar work accompanied by thumping bass lines from Matt Earl and powerhouse drumming from Magic Dave. Huge congratulations also go to vocalist Bison, on beating the dreaded cancer and for being a totally unique frontman. If Reign Of Fury play near you then check em' out.
Several pints, and a quick chat with Reign Of Fury later, the good lady wife and I were back in position ready for one of my favourite bands of recent months. I was very much looking forward to seeing Bull Riff Stampede again after witnessing them destroy Hammerfest earlier in the year and I think it's safe to say I wasn't the only member of the assembled crowd who felt the same way. However, I was still a little bit worried after the quality of the opening two acts! Well, you can slap me with a kipper for thinking that because there is now a Bull Riff sized crater where The Rescue Rooms once stood! This band can do absolutely no wrong at the moment, spitting out top quality metal and thrash and, if the heat wasn't bad enough, Bull Riff Stampede melted the faces of everyone in attendance. Singer/guitarist Dave Garnett has great stage presence, made all the more noticeable by the intensity of his green coloured Jackson Flying V and bassist Rod Boston is someone who you feel really could be everybody's best friend. Bloodstock beware because 'the stampede is coming!'
After three such great performances it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a dip in proceedings. Karybdis were another brand new name for me to digest and, whilst they are technically superb and the precision of playing is exemplary, the fact that they are a progressive death metal band with a fair amount of experimentation meant that they didn't quite fit a bill otherwise dominated by thrash. Couple that with my unfamiliarity of their material and the momentum that had built up during the evening somewhat dissipated. I am not a person to be so easily swayed, though, and I duly picked up a copy of their album 'From The Depths' which is excellent. Now that I have let their songs and melodies get under my skin I will certainly be going back to see them play live again with a better understanding of what they are all about.
Overall 'Headbangers Balls' Nottingham was a truly fantastic evening and, even if it was a furnace, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who turned up. Reign Of Fury must be truly congratulated for managing to put this whole thing together, especially in light of apathy from some areas of the media and possible sponsors. Yet again, the metal and rock community have come together for all the right reasons and have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only do we have the best music and the best family but also very definitely the biggest balls! I hope I'm not the only one thinking that, with the proper support (excuse pun), 'Headbangers Balls' could quite easily become a great annual festival.