HRH N.W.O.B.H.M. 2/12/17. Dec06

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HRH N.W.O.B.H.M. 2/12/17.

 

HRH N.W.O.B.H.M. 2/12/17.

Welcome to Sheffield the steel city, but the for the next two days at the O2 Arena this was going to the city of metal. NWOBHM, or the new wave of British heavy metal: this legendary genre spawned the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and many others who have gone on to have major fame.

This festival was going to be a mixture of the old and the young who have been keeping this music alive, many since the middle seventies and early eighties.

The first few bands of the day were going to be in Stage Two and kicking off at 2pm in the afternoon was going to be no mean feat. But TOLEDO STEEL, Southampton youngsters rose to the occasion with their maidenesque sound and lead singer Rich Rutter’s powerful vocals.

2nd band up were BLACKMAYNE, from Maidstone Kent. Formed in 1985, they quickly gathered together a big fan base but unfortuntely a record deal fell through and after only eight months together the band split. Now thirty plus years later they have re-released their album, added new stuff and are playing major festivals and delivering old school metal at its best.

Next Traitors Gate, this band from Wales have reformed once again after 30 years and their 12 inch EP Devil Takes The High Road is a nwobhm classic, but unfortunately this mark two version of the band didn’t deliver.

Salem next, originally formed in1979 by two ex-Ethel the Frog members. This band were in the day named as one one of the ten best nwobhm bands. Going through a number of changes through the years the band from Hull delivered a blistering set with their Status Quo dancing and banter from lead singer Simon Saxby

Now on to stage one for Troyen, formed in the late 80s they supported the likes of Spyder and Girlschool, but split after two years. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this band who never really made it ,and this reformed band didn’t really set the stage on fire .

Back up to Stage Two for the final band of the day. Formed in 1977 with Black Sabbath and Motorhead inflences jumping off their set this Scottish band wth lots of new members were just too loud, (yes even for me): after a while you just couldn’t hear the vocals at all! Great band, but I’d have liked to have enjoyed it more.

After clearing my ears and I do wear professional plugs for protection (always recommended), I moved to Stage One for the evening’s bands. Already the arena was filling up, for coming up next was Avenger. This Newastle band formed in 1982, and with two ex members of Blitzkrieg in there you just knew it was going to be hard and heavy. A lot of heavy metal is based on just riffs linked together, NWBOHM is famed for its lyrics and fist pumping anthems and crowd pleasing oy oy oys echoing throughout. The band delivered that and more, Ian Swift’s vocals and the thrash metal sound they produce had the packed crowd on their feet.

Throughout the day there was noticeably a lot more denim than leather at this festival and a greater number of the patched jackets had the band Praying Mantis on them. Many fans had travelled from Germany, Holland and even Transylvania to see these legends, and I don’t say that lightly. Formed in 1974 by the Troy brothers Tino and Chris they have a world wide fan base as far as Japan. We had already heard an announcement in the afternoon that they were going to be unable to appear due to to circumstances beyond their control. What anyone didn’t expect was to have Tino and Chris appear on stage and personally apologise and explain that John and Hans, the two new Dutch members were unable to fly in for the gig due to fog and this was the first gig in all their years they had had to cancel. The fact that the brothers drove up to Sheffield to personally tell the crowd and hang with them throughout the night just shows the character of these guys and the applause they received was richly deserved. They also announced that their stand ins were going to be the earlier Stage Two band Blackmayne. The moment vocalist Jay Duke hit the stage you could see that he was excited and honoured to be standing in for Mantis and playing the big stage. Once again they delivered a fantastic set.

I have mentioned the word legends a few times in this review but none are more legendary than Diamond Head. Formed in 1976 this band are the DNA and leading members of the new wave of British Heavy Metal movement and who everyone in the Sheffield arena had come to see. These midlanders are responsible for the likes of Metallica, Megadeth and hordes of other bands. Brian Tatler, the charismatic lead guitarist with his amazing guitar skills and personality on stage along with the vocals of of Denmark born Rasmus Bom Andersen delivering all the classics, Borrowed Time, Lightning to the Nations and of course Am I Evil, had the crowd going crazy. Although Brian and the guys have never reached the higher ranks of Motorhead, Maiden, Leppard etc they continue to play old school metal at its best and long may they continue. If you haven’t seen them before put them on your bucket list, without a doubt the performance of the day and possibly even the whole event.

Final band and another from Newcastle Raven, formed in 1974 by John and Mark Gallagher they supported Motorhead, Maiden, and Blizzard of OZ in the eighties and built a wide fanbase playing festivals and clubs all over; eventually moving to New York and signing for the Atlantic label who tried to make them a more commercial band and for a while they lost a few of their loyal fans. Eventually going back to their old stye heavy sound they continued to produce many albums and still perform with an energetic power metal sound running around the stage with John’s voice, complete with falsetto, and Mark’s frantic guitar playing and shaking his head like a true metal trooper, seeing him on stage tonight its hard to believe in 2001 he had a near fatal accident when a wall fell on him crushing his legs and the band having to go on a haiatus while he recovered. Despite John’s head mic malfunctioning halfway through the set and having to use a mic stand they soldiered on, and after thirty years together as the same three members Raven still produce hard and fast heavy metal and have since appeared at Bloodstock, and European festivals entertaining wherever they go. A great finale to day one .

Review Dave Martin, & photos by Carol Henson (aka LadyGigger).

HRH SHEF

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