The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Tanith – In Another Time Album Review 10/10

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Tanith hit “the scene” in early 2018 with the release of their Citadel EP and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the band is co-fronted by one of Satan’s axemen, Russ Tippins and his girlfriend Cindy Maynard on bass and rounded out with Charles Newton on guitars and Keith Robinson on drums.

One of Tanith’s main principles in recording is that everything has to be done analog and it comes across clearly in their debut full length In Another Time released just recently on Metal Blade Records. While I’ve had the digital *gasp* files for a while, listening to the vinyl pressing this week on my 70s Pioneer turntable and receiver just sets me right. The recording is so warm and natural.  The 70s vibe is certainly there and they certainly reached their goal in the sound of the record.

The album has 9 tracks total, all of which I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen live on a couple of occasions.  The album is really special in that it’s not a metal record at all, but a melodic piece of art that just about any fan of hard rock can enjoy.  The ongoing comparisons to Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash and maybe a little early Thin Lizzy are legit but they have their thing going for them.  The best part is that none of this sounds contrived.  It’s one issue I have with a lot of the New Wave of Traditional Metal bands is that many try to hard to sound like they were from the 80s and it just ends up sounding like cheese. Again, Tanith isn’t a metal band, but their 70s rock sound and lyrics don’t sound like they were trying hard to fit that era.  It all sounds very natural.

Cindy and Russ’ vocals work together perfectly on this record and I love the mix overall.  Russ and Charles’ guitars circle around each other perfectly throughout the record.  Keith and Cindy’s rhythm section is spot on and natural.  Nothing is left out, meaning all instruments and vocals sound up front and clear and it’s quite refreshing. Their musical style lends to that as well.

I have no problem giving this 10/10 and it’s certainly one of the top releases of 2019. Top 3 tracks for me are Wing of the Owl, Cassini’s Deadly Plunge and Dionysus. Citadel and Eleven Years are the same recordings from the EP, but mixed a bit differently (I think?).  I also love those songs.  Let’s face it, I love the whole damned thing and can’t wait to see them live again.  Maybe one day they’ll add the song The Rock Stands Tall to an upcoming release.  While it was originally an early never-recorded Satan song, it fit their sound perfectly.

Listen for yourself.  DO IT.

Written by The Metal Files

June 4, 2019 at 9:44 am

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Keep It True XXII Concert Review, Lauda Königshofen, Germany, April 26-27, 2019

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Before last week I had never been to Europe. Just around the USA, Mexico City and Puerto Rico. I’m 49 and after this whole trip, I slightly regret not having traveled overseas before. But now I have the bug.

Let’s talk metal now.

The Keep It True festival has been on my radar for many years because they always book the best of the classic metal and up and coming true metal bands. This year in particular made it a no-brainer to attend because 1) I helped get one of my all time favorite bands get booked SACRED RITE and 2) my good friends in the TEXAS METAL LEGION also got booked. I’m sort of their manager? I’ve never had to do anything for them but whatever.

Let’s begin at the beginning. I left Austin April 24 to connect in Detroit for my flight to Frankfurt. As we were about to pull out of the gate in Detroit the pilot announced that there was a valve problem in one of the engines. We had to de-board the plane and it seemed that the flight was going to get canceled. Luckily they had a spare plane nearby and we finally left about 4 hours late. The flight over was pretty easy. I didn’t really sleep much. Even with an upgraded comfort seat, I never got fully relaxed.

April 25. Marco, one of my best friends, met me at the Frankfurt airport. He’s been living in Germany for the last few years. I booked all of our flights/hotels and he managed the ground transportation. I was pretty tired when I got there. My friend Nicole who also lives in Austin was on that flight as well as Megan from Detroit. Once we got through customs, we connected with Marco who greeted me with a hug and a German beer (Prost!) and got on our series of trains down to the town we were staying in near the festival called Bad Mergentheim. Quaint little town that apparently has a lot of spas. We were all pretty hungry so we walked around and found a nice little German food restaurant and I got a damn good wiener schnitzel. And of course more German beer, which happens to be my favorite. We were all pretty tired but made our way up to the pre-party two towns north thanks to a free ride there from the event organizer, Ollie. Great guy that I’ve been getting to know in recent years through other fests. We hung there for a bit then got a can ride back to our town by a crazy driver named Eddie. He yelled at everyone that was going too slow. It was awesome. After getting back to the room, we crashed out pretty hard.

April 26. Got up, jet lagged, and grabbed some breakfast in the hotel. A quick shower later we walked to the train station and hopped it up to the next stop near the venue. We just followed the sea of black shirts until we got to the venue, Tauberfrankenhalle. I’d only seen it in pictures and vids from previous fests. The line to get in was pretty long but we got in, grabbed another beer and I went out to the merch tent. Holy fuck. I spend a lot of money on records and could have easily dropped $1000 in there pretty quickly but I didn’t want to hassle with shipping it or carrying it to our next destination, Dublin. So I bought none. NONE!

Thankfully, my dear friend Kiri upgraded our wristbands which gave us a place to sit and watch bands out of the crowd. Shortly after I ran into Jason McMaster from the Texas Metal Legion who upgraded us to all access. Sweet. Now we could go backstage and have a nice bathroom to use as needed.

I’ll go through the bands now…

Sabire opened up and I wasn’t familiar with them at all. They didn’t really catch my ear but the crowd loved them and I saw a lot of people carrying their merch around.

Traveler was up next and features my buddy JP on vocals. He’s also in Gatekeeper (CA) and did some time in Borrowed Time. Great guy. The band was stellar all the way around. Definitely the NWOTHM sound that I dig.

Texas legends Juggernaut were up and laid down a solid set of classics. They sounded great and I was excited to finally see them play a full set. The crowd was into it and the band was having a blast.

Cities hit the stage and just laid it down. The singer sounded great as did the band who I believe were all last minute replacements. I couldn’t have been more pleased in their set and performance.

Japan’s Anthem was up next and I’ve always liked their first 3-4 albums. Somehow I only caught their last song. They sounded great and I wish I had seen more. Everyone raved about them.

Around this time I got word that. Candlemass canceled. They were to be the day 2 headliner. We kept it to ourselves. Swedish airlines went on strike and all flights were negated.

Agent Steel was up next. Or were they? Singer John Cyriis has the reputation of being difficult to work with, which sucks for a band that never made it that big. But I am a huge fan of his era of the band. The whole band was there ready to go on but no John. Apparently he was just being a princess asshole and decided to show up an hour late. When they did hit the stage, they delivered a solid 6 song set and his voice sounded pretty good. The crowd was getting restless before their set and started chanting “Aria! Aria!” That was pretty funny and well-deserved. I nicknamed them Delaygent Steel. Candlemass also got nicknamed by someone else as Cancelmass.

Russian metal legends Aria were next and delivered a solid set. I’m only a moderate fan so I just hung out for a few songs. They had a huge fan base there.

The headline act was a tribute to Mark “the shark” Shelton of Manilla Road who passed away suddenly last year. The band consisted of previous members and also Leif from Cancelmass, Jarvis from Night Demon, Jake from Visigoth and others. It was a touching tribute of 20 plus songs. Mark’s mom and other family members were on hand as well, which was great.

We didn’t stay for the entire set. I was still pretty wiped out so we snagged a cab. It was Eddie again! Weird coincidence. Marco and I hit the hotel bar for another round then off to bed.

April 26. It was a little harder getting up this time. After standing around most of the day, my feet and legs were not happy. We lounged around too long to get breakfast and ended up getting a cab to the venue. I needed to see the early bands. I downed a sugar free Red Bull and felt a lot better. On to the bands.

Idle Hands is a newer band from Portland that has a couple of ex-Spellcaster members in it. I’ve lied then since hearing their first ep. They have a nice combination of vocals, lyrical content, open riffs and a darkness/sadness around them to make them really click with me. Hard to explain. They were awesome and will do well down the road.

My friends in Sacred Rite came on next. I’m obviously a huge fan and was excited to get them on the bill. Having not played out in forever, last year’s small show in Phoenix notwithstanding, I didn’t know how well received they were going to be. All doubts got erased quickly. They used a replacement bassist as Pete couldn’t make the trip. Both he and the drummer did just fine. They were well-rehearsed and the crowd loved them. I was up front with some crazy SR fans from Holland. Super cool guys. Sacred Rite were awesome.

Witherfall was next. I heard a little of the beginning and end of their set. Not my thing although the singer channels the voice of Midnight from Crimson Glory pretty well.

Solstice (UK) was next and I only saw one or two songs. Again, not my thing but they were tight and the crowd loved them. Hung out with the replacement singer and the bassist afterwards and they were good dudes.

Now it was time for the Texas Metal Legion (aka South Texas Legion). I found a spot up front to see my boys. Holy shit they tore it up. They played songs from Militia, Karion, SA Slayer and most importantly for me, two Watchtower songs. This was my first time seeing McMaster perform any of those classics and it was made even better with such a badass backing band. They closed the set out with Breaker by Accept and had flags representing Texas, Germany and the Texas Metal Legion. Harlan from Juggernaut joined them for the finale. The set was perfect and the crowd was going nuts.

Midnight came on next and ran through their set with terrifying ease. As always the crowd was going crazy and singer/bassist Athenar had the crowd throw cups at the stage. It was fun.

Culprit was up and I always felt they should have been bigger. They only did one album back in the day and it’s damned good. The lineup at KIT only featured one original member, the bassist. I thought they sounded great but talking to them backstage, they weren’t pleased. Oh well.

This was my third time seeing Vicious Rumors in the last year or so so I wasn’t that excited to see them. For this show, they had original singer Carl Albert’s son on vocals. The kid had the gift like his dad. Sounded great.

Hail Satan. I don’t tire of this band. I’d see them every week if I could. They hit the stage and delivered a solid set. Not much hang time with them as they basically did a fly in/fly out show. But it was great to get a few drinks with Brian and the gang. Hail Satan. They really are the best dudes out there.

French band Sortilege was on next. I checked out a little bit of their set but was never a huge fan. They were solid as expected.

Marco and I left before the end of their set and hit a kebap place for another drink. It was our waitresses’ birthday and she did a shot with us. “I’m not supposed to drink while working, but fuck it, it’s my birthday! Prost! Danke!”

Back to the hotel bar, one more beer and off to bed.

KIT was a pretty incredible experience for me. It was great seeing friends from around the world, meeting new folks and seeing a lineup of killer bands. Again I can’t thank Ollie, Kiri, Texas Metal Legion, Sacred Rite and Satan enough for their hospitality and friendship.

Next year’s lineup is already shaping up to be a killer with Loudness, Visigoth and Friday/Saturday headlining sets from Cirith Ungol!

After KIT we headed to Dublin for a few days then to Berlin, but those trips are for another day.

Setlists here.

Written by The Metal Files

May 3, 2019 at 1:44 am

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Paula Abdul Concert Review, Las Vegas, NV, November 10, 2018

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To say I love Paula Abdul would be an understatement.  I finally met her last year and when the opportunity arose this year, I jumped on it!

Paula announced her Straight Up Paula tour a few months back and the most convenient show with a meet and greet was in Las Vegas, a place I had never been but seemed like as good of a place as any to go, especially with my frequent poker playing.  What could go wrong?  The answer to that is NOTHING.  Nothing went wrong.

I bought the VIP meet and greet passes and invited my Sarah Kay to come along.  I know her from Austin but she and her husband live in Vegas now.  She’s a good friend and the perfect person to take to the show with me.

I arrived in Vegas Friday night around 10PM, got checked in and Sarah Kay and her husband Mark met me at the Hard Rock for some dinner and drinks and we just hung out for a bit.  Then we went over to The Double Down.  Cool punk bar but the cigarette smoke was horrible, so we left and they dropped me off at my hotel.

The following morning I started going around to some record stores but didn’t really find anything.  Ended up meeting up with my San Antonio friend Gordon who was in town with his wife and they were doing some record shopping.  Competition!  haha.  He didn’t find much on this trip either.  Sarah and Mark picked me up and we went back to their place for a bit to chill before the show.  We had to be at the meet and greet by 430 and the hotel/casino (Red Rock) was up near their condo.  We then went to Red Rock, grabbed a quick meal and checked in with Paula’s on site VIP host.  We got our swag bags and such and got with our group of ten folks.  We all had the “Ultimate” passes so we got to watch soundcheck before getting to meet and talk with her.  As they sat us down, Promise of a New Day kicked in and we were all just watching the stage and then out of the corner of my eye, there’s Paula standing right in front of us greeting everyone with her hand as she was singing.  I was taken by surprise and almost lost it.  haha.  There she was.  So pretty, perfect and oh so tiny.  She then went to the stage and they ran through Crazy Cool.  Immediately after we were lined up for the autograph and photo ops.

I purposely put myself at the end of the group of ten people. When it was my turn to meet her, I showed her my arm and it went something like this.
“We met in Austin last year.”  She gave me a hug a huge smile and said, “oh my god, you really did get that tattooed!?”  I asked if she’d add to it and she replied, “what should I write?” I told her to write whatever she wants and she went to work on my arm.  “You’re awesome,” she said. She wrote, I’m Always & “Forever Your Girl”.  Don’t mind the big guy who just died in front of her, that was me.  I told her to call me when she gets to San Antonio and we could do dinner since there’s no meet and greet for that show. With her sly pirate smile she just said, “I’ll see what I can do.” Even though it’ll never happen, I’m glad she played along.

She was incredibly sweet and I’m still in awe of just being able to see her, say hello, have her remember me and to have gotten some sweet hugs!  Immediately after, Sarah and I went to a tattoo shop to get the work done.  We had 2+ hours until the show started.  We got back with about 30 minutes to spare, grabbed a drink and went to our seats…front row center, of course.  We were talking to the others in our row who were asking if I had gotten the tattoo and I showed them.  Good fun all around.  Then the lights went down…

There was a short overture video playing and she opened up with The Way that You Love Me then into Knocked Out.  Throughout the set, which was similar to last year’s with a few additions, she changed costumes a lot, had some videos run while she talked about her history and such.  Obviously she lip sync’d in the songs where she was dancing a lot (most of them), but some of the slower numbers she was singing.  She can still move incredibly well and obviously trusts her dancers as they were throwing her around and she even close the show jumping off of a ladder into their arms.

Suffice to say she looked incredibly gorgeous up there and a couple of times she made eye contact with me and gave a little smile.  Dead again!  haha.  It was a fun show all around.  Afterwards we bounced down to the casino area.  I wanted to get into a poker game and Sarah had her husband and his brother on the way.  I jumped into a cash game for a $200 buy-in and an hour or so later I walked away with about $430.  Not too shabby.  It was the night of the queens for me…Paula and the queens that kept me winning hands at the poker table!  My first and last hands at the table were pocket queens.  It all seemed like it was meant to be.  We played some keno after and Mark was hitting pretty well and knew when to walk away.  We went back to their condo and I got a ride back to my hotel from there.  I was pretty wiped out.  I grabbed a slice of pizza at the hotel and went to my room.  Elated and worn out all the same.

The next morning I got up after getting some good sleep, packed, showered and checked out.  Still had some time to kill so I got on the video roulette machine, dropped in $100 and walked away with $205.  In Vegas, I am a winner.  Everywhere else, not so much.  haha

I’m still undecided on the San Antonio show.  We’ll see.

Already looking forward to another tour!

See the setlist here.

Written by The Metal Files

November 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

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Arsis (Bloodletting North America Tour XII) Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 17, 2018

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Last night marked probably the 15th time I’ve seen Arsis since their early days back in Virginia where I first became pals with mainman James Malone and the band.  I’m impressed more and more by the band every time I see them.

When the Bloodletting Tour got announced I was super stoked as Arsis doesn’t tour that often.  There were no other bands on the bill I cared about but that wasn’t going to keep me from going.  Generally I’m not into any of the bands they tour with.  haha.

Decrepit Birth was to be the headliner but apparently their singer broke his leg when stagediving and no one caught him.  So at least for the next few shows, Arsis is taking that spot.

It was an early show and upon arrival to the venue, I could already see that it would be grossly under-attended.  Unfortunate.  I met up with James and Noah from Arsis and caught up with them for a bit before they prepped for their set.  Pyrexia was just going on and Internal Bleeding followed right behind them.  I’ll just say that I’m not into that east coast NYHC bro metal stuff.  0%.

By the time Arsis went on, which was right around 9-915PM, the already small crowd had thinned out quite a bit but they still came out and played a killer set, opening the set with a Tricking the Gods from their upcoming LP Visitant which will be released November 2.  Too bad they’re touring without it in hand.  They also played Hell Sworn from the new LP.    Most of the set, however, weighed heavily from 2004’s Celebration of Guilt, which is an awesome album.  James kindly dedicated Seven Whispers Fell Silent to me whilst mentioning how far we go back.  That was pretty sweet.

Their full set consisted of 11 tracks and left the crowd and me wanting more, especially since it was still so early.  But their stuff is pretty intricate and intensive, so I get it.  A friend I met 2 weeks ago at the Satan show at The Whisky was in town for a conference and she showed up, too. So that was cool.

Long live Arsis and I can’t wait to get the latest album in hand!



Written by The Metal Files

October 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

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Vicious Rumors and Cloven Hoof Concert Review, Austin, TX, October 15, 2018

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For the second time in a week I got to watch Vicious Rumors play my favorite album of theirs, Digital Dictator.  They’re on a 40+ date tour for the 30th anniversary of that album.  After rolling through the LP tracks with precision, we got a few extra tracks from the other Carl Albert era albums.  The band sounded great, but sadly the crowd was weak.  20 people?  Maybe 30 at its peak?  That sucks.  No matter, I stayed up front and the band was great.  I bought a tour shirt and an original still sealed copy of Digital Dictator.  Some great friends were there which made it even better.

NWOBHM veteran band Cloven Hoof was direct support.  The band only features one original member, the bassist.  I was never a fan then or now.  I watched the first three songs and waited outside and hung with some friends.  They were solid, but they just don’t connect with me.

Vicious Rumors Setlist

Written by The Metal Files

October 15, 2018 at 7:21 pm

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Satan Concert Review, Hollywood, CA, October 7, 2018

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With little to no sleep from staying up till almost dawn with Satan after their Frost and Fire IV concert the night before, Kelz and I scooped up one of my Austin friends and headed down to Hollywood to see them again at the famed Whisky A-Go-Go.  We dropped my friend off and headed to Pinches Tacos, which I love, and chowed down.  From there we headed straight to our hotel.  I was completely wiped out.  We checked in and slept for a couple of hours which still didn’t seem to be enough.

Alarm goes off and we get cleaned up and take a ride up to the Rainbow for some of my favorite pizza ever.  After checking in with Lemmy in the back and seeing some friends on the patio, we grabbed a booth and ordered a Jack and Coke (respect!) and a pizza.  Russ and Cindy from Tanith walked in and joined us for a pleasurable dinner.  Towards the end, new friend from Chile, Chris, joined as well.  The pizza was fantastic!

After dinner, I spent a few minutes with Steve Hopgood who drummed with NWOBHM band Persian Risk.  I had met him twice in the States when Di’Anno’s Battlezone toured with Obsession and Di’Anno’s Killers toured with Solitude Aeturnus.  It was great to chat for a bit.

From there I went straight to the Whisky for Satan.  The direct support band, Gravedanger, was playing.  I wasn’t much into it but saw some potential.  I went upstairs with a Coke and hung with some friends.  I figured a pit would happen during Satan and I wasn’t in the mood for it.

The show started and the pit broke out.  Kelz lasted down there for most of the show.  It was fun watching him take the abuse.  Satan’s 16 song set was a good mix of old and new material, including 5 from the new album, Cruel Magic.  The sound in the room was perfect and the band played effortlessly and seemingly flawlessly.  Brian’s interaction with the crowd was great.  Out of the 9 times I had seen them since 2014, the Whisky show might be my favorite.

Unfortunately, some drunk asses upstairs wouldn’t shut the fuck up for much of the set, but oh well.

After the show we said our goodbyes to the Satan and Tanith crews and some other friends and hit the sack.  Kelz had an earlier flight than mine so I just went to the airport early and hung out until my 1230PM flight.

Originally we were planning to follow them up to San Francisco and Seattle but it started getting a bit pricey and logistically dumb.

Hail Satan!


Written by The Metal Files

October 10, 2018 at 4:06 pm

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Frost and Fire IV Festival Review, Ventura, CA, October 4-6, 2018

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That’s how I feel today.  Worn out, yet refreshed.  Work has been a bit stressful lately and getting out of town for a few days was just what I needed; even better that it was for the fourth (and final?) installment of the Frost and Fire fest.  This was also my fourth time attending and it’s easily my favorite of the USA metal fests.

As has happened on many travels around the USA for shows, one of my lifelong best friends, Kelz, attended as well.  Here’s how it all played out.  TL;DR?  Understood.  haha

Thursday Oct. 4
I landed at LAX around 1030AM and scooped up Kelz in the terminal.  My friend Soledad had arrived at a similar time but needed to get through customs.  We went ahead and got the rental car and ended up having to wait almost 2 hours for her, which was fine.  Unfortunately she didn’t have a signal in the customs line and couldn’t tell us about the delay.  Once through we picked her up at the terminal and headed up to Ventura.  Doors were at 4PM and the first band was slated for 430PM.  We grabbed a quick meal, checked in then headed to the Ventura Theater to get things going.

This year was completely at the Ventura Theater which meant two things, expensive drinks and no ins/outs of the venue without an all access wristband.  Fortunately a friend in one of the bands granted us a pair of wristbands for the weekend, so that was sweet.  For the record, I didn’t have one alcoholic drink in the venue at all, only a couple of Cokes and Red Bulls over the weekend.

But whatever, here’s the band run down for Thursday:

Haunt – They were a known commodity to me already as I had the EP and LP for a while and had already seen them twice.  Definitely one of my current favorite bands and I hope their success continues.  They sounded great as the fest opener, as expected and I can’t recommend them enough.  I got some good chatting time with mainman Trevor over the weekend.  Solid dude.  Looking forward to hearing more from them.

Lady Beast – I had seen them previously in Chicago and Cleveland and enjoy them live.  Thursday was no different.  They delivered a solid set for sure.

Screamer – I only heard them from the lobby, to be honest, and I thought they sounded fine, but didn’t really get a good perspective of them.

Tanith – This band features Russ Tippins from Satan.  I had already seen them a couple of times and they are certainly one of my favorite newer bands as well.  The vocal work of Russ and Cindy is just perfect for their sound, which as stated before, reminds me of Wishbone Ash and Uriah Heep with a touch of NWOBHM thrown in.  Their set was good and we got a couple of new songs.  Unfortunately there were some sound issues.  Didn’t matter, Tanith ruled and the band is full of great people.

Gygax – I saw their Frost and Fire and enjoyed them a lot then, especially with Armand (now in Night Demon) on guitar.  They are certainly influenced, somewhat overly influenced by Thin Lizzy.  I didn’t really see/hear their set as Kelz and I headed out of the venue for a beer and some quick dinner.

Slough Feg – Missed their set, but in general I’m not a fan.

Cirith Ungol – Tim Baker and company delivered a fine set for the masses.  They also debuted their new song, Witch’s Game.  It sounded great live.  The whole band did.

Afterward, we hit Dargan’s Irish Pub for a drink or two then to a quickie mart/liquor store for some room snacks and waters and walked back to our hotel to crash out.  We were both pretty wiped out.  Our waitress there was super cool and had a beer with us after she finished her shift.

Friday Oct. 5

After hitting some breakfast at the hotel and chilling for a bit, we decided to ride up to Santa Barbara to check out a record store.  It was weird how dead that town was at the noon hour on a Friday.  Last year on the Saturday we were there is was quite busy, mostly tourists I guess.  Afterwards we headed back to Ventura, in the most perfect weather ever, and chilled at the hotel a bit.  I got a short nap, got cleaned up and we headed over to Barrelhouse 101 for burgers and drinks before heading back to the fest.  My friends from Mexico, Soledad, Sarah and Jaime joined us and it was a great time to eat, drink and catch up with friends.  Unfortunately we missed Vandallus, Thrust and Cloven Hoof.  I had seen the first two before and they put on solid sets.  I’ve never been a Cloven Hoof fan and really had no interest seeing them.  Here’s what I did see:

Destructor – Cleveland legends.  We caught the second half of their set and Dave Just and the band were solid and sounded great.

Night Demon – They’re Ventura locals and are the body and brains behind the fest.  They are also road dogs and consistently put on one of the best and most energetic live shows ever.  Easily one of my favorite bands to see live…EVER.  Jarvis, Armand and Dustin are a well-oiled machine and know how to work a crowd.  Jarvis is a great frontman.  They delivered their set with precision as expected.  That was my 17th time seeing them!  That’s crazy in an of itself.  Not to mention I consider them close friends.  Definitely connected beyond the music and I thankful for that.

Warbringer – I’ve seen them before and didn’t watch them during their set.  Not my thing.

Midnight – The Cleveland based dark metallers hit the stage with the energy and fury that Athenar and company always deliver.  This was the first time I had seen them since they added a second guitarist.  It certainly beefed up their sound a bit, not that they needed it.  Always an enjoyable set.

The after party was at San Souci across the street and I got in there right as it was getting filled up to see my friends in Blood Star.  Kelz and I chugged our Billys (local drink) and rocked out to their awesome set in that tiny room.  They sounded great!  From there I was wiped out and headed back to the hotel to crash out.  Another band, NovaReign, was about to play but I was disinterested.

Saturday Oct. 6

Same breakfast routine, but did sleep in a little longer.  After chilling for most of the morning and into the noon hour, we finally got cleaned up to go find lunch.  We met up on the street with my Detroit friend Megan and hit a Thai place.  After that?  Nap time, or at least that was the plan.  Our room faced the park area and there was an arts festival going with some shitty DJ music blasting the bass.  I maybe have fallen out for a little bit, but it wasn’t enough.  But we soldiered on!  Off to the Ventura!  While there, I saw the Eternal Champion guys roll in to set up merch and such.  I am a founding member of the band but have now been out of the band longer than I was in it!  I buried a hatchet (perceived or otherwise) prior to their set.

Sacred Few – I only knew their one song from the old Cleveland Metal compilation so they were pretty much an unknown.  Their singer, Sandy, is the only original member and Midnight was the backing band.  It was quite an enjoyable set which started at 330PM.  Sandy sounded great and you could tell that she was having a great time.  She was really sweet to talk to as well.

Vicious Rumors – On tour for their Digital Dictator re-boot, VR delivered a solid set and the current singer sounded great.  I’ll see them again in Austin soon.

Attacker – They sounded killer and it’s always a pleasure to talk with Mike, Michael and Brian.  Great dudes and funny as hell.

Eternal Champion – This was my first time seeing them since my departure from the band.  It was a bit weird.  I watched about half of it then went back out to the lobby to hang with some friends.

Visigoth – Jake, Jamison and company did what they always do…THEY OWNED THE STAGE AND CROWD.  Jake is one of the best standalone frontmen in the business and the band overall sounded great.  I wish I could see them more often.  It was made even more special with Manilla Road’s Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick on vocals for Necropolis in honor of the passing of Mark Shelton.  RIP.

Ashbury – Prior to their set, Rob from Ashbury gave me a copy of their new CD and a steel pin for my vest.  “Love and Respect, Sean.”  Just hearing those words from him means the world.  He said he wanted my review of the album, good, bad or indifferent.  I’ll get working on that soon.  They delivered another fine set and they are the perfect band for this fest.  Most everyone loves them.  They were great.  They always are.

Satan – Hail Satan!  What more can really be said about them?  Plenty!  They were slated to play all of Court in the Act and it was great to hear the full album played live, especially Hunt You Down, which they rarely play live.  They were absolutely great and played a couple from their new album, Cruel Magic, along with some other early songs and some from their more recent catalog.  The whole band is so energetic and Brian Ross’ vocals are still top notch.  They were the perfect end to a perfect festival.

After the show, we were all saying our goodbyes before getting thrown out of the venue.  Neither Kelz nor I care to go back to Sans Souci for the after party bands as it was already packed in there.  So we headed back to the Irish pub with Christian (Venomous Maximus, ex-Eternal Champion [there are a lot of us!]) and had a shot and a couple of beers before they closed it down.  As we walked back up to the hotel, Satan was there unloading gear and beers and invited us to hang out with them.  Didn’t have to ask us twice!  Brian Ross’ drink of choice is called a Firemeister which is a combo of 1 full shot of Jager and 1 full show of Fireball.  Sounds awful, right?  It is.  But if Brian is serving them up, I’ll generally not say no.  Fortunately he didn’t have much left, so I feel like we dodged a bullet.  haha.  We also had a couple of beers.  It was Kelz, Heather from Graveshadow, Brian/Graeme/Steve from Satan and Charlie/Cindy/Shauna from Tanith and me.  Time flew by quickly and all of a sudden it was 5AM (7AM Texas time and 8AM NC time for Kelz).  I threw in the towel.  We had to be out of the hotel by noon to head to Hollywood to see Satan again Sunday night.

That’s the wrap for the fest, this wonderful perfect fest in one of the most beautiful cities in the USA with the best weather we could have ever wanted.  Jarvis has wavered on whether or not this will be the last one or not.  I personally hope not.  It’s really a great fest, well-run and I thoroughly enjoy seeing a lot of friends that I don’t see regularly and meeting new friends.  Getting to spend time with the bands, my friends from Germany (thanks for the scarf, Kiri!), Soledad, Jaime y Sara from Mexico, Stephan from Switzerland, Kit Ekman, Christian from Venomous, Ollie from KIT, Thilo, Henri, Rodney, and all of the USA friends.

See all setlists here.

Written by The Metal Files

October 10, 2018 at 11:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized