Iron Fist Magazine

HIT THE LIGHTS: HARD ROCK HELL NWOBHM

HARD ROCK HELL NWOBHM 02 ACADEMY SHEFFIELD

It’s clear that the inaugural HRH NWOBHM festival has piggy-backed on or at least benefited from Brofest’s ability to persuade long-defunct bands to reform. Of the army of acts on the two-day line-up, many have already trodden the Brofest boards. But a good idea is a good idea, and the bands themselves are unlikely to care whether they’re revisiting their glory years in Newcastle, Nuneaton, Newport or – for the next 48 hours – right here in Sheffield. While London has a proud NWOBHM history of its own, it’s somehow fitting to witness this particular event taking place beyond the rapacious event horizon of the Capital. Even during the winter of discontent from which the NWOBHM sprang, the regions – in this case the former mining and heavy industrial hub of South Yorkshire – laboured under an investment and infrastructure deficit when compared to London and the South East in general. Sheffield may have come a long way since 1979, and avoided being nuked a la ‘Threads’, but in the frozen half-light of a December dusk, it’s all too easy for the mind to time-hop back to the bleaker days of Saxon’s ‘Hungry Years’.

PERSIAN RISK

As … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: SAXON LIVE IN BRISTOL WITH GIRLSCHOOL AND FASTWAY

SAXON, FASTWAY & GIRLSCHOOL BRISTOL O2 Academy

There have been a few cynical murmurings regarding this tour package since the announcement that Saxon and Girlschool would take to the road together in the wake of their planned tour with Motorhead not coming to fruition for reasons well known; voices from card-carrying fans of all things NWOBHM and beyond, dismissing it as a nostalgia trip and nothing more. However, we at the Fist, as well as our readership, like to buy the ticket and take the ride before passing judgment. The thought of seeing these stalwarts in the flesh one more time, especially with the return to the live arena of “Fast” Eddie Clarke of Motorhead infamy supporting with his resurrected group Fastway, is more than enough reason to brave the November rain and even an O2 venue. The near-sold out crowd waiting to pass through the turnstiles goes to show that in Bristol at least, it seems the metal crowd isn’t too pessimistic.

Opening proceedings is London’s loud and lairy daughters Girlschool who, though squeezed into an odd formation owing to playing in front of both Saxon and Fastway’s drum kits, ease the growing crowd into the feel of things. … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: KING DIAMOND AND ANGEL WITCH GIVE LONDON A MASTERCLASS IN HEAVY METAL

KING DIAMOND + ANGEL WITCH THE FORUM, LONDON JUNE 2016

It’s been a long time since since King Diamond played a theatre show in London. The last time was a sweltering night in June 2006, yet almost a decade to the day he’s back and this time he’s not some cult, underground curiosity. Years of touring the big international festivals and a surging interest in traditional heavy metal has meant the corpse-painted, baby-wielding, ghost-believing raconteur has become a Danish cultural icon on a par with moody gothic crime dramas, bacon baps and controversial doodles of religious prophets.

The King, as he’s affectionately known in Iron Fist circles, does not elicit the kind of fair-weather fan merely intrigued by his kitsch theatrics and soaring voice, they are devotees and tonight, The Forum, a grand proscenium arched arena worthy of the Mercyful Fate mainman, has gathered the familiar and the frenzied into its halls. What is so great about intimate theatre shows is that while festivals are 30,000 strong, the few – in comparison – that are here tonight are the dedicated ones and you can feel the energy brewing in the queue snaking around the venue.

In the run up to the concert the rumours of … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: BLITZKRIEG PLAY THEIR LOCAL

BLITZKRIEG LIVE AT THE PENNY GILL, SPENNYMOOR JUNE 18 2016

It’s not very often you see a legendary NWOBHM band play in the back room of a small pub, in a small town, in North East England. Especially one that had such a notable and huge influence on the likes of Metallica, undeniably one of the biggest metal bands ever and even covered and recorded a cover of their self-titled classic anthem on their ‘Creeping Death’ EP way back in the early ’80s, playing it live well into the touring cycle for ‘Master Of Puppets’.

Along with bands such as Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Raven and Venom, Blitzkrieg were at the forefront of the early ’80s burgeoning heavy metal movement and have been recording albums, playing live and touring ever since. This was the second time the band played The Penny Gill, a small lively rock/biker pub in Spennymoor a small ex-mining community in County Durham. This was a no airs, no graces affair, as close and personal as you can get; no stage, barriers or security separating the band from the fans.

There was no support band either, this was merely an intimate warm-up show for the Garage Days Revisited festival in London … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: MARDUK, IMMOLATION AND ORIGIN LIVE IN BRISTOL

Marduk, Immolation and Origin @ The Fleece, Bristol

Weekday gigs are often strange affairs and especially so in Bristol where the local metal scene will invariably turn out in droves for bands such as Alestorm but often overlook the more extreme end of the spectrum, ironically leaving some gigs as barren as the graveyards and mortuaries that provide a wealth of lyrical inspiration. Luckily for Marduk however, this Wednesday night sees a crowd who are more than willing to have the midweek blues literally beaten out of them, Scandinavian style.

First up is Origin, with their brand of technical death metal that seems to this scribe to be an odd choice of opener for a legendary Swedish black metal band but regardless their ultra-tight, hyper-fast metal elicits a lot of movement from the crowd.

It’s been four years since New York death metal powerhouse Immolation graced UK shores and it’s like déjà vu as that too was in support of Marduk. It might be all genial banter with the crowd between tracks but when it comes to it this band can dish out an arse-kicking. As with every performance of theirs, the group are as tight as the nun’s … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: ROADBURN FESTIVAL 2013

“Come, My Fanatics” It’s taken a good long while for me to write this reminiscence, much to Louise’s chagrin. It’s not my fault, though, I swear. After all, one does not simply review Roadburn. You’ve got to experience it first, let the dust settle, let it all sink in. There have been memories made, friendships forged, maybe a broken heart or beer bottle to contend with, and above all, there was the music – that glorious swirling cacophony of heavy riffs, howling voices, spacey trips, crushing melodies, industrial clangs, and even the odd blastbeat. So savour it. Swish it around your mouth like a dram of Laphroaig, and drink it down straight. Soak it all up like that first sunbeam after a bitter cold winter, and let yourself start counting the days ‘til your next stroll past the Cul de Sac and through the 013’s doors. We here at Iron Fist have what you might call a bit of a soft spot (read: all-consuming passion) for this most unique and welcoming of festivals, and are endlessly grateful to the wonderful Roadburn staff for inviting us along on their cosmic journey. 2013 was the best year yet, but then again, we say … Read More

HIT THE LIGHT: NUCLEAR WAR NOW! FEST 2012

NUCLEAR WAR! NOW FESTIVAL III BERLIN POSTBAHNHOF-FRITZCLUB

So here we were, apostles at the altars of madness. And thanks to a queue snaking the building’s length, Knelt Rote are missed by most. Anatomia quickly make up for any loss and summon a good start to the festival with their deathly doom. These Japanese magicians have a great sound for so early on and put on an impressive display, knocking out last night’s pre-show cobwebs. Pseudogod’s unholy black death calls the masses once again, but dogged by sound problems from the start, they fail to recover and are plagued until the end with a high end sound, which is inaudible from certain parts of the venue, and no doubt the stage. A real shame, as they are one of the bands with high anticipation surrounding them. Onwards we march, into the shadows, as Antediluvian take us further down into hell. Their ominous sound reverberates from the walls like a swarm, surrounding everything within their dark veil. Clad all in black, their presence is akin to their sound; one of the weekend’s most crushing performances. As the day becomes more chaotic, so does the music and the Italians in Blasphemophagher deliver it by the truckload. Their frantic black/thrash … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: FULL MOON DOG FESTIVAL 2012

FULL MOON DOG FESTIVAL LEEDS COCKPIT Once again held in memory of Asomvel founder and frontman Jay-Jay Winter, the second annual Full Moon Dog Festival also honours the spirit of the ’80s, or as the organisers themselves put it: “The days when hordes of metal fans would cram into local venues to see their favourite bands for a meagre couple of quid and ‘social networking’ meant actually getting off your backside and leaving the house!” I’m sure we all raise an iron fist to that.

In what’s a less than ideal start to the day, last-minute ‘logistical difficulties’ prevent your humble correspondent from witnessing either Mercenary or Screaming Eagles in what was surely their unfettered glory. It falls instead to West Midlands trad metallers Dark Forest to open our account and, as one of the most promising UK newcomers of recent years, they do not fail to deliver. Decked out in some choice old-school clobber and armed with a luridly-hued and suitably spiky selection of vintage axes, they launch into a scintillating set of heavy/power somewhere between the NWOBHM and the European trad scene of the same era. There are touches of contemporary power metal too, but they steer well clear of anything … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: VOIVOD + DOOM

VOIVOD + DOOM LONDON GARAGE Tonight is all about surprises. Special guests Doom surprise by delivering a digestible set. Firmly crust – they lack the necessary graft and craft to be grind – it’s nonetheless obvious why these British veterans influenced so many. Loud and explosive, a battering attack of dreadlocks, black and white newspaper cuttings and walls of guitar noise regularly overloading into feedback, Doom are one noise, one moment in time regurgitated for remembrance. Our headliners are something else. Their creative endeavours now span four decades and still they surprise. Opening with the primal scream of ‘Voivod’, they begin on a chronological path, pulling out rarely aired numbers ‘Ripping Headaches’ and ‘Forgotten In Space’ early, before unveiling the title track to the forthcoming ‘Target Earth’ and later strumming out the recently unleashed ‘Mechanical Mind’. Snake is in fine voice, perhaps his finest since rejoining Voivod a decade ago. ‘The Prow’ (from 1991’s divisive ‘Angel Rat’) evidences this early, but it is after he announces, “We have a surprise for you,” that things really get incredible.

An air of mystery lingers, Snake bows his head – and for a minute, it’s as if Voivod have decided to go drone. Then it hits. … Read More

HIT THE LIGHTS: KILLTOWN DEATH FEST 2012

KILLTOWN DEATH FEST 2012 COPENHAGEN UNGDOMSHUSET

The Ungdomshuset (“the youth house) is a squat in the North West of Copenhagen, a stone’s throw away from the city centre; a Scandinavian ‘utopia’ of modern architecture, parks, cyclists and overpriced food and drink. Walking into the main venue of this tiny DIY event is like crossing into a different country; enter a graffiti covered courtyard, filled with a smorgasbord of battle jacket adorned long haired metallers. A wander around reveals why people travel from around the world for this event; food is super cheap, beers and shots are under £2, and at the back a small and dark alleyway is filled with goodies. It was like the ’80s never left, with stalls filled with boxes of vinyl, photocopied fanzines, patches, t-shirts and cassette tape demos.

First band of the day are France’s Ritualization, crossing the tones of early Morbid Angel with Angel Corpse and an awesome sign of things to come over the next 3 days. Fleshless seem a little out of place, even admitting it themselves. Their modern take on brutal death metal with guttural vocals, the antithesis to the old school vibe of the other bands playing over the weekend, but they manage to … Read More