Last Updated on 04:17 PM by Giorgos Tsekas
On Saturday night, Machine Head demolished us, while at the same time in the historical Kyttaro Club, Domine were doing their thing. On Sunday though, an extremely powerful gig was booked, with six bands and the main act being Jag Panzer and Metal God II, Harry “Tyrant” Conklin. Even though the festival was supposed to begin at 6 o’clock, a small delay took things back.
With the few people being inside the venue at that time, twenty people more or less, the Finns Lord Fist went up on stage. A young band that plays heavy / speed metal in the footsteps of early Helloween and having influences by Maiden, Saxon, etc. It’s a very strong, serious and enthusiastic band and their setlist lasted for about half an hour, leaving us with positive impressions.
War Dance followed the lead, who have created their own name in the genre’s scene, after the release of their first album. Their performance was also excellent, but with a better and louder sound. They performed «Achilles’ Wardance», «Marathon (Sarissa)», «War Of Titans», «Freedom», «Prometheus», «The Thunder Inside Me» and «Wrath For The Ages». Great presence with all members of the band urging the crowd to participate in their “dance”, more than their singer at least, who seemed serious, thorough and a little bit shy; devoted to the proper performance of the songs. It was the second time I’ve seen them perform and they certainly worth the applause. They are a good representative band for the Greek scene.
Next on stage were the Austrians Mortician, whom I didn’t know beforehand but I liked them because they performed their set passionately; heavy metal to the bone. Their sound was good, the volume from here on was stuck on ten and the riffs were cut-thoating. Decent, causing excitement, they played with passion and wrote a song dedicated to Up The Hammers festival. If anything else, that was very honorable for one of the best festivals in Europe.
The Italians Crying Steel were next. Having heard their 80s works years ago, I had some idea of what I would see. Generally, I find the heavy /power genre indifferent. On stage, however, they stood like long – range rock stars, especially the “old” ones. The (new) singer, who actually did everything he could to stir up the (still scarce) crowd, left us with good impressions, with amazing riffs, loud sound – levels. They certainly worth your attention.
Until ADX climbed on stage, the atmosphere was already turning and the crowd’s attendance spiked up. Therefore, instead of being between 50-60 individuals, I found myself between at least 300. Could last night’s alcoholic adventures with Domine cause this or should we blame the high ticket price? ? The same crowd more or less attended both gigs, so it seems likely.
ADX have been throughout all these years one of the most decent and high – quality bands of the French scene. Their works during the ‘80s, like Exécution (1985), La Terreur (1986) and Suprématie (1987) are considered diamonds amidst the underground heavy metal releases. Reunited in 2006, the still release records, separating themselves from the bands that reunite just for the money. ADX were performing at high level, with an excellent sound, with a guitarist and a bassist being young (they could be the other members’ children). Their performance was historical for many reasons, although the crowd didn’t seem to appreciate that much… Towards the end of their set, the venue was crowded and the attendees were looking forward to watching the gods and one of the five best voices in metal. As you can see here any attempt for objectivity falls from a high hill. I heard some grumbling about the setlist – where was “Shadow Thief” or something from “Mechanized Warfare” or why did they choose to play from this EP rather than “Iron Shadows” – bullshit in other words. As if in a festival with one and a half hour set you can fit everything the crowd screams for. What matters is that Taffola was excellent, Stjernquist was amazing and Harry Conklin taught us about metal once again – whatever he chooses to perform he can level it up for good. This happened even at the tracks form the -mediocre in my opinion- “The Scourge of the Light”. Needless to say that from the beginning to the end of the set, the crowd did not stop singing. A band you all must see.
The moment we all expected was finally here and the legends Jag Panzer went up on stage for another monumental appearance. They were perfect. Conklin was in great form with his voice remaining unchanged, despited being 53 years old now. He was taggering. Injured Tetley was replaced by Aric Avina from Benedictum, while the duo Briody / Tafolla was performing miracles. Rikard Stjernquist (drummer) was a beast and he didn’t even glitch to those weird drummer jokes Tyrant told. The band focused more on the «Tyrants» EP and «Ample Destruction» with the set including tracks from almost all their albums, except of course «Dissident Alliance» and «Mechanized Warfare». Probably it wasn’t Mr. Tafolla’s cup of tea, even though there are some huge tracks there. There was a cover of the UFO’s hymn «Lights Out» (In Athens on the occasion), while the absence of «Shadow Thief» was a great surprise. Many wanted to hear «Moors», as well.
The evening was magical, the organization excellent and I wish events such as these to be more frequently booked, perhaps with fewer bands but with a longer setlist.
Jag Panzer setlist:
- Iron Eagle
- The Mission (1943)
- Licensed To Kill
- Generally Hostile
- Future Shock
- Symphony Of Terror
- Lustfull And Free
- Chain Of Command
- Reign Of The Tyrants
- Let It Out
- Harder Than Steel
- Death Row
- Call Of The Wild
- Fate’s Triumph
- Lights Out (UFO)
- When Metal Melts The Ice
by Giorgos Athanasiou & Xydobarbas