There is a really pleasant atmosphere in the tiny basement room of Scruffy Murphy’s tonight. Sweden’s Eternal Fear are making what is apparently their first visit to these shores and given that they never stop smiling all night it is clear they are enjoying themselves.
Indeed, the only blot on the horizon is that the originally slated support, I.C.O.N, who RTM has a soft spot for, have had to pull out with personal issues. This means, though, that a couple of local bands have the chance to impress instead.
In addition to being – on the evidence of our first meeting with them – amongst the friendliest blokes in Birmingham, local band Salvation are well worth keeping an eye on. Whilst we don’t hear the “country twist” to their “hard rock” (as proclaimed by their website) we do hear some very catchy songs indeed.
Songs that groove along with riffs a touch like Corrosion of Conformity and catchy enough to stick with you “Hell and Back” and “Pray For Me” are well worth checking out and even if convivial frontman Dougy Reid gets the title to “Sleep” wrong it is still a very decent song. The band’s central message is one of positivity too, as befits a group that is selling bracelets for the Sophie Lancaster Charity. RTM was there when they played their first ever gig, at Basementfest last year, we liked them then, we like them now. Very good indeed.
This is In Denial’s second time supporting Eternal Fear on this short tour of the Midlands, and they offer a slightly different proposition to the openers. Their sound is a little more rooted in the early to mid-90s alternative scene, with a couple of different vocal sounds too, while one or two of their songs are reminiscent of Faith No More. Even the one word song titles are something of a throwback, with “Twisted,” “Corruption” and “Asylum” all getting an airing. They are interesting and engaging, but perhaps it is set closer “Inside” – the most straight ahead rock song they play this evening – that works the best.
By contrast to In Denial, there is nothing remotely 90s about Eternal Fear, think Dio, Priest, Sabbath and Maiden and you wouldn’t be far away from their influences. Although they are rather unknown over here, their new album “Eternal Damnation” is their 10th in a career spanning getting on for 20 years, so they have plenty of material to pick from. RTM is pleased though, that most of it is played from “….Damnation” including its brilliant title track, which showcases all that is good about the band.
“Grab Of Doom” soon follows, as does “Army of Hell” which sees clearly excited singer Ove Jonsson disappear into the crowd for a sing-song, but really, there are no duff tracks here.
A superb 45 minute set ends with a track called “Child Of Darkness” which Jonsson explains is one of many they have written for a new record. It is more of the same excellent stuff that preceded it and bodes well for the new opus.
The band promises to return in October for another tour - if it is anything like tonight, it promises to be most enjoyable. Heavy metal wore a smile tonight and there is nothing wrong with that.