A quite fantastic cause this – and a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, though some background may be required before continuing as the mainstream media appear to have given it paltry coverage.
A few years ago Reign of Fury frontman Bison Steed was diagnosed with testicular cancer, this is his fifth year clear of the disease and to celebrate he decided to do something about it. What the band did was team up with promoter Andy Pilkington and the people at Intune PR and set up a 12 date tour across the UK with a frankly incredible cast of underground metal bands.
This Birmingham date is the finale of the whole thing and saw an all-day festival type thing take place. Hands up, here, RTM wasn’t able to make all of it, but we got here as soon as we could, as we weren’t going to miss this for all sorts of reasons.
We get there in time to see Bull Riff Stampede. The local group has been making a few waves recently – not least of which was their appearance at Bloodstock last week and they evidently have the drive, ambition to get themselves heard. They have the songs too, “Advance And Conquer” and “The Pit March” posses everything a thrash band needs to succeed. They are about to record a new album, so this bull is one to watch.
Another local band, Hanging Doll is next up, and their female lead singer, allied to male guttural vocal approach is an interesting alternative to the previous group. “Cradle To The Grave” is arguably their best track, but they too are worth keeping an eye on.
Reign of Fury are next – introduced by Krusher, who RTM hadn’t seen for years before his Bloodstock appearance, but now appears to be following us about…..We had last seen Worcestershire’s finest at Bloodstock a year ago in the New Blood Tent – originally intending to leave after half their set to watch Evile, however, they were so good we stayed. If they were good then, they are even better tonight. RoF play a brand of metal that deserves to be aired in front of far bigger crowds than this. The aforementioned Steed has a presence and their twin guitar metal/thrash songs – of which “Psycho Intentions” is the pick, are excellent.
As we have said before, at RTM we want to like I Am I, but haven’t quite been won over. We were at their first ever show last May, then we saw them support Skid Row in March. On both occasions we have found singer ZP Theart a little too overpowering. Tonight, though, he tones down all the antics and concentrates on being a singer – and no one has ever doubted he can do sing. Not quite as power metal as you might expect given Theart’s past, instead “Cross The Line” and “Kiss Of Judas” could sit on a mid-1980s rock album pretty comfortably. First single “Silent Genocide” remains perhaps their best song, but this is a band that is making vast improvements.
Beholder’s Simon Hall never cuts the air of a bloke who is at peace with the world. Tonight, though, he gives as angry and incendiary a performance as we have seen from him. He is upset with Metal Hammer for not covering this tour, he is irked by the beer prices in the Rainbow and he is downright cheesed off with cancer itself. It all makes for a fantastic Beholder show, though. The band showed at Bloodstock that they are in fine form right now and it continues tonight. Afforded a slightly longer set than last week, they use it to play “Never Take Us Down” the song they wrote for the Sophie Lancaster Charity, but its defiance is oddly in tune with tonight’s vibe too. By the time they have raced through the rant of “Liar” and the closing “Footprints” which has the central point that we are all flesh and blood, it is absolutely clear that you are watching one of the finest underground metal bands in the UK right now.
A superb evening all to raise money and awareness for the Teenage Cancer Trust, the final word should go to Hall. “Thank you for doing the right thing,” he says. “Cancer is the biggest bastard out there. It took friends of mine and it took my hero Ronnie James Dio. Anything we can do to stop it must be done. Fuck you cancer.”
Well Simon, the picture of my mother in the living room of my house instead of her being there attests to the fact that it robbed my family too, so RTM agrees. And shame on any magazine that didn’t cover this event – but the unsigned scene will get by without support anyway, it always does. Just as someday, we will beat cancer.