Review by Dean Pedley, photos by Sean Larkin
Elm Street hail from Victoria, South Australia, and are a twin guitar four piece heavily influenced by both the NWOBHM and the 80’s thrash scene, complete with the retro cartoon imagery that adorns their t shirts and the cover of debut album Barbed Wire Metal. They deliver a tight, if one-dimensional, set with no shortage of enthusiasm and good old fashioned fun complete with horror movie inspired lyrics and plenty of audience participation.
California’s Warbringer are no strangers to these shores and are out in support of fourth album IV: Empires Collapse which is well featured across their forty minute assault. Another band that owed a debt to the first wave of thrash when they started out, over subsequent releases they have succeeded in carving out their own identity. And even if vocalist Jon Kevill can’t quite persuade the crowd to indulge in any sort of mosh pit action for the monster riff overdrive of ‘Living in a Whirlwind’, Warbringer deliver a fast and furious set that evidences they have lost none of their ferocity.
With the just released Plagues of Babylon, Iced Earth have thrown down the gauntlet for the rest of metal to follow in 2014. They are a mere handful of dates into what is slated to be an epic tour taking in all corners of the globe from Moscow and Tel Aviv to Auckland and Santiago. With the band clearly fired up it is clear that guiding light Jon Schaffer has found a line-up that both looks the part and is capable of delivering the goods. Vocalist Stu Block has made the role his own with a commanding presence and voice to match and bassist Luke Appleton may have won the golden ticket when plucked from Fury UK to join his favourite band but he very much belongs on the bigger stage. All the more annoying then that despite a full throttle performance the set is plagued by sound issues, rendering Block’s vocals largely inaudible throughout. Between song chants of “turn the vocals up” infuriates the band to the point where the only solution offered is to “move to the back” but the improvement is only marginal. Sublime new moments such as ‘If I Could See You’ and ‘Peacemaker’ are lost in the mix and old warhorses ‘Blessed Are You’ and ‘Watching Over Me’ are lacking in incisiveness. This should have been an explosive headline set of intense and glorious power metal – band and crowd alike were up for it – but January cast its shadow long and hard and the end result was frustration all around.
See more of Sean’s photos here;