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2011-08-25 DE – Essen - Turock

Seeing the announcement for the VICIOUS RUMORS/HELSTAR tour made me raise my eyebrow. There have been times where James Rivera delivered his duties behind the micro in Geoff Thorpe’s band and as it’s known they did not part as friends... But then pleasant anticipation prevailed to see two of my favorite bands live on stage together. And deservedly so… just let me say this, it became a memorable evening!

:: pics ::

A sold out show we of course did not expect. As for that concert business is too fucked up these days, at least in Germany. Anyway, your fault if you have been not there. At this show every metal head got truly a full service. For fair prices by the way (18 Euro, shirts even for 15 Euro). To make a guess I’d say 120-150 fans made their way to the Turock, admittedly at temperatures not really club-compliant.

First, the local support :: GLORYFUL :: was about to celebrate its stage premiere. As it seemed it was even their very first live show at all. And not so many tracks under their belt yet. Classic Metal played with much delight and enthusiasm – acceptable, but to be honest, these six songs were already too much for me. GLORYFUL kicked off strongly but then quality of the songs weakened with increasing playing time. I just hope that GLORYFUL will have written more own songs soon and cut cover versions such as Gary Moore's Out In The Fields… I’m sure it has been a blasting experience for the band itself; but from a neutral and (paying) guest’s point of view I wonder if such support slot should have been given to a band of such level of development (not even a demo CD is available yet).

Texan-based veterans :: HELSTAR :: are the complete opposite. They are around since the mid 80s with umpteen records up their sleeves. Old stagers. And though they blew me away tonight. Ok, a band playing with such delight and a frontman on top form is not really a surprise, it was the setlist that made my day. I never ever would have believed that a setlist with only one song from my favorite album Remants Of War would make a show so awesome! Besides, the entire show was set up on heaviness, pushing and crossing borders of Thrash Metal and beyond. I mean, the band’s last record Glory Of Chaos was already like that but I personally wouldn’t have expected to see HELSTAR focusing on this one live. Generally speaking I missed a few “safe” classics (such as Abandoned Ship and Suicidal Nightmare; The King Is Dead they hinted at with puns but played Monarch Of Bloodshed instead, what was much fitting too). Nothing to nag about since we could experience some rarely played material like Bitter End and Dracula's Castle. Bass player Jerry Abarca had to sit out the tour due to illness and got replaced by Michael Millsap, who didn’t fall any short. HELSTAR left a frenetically enthused audience.
Setlist: Angels Fall To Hell, Pandemonium, Bitter End, Conquest, Monarch Of Bloodshed, Dracula's Castle, Baptized In Blood, Run With The Pack, The King Of Hell, Alma Negra

It supposedly should have been a difficult task for the following band after such stirring show. But with the first tunes of Digital Dictator it was clear, :: VICIOUS RUMORS :: would even top their stunning performance at this year’s Rock Hard Festival. Despite the passably filled Turock club we right from the beginning had the feeling to find ourselves among a huge and euphoric crowd. Mood was just breathtaking. Deservedly! VICIOUS RUMORS not only live through an Indian summer but also reached its zenith by now. Perfectly rehearsed the quintet got electrified by the audience and delivered such grandiose show I did not experience for ages. Enthusiasm and energy was likewise increasing on both sides, taking the band higher and higher. VICIOUS RUMORS went through their entire history, no hit was left out: Don't Wait For Me, The Lady Took A Chance, You Only Live Twice, Minute To Kill, Hellraiser, Soldiers Of The Night, etc. pp. At Let The Garden Burn fans entered the stage to rock with the band, while singer Brian Allen was crowdsurfing, borne on hands to the mixer and back, again and again. Where not enough people were, the ones with the hands on Allen just walked alongside. Touching moments indeed.
I anyway have still to add some extra words about Brian Allen: this dude is totally crazy, really, in a very likable way, and truly a congenial addition to the band. Great songs VICIOUS RUMORS always had, but performed live with this line-up… reaches a new level of heaviness and pleasure.
It also was a great day for drummer Larry Howe, who celebrated his birthday. In a twinkling of an eye he got a proper birthday serenade from the whole Turock. Time flew by quickly. Believe it or not, after 25 tracks and a 2 hrs playing time VICIOUS RUMORS came to an end. Band and crowd was left exhausted but utmost happy and euphoric. Such moments are really rare. And I’m sure every attendee will remember that night for a long time!
Setlist: Digital Dictator, Minute To Kill, The Crest, Worlds & Machines, Lady Took A Chance, Out Of The Shadows, Only Live Twice, Black, Savior From Anger, Murderball, March Or Die, Razorback Blade, Ship Of Fools, On The Edge, Axe To Grind, Six Stepsisters, Let The Garden Burn, Hellraiser, Soldiers Of The Night, Don't Wait For Me, Down To The Temple, Abandoned, (Pearls Of Wisdom, World Church, Blood Stained Sunday)

So, what’s left to say? It was one of the best shows I have ever seen in my life. And for this comparison I have to wander for a long time through my own memories. Shame on all those not attending! For what reason ever… You missed something really special!!!


story © Psycho • pics © Wolfgang