Queensryche/Armored Saint/Death Angel - London, Electric Ballroom - 6th August 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Nick Russell   
Thursday, 24 September 2015 04:00

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Heading to the big city of Londinium when there happens to be a tube strike would seem like a mad decision. But when it gives you the chance to see one of your favourite bands you’ve never seen before, it’s worth the potential headache of travel delays. As it goes, it wasn’t as bad as I expected and we were in The Worlds End supping a refreshing pint or 3 with plenty of time to spare.

 

Death Angel have the pleasure of opening up proceedings tonight and blast through a short but sweet set consisting of modern day thrashers ‘Left For Dead’, ‘Son Of The Morning’, ‘Claws In So Deep’, ‘Buried Alive’ and the excellent ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’. The only nod to the old days is the intro to ‘The Ultra Violence’ before they finish with ‘Thrown To The Wolves’. A lot tighter than they were two days ago when I saw them in Wolverhampton, they demonstrated why they should really be included in the next 4 of the big 8 of Thrash. We just need a Dark Angel/Testament/Exodus/Death Angel tour, thank you very much.

 

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Armored Saint are the main reason for coming tonight; I’ve been a fan since the ‘March Of The Saint’ days but due to fairly infrequent visits to these shores, had never seen them live. Visiting the merch stand, I not only pick up the box set of the new ‘Win Hands Down’ album signed by the band but get a t-shirt in 3XL, result! From the off, the sound doesn’t seem quite right, so ‘Win Hands Down’ and especially ‘March Of The Saint’ sound a little subdued but by the time they play ‘Nervous Man’ from the criminally underrated ‘Delirious Nomad’, things are back on track. New track ‘An Exercise In Debauchery’ fits in well with the full-on metal attack of ‘Raising Fear’ whilst ‘Left Hook From Right Field’ shows that the ‘Saint were always more than a straight up metal band. ‘Reign of Fire’ and the excellent old school of ‘Can U Deliver’ close the set. Once they were in their stride, the ‘Saint were brilliant, John Bush still has a cracking voice and is more than backed up by the rest of the band who are on form. Definitely worth the wait, I’m hoping it won’t be so long till I see them again (it wasn’t, I saw them the next day at Bloodstock!)

 

The recent history of Seattle’s Queensryche has been as well documented as it has been slightly embarrassing for a band that produced some truly great music. In my mind, things actually started to go on the slide once guitarist and songwriter Chris Degamo left but that’s where I’ll leave it. The 2015 edition of the band seems fairly settled and is just about to release their 2nd album with singer Todd La Torre. I’d heard that his voice was very similar to Geoff Tate’s, so big shoes to fill...

 

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‘Anarchy-X’ from the seminal ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ is a brilliant opening song, driven along by Scott Rockenfield’s powerful drumming, followed by oldie ‘Nightrider’, ‘Breaking The Silence’ just seems like there is a little something missing. The balance is redressed with a great version of ‘Walk In The Shadows’. As the set progresses, it’s clear that the focus is on the older material, apart from one brand new song, and another from Todd’s first album with them from 2013. Other than that, nothing later than the ‘Empire’ era, with an excellent ‘Silent Lucidity’, complete with full crowd participation. As Michael Wilton is introduced for his solo spot, my friend Mel mis-heard and asked if it was “Wanky Wilson”!! She was probably right!! New song ‘Arrow In Time’ sounds pretty good, ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ is always a killer song and we get their anthem ‘Queen Of The Reich’ followed by last song ‘Take Hold Of The Flame’.

 

I later discover tonight’s set is curtailed a bit by Todd having a slight throat problem; you’d be hard pushed to tell. Close your eyes and you’d think it was Geoff Tate up there. The cynical among you may well say why get an impersonator; I say if you can find someone who can replicate such an amazing voice, why not. Whilst not a stunning performance as some of their older gigs back in the day were, still a good show, let’s just hope all the silliness is behind and get on with music.

 

Based on tonight, that time is fast approaching where fans will merely say "Geoff who?"