KADAVAR, The Shrine, Horisont, Satan’s Satyrs @Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton 11/11/15


A night of (mostly new) riffs in Wolverhampton

On their just released album “Don’t Deliver Us”, Virginia’s Satan’s Satyrs proved that they were a timelessly classic rock band. That makes them the perfect opening act for this evening, then. When, essentially four bands with a similar love for the riff, it’s power and all its forms, will perform songs off new albums.

If anything, live here, Satan is summoned forth in rather more straightforward fashion than on the record, and the thumping heavy riffs hit home. A half hour made up of stuff from their three releases so far, sees “Instruments Of Hellfire” live up to its title, the closing “Die Screaming” become a fuzzed up piece of brilliance and singer Clayton Burgess (also of Electric Wizzard) be effortlessly cool to boot. There’s room for a couple from “….Us” too, which are delivered with relish. “Creepy Teens” and then even better “You Know Who”, though couldn’t be, ahem, delivered any other way. With Stephen Fairfield thumping the drums as if his life depends on it and Jarrett Nettnin delivering some excellent guitar licks there’s every reason to suppose that the Devil really does still have the best tunes.

Right, new album and band number two: Sweden’s Horisont have just stuck out their third record – and best by a long way. “Odyssey” is a quite brilliant piece of work, and it’s title track is a ten minute epic that just about runs the full gamut of heavy music. Fantastically, the five piece – tonight minus Tom Sutton, currently touring with his other band Order Of Israfel and with Cory Berry of Blues Pills filling in for him – start with the thing. In full. All of it, including Moog, and it rules. The set is heavy on “Odyssey” songs, and why wouldn’t it be given the fact that to a degree they have changed sound with it? The Iron Maiden type stylings of “Light My Way”, give singer Axel the chance to try his full Bruce Dickinson range, while The Night Stalker”, comes across superbly in this setting, with the closing tumult of “Bad News” providing a real highlight too. There’s a real feeling with Horisont that the beardy quiet men who make this music took this slight deviation because they love heavy metal and wanted to make some for themselves. They do it almost flawlessly.

“Have you missed us?” enquires The Shrine singer Josh. Well, actually yes, we have. And although, like every other band on the bill, the trio have just stuck a new album out – theirs, “Rare Breed” emerged 10 days ago – it’s almost ridiculous that it’s been three years since we last saw them – opening for Fu Manchu – and if that slot with slot with desert rock royalty was a perhaps a more natural fit, their presence is most welcome here. Ostensibly they are hippies in the way that Monster Magnet are. That is to say they are leather clad, hairy heroes who probably came here from the nearest meth lab. They begin with a song called “Tripping Corpses” which makes them cooler than you and their fuzzed up rock n roll is glorious. “The Vulture” is better and “Worship” is a fitting tribute to music itself. Elsewhere “Destroyers” is nihilistic and superb (and the metal gods decree that during it, Court Murphy should lose bass). With only 40 minutes tonight they race through their set in an almost punk rock type style. The suspicion remains, though that given half the chance, songs like “Coming Down Quick” would turn into mighty jams and only rein themselves in through gritted teeth. However they do it, though, The Shrine are superb.

Releasing their new material in August makes it a collection of rare vintage given the rest of bill. But “Berlin” Kadavar’s latest offering, is a stonewall belter. There’s a moment here, somewhere about two seconds after “Lord Of The Sky” starts, when Kadavar lock into a groove and they become almost hypnotic. That thought never leaves for 75 minutes. What the German three-piece do isn’t rocket science. They just tune in, plug in and play loud. And that’s basically it. Except it’s not. Because there is something that happens when they play. Something that elevates songs like “Pale Blue Eyes” and gives them a little extra. There’s a track here about halfway, ” Last Living Dinosaur”, which is perfectly fine on wax. Here, though it becomes the most monolithic thing you can imagine, Tiger on drums is almost primal. Their set allows much of “Berlin” to have its head, with more than a sprinkling from their debut too. And if all that does is prove rather neatly that they haven’t changed a great deal, you could look at it another way and say they’ve always been this good. There’s a couple of songs from the previous “Abra Kadavar” opus and “Doomsday Machine” and the even better “Come Back Life” – which ends things – show just why that album saw them gather so many fans.

A night where the sound might have looked back to the 1970s, in the main at any rate, but where the bands very much looked forward. And if this any guide the future is just fine, thanks.

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