10 Years of Madness Review (Black Phoenix Rising)

16th August 2014 – Snooty Fox, Wakefield

Hamerex, Kaine, Into The Abyss

I travelled over to Wakefield from Bolton to watch the 10 Year Anniversary gig for Hamerex, Heavy Metal from Yorkshire. It was to be the last performance for long time frontman Chris Moules (pictured). Hamerex had set about letting fans vote for the setlist. Joined by the mighty Kaine from East Anglia and local boys Into the Abyss.

The Bands

Into The Abyss

I knew as soon as I walked into the Snooty that something was afoot. The place was crawling with kids, I can say that now I’m in my 40th year. There was sweepy hairstyles, precariously perched bobble hats and BFMV tshirts a-plenty. I grabbed a coke (driving) and set about making myself comfy at the bar.

As soon as the band started I knew that I might run out of ciggies. They opened up with Limp Bizkit – One of those days. I don’t have much against that band, or the song, as long as neither are being played. This was to mark my swift exit for a lungful of fresh Lambert air. I was there to see some Great British Metal and unfortunately got Yorkshiremen trying to rap and core at the same time and I don’t like it.

That doesn’t detract from the fact that the crowd that were there to see them really enjoyed them though. They had a substantial following and thoroughly enjoyed playing the set. And they were quite endearing chaps too. They got their crowd moving and seemed to grow in confidence throughout the set.

I have some grumbles though; Firstly, a band that announces a classic tune and then breaks into RATM – Killing in the Name Of, is clearly too young for me to listen to. Secondly, the younger crowds these days do not understand pit etiquette. If someone decides to stand way off to the side out of the way becaue, oh let’s just say they have a torn shoulder ligament (yes it hurts when pushed around), then you respect that and keep your pit to yourself. Also the craze of ‘Windmilling’ doesn’t seem to take account of anyone that just wants to stand there and watch the band. I know there’s going to be some opposition to this but I was there, along with quite a few others, to watch Heavy Metal, not rabid clowns.

Kaine

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It’s no secret to anyone that knows me from Facebook, that I rather enjoy Kaine. The travelling band of the night are hard-working, talented yet struggling to gain the recognition they deserve.

Their set comprised of tracks from the new album; Entropy, Iron Lady, The New Wave and Resistance. Masterfully and exhuberantly played, with a powerful vocal performance from frontman Rage Sadler. The crowd immediately warmed to the jocular remarks and…..Dan Mailer’s hair. Dan also got his chance to show that he is more than just a talented bassman with his vocal performances on Solidarity and Champion. The highlight for me though was always going to be Quality of Madness, my overall favourite Kaine song and a request which was duly announced.

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Anyone that watches Kaine cannot deny how brilliant they are. True warriors of the revival scene, they display energy and passion that immediately gets you hooked. Anthony ‘Dave’ Murch plays brilliant lead and Chris MacKinnon just gets on with business on the drums. This performance was nothing but spell binding and looking around me I was happy to see quite a few people enjoying their set, even after the school bell had rang.

Hamerex

The night was completed by fellow revivalists and long serving Yorkshire titans Hamerex. The band had decided to let the fans decide on the setlist which encompassed tracks from their back catalogue and including the two albums.

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We were in for a real treat as the public had spoken. Tracks such as; The Gates of Hades, The Lycan and Hypnotise from The Rites of Passage album and Mortuary and The Night of Samhain from IX. Steve Blower attempted to plug in his electro acoustic to complete Still The Wall Remains but, after a respectful throw of his non functioning guitar, plugged back in his electric and sat down to deliver one of the best performances of the night.

We were also treated to Nightmare and crowd favourite Calling All Monsters from the back catalogue.

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Hamerex delivered a flawless performance. Chris’s voice was better than I’d ever heard it and that is true of some of the recordings too. Blower was exceptional on Guitar and the Bass and drums were perfectly in sync. The crowd really enjoyed them and I was especially pleased to see some of the younger crowd hanging around to watch them and really enjoying it. It was inevitable that there was going to be an encore and this came in the form of Metallica’s So What. A last chance for a participating crowd and, by now, tired Chris Moules to unify in voice and send him off to pastures new with a memorable night.

The Venue

People first walking into the Snooty may well feel a bit out of place. The furniture and overall decor of the first room you see is a bit neglected. However, when you move into the bar area it becomes apparent how passionate the landlord is about music. The ceiling and walls are adourned in band shirts. The stage is a shrine to the acts that play on it, complete with metal barrier. The sound deck is elevated from which the guvner can keep an eye on proceedings and remind his punters that he needs them to spend money. It is one of those places that offers a fantastic night but is all too vulnerable to the receeding crowds and deserves to be recognised as a class (maybe not in appearance but undoubtedly in character) music establishment.

This will be a night I won’t forget in a hurry. Ok so the first band wasn’t my cup of tea but they have a job to do. This was more than made up for by the outstanding character and musicianship of Kaine and Hamerex. Keep it Live, Keep it Metal!

Paul Belcher
Black Phoenix Rising
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