Live Review: Helloween + Rage
9th February 2016, 13:25
Posted by Chris

A night of efficient German heavy metal has rolled into London town, and every raidiant note was soaked up with every moment cherished. We review the epic performances from metal titans Helloween and Rage.

3rd February 2016
The Forum
London, UK
Support Bands: Rage, Crimes of Passion

Crimes of Passion

Before this evening I was not aware of their existence, but this is what these support slots are for, to showcase some of the talent to win over some hearts and minds in the bigger venues. In this case the talent being showcase is none other than a band straight from the heartland, a band from Sheffield by the name of Crimes of Passion.

The band kickstart the nights proceeds by storming on stage in a sort of pleasant glam valour that has run amiss since the early 90’s, with all the stage theatrics to follow. It’s just what we needed to get going on this midweek music fest.

Without knowing the band’s music, there were certainly a few headbangers in there. The tracks are generally mid-tempo, but some catchy choruses, clean musicianship and a few fistpumping moments there, Crimes of Passion certainly bring the entertainment. The band almost had a sort of an intimate pub stage presence, which in a larger venue such as The Forum brings an undeniable sense of charm amongst the masses.

Only 6 songs were available to the band sadly, but it is clear with the turnout that the fans would have been happy to hear a couple more at the very least!

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I should probably just go ahead and admit that Rage are one of my all time favourite bands. In over 30 years of existence the band have stayed in the underground, but with their recent string of albums they have certainly solidified their status as the overlords of underground heavy metal. Last year things took a bit of an unfortunate turn for the band as the members parted ways and it was seemingly the end, but mainman Peavy Wagner vowed a return, and here Rage are again tonight to begin a new era!

Kicking off with the classic ‘Black in Mind‘, the two new members make an instant impact as they flawlessly execute the complex notations of the track, and bring a much more vibrant and soulful presence to the stage that reflects well on the audience members who have not heard the band before.

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Clearly the band tonight are about bringing out the best live Rage that was been seen and heard in a while, as they progress to jam out some of the great classics such as ‘Sent by the Devil‘ and ‘Don’t Fear the Winter‘. There is a lot of love being sent from the stage as the band are fully enjoying their new era, and there is a lot of love being sent back to the band.

After years of myself having to explain to people ‘it’s Rage, not Rage Against the Machine‘, I didn’t expect so many Rage fans in the London show. But alas, I was dead wrong. The band have not played in London since 2008 (I believe?), and that is clearly far too long as after the majority of the classic tracks there seems to be a vast appreciation that the band are playing tonight.

The performance is capped off with a demonstration that this is a bright new era for Rage, as they jam out tracks as an interlude of ‘Higher Than The Sky‘, showing off the vocal and guitar talents of Marcos Rodriguez and the battery skills of Lucky Maniatopoulos. Peavy has clearly picked the right men for the job, and a with a new Rage album coming, there’s a lot to be excited about!

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It’s just hard to simply imagine that Helloween could put a foot wrong these days. After seeing them countless numbers of times, they always put on a phenomenal live performance. To be in a band that just naturally stuns fans every night on a tour is something quite special – maybe we can owe it to over 30 years of worldwide touring experiences to attribute to that natural showmanship – but what ever the case, buying a ticket to see Helloween is always a solid investment, and tonight in London, it’s no different.

The stage setup is grandiose to live up to the occasion with a huge drum set fore-fronting the band’s backdrop, and the lights are creating an epic build up to the point where the band storm the stage to the sound of ‘Eagle Fly Free‘. As the band run wild on the stage, they prove that age has not slowed them down one bit with frontman Andi Deris providing the dramatic flair to each and every track.

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The show is that high energy we all crave from a heavy metal performance coupled with that dominant musicianship, as often the three instrumentalists group together on stage to show their almost telepathic knowledge of each other’s playing, harmonising to perfection in tracks such as ‘Straight Out of Hell‘ and ‘Steel Tormentor‘.

Oddly what I really enjoy about Helloween shows is the use of lights in each track to provide a thicker layer to the impact of each note. The use of blue lighting in ‘My God-Given Right‘ gives the band their frosty overcoat while the use of the orange and greens gives them their classic look in the old school ‘Power’.

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Everything about a Helloween show simply syncs so well, and the band can effortlessly pull off a fabulous performance. The nostalgia of old school headbanging really kicks in with the band’s ‘legendary’ medley that of course included ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys‘, and the full force of The Forum is thrown into the final track ‘I Want Out‘, with every voice soaring for the chorus. As I said, Helloween don’t put a foot wrong- few bands can bask in that experience to pull of such a natural and enjoyable show like that, and long may it continue for years to come!

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See the full gallery from the show here!