Archive for June, 2012

TIM “RIPPER” OWENS + CRIMZON LAKE, HAZMAT, NORSE @ THE HI-FI 26/05/2012

Posted in Shows on June 3, 2012 by Cameron Cooper

In a rush to get this out, I made a bad call which resulted in some pretty embarrassing typos and factual errors – I should have re-drafted the piece more rigorously to avoid such problems, which weren’t intentional but simply the product of some pretty poor writing on my behalf. I’ve made some corrections (and general additions to the piece), so this is an update. Thanks to The Ripper himself for pointing out my folly!

ImageComing up through the ranks as the later singer of a well known band can be hard work. It is always going to be a catch 22: sound like the previous guy, and people will complain you are a knock-off; sound different, and people will say you don’t know what you’re doing. It isn’t impossible, but it is certainly hard to break away from that and forge your own identity. With a set consisting primarily of Priest, Malmsteen, Iced Earth Winter’s Bane and Beyond Fearnumbers – as well as a some of his new material – Ripper Owens certainly isn’t interested in starting over, but has definitely shown any doubters that he has no real need to. Ripper is a pure metal vocalist, and a legend in his own right.

 Unfortunately, I missed a fair chunk of Norse’s set, but managed to catch the extreme metal quartet hammer through a few songs. I haven’t actually heard much from Norse since about 2007, and, from what I can remember, they have come a long way. It would appear there has been a bit of a line-up change, and guitarist Treelo is now on vocal duties (Although, this might not be news, I’m probably just out of the loop). The band blast through some impressive melodic and sometimes groovy black/death metal, showing real growth as a band since their earlier days.

Image Hazmat are a band of unwavering passion. They have endured a number of set backs both before and during their time together as a band, but have also put out one of the most interesting thrash metal albums in a long time. Making good use of their limited set-time tonight, the band launch into a number of stomping, relentless metal anthems. A couple of technical errors don’t damage the band as they plough on through and get a good portion of the crowd into the music, converting them into fans. And what better way to seal the deal than throwing some free merch into the pit? Hazmat are certainly one of the more original bands currently playing the pub circuit – melding old school thrash with Celtic folk and Australian country into a decidedly heavy blend – and seeing them open for an international act cements the fact they are moving on up the ladder.

Image Crimzon Lake – featuring NWOBHM survivor Paul Mario Day – waste no time in getting the crowd moving. Whilst the band’s sound is firmly rooted in the heavy metal and hard rock of decades past, they are anything but dated, and Day’s on stage antics are truly a sight to be seen. Having fronted Maiden, Wildfire, Moore and The Sweet, the steel-lunged singer has had time to hone and refine his appearance on stage, and it sure as hell shows, as he rolls and jumps around, belting out solid song after song over top of the rhythmically unwavering band.

Ripper takes the stage with a band comprised of members of Killrazer and Darker Half, opening the set with Painkiller, solidifying in everyone’s mind that the man is made of nothing but pure metal. With a voice fit for arenas, he and his band faithfully re-create songs from his past and projects – ranging from One On One to When The Eagle Cries to Heart Of A Killer – (plus a few Dio/Sabbath numbers) whilst also throwing in some tunes from Ripper’s more recent band, Beyond Fear. My only gripe is that I would have enjoyed to hear more from the solo album, “Play My Game”, which is an absolutely face-melting slab of heavy metal. Tonight, Ripper chooses only to play two songs from the record – Believe and Starting Over  -but, just like every other song tonight, he masure every note count. Starting Over especially left a huge impact on me, climaxing in some incredible screams.

It seems to be becoming more and more often that solo singers will take the stage here with bands comprised of local guys; Dianno did it, Grimmett did it and now Ripper has done it. Honestly, it is pretty cool – it keeps costs down for all, and it also gets our guys out there, playing to bigger crowds and reaching a larger audience, and also showing some of the international heavy weights just what Aussie metalers are made of!

This show made me wonder why Ripper isn’t selling out bigger venues, because it certainly isn’t for lack of vocal and song-writing ability. But when I get to see talent this big in a a venue this small, I’m sure as hell not complaining!

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