Helloween + Rage + Crimes of Passion
@ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London
3rd February 2016
Review by Oliver M.
Photography by Graham Hilling
Almost two months after their friends Gamma Ray offered a disappointing show in London, power metal pioneers Helloween came to the O2 Forum Kentish Town on the 3rd of February 2016 to promote again their fifteenth album “My God-Given Right” released by Nuclear Blast in May last year. This London concert was their only UK date, which is seen as normal for any power metal band playing there.
We also had the privilege to get heavy/speed metal legends Rage as main support act. What a bill! From their side, Peavy Wagner and his new mates are promoting the brand new fresh EP “My Way” released by that same label. British heavy/glam metallers Crimes of Passion were chosen to open the ceremony. The ones who may have been disappointed by Gamma Ray’s recent performances consoled themselves by attending this excellent gig.
Crimes of Passion (3.5/5)
Formed in Sheffield in 2005, those English glammers seem to be a Guns N’ Roses tribute band at first glance. I’m not joking really. For example, vocalist Dale Radcliffe looks like both Axl Rose and Michael Starr (from Steel Panther).
Their songs also remind automatically the legendary glam metal scene of the 80s and early 90s. Those six talented musicians feel very nostalgic about the golden years of this musical style, it’s obvious.
Some fans of the genre may think they just copy what has already been done before. That’s a true fact but I have to say they’ve succeeded in creating catchy choruses and high quality compositions.
It’s interesting to notice that they’ve recently hired Henning Wanner who is actually the current keyboardist of US progressive metallers Circle II Circle and famous act White Lion!
Crimes of Passion have done two albums and one self-produced EP so far. They’re very promising although it’s generally very hard for a Hair metal band to spread their name nowadays.
It was a pity they suffered some sound problems as we couldn’t hear the drums very well.
Fortunately, German veterans Rage didn’t have any technical issue since each instrument sounded so powerful! It was finally good to see that the engineers seemed to have corrected the problem.
Being a big fan of the band since the release of “Welcome to the Other Side” in 2001, I was expecting a lot from Peavy Wagner and his new musicians. I have to say I miss so much virtuoso guitarist Victor Smolski and drummer Mike Terrana as it’s such a pity they both left the band.
They’ve been forming an incredible trio for many years together but fortunately, their recent successors Marcos Rodríguez and Vassilios Maniatopoulos are very talented on stage actually.
They all delivered an excellent live performance, proving that Rage are far from being dead.
The trio offered a short and very interesting set spanning mostly their 30 years of career. Their fans got mainly great tracks from the 90s (“Black in Mind”, “Sent by the Devil”, “Until I Die”, “End of All Days”, “Higher Than the Sky”, “Back in Time”), one old classic from the 80s (“Don’t Fear the Winter”) and the ass-kicking “Down” from 2002.
Of course, they had to play “My Way” to promote their brand new EP, which is very good by the way. After more than three decades of heavy/speed metal hymns, Rage are still strong and although they’ve been a bit underrated, they will always remain a reference of the genre.
Black in Mind
Sent by the Devil
End of All Days
Back in Time
Until I Die
Don’t Fear the Winter
Higher Than the Sky
Just before Helloween’s show, I had a few laughs while I was watching their tour crew installing the material on stage. First of all, they set an all-white four bass drum kit up.
It looked impressive but I don’t think it was really necessary! The funniest moment occurred when a hilarious giant pumpkin head got inflated as background item next to the band flag.
As usual, the pioneers of power metal have always funny ideas to entertain the audience.
Their last opus “My God-Given Right” is very good to my great surprise as they’ve clearly come back to their early roots.
That’s what I was expecting from them since I wasn’t convinced at all by their previous works like many people.
The German offered an excellent performance from the beginning until the end. They played perfectly some classics of the genre (“Eagle Fly Free”, “Dr. Stein”, “Future World”, “I Want Out”) and a few tracks from their last successful album (“My God-Given Right”, “Heroes”, “Lost in America”).
Of course, we also got some good songs from the 90s and 2000s but I would have preferred to hear more cult hymns from their early masterpieces (like every fan I suppose).
However, Andi Deris has finally convinced me! For many years, I’ve been very disappointed by his voice since he was never able to perform any high-pitched vocals properly (unlike his predecessor Michael Kiske who will always be THE ideal power metal singer).
Fortunately, he’s still very charismatic on stage, wearing his typical magician hat and knows how to entertain the crowd. Despite being 51, he has really done a good job on the last album. By the way, Dani Löble (former member of amazing power metal act Rawhead Rexx) delivered an impressive drum solo.
I’ve also been blown away by Sascha Gerstner’s (ex-Freedom Call) guitar solos. The only negative point was this medley composed of: “Halloween”, “Sole Survivor”, “I Can”, “Are You Metal?” and “Keeper of the Seven Keys”.
I can’t stand medleys, sorry. They definitely should have performed one or two songs instead. Anyway, Helloween are still in great shape and that’s what counts!
Eagle Fly Free
My God-Given Right
Waiting for the Thunder
Straight Out of Hell
Where the Rain Grows
Lost in America
Forever and One (Neverland)
Medley: Halloween / Sole Survivor / I Can / Are You Metal? / Keeper of the Seven Keys
Before the War
Future World (with Sasha guitar solo as intro)
I Want Out