Tonight's show starts early - doors at 6pm, with Hell on stage at 6.45 (thanks to the venue having a club night after the gig there is an early curfew).
Tonight's lineup is excellent - two top bands. Hell have hit the UK metal scene in a big way this year, particularly after opening the main stage at Bloodstock where they seriously impressed a lot of people and were considered the best band of the weekend by many fans. Their album "Human remains" has also impressed a lot of people, so tonight as their only London gig on the year was a rare chance for fans to see the band perform.
Hell despite only appearing on many peoples radar this year, were around in the early 80's before disbanding following the death of their singer. This time they have two new members - actor David Bower on vocals and former Sabbat guitarist and well known producer, Andy Sneap on guitar.
As soon as the lights went down, the chants of "Hell, Hell, Hell" started to ring out - amazingly loud for a support band, and the venue was already pretty full. The band come on stage in their theatrical costumes and wearing the corpse paint that they pioneered back in the early 80s. David Bower is a sight to behold - with his red eyes, corpse paint and crown of barbed wire he uses his theatrical training to captivate the audience and to keep their attention.
Hell are on top form tonight and put in a fantastic performance both musically and visually. With David Bower haranguing the audience from the top of a tall pulpit, jumping into the photo pit to lay his hands on the crowd to cast out their demons, whipping himself, and other theatrics this really does elevate things above a typical bands performance. The rest of the band also nvie for attention with some great performances and playing.
As you'd expect the setlist is based on their album - the only disappointment being that there wasnt time for them to play a longer set.
A superb performance - if you haven't seen Hell yet then go and see them - great music and great performances make them a live band not to be missed.
Sabaton though were the band most fans were really here for, and the Cheers and chants of "Sabaton, Sabaton" started well before the band came on stage. Amazingly the setlist taped out by the roadies was three sheets - 28 songs in total, but surely there wasnt going to be time for that many songs? The setlist issue was explained early on by singer Joakim Brodlo (more on that later). The band came on stage after their intro tape (Europe's "The Final Countdown", followed by "March to war"), and got things started with a great performance of "Ghost division", then quickly launched into "Primo Victoria" at which point the crowd went wild. After the song finished Joakim commented that people obviously hadnt expected to hear that so early on, and he was right. He also announced their plan for the setlist - two more songs then after that the crowd would get to choose what they wanted to hear. The next couple of tracks were "40:1" and "Cliffs of Gallipoli", then it was time for them to depart from the setlist. For the next song he gave the crowd two choices and got them to shout for the one they wanted - the winner being "Screaming eagles". After that the setlist was chosen by the crowd shouting out what they wanted to hear. Sabaton must have been nervous that the fans would want to hear songs they couldnt remember (and it did happen at one point where the fans called for Union, but the band chose another song as Joakim couldnt remember the lyrics), but generally the fans picked tracks the band were able to play. As well as the usual crowd favourites we got a couple of songs played for the first time in the UK ("Talvisota" and "Purple heart").
Sabaton put on a great high energy show and had the crowd in the palms of their hands throughout the night.
A great night of music from two great live bands. With both bands planning to release new albums next year then lets hope its not too long before they are both back in London.
Overture: Themes from Deathsquad
Let battle commence
On earth as it is in hell
Plague and fyre
Blasphemy and the master
Save us from those who would save us
Cliffs of Gallipoli
Coat of Arms
The Price of a Mile
Back in Control
Metal Machine / Metal Crue