Review & Photography by Stephen Brophy for MPM
New one day event being put on by The Rock Dublin radio station and called Metal Rampage takes place over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Tramline is the venue, in the middle of Dublin’s City Center, who’s general usage is as a Nightclub and although I’d heard of other Gigs taking place there I was still interested in checking the place out and seeing how it was going to work, With Firewind headlining and a bunch of excellent Irish bands performing it looked interesting.
If thrash is your bag them check out these guys, a Dublin 4 piece they get straight to the point with no messing around, that’s how you open a show. With recognisable band members fro the Dublin Metal scene and anytime I’ve seen them they seem be really enjoying playing.
The set includes a pretty cool version of Megadeth’s “Devil’s Island” alongside their own songs. Never an enviable task to open up a show with so many bands on as you know it’s going to be the smallest crowd when doors open.and the guys handled it perfectly entertaining those that were there and enjoying playing again after the pandemic break, and that shouldn’t be lost in all of this, bands and punters are still getting back to normality, so thanks to the guys and all the bands for bringing that to us again..
Despite having heard a lot of great things about this band I had yet to catch them live, so it was great to be able to see them at this event. The reason for all the talk became pretty evident early on in the set, there aren’t a lot of bands playing this sort of music around at the moment, so that helps to add a freshness to everything, but at the end of the day they just sound really damn good.
For me their sound is a hybrid of Rock/Grunge/Metal and definitely a little sleaze thrown in, lots of elements and lots of influences, but they make this sound their own, and there are some really good songs in here, which makes all the difference, being able to create songs that are not just good but have that little bit of something special in them, go check out the release version of their new single “Walk Alone” it’s a damn fine piece of work.
A couple of small technical issues right at the start of the set, but they get into their stride really quickly, when a singer has a natural bit of gravel in their voice it helps no end. The set is full of power and angst and tracks like “Ode” and “Witches & Thieves” get heads moving around the room, keep an eye out for these guys.
The larger the bill the more chance you are going to come across new bands at a show, for me I’d heard of Element X a number of times and was good to see them on a stage for the first time. Pushing a blend of Hard Rock and Classic Metal they can sound a little different from song to song, and I’ve no problem with that, keeps a set moving and flowing in an interesting way.
Frontman Dave Cullen to me straight away looks like he wants to get i the middle of the floor and bring the show to the crowd, and he pretty much does, engaging people as much as he can throughout the set. The band are a 5 piece and work really well together, very enjoyable set and I’m looking forward to taking in their live show again soon as possible. Another band that don’t just sit back and stare at their shoes, plenty of energy, up close and personal with the crowd, and for me the stand out was “Heart Of Fire”..
Belfast’s Ravenlight are the latest project of former Selene creative spark John Connor along with vocalist Rebecca Feeney. Another of the bands on the bill I have been wanting to catch for a while, and it was brilliant to hear Rebecca singing live, for me you can hear a wonderful voice on recorded material, but it’s not until you actually hear someone live that you know just how good they sound, and Rebecca’s vocals were stunning.
Have followed John’s (Guitar) projects for some time and alongside excellent releases there are always terrific live shows, long may that continue, this lineup looks really solid, tonight on Bass it’s Dean Ashall-Kane, who I have seen many time over recent years with different bands, he always has a great stage presence and is a beast of a bass player.
Musically they are different to the other bands on the bill, Symphonic Power Metal is the style and it allows Rebecca the opportunity to flex her vocal abilities which are plentiful, alongside that she engages the crowd and the guys in the band are very tight. Highlights for me are the excellent opener “The Circle” and pretty much anything else, great stuff and interesting to see the how the different vocal styles.employed during the set impact how the songs come across. Definitely check this band out if you get a chance.
Northern Irish classic Metallers Conjuring Fate have been around for a long time now, but they always put on a great show and have a large catalog of material to choose from.
For me they seem to be getting better and better with age, the twin guitar attack of Phil and Karl is so well in synch these days and the whole band works fluidly with and around each other on stage, Tommy is a straight ahead type of vocalist, great delivery and at times almost in the crowd, but it’s just the great energy the guys maintain constantly moving around the stage and swapping positions. This was a Riff Fest right from the opening Intro of “The Premonition” and one thing you are always guaranteed with the band is that they put 100% into their performance.
The set is composed almost completely of songs from their great 2019 Album Curse Of The Fallen which they are finally getting a proper chance to promote and play live, and it sounds great, not surprisingly the band are going down really well and seem to be enjoying the experience just as much.
Cracking set, loved both “Dr. Frankenstein” and the excellent closer “No Escape” with it’s crisp breakneck speed riffs, it’s powerful, it’s heavy, it’s Metal and I look forward to seeing the guys again soon, terrific way to lead into the headliners.
Greek Metallers Firewind return to Irish shores for the first time in 10 years, it’s always awesome to see and hear Gus G live, the fretboard fury, this one has been a long time coming and you can feel the excitement around you before they step out on the stage.
Kicking off with the powerful new album opener “Welcome To The Empire” there wasn’t much messing around in this set, with a really good mix of songs from their twenty four year career, but naturally showcasing the new self titled album which gets six tracks slotted into different parts of the show, and have got to say they fitted together very well.
This was Herbie’s first visit to Dublin, and my first time catching him with the band, and wow, no surprise really this is a renowned vocalist that has worked with many top class acts, the last time I saw him live was with Avantasia in London back in 2019, but he most certainly still has the magic. Firewind are always going to be thought of first and foremost as the band with guitar virtuoso Gus G, so having someone of the level of Herbie alongside him is great for them. It also certainly does no harm to have such a good new album out there.
The set flies along, which is of course a good sign, but sad at the same time, no doubt everyone there would have gladly listened to another dozen songs, Gus’s guitar work was as always superb, and the smoking guitar with the lights behind the smoke was of course a nice touch, but it’s not just the playing, Gus has a way with him, he always appears to be very appreciative of his audience, which goes a long way with fans.
All of their top tracks are in here “I Am Anger”, “Between Heaven And Hell”, “World On Fire” and “The Fire & The Fury” along with some new favourites for me like “Break Away”, but I’m sure we will have have something new from the latest album when the live set grows.
Towards the end of the set the guys just raise it to another level, with a furious version of “Maniac” and closing things off with the excellent “Ode To Leonidas” and “Falling To Pieces”. For the closing segment of the set and leading into the Encore’s the volume of the fans built louder and louder and the cheers continued to ring out long after the final notes were played.
This is a band on top form who really engage well with their audience, we all would have stayed for another hour or two and loved whatever they chose to play, lets hope that they are back much sooner than another 10 years, and that they get to play in a larger fuller venue.
Welcome To The Empire
I Am The Anger
Head Up High
Between Heaven And Hell
Few Vs Many
World On Fire
The Fire & The Fury
Lady Of 1000 Sorrows
Ode To Leonidas
Falling To Pieces
This has been a really excellent day with a great and really interesting mix of bands, cracking sets from all of them and Firewind were just unreal on the night, Herbie has some set of pipes on him, doesn’t disappoint and as always Gus G is wonderful to watch, and so appreciative of the crowd that are there to see them.
Lets hope we see another Metal Rampage, all that was missing today was a bigger crowd, and perhaps a little less Red Light.