Thursday, 27 June 2013

R-Mine Festival NWOBHM day - 23 June 2013

R-Mine metalfest was a new initiative launching a three day festival with each day some 15 bands. The event took place in De Posthoorn in Hamont Achel, just across the Dutch Belgian border near Weert. A Somewhat remote corner and as a result not too many people finding their way to this sympathetic new festival. There is a huge competition between festivals and one week later the massive Graspop is to be held not too far away. The hall was pretty straightforward, but with a good sound and on both ends a stage, where the interesting point in the earlier hours was that the bigger stage was reserved for bands with less crowd interest. I am by the way only writing about the final day, since due to frequent travelling for work I decided to only pick out the most interesting day to me. On paper the Saturday with a more progmetal program looked as interesting, but I was supposed to see Symphony X already two days earlier in my hometown (which failed due to travelling for work). So I opted for the NWOBHM day. 7 bands from the past, warmed up by various younger bands. For me some of the shows would bring me defintely 30 years back in time, when I was still at school and shows were too expansive, too far or too rare. The line-up of this day gave me the chance to relive several of my adolescent shout along songs.

Arriving late I missed out on the first 3 bands. From the to me new bands I liked Monument a lot. They were very Maiden like, but with the speed of 30 years ago instead of the slower intro/outro new songs. Also Fireforce looked interesting and when they were asked to continue playing and did so by starting Manowar's Battle Hymn many people smiling banged along.

First old name from the UK to appear were Cloven Hoof. Admitted I did not go through youth sentiment here, since I did not know them in the eighties. I do have a complation CD from them, so recognized still many songs. I can be short about their show. Due to late tuning some sound de-balance in the beginning they presented to me the songwise most interesting set of the day. From opener √Źnquisator, to closer Lay Down the Law their set was a thrill. The show was somewhat messy with forgotten drumfills and not a very tight band yet, the songs made up for everything. I read that a new CD is scheduled, shall not miss them and asked their guitarist to play Holland next time they come over.

Next band on were Demon. I do have some music from them and like The Plague pretty much. I found their music live, more straight forward than on the varied CD's. At the same time the audience seemed to like it, since few bands would get a bigger response today. They also divided their two Classics: Night of the Demon and Don't Break the Circle to Opener and Closer. As expected I most appreciated The Plague and Blackheath. Nice show, although not very diverse.

Savage on the main stage and my first surprise was the much smaller audience than Demon just had. They also decided to start with 4 new songs, which were widely unknown. On a festival like this I guess you should always start and finish with a known song. They kept their two hits for the end. The music sounded nice throughout, but my adrenaline started to flow only at the end. First Ain't no Fit Place, followed by the uptempo Let it Loose. Last song famous due to Metallica covering them, but Hans and I remembered the Savage LP Loose'n'Lethal.

Hereafter still no chance for a rest, since Holocaust were on. The Nightcomers is one of the LP's that made many spins in my room and contains some of my favorite songs. Luckily the LP is also the core of the show. Holocaust live was looking and sounding surprisingly close to punk. Some of the songs were pretty direct, but I got Smokin' Valves and the Nightcomers live. When they also played Death or Glory and their anthem Heavy Metal Mania I could not stop shouting along or banging my bolding head. great to hear those songs live.

Tank was next and since we were hungry by now and not owner of their old LPs we took a break. When returning halfway the set, first noticed was the melodic vocalist. Not Doogie White, but very good. When they ended with This Means War I did like the show. Tank is another band with two versions, but this band deserves a better checking out next time they are in the area.

Tygers of Pan Tang was next and again something old to look forward to. A mixed set covering old and new Tygers passed through Gangland, Suzie Smiled and others to culminate in their best song Hellbound, which was yet another memory lane highlight. They decided to close with their biggest hit Love Potion No. 9. When they released this song it was also a hit in Holland by a popular popcover artist. I remember the reader's post swearing in Aardschok about this unfortunate timing. Hearing the song and solo's now it was not so bad after all.

Let Battle commence, welcome to the church of Hell!!!. What we got next was to me beyond any expectation. Hell was in the eighties lesser known than all the above mentioned bands and still they were the headliner. Two years ago they released the CD Human Remains, which is possibly the best new album of any NWOBHM band. Although the songs are old, the sound is heavy and modern and the performance captivating. They were headliner and the curtains closed when the stage was being prepared. As soon as the curtains opened we entered the church of Hell indeed and while starting the show I got completly overwhelmed. Never did I see such a great production from a band this size. The effects and lightning remembered Dio and Iron Maiden in the eighties. This band with this show deserves a main slot at a huge festival. Defintely not for the weak-hearted or reli-bangers, Hell grapped you by the horns and left you burnt down after the last tones of Save us from those who would save us. The fire, the monks, the goat, the burning trident all was used to maximum effect. Above all where I already liked the album I was blown away by the live performances. This band knows how to put up a show and should be rewarded for that, can only advise the masses to go to Hell.

So with a blast the R-Mine festival ended. A heavy day with more than a few emotional moments to me. Being a first show there were some obvious points for improvement (nowhere to sit, very basic food options (80's as well) or the lack of announcements of the bands) Enjoying myself a lot I do hope they find a way to continue. If not feasible, thank you R-mine for this great day. 

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