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Review: Various Artists - Classic Metal Fest 3
Various Artists
Classic Metal Fest 3
Venue: Oasis 160
City: Chicago Heights, Illinois

Show date: June 27, 2003

Rating: 5/5

Review online: July 3, 2003
Reviewed by: The Lord of Hate
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Classic Metal Fest 3

Rated 5/5 (100%) (1 Vote)
Review


The Classic Metal Fest... A festival for diehard metalheads who let the music talk rather than what label a band is signed on. That would explain why there were no representative from BW&BK this year (no big labels to give free stuff away and pick up their bar tab...) Good riddance. I had one hell of a blast at Classic Metal Fest 2 in Cleveland last year, and this year the attendance was better (but could have still been better.) Things would have been better had it not been for a fest organized by some poser a couple of weeks earlier in Cleveland, a barely masked attempt to derail the CMF. Well, dipshit, you lose. Just like in 2002 and 2001, true diehard metal fans had a fucking blast watching some metal legends and some newcomers share the stage and destroy our hearing. OK, I'm done venting for now... :)

After some 14 hours of driving to Chicago (which included a good 15-20 minutes stuck at the US border because of some border guard on a power trip...) we made a little escape to a store called "Metal Haven" (www.metalhavenchicago.com) and overdosed on the massive amount of metal in that store. Un-fucking-believable. If you're ever in Chicago, you need to stop by that place - make sure you have lots of disposable income - hehehe. The day of the fest, we rushed back to Chicago for a quick peek at the Sears Tower, fighting heavy traffic both ways (just like the night before.) Speaking of traffic, people can't fucking drive over there. I've noted more traffic violations there in two days than in the nearly 17 years I've been driving. Note to self: Next time, park outside the city and take the subway. We got to the venue just as the first band (Dragonlore) was supposed to play, but they were a no show. No big deal, Chaingunn did a little sound check instead, playing two songs, including Ozzy's "Bark at the Moon". Soon after the band "Soul's Demise" came on stage and played an excellent set, although at such an early hour (around 5:30pm) there weren't many people yet, most of them probably fighting traffic out of Chicago. I wanted to get their demo afterwards but couldn't find where the hell they were selling it so... Well, I don't have it. :(

Eden's Fall were next and I didn't see much of them because I was eating and the band was back to me. The crowd seemed pretty enthusiastic, however, so I assume they put on a good show. Next came what is without a doubt the surprise of the fest: Wastoid. Yes, weird name, and just because of that I wasn't expecting much. This proves once again that one should not judge a band by its name. Pure fucking heavy metal in the best NWOBHM tradition, with even some early Def Leppard overtones (long before Def started to suck.) The only problem were some Manowar-esque antics, like the wielding of a massive sword and some weird talk by the frontman - but it turned out to be funny rather than pathetic, and they seemed to not take that too seriously either. The frontman and the two guitarists were pretty good at moving on stage and provided some good entertainment. The bassist was slightly more quiet, but then again otherwise there could have been some on stage collisions. :) Definitely a band worth checking out for any fan of classic metal.

Alchemy-X were next, their first time playing live with Bob Mitchell (Vyndykator, ex-Attacker) as the frontman. I was wondering how good a progressive band would fit into this party of classic metal bands, but they held the flame high and performed an excellent set, with Bob doing his best to get the crowd to participate, and wearing his usual smile on stage. I found the stuff to be heavier live than on CD and overall this came out pretty good - check 'em out if you have the chance. Premonition followed, and these guys have a frontman that's almost as crazy as King Fowley, looking a bit demented at times and jumping everywhere on stage, interacting with the crowd at every occasion. Excellent set, I ended up getting all three of their CDs. :)

Iron Cross were at their third appearance at the Classic Metal Fest and once again did not disappoint, very tight set which included a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs". They played quite a different set from last year, playing some of their lesser known material. These guys scream "rockers!" from 10 miles away and one can hardly look more metal. With luck we should see a new Iron Cross album later this year or early in 2004, can't fucking wait!!!! Twisted Tower Dire were next, missing one member who was with his wife about to deliver a baby "any minute now". Even with one member missing, the guys put on a very good show and were a crowd pleaser - not surprising considering they were one of the most anticipated bands this year. Good stuff. Watch for the new album coming soon...

Unfortunately, we were so damn tired we had to skip Image and Chaingunn (I was already on life support during the Iron Cross set, if that's any indication...) I was fucking pissed at having to skip on Chaingunn since I had wanted to see my friend Russ Shumate make our ears bleed, but I was so tired I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the set to its fullest, so until next time...

The next day we missed the afternoon bands (still sleeping at the motel) and we got there as Rival had just started. Another surprise here, I had never heard of these guys and I was blown away by their stuff. Unfortunately, even though they said they'd have their two CDs for sale after the show, I never found where the hell they were selling them. Note to bands: We can't buy your stuff if we can't find it. I'm still pissed at missing the occasion to buy this stuff... argh!

At 7pm was the beginning of what is arguably the stronger lineup of the whole weekend. First came October 31, fronted by the now legendary and all-around nice guy King Fowley. King went through some very serious health problems in the past few months, but you wouldn't believe it after seeing him live that night: He was even more out of control than at last year's edition. Unbelievable performance and I told Adrian (Bromley, from Unrestrained! Magazine, with whom I went to the fest) that they had just blown away every band we had seen so far this weekend. King is the king, enough said! Next came Bob Mitchell's other band, Vyndykator. Once again smiling during the whole set, Bob was a crowd pleaser and the band performed an excellent set, ending with a cover of Savatage's "The Dungeons are Calling", which drove the audience nuts. Next came a new band, Pagan War Machine, made up of former members of Abattoir and Dark Angel, plus a couple of others that I can't remember for now (hey, I'm old..) Very loud and energetic set, the guys were towering over the crowd (they're not small guys and all had shaved heads - want it or not that's an impressive sight on stage.) The band has a demo out and fans of speed/thrash should keep an eye out for an upcoming album.

Next came a metal legend, Meliah Rage, which I think is almost up there with October 31 as best of the fest. One hell of a great set and either the guys have a lot of live experience or they were just born with it, but they made full use of the stage space that was available to them. I was very impressed by this live performance. If you don't know these guys, get any of their albums and get ready for some serious headbanging. Next came Japan's Metalucifer, another band that a lot of people were waiting for. The guys were fucking amazing on stage, playing their trademark classic heavy metal and the crowd was totally into them - except one guy who started screaming "you suck!" even before they started playing and during the whole set. Go figure. He must have felt lonely. Next came Nasty Savage (don't tell me you've never heard of them), I was so eager to see these legends on stage. Another killer set, and yes, the singer still does the TV-breaking thing on stage, he even had a nasty cut on his forehead after the TV bounced unexpectedly (well, I assume he didn't expect it to bounce on his forehead... :)) They played some of their classic stuff as well as some of the new stuff found on their EP "Wage of Mayhem" - killer stuff, that's all I can say. At one point their old bass player (or was it guitar... memory failing again) came to play one song with them - they had not played together in some 18 years. While the guy doesn't look nearly as metal as the other guys, he still knew how to perform on stage - I guess it's a bit like riding a bicycle. :) We had to miss the last band (Zandelle) since we were leaving early in the morning to return to Canada... 13.5 hours after the departure I was home..

There's more to the Classic Metal Fest than just bands playing - the social experience alone makes the trip worth it. No damn rock star egos there (the only ones with an ego are the security people...) I chatted with people from Iron Cross, Vyndykator, October 31, Chaingunn, The Chasm (they weren't playing but frontman Daniel Corchado came over to see the bands play) and a few others, as well as with some of the fans and various vendors and other "media" people (I don't want to overdo the "media" thing - those attending that fest are first and foremost diehard metal fans...) The guys from Root of All Evil Records were also there as one of the two vendors with some good stuff, and both were extremely cool and friendly people. Somehow I managed not to spend too much at their booth, good thing I didn't start looking through all the vinyl they had there! :)

This was probably the most successful CMF so far, and hopefully organizer Brad Youngblood will have made enough out of it to encourage him to do a 4th edition next year. If anything, it might be a good idea to forget about having bands play too early (say before 5:30pm) because there aren't many people who show up so early. Also, the club didn't give in-out privileges, so we were stuck inside... Good thing it's a big club, but still, I'd rather eat in a restaurant with more comfortable seats - hehehe. Great fest once again, Brad once again managed to bring a bunch of good bands, known and unknown, and none of them actually "sucked", something that can't be said of most fests. Until next year... METAL! \m/

See more pictures at ca.photos.yahoo.com/bc/mcryptcmf2


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