Neonfly & Death Valley Knights
Venue: The Empire, MiddlesboroughDate: 24 September 2014
the band announced that guitarist Patrick Harrington
wouldn’t be part of this tour and in his place would be
taken up by the six string wizard Andy Midgley, formerly of
Powerquest and I Am I (another off those links).
dynamics between Andy and stalwart guitarist Thunder was
instant, as the band opened up their set with ‘Ship With
No Sails’, with Norton's vocals instantly filling the
venue, before really going for the jugular with ‘The
tempo was brought down a touch by the power infused ‘A
Gift To Remember’, which was where Midgley really came
into his own, as he showed what a phenomenal talent his is,
as he laid down a great solo on this one.
who has seen the band perform live before knows that they
have party piece where they play three songs in a row as if
all seamlessly linked and tonight was no different, as they
‘The Revenant’, 'The Ornament’ and ’Spitting
Blood’ together, like musical surgeons leaving not a scar
band have a new album due for release later this year and to
give us taste of what’s to come, we were treat with the
new songs 'Where the Fires' are 'Burning and Heart of the
Sun’, before rounding off another sterling set with what
else but the wonderful ‘Morning Star’.
to the headliners Dragonforce, a band that I first caught
many moons ago when they were in their infancy when they
supported W.A.S.P., this is one band that I have a love/hate
relationship with, after seeing the band on various
occasions after the W.A.S.P. show, the whole shredding for
shredding sake quickly became less appealing.
lot of water has passed under the bridge since those early
days though, so has a lot of band members, most notably in
2010 when the band announced the departure of vocalist ZP
(now of I AM I
- link), who was replaced in 2011 by Marc Hudson, and
it was his vocals on 'Cry Thunder' that has drawn me back to
band opened up 'Defenders' from their recent album 'Maximum
Overload' and I thought yes, this is new Dragonforce I could
connect with, the rampaging riffs from Li and Totem were
still there, but more melody rich, not just the six string
masturbation I normally associated with Dragonforce.
this was a short reprise as Li and stood centre-stage and
unleashed pure hell with ‘Fury of the Storm’, which even
saw the keyboard player Vadim Pruzhoanov armed with a Keytar
to join them at the front, as all three had a pissing
contest to see who could play the fastest.
was back to new album for ‘3 Hammers’, again featuring a
more melodic guitar approach, yes the speed was there, but
there was also the melody, and this gave Hudson a real
chance to shine, rather than be standing in the wings
watching the guitar solo’s.
years were rolled back once more to the 'Valley of the
Damned' for ‘Black Winter Night’, which at times
Hudson’s vocals seemed lost in the flailing guitars,
powerhouse drumming and high energy bass lines.
was then a return to new album for the massive ‘The
Game’, this one was all about the rolling thunder drums,
as new drummer Gee Anzalone put on a display of metal
drumming second to none.
was then to 'Power Within', the first album to feature
Hudson’s vocals, again the speed solo’s were thrown away
for the power-metal guitars and again I loved this one,
although this was again short lived as it was back to the Li
and Totem trading licks on 'Heroes of Our Time', as again
Hudson looking on from the wings.
new album was featured again as the saviour of the set for
me with ‘The Sun Is Dead’ and 'Tomorrows Kings’,
before rounding things off with the song that tempted me
back to see another Dragonforce show, ‘Cry Thunder’ .
band left the stage to cheers for more and were back shortly
to round off the night with the Johnny Cash cover ‘Ring Of
Fire’, before the capping the night off with probably the
bands finest hour 'Through The Fire And Flames’.
Like I said before, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since my last Dragonforce show and to be honest, the verdict still remains the same. Yes Hudson has a great voice and the new songs really sound great, but has this Dragon lost its fire and would I go to another Dragonforce show? Well the jury is still out on that one! I would however go to another Death Valley Knights and Neonfly show in a heart beat.
Review by: Barry McMinn
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