Family get-togethers, metal hymns and a fair few hangovers… HRH Mag’s Richard Holmes took in HRH NWOBHM II’s Sunday service.
The NWOBHM movement has always had a loyal fanbase away from its homeland, and German, Dutch, French, Belgian, Swedish and Italian supporters all made it to Sheffield for this weekend’s celebration. Then of course, you had the North East contingent, who turned out in force to support their local heroes – including Satan, Tysondog, Spartan Warrior, Raven and Avenger. Maybe HRH NWOBHM could have done with its own translator droid…
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Yes, HRH NWOBHM is billed as, well, a NWOBHM festival. But there was room on the bill for more than just twin leads and galloping bass guitars. Lionheart brought some AOR polish to the steel city, while Mick Underwood’s Glory Road delved into Ian Gillan’s back catalogue for gems such as Vengeance, and delivered them with real aplomb, thanks in no small part to livewire frontman Luka Ravase.
Street Fighting Men
It’s long been said that punk gave metal a shot in the arm and with the likes of Tysondog and Rogue Male bringing plenty of grit to Sheffield, you can see why. Rogue Male’s Jim Lyttle – wearing an outfit plundered from Max Rockatansky’s wardrobe – urged us to Take No Shit, while Tysondog’s Don’t Let The Bastards (Grind You Down) served as Sunday afternoon’s anti-anthem.
From Tragedy To Triumph
Rewind to January this year and Steve Grimmett was fighting an infection contracted while on tour in Ecuador – an infection that would eventually lead to the amputation of part of his right leg. At that point, you would have forgiven the veteran singer for hanging up his mic and leaving the metal scene. Yet he’s made of stern stuff, our Steve. And less than a year since that life-changing experience here he was, leading from the front in Sheffield, belting out Reaper classics like Rock You To Hell and Fear No Evil, giving HRH NWOBHM a taste of that spectacular vocal range for the second year running. And there were lumps in throats as Grimmett thanked the rock community for supporting him while (to put it mildly) he was ‘in the shit’, and revealed that he had been looking forward to this festival all year. This show really meant something to him. And it meant something to us too.
A Family Affair
Metal spans the generations – that’s part of its appeal. And as well as plenty of father and son, mother and daughter combos in the crowd, we were treated to some heartwarming moments on stage, as Steve Grimmett’s son, Russell, hit the stage to add his six strings to See You In Hell, and Alan Ross fronted Satan on Break Free, as dad Brian looked on with pride. Musical talent is in the genes, it seems…
Want evidence that the devil has all the best tunes? Get yourself along to a Satan show. The quintet are riding high on the back of two sensational albums, Life Sentence and Atom By Atom: as such, have plenty of ‘new’ material in their armoury to compete with old favourites like Blades Of Steel. The Devil’s Infantry, Testimony and Twenty Twenty Five were a triumphant proclamation of Satan’s standing as a vital part of the 21st century metal scene, and they gave axemen Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey free reign to ignite Sheffield with their incendiary riffs. As for the charismatic Brian Ross, he just gets better with age. Charming and thrilling the audience in equal measure last night, the guy proved – once again – that he’s one hell of a showman.