I love discovering new bands at concerts. For me, it’s the perfect do or die situation. You either become a fan for life or you move on to the next contestant. When I received the opportunity to cover the ‘Deadly Ripping’ Tour (as part of Heavy En Ville) featuring Bewitcher, Striker and Holy Grail I couldn’t have been happier. Three bands I was not familiar with, but that all fell into one my favourite kind of music: old school metal. I even had the chance to meet up with Striker’s drummer Adam Brown to discuss the tour, the fact that they released three albums in three years and what is coming next for them. So how was the concert you ask? Intense, expertly performed and extremely fun. Let’s dive in into it.
Bewitcher had the task to open the night and prepare the crowd for what would be almost four hours of shredding, high energy metal. They played to a smaller crowd, but one that greeted them with great enthusiasm. Heads were banging and metal horns were pointed towards the sky. Their blend of speed and black metal is quite unique and frontman Mateo Von Bewitcher delivered the lyrics with an energy that is quite spectacular. You could have sworn they were the headlining band. Make sure to check them out.
Up next was Edmonton based Striker. If you never had the chance to listen to them, I would highly recommend their latest album ‘Play to Live’. The album is packed with metal anthems that bring back memories of Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Judas Priest at their peak. The Turbo Haus was quite packed and you could feel the tension in the air. They opened up with ‘Heart of Lies’ and the crowd went nuts. You could see that everybody was impressed with their performance.
A particular thing about Striker is the fact that they now have four vocalists in the band, something that became quite apparent during the choruses. It’s quite refreshing to hear real voices instead of the usual playback tracks. The guitar solos were also quite amazing, my favourite one being the solo to a track called ‘Front’. This song was a true highlight of the night for me: it has a great sing along chorus but the minute-long solo is also masterfully performed by both guitarists.
Vocally, lead singer Dan Cleary was simply perfect. He didn’t lose breath a single time and he hit all the high notes. New bassist Pete Klassen is also great. In fact, you can see that the whole band is having a lot of fun and their relationship with the crowd got better because of it. It was quite a surprise to hear Cleary announce that this would be Adam Brown’s last tour with Striker. You could see that the band would dearly be missing their friend. In the end, their performance was memorable and epic. You simply need to see them live.
It was finally time for headliner Holy Grail to take the stage. While their look differed greatly from Striker, you could hear why the two bands had been paired together. Crazy shredding, high pitch vocals and unstoppable melodies that just beg to be performed live. They played songs from their entire catalog with a strong bias towards their latest album ‘Times of Pride and Peril’. Sadly, the sound quality was not perfect. Vocalist James Paul Luna was too low in the mix and you could barely hear him at some point. However, this was not due to the band performance at all. They played every song perfectly and with an incredible energy. During a particular high pitch scream, you could hear Luna over the speakers showing just how strong his voice really is. During their encore, they played a cover of Pantera’s ‘Hard Ride’ that was welcomed with a big reaction from the crowd. But it’s the song “My Last Attack’ that got the biggest reaction from everyone. This one has classic written all over it. By the time that they completed their set, everybody present was now a fan and were literally chanting for more. This was truly an amazing night.
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