January 14, 2018 – 10High Atlanta
Curtis Clark invited everyone to come out on a Sunday for a tribute to German metal. As a German, I was looking forward to this event for months and finally the date had arrived. Also, as a German, who has seen most of these bands and interacted in one way or another with half of them, I was pretty biased. I would lie if I said it was worth it, but it wasn’t a waste of time either. I probably won’t make too many friends with this article, but I am writing it anyway. I am not here to boost anyone’s ego, but to tell it as I see it (or hear it in this case) and all views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the musician’s regular capabilities, but are focused just on this event.
The first band was a mix of musicians, Salem Victoria of Rust “n” Thunder on vocals, Matthew Trautwein of The Lost Boys on guitar, Mick Gee of HangOverture also on guitar, Philip Sanders, also of HangOverture, on bass and Jason Blaauw on drums. Playing the Scorpions songs “Big City Nights” and “Still Loving You”, I am always skeptical when bands try to play Scorpions (or Iron Maiden) as not many vocalists can cleanly reach the high notes, and I was right. Although Mick had a good voice to pull it off, it wasn’t good enough for a Scorpions cover. “Still Loving You” was even worse. The guitars sounded mistuned toward the beginning, but did get better during the song. Trying to pull off Klaus Meine’s high pitched sound just made my ears hurt. Next band please.
The next band was also a mix of musicians. Sean Thomas on vocals, Donovan Kirkpatrick on guitar, Brent Tyson on bass and Matt Teusch on drums. They played Rammstein’s “Rammstein” and “Des Satans neue Kleider” from Das Ich (not a metal band people). I was curious to hear an American band singing German. Unfortunately the vocals were mostly overpowered by the instruments, which may have been on purpose (?), but the parts that were hearable were actually understandable as German. The guitars on Rammstein were ok, but not awesome. And who was the guy with the blue mask trying to imitate? They played so hard that Brent broke an E-string on his bass. The performance didn’t knock me out of my socks, but it was decent.
Next band was Crown of Sorrow from Fayetteville, GA playing Kreator and Blind Guardian. First really good band of the evening. Kreator has lots of memories for me, have seen them at least three times and hope to go again when they play Atlanta this year. This band really performed “Violent Revolution” top notch and I will have to look into them in the future.
I never was too much a Blind Guardian fan but “Valhalla” was pretty decent speed/thrash performed by this band. Would’ve been better had the drummer not lost his sticks, but shit happens and he did the best he could to keep playing while fishing them off of the floor.
As the place started filling up, next band would have been RMS covering Accept and Sodom and I was really looking forward to this, but the shitheads decided to not show. Suggestion for the organizer, maybe bands should “check-in” upon arrival to make sure last minute changes go smoothly. The band could have at least called in instead of disrespecting the fans, the other bands and the organizer. Fuck ’em.
Next up Powerkraut, which I think was also a bunch of musicians thrown together and then given a name. They performed Warlock’s “All We Are”, Accept’s “Fast As a Shark” and Kreator’s “People of the Lie” (my favorite song by Kreator). Well, it wasn’t Doro, but half way decent vocals and great instruments. I missed the whole band singing the refrain, which gave the experience negative points.
They were awesome on Accept, great on the instruments and it was a unique experience seeing Udo replaced by a female singer, although even his voice has a higher pitch and this was definitely different. She did the scream at the beginning pretty good though.
For the Kreator song it was a different vocalist (Alan Strange, the guitarist of SOG) and he was awesome! He really got into the headbanging on stage, spinning his head in old thrash manner (yeah, I remember those days well, ouch). They nailed this song, great job!
Next up, Bishop Lake. I was really looking forward to this band consisting of Zane on vocals, Glen Williams on bass, David Prince and Sam Abernathy on guitars and Rick Gatheman on drums. They just released a CD which I was lucky to get a hold of and will review here very soon. They were covering two Accept songs, “Metal Heart” and “Balls To the Wall”, which they did in a very good manner. Although Zane is no Udo, their versions hit spot on, and they didn’t miss the band refrain vocal parts like Powerkraut before them. Bravo, excellent musicians. I will be sure to bring more on them in the future (besides the CD review).
Taken By Force was next with two Scorpions songs, “Longing For Fire” and “The Sails of Charon”. Again apparently a mix of musicians given a band name. For the first song Matthew Trautwein (Lost Boys) hit the stage to sing with the female vocalist of Blacklight Midnight. It was awful and I had to go outside and spent the time conversing with Bishop Lake (and grabbing a CD). I missed the second song, which I am sure was just as awful. Please people stay away from Scorpions songs if you can’t deliver the perfection.
What came up next was the best band of the night. OMG, Paladin shredded it in best Helloween style. “I’m Alive” and “Ride the Sky” were performed to absolute perfection! Where did these guys come from? I will be doing some more research on them. Their vocalist, Taylor Washington, hit the Kai Hansen / Michael Kiske high pitched notes so accurately, it was awesome as hell!!! I would trust him to do a perfect Scorpions cover. Musically the band hit all the right notes and Alex Parra on guitars, Ian Flurrance on bass and Nathan McKinney on drums showed everyone what a super metal musician is. Being a Helloween fan from day one I applaud this band, they made it worth coming. Only downside was, again, the missing band vocals on the refrain of I’m Alive, but otherwise perfect.
After the best band of the evening, came the worst band of the evening, Priest of the Iron Ryche. Trying a Helloween cover of “I Want Out” after Paladin is pure suicide. Especially if the vocalist left his voice at home. All I heard was someone croaking into the mic, this was the worst I have ever ever heard. The instruments were ok. Then Scorpions’ “No One Like You”. Please stop!! Sounded like a dog in pain. Take a listen.
Blacklight Midnight was up next. Again Scorpions. “Falling In Love” and “Loving You Sunday Morning”. The female vocalist, Karin Johnson (the same one that sang the awful version with Matthew Trautwein) was actually pretty decent on these two versions. Reminded me of a Mother’s Finest version of these songs. Solid performance. Maybe that’s the way to do a Scorpions song, get a female vocalist.
“I Rule the Ruins” by Warlock and “Kiss of Death” by Doro were performed by a mix of musicians. The female vocalist, Rachel Parsons, had the best range of all female vocalists of the evening and did a great job, although at times the voice was drowned by the instruments (which were very decent).
Voltage was the last band of the night with Scorpions’ “Blackout” and Primal Fear’s “Metal Is Forever”. No idea where this band is from or who they are, but the vocalist has a pretty high pitched voice, but also couldn’t do The Scorpions justice. Again the voice sometimes drowned but the instruments were straight on. Still a decent interpretation though and I wish I could find out more about this band. The primal scream of Primal Scream was great, but something about the instruments sounded off. Since this was the last song, I did not wait for the end and left. It was a long, thirsty night and for the most part my ears suffered, but I did find a few decent bands and some great covers.