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HELL – Manchester Moho – Friday 04/05/12

Our Friends at Cack Blabbath have been kind enough to contribute a full review from Hell’s set on Friday in Manchester. Cack Blabbath is a UK site (now .Com) that really has gone from strength to strength. Not only do they cover a huge range of albums, they have the omnipresent Iain seemingly covering every gig in the country as well organising the extremely successful Twitrfest and now promoting showcase gigs for upcoming talent. You’d be hard pushed to find a more active and passionate supporter of the metal scene.

Hell’s inclusion on the bill for these two dates did seem a little odd at first, their unashamed NWOBHM rooted theatrical heavy metal sandwiched between the Black Metal offerings of openers Winterfylleth and headliners Primordial. Judging by the array of their t-shirts on display in MohoLive there was no chance of the band nor being received well though, clearly they have amassed a substantial following in the year and a bit since their debut album Human Remains was released. After a summer spent playing the major festivals of Europe, and hot off the back of a jaunt round the continent with Accept, the chance to catch them in a small club like Moho was not one to be missed.

Hell’s arrival on stage was preceded by the dry ice machine going into overdrive, resulting in a fog so thick that drummer Tim Bowler had difficulty finding his way behind his kit, and the arrival of guitarists Kev Bower, Andy Sneap and bassist Tony Speakman was heard rather than seen. As the Overture intro tape gave way to their traditional set opener Let Battle Commence the packed venue was bouncing, and the band’s mercurial frontman, the barbed wire crown of thorns wearing David Bower, wasted no time in getting up close and personal with the crowd.

Not that it’s difficult to do that in a venue the size of Moho.

Hell’s theatrical take on heavy metal may well be over the top and even a bit cheesy but there’s no denying that they are very entertaining live. There are not many bands who do this whole theatrical thing anymore, but given the success Hell are enjoying I’d expect to see more following suit soon.

The first costume change of the evening saw David Bower come on stage in the beaked mask and sackcloth robes of the medieval plague corpse collector for Plague and Fyre, complete with the three guitarist’s well practiced choreography. It was the first of three costume changes the frontman squeezed in, over the course of the band’s fairly short set he was the aforementioned corpse collector, a flagellant (complete with whip !) and, for the closing track Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us, a priest.

Hell are a band on top form, and tonight they gave a polished performance which certainly entertained the packed-to-the-rafters crowd. While their theatrical stuff may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is no denying that they have some brilliant heavy metal songs, and few can touch them for entertainment value.

You can read Cack Blabbath’s review of the night HERE

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