Leatherwolf, Marauder and more at Underworld Club (2007)

Underworld Club (Athens, Greece)

Leatherwolf, Marauder, Ragenheart, Clairvoyant
There are bands whose trademark sound is (basically) guitars. US Metal legends LEATHERWOLF is one […]
By Grigoris Chronis
November 1, 2007

There are bands whose trademark sound is (basically) guitars. US Metal legends LEATHERWOLF is one such case. Even if their reformation (a couple of years ago) resulted in an album (overall) good but not that identical of their value, this 'triple axe attack' quintet has written its name with gold letters in the book of heavy Metal music - apart from everything else - due to the majestic triple guitar leads, way ahead before some other band(s) claimed so. Hence, lots of concern was in min while walking downtown Athens to watch their first ever appearance in Greece.

Announcing three support bands on a weekday is not an easy task, both for a Metal fan and a mag's editor. Thus, sorry for not being on time to report on the CLAIRVOYANT performance_setlist plus I watched half of the RAGENHEART show. And, if CLAIRVOYANT's traditional MAIDEN-influenced Metal is now widely known in the Greek territory - since the band exists for many many years now - the impression I got form RAGENHEART's show was controversial. Being a fan of their work so far (the Heavy_Power Metal band has already released the 5-track In The Name Of God demo CD and are currently working on their first official full-length) I was eager to see 'what's up' on stage (had missed the chance to see 'em a couple of times, in prior). The music was excellent (in the DIO / CONCEPTION / CRIMSON GLORY / QUEENSRYCHE / MANOWAR(?) vein) but the performance seemed rather unsteady. Maybe the mediocre stage sound was not of good help, but there was not an aura of a 'tight' band onstage. Still, nothing bad. Plus - bearing in mind I did not see the band's full setlist - the hunger grew bigger for their next performance.
150 metalheads were gathered inside a 'smoking' Underworld Club at the time long-running Greek metal warriors MARAUDER took command of the stage. Having seen the band more than 30(!) times all these years, the quintet's quality in performance was out of the question. 35 minutes of ass-kicking Heavy Metal music the JUDAS PRIEST_ACCEPT_IRON MAIDEN_RIOT way and metallic breeze started floating all around. MARAUDER chose to perform an interesting setlist, with some new songs, around their 17-year(!) career and none could be less than happy from the result (the sound was improved, by the way). Faster Than Thunder, from 1997's Sense Of Metal album, opened the gates and storm broke loose.
I can recall Born To Rock (a newbie, from 2006), Face The Mirror (the forthcoming CD's album title, too), Homicide, Magic Art, Free Like An Eagle, God's Will and The Greek Revolution Begins; missed something? Anyway, the band was in fine mood and the crowd did react in the proper way towards MARAUDER's metallic deliverance (note: LEATHERWOLF frontman Michael Oliveri, both officially and in-person, mentioned he was thrilled by MARAUDER's performance and music. That's a fact.)
Waiting for the main reason of this Thursday evening gig, the anticipation was high. LEATHERWOLF delivered three awesome albums in the 80s and - apart from the 'sound' thoughts - it was easy to check the expectation in the fans' faces (average age: 30 years old). And the lights went dim. In a maximum of 180-200 people, LEATHERWOLF opened up with Wicked Ways and it was clear enough the 'triple axe attack' would have limited of chance to get heard 100% in its entirety, since the sound sharpness was not adequate. Still, the band - with 3 out of 5 original members - showed from the very beginning they were onstage to kick some ass. Honoring all of their albums, Michael Oliveri succeeded in raising hell with his metallic-yet-velvet voice plus the rest of the players were both 'pros' and metal lunatics (skinsman Dean Roberts, especially, did beat the hell outta his kit while some of his grooves_tempos still raise lots of demand on how the hell does he play this one?).
Songlist? 1984_1985's Endangered Species LP offered Spiter (the last tune performed), Season Of The Witch and Kill And Kill Again, 1987's Leatherwolf (the band's opus!) donated The Calling, Gypsies And Thieves and Rule The Night plus 1989's Street Ready provided Wicked Ways, Street Ready, Hideaway and Thunder. From the World Asylum reunion album (initially recorded with ex-CRIMSON GLORY_SEVEN WITCHES_LEASH LAW frontman Wade Black but recently was re-recorded with Oliveri behind the mic) the band played Behind The Gun (a video has been shot for this tune - watch it here) and I Am The Law, plus I have forgotten a track or two due to an instant 'friends' beerfest.
OK, the harmonic leads were not heard as 'required' but the band's performance was outstanding, no bullshit. LEATHERWOLF on no case did show that they just play for some few more bucks. The band was tight as hell, Oliveri still bears this supreme voice and - even if some 20' power failure resulted in half the spectators leaving the club let-down from this event - LEATHERWOLF did not lose their spirit at all. Never. I may say their last 20' minutes on stage was the big deal
They pleased old-school Metal fans, they satisfied more keen-on-melody 'WOLFeric followers and did nothing less than performing at heart. And, taking a look around at other bands, this feels (at least) enough. And all these, for the price of 18 Euro.

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