Vicious Rumors, Agent Steel and more at Underworld Club (2007)

Underworld Club (Athens, Greece)

Vicious Rumors, Agent Steel, After All
There are times the anticipation is so high for a band_artist that everything 'willing' to […]
By Grigoris Chronis
September 21, 2007

There are times the anticipation is so high for a band_artist that everything 'willing' to go wrong can easily spoil your nerves system, no string attached. Waiting all these years to see the great US Heavy_Speed_Thrash Metal monsters AGENT STEEL for 'x' years and - eventually - listening to a performance of not more than 6(!) songs can give a brief idea of what the mood of most of the crowd was at that time. Thankfully, compatriot 80s legends VICIOUS RUMORS tried - and, in a level, achieved - to warm things up for the loss of 'air' fore-running.

In a 75% packed Underworld Club it was - as usual - nearly one hour (after the previously announced starting time) that Belgian metallers AFTER ALL hit the stage. The band, unknown to many, has delivered a set of brilliant heavy_thrash albums the last years while they do serve so-and-so the New Metal order through some 'aggressive' songs' parts. I'd recommend The Vermin Breed and Mercury Rising for your initial pleasure, while last year's This Violent Decline (on the Dockyard1 label) was not bad at all. Unfortunately, due to the mediocre sound the band did not succeed in getting the 'flat' crowd familiar to their interesting music. A cover of the MERCYFUL FATE 1983 classic Evil did add some spark and that was it.

With AFTER ALL playing for 45', the stage was set for AGENT STEEL (we all considered VICIOUS RUMORS to carry on as a more normal solution, with AGENT STEEL wrapping up this co-headlining gig, but no prayers were heard). This year's Alienigma CD has already marked a good doze of 'feedback' for the quintet's Metal_Thrash guitar-driven music anno 2007, and I'd kindly like to hear a cut or two off this latest release. Little did I (we) know...The thunderous Juan Garcia_Bernie Versailles guitar duo bombarded us with the first notes of Rager and the crowd just went nuts. Headbanging at its finest. Carrying on with 1985's Bleed For The Godz classic, it was now time for (pit) moshing. The sound was not that better (Bruce Hall's voice was over-tuned in high frequencies while Versailles' guitar was nearly heard in regards to Garcia's output). Anyway, Illuminati Is Machine preserved the high-tempo tone while Guilty As Charged turned things into headbanging mode again. The dual guitar attack - when possibly heard - was a real killer...

Agents Of Steel and Unstoppable Force made the Underworld Club go mad - I had the impression most of the spectators had AGENT STEEL as the crucial factor for coming to this gig - and then...the band salutes 'goodbye'! Hmmm...six songs only (even AFTER ALL performed more) and there was an obvious mood of boo from the mass. Various scenarios crossed everyone's mind (some 'classic' ones, too) but, in the end of the day, we had to accept the fact that: a) the AGENT STEEL gig was over, b) Bruce Hall still has a great voice but - I feel - he was kinda 'dead beat' in regards to his studio activities, d) Juan Garcia / Bernie Versailles should keep on going playing together for many many years on and d) even if for 25-30 minutes, AGENT STEEL performed some ass-kicking in-your-face Metal music as real Pro's and we do not forget that.

VICIOUS RUMORS - led by the wonderful voice of James Rivera (HELSTAR, DESTINY'S END, SEVEN WITCHES, NEW EDEN, FLOTSAM & JETSAM, KILLING MACHINE, DISTANT THUNDER) - kicked off with founding member Geoff Thorpe in-between being drunk and cheerful, providing, yet some blistering guitar sound (while the rest of the players stayed rather in the background...). The first four classics - Don't Wait For Me, On The Edge, Abandoned and Down To The Temple - set the venue on fire, with Rivera doing his job at top level. The reaction of the crowd was of analogue velocity, with heads banging endlessly and fists raised in the air. Sonic Rebellion and Mr. Miracle (off 2006's Warball) did calm things down a little bit (not that familiar to the Greek crowd) while Lady Took A Chance marked the quintet's return to the Digital Dictator days, along with the same-titled epic tune (at a later time). Soldiers Of The Night created the perfect atmosphere for some old Metal choir singing and - wrapping up the setlist with songs like Immortal, Minute To Kill, Hellraiser and March Or Die(!) - it was obvious that VICIOUS RUMORS still is a US Metal force featuring great musicians with much of professionalism and hard work. Plus, the band's setlist was as all-covering as possible.

Summary: of course, the 'chopped' AGENT STEEL setlist was everyone's question in regards to this nice - on the rest - Metal live gig. Even if VICIOUS RUMORS (and AFTER ALL, in parallel) delivered some quality music, the fact that - as cross-checked - AGENT STEEL was many metalheads' first priority in this cool Friday evening did, in due course, mark some stiff flavor for everyone walking out rather pensive.

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