Vicious Rumors - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2014

35 Years of Metal Tour - supporting Nile
June 23 (20:30 - 21:15)
Capacity 500

For the London stop of Nile's tour for new album At The Gates of Sethu a rather strange package was put together exclusively for one night, seeing veteran melodic thrashers Vicious Rumors as special guests, and Steve Smyth's new technical outfit One Machine making their London debut.

One Machine were dealt an unfair disadvantage by having to rely on The Underworld's in-house sound and lighting staff for their set, which saw the band raging away on stage with a wall of guitars, only for the audience to experience deafening drums and not a lot else. This was only their second show with new vocalist Chris Hawkins, who replaced former Mercenary singer Mikkel Sandager about six weeks prior to this show, and within the context of One Machine's material that is not an easy task. The range of vocals Sandager used on their debut album is extraordinary, but from opening number Kill The Hope Inside onwards Hawkins showed that he had that depth of range as well, beyond doubt. When One Machine play shows with a sound mix that's anything other than awful, they will sound phenomenal.

Californians Vicious Rumors were fortunate as they didn't have the same sound problems at all for their set, making their first London shows in many years a resounding success, due in no small part to newest singer Nick Holleman. Since the death of classic singer Carl Albert in 1995 Vicious Rumors have gone through singers the way most bands do guitar strings, but their stock has been on the rise of late with back-to-back solid albums in Razorback Killers and Electric Punishment, both with Brian Allen on vocals, and two live albums, one with Allen and one with Holleman. The aggressive side of Allen's voice was a benefit to the band and the material they recorded with him was strong, but Nick Holleman is a different class altogether.

Afforded just 45 minutes they wasted no time rattling through a trimmed-down version of their regular set, drawing from all eras of the band, testing Holleman's range to the extremes, and it's here they and he really excelled. There can't be many more singers capable of sustaining the kind of high notes Holleman can, for as long as he can, without so much as a crack or warble, and on a mis-matched bill his vocal prowess, backed by the non-stop riffing of the band, still led by guitarist Geoff Thorpe, brought the crowd together like only well-executed pure metal can. From the supremely aggressive Murderball from Razorback Killers back to classics like Digital Dictator the band have the full range of their catalogue available to them and aren't afraid to dig into it (in their full-length headlining sets).

It is imperative Vicious Rumors keep Holleman for a good long while. When they get him into the studio for their next album they really should push on to new heights, and hopefully more regular UK appearances.

One Machine setlist: Kill The Hope Inside / Crossed Over / The Distortion of Lies And The Overdriven Truth / One Machine / Armchair Warrior / Evict The Enemy / Freedom And Pain

Vicious Rumors setlist: Digital Dictator / Minute To Kill / The Crest / On The Edge / Murderball / Abandoned / I Am The Gun / Don't Wait For Me / Hellraiser / Soldiers of The Night

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2014, Gigs, Thrash Metal,

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