(Concert Review) LEGIONS OF METAL 2019
Review by: Mark McQueen
Okay readers, here were my rankings from a LONG weekend of Legions of Metal 2019. I made it to 22/23 of the bands that weekend. My apologies to Traveler, but traffic prevented me from getting there in time for their set. (Clearly the irony is noted). I also only caught the back half of Paladin on Friday night. Still, considering I did a 5K in between two 8 plus hour metal fests, I am figuring I’ll call the weekend a win.
Under the Good, the Bad and the Odd this weekend:
The Good - I got to see a lot of good music and talk to some interesting people. Top of that list was Randy “No Fun” Kastner. Great metal encyclopedia of knowledge. Thank you for sharing some time this weekend. (P.S. if anyone wants to see great video footage of many of the bands that played this weekend, check out Randy’s Facebook page. Some awesome footage on there. Randy Kastner RKMetal.)
The Good - with a 3-Floyds tap takeover at the fest this year, I got to try several 3-Floyds Beers I would normally never see. I enjoyed both styles of Berliner Weiss and their take on a Dark Fruity Belgian. The Bock and the Milk Stout were just so-so.
The Bad - Nothing really…just tired. Long weekend.
The Odd - About 10:30 the first evening, a guy came up to me and asked, “How old you?” (That was not a grammatical error. That was how he asked it.). When I replied 52, he shook my hand, said “Much respect my friend.” And walked away. Come on…I know my beard is white and long but it’s not like I was at Legions of Metal Civil War edition sharing a scotch with Lincoln.
Okay: on to the rankings. Usual disclaimers in effect. Slotting, set not the band,..blah, blah, blah. You all know the drill.
1. Paladin 73/100
I got there a little late from Fridays lovely Chicago rush hour traffic, so I only caught 3 songs from this set, and one was a Maiden cover. Hard to judge much and it was the first act, so I assume sound was still getting fully dialed in. Over-all they seemed like a bar-band-power-metal act.
2. Tzimani 73/100
California thrash band. Most interesting aspect of them was their name. Otherwise they really didn’t do anything for me.
3. Smolder 74/100
Female led sort-of-doom act, (which made them a minority genre at this fest). Singer was a long-haired blonde who apparently went to the “Jex Thoth” school of doomy stage moves. She must have only gotten a B+ though because they were less “doomy” and more kind of like she was stretching for yoga. Her voice also lacked clarity, but the music was okay.
4. Fatal Curse 76/100
Somewhere between thrash and speed. Truthfully, they had pretty clear vocals, but in this case the music just seemed average at best.
5. Hammered 77/100
Similar in style to Fatal Curse, in that they were between speed & thrash. There was nothing to dislike, but also nothing to write home about either. A nice little middle of the pack band.
6. Anguish 77/100
Speed/punk metal 3-piece reminiscent of Motorhead style of music. Not bad at all, but when you see and hear that style, you can’t help but long for Lemmy.
7. Knights of the Forge 78/100
Epic name so I was interested. Unfortunately, just some guys looking rather ordinary, so no cool image or anything. They played power metal in the vein of Dragonforce with the screams and the shreds. Unfortunately, with no visual to help, it was like seeing a comedian at Zanies vs. seeing George Carlin at the Forum. I laugh and have a pleasant set but it’s not like that guys going anywhere any time soon. Kind of the impression I get here. I enjoyed the 30 minutes, but then I already forgot much of what they played.
8. Demon Bitch 78/100
Same sort of thing here. Cool Name. CD’s had cool images on them. I wanted to like these guys. Maybe with some time they would grow on me, so I did get a CD to give them another shot. Live though I just wasn’t into the singer’s voice. It was clear, but something just seemed disjointed about their set. Since my ranking just looks at the set I heard, this is where they land.
9. Lightning Wolf 80/100
New band just doing their 1st release apparently, so they only had about 20 minutes of original material. Kind of a speed and NWOBHM fusion. They would have landed lower on the list, but they finished with a cover of Priest's "Turbo Lover" and the singer came really close to completely nailing the high parts. I figured that gave them potential and I jacked the grade up a couple for a good version of a tough to cover song.
10. Rammit 81/100
This was an odd review as the singer had a broken jaw and was unable to perform. Instead, he got the woman who sings for Siren Hex to step in. Songs were anthemic speed metal kind of stuff. Like KISS sped up from 33 1/3 to 45. I thought she did a nice job thrown in like that although… apparently to her… a sentence without the word “Fuck” in some variation…was NOT a real sentence.
11. Solicitor 82/100
First full act I saw Friday night and for a kick-off it was good. The singer is a large girl who screams METAL with the multi-colored hair, jewelry, large amounts of tattoos, sex kitten nylons, and big hit cleavage. Pretty much just hit all the buttons. (Hit ALL the buttons Bob, one of them MUST mean go).” Still, great energy and as a kick-off to the second stage, she did exactly what she was there to do. Warmed up the crowd for a day of Metal.
12. Children of the Reptile 83/100
Kind of power metal with some doom sprinkles thrown in for flavor. Pretty clear vocals, but I would have liked a little more power and range in them. Still, another impressive second stage band.
13. Overlord 83/100
These guys hit the stage with an intro tape and wearing leather and spikes like metal knights. I was initially psyched at the commitment to image, but the sound was less than I had hoped for. I thought during the 1st half of the set the drums and bass overwhelmed the vocalist and when you present an image like that, I think, as the vocalist, you need to really command the stage in a big way. I didn’t see that until near the end of their set. I did feel they got better, (thus the decent ranking). They just didn’t ever live up to the hype when they came out with th