(Live Review) HELL'S HEROES - Day 3 (Houston Texas, 3/25/23)
Review by: Mark McQueen
Day three of Hell's Heroes begins, and with 14 bands on the bill, The Beard will not get to everyone. Still, I shall bring you what I can. My initial priority today was to check out the vendors alley and see what was to be had. The Beard purchased two rings (from someone who remembered how to actually take cash, a dying trend it would seem). Don’t go gentle into that good night. But, anyway, on with the final day/night of the show.
Opening band (playing on the indoors second stage are ...
This band from Brooklyn plays just some straight ahead occult/metal. Decent openers, but I didn’t really take anything too much to heart. Solid. 70/100
First up on the main stage were ...
We already had Canadian speed metal legends Exciter yesterday, but the genre is represented here on day three as well, with a much younger band.
Initially, (the first number), the sound was bad in the mix, but this was quickly sorted out. This band has a full-throated screamer for a vocalist. Some of the highest notes of the fest so far (and that’s saying something). They also moved from lightning speed type riffs to quiet moving melodies within their songs. Impressively well-balanced attack for such a young band. Look at Canada churning out winners in the Texas heat. These guys will undoubtedly be moving up the bill in the very near future.
I am grading on three areas; One, vocally: fucking stellar. Can he still sing those songs in 40 years? Probably not but damn they were great today.
Two: musically; stellar. Those guys played awesomely.
Three: crowd reaction. This was the first band up, on the lawn, in the heat, and from song one to the end, their crowd size increased tenfold. It was like a pipe burst, but what flowed in were people. These guys drew everybody in to hear and see them.
This is the trifecta and thus Riot City gets a fest leading 96/100. I know. Surprised me too.
Back inside for band two at the small stage. Freeways is another melodic straight-ahead rocker. Good sound and a good fit for the second stage. Enjoyable hard crisp rock/metal. Unfortunately, I’m seeing them right after Riot City and slotting hurts their grade. I like them but only at the 82/100 level.
Next up at the main stage is ...
I have seen them before in Vegas. I was lukewarm on them then, but we shall see what a few years has done for their act.
Unto Others has a goth metal feel. It’s like The Cure hired an Yngwie clone on guitar (in look and stage moves, not guitar sound). This is not really my jam, but a good portion of the crowd seemed to like it, and (as a unique aside), there was an actual marriage proposal in-between songs by a friend of the band to his lady. I do have to say, THAT is a gutsy move. You had better be sure of a yes when you pull that because "No" is a long walk back off that stage in front of a crowd that is now thinking - LOSER! So, based on entertainment value, I will give Unto Others an 80/100.
Next up, inside, (because I am running back and forth today.) were ...
Tower were female fronted thrash. Good guitar, but overall, a bit messy for me. Plus, the small room is now getting stupid crowded already. I may have to stay largely main stage from now on as otherwise I will never have a good seat later. In the meantime, Tower gets a standard 75/100.
Next up on the mainstage is...
Speed metal with a singer that’s got wails straight from Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys release era.
This is a good, but not exemplary, band. Mid bill seems about right for them. They are professional and since I do like that wail, I stuck with them throughout their set.
In other news, finally a Little Johnny siting today. I saw his signature cap as he surfed through the lawn crowd during Skullfist. Little dude could make the Olympics if it were an event. Guess he’s not planning any work here on day three.
The Beard enjoyed Skullfist but ranks them 81 standard and an extra 3 points for the wailing. 84/100
A quick in and out (sounds dirty), allowed the Beard to catch a couple numbers by Night Cobra at the small room. This whole area was fully packed again, so listening was the best I could do. Night Cobra seem to be doing some sort of punk/metal. Not bad, but tough to throw a grade on just a couple songs. Night Cobra inc/100.
Next up on the main stage ...
We’ve had almost every style of metal represented at this festival. Finally, it’s time for some doom metal as Pagan Alter are a famous English doom band.