UTH X - Warm Up @ An Club, Athens (GRE)

SACRED STEEL / BATTLEROAR / DARK NIGHTMARE / HIGH SPIRITS / TOLEDO STEEL / TERMINUS

Date: 05th March, 2015
Venue: An Club
Ticket: €13 ($14)
Promoter: Up The Hammers
Photos: Erika Wallberg


I was a bit surprised reading the running order and having TERMINUS first on the list for the warm-up show of 'Up The Hammers X'. There's been a buzz around this band and I really thought they were bigger than an opener. On the other hand, it's good to place a band like TERMINUS first out since that will lure people to the club and ensure good support for other bands on the bill too. And TERMINUS sure served a very good start of this Heavy Metal weekend. They have a very good groove and drive in their music, it's intense even if it is Doomy. I like that, slow and heavy really don't do it alone, there need to be a nerve in the music and TERMINUS sure had that. It's also really cool to see a band in a dark and dirty club being treated like an arena band, for set closer “Centaurean” people really went nuts and screamed their lungs out, cheering and clapping away. The only bad thing was that An Club started to get over heated with TERMINUS already.

TERMINUS setlist:

01. “The Reaper's Spiral”
02. “The Encyclopedists”
03. “Poseidon's Children”
04. “The Merchant Princes”
05. “Fortress Titan”
06. “Centaurean”

TERMINUS

Terminus @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Terminus @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Terminus @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Terminus @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Terminus @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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Oh boy, it sure was full speed ahead with TOLEDO STEEL! A big dose of IRON MAIDEN spiced up with some classic German Heavy Metal creates a good mix and for sure TOLEDO STEEL sounded good. This gig was the first I ever heard about this band and I hadn't check out them prior to the show at all. Frankly because there was so much I wanted to listen to since the line-up for the ‘Up The Hammers Warm-Up’ as well as the festival was a killer. I wasn't the only one, a big part of the crowd took the opportunity to get some air and rest a bit outside while TOLEDO STEEL were playing. The fun thing was that they did have some real die-hard fans who really tried their best to get the club going. TOLEDO STEEL's music works very well on paper, what they lacked was a bit originality and they need to get out more to get the show together. These UK boys will for sure have a bright future but they need some time to get there.

TOLEDO STEEL setlist:

01. “Fallen Empire”
02. “City Lights”
03. “Children Of The Sun”
04. “Speed Killer”
05. “Toledo Steel”
06. “Black Widow”

TOLEDO STEEL

Toledo Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Toledo Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Toledo Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Toledo Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Toledo Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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I've never really gotten the hype around HIGH SPIRITS. For sure, it all sounds very good and the songs are catchy and hitty but it never really got stuck on me. This opinion wasn't shared by the rest of the crowd though as they returned and settled at the fence well in time for HIGH SPIRITS. And I must admit, it all sounded awesome that night! Perhaps the beer did some of the talking but that can turn the other way around just as easy. One bass player short as Chris Black handled those duties for this show. The An Club stage is fairly small, so it didn't matter much for the visual appearance to only be four on stage. Rather the opposite, it allowed the rest of the band to roam freely in each flank of Chris. Watching HIGH SPIRITS' set, I realized I have been listening rather much to the records in the past as especially “Demons At The Door" and “Another Night In The City” really got me going. So, I guess I need to give HIGH SPIRITS another chance and perhaps I may be able see the greatness too. This show was a very pleasant surprise and a damn good one.

HIGH SPIRITS setlist:

01. “High Spirits"
02. “Full Power"
03. “This Is the Night"
04. “When The Lights Go Down”
05. “I Need Your Love”
06. “Wanted Dead”
07. “I Need To Know”
08. “Demons At The Door”
09. “Another Night In The City”
10. “Midnight Sun”

HIGH SPIRITS

High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)
High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) High Spirits @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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There's no doubt that the Greek scene has many damn good Heavy Metal bands. What always impresses me is how many damn good vocalists there are. In the northern parts of the world, it's actually rare to get someone with a strong clean voice, while in Greece they seem to be available in every corner, and DARK NIGHTMARE is a very good example of that. But since I don't know the history of DARK NIGHTMARE and frankly have missed them completely, it was extra fun to see the reaction from the crowd I've been missing out. Classic epic Heavy Metal with good melodies always work, especially when played with perfection and that was what we got that night. DARK NIGHTMARE had good response all their set though but it was as if the crowd went in shifts. The heat at this time inside the An Club was crazy and not a very pleasant place to be because of that so people came and went for DARK NIGHTMARE but they had a very good response and ended up at my list as something I really need to check out.

DARK NIGHTMARE setlist:

01. “Blood Land”
02. “Invaders”
03. “Child”
04. “Hawks Of War”
05. “The Battlefield Callin My Name”
06. “Beneath The Veils Of Winter”
07. “Eternal Forest”
08. “Dragonlakes”
09. “Defenders Of The Borderland”

DARK NIGHTMARE

Dark Nightmare @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Dark Nightmare @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Dark Nightmare @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Dark Nightmare @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Dark Nightmare @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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What love in smaller festivals like ‘Up The Hammers’ is the true die-hard fans. The whole festival including the ‘Warm-Up’ show was a walk down BATTLEROAR history, having Mark I playing the warm-up. Even if I'm quite familiar with BATTLEROAR's music, I am not with the members. Unfortunately and since a bit of how cool this really was got lost a bit. And since this represented the beginning of BATTLEROAR's career it was almost exclusively songs from the debut “Battleroar”. Again, it was easy to understand why people went outside during the DARK NIGHTMARE gig, to rest and get a bit of oxygen in order to support BATTLEROAR. Having this massive support for a band makes the taking-photographs part a bit tricky but it's damn fun on the other hand. The band is charged when the crowd gives a good response.

Swedish cult band HEAVY LOAD has of course gotten a bit of a revival in Sweden lately too since everything from the '80s is very popular. In Greece, they've been in the game all the time and BATTLEROAR showed that though “Singing Swords”, a very good version which should have made brothers Ragne and Styrbjörn proud.

I can't say anything but this being a very cool show and with that also really important to catch the rest of the gigs at the festival the coming days.

BATTLEROAR setlist:

01. “Victorious Path”
02. “Almuric”
03. “Morituri Te Salutant”
04. “Dragonship”
05. “Swordbrothers”
06. “Singing Swords” (HEAVY LOAD cover)
07. “Battleroar”

BATTLEROAR

Battleroar @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Battleroar @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Battleroar @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Battleroar @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Battleroar @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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There was no doubt that people started to get really tired when it was time for SACRED STEEL to hit the stage. Beer helped keep the mood up during the evening but it was mainly the heat and lack of oxygen inside the venue that took its toll. The air was so thick and humid and at this point you could almost drink it.

SACRED STEEL always cheers the mood up though and it was no difference this night. No matter what you think about SACRED STEEL's music on record, you can't take away that they're a killer live act. They have such great energy and drive. Also, after consuming a bunch of beer, it's damn much fun to shout along with “Open Wide The Gate” or perhaps even more “Metal Is War”. There was no exception that night. This band is as Metal as it gets when it comes to forceful and catchy chorus lines, doubtless. I mean, how can you not enjoy a song titled “Sacred Bloody Steel”?

But, even if SACRED STEEL delivered a very good set and did a good performance, it wasn't really as good as it used to be. On occasion, Gerrit appeared a bit drunk and messed up some of the presentations between the songs. It was still all fun but it's the first time I've seen this from SACRED STEEL and frankly, they are better when they do a serious performance. The crowd loved them still and stuck around until the end, “Heavy Metal To The End”... It surely was and a very hot but really nice ‘Up The Hammers Warm-Up’ party.

SACRED STEEL setlist:

01. “Maniacs Of Speed”
02. “When The Siren Calls”
03. “Open Wide The Gate”
04. “Denial Of Judas (Heaven Betrayed)”
05. “Metal Is War”
06. “Broken Rites”
07. “True Force Of Iron Glory”
08. “Sacred Bloody Steel”
09. “No God / No Religion”
10. “Master Of Thy Fate”
11. “Metal Reigns Supreme”
12. “Slaughter Prophecy (Vengeance For The Dead)”
13. “Blood On My Steel”
14. “Wargods Of Metal”
15. “Heavy Metal To The End”

SACRED STEEL

Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)
Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg) Sacred Steel @ An Club (photo by Erika Wallberg)

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