Rage & Firewind – The Undeworld, London, UK (21st January 2018)

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The Underworld in Camden is one of the best places to see live metal in the capital. This Sunday it hosted a power metal double bill as the co-headliner tour of Germany’s Rage and Greece’s Firewind unleashed their riff-heavy metal upon the Camden crowd.

Throughout over three decades on the metal scene, Rage have become synonymous with consistency. With an impressive 22 studio albums to their name, they still manage to retain energy and freshness with each release and last year’s Seasons of the Black was no exception. Led by founder and only consistent member Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner, the trio came out first of the headlining double bill.

The Teutonic trio walked us through a versatile selection from their sizeable discography, with a focus on their 2017 release. Although bassist and lead vocalist Peavy was suffering from a cold, his voice still displayed his signature raspiness and power, if not all of its range. He was assisted more than capably my drummer Vassillios and guitarist Marcos on backing vocals, such as during triple vocal harmonies ‘Good Old Ones’ from the album Soundchaser. Both musicians are relatively recent additions to the band, but especially Marcos’s enthusiasm and energy was contagious for both his bandmates and the crowd. Their set closer ‘Higher Than The Sky’ was intertwined with a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio, of whose vocal style and stage presence Marcos performed an admirable impression for ‘Heaven and Hell’ and ‘Holy Diver’.

The second headliner Firewind are mostly known for their massively talented guitarist and band leader Gus G, who for some years played in Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band. Initially started as a project to showcase his guitar talents and land him a recording deal, the project soon evolved into a full-blooded band and has become an established name in heavy metal with seven studio albums.

Firewind kicked things off on fifth gear with ‘Ode to Leonidas’, giving us a taster of what we were in for the remainder of the set – fast drumming and intricate guitar and keyboard arrangements, a mix of melody and aggression in equal measures. While Gus G delivered an exemplary performance on the guitar, his colleague Bob Katsionis was by no means lagging behind. Split between guitar and keyboard duties, Bob was at points even playing the two instruments simultaneously. Both musicians shined during the instrumental ‘The Fire and the Fury’, which proved one of the highlights of their set. The Greeks also presented a few cuts from their latest album Immortals, of which the ballad ‘Lady of 1000 Sorrows’ stood out with singer Henning Basse’s great vocals.

Rage and Firewind put on a fantastic show for a small but devoted crowd, proving that there are still fresh sounds to be found in classic heavy metal, whilst the old tunes kick just as hard as they did when we first heard them.