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Majestic Ventura Theatre; Ventura, CA; 09/24/99

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

There was what looked like a huge line when we arrived at the Ventura Theater that night. Once inside, however, the crowd was considerably smaller than expected. It didn't matter. A good time was had by all.

Santa Barbara's 4DK, who took the gig on five days notice, was first up. Sadly, we were outside trying to figure out where the hell our tickets were. Regardless, we know they were awesome. The best way to describe a 4DK show is to use the word "blur." It's fast, it's furious, it's outta control. You just gotta see it to believe it.

Next up were Ventura's own HELARAGE. Some complain that Helarage tend to "overact." In other words, they play small venues as though they were the Great Western Forum. I think that's half the attraction of this band. I've never seen Helarage give less than 100%.

Tonight was no exception. The band blasted through a collection of their classic tunes and several tunes from their recently released "A Carnivore's Platter." They ended their set with a rousing rendition of their veteran "Three Times Cursed" that's still ringing in my ears today. Visit Helarage at and check them out. I think you're gonna like them.

NEVERMORE took the stage next and instantly won the Award as loudest band of the evening. NEVERMORE play an ultra-heavy metal that's not quite death metal, not quite doom but is easily as heavy. The band won over the audience almost instantly. The crowd rushed down to the mosh pit to do some slammin'. If you could look past the fact that the band uses their long, shiny hair too much as stage props (heads banging, hair flailing), the set was tremendously satisfying.

Finally, MERCYFUL FATE took the stage and it was obvious who the crowd was there to see. The audience rushed the stage as King Diamond and company exploded thereon, ripping through a collection of classic Fate tunes, a King Diamond tune or two and several numbers from Fate's latest album (click here to read our review).

It wasn't a particularly outstanding performance by MERCYFUL FATE, but it was very solid and the crowd ate it up. The musicianship was impressive but the delivery seemed a little too slick, a little too rehearsed. It was a technically near-perfect show but there seemed to be a little something lacking in the heart and/or passion department.

Regardless, the crowd got what they came for. I don't see how any MERCYFUL FATE fan could have left the show disappointed.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.