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UDO / RAVEN / DECEASED / H-HOUR
JAXX; Springfield, VA; 06/17/00

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

    With the recent closing of Phantasmagoria it appears that JAXX will be getting the lion's share of metal shows in the near future in the Washington, D.C. area. It's nice to know that a venue is still willing to provide an outlet for the metal market to play here in the mid-Atlantic.

    H-Hour, a Washington, D.C.-based quartet, got things rolling with a set that covered quite a few areas of the metal spectrum. In the early stages, I got the feeling that H-Hour was a death metal band with serious doom influences. As the band kept playing there was a slight groove element apparent in the music too - not the radio-friendly groove that's so in vogue, but a rather metallic groove fitting of later-era thrash.  Standout songs included "Mission Of Mercy" and "Zero Pulse." H-Hour shows promise - it should be interesting to see what this band has to offer in the years to come.

    Relapse recording artists Deceased are one of America's gifts to death metal, and tonight showed everyone what it's all about. Deceased blazed through a set of invigorating old-school death metal with a healthy smattering of songs from their latest disc "Supernatural Addiction" interspersed with older songs and a cover of Saxon's "Fire In The Sky."  A key point for Deceased is drummer/vocalist King Fowley - Fowley gave ample proof why he is one of the more revered musicians and showmen in the metal business. Fowley wasn't about to let a drumkit hide his desire and intensity to make contact with the fans. As it was, being in their own territory, Deceased fans come out in droves to induce themselves into a whiplash frenzy. Old school death metal has never sounded so good. 

    Raven, the charming English maniacs known as the Gallagher brothers, played a decent set that spanned their career. Unfortunately my only experience with Raven was having seen a few videos on MTV's "Headbanger's Ball" back in the '80s. I won't kid you by saying I loved the set, but I did find a new appreciation for what Raven have achieved. Songs like "To Be Broken" and "On And On" were highlights. One particularly engaging song in the set was "Breaking The Chains" with covers of AC/DC's "Dog Eat Dog" and Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues" thrown in as a twisted medley. The Gallagher brothers were joined by local drumming legend Joe Hasslevander. Alas, there were no hockey helmets this time around.

    It didn't take long for Udo Dirkschneider and his U.D.O. bandmates to settle the score on why the classic metal sound is making a strong comeback in the U.S. A clearly revved up U.D.O. tore through the first two tracks from "Holy" and moved right into the Accept classic "Midnight Mover." The rest of the set basically alternated between Accept classics and older U.D.O. material. The crowd was given an up-close-and-personal jam session when different members of U.D.O. toured the room and set shop on the bars while playing extended solos on "Living On The Frontline." The set ended with two smashing renditions of Accept classics: "Son Of A Bitch" and "Balls To The Wall." By the end of the night, Udo had the fans in the palm of his hand. 

    Alas, all good things must come to an end, but what an ending it was! The encore consisted of Accept classics "Princess Of The Dawn," "I'm A Rebel," and "Fast As A Shark."

    If you love the classic metal sound do not miss U.D.O. when they return to North America in Fall 2000.
 


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