The 120 Tavern, Marietta, GA
April 25, 2015
This show felt like coming home. After a hiatus, Hoyt Parris and Pathfinder Promotions are back in the business of promoting metal shows around the Atlanta metropolitan area. A favorite Pathfinder venue is The 120 Tavern in Marietta (roughly 10 miles north of Atlanta), a comfortable, pleasant venue that Jen has declared to be one of her favorite places to experience a show. It’s easy to see why: The 300-capacity concert hall is a separate room inside a much larger sports bar with a full menu and bar options. The music hall has good equipment, good sightlines, good lighting, good acoustics, and good staff. There’s a Whole Foods Market down the street and, a little further, a reasonably priced Hampton Inn just off the Interstate. It’s an easy, hassle-free place to see a show, and we’ve never had a bad time there. Tonight was no exception.
First up on Hoyt’s handpicked roster was Atlanta’s own The Fury, a young band playing just their second live show. Their inexperience onstage may have been evident, but so was their talent. The four-piece featured an air-raid type vocalist (who actually reminded me of Mark Boals, tone-wise) in a black trenchcoat, and specialized in a prog/power sound (more power than prog, I’d say, with no shortage of crunch and energy) including keyboard parts flown in via laptop. The Fury aired several songs off their debut EP, ‘Uncharted Lands,’ as well as two covers, in the form of Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years” and Deep Purple’s “Burn.” These lads are off to a good start, and it will be interesting to see how they grow and evolve as a live unit once they get some more shows under their belts. Next were Scythia, all the way from Edmonton, Canada, and the main attraction for many in attendance this evening (including ProgPower USA promoter Glenn Harveston, who looked to be scouting the band for his own fest). The Scythia band members were easy to spot beforehand, as they’d been walking around the venue all night clad in leather armor, kilts, warpaint and the like. They played this show as the finale of a brief tour that had taken them all the way to Brazil for a festival, with additional gigs in DeLand, Florida and North Carolina. The Canadian quintet were a sight to behold, and a hell of a lot of fun onstage. I don’t know how you’d classify their music, as it combines elements of power metal, extreme metal, folk metal, prog metal, and plain old heavy metal into a delectable stew. But it didn’t matter, really, because all the material went over great. Songs like the ridiculously catchy “Bear Claw Tavern” had barefoot bearded bassist Terry Savage practically dancing a jig onstage. Most of the players also sang, with guitarist David Khan handling the cleans with power and character, Savage offering the demonic screams, and hard-hitting drummer Celine Derval providing loud and clear female backing vocals. The 45-minute set predictably skewed toward the recent ‘… Of Conquest’ material, with a couple of older tracks (“For the Bear” was for the win, I’d say) and even a new song tossed in for good measure. Smiles were in abundance both onstage and in the audience for the duration of the set, and the band seemed genuinely chuffed to be performing before a few dozen enthusiastic punters. Scythia may be too damned quirky to reach a much larger segment of the metal masses, but they sure can deliver the goods onstage. Setlist: Fanfare 1516, Merchant of Sin, For the Bear, Sailor’s Accolade, Bear Claw Tavern, Rise of the Kraken, Barbarian, For the King, Army of the Bear, Into the Storm.
Brazen Angel is the local Atlanta-area band I never get tired of seeing. Couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them over the last five years or so (mostly at Pathfinder events), but they can always be counted on for strong performances and great songs. They also draw well in Atlanta (from metal and non-metal sources alike), which only enhances the concert experience. Brazen Angel are easy to root for, and they’ve never let me down onstage with their brand of melodic and traditional heavy metal, with a Southern flair and a dash of hair metal/AOR. Sadly enough, it had been almost exactly a year since Jen and I had witnessed a Brazen Angel concert, so we were chomping at the bit for their headlining performance. Honestly, their gig tonight featured a little bit of everything, from Brazen Angel staples (“Silver Tongue Devil,” “Metal for Eternity”) to classic covers (“Mob Rules,” “Devil Went Down to Georgia”) to shiver-inducing songs off their most recent album (“Séance of the Slaves,” “Confederate Soldier”) to a brand-new song (“Feeding the Darkness”) to a couple of acoustic tracks (“Blood and Water,” “Crusaders”) to an impromptu/unplanned encore (“Southern Water”) during which guitarist Doug Neal was protesting, “I don’t know it,” as he tried to play along. Vocalist Reese Martin remains one of the best I’ve ever heard, and the band overcame personal hardships (at least one member was ill, and two others were mourning the loss of a close friend) this evening to deliver a performance of which they could justifiably be proud. Here’s hoping that another year doesn’t pass before I have the opportunity to rock with my metal brothers from Dixieland again. Setlist: Galaxy, Angel Demon Killer Savior, Silver Tongue Devil, Mob Rules, Séance of the Slaves, Feeding the Darkness, Surreal, Southbound Train, Confederate Soldier, Blood and Water (acoustic), Crusaders (acoustic), Devil Went Down to Georgia, Metal for Eternity, Southern Water.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~