Grim Reaper are back at London's Boston Music Room tonight, launching their new album 'At The Gates!
Grim Reaper are no stranger to London music venues, and what with this being 1 of 2 London shows in close proximity, I was initially unsure of whether or not the venue would fill up. Oh me of little faith. Of course, throwing an album launch alongside Toledo Steel, Salem UK and Blizzen, as well as having a reputation of great consistency, it was no doubt that tonight would have a decent turnout.
Germany's Blizzen kick the night off and although the atmosphere is yet to pick-up, these chaps waste no time getting stuck right in to a set list of songs from their 2016 release 'Genesis Reversed'. Through image, sound and delivery, Blizzen show-off influences of '80s heavy metal with added epic choruses, fast paced riffs and melody.
With Desolation Angels pulling out of tonight's line-up we have NWOBHM legends Salem UK next up on the bill. Vocalist Simon Saxby fronts the band with the swagger and confidence we expect. The band look like they're having the time of their life as they work through a short set consisting of tracks from their new release 'Win, Lose or Draw', as well other recent releases including songs Black and White, Attrition and Forgotten Dreams.
It's time for Toledo Steel whose fans make it quite clear that there is a reason they're this high on the bill. The empty space that has been surrounding the front of the floor has now started to fill as fans enthusiastically pump their fists and sing along to songs from their full-length album 'No Quarter'. Toledo Steel continue to prove what dedicated and impressive musicians they are as they power through a fast and energetic set. The band have gained themselves quite the reputation, and rightly so; you wouldn't guess from their enthusiasm that they're almost at the end of a European Tour!
The venue has begun to pack out with fans of all ages nearing the front for the arrival of Mr Steve Grimmett and his band of Reapers. He graces the stage with such a powerful presence matched perfectly with the immediate pelt of the impressively unique vocal range we all know and love. Steve's still got it and although (like many other long-time musicians) he reads his lyrics from a tablet, this isn't met with criticism. He does so with grace and modesty and delivers exactly what the fans want and expect from NWOBHM royalty. The set list consists of songs taken from their new release At the Gates as well as crowd-pleasing favourites such as 'Lust For Freedom' and 'Rock You To Hell' A personal favourite and welcomed surprise 'The Show Must Go On' is executed wonderfully and Steve acknowledges those joining in unison. In such a small venue, one wouldn't expect a stage diver- however someone attempts to do just that, blocking the band and knocking equipment. As he falls to the ground he's met with unimpressed stares from each member of the band. Needless to say, he didn't attempt it again.
Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper never fail to impress. They're incredibly active and tour regularly, all across the world, but it's never a chore witnessing the pure love that Steve and the band have for playing the songs that they clearly enjoy playing. The reception they receive is impressive and the singalong to 'See You In Hell' is always an instant goosebump moment. Steve is passionate about music and life and this is reflected in their live performances and recent releases.