St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
BOLT THROWER, BENEDICTION, some other shite
Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, IL
Sunday, June 2, 2013
While not precisely within the Into the Void Records catchment, I know enough Minnesota warmasters made the trip to make this review relevant to this store’s blog. That, and it was BOLT THROWER! Within striking distance! Memories of past campaigns haunt only the saltiest of salty metal veterans in most of this country, let alone these cities. This is a terse review, as promised, for those who slept or worked through this one as well.
LOCATION — Reggie’s is a competent and well-run venue. Their few quirky choices in operation prove merely annoying and don’t ultimately detract from the whole affair. For sold-out shows, like this one, the rear mezzanine is a great perch for avoiding the madding crowd while still delivering an excellent sight and sound experience. We could use some of what they have going here in the Twin Cities.
THE OPENING ACT — had no business on this bill.
BENEDICTION — One of those bands all old-timers remember who generate almost no passionate defense (or scorn). I personally remember the literal acts of buying and owning Transcend the Rubicon as a teenager, including the excellent cover art, and little of the actual content therein. The ties to countrymen BOLT THROWER, via former vocalist Dave Ingram and previous tours, nonetheless made them a legitimate, if underwhelming choice for direct support.
All told, they played crisply and seemed to cover a fair amount of discographical ground. The fat guitarist moved much less than their strung-out and balding one, and both moved more than the bassist, who looked like bicycle delivery boy on his two-hour lunch break.
Their appreciation for the energetic response of the attendees, many of whom were seeing this band for the second straight night, was pleasant and for me better than seeing them perform their tepid compositions. I’m glad at least that they’ll bring flattering tales of American audiences back across the pond.
BOLT THROWER — Incredibly solid. I won’t go so far as to say monumental, life-altering or transcendental, but iron-clad. Karl Willetts sounded a bit aged and breathy relative to the classics, which they thankfully played in decent proportion — there seemed to be about one representative song for each album overall. Jo Bench was nearly inaudible, at least from my vantage point, until a sound tech remedied the levels for her on stage a few tracks in and reestablished balance. Seeing five longhairs replete with synchronized headbanging invoked an ancient (and much appreciated) stage presence that easily made up for some of the miscues.
As I’ll consistently emphasize on this blog, it’s great to see anybody in metal pursuing it with youthful enthusiasm up to 25 years into their careers (or perhaps “vocations” is more apt here). From what I was able to see in Chicago, BOLT THROWER fits that mold. Even where the execution may have faltered, the spirit was transmuted to the lively energy of anybody who spent ages waiting for their moment to finally receive it.
Partially remembered setlist, in nearly correct order:
“The IVth Crusade” (had a sneaking feeling this would be the opener)
“When Glory Beckons”
A few tracks strung together from albums after …For Victory including “No Guts, No Glory.”
“In Battle There is no Law”
Hopefully I can add a few photos. Friends have been slow on delivery. Here’s the first of a series of videos on YouTube that were taken from a similar vantage point to mine:
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