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Merton Manor Club, London
Photos by Sean Deane and Mark Taylor



With the outdoor festival season drawing towards a closure, it was the start of the indoor mini-fests and there was no better way than to start that than with a good old fashioned knees up with five names from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement (NWOBHM) at a venue whose bar prices are not far off what they were charging back in 1979 as the scene was beginning to burst.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of the promoters, the attendance figure was one you'll expect to find on a Bad News documentary, however the enthusiasm of both bands and the fans ensured that everyone was going to have one helluva night.

Even Metallica's Lars Ulrich was there in spirit by sending a goodwill message the day before which read: "Sending best wishes from all at Metallica to Weapon-UK, and all the bands taking part in tomorrow's show.......Have a great fucking metal time and thanks to all of you for helping start the great movement that is, and alway's will be, the NWOBHM. Lars". How cool is that!

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Dream Overkill opened the event and what a surprise they were. Originally called Overkill and later changing their name to avoid confusion with the American thrash band of the same name, Dream Overkill are veterans of the Reading Festival having played there on the opening day back in 1982 in a night headlined by Budgie, with Iron Maiden and MSG topping the other two nights.

Why this band never made more than just a single is astonishing as their material was full of top notch original quality full of deep hooks and musical styles that went against the grain of many of metal bands of the day.


Father like frontman Mike Fowler had a friendly demeanour kicked off with 'How Does It Feel' followed by the highly impressive 'Battle Song' which had a killer march like bad ass riff. The metal theme was alive and well with tracks about Odin and Thor. The single 'Elemental' was a real treasure and the first song they ever wrote 'Out Of My Head' had the right title for the state I would be in by the end of the evening. An excellent set that raised the ante for all the bands that had to follow.

Not that Rogue Male are scared of a scrapheap challenge. Although not a NWOBHM band strictly speaking as their debut 'First Visit' was released to an unsuspecting world in 1985, these animals were a welcome addition who tore the Manor Club a brand new arsehole with their ferocious set.

Rogue Male took no prisoners starting every song with an apocalyptic ear bashing crescendo before going out with all guns blazing in an assault to destroy everything in their path. Jim Lyttle and John-Fraser Binnie are like two wind-up toys with Duracell batteries rammed up their backsides performing as if they were at the New York Madison Square Garden showing W.A.S.P how it's really done. New bassist Tony Forsythe may be wondering what he's let himself in for but looked to be relishing the challenge.


Lyttle was a man possessed, snarling away and giving a mean look, all delivered with tongue in cheek humour as they ripped the place apart with with anthems such as 'Take No Shit', 'Crazy Motorcycle', 'Dressed Incognito' and a storming 'All Over You' ending with the new track directed at No.10 in 'Liar'. Rogue Male shot their load all over the Manor.

After the nuclear blast that had just swept through the Manor Club, it was understandable that Soldier looked to be a little shell shocked , however they soon got their armour together to do the job required of them. Original Ian Alan Dick led his troops through a solid display starting the set with some golden oldies in 'Infantrycide' and 'Strom Of Steel'. Guitarist Miles Goodman was using his Flying-V as a launch missile, whilst singer Richard Frost was happy to take cover behind the gunslingers.


Soldier were using the Manorfest as the official launch for their new album 'Dogs Of War' which built up the bulk of the set. Songs such as the title track, 'I Can't Breathe' and 'Bedlam' are firm rigid numbers for lovers of traditional metal and a trip down memory lane with the classic 'Sheralee' ended the set on a high.

Weapon, or Weapon-UK, as they are now annoyingly officially known as, are regulars here at the Manor and by now the club was belatedly filling up with more punters. Singer Danny Hynes looked like an extra from the Brokeback Mountain film in his tight leather trousers and cowboy hat and he soon spurred on the crowd with the Eastern promise of the mighty opener 'Ride The Mariah' from the forthcoming new album. Another new track 'Rising Skies' has a fast thrashing riff from Jeff Summers that would do Hetfield & Co proud.


Halfway through the set, the copious amount of Jack Daniels I was consuming was starting to take some serious effect. Not only was I drinking doubles but I was also seeing double at every measure, so as soon as Weapon (Yes I know! I musn't forget the -UK bit) finished a flaming 'Set The Stage Alight' I took the sensible step, well I couldn't take any steps to be precise, and grabbed the nearest chair, held my head in shame and tried to restore some order in it.

To keep me alive and alert Tytan had to be something very special indeed and boy!, they didn't disappoint. Opening with monk like chanting Tytan rode into 'Blind Men And Fools' and immediately they restored some sense of sobriety back into me. The sound they created was incredible all delivered with a clinical approach.


Kevin Riddles is a highly underrated bassist whose sound was reverberating through his whole body with a funky edge with a dose of progressive madness throughout. His playing was out of this world only coming back down to earth with his in between song banter where he reminded me of Les Dawson with his humour and manner.

Introduced as 'Our Kashmir Song', 'Rude Awakening' was exactly that with it's riff like mantra destroying any usable brain cells left in my shaken skull. Steve Mann was away in a world of his own playing with a fluid passion. Keyboardist Andrew Thompson wasn't just there for show as he added a hidden dexterity to the big sound without outstaying his welcome. Singer Tom Barna has a bewitching voice that leaves a spell on the listener leaving them totally entranced.

Simply put, Tytan were superb and proved themselves to be something very special indeed.

A cracking day out and on the strength of the music on offer here today, I sure hope there will be another Manorfest next year.

It'll be a travesty if not, because many younger bands can be hugely inspired by what these largely forgotten bands had to offer.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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