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Bannermans, Edinburgh
13th June 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

winter in eden

So what to do to celebrate when you turn 50? Well if you've been immersed in rock and Metal music your whole life for work and play like Paul Moss then the answer is easy - you put on some bands and support live music!

With the help of his friend and promoter Mike Clark, Paul took over Bannermans for the night with three quality bands playing and the whole thing (dubbed of course Moss-fest) was free entry to party goers and public alike.

First up were Aberdeen heavy rockers Deadfire. With a sound that mixes up old school rock and grunge influences they are a kind of Sabbath meets Soundgarden groovy riff monster of a band. The music is tuneful yet heavy and can verge on a stoner rock vibe but their ace in the hole, singer Charlie Munro keeps up the intensity levels at all times.

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Munro is an imposing presence but that is not all down to his size or his plethora of tattoos. He mixes in some wit and humour and some stagecraft to make sure the audience is involved. Meantime his raw vocal delivery demands attention and overall their heavy rock with attitude gets a great reaction from the crowd. I felt that these guys were just getting warmed up too as their set ended. A band to watch in the future.

Dealer are a band born in the glory days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal in 1979 but like most of the bands in that legendary movement they didn't manage to make the big time and broke up in 1988. However like many of their contemporaries a new wave of interest from fans all around the world sparked a reunion in 2010 and they are back in business again.

winter in eden

Tonight was their first ever Scottish gig and I have to say what a shame they didn't make it up here the first time round. Their tongues are planted firmly in their cheeks when they proclaim "Respect the chugga!" but any fans of Metal from that golden era would immediately warm to their twin flying V mid paced Metal attack. There are riffs a plenty mixed in with some melody and a sense of fun which is just the right mixture for the partying crowd tonight.

All the songs are so obviously from that era but rather than sounding cliched they come across as bursting with life and feel instantly recognisable to a crowd even though the vast majority have never had the chance to see the band before. There are slower epic sounding sections, fun singalongs and above all loads of chugging riffs and everyone lapped it up. They might just be the ideal band for any UK Metal fans 50th birthday party!

winter in eden

Time was moving on and the audience had thinned out a bit by the time Durham based symphonic Metallers Winter In Eden hit the stage sometime after 11.00pm. I thought their recently released third album 'Court Of Conscience' was a real step forward in quality for the band and bringing in Within Temptation's Ruud Jolie as producer had been worth the investment it must have taken.

Following the good time vibe of Dealer's set might have looked a bit of a challenge for a band leaning towards melodic Metal of the symphonic meets gothic variety but this up and coming outfit took everything easily in their stride. Singer Vicky Johnson has a quite low key approach to her frontwoman role but exudes a warm likeability and straightforward way of addressing the audience and it's not long before everyone is fully on the band's side and enjoying the music.

winter in eden

It's been a couple of years since I last saw Winter In Eden live and they have definitely moved up a gear in that time. Most of the set is sensibly taken from the most recent album and the confidence the band have in their material is obvious to all. Everything is tight and together and while all the band members are obviously loving what they are doing there is little over flashy playing, the song is king in Winter In Eden's world.

Vicky Johnson's vocals are of the strong, melodic, rock variety rather than the operatic flavours favoured by some of the well known symphonic Metal bands and they blend well with the myriad of keyboard hooks and guitar riffs through the songs. The musicians in the band are all very good but I thought it was a shame that when their singer vacated the front of the stage for an extended instrumental section no one had the confidence to step into the spotlight and reach out to the audience.

Despite still having some work to do on the stage craft overall this was an excellent show by a band moving in the right direction and the genuine demand for an encore was well deserved. It was a nice touch to invite the birthday boy up on stage too for some up close audience participation and signalled a terrific end to an excellent night of music. Why can't all birthday parties be like this?




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