Where were you on the night before the dawn of the New Millennium? Jon Kerr was getting a pit going in Jilly’s Rockworld, Manchester. We’ve asked him to summarise the ten years since then in all things metal in a handy A to Z
Not just any Californian metalcore outfit, this lot. A7X have produced a wide range of sounds across their four albums and have developed a global fanbase. From the release of debut Sounding the Seventh Trumpet to appearing between NIN and Metallica at the UK leg of the Sonisphere Festival, it has been Avenged Sevenfold’s decade.
When Michael Jackson kicked the bucket and moonwalked off to the big Neverland Ranch in the sky, there was much wringing of hands and furrowing of brows at the O2 Arena as to what to do with the bazillion or so open dates now Jacko’s shows were were cancelled. Well, we heard a very interesting rumour today that a fair old chunk of them are about to be claimed by Bon Jovi.
It’s an interesting and suprising fact that Iron Maiden have never headlined a UK stadium gig. We were there for their first one and lifelong fan, Tony Hampton is just bursting to tell you exactly why it was so great.
To have shaped a genre, influenced every rock band and rock fan for over 30 years. To still be selling out tours in record time and shifting albums by the truckload. To have your iconic mascot emblazoned across millions of t-shirts around the world.
To encompass all that’s fantastic, theatrical and, let’s be honest, silly about heavy metal and to be riding a wave of popularity and acclaim that shows no sign of slowing down as each new generation discovers you, and, to still be making albums so good you’re in no danger of ever being labelled as a nostalgia act.
To say it’s a very interesting time for Iron Maiden would be the understatement of the century.
Watch the video to ‘Number Of The Beast’ by Iron Maiden
Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to Twickenham for the London leg of this, their Somewhere Back In Time Tour will bear witness to the fact that this is, bar none, the greatest show on earth right now.
Taking in material and the mystical Egyptian imagery from the legendary Powerslave era it’s a feast for both the ears and the eyes.
Hitting the stage to ‘Aces High’, the 60,000 assembled Maidenites go suitably crackers as the triple guitar attack of Murray, Smith and Gerrs rips into life and bassist/founder/God Steve Harris plants his foot firmly on the monitor.
What follows is astounding. ‘Number Of The Beast’ is illuminated with huge pyro bursts, the epic 13-minute ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ sees Bruce Dickinson rocking the wizard chic look.
Watch the video to ‘Run To The Hills’ by Iron Maiden
The crowd is screaming every word, strangers are hugging in the aisles, and people are air-guitaring and throwing the devil horns left-right-and centre. When Bruce Dickinson lets loose a trademark “Scream for me…” the energy levels go off the scale.
To be stronger, tighter, and more at ease with your legacy than ever before must be satisfying but Iron Maiden don’t do smug. They like a pint, and the singer is so humble he has an Oyster card and gets the tube around town.
Incomparable, overwhelming genius.
Iron Maiden @ Twickenham setlist
‘2 Minutes To Midnight’
‘The Number Of The Beast’
‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’
‘Heaven Can Wait’
‘Run To The Hills’
‘Fear Of The Dark’
‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’
When Jon Bon Jovi comes to town, there’s no way that Thrash Hits .com is going to miss it. We were down there singing our hearts out to the full array of JBJ’s wedding songs.
Even better, however, Charley Staniforth was there to take some photos of the stadium rock legends. Check them out and tell us what you think.
Bon Jovi @ Twickenham photo gallery
JBJ gets ready to rock
David Bryan puts the oodles back in poodles
Jon Bon: “Put your hands in the air if you just don’t care!”
At one point there were 15 Jon Bon Jovis onstage
Sambora – clearly out of rehab
Big box, little box, JBJ
Bon Jovi, singing, stuff
That’s a great chest.
Bon Jovi @ Twickenham setlist:
‘Livin’ On A Prayer’
‘You Give Love A Bad Name’
‘Born To Be My Baby’
‘Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars’
‘Sleep’ (+ ‘Twist & Shout’ + ‘Start Me Up’)
‘Blaze Of Glory’
‘Whole Lot Of Leavin”
‘In These Arms’
‘We Got It Going On’
‘It’s My Life’
‘I’ll Be There For You’
‘Have A Nice Day’
‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’
‘Bad Medicine’ (+ ‘Shout’)
‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’
Avenged Sevenfold are a band that have never failed to court controversy and have gained as many detractors as they have plaudits. Hugh Platt talks to the extravagantly named Johhny Christ to find out why.
“I’d much rather all those people were hating us than just being ‘oh, they’re okay I guess’,” spits Johnny Christ (pictured, second from left), bassist with Orange County hell-raisers Avenged Sevenfold. “I want people to either love us or hate us – if you’re in the middle then we’re doing something wrong.”
Since rising to prominence with 2005’s City of Evil, Avenged Sevenfold – completed by M. Shadows (vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar/vocals), The Rev (drums) and Synyster Gates (guitar) – haven’t so much split opinion as they’ve strapped opinion to two intercontinental missiles, and blasted it into separate hemispheres as two bloody and squealing chunks.
Depending on your point of view, they’re either feeding their fans riff-dripping bargain buckets of Guitar Hero glory, or they’re a gang of Californian chancers who got lucky rifling through the pockets of greats for cast-off guitar solos and have been chasing the fickle tail of fashion metal ever since.
Watch the previously banned video to ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’ by Avenged Sevenfold
“Confidence,” is Christ’s explanation. “People might take our confidence in the wrong way, and think we’re a bunch of pompous asses. But we’re just confident in what we’ve worked our whole lives to do.”
That confidence has certainly paid off – the band has just blasted back into Europe for a raft of festivals and a support slot on the Iron Maiden tour. “When we heard that they were offering us a tour, and our only questions were ‘when?’ and ‘where?’” laughs Christ.
“A few years ago we got to witness what they do live – for the first time, for some of us,” he admits. “It was just awe-inspiring”. And what are Avenged Sevenfold going to do to try to match that Maiden live show? “Not drink as much?” he jokingly suggests.
Watch ‘Afterlife’ by Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold do have that reputation for off-stage carnage after all. Singer M. Shadows is as vocal off-stage as he is on, describing the rest of the bands on the 2005 Warped Tour as “not only anti-war, they’re anti-everything our country stands for”, to saying Dillinger Escape Plan “make shitty noises and try to pass it off as music.”
So have their tempers cooled off during the recording of last year’s self-titled Avenged Sevenfold album then? “We hear something from an interviewer that’s trying to get under our skin… whether or not the statements are true or not, we were just quick to jump back,” Christ says of past controversies.
So they’re not trying to be the new Mötley Crüe then? “No,” says Christ, stifling a laugh at the suggestion. “We’re just trying to be Avenged Sevenfold.”
Avenged Sevenfold support Iron Maiden at London Twickenham Stadium on 5 July 2008