The Swarming August 21st

September 04, 2018

So on a Tuesday night I find myself back at my new spiritual home, The Wedgewood Rooms...well, Ok, at The Edge, but we aren’t really going to split hairs now are we?

So having already seen 4 great bands here just a couple of weeks ago, Morass of Molasses, Victus, Ritual and Stone Soup, then Swarmfest just at the end of the same week this time around we were all about to be treated to a night of Toledo Steel, Rabid Bitch of the North and HanOwaR, who were stopping off at Portsmouth on their world tour.

So kicking off this night of old school Power Metal/ NWOBHM, was HanOwaR from Valhalla via Havant. This band took me back a little.

So cracking out the sound of many of the Power/ Battle Metal greats, such as HammerFall, Kamelot and Glory Hammer, essentially this band is a tribute to the mighty Manowar...the only difference was, The Edge has a limit on how loud they can turn up the P.A.

You can see that these guys don’t take themselves seriously, and that really shows in their performance.

Don’t misunderstand me, that does not mean they are a lazy or sloppy band, quite the opposite in fact.

But, the whole point of this band is to pay tribute, and have fun doing it, and that’s exactly what they do...and so do their crowd.

Many cardboard hammers in the crowd, and plenty of “HanOwaR” T-Shirts clearly show that there are Power Metal fans that “get” what this band are about.

Confetti cannons at the end of the performance signalled how epic this band are. Incidently, I spoke to Dominic at the end of the battle, and he explained to me of the difficulty they had in coming up with their name...listen to the interview to find out, but I would like to personally thank Hanna….whoever you are!! Hahaha

“So to sum up HanOwaR. If you like pure Power/Battle Metal, and just want to have a fun time, go and see this crazy bunch, they will have you leaving the room with cardboard hammer scars, confetti in your hair, and a smile on your face!”

Next up to take the stage, on a joint headline tour we had Rabid Bitch of the North from Belfast Northern Ireland.

In contrast to HanOwaR these guys were not a tribute act, they were the real deal, and ambassadors to the genre they represent

This 3 piece band are truly part of the scene that is referred to as NWOBHM (that’s New Wave of British Heavy Metal to you and me), but they aren’t just New Wave, they were around doing their thing before British Heavy Metal had its second coming.

In fact one of their tracks during the set actually stated this… during the 90’s someone told them that their music was out of date, and would go nowhere...well, guess they must have been right...right?

These guys have played with a list of Metal legends including Angel Witch, Raven, Diamond Head, Blitzkrieg, Hell, Portrait, Tim Ripper Owens, Acid Reign, Xentrix, Pagan Altar, Primordial, Solstice, Dark Forest, Age Of Taurus, and Argus, and then alongside Saxon and Megadeth at Bloodstock 2014.

A set that featured fast riffs, it was a heavy as hell as pure Metal should be, I may not be a true fan of this scene myself, but I would also not hesitate to rock out to this band again if our paths cross again.

With the guys from HanOwaR still trying to sweep the floor after the confetti cannons, we were now ready for tonight’s joint headliner, Southampton’s Toledo Steel.

Conquering stages across the UK and Europe since 2011, with their own style of 80s influenced high energy heavy metal; They have proved themselves to be one of the UK's leading forces in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Supporting the release of the debut album No Quarter, the guys have been on tour with Rabid Bitch and HanOwaR and tonight was the finale for the “almost” hometown boys.

This was my first time seeing this band, despite being aware of who they are.

From the first chord, and the first note sung I immediately realised there is a reason this band are signed.

I was slightly mesmerised with Rich Rutter’s vocals. In 2018 it seems fairly old school to hear someone who can truly sing properly in head voice, that accolade usually sits with artists such as Myles Kennedy, Rob Halford, Chris Cornell, Bruce Dickinson and Angus McFife from Glory Hammer, but nonetheless seems a fairly outdated practice. But Rich has it nailed.

This band truly is the epitome of the New Wave, and pays homage to the band's influences and roots. They cite bands such as Judas Priest, Accept, Saxon and Scorpions as influences, and whilst they clearly have their own sound, the influences are there. Like the previous two bands that performed on the night, this is a band that I would be more than happy to see play again...and I suggest you should too!

So in Summary;

This was a heck of an undertaking for the promoters of The Swarming (Sam and Klay from Victus) was the third event in August, there aren’t too many promoters at this level who would put on 3 events in one month, (one of which was an all day festival) but in my opinion they are doing an amazing job and deserve the support of the local area - my advice is, support them you should!


More Photos