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LIVE REVIEW: Saxon & Diamond Head - De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK 13/11/22

Living in the South East of England, I would usually have to go to Brighton or London to see a metal show. So it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to see that Diamond Head and Saxon, two very influential metal bands, were playing in the small seaside town of Bexhill. Diamond Head has already played at the venue in the past (something not many metal bands can claim!), in 2019, supporting Uriah Heep. Although a relatively small venue, the De La Warr Pavilion is a great venue with brilliant sound, and it was good to see a sizeable turnout for this rare occasion. We need more rock/metal bands to play at this venue, but we have been fortunate to have bands such as Bullet For My Valentine with While She Sleeps and Enter Shikari play in the past, and next near Devin Townsend and Joe Satriani are playing, so let's hope this continues to increase!

The powerful Diamond Head formed in 1976 and played a massive part in the new wave of the British heavy metal movement, and legendary bands such as Metallica and Megadeth cite them as influences. They kicked off the night and played a forty-five-minute set that seemed to fly by and didn't waste a second. Keeping the energy and momentum high from the get-go with the opening song, the rapid and slick 'The Prince' taken from their debut album 'Lightning to the Nations'. Vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen was impressive with his powerful vocals and lively demeanour, while guitarists Brian Tatler and Andy Abberley got to strut their stuff. Later in the set, they also played 'Helpless' from the debut album. Singer Rasmus joined in 2014, and his first album with them was their self-titled album released in 2016, so it made sense to see the likes of 'Bones' and 'Set My Soul On Fire' from that time. 'Set My Soul On Fire' was a great atmospheric and menacing track live, and Rasmus showed off his varied vocal capacity. It was a well-rounded set that spanned their career, which given their short slot, was well chosen, and of course, they had to play a song from their latest 2019 album, 'The Coffin Train', which was the striking and intense 'The Messenger'. They ended with their most mighty and popular track, 'Am I Evil,' which saw the most crowd participation, marking an end to a tremendous and highly enjoyable set.

English heavy metal legends Saxon are pioneers of the NWOBHM, and during their early days, they established themselves as one of the most successful metal acts in Europe. Since their inception in 1977, they have released a whopping twenty-four albums, not something many bands can say! As well as that impressive feat, they have two original members still, vocalist Biff Byford and guitarist Paul Quinn who are both in their seventies but show no sign of slowing down. 

The band oozed confidence and style and looked like they were having a blast. They started with a great new addition to their repertoire, with 'Carpe Diem' (Seize the Day), taken from their latest album, also titled 'Carpe Diem'. The album was released in February this year and was critically acclaimed, and for a good reason, they managed to capture the best of traditional metal yet again. They had a great mix of songs from various albums in their hour-and-a-half set, with an abundance of songs to choose from. As the tour was to promote the new album, plenty of new tracks were played as expected, such as 'Age Of Stream', which features a cracking solo, 'Dambusters', 'the rapid 'Living On The Limit', 'Black Is The Night' and the epic 'Pilgrimage'. All the new songs sounded superb live and hit hard. Towards the end of their set, they unleashed their classic, much-loved melodic track 'Wheels Of Steel', which everyone got involved with singing and moving along to with other greats such as 'Heavy Metal Thunder' and 'Metalhead' also featuring. Biff stated it was the first time they had been to Bexhill, which was not a surprise as it is a small seaside town, but it must have made a nice change to play somewhere different, and I'm certainly glad they did.

They ended their set with another prime track, 'Princess Of The Night'. They played a glorious show, and the crowd was satisfied as they numerously chanted "Saxon!" throughout their performance which is always a good sign. The whole band had great energy, enthusiasm and presence and demonstrated that they are still going strong and showed after all this time why they are so influential and pivotal to the metal genre still.

Catch both bands on the rest of the tour, details below:

To check upcoming events at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill venue visit:

By Carina Lawrence (Mad About Rock)


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