Show Date: October 21, 2010
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Venue: Hellraiser Club
Reviewer: Dirk Ballerstadt
Band Websites: www.theclaymore.de – www.myspace.com/theclaymoremetal
It was a dark and chilly October evening at the suburbs of Leipzig in front of the Hellraiser Club — which contains a smaller section with a little stage, and a bigger part where bands can play to a thousand fans.
Leipzig is a two-hour drive from my hometown of Berlin, and on that cool Thursday night W.A.S.P. was expected to perform as part of their European tour called’The Return To Babylon Tour 2010′ — but there was a little problem with the band that is run by Blackie Lawless. W.A.S.P. arrived at the venue around noon, had some problems with the local promoter, and unable to find a solution to that undeclared problem, Lawless and company decided to leave the club eight hours before showtime! I don’t want talk about the rumors, because they are only rumors and not necessarily the facts.
With W.A.S.P. out of the picture support act The Claymore were asked by the promoter to either stay and play or leave as well… and the band decided to play, and extended their set to forty minutes.
Anyway, I didn’t know anything about what had happened while driving to Leipzig. During the two-hour drive I listened to W.A.S.P.‘s catalogue from beginning to end and was excited to see them again after twenty-four years — in 1986 I saw them supporting Iron Maiden on their ‘Somewhere On Tour’ world tour. But that was then and this is now. I first heard W.A.S.P. had cancelled the show as I stood in front of the closed front doors, two hours before showtime, and the truth hit me like a hammer-in-the-face! It was ‘bitter-pill’ time again.
So what could I do? Drive back home with having seen nothing with the possibility of crashing on the Autobahn due to my anger? Instead I fought off my frustrations and decided to stay and give support band The Claymore a chance. I didn’t know much about them before, even though they had released three CDs — ‘Monument’ in 2005, ‘Sygn’ in 2008 and ‘Damnation Reigns’ in 2010 with special guest Ripper Owens.
That German band earned my respect, and that of the other 100 headbangers, most of whom had a long drive like me. It surprised me that all these metal-heads who were out to party on a Thursday night slowly forgot about W.A.S.P. (a little anyway) after a few beers. The Claymore, originally a Castrop-Rauxel based quintet (from the region we in Germany call the ‘Ruhrgebiet’, which means an area that had a lot of coalmines and steel industries in last century… and I remember the best British metal bands started out in similar towns), took the stage with a smile and as the intro was finished the five band members — Kai Schwittek and Sebastian Busacker on guitars, Christian Kohle on bass, Hardy Kolzer on drums and Andy Grundmann on lead vocals — stormed into the first energized song called “Angel’s Assassination”. That track almost blew me away… and the band was only playing with a backline system. After only the second song drummer Kolzer took off his shirt and while his sweat was flying north, south, east and west it became obvious that the Oscar for hard-hitting drumming goes to him.
The musical direction was very clear from that point on… power metal with a modern edge and strong lead vocals that reminded me a bit of Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson. Even though the headliners were no-shows, this five-piece didn’t care and rocked in front of the fans and gave them only the best. Fine power melodic metal songs such as “Slaine The Almighty”,”Behind Enemy Lines”, “Damnation Reigns”, “Silent Scorn”, “Oblivion” and “Soulseeker”, was just the stuff to crush your hearts and ears. All in all The Claymore put on a good show with good songs — a job well done and with the right breaks they could create a commercial impact. Maybe I’ll see them live again… when the headliners solve their problems with the concert promoters.