Orden Ogan and Rhapsody of Fire at Rebellion Manchester, Wednesday 08/11/2017
Power metal? Manchester, UK? Wednesday night? Not exactly a recipe for success one might think. One would be very, very wrong indeed for this was a magnificent night for metal with two great bands pulling out all the stops giving a pretty healthy crowd much to enjoy. I'd estimate that there were about three hundred people at least in the venue which is pretty good for a November evening by anybody's reckoning. Quite how many were in situ when Rhapsody of Fire came on bang on time at 1930 is open to question given that Rebellion's entry policy appeared to have been worked out by Noah himself (no more than two were allowed in at any one time to get their luminous orange wristbands.) Nevertheless we managed to get in during the first song proper - "Distant Sky" which was followed by a simply magnificent "Dargor", "Shadowlord of the Black Mountain" before "Flames of Revenge" confirmed what I noted when reviewing The Legendary Years album, namely that in Giacomo Voli, Alex Staropoli has found a vocalist who can carry the band forward into the next evolutionary cycle.
That's not to say that the rest of the band were too shabby, oh no sir. Manu Lotter kept up a thunderous pace on the drums – quite how he managed to mingle with the crowd during the interval is beyond me! Roby De Micheli played Luca Turilli's guitar parts faithfully yet economically with minimum fuss whilst the aforementioned Staropoli lurked at the back on his keyboards keeping things together whilst pulling suitably epic shapes. "The Magic of the Wizard's Dream"was dedicated to Christopher Lee, sadly they didn't play "Land of Immortals" but "Emerald Sword" was total cinematic metal perfection. Rhapsody of Fire came to Manchester and kicked all forms of ass. Catch them when you can.
As splendid as Rhapsody of Fire were, it's safe to say that the crowd where wholly up for Germany's Orden Ogan who, despite a few early technical gremlins blew the clichéd roof off the gaff. The band's back catalogue got a thorough examination and as someone who believes that Gunmen is the band's magnum opus I was really impressed with the older material in a live setting. Highlights included "F.E.V.E.R" which was played second, "Sorrow Is Your Tale" and the encores of "We Are Pirates" and the crowd pleasing "The Things we Believe In". For me, however, the newer material including "Gunman", "Fields of Sorrow" and "Come With Me to the Other Side" really pushed the night onto an extra level and hopefully both bands will return for a more extensive UK tour in the very near future.