The North American Plagues Tour with Iced Earth, Sabaton, ReVamp, House of Blues – Sunset Strip, May 2, 2014
The North American Plagues Tour made its way into the decadence known as the Sunset Strip to unleash a lethal dose of heavy metal to a capacity crowd. The House of Blues was packed to the rafters and beyond, where metal fans of all ages were to enjoy solid sets from the likes of ReVamp, Sabaton, and the headlining Iced Earth. The first time I saw Iced Earth, they had a small yet wildly enthusiastic crowd at The Whisky – they have come a LONG way since that fateful concert in May of 1999 – and Iced Earth 2014 was now ready to enrapture the metal masses in a big and glorious way.
First up on the stage was a rare and magical North American appearance from ReVamp, based out of the Netherlands and rockingTinseltown for the first time. One noticed right away the statuesque Floor Jansen, charismatic front woman for ReVamp, taking over the stage with her mesmerizing vocal delivery. Whether it be operatic or the screams of pure death, Floor Jansen certainly sweeps the listener into the passionate world of ReVamp. Opening with the magnificent strains of Wildcard, Jansen and band captivated the audience throughout their way too short, six song set. Each and every member of the ReVamp collective displayed an expert artistry, making for a thoroughly adventurous performance. Songs from both ReVamp albums were presented, and even Ms. Jansen appeared genuinely amazing by the ardent response of the early arrivals at the House of Blues. Floor promised to bring ReVamp back again soon, but before that, we’ll be seeing her fronting the legendary Nightwish when they show up Stateside later on in the year. In addition to Wildcard, the ReVamp set included inspiring renditions of Limbic System, Head Up High, Neurasthenia, Disdain, and Wolf And Dog. Immensely talented and ready to rock your world, Floor Jansen and the wondrous ReVamp infuse imagination and intrigue into the music, and their live presentation is not to be missed!
A live Sabaton extravaganza is a sonic journey of epic proportions that you must experience at least once in your life! The band’s main lyrical themes are based on war and historical battles – and Sabaton unleashes these exhilarating anthems with a fervent sense of conviction. Raging into the battlefield full speed ahead, Sabaton opened with the mighty Ghost Division. Massive circle and slam pits would ensue, showing their appreciation to this world renowned Swedish outfit. In addition to the many crowd favorites such as Carolus Rex, Swedish Pagans, and Art Of War, Sabaton introduced a brand new song from their upcoming Heroes magnum opus. The cut was entitled To Hell And Back, the true story of Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated veterans of World War II. There were a lot of kids on the audience – the youngest of metal heads, singing along to every song and waving their fists triumphantly in the air. One young fan received the sunglasses and armband from lead vocalist Joakim Brodén. Another attendee was 7-year-old Seth, who was invited onstage to rage on to the mighty refrains of the closing song Metal Crüe. I must say, these young kids head bang just as heavy and proud as the older fans. An extraordinary live set from a classic band who presents heavy metal for the ages. Sabaton clearly has the power to bring together the metal masses and truly present an inspiring, unforgettable show!
Iced Earth then took over the stage, opening with the powerhouse title track from their recently issued Plagues Of Babylon on Century Media Records. Proving why they are one of the greatest heavy metal bands to hail from the United States of America, Iced Earth launched into a solid set of heavy duty anthems. Highlights from the set included The Hunter, If I Could See You, My Own Savior, Dystopia, Watching Over Me, and many others. Iced Earth is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with, and their present day live performance is nothing short of legendary. A truly exciting event that many in the over packed room will remember for the glorious metal ages ahead!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)