By Andrew Bansal
(photos by Chad Alexander)
August 25th 2017, Affliction Studios, Seal Beach CA: Legendary Los Angeles-based heavy metal record label Metal Blade Records was established in 1982 and has completed 35 successful years promoting the finest and heaviest in music. Metal Blade threw a party last night at Affliction Studios in Seal Beach CA to celebrate the anniversary as well as the release of CEO Brian Slagel’s book ‘For the Sake of Heaviness’. We don’t cover parties that do not offer live music, but this one certainly did, as cult legends Armored Saint were slated to play a special mini-set at the invite-only event. When Metal Blade invited us to this, it was an absolute no-brainer, and it was most definitely worth the trip to Seal Beach.
It was a well-attended event with Metal Blade staff, friends, musicians on the label’s roster past and present, and of course members of the media turning up. At around 10 PM, Armored Saint appeared on what is surely the smallest stage they’ve performed on in a while. This was the perfect band for this party because they know how to change things up and make it a fun time for themselves and the audience for an event of this nature, and they did that in plenty here, even with a mere 7-song set. Longtime fans might have expected something special from the band, and the only question was, could they deliver?
The answer is an emphatic Yes, as they went ahead and performed some songs they either never played before or hardly ever did in the past. The set comprised 4 cover tunes including two that were recorded for Armored Saint’s ‘Nod to the Old School’ compilation (released in 2001 by Metal Blade), Judas Priest’s ‘Never Satisfied’ and Robin Trower’s ‘Day of the Eagle’. They also played Black Sabbath’s ‘N.I.B.’, and ended the set with AC/DC’s ‘Riff Raff’. Besides, the big highlight of the set was ‘For the Sake of Heaviness’ off of the 1985 album ‘Delirious Nomad’, tying in perfectly with this event as this song also happens to be where Brian Slagel took the title of his book from. The band also accepted a request from a fan in the front row and played ‘Reign of Fire’, as well as the title track of their latest album ‘Win Hands Down’.
Even with supposedly little rehearsal prior to the event, John Bush and his band mates were on fire yet created a fun-filled atmosphere suitable for a party, and Metal Blade simply could not have picked a better band to represent and celebrate the label on this monumental occasion. More than anything or anyone else, Armored Saint made it feel like a truly special, exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime event, and all in the audience were certainly fortunate to be in attendance.
Metal Blade’s 35th anniversary party was just as legendary as the label has been for all these years.
1. Never Satisfied (Judas Priest cover)
2. N.I.B. (Black Sabbath cover)
3. For the Sake of Heaviness
4.Reign Of Fire
5. Day of the Eagle (Robin Trower cover)
6. Win Hands Down
7. Riff Raff (AC/DC cover)
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