Due to Metalfest and the way that this show played into that, I went on down to this gig directly from work, and got over, after unpacking all my crap at the hotel and getting some eats, shortly after Zero Point started.
Zero Point [4/7]
I saw about two-thirds of their set, which was strongly populated with covers and somewhat negatively affected by technical issues. They had some decent originals, which, from Maiden, Priest, and Dio Sabbath, provide a fair look-in at their original sound, but the band as a whole needs more finishing to take the next step up. They looked to be in general fairly young, so this is somewhat to be expected; they next time they come back here, they'll probably have taken that step.
Following this band, I got my first drink (Jack and coke, not beer, on the probably fallacious premise that it'd tear up my throat less) and also picked up Ravage's CD offerings; despite following the band since well before finding a review of it in Metal Hammer, I had somehow missed picking up Spectral Rider to date. No idea how that happened, but it's fixed now.
Not on the same guy, but this band featured Museum Replicas-style lapped leather armor as well as a top hat. Power metal, how we love ye. More relevantly, this band displayed the abilities as well as the trappings of American power metal, pounding out a high-quality set in the vein of Metal Blade's early lineup -- which also reminded me of Ravage a couple years ago. This bodes well for them, especially if they can continue to minimize the parts that were weak points in this set -- mainly prog elements that weren't as tightly integrated into the overall sound as they might have been -- and further develop the epic highs. They didn't have a CD out, as far as I could find, but eventually they'll be back, and hopefully have some recordings with them.
Armory I did get a CD from (more on that later), and they certainly took the performance up a notch or two. Their more clearly Maiden-derived power metal sound was a bit of a change-up in this lineup, and definitely well-received; this is where the floor started moving, to a little consternation from people who may not have expected Metal-Thursday-style moshing at a power metal show. Though the band played through at a high level, they had a total PA dropout for about the last half of their last song, but adjusted to the extent that they could, and things barely slowed down in the audience as people got used to the muted, somewhat shifted sound. Good all around on the band's part; definitely looking forward to seeing them again.
For a long time one of Metal Thursday's big selling points, in addition to the killer atmosphere, was that they had consistently the best DIY-show sound in the area. This has been in doubt since O'Brien's finished their renovation, but it was a neck-and-neck thing; lately, it bears more mention when there's a MT where at least one band doesn't have major issues with the PA. The sound man is still good, but he needs to go through his setup with a multimeter and replace or rebuild what isn't working. The community will keep this show series rolling along, but the more transient crowd for other live band nights may not be as forgiving if the PA gives up on the music.
(Metal Blade Recording Artists) Ravage [6/7]
The first gig for these guys since linking up with Slagel's outfit, this was a worthy outing of the first major-label artist to appear on a Metal Thursday bill, and also a class headlining set. It wasn't the best set that I've seen out here, or the best show I've seen from Ravage, but Armory set the bar mighty high, and Ravage easily met if not topped their standard. They didn't do "Wyvern", despite some jerk yelling for it a lot, but they did do a lot of old-school stuff, which held up well in relation to the new material. The floor got proper turbulent for them; there was no crowdsurfing or people getting flipped, but a few people got helicoptered, and the floor ended up covered in beer as usual. Due to massive demand, they also managed to squeeze out an encore of a couple songs; Metal Blade may be thinking more of selling them to Europe and continuing to push deathcore here, but when their debut comes out later this year, they're going to move more than a few of them here in the Northeast.
Before heading back to try to get more not sick before Metalfest, I picked up a CD from Armory, then congratulated Pete (keys) on a great set; I guess I intimated that I hadn't seen them before, but already had a CD, which caused a little confusion as I'd picked up the disc about 45 seconds before he got over to the merch table. Either that, or one or both of us had our brains and/or ears turned off due to drinking, noise, and/or fluid imbalance. I'd bet on at least me being in that state, much more than anyone in the band.
Time for lunch, a last merch run, and Book of Black Earth; it's looking more like it'll take a while to get the Metalfest comments digested and processed. Some of that will go on before reentry closes tonight, but the writeups are probably going to go in no earlier than next week.