Last Sunday, we had the luck to witness the best heavy metal party that ever took place on Greek soil. Hail, a true all-star band featuring Andreas Kisser, David Ellefson, Jimmy DeGrasso and Tim “Ripper” Owens, had a stop in our country in the frame of their small tour.

In contradiction with other similar bands that tour in order to support a new record, Hail are putting together a quite different show. The special element of this band is their set-list which comprises exclusively of much beloved heavy metal songs from legendary groups, while we don’t see any original material coming out of Hail at least in the near future.

In an occasion like this many fans were expected and this is exactly what happened. Celebrate, the opening act, had the chance to play in a sold-out venue. They flirted with an American metalcore sound and despite the fact that they appeared in the beginning with an obvious stagefright, they managed to overcome their anxiety and the discomfort of the small stage and eventually win the crowd! Their musical identity wasn’t clear enough, although I must say that the melodic songs were more suitable in a live environment, and they didn’t come out contrived. They gave me the impression of a band that if it continues in that path, they will have much more to give…after all they are still young at age. The closing with the rendition of “Raining Blood” caused a stir.

When Hail hit the stage, every fan was ecstatic! Ellefson started playing the opening bass chords of “Ace of Spades” and the party began! There was not a single fan that didn’t scream/shout/headbang and travel back to his/her teenage years! Up next were “Territory” (Kisser gave his own recital on this one) and “Symphony of Destruction” where we saw the first signs of stagediving. Ripper made fun of the warm “piss-water” beer until the point where a guy brought cold beers for everyone, right before the stomping “Grinder”. Ripper carried on with the familiar funny comments and introduced “Fucking Hostile” and “Walk” while Jimmy De Grasso was having the time of his life! I was pleasantly surprised with the inclusion of Accept’s “Balls To The Wall” as I thought it was exclusively a favorite for European metalheads. We were treated with an impromptu version (it wasn’t scheduled) of “Rainbow In The Dark” and Ripper sounded like Ronnie James Dio. Unbelievable! “Neon Knights”, “Wrathchild” (chaos!), “The Green Manalishi”, “Metal Gods” and a spectacular medley of “Peace Sells…”/”Paranoid”/”Peace Sells…” blew us out! Someone took Ripper’s jockey, which upset him but at least he threw it back after a while and the whole thing end up to be a funny incident. The band kept for the encore “Refuse/Resist” (Ellefson went crazy) and “Whiplash”.

the funny comments by all the band members will remain unforgettable (eg. “Kisses from Kisser”), Jimmy De Grasso’s permanent smile even during the hardest blasts, Ellefson’s passionate play and…the hidden kid inside Kisser! Ripper is out of any competition or comparison as he was the perfect imitator of Dio, Udo Dirkschneider and Mustaine (blending his own unique style, of course).

Needless to say that there is no reason to name the bands that have written the aforementioned songs…if you don’t know them, I’m afraid you’ll have to start from the basics, really!

Foteini Paschalidou