Queensryche play a stop in Bristol on their small tour in the UK, with support from Dendera and Death Angel.

Queensryche are playing a run of three dates in the UK, the first time the band have visited since October 2013, apart from a festival appearance at the end of 2014. The Bristol crowd was lucky enough to be one of those three and were treated to an excellent evening of old school rock!

Opening up the evening were Dendera, a five-piece band from Portsmouth, made up of Ashley Edison (vocals), Stephen Main (guitar), David Stanton (guitar), Bradley Edison (bass), and Andy Finch (drums). They have just released their second album Pillars of Creation, and all five songs in their set came from it.

The band didn’t disappoint the fans, expertly navigating the fairly narrow stage filled with three drum kits, to fit the small space allotted at the front, and gave a proper, rocking introduction, to the evening.

Powerful songs with a definitive Iron Maiden vibe permeated the performance. Beginning with Ashley screaming into the first song, “Claim our Throne,” we knew what we are in for: heavy rock played well. Ashley has a vocal style to match Bruce Dickinson too, and some may say they are “too” Iron Maiden, but they do it with finesse. “The Daylight Ending” brings a more powerful vocal as well as a great guitar solo from Dave. Andy’s double bass drum pedals are used to full effect too. Finishing with “Disillusioned,” they saved the heaviest song until last, ending a great set to put everyone in the right frame of mind for what was to come.

Death Angel was up next. The Bay Area, California band have been melting faces with their thrash sound since forming in the early 80s and are still going strong, despite a forced break in the 90s. Mark Osegueda (vocals), Rob Cavestany (lead), Ted Aguilar (rhythm), Will Carroll (drums), and Damien Sisson (bass) are a tightly knit group, with this line-up being together for the last six years.

Mark introduces themselves as a thrash metal band and that is exactly what they are. Stripping-the-paint-off-the-walls thrash. They look like they have been transported here in a Delorean from the 80s with old school sounds, looks, and moves. But it’s what they do and the crowd loved it. They have a long history in Bristol and are glad to be back.

By the time they kick in with “Seemingly Endless Time,” the crowd had swelled and moved forward. “Claws in so Deep,” with headbanging throughout from the band, and the guitarists raising the horns to the crowd between riffs, is a standout track, along with “The Dream Calls For Blood,” the title track from the new album. The band finished from where they started with “The Ultra Violence” and “Mistress of Pain,” from their debut album released in 1987.

Queensryche, of course, was eagerly anticipated by the crowd. Entering the stage to a background soundtrack of what sounded like an old war speech, they start with “Anarchy-X” from Operation Mindcrime. Todd LaTorre (lead vocals), Michael Wilton (guitar), Parker Lundgren (guitar), Eddie Jackson on (bass), and Scott Rockenfield on (drums) are the latest incarnation of the band, who first formed in 1982, with Todd taking over vocals from Geoff Tate in 2012.

Todd has settled in well and his vocals were in amazing form tonight. They then went back to “Nightrider” from the first self-titled EP, and continued with a set which was all 80s. They played material from the iconic Operation Mindcrime, Rage for Order, and The Warning.

The crowd sang along to it all and relished the set of older songs. “The Whisper” was a standout, even though LaTorre stepped back allowing the fan voices to take over vocals as he clapped along to the intro.

Soon, booming air-raid sirens reverberated through the old factory building to introduce “Warning.” Todd then tells us that we have a treat coming, the “dynamic guitar duo of Queensryche.” The pair played an absolutely flawless duet in perfect harmony, which sounded nothing short of amazing in this old building. The crowd lapped it up as they went into “The Needle Lies.” The band sounded as tight as ever, and put on an amazing show of musicianship throughout, and that was wonderful to see, giving goosebumps at the same time as rocking your world.

The only break from the 80s came in the form of “Arrow of Time” from the upcoming Condition Human album, yet the track held true to the old-school Queensryche sound. This newest single gives a great insight into what we can expect from the new album, which is classic Queensryche.

“Empire” followed before Todd told the crowd that the last song is one about never giving up hope, which brought us to the finale, with “Take Hold of the Flame.” No encore followed, and the crowd was left desperately wanting more after an all too short, but perfectly formed, set.

Photos by Becky O’Grady at R-O-C-K Photography

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