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Camden Underworld, London August 25 2003

Wow! Three power metal bands on one bill and just five pounds! Of the three I had heard Intense and Power Quest (their debut album of last year, 'Wings Of Forever' was one of the best metal debuts for many a year) and was looking forward to hearing Mercury Rain, who have had good reviews and feedback on various websites/magazines.

Decent sized crowd for a Bank Holiday Monday but there was still room for more! Mercury Rain are a female fronted power metal act and they played a decent set. Plenty of riffs and solos as you'd expect, plus a very strong sounding drummer. The only drawback was that I couldn't really make out the vocals above the guitars/drums but a sound set nonetheless.

Next up Intense, who batter you with a wall of guitars from the off and played some new songs of their forthcoming album. New song 'War Of Angels' sounded very good, the other newie was a slower, brooding number (can't remember the title!) that will feature keys on the album version. Of the 'older' tunes, 'Dark Season' was the pick of the bunch with its riffs overload and a very intense (no pun intended!) sound, with vocalist Sean Hetherington very suited to this style of metal. Looking forward to their album when it gets a release later this year.

It's amazing Power Quest made this gig as they lost one of their guitarists at the last minute plus they had a new drummer, Gavin Ward, who has only joined the band in the past month. As a result with one guitar down some of the songs were missing extra guitar parts, but Andrea Martongelli did a more than admirable job, plus adding harmony vocals as well. Superb run through 'Wings Of Forever' and vocalist Alessio Garavello came into his own on 'Beyond The Stars'. Of the two new numbers, both sound very good on first listen with one of them sounding not unlike Ten as it has a heavy melodic rock feel. Closing with the anthem, 'Far Away' (hear the MP3 on and it marked a fine end to a great evening of metal.

Text © 2003 Jason Ritchie

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