The following words will try (and probably fail) to let you all know how one of the most emotional events that this long-time Die-Hard has ever experienced went down…..
Let’s rewind to 2014 first, though, just to set the scene....
It was announced that M:PIRE of EVIL would be performing at the 2015 Keep It True festival in Germany. The members of our humble Fanclub, Deepest Hell, had many times mentioned that we should have a Fanclub Meeting. As there was going to be a healthy amount of Deepest Hell members at this festival, the decision was made that indeed, the first-ever Deepest Hell Fanclub Meeting would take place at Keep It True 2015.
But there was an added twist – not only was there going to be the M:PIRE of EVIL concert, there was going to be a special VENOM set played right after, where MANTAS and THE DEMOLITION MAN would be joined by a VERY special guest. And tbh, I think that most of us knew from the start just who that special guest would be….
Anyway, in the months before the big event, special Fanclub shirts were created, along with some other bitz (including the very first Deepest Hell Schnaps!), and we slowly got to know who exactly would be making the journey to Germany. The original idea was shirts just for those who would attend….. but then we felt rather bad for the Deepest Hell members who could only be there in spirit, so the full DH members also had the chance to at least own the shirt!
Keep It True is a 2 day festival, but our focus was on the second day (Saturday), as that was M:PIRE day. After work on Friday, we picked up our little Lady from school and set off on the 380 KM drive to Lauda-Königshofen. Despite chaotic traffic jams several times during the journey, we managed to stay cool, knowing that our only concern was arriving at the festival and saying HELLo to some of the Deepest Hell people, the main focus was on the Saturday for us.
When we finally arrived at KIT, the final band of the Friday (Exciter) were already on stage. Grabbed a quick beer and it did not take long to bump into the first Deepest Hell Legions. Out to the Hydramobile and the first of the DH shirts and Schnapps were presented to their new owners. There was already a sense of excitement in the air as we shared a beer and a laugh. The gathered Deepest Hell people all knew who the guest was for the next day.
What they did not know was that we were hiding a little secret from them, as there had been some serious website stuff going on for the past few weeks. So just to wet their appetite even more, I suggested that perhaps they should go online at 12 midday on Saturday, as something BIG was gonna happen….
So, a night’s sleep at a very cool hotel followed, and up fairly early the next day. I had been instructed by someone to hit the PUBLISH button on a special website just before 12 midday. Hit the button, shut down the computer and of to the venue we go.
In the 20 or so minutes it took to drive to the KIT site, all the Deepest Hell people had already been online, and read the news that MANTAS, THE DEMOLITION MAN and ABADDON would be re-uniting, recording and touring as VENOM Inc.
Everyone was excited, some were in disbelief, and needed confirming that everything was indeed true. It was, it is, and it is the news that many, many of us had been waiting so much to hear. They have returned…… Fuckin’ Hell Yeah!!!!!!!!!!
But, that was for the future, so several more visits to the Hydramobile and most of the Deepest Hell people have the fanclub goodies.
Now, as seems to be the tradition at Keep It True, each band has a Meet & Greet session. M:PIRE of EVIL had theirs at 16.45pm. There was a long, LONG line of VENOM & M:PIRE Die-Hards awaiting the arrival of the band. MANTAS, THE DEMOLITION MAN and FRANCESCO walk in, but wait – there is a fourth person in tow – none other than ABADDON!! Surely now everyone knew who the special guest would be!!
What followed was absolute mayhem – thousands of M:PIRE and VENOM items all begging to be autographed. I witnessed it from behind the tables where the guys were autographing the items, and it was chaos pure!! Excited Freaks screaming in delight, it almost seemed that everyone in attendance had brought their M: and V bitz for signing. No exaggerating, but such was the demand that the guys could have been there for 5 hours and they still would not been finished.
I have never seen anything like it. I was talking to ABADDON later and asked him if, even in the days when VENOM were at the height of their powers, that he had seen anything approaching this level of sheer devotion during autograph sessions, and he confirmed that this even out-did those times! Amazing scenes. And full respect to the guys – they even signed more stuff and posed for pics with more fans before and after their concert. MANTAS had arrived having been ill for the previous week, but the guy soldiered on and signed as much stuff as he could – re-fuckin’-spect to the Man!!!
Another couple of visits to the Hydramobile to get yet more shirts delivered. Fever pitch was being reached in anticipation of what was to follow. Quickly backstage where I had the beyond-awesome task of accompanying MANTAS, DEMOLITION MAN and FRANCESCO to the stage to get ready for the concert, and I was carrying MANTAS’ guitars – wow!!!
I got to see both the setlists, and I could only smile as I thought what the Die-Hards on the other side of the curtains would be thinking when they heard these songs being played. Mrs Hydra and Little Hydra were on photographic and filming duties inside the barriers, while I returned to the front to join several of my Deepest Hell brethren… all the Deepest Hell members were lined across the front, many in the very front row. So we are ready, M:PIRE are ready – let’s go!!!!
M:PIRE of EVIL is a highly tuned, polished Metal monster, and when you see this band live, you just know what you are going to get – songs performed with precision Heavyness. Be it original M:PIRE songs, Prime Evil-era songs, or the occasional VENOM classic, this band always delivers!
DEMONE, WAKE UP DEAD, HELLSPAWN (for us Motherfuckin’ Hellspawn of course!), these songs are loved not just by us M: and V Freaks down the front, it must be said the whole of the venue is seriously enjoying this, headbanging and screaming during each song. The anthems METAL MESSIAH and HELL TO THE HOLY just add to the fury. Then the band bring us a couple of VENOM classics. Now everyone in the world of Metal knows the songs BLACK METAL and COUNTESS BATHORY. And everyone at the festival went absolutely crazy – everyone singing along and hair flying everywhere!!
Incredible scenes, and in the headbanging chaos that we were living out in the front rows, we were almost in danger of getting carried away and forgetting what was next to come! The M:PIRE set comes to an end, and to great applause and Hails of respect, the band are cheered from the stage. This was one awesome fuckin’ concert, and it is safe to say that M:PIRE sure left their mark on this festival crowd!
Remember earlier in these words where I mentioned that there was going to be a special set performed by MANTAS, THE DEMOLITION MAN and a Special Guest? Well, the time is here. The lights then had went down when M:PIRE departed the stage started flickering again. A very evil and cool-sounding intro rolls in. From out of the dry ice, the shadow of MANTAS becomes visable, and a few seconds later THE DEMOLITION MAN strolls onstage. The noise and chanting from the crowd is almost overwhelming! And the roars from The Legions beside me is deafening, THE DEMOLITION MAN glances towards the drumkit which is engulfed in smoke, the special guest is looming there…. He takes a stride forward and raises an arm to the crowd.
Yes, it is ABADDON – The Drum-Lord is back, and here he is – reunited with THE DEMOLITION MAN and MANTAS! This was a highly emotional moment for us, and it was so moving seeing these 3 Dudes together on a stage again. THE DEMOLITION MAN strikes the opening bass notes of PRIME EVIL, and ABADDON and MANTAS launch their assault. Heavy beyond words – they have indeed returned!!
DIE HARD, and the Die-Hards are doing just that! I just have to take the odd glance around the place, there does not seem to be one person in the whole venue that is not going wild!! Several of the Deepest Hell people are right beside me, and the looks of pure joy on their faces was so awesome to see! THE SEVEN GATES OF HELL…. What can I say? I know many of us Die-Hards had a little tear in our eyes at the sight and sound of this historic event. I just told myself if the tears started flooding from the sheer emotion of all this, just keep freaking and people will think the tears are just sweat flying from my headbanging head! My Wife & Daughter right in front of me, smiles adorn their faces….. Mrs Hydra unable to restrain from Freaking… the Deepest Hell people going fuckin’ Wild – amazing, amazing experience!!
IN NOMINE SATANAS – words are starting to fail me! You almost feel yourself thinking is this really happening? Of course it fuckin’ is, and you and everyone with you is having the time of their lives!! BLOODLUST – classic ABADDON skin-pounding, THE DEMOLITION MAN and MANTAS bringing us to our knees, both through exhaustion and the need to worship before these Black Metal Gods!!
There is one final battering ram aimed at us, just to make sure that none of us have one drop of energy that has not been spent. And that comes in the form of SONS OF SATAN. Words cannot describe how they delivered this song to us Die-Hards – it sounded just like the original version of all those Black years ago. We screamed all the words with the guys, and there is no way of describing the respect, admiration and downright Blackened Worship that the audience aimed at the stage. To a massive ovation from the entire venue, the guys exited the stage...
I looked around at my Deepest Hell Brothers and Sisters and we were almost speechless, standing there just dripping in sweat. We knew we had witnessed history, and what had just happened was something we had wished for for a very long time! Now it had happened, and it happened on such a special occasion for us – our first ever Deepest Hell meeting – this cannot be topped, surely?
Although this was such a monumental moment in our Venomous lives, please do not misunderstand these words that I have written – yes, VENOM Inc was one of the most monumental things I have ever experienced, but this should not distract from the M:PIRE of EVIL concert, which was as brilliant and enjoyable as they always are. And I know what I’m talking about here, as we have seen M:PIRE six times now.
Also, do not for one moment think that just because VENOM Inc has now happened, that the future of M:PIRE of EVIL is anyway in doubt – both bands will co-exist, and both will be equally deserving of our devotion.
After a quick beer to try and replenish the sweat lost in the last 1 hour 20 minutes, we went to the backstage area to just try and express our Thanx to FRANCESCO, ABADDON, MANTAS and THE DEMOLITION MAN.
Between interviews and photos, THE DEMOLITION MAN and ABADDON were still trying to pop onside as often as possible, still signing autographs and having their pics taken with the hungry Legions. MANTAS showed just what a Metal warrior he is, although the great man was feeling poorly all day, he battled through all and delivered his customary brilliance for both sets. Lesser men would have (quite rightly) cancelled all, so we can only pay our utmost respect to the man!
To think that all this musical perfection happened at our first Deepest Hell fanclub meeting….. fuckin’ wow! Since Deepest Hell started, we are forever being blown away with the friendship, dedication and unity of all in our love and passion for the greatest music that has and will ever be created. And the 20 Deepest Hell members who attended, it was just such a fantastic honour for myself, Daniela and Lorraine to share this experience with you all. We all laughed together, shared our Venomous tales, we breathed this whole event together…. We are truly as one!!!
The only negative is that all the real Deepest Hell members who could not be with us, as we are spread out all over this damned planet….. but I have to say this (and not just from me, but from Daniela & Lorraine too) - if the call came through right now, and we were gonna do the second Deepest Hell meeting tomorrow, we would now be jumping in the Hydramobile and on our way to meet you all again – you are Venomous royalty, and we will forever be Standing Up and Being Counted with you all – eternal & infernal hails to you!!!!!!