By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
I love going to concerts on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Calif. There is a richness of rock ‘n’ roll history and culture down there. It is home to legendary clubs/bars like the Whisky a-Go Go, the Roxy, and the Rainbow Bar & Grill. I must say the one club on that iconic boulevard, that means the world to me, is the Viper Room. A club once owned by Hollywood A-list actor Johnny Depp, the Viper was the first Hollywood club I visited when I went to see American Idol alumnus, James Durbin. Matt Martinez and I recently attended the venue to watch metal greats Huntress and friends perform for Metal Assault Vol. 2. It is a concert event put together by online publication Metal Assault and its editor-in-chief Andrew Bansal. I knew it was going to be one hell of a headbanging night.
The first band to grace the stage that night was San Diego’s own Monolith. Right out the gate, these guys came to town for one purpose: to melt our faces. Vocalist Keith McIntosh has such a screeching, dominant voice that carries throughout the room. Some of their songs remind me a little bit of old school Judas Priest. Guitar players Doug Walker and Jared Bliss did tremendous work performing scorching guitar licks. It was like watching KK Downing and Glenn Tipton work their magic. In the song “Pyromania,” Bliss lashes out a solo that screams perfection. All their songs from “Twin Wizards” to “I’m Going Home,” were awesome to listen to for the first time. McIntosh further showed his talent and musical prowess by nailing the Iron Maiden song, “Purgatory.” For ten songs, Monolith wet the beaks of the eager metalheads of the night. It would only get better after their performance.
Full Monolith Slideshow below:
Next to the stage, was the Los Angeles based progressive power metal group, Novareign. This band spells out excellence with their style of playing. If anything, I would say Novareign is a cross between Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. They have a suave frontman in David Marquez, who sounds just like Bruce Dickerson. What made this band unique in their own right, was during the set, they only played three songs total. All three of them were at least 6-8 minutes long. However, those three songs showcased just how talented these guys are. The best song was “Mace of a Fist,” because it featured a righteous solo trade-off between guitarists Danny Nobel and Balmore Lemus. Bassist Moises Galvez backed them up by playing some real complex bass liners, while drummer Paul Contreras added to the mix, when played deafening beats. It was a real bummer they only did three songs because the fans and I were definitely left hungry for more. Novareign surely kicked ass in the Viper Room.
Full Novareign Slideshow Below:
At last, out came the band we all waited for, Huntress. Ever since the 2013 Revolver Golden Gods Award Show, I could not get enough of them. Leading this pack of rebels was the compelling songstress Jill Janus. Her operatic style voice captivated the audience, by casting a spell on us. Which comes as no surprise honestly. From songs like “Sorrow” and “Children,” I was lost to her enchanting words. During the set, Janus did a few wardrobe changes to better suit certain songs, including a leather jacket and spikes. Lead guitarist Blake Meahl gave the crowd some bone-chilling solos that sizzled. Rhythm guitarist Eli Santana was excellent at not only performing stellar riffs, but also providing great backing vocals. Drummer Tyler Meahl and bassist Eric Harris acted as the backbone to Huntress’ sound. As soon as Janus belt out the vocals to the classic “Eight of Swords,” everybody just lost it in their expression of appreciation. It was a great song to close out a terrific performance.
Full Huntress Slideshow below:
Closing out the show was Legal Tinder, who unfortunately we did not get to see. Bansal did an incredible job putting a tremendous concert. The Viper Room was filled with groups from all over Southern California who dominated the stage. Huntress was everything I thought they would be. After hearing her sing, I now truly know that Janus is a force to be reckoned with in the music scene. Bands Novareign and Monolith ripped through their set lists with sheer ferocity. The intensity they had brought out my own inner metalhead, which caused involuntary headbanging. Metal Assault plans to host more shows this summer. If fans are looking for a good metal show to attend, then look no further. To Huntress, Novareign, and Monolith, I salute you. Horns up!!!