4 Sound Stage, Sweden Rock Festival, June 4th
The first of the bands I really wanted to catch at 2015´s festival was the classic NWOBHM cult act Grim Reaper, or tentatively called Steve Grimmett´s Grim Reaper. A label mostly used when original guitarist Nick Bowcott is not with the band or performing with the band. This day he was! And by saying that I can ensure you that this was a very special occasion with 50% of the classic line up on stage. Grim Reaper explodes onstage with the opening track “Rock You To Hell” which is, of course, also the title track on the third album. Nick is sporting his guitar with the UK flag on it and seems to really enjoy being onstage with Steve Grimmett again. Steve later introduces Nick Bowcott as his “lifelong friend” so no animosity there between the two main men of the classic Grim Reaper. For those of you that know the band´s history know Nick as the original guitarist that started the band while Steve was in another band called Medusa. The original vocalist being Steve DeMercado.
On this sunny day, a fair amount of festival visitors have lined up in front of the 4 Sound stage and those of you who were having a burger or doing something else I can only say sorry for you! This will turn out to be one of the very few gigs where the stars align and you cannot resist banging your head and singing along to all the lyrics and the choruses. They continue with another classic cut in “Night Of The Vampire” from the same album. Steve´s voice is in great condition and the dual guitar gives a heavy and thick guitar sound that really lifts the songs. Current guitarist in the band, Ian Nash, is providing some heavy guitar chops and the odd solo (more on that later). Then we take a trip slowly back in time with the title track of 2nd album “Fear No Evil” being next before we head all the way back to the debut album from 1983 with “All Hell Let Loose” which according to Steve the band has not played in a long time.
The new rhythm section with bass player Chaz Grimaldi and drummer Paul White provide a tight knit unit and it does not only sound fantastic, they seem to really enjoy themselves as well. They line up one classic song after another where we are being treated with “Never Coming Back”, “Lay It On The Line”, “Let The Thunder Roar”, “Final Scream” and “Matter of Time”. The music drags me away from reality and time flies. I have to do a reality check and write down the setlist after each song is finished so that I can write this review. I start screaming for “Lust For Freedom” which is my all time favourite track from the band, but instead we get an odd pick in the closing track of the Rock You to Hell album with “Rock Me Until I Die” which is a faster song. When they finish Steve declares that it is five years since we lost one of the greatest vocalist of all time – Ronnie James Dio. Therefore, they would like to do a song dedicated to his memory and they plunge into “Don´t Talk to Strangers” which has Ian Nash providing the guitar solo for this song. Time travels fast when you are having fun and Steve declares the next song will be their last as time is up. There can be only one (as the classic line says in a the cult movie Highlander)- and everybody starts headbanging as soon as the opening riff to “See You in Hell” is being played.
This must be one of the best concerts I have seen in my life and definitely the best of this year´s Sweden Rock Festival. Maybe you now see where this is all going? It´s just too bad this was a one-off gig because Nick seems to be on fire. This was as near a religious experience that you can get. Rating: 10/10 geeks. Best performance of the whole festival. Thumbs up guys!
You can find all of Decibel Geek‘s coverage of the Sweden Rock Festival 2015 by both The Lionsheart & The Meister here: Sweden Rock 2015