Metal in the 1990s has never been better, I say, after seeing My Dying Bride and Dio at Xhale in Frederick, MD. One of the most intense acts I've seen in a while, My Dying Bride put on a stunning show with thundering guitar and bass riffs, superlative drumming, tortured vocals, along with haunting violin and keyboard sounds in the mix.
The set was short but sweet. Five of the songs My Dying Bride were from Like Gods of the Sun, including the title track (a song I love), A Kiss to Remember, and The Dark Caress. One of the songs, Your Shameful Heaven, was from The Angel and The Dark River. Each of the songs was executed to perfection. Aaron Stainthorpe's clean vocals sounded excellent and Martin Powell's violin playing left a lot of people gaping. Particularly impressive live was Rick Miah's drumming, which was some of the best I've ever seen live, and definitely far more impressive than on the Like Gods of the Sun album.
What can be said about Dio that hasn't been said already? This is one of the greatest voices in rock, a voice that hasn't let the years get to them. Dio's vocals were as powerful as ever, if not better than what it had been when I last saw him on the Strange Highways tour.
Dio's set consisted mostly of old stuff (with only a couple of songs from his latest release, Angry Machines). He opened with Jesus, Mary, and the Holy Ghost from Strange Highways, and went on to perform Heaven and Hell, Holy Diver, Don't Talk to Strangers, and Last in Line.
The biggest gripe I had with the show was the long solos by the various instrumentalists. It began with Vinny Appice, who went on to do a drum solo for five minutes. As if that wasn't enough, the bass player took for another few minutes. But the icing on the cake (and I mean this in the most negative way possible) was Tracy G's solo in the middle of the Mistreated/Catch the Rainbow
Dio's encore was terrific and it was what made seeing him wortwhile. The band came back on stage and played Rainbow in the Dark, The Mob Rules, Man on the Silver Mountain, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll, and We Rock.