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A Heavy-Metal Surge of Power : 3 Bands Rock Anaheim's Celebrity Theatre

November 16, 1987|JOHN VOLAND

Could it be that high-octane metallers--such as Armored Saint, Helloween and Leather Wolf, heard Saturday night in Anaheim's Celebrity Theatre--are feeling a bit underappreciated?

There were dark mutterings from the stage and in the audience saying so--to the effect that radio stations and live venues that formerly catered to the headbanger elite have now turned a cold breastplate to the faithful.

But you also couldn't help notice that once the front men of the participating bands got these complaints off their leathered chests, the performance energy level was punched up a warp drive or three.

Especially in the case of headliner Armored Saint, a nicely corrosive L. A. band that's had a rough commercial road these past couple of years. About a third of the way through their generous set, what was a rather routine metal exercise became a bone-crunching revelry of unexpected power--but only after the assemblage's right to rock hard was reaffirmed.

The West German band Helloween proved more nimble and more adventurous than its American counterparts: changing speeds and rhythms whenever it felt like it, plus effectively maximizing the interplay between the twin lead guitars. Dynamic sounds, yes; but the quintet of Hamburg-ers should seek a little outside help with the songwriting, for many of their tunes went nowhere fast.

And, hey, Leatherwolf! Outstanding metal-cover of Creedence Clearwater's "Bad Moon Rising," dudes!

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