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HAIL! - Dante's Highlight (FI) 2009

Metal For Life

There are very few real mastodons of the metal music left in this world: those who stood at the origin of the genre and basically created it. There are even fewer of them who are still touring the world, bringing this music into masses instead of tanning at their vilas in California or chilling at a rehab. That’s why when we have heard about such project as Hail! coming to Finland, there was no way we could miss it.

hail The basic concept of Hail! is playing cover versions of those cult songs which can be seen as milestones in the development of the heavy music. It is sort of a tribute to what helped each member of the project become who they are. The original idea belongs to the ex-Megadeth bass player – David Ellefson. He was joined by Sepultura’s guitarist Andreas Kisser, ex-Judas Priest vocalist Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens and Alice Cooper drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, who was successfully replaced by Stone Sour’s drummer Roy Mayorga for the Scandinavian tour. All of the members admit that Roy, who is coming from a different scene, brought a new, heavier atmosphere to their music as well as new possibilities. It shows that the project is constantly transforming and breathing together with the musicians.

Answering the question how each of them ended up in Hail!, Tim Owens says with a smile: “Probably by mistake? Once David Ellefson and I had a jam with some guests and he had the idea that it would be great to make a band together and do a tour. Our first show was in Chile and we thought that the best one to contact was Andreas. We all knew each other before.” That’s how it all began.

At each of the shows during their tour the metal legends have invited someone from the local scene to their jam sessions. For example, in Denmark they were joined by Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate and in Norway they shared the stage with Silenoz of Dimmu Borgir. However, in Finland, as a result of a long search, they have picked up a name not so famous abroad. The lucky‘chosen one’ of that evening turned out to be the vocalist of a very promising Finnish metal band Profane Omen – Jules Näveri, who worthily accomplished his mission.

hail Hail! Helsinki show took place at Dante’s Highlight– a club that used to be a church. It remained a mystery for us how did a small place like this get to have something so unbelievable in its walls. However, as we listened to the band during the sound check, it became clear that what we were about to hear and see that evening was going to be grand to say the least. That music was played by gods and they were kicking it. They performed songs that became classics from the moment they were born: creations of Kiss, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, and, of course, Megadeth, Judas Priest and Sepultura. Standing a few meters away from the stage we wanted to give each other a pinch on the arm to make sure that it was happening for real.

After such a soaring show, there comes a natural question– why not publish a record? Tim Owens doesn’t deny such a possibility. However, the main point of Hail! for now is the excitement of doing the live shows, keeping the project alive and pulsating. The set list is changed every night, quite often the new ideas come during the rehearsals and are brought to life right away.

Jules Näveri, who got to perform Pantera’s “Walk” with the guys, could hardly fetch his wind after that once-in-a-lifetime chance to sing with his idols. “To have such a privilege to be on stage with some of your all time metal favourites such as Dave Ellefson and Andreas Kisser, the feeling is more than overwhelming. Watching those guys do what they do best at close range was an educating and unforgettable experience. The passion will never die, it only grows and Hail! proved it to me on every scale, full blown and heart bleeding.”

Hail! – is a living proof that once you enter the world of heavy music, you can never leave it. That’s why ‘Rock star’ – the movie based on the facts from Tim Owens’ life, where a guy who became the vocalist of a mega-band, couldn’t keep up with all the fame and the cruel music world, came back home and became a teacher – is nothing more than a scriptwriter’s imagination. Tim Owens sums up our discussion: “No and no. We don’t see ourselves doing anything else. That’s why we do something like Hail! in between the work with our bands.”

Pictures: Tanja C. | Report: Tanja C., Victoria Maksimovich

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