Madison, WI – One of the few things more Wisconsin than the Friday Night Fish Fry is a stomach-soothing hotdish served at every potluck style gathering with family and friends. In my youth, the best hotdishes could be a full meal, complete with meat, carbs, and of course, lots and lots of cheese (all the real food groups except for beer).
Unforeseen circumstances had me passing though Madison on August 28th, 2021. On a whim, I thought I would see if the most metal band on earth, Lords of the Trident, was playing. Not only were they playing, but LOTT front man, Ty Christian (known in metal circles as Fang VonWrathenstein) was hosting his 4th annual Mad With Power Festival at the High Noon Saloon (complete with arcade games to pass the time between sets). Keeping with Wisconsin tradition, the three bands I experienced served up a hotdish that drew metal connoisseurs from far and wide.
The first band I caught was Paladin, from Atlanta, GA. Lead vocalist and guitarist Taylor Washington provided some meaty shrieks while the rest of the band, consisting of Alex Parra (guitar), Andy McGraw (bass, vocals), and Nathan McKinney (drums) added some savory flavor to a killer set that included “Awakening“, “Call of the Night“, “Black Omen“, “Shoot for the Sun“, and “I2I”
A few technical issues distracted the band, but were handled quite well, getting them taken care of quickly and without showing frustration. Andy stepped up to the mic immediately to entertain the audience with a few jokes and some banter while Taylor and the crew went about correcting the issue to get the show back on track.
Their final piece, “I2I“, was a metal cover from “A Goofy Movie“. The band brought out Sarah Teets from MindMaze (a band that had performed previously at the festival). I liked their version a wee bit (ok, a lot) more than the original! It was a fun way to end their set.
Check out this Paladin video!
Paladin PHOTO GALLERY
Next on the agenda was Dire Peril. Hailing from Sacramento, CA, they are a sci-fi power metal band that delivered some major energy to an already carb fueled audience. Dire Peril consists of members of Judicator and Helion Prime, namely John Yelland (high energy vocals) and Jason Ashcraft (guitar).
They opened their set with “Yautja (Hunter Culture)” from their album, The Extraterrestrial Compendium. Out of the box, Yelland was getting up close and personal to those fortunate enough to have a stage front vantage point. You could feel the aggressive energy emanating throughout. We were also exposed to some explosive riffs by Ashcraft and some impressive bass by Chelsea McMasters.
Next on the list was “Total Recall“, another hard driving piece. In typical Yelland style, he worked the headbangers into a frenzy. Their entire set was high energy with Yelland making this a family metal gathering with all heads moving in unison.
I admit that up until this time I was not aware of who their lead vocalist was. He did look and sound familiar, however. Then, it dawned on me. This was the John Yelland I had written about during the pandemic that had competed with Fang (Ty) in his classic opera battles. John demonstrated his pipes throughout the set performing Dire Peril songs including “Queen of the Galaxy“, “Roughnecks“, and “Always Right Here“. John all but got into the audience inviting them to sing along, even testing the vocals of one of the photographers in attendance (thankfully not me).
Their last two songs included a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult classic, “Godzilla“, who even made a guest appearance and seemed to get a little frisky with the band (especially John) during their final song, “Heart of the Furyan“. When Dire Peril left the stage, the audience was primed for Lords of the Trident.
Check out this Dire Peril video!!
Dire Peril PHOTO GALLERY
Lords of the Trident, consisting of Fang VonWrathenstein (vocals), Asian Metal (guitar), Baron Taurean (guitar), Pontifex Mortis (bass) and Master Hercule ‘Herc’ Schlagzeuger (drums), prepared to take the stage. The floor in front of the stage became crammed. No one wanted to miss the local favorites.
Donning their traditional stage attire, LOTT introduced us to a yet to be released song called “Legend” (they introduced several songs from their upcoming album in this, their first big show since the return of live music). They immediately transitioned to a classic, “Death Dealer” complete with an inferno mic only Fang could control.
If you ever wanted to hear a metal harpsicord (if only Mozart was around today) their next new song, “Dance of Control” is for you. This song has it all, dueling guitars thanks to Baron and Asian, some heavy bass by Pontifex, powerful Fang vocals, and Herc keeping up on the skins. Not to be outdone, their next new song, “These Tower Walls” has been scientifically proven to have the most notes of any song. The final of a three-song string of tunes from the upcoming album was “Power of Evil“, known as their ‘mad at your dad’ song.
Following their new songs they went into “Tormentor” from their Shadows of the Past album. That was immediately followed by another classic, “Knights of Dragon’s Deep“, complete with flaming sword. At this point the cheesy pyro theme was apparent, but considering this was a metal hotdish and we were in Wisconsin, I should have expected nothing less (and it was a blast!).
Two more new songs ensued in the form of “The Touch” and “Charlatan” before going into what has to be one of the best closing metal tunes, “The Metal Sea“. Complete with pirate flag, this drunken pillage song had every head banging with every note. It was a great (and the only) way to close their set.
Want a little more speed metal from LOTT? Check this out!
Lords of the Trident PHOTO GALLERY
The circumstance that brought me to Madison for a few hours also required me to leave before the night was done. As a guest, I have to say the three bands I experienced served up a mean hotdish, complete with all the fixings (links to all the bands are below). I regret not being able to hear the other bands at the festival, but I am certain they only added to the savor of the feast!
What I found so special about this event was the thought behind it. Ty and Mad With Power do not rely on big name bands that have reached their peak to bring in the crowd, they bring in the up and coming to show off their talents, introducing many to a bigger stage. This is consistent with Ty’s obvious love for the art and support for the band. As a side, LOTT was to open for the Canadian metal band, Unleash the Archers in Chicago a few days after Mad with Power. COVID restrictions prevented the band from entering the US forcing postponement of several early shows. To show support for the other opening bands, Ty hosted a fundraising live stream for both Seven Kingdoms (who performed at Mad with Power) and Aether Realm to offset some of their losses due to the postponements. How cool is that? I think that deserves a rating of 6 out of 5 hotdishes.
Mad With Power Lineup
Show Date: August 28th, 2021