TVD Live Shots: Deadland Ritual
at the O2 Islington Academy, 6/13

Who doesn’t love a proper rock ‘n’ roll supergroup? Especially when it’s made up of four people you never really thought would jam, let alone write songs and tour together. Say hello to Deadland Ritual, the new band featuring bassist Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Michael Jackson), drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver), and singer Franky Perez (Apocalyptica).

Even though these guys have only been together since December of last year, they’ve already written seven songs, played their debut gig in LA last month, and embarked on a European tour of select club dates and major festivals including Download and Hellfest. Filling out the setlist with various numbers from their past, Deadland Ritual is quickly building a fan base and looks to be setting itself up for a full-length record as well, but that remains to be seen. When I saw that the band would be stopping by the intimate O2 Academy in Islington on their way to play to tens of thousands at Download, I jumped on it.

I will say that I’m a bit partial to Steve Stevens and Matt Sorum only because they played with two of my favorite artists, The Cult and Billy Idol, respectively. Sorum’s not only one of the best dressed and most stylish musicians on the planet, but he’s also one hell of a drummer to boot. Then you have easily one of the most innovative guitarists on the planet with Stevens, the man who single handedly redefined what the word “tone” means for a new generation of guitar players. This is enough to pique my interest alone. Add a real metal icon in Geezer Butler to the line up, and you have a supergroup, along with the very capable vocal power of Franky Perez taking things up yet another notch.

You are probably thinking to yourself, how does Perez fit into this line-up as many may not be as familiar with his previous work, myself included. I’ll just say that after seeing the live show, there’s no question that he is the perfect singer for this band. He’s got the vocal chops, the range, the antics, and the mystique to front any band of rock legends on the planet.

The setlist pulled heavily from Sabbath’s catalogue including “Symptom of the Universe,” “NIB,” “Neon Knights,” and a brutal closing version of “War Pigs.” Two other shining moments were the inclusion of “Slither” from Velvet Revolver and a stellar version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” One might think that the classic songs from the members’ previous bands might overshadow the new music, but that’s not the case. The new songs hold their own, especially “Broken and Bruised” which is a perfect fusion of the four members stylistically. It’s a fucking brilliant song that gets better with each listen, and is a genuine punch in the face live.

The bottom line is that these guys look to be having fun playing both the new and the older material alike. I can’t wait for these guys to deliver a debut record—let’s just hope they keep the momentum long enough to do so. From the reaction of the fans in London, I don’t see that being a problem at all.

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