At Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., December 6, 2016

LORDS OF BLACK (Live at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., December 6, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s no wonder that Rainbow/Deep Purple guitar legend, Ritchie Blackmore came out of a 20 year, self-imposed Hard Rock exile and put his laid back Renaissance inspired Blackmore’s Night on hold after seeing Lords of Black lead singer Ronnie Romero on You Tube. Close your eyes and the very essence of early Ronnie James Dio-era Rainbow is there in its full glory. The power, the majesty and the passion of Dio’s voice captured in a young guy from Chile fronting a band from Spain. Blackmore was reinvigorated and Rainbow were briefly back together for 3 shows worldwide, with shows selling out immediately. Such was the clamour for tickets that a limited run of four dates in the UK next year were announced on this very day.

Romero’s first appearance in the UK was in front of 16,000 rabid Rainbow starved fans at Birmingham’s giant Genting Arena in the summer. Tonight, Newcastle’s fabled Rock bar Trillians, may be slightly more intimate but the excitement level was no less intense before Lords of Black played only their second ever show in the UK.

With interest in the band through the Blackmore connection catapulting them into the international limelight it was reassuring that band more than lived up to the expectations.

Merciless and Nothing Left To Fear hit home hard with guitarist Tony Hernando’s scything riffs driving the band along while Andy C’s pounding drums and Javi Garcia’s bass laid the foundations for the dark, atmospheric neo-classical inspired Hard Rock.

The two part, sprawling epic The Art of Illusion moved through a myriad of moods and changes that twisted and turned dynamically giving Dream Theater a serious run for their money with Hernando in particular impressing with some dexterous runs that were technically dazzling while retaining the melodic killer touch.

Romero was outstanding. A pre-show illness did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm or delivery. His voice throughout was impeccable with a depth and power of such rarity and with an imposing stage presence, it is easy to see why Blackmore was so impressed.

Ghost of You from their latest album with its brooding, slow burning riff was the perfect vehicle for Romero to show off his full range. Dramatic, bombastic and exciting were just a few words that spring to mind. Romero is a star in the making.

Hernando is the perfect foil for Romero, not only writing and arranging the majority of the songs but provides the musical vision in which Romero thrives. All singers need their partner and Hernando is the perfect match.

Blackmore himself compared Romero’s voice as a cross between Dio and Freddie Mercury and that assessment is not too far from the mark so when they encored with Sabbath’s Neon Knights and Kill The King by Rainbow, both Dio songs, the place went nuts.

With Romero heading back off with Rainbow next summer one can only hope that Lords of Black can continue to thrive as this is a band with huge potential and talent by the bucketload and deserves its shot at the big time.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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