Northern Darkness II: Brominion Edition – Satan, Mythra, Millennium, Born Tö Lose and Equitum @Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne, May 7, 2023

For many UK-based NWOBHM fans, Satan’s appearance at County Durham’s Dominion Festival was a godsend. That festival’s cancellation? A real let down. But Byker Grave Bookings’ rescue mission saw Satan booked for a Sunday headline slot at Cluny 2 – with a host of metal acts in tow. Rich Holmes was there…

It begins again…

Metallers who’d enjoyed Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s shows might have been flagging by the time they’d descended the Ouseburn Valley for this bill.

You’d have forgiven them.

The beer was good.

But hangovers were thrashed away by rising Newcastle crossover upstarts Equitum and given a dose of Motorpröfen by High Spirits’ Lemmy-worshipping tribute act, Born Tö Lose.

North East NWOBHM veterans Millennium (pictured below) followed up with a steely set of streetwise tunes, culminating in There Is A Devil and their ’85 demo gem We Don’t Trust You.

The stage was set.

Mythra reignite

Lars Ulrich-approved Mythra had billed their Brominion set as a launch for their new album, Temples of Madness. And with a crowd stacked with NWOBHM devotees, it was a good opportunity to remind everyone why Lars was such as fan.

The South Shields act, who reunited for 2015’s Brofest in Newcastle – and have been active ever since – are certainly enjoying their resurgence.

And with Kev McGuire leading from the front and John Roach effortlessly wielding his flying-V, they enthralled Cluny 2 with Warrior Of Time, the infectious UFO and the all-conquering set closer, Death and Destiny – with Satan’s Russ Tippins air-drumming in unison.

Coming home

It has been seven years since Satan last played their home town.

Even singer Brian Ross – an avowed fan of time travelling scarf model Dr Who – couldn’t have predicted how the world would have changed in that time.

But what hasn’t changed is Satan’s ability to produce scintillating, spellbinding heavy metal.

Four albums into their post reunion career, the Newcastle act are still on a hot streak. 2022’s masterpiece, Earth Infernal, proved that.

And this set saw Ross and the boys mix their classic cuts with a host of new anthems: Burning Portrait and Ascendancy were just two highlights in a show that delighted local supporters and those who’d travelled across the Atlantic and the Channel to reach NWOBHM’s hallowed ground.

Indeed, for family, friends and fans of Satan, this was a very special night. The quintet are more likely to be found enrapturing metalheads across the States, or hitting festivals in mainland Europe, than pitching up at the banks of the Ouseburn river. It was a chance to see guitarists Steve Ramsey and Tippins – Newcastle’s own Smith/Murray combo – unleash those glorious twin leads, up close and personal. It was a chance to watch Graeme English and Sean Taylor laying down the thunder, grinning from ear to ear. And there were lumps in throats as Ross embraced his son Alan on stage, and gave him the mic for a rip roaring version of Break Free (pictured top). Members of Seven Sisters, Riot City, Spartan Warrior and Mythra, peppered through the crowd, were having the time of their lives.

Satan worshippers begged for Blades Of Steel.

And of course, they eventually got it.

But as the blazing renditions of Second Sight, Into The Mouth Of Eternity and The Devil’s Infantry proved, Satan are no nostalgia act.

More than 40 years after they first hit the clubs of Tyneside, four decades after the NWOBHM movement first blossomed, this band have a sense of purpose and a creative vision that would put many younger acts to shame.

The devil always has the best tunes…


We’d like to report a murder.

Well, a few actually.

On Saturday night, the Byker Grave boys tried their best to throttle The Heat Is On and Jukebox Hero, at The Little Buildings’ Karaoke after-party.

Motörhead’s Hellraiser, sung with booze-fuelled gusto after Sunday’s Satan set, wasn’t much better.

However, the Brominoke shows were saved by some real star quality.

Seven Sisters’ Kyle McNeil was uber-cool as he served up Foreigner’s Cold As Ice. Russ Tippins channelled his inner Dio for Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell. High Spirits’ Bob Scott strutted his way through Cherry Bomb. And Queen Of The Reich reigned as Riot City’s Jordan Jacobs brought the house down.

But the undoubted winner of the metal X-Factor was Crowley’s Lidya Balaban. Her utterly sensational take on The Trooper was one of the weekend’s real ‘I was there’ moments. “Scream for me Newcastle,” she roared, Brucey-style. We certainly did!

Enjoyed this review?

Check out our verdict on Brominion Day 1, featuring Riot City, Seven Sisters and High Spirits here.

Read our take on Day 2, headlined by Visigoth and featuring an exclusive set from Spartan Warrior, here.

Get the lowdown on Day 3, featuring Green Lung, Mars Red Sky, Calligram and more here.

All pictures by Stefan Rosic of Conundrum Images.