A GROUP of heavy metal veterans from South Tyneside are set to play their first gig in three decades.
Mythra, credited as having inspired US rock giants Metallica, are reuniting on stage tonight at a music festival in Newcastle.
The long-awaited gig has created a buzz among fans still enthusiastic about the band despite their 32-year absence.
Singer Vince High, of South Shields, says he can’t wait to get back on stage alongside original members Maurice Bates, John Roach and Alex Perry, joined by new recruits Colin Hird and Phil Davies.
The group will be reunited at Brofest, a weekend-long festival being held at Northumbria University in Newcastle.
The 55-year-old, a retired youth services manager at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is the third year of the festival, and they had asked us to do it last year, but some of the lads couldn’t get the time off work.
Metallica were a few years behind us and actually cited us as an influence.Vince High, singer, Mythra
“We got asked again this year and decided to go for it.
“We’ve been rehearsing for the last few months, and we’re having a lot of fun being back together and playing our music.
“There’s going to be 500 people there on Friday, and our Facebook page has been really buzzing about it.
“It’s amazing that, after all this time, people still want to see us and hear our music.”
Mythra won critical acclaim for their debut EP, Death And Destiny, back in 1979.
They were cited as influences by bands such as Metallica, but they suffered a number of blows that prevented their career truly taking off.
Death And Destiny was later expanded into a full album, but only after the group had split up.
Record company disputes and bad luck saw the band, formed in 1976, call it a day in the early 1980s, though they did get back together to put out a second album, The Darkener, in 2003.
Vince, a dad of three, added: “The first time around, we were just young lads, and we had a reasonable amount of success, but that’s not what it’s about this time. It’s just about getting together to enjoy playing music.
“We were right at the forefront of the new wave of British heavy metal, a particular type of music that came about in the 1970s.
“Metallica were a few years behind us and actually cited us as an influence, and we’ve played festivals with the likes of Motörhead.”
Vince says the band are already getting offers for the future.
He said: “We’re going to play our full Death And Destiny album on Friday, all 13 tracks.
“We’ve already had a guy from Europe saying he wants to reissue it with a few new bonus tracks, but we’ve held him back for now because we’re not sure what we want to do.
“Some of the lads still work, and this gig isn’t about giving up the day job.
“We’re going to see how it goes, how we feel and how the audience feels, and if we want to continue it and something comes along, that’s great, but for now, we’re just enjoying being back together and rehearsing for the gig.”
Mythra will be on stage at Brofest at 8.45pm.
Hollow Ground, Blitzkrieg, High Spirits and Avenger will be among the other acts playing.
Tickets cost £37. For details, go to www.brofest.co.uk
To find out more about the band, go to www.facebook.com/mythranwobhm