Wednesday, 30 November 2016

British Lion & Voodoo Six - de Boerderij Zoetermeer, 29 November 2016

British Lion and Voodo Six might not be that known to many, but Steve Harris is. This was one evening of his band British Lion in de Boerderij. This meant that in spite of unknown bands this was not an underground affair, but a gathering of fans of Iron Maiden wishing to see their hero on a small stage for a change. Support act were Voodoo Six. I knew their name, not their music and did not recognize them on stage. Entering with an open mind it turned out that Voodoo Six are a very nice live band. Playing old fashioned hard rock I also sometimes heard similarities with The Quill in their music. The vocalist had a good voice and the band presented us mainly mid tempo hard rock songs. Nothing earthshaking here, but one of the better support bands I saw recently. Harmless hopefull heavy rock.

Of course most people came to see Steve Harris That he plays in a band called British Lion is secondary. I do not have their debut album, but recall critics mainly writing about the vocalist. Some internet searching made me understand these doubts, but Youtube can never be the judge of a band and seeing them live is the only way. So when the band came on I focussed on his singing and actually at the start it was not that bad. A Classic Rock voice, not among the greatest but suiting the mainly old fashioned hard rock. The band themselves were good and both guitars came alive at times. The tall guitarist reminded me very much of Arjan Lucassen in his Vengeance days, but then 30 years older. He was the animator on stage. Turns out he was touring guitarist with The Outfield, known from their eighties hit "Your Love". (Josie's on a vacation far away, you know I like my girls  a little bit older).  And Steve Harris? well he seemed to enjoy this small venue. Being used to arenas he was now right in front of us. Downside is that to me he looked some 10 years older then when I saw him in Sevilla this summer. He also did use the opportunity to go very West Ham in outfit, which stood out more with less special effects around him. His Whale Oil Beef Hooked shirt does become funny when speaking out fast. The songs finally did convince me. This is just the kind of hard rock that made me start liking the music some 35-40 years ago. The Maiden references mainly came from the several whoo-hoo-hooaas we were asked to shout along. Musically UFO commercial Rainbow and such were a reference as well. Naming UFO it was Let it Roll which was the famous cover played in the encore. So those who came to see some Maiden songs went home unhappy. For me the UFO song also was a tipping point. I actually liked the show and songs. The vocalist did get weaker through the set though and when he arrived at Let it Roll I remembered Phil Mogg only a few weeks ago on the same stage.  No comparison really, so I did not get the album afterwards.

I might seem disappointed with the vocalist, but this was never annoying. The music played tonight is very much aligned to my youth and enthusiasm was all around. I shall go see them again if either band is in the area. Still on possibilities it would have been nice to me if Steve Harris would have blended his love of Prog Rock in his project. Often citing his preferences it could be a nice option. As an example he can listen to Biff Byford who not long ago released a fine progmetal album with The Scintilla Project. From Maiden I now saw Bruce Dickinson solo some times and Steve Harris with British Lion. Number one on my wish list still would be a reunion gig of White Spirit futuring Janick Gers. Maybe the least respected Maiden band member, but to me the best alternative album by any of them (even if released way before he joined Maiden).

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ray Wilson - Boerderij Zoetermeer, 26 November 2016

Ray Wilson playing in de boerderij a set advertised as Genesis Classic. I knew that his version of Genesis Classic puts more focus on the Phil Collins pop years. The album he sung with Genesis (Calling all Stations) is unknow to me and I also do not know anything from Stiltskin his other hit band. So why did I go? to see him perform his solo work. Although having only one of  his solo albums it meant enough for going see him play live. Ray has a good voice and I expected that he would be able to bring a good band along. One of the probems for Ray Wilson is, that in my CD collection he is crammed inbetween Damian Wilson (one of the best voices in prog) and Steven Wilson (one of the best artists in Prog). So picking up his album with such talented neighbours is rare. There was no support act and we would be treated on a full night with a halftime break.

As I did not know many of the songs I also cannot tell whether they were from Ray Wilson, Genesis or Stiltskin. So herewith just some impressions. Genesis covers were present from very good (as Carpet Crawlers and Mama) through neutral to me (Land of Confusion), to songs I never liked and did not change my opinion now (Follow you Follow me and Jesus He knows me). Surprisingly Solsbury Hill was climbed as well and sounded great as expected. Stiltskin's hit Inside sounded good and the songs played from Calling all Stations, might make me pick up that CD, when crossing it cheap one day. Highlight for me were the songs from his solo albums. Introduced by a variety of stories I considered Makes Me Think of Home and Song for a Friend the highlights in the set. There was one disappointmet as well. Closing the evening with Knockin'on Heaven's Door. I did not like the song when we played it with Two Minutes Warning, nor the Guns and Roses cover. Also now it was a boring end of such a nice evening. Then I was considering picking up his last album, but the queue was long after the show and we ended up in the bar until I needed to rush to catch the last train home (Armored Saint anyone?). Ray Wilson showed me that an evening of mostly unknown pop-rock-proggish songs can be very entertaining as well. 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Doro - Gebr. de Nobel Leiden, 24 November 2016

Tiago having a cultural evening at school watching Jana sing, meant for me a cultural evening in Leiden watching Doro sing. Those who did not go might focus on her old fashioned Heavy Metal, her accent after 32 years, German Cheese, or make been-there-did-that-comments. Well those people just don't get it. Going to a Doro show means good old heavy metal with an icon on vocals and a solid band behind her. The formula is simple and entertainment is guaranteed. Yesterday was the first show of the Love's Gone To Hell tour. Two days before the show I learned that there would be a support act as well in Spitfire from Norway. As they did not impress me through songs or presentation I keep it short. Funniest moment was after the show when the shirtless vocalist wanted to see us all outside. First it was fricking cold outside and in Holland (as in many other places) asking someone to come outside is an invitation to fight. A confused laugh went through the hall.

Preparing the stage we could see a gorgeous Doro appearing on a huge banner ( I also look younger and fitter on the cartoon then in real life). The lights went off and the international band came on. Doro followed as last one and started banging and greeting all in the crowd very enthusiastically. During the first song we got already the left side confirming they were alright, as did the right side and the people in the middle. This set the tone, but everything was overruled by the enthusiasm of Doro that continued non-stop. Doro was good by voice and good by mood. I do not own any Warlock or Doro albums, but still recognized many songs. It is not for nothing that she is called the Metal Queen as she did produce several songs everyone knows. Highlights for me were Burning the Witches and Für Immer. Shouting along with All We Are is another milestone in her set securing a party. The show was very good, which was helped by the fact that the band is tight. I guess playing in a band like Doro means accepting you are not alwaysin the spotlights, still all four convinced in their presentation. I thought I recognized the drummer and just read that he played in Waysted and Britney Fox, so maybe I saw those once (failing memory here). Only during the evening I heard that one of the guitarists is Dutch, Bas Maas ex Afer Forever. So I might have seen him at ProgPower 2000. With Bas and the bassist both being tall, Doro somewhat disappeared inbetween them on the front row. This is only physically as her stage presence is huge. The fact that she constantly shows that she loves being on stage made this a sincere evening of True Metal.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Iamthemorning - Patronaat Haarlem, 18 November 2016

Iamthemorning are a duo from Russia, Mariana on vocals and Gleb on grand piano and keyboards. . Not dissimilar to Aisles recently  a band coming from far receiveing positive critics but not really a known name outside underground connaisseurs. Touring Europe meaning Holland (plus London) and ending up on the small stage at the bar in Patronaat. This turned out to be a very good choice as the around 50 visitors were straight in front of the stage and the atmosphere of intimacy was suiting the set.I did go and see them for several reasons. Some friends who put me on track of new bands before spoke well of them. The few comments I ran into on their IOpages festival performance seemed all positive. And finally their claim to fame is winning the PROG magazine award for best album. Prog magazine is a funny poll anyway. They follow football/school years, so you get halfway the year a best of award. The nominees are usually extremely biased towards British bands and KScope label. This year Limelight (new band) nominations included Teramaze, who formed in 1993 and released their first full album 21 years ago. Still winning as a Russian band means that many people appreciate their music even if being on KScope surely made it possible to make it on the shortlist.

After playing a chamber gig and a duo gig earlier this week, this evening was the full band gig. I looked at the four members and could not figure them out really. They did not look not Russian, nor Dutch. In order to enter the band one must have a bit hair still, brown coloured and a matching beard, while wearing a black shirt. At the end of the gig Mariana introduced them and we had many nationalities with members of two other bands helping out (whose names I forgot). The band held as instruments Cello, Violin, Drums and Bass. So this was to be a guitar-less show. With this band being substitutes, first compliments can go out to them playing all songs as intended and showing an ease at following up small signs from Gleb. Iamthemorning itself turned out to be two very talented musicians. Mariana stole the show with her clear voice, funny introductions and strong stage presence. Iamthemorning do not play heavy music as stated, but there is a constant dark atmosphere around either in the lyrics or in the music. Their last album Lighthouse is about mental illness and tells all the lost souls out there that they are not alone. During the show I could feel this atmosphere indeed and the sarcastical grin from Mariana when she sung Matches said it all "Your house is on fire, 'cause you were annoying and I dropped the match in". The silent and seemingly much more introvert star of the evening was Gleb. Highlight was his piano solo, which started alone at classical master level and had the band falling in halfway to great effect. Some of the songs were performed as duo as well. After the show I bought their last and my first album, so I cannot refer to many songs they played. In total we got some 80 minutes of music, which I considered perfect for this style,

Iamthemorning turned out to be a great live experience. Musically they could not be farther away from the Whipstriker/Apocalyptic Raids metal I saw two days before, but quality is quality. The talent of both was obvious from the beginning and the band were just fine. While being very calm music, there is this darkness in their topics that made me love this show. Definitely a band that should appeal to all music lovers and maybe the award might result in them breaking big. I will be back when they return for a tour of Holland, whatever the format might be.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Apokalyptic Raids, Whipstriker & Antagonist - Gebr. de Nobel Leiden, 16 November 2016

Brazilian underground metal bands playing in the area, makes me usually more than a bit interested. Having two on one evening in Leiden made me therefore return to de Nobel. Both bands were before unknown to me. Whipstriker play Mayhemic Speed Metal and Apocalyptic Raids call their style Metal, but are named after a Hellhammer song. As support they had a German band Antagonist. When I entered they almost started and the first outstanding point on stage was the banner with their logo. Handpainted on a white sheet we really were up for an evening of old school. The Antagonist turned out to be a trio in a rush. In the more or less half hour they got we got ten songs presented. All being fast and furious, but musically the band did impress. Vocals were mainly harsh coming from the drummer, but at times the bass player and even the guitarist took over. This is live music, no nonsense and no tapes. Good warm up for the Brazilian wave to follow.

While the Poster and website made us believe Whipstriker were headliner, they played as second band. Actually I only found out after their set, when the banner came down. Mayhemic Speed Metal turned out to be eighties proto-extreme metal with also a healthy does of Motorhead blended in. Admitted I was in the eighties not the biggest fan of Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory and the likes. Nowadays this music is way less extreme than thirty years ago and seeing Whipstriker live on stage was sheer brilliance. This was filthy, dirty, kick-ass metal. Similar to the opener, they bulldozered on and most of their songs were around the three minutes as well. Energy coming from the stage, leather studs with pins on the stage and a few beers down made this a very good live experience. I got their last album Only Filth Will Prevail and glad to know one more real Brazilian underground band.

Apocalyptic Raids were on last and turned out to share the drummer with Whipstriker. The trio uses aliases on their CD and while Necromaniac is definitely still the guitarist/vocalist I believe Slaughterer and Hellpreacher might not have been present on stage. Well I got my information from last full album Vol. 4 Phonocopia, which I bought and dates from 2010. Stylewise they were following up nicely after Whipstriker. Less Motorhead though and by playing the song they are called after more Hellhammer I guess. The bass player also asked enthusiastically for reactions and they got most of them from the audience. What was already a great night back in time turned slightly legendary when they were finished. The set was over, they thanked us and the drummer started taking his kit apart having his cymbals off already. The crowd  might have been small, but obviously we all enjoyed the evening and chants for more would not stop that fast. So the cymbals were screwed back on and the band played another song. when this one was finished the bass player took off his guitar and showed signs of leaving which was overruled by the other two just starting a final song. Great spirit and that is exactly why we love these underground shows, where there is place for spontaneity. A great and early evening in de Nobel ended on a high. Thanks to THHMA, Slowrunner Records and Headbangerzineandgigs for bringing this tour to Holland which made the Carioca in me proud.  

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow & Kjalmold - de Boerderij Zoetermeer, 11 November 2016

Three bands from the north playing Viking or Pagan Metal. Not a word in English tonight and I was curious how this would be live. Opener were Kjalmold from Iceland. First observation was that they received reactions from almost all in an already nicely filled Boerderij. This in a week, where everyone had plenty of options already was a good sign. The music Kjalmold played is basically feel-good party metal. There are some harsh vocals, but also mics for all six band members to do some harmony work. The galloping was inbetween Folk and Maiden and very accesible at first listen. Their strenght to me lays in the presentation. They enjoy themselves on stage and the big bass player shouted wildly in the air. Inbetween two songs he just raised his beer and roared loudly, which was answered by the audience raising glasses and roaring back. Even when they took their instruments of the stage he kept on walking around roaring. Very nice band live, on CD maybe not my thing.

Moonsorrow followed and they were the band that got me going to de Boerderij. I have one of their Finnish titled CD's where they play only two songs, but take more then 50 minutes. I like their building up of atmospheres and heavy undertones. They came up with painted faces and  made the evening turn more metal. Pagan Metal it is called and heavy it was. Musically by far the best band of the evening to me, they focussed more on the songs and less on the party. Still the audience much appreciated them and their long set flew by. Problem with their Finnish song titles, is that you don't recall any names as it all sounds Greek to me. At one point the vocalist asked if we wanted some Heavy Metal. What followed was the best song of the evening, but I have no clue what it was called. A very good show by an interesting band.

Korpiklaani were the second headliner and they managed to remain unknown to me. I know they played many festivals as well, but I usually go smaller gigs and miss those. So I waited with an open mind. When they came on the first surprise were the accordeon and violin. The folky part turned out to play a fairly big role with them. Actually it did not take long to realize they were here to make a party. This with basically pretty simple songs, where the humpa is omnipresent. Looking at them like this it was a good show. Musically I thought Kjalmold in a similar style much better. As Dennis put correctly Andre Hazes was never far away and even polonaises passed through de Boerderij. Was everybody enjoying themselves? yes definitely so. Was this music that made me run to the merch stand, no not really. After an hour and a bit I called it quits and took the randstadrail back to Den Haag. Very nice evening of party metal, which went down well with several beers. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Oceans of Slumber, Ne Obliviscaris & Enslaved - 013 Tilburg 8 November 2016

I put the above three bands in order of appearance. There is a reason for that as I discovered Oceans of Slumber after they released their debut album, Ne Obliviscaris when they released their second album and Enslaved only years on in their career when they blended more progressive influences into their Black Metal. Still I was looking very much forward to all three bands and thought I left home in time. With the idea of not drinking on a Tuesday, not cycling through the cold and gaining time getting home I took the car. Big mistake as it turned out that 8 November broke this year's evening traffic jams record. So there I was standing still slowly seeing on the navigation ETA that I would not see the start of the evening. In the end it took me 150 minutes (back home 75) and I missed half of the Oceans of Slumber set. Not a good way to start the evening. I can't comment much apart from that they sounded absolutely brilliant again in my ears. In Suffer the Last Bridge we got a song they did not play in April. Cammie bought shoes, Sean and Dobber still change instruments, three drum kits makes a small stage. And then after ... This Road it was suddenly over, almost ten minutes before the announced time-schedule. With this short set, there was not even a point in shouting for Coffins Like Kites. Last time I did the fan thing of speaking with the band and taking a picture. This time I wanted to see the other two bands as well and only saw Keegan in the break. Hope to see them back on Progpower stage, where again I got convinced they would go down so well.

Ne Obliviscaris were the second band and some two years ago they impressed me a lot with their album Citadel. These six men from Australia turned out to be a great live band as well. Striking point was the very different style of the two vocalists. Xenoyr looked and sung extreme metal, while Tim looked very extrovert, played violin and was in constant contact with the audience. Last year it seems they already played Tilburg and reactions were pretty much of the whole crowd. The band only got to play four songs as well, but with each of them being around 15 minutes, they still got decent time to show their skills. And skills they had with a main role for the bass player on his many instrumental interventions. Citadel was represented by the the two epics and they sounded fine. This band follows a new way of touring, where you can pay a monthly fee to support them. I do not know the details, but hope they manage to stay around and record. Very fine band mixing the extreme, the technical and the sensitive.

Enslaved tour celebrating 25 years of existence. I hardly can be called a diehard fan, but do appreciate what I know from them. PPE Christian advised me, that we would be in for a very good show. Cutting short: he was right. Enslaved are not a Black Metal band any longer. They asked us if we were ready for some Norwegian Heavy Metal and that is just what they play. They have harsh vocals, but also from behind the keys some very good clean vocals. The metal is loud and during  The Crossing really heavy. Instrumentally you could see the 25 years of experience and the show stood indeed as a spectacle to watch. Grutle turned out a Level 42 fan, the encore started with a drum solo, Enslaved likes Tilburg and we were invited to sing happy birthday to them in Dutch. Great closing of the evening that started somewhat disappointing due to time issues, but got me driving home satisfied while listening to predictions of the outcome of US elections on the radio (man were they wrong).

Monday, 7 November 2016

UFO - de Boerderij Zoetermeer, 6 November 2016

UFO in de Boerderij means go and see them again. Strangers in the Night is my all time favorite live album and always is the core of a UFO show. That album is from 1979 and with the necessary hickups on the road UFO have been going strong ever since. I do not immediately buy all their albums upon release and when their tour is a bit too far I skip as well. At the same time I never saw an average UFO show and these songs are part of my hard rock DNA. Before they came one we had to go through Reds'cool from Russia. This band looked, played and behaved pretty eighties hairmetal alike. Their songs did not make a huge impression, but they were enthusiastic on stage. Their singer had a voice as raw as Quireboys' Spike and maybe because he is Russian can get away with the cheesy Sex, Fucks and Rock & Roll T-shirt. With these five Russians obviously willing to be Americans from 30 years ago, maybe all this fear for a returning Cold War is exaggerated.

UFO came on and de Boerderij looked very close to sold out. Surprisingly they started with We Belong To the Night from Mechanix.  Phill Mogg looks like someone of the respectable age he has, but his voice is still convincing. His presentation was also great, with his very British undercooled sense of humor taking the piss on his age and eyesight. Of Course the 70's were revisited most and Ain't No Baby was a first surpise on that front. During the show a few recent songs were blended in as well and the build up always guaranteed an old Classic immediately after a new song. So we got again Lights Out, Love to Love, Only You Can Rock Me, Cherry and Too Hot to Handle. From these songs we do not only know the lyrics still,but also every note from the guitar solo's. Thus I arrive at Vinnie Moore. He just is an amazing guitarist, which we knew from his 80's solo work onwards through to any UFO show during the past many years. He ran easily through all the classic solo's and of course this culminated in the never ending solo during Rock Bottom. To many (me included) that solo alone justifies the ticket for the whole evening. It is sad or funny to realize that as a teenager I picked up my first guitar inspired by a certain Mr. Schenker. I always stayed as far away from the Rock Bottom solo as any American tomorrow is from voting for a decent candidate for presidency. UFO nailed them all old and new songs. They came back for an encore which gave us Doctor Doctor and Shoot Shoot (seems to be a pattern here). Once again UFO gave us a beautiful show of over 100 minutes classic hard rock. The band might be getting older, but shows like these are always welcome.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Rob Rockstoel Memorial Show - Musicon Den Haag, 5 November 2016

Rob Rockstoel was an icon in the The Hague Metal scene. He organized many metal evenings and introduced through this many new bands to me. Recently he passed away and Musicon and THHMA in coordination with his family organized a memorial show, where 11 bands would play half an hour paying tribute to him. During the evening it became clear that many bands were grateful to his initiatives and the possibility to give them a stage. John from 3rd Machine even explained that through him he started to do something similar in Haarlem and now puts metal in Patronaat. So indirectly I might have seen much more gigs through him than his own Rob Rockstoel presents evenings. I did not know him personally, but represent the silent majority who knew who he was and enjoyed the shows he put together. Actually yesterday I think I was part of a silent minority, as most people spoke of personal experiences on stage.

11 bands on stage started with 7 bands playing originals and ending with four metal cover bands. I had another program for the evening, which I moved slightly backwards enabling me to pass some hours in Musicon. When I entered Rages of Sin were on stage. They ended with a Sepultura cover and sounded as good as one week before. Celesterre are from The Hague and turned out to be another good local band. Got their EP and looking forward to a full set in December. Bloodsphere from Rotterdam plays Death/Groove metal and was a good live band. Defazer proved again to me that they are probably the best live band from The Hague at the moment. Their thrash metal did rule over Musicon and got the most enthusiastc reactions from the bands I saw. 3rd Machine from Haarlem were the last band I saw and their metal has some Progmetal mixed in, with mainly aggressive vocals. Good band to close my evening in Musicon.

This was a beautiful initiative and I believe that family and friends of Rob must have enjoyed the positive atmosphere in a full Musicon. A true tribute in style to the man that did much good for Heavy Metal in The Hague.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Reticent - On the Eve of a Goodbye

The Reticent was until now a completely unknown band to me. Starting at the beginning it was the Angry Metal Guy  who set me on the what turned out to be very right track. I can recommend this site as he covers a range I pretty much appreciate as well. Looking at his last albums of the month I run into several favorites of mine: Vektor, Insomnium, Whiterscape at the heavier end, but also Our Oceans and Haken on the calmer part of metal. The Reticent turns out to be the work of Chris Hathcock, also drummer at Death Metallers Wehrwolfe (?). In the Reticent he plays all instruments and sings all parts. When you hear the album it turns rather amazing  how one person is capable of playing all these instruments so well, while at the same time touching all vocal ranges  from mostly clean to some screams and grunts to accompany the storyline.

On the Eve of a Goodbye is a concept album.This is in Progressive rock and metal not a unique way to transmit a message. Releasing a concept album can have its traps though. Some work beautifully and become the classic albums of these bands (Operation Mindcrime, A Pleasant Shade of Grey, Scenes From a Memory, Misplaced Childhood, Light of Day..., Crimson and my favorite Opeth album Still Life). Others run the risk of being too pretentious and loose sight of the power of individual songs. Examples a plenty, but I won't mention names. Chris took an extremely personal experience to base this album upon. He describes the last 24 hours of Eve, before she commits suicide and he is left speaking to her ghost. The album is dedicated to Eve M. Tiger who passed away 15 years ago. This tells something on the time it took to put all thoughts together and being able to put this experience into music. Never before did I hear a concept album, where the feelings are so genuine and sincere put alive to music. Final numbers The Decision and Funeral For a Firefly are so emotional, that only the complete insensitive ones or total machos can not hear the despair, pain, anger  and sadness in the voice of Chris. The overall result is a very emotional album which should be heard in one go, preferably over headphones and reading along to the lyrics.

Coming to the music a short description can be Progressive Metal. In reality there is so much more to it, as at parts when the story gets heavy the music does too and I must say his grunts and screams are impressive. On the other end we also get quiet breaks with piano parts as well as small sax, trumpet and trombone support. With the overall flow of the story being an emotional rollercoaster I am convinced that grunt haters should not be scared by the heavy vocals nor should extreme metallers be afraid of the occassional wind instruments. The album touches several genres and at parts I think I recognize a band. Without really being able to pinpoint one reference for such a diverse album I give it a try. Imagine Leprous at their peak (Bilateral)  releasing a concept album blending in some Dan Swanö, Soen and Green Carnation. Yes it has to me definitely a Scandinavian feel to it, even being American. As I fail to describe the beauty of this album in detail, the only solution is pointing people at the right direction. Start searching for the band on their website or Heaven & Hell records bandcamp. (note song 1 is one of 4 short spoken word parts, helping the story but musically not representing the album). For those more into clips, several songs can be found on YouTube, next to some interviews on the making of this album. I bought the CD directly from the website and received it with again a very genuine letter of thanks. My blog always has the target to raise the interest of one person in an album I heard or a show I saw and support the bands by that. This time I strongly recommend all metal lovers listening to this album on the internet and like me purchase it for yourself. I am almost sure that this album will in the years to come be seen as a Classic in its genre. For now I am going to their webstore and purchase their previous album together with a T-shirt of this one. Thereafter I shall go to the PPE group and plug this band. What a sensational release. The Legacy of Eve now includes one of the most beautifull concept albums ever made. I guess this was exactly the point Chris wanted to make and man was he succesfull doing so.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Dark Funeral & Krisiun - Gebr. de Nobel Leiden, 3 November 2016

Swedish Black Metal and Death/Thrash from Brazil, more interesting to me than watching Europa League on Television. Starting with the Brazilians, let me explain why I do not know this band from my past even if they were formed in 1990 already. During my Brazilian years (1997-2000) internet was not as organized as today on concert agenda's. Further I had several specialised CD stores where flyers would be placed. Still these shops mostly were into foreign bands. Until today when returning to them it remains hard to find albums from underground Brazilian bands. Finally I lived in Rio and that is the capitol for Progressive Rock  (the annual Rio Art Rock festival brought me some underground prog bands from Latin America). For Heavy Metal and more extreme Sao Paulo is really the place to be in Brazil. The only time I visited SP those years, was on a bustrip with Hard & Heavy stores to Monsters of Rock. Openers there were Korzus and Dorsal Atlantic next to some openers at gigs in Rio the few Brazilian bands I did see play live. This month I can make up for quite a bit of that loss, as THHMA and Doomsday Celebration bring within weeks 5 Brazilian underground bands to the region. I couldn't make it to Venom last Sunday, so Nervochaos I missed. Krisiun was not going to be the next one missed and it turned out the decision music over football was the right one yet again.

Krisiun are a trio from Sao Paulo and play Death Metal, while vocals are more thrashy. After their first song they explained that they play loud and fast and they were not wrong. The drums were great and main role (as often to me) were the guitars played by Moyses. He filled the songs with fast melodic solo's. The three brothers mainly bulldozered onwards and only a few times became slow and heavy. Funny to hear someone talk about old school and going all the way back to 1998. Makes you realize that your getting bloody old (yet banging still). Before the end there was a tribute to Lemmy in The Ace of Spades. As everybody can hear that song always, it did result in the most enthusiastic response from audience.  A good show from a strong band. One comment on the presentation though. For such an experienced band the inbetween song banter was disappointing. Thanking the audience four times for keeping the underground scene alive might just pass, but after every song asking for more audience noise followed by I can't hear you, is just too much.. A bit more variation here might be a suggestion.

Variation during the evening was guaranteed by the diverse package. Deserted Fear cancelled and I do not know them, but the Black Metal from Dark Funeral was a nice change in style. To start the stage looked awesome. Taking the cover of Where Shadows reign forever, it came close to the  Maiden or Dio stages in the eighties. The band coming on in their uniforms added to the scene and we were watching a show. Musically at times I thought the audience might have just fitted in a sold out Baroeg, adding atmosphere, but the stage in de Nobel justified the show  (or vice-versa). Unfortunately the limited camera on my phone does not do justice to this. I am not overly familiar with Dark Funeral's back catalogue, but to me the build up of the show seemed good, closing with the title track of their last album.  To me bands like Dark Funeral left the underground and should be able to reach mainstream metal audiences both musically and show wise. Then again I might be wrong as the screaming vocals need a refined taste. Nobel meanwhile turned into a concert hall with lots of metal in its various forms and for me Doomsday Celebration and THHMA can go on booking these bands. Shall try to be present as much as I can. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

John Wesley - Meshiaak - Allegaeon

CD tips for this week.

john wesley - a way you'll never be...
John Wesley you might have seen many times on stage, but this is the first solo album I bought from him. He was touring guitarist with Porcupine Tree. I saw him also with Sound of Contact, probably with Fish and possibly solo opening for Marillion once as well. Reason I picked this CD up were the many positive reviews I read on this album. Guess what, they were all right as this is a bonafida hard rock album with great songs and obviously good guitar work. Aardschok mentioned Lenny Wolfe as reference for his voice. I can hear that, but combining the music I even hear more similarities to the great debut album of Katmandu with Fastway's Dave King on vocals. Highlights to me are the catchy choruses on the title track and to outrun the light. During instrumental unsafe space and sun.a.rose we suddenly go slower and heavier, while the song epic ends beautifull. Noticing I mentioned almost all songs, fact is there is no weak spot on this album. While based upon his touring experience a neo-prog album might be expected, this is just very enjoyable melodic hard rock. Surprise of the week.

Meshiaak - Alliance of Thieves
My interest was raised when learning that this was the band of Dean Wells. His other job is with Teramaze a progmetal band that made it to my list of favorites of 2015 with Her Halo. Similar to John Wesley hereabove, this band is heavier than how we got to know Dean. Meshiaak plays Thrash Metal and does so extremely well. While being heavy and fast, they also play very clear metal and pack their music in solid songs. While the band is Australian their drummer John Dette is American and played before in several big bands in the US. The album continues at speed, with only on closer Death of an Anthem some reduced tempos. Positive news I read yesterday is that they work now with booking agency Loud Noise. This means they probably tour Holland next year. How nice would it be if they play near home for a one off show entitled: The Hague Heavy Metal Alliance Of Thieves!!

Allegaeon - Proponent For Sentience
Ending heavy, herewith yet another great Technical Death Metal release of 2016. I did get into them through the prog door, when I saw their stunning cover of Rush's Subdivisions (check YouTube). Clicking on more clips I noticed that this is a very tight Death/Thrash machine. The album starts epic and holds many short breaks into calmer waters. As is the norm with these bands, the level of musicianship is very high. Vocals are mainly grunting with in the last song of the title trilogy a guest role for Bjorn Strid. The TechDeath party in patronaat two weeks ago showed, that this music is even better when undergoing it at full volume live, so bring them on. For those afraid of grunts, the Rush cover is sung fully clean and worth the purchase by itself.