Two days before Easter, the Baroeg in Rotterdam opens its doors for three up and coming talents in the world of heavy metal. SKULL FIST from Canada and Swedish pioneers ENFORCER and BULLET will certainly turn this place into a Good Friday. Canadian metal heads SKULL FIST will kick off and this band is especially interesting for Metal Maidens because of their female drum beast Alison Thunderland (who unfortunately left the band after their European tour). When SKULL FIST gets onstage, I already feel the tension. The tracks, that I know from their demo and their debut album “Heavier Than Metal” are as hot as hell and this show already can’t go wrong. Our drive to Rotterdam was already justified because of this band only. Reinforced by bass player Johnny Exciter, the band bangs their heavy metal through the venue at full force. They show no mercy. Songs like “Vicious Attack”, “Blackout” and title track “Heavier Than Metal” tell you, that we’re dealing with a bunch of wild beasts. But in this case wild beats, that know for sure what they are doing. Despite the fact, that these guys and girl don’t stand still on stage for one second, I couldn’t hear any mistakes in their playing. Especially drummer Alison Thunderland really stole my heart, because her power is simply devastating! I also take off my hat for Sir Shred’s and Jackie Slaughter’s double axe attacks. Such a delight to listen to it. When the band continues with the cover “Iron Maiden”, they prove once and for all to be ‘true as hell’. They close their show (which was much too short in my eyes) with “No Flase Metal” – a statement that fits SKULL FIST like a glove!!!
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photos by: Rita van Poorten
You have to give it up for DORO and her band. It doesn't matter the size of the venue or the size of the audience, one thing you can always be certain of is, that the band will give a maximum effort always. You know, that if you buy a ticket for a DORO show, you are going to come away having experienced a great performance. Whether it be in front of 80,000 metal maniacs at Wacken or a club size crowd like tonight's performance at the Webster Theater Underground in Hartford, Connecticut, you won't be disappointed and I can safely assume that on this night, no one was. Support came from two very impressive bands. The first of which was the newly signed to Metal Blade Records RAVAGE from Boston, Mass. They performed songs from their impressive debut CD "The End Of Tomorrow". Their style is traditional power metal with thrash elements and it was quite energetic. They even played a cover of the JUDAS PRIEST tune "Nightcrawler", that really went down well. They were followed by the all-female band JADED also from Boston. Both bands did such a great job in getting the audience amped up for DORO, I definitely wouldn't mind checking out either band again some time in the future. Good stuff! After a brief intermission, it was indeed time for the metal queen to take the stage. After a short intro, the band absolutely attacked the stage with opener "I Rule The Ruins". This is a song that band use quite often to open their shows and it is easy to see why. It is just a great adrenaline fueled number, that always manages to set the right atmosphere. The band followed that up with an energetic version of the classic WARLOCK track "Burning The Witches", which of course went down awesome with the fans in attendance singing word-for-word. "You're My Family" from the underrated "Warrior Soul" was on next. This song has the potential to be a fan favorite for a long, long time to come and a staple of her live sets, judging by the overwhelming reaction of the audience. From there, the classics kept coming in the form of "True As Steel" and "Fight For Rock" with "Night Of The Warlock" from the great new release "Fear No Evil" sand-witched in between. "Celebrate" - another new one - really got the audience going and this is another one, that has the potential to be a crowd favorite. The set list featured a pretty good cross section of material from DORO's career, like "Unholy Love" and the guitar driven classic "Metal Racer". Other songs that were played, "We Are The Metalheads" (the official Wacken theme), "Breaking The Law", before the classic "All We Are" closed the main set and is always a highlight for any DORO performance. The band returned to the stage for the encores "Earthshaker Rock" and "Hellbound", before bidding us good night for the final time. Long time members Nick Douglas (bass) and Johnny Dee (drums) are always reliable. They always give solid, energetic performances and are a perfect compliment to DORO's powerful vocals. For this tour, the band is completed by two new members: Harrison Young (keyboards) and ex-AFTER FOREVER guitarist Bas Maas, both proved to be great additions to the line-up. After having seen the band perform live many times, I am always amazed at the sheer ferocity the band exhibits, at each performance. They really do own the stage and it doesn't matter - big crowd or small crowd - the audience is always going to be entertained. At this point DORO and band are such a potent live machine, that I would put them up against just about any other band or artist. That's a debate for another time, but one thing is for certain: on this night, DORO rocked the hell out of Hartford.
Text & photos by: Tony Cannella
The release party of MARTYR’s new CD “Fear The Universe” took place at the Azotod, De Meern (near Utrecht). Three bands are playing live on stage, worthy of a crazy night of Dutch heavy metal. Opener JACKAL is the most important factor for Metal Maidens, because of their female frontlady Rebecca Duin. It was our first introduction to the band, so we were very curious about their performance. And I must say, that the band totally convinced us and put on a very professional show. Not strange, because they already exist since the mid-eighties, when bandmembers of STRUCK and STAINLESS joined forces and formed JACKAL. However, the band has enjoyed a long break inbetween. With a nine song set, the band shows influences of old school US metal and some touches of NWOBHM here and there. Rebecca is a great singer, who reminded me a bit of ICRI’S WITCH singer Stacey Alder. And she can take that as a huge compliment! The songs, played here this evening, are the same ones, that you will find on the band’s live DVD, only in a different order sometimes. Opening with a song called “Pain In The Ass” and from there on, it’s perfectly clear to us, that JACKAL is not your every day’s heavy metal band. This band has got its roots in the old school metal and they surely know to translate that in their own penned material. “Secret Remains” and “Enchantress” are true headbangers with a wild guitar sound. After forty-five minutes I can only say, that it’s good to have JACKAL back on stage again! The band has got a great sound, fast guitar players, a true heavy metal spirit and a good singing frontlady. Thumbs up for JACKAL!
ALTER EGO X are from Den Bosch and they have got the true rock and roll spirit running through their vains. Their songs contain a high level of AC/DC, ROSE TATTOO and MOTÖRHEAD. Straight forward rock and roll with some great guitar work. No wonder, that the band cranks out the AC/DC classic “Sin City” in their forty-five minute set. ALTER EGO X has shared the stage with many interesting bands already and I’m sure many more will follow…. ALTER EGO X is definitely a name to remember, if you’re into non-complicated rock and roll and like the aforementioned bands!
Headliners MARTYR are presenting their new album “Fear The Universe” for the first time, on which we can hear five brand new tracks. All these tracks are performed live tonite in an awesome live show. Singer Rop van Haren impressed me a lot with his energetic stage performance. After the intro tape, the band starts off with “Show And Fire”. Followed by “Darkness At Time’s Edge”, to be continued by the first new song, called “Fear”. The new songs sound rather well, but of course it’s very hard to judge them after only hearing them for the first time. Although “The Most Evil” makes the best impression on me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s another future MARTYR classic, next to my personal fave “Speed Of Samurai”. Well done! MARTYR closes their show, which is dominated by the Heavy Metal Maniacs supporters visiting the band on stage with another new song, called “Eaten Alive”. Obviously, the crowd wants to hear more after this sparkling performance. This happens with a song called “Black Sun”, another great MARTYR anthem. After that, the curtain falls and it’s time to go home again. The album “Fear Of The Universe” was mixed in the studio of Jack Nobelen, of SAVAGE, HIGHWAY and HORIZON fame. And it was really nice to see this eighties guitar hero show up in De Meern as well. MARTYR convinced me to the fullest, that they are still able to write some real good songs. Containing the old school influences, but with some new influences peeping around the corner as well. Well, as long as they’re not overruling the old school sound, it’s fine by me. By the way: Rop will be the only one, that doesn’t have to take a shower afterwards, because he takes many showers while being on stage!!! Toine van der Linden still shows, that a bass player doesn’t have to be the grey person, that remains invisable during the whole gig. He’s constantly in the frontline and together with his duo mate Wilfried Broekman, he sure knows how to keep the rhythm tight! I don’t think, that I need to say more about the two axemen in MARTYR; Rick Bouwman and Marcel Heesakkers? They left me standing with my mouth hanging open after the show… My God!!! Three good Dutch metal bands on one night. And people dare to say, that true metal is dead?! Yeah right!!!
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photos by: Rita van Poorten
Despite the fact, that we follow the Dutch metal scene for many years and fully support it, we have never seen ROBBY VALENTINE play live before. Now we have the opportunity in the crowded, yet very cosy Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Within the band, we recognise a few familiar faces, like Liselotte Hegt (Lilo) on bass (ex-CIRRHA NIVA, now DIAL) and guitarplayer Cyril Whistler (ex-WHISTLER, COURBOIS, WHISTLER , ex-UNDERCOVER). No wonder, that the band plays very tight this evening. Robby is a real God in Japan, but I think that the Dutch are a bit too down-to-earth to discover the power of the symphonic rock. The fans however enjoy the show a lot and it seems, that most people in the audience have especially made this trip to see ROBBY VALENTINE play here tonight. The man is a good frontman and a real multi instrumentalist. Next to the vocal parts, he also plays the guitar, which looks very much like the guitar of PRINCE by the way, keyboards and even some bass guitar. This last instrument he only plays, when Lilo does the vocal parts in the ABBA (!!!) cover “S.O.S.”. Big surprise this evening though is the guest appearance by Peter Struik (ex-VANDENBERG / FIRST AVENUE) in two songs. Besides this, there is also a guest appearance by Marlies Schuitemaker, who seems to be well-known from the Dutch talent scout Idols. Robby produced her debut album “Electrified”.The gig is finalised after seventy-five minutes with the biggest hit single, that Robby ever had over here: "Over And Over Again".
Then it’s HIGHWAY CHILE’s turn… The band, that I’ve been looking forward to seeing the most tonight. They bring a good mix of old and new stuff and know how to impress me on all levels. No wonder, when you have so much talent and experience in your band."Highway Chile Is Coming To Get You" and that’s just how it is. Martin Mens is the personification of "Jesse James", when he enters the stage with his cowboy hat on, that has some cow prints. Besides that, the man takes care of all those dirty, old school metal riffs, that we hear tonight. Stan Verbraak belongs to the top of the Dutch hard rock singers for me. In the middle of the set, there is a short HELLOISE set of two songs, including “Hard Life” and “For A Moment”. During this last song, I always have to think of the VANDENBERG song “Wait”, when the humming part starts. It’s very well camouflaged, but the resemblance is striking between these two songs. This short HELLOISE set is justified these days, now that Marchell Remeeus plays the bass guitar, as third ex-member of this band. When the last tones of “Dreaming Of Heaven” fade away, there are only fifty-five minutes gone, since HIGHWAY CHILE started their set. Encores, like “Carol” and “Headbangers”, have to be skipped because of time limitations. Which is a real shame, because this gig could have lasted at least fifteen minutes longer for me. Better luck next time, I guess!
VENGEANCE wants to baptise their new CD “Soul Collector” tonight. Father and son Jan and Timo Somers are the guitar players tonight and the rhytm section consists of Erik Stout on drums and Barend Courbois on bass. Of course we have superclown Leon Goewie on vocals, who is dressed in a snow white three piece suit, completed with a high hat. The hat carries the print “No Snow, No Show”. But there isn’t any snow, so what are we going to expect this evening? Well, VENGEANCE has always been very well-known for their very sponateous party-like shows. The band works hard and Timo regularly shows his father how to do the job. “Back In The Ring”, “Rock And Roll Man”, “Take It Or Leave It”, “Arabia”, “Dreamworld”, all these classics are on the setlist tonight. Goewie acts a little bit careless (or drunk) however and the whole gig looks a bit messy, because of that. For example, the beginning of “May Heaven Strike Me Down”, goes completely wrong. And some German record boss, who apparently has had a few beers too much, also appears on stage while doing nothing interesting. During “Rock And Roll Shower” however, the crowd starts to sing along. When the band closes their gig, the hall is almost empty already. In the meantime, Leon has also emptied a large pint of beer and a bottle of Jack Daniels over his head. This man should have a talk with our good friend Martjo. He would be amazed, what he would do with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Drink it until the last drop of course. In the encores of tonight we hear three new songs. VENGEANCE are the masters of creating a good atmosphere, HIGHWAY CHILE however saved the night as far as I’m concerned, while VALENTINE is only meant for the real connoisseurs. Although I believe that most of the audience came to see his performance here tonight. Three Dutch rock giants in a row and on one night, that’s not a bad score, I would say....
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photos by: Rita van Poorten
Tonight we celebrate the 30th birthday of GIRLSCHOOL. Hip hip hooray! Hopefully, this amazing all-girl NOWOBHM outfit will be around for many more years to come! But before GIRLSCHOOL takes the stage, we are treated to two great support acts. Only a few days before this gig took place, we heard that BUGGIRL from Australia was added to the bill. BUGGIRL can be described as the heavy rock version of the WHITE STRIPES. A drummer and a singer/guitarist and they are brother and sister, too. They sound so much heavier than the WHITE STRIPES though. Amber is a real adrenaline bomb. She shoots to kill and sounds ultra hot tonight. Armed with one fist in the air, the band cranks out powerful songs like “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell”, “Shootin’ Fire” and “War & Fire”. Man, they really know to kick ass! AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” is the biggest point of recognition in the set of BUGGIRL. The band is loved by everybody in the audience and they definitely made a whole lot of new friends with their energetic show. And thereafter as well, because when BENEDICTUM is playing their set, both BUGGIRL members are still talking to their fans at the back of the hall.
BENEDICTUM is already very well-known at the Dutch stages. We have never had the pleasure of seeing them live in action, but we already knew for sure that they wouldn’t disappoint us. Opening with “Two Steps To The Sun”, we hear a good mix from both of their albums in the full hour, that the band played. Highlights are songs, like “Wicca”, “Benedictum” and set closer “Ashes To Ashes”. Frontlady Veronica Freeman proves, that you can look sexy on stage and still sound heavy as well. She never looses her charm and shows that she also has got a great sense of humor. However, the best cards of tonight are for guitarplayer Pete Wells, who made a great impression on us. Especially in the last few songs, he proves to be a very fast guitarplayer.
The crowd seems to be heated up properly now. So we’re getting ready for the last attack of the evening. And GIRLSCHOOL is ready to rock! They open their set with “C’Mon Let’s Go”, followed by “Not For Sale” and “Hit And Run”. After these songs, it’s quite clear, that the bad weather didn’t do any good to the singing abillity of these ladies. Enid Williams however is destined to make the best of it. She sings a lot of the songs and she even gives the full hundred percent in a new song, called “I Spy”. On their new album “Legacy”, you can also hear a version of this song with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. And judging this song tonight, I think it could very well be on any DIO album. Respect for Enid! She saved the night by going for it all the way. “Spend Spend Spend” and “From The Other Side” are newcomers in the set, together with “Everything Is The Same”. Most of the fans are dying to hear the old classics though. And the band has got a lot of them. “Screaming Blue Murder”, “Future Flash”, “Yeah Right”, “Race With The Devil”, “Demolition Boys” and “Emergency”- it’s all there. And although they might not be in the very best of shape tonight healthwise, they still try to make the best of it. We get one encore in the form of the very first GIRLSCHOOL single “Take It All Away” with Enid steaming at full force again. She really turned this gig into a huge success! We were introduced to a great new band, BUGGIRL, that holds a golden future in the palm of their hands. They watched the GIRLSCHOOL set from the front rows of the stage and cheered out loud after every song. Now that’s the spirit! And BENEDICTUM left behind a good, first impression. We will see the ladies of GIRLSCHOOL a couple of weeks later at the Keep It True festival in Germany. I can tell you upfront, that tonight’s gig in Uden was only just a warming up for that. But it was a damn good one! Cheers you a LOT and here’s to the next thirty years!!
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photos by: Rita van Poorten
SONATA ARCTICA got this Finnish metal double bill off to a rousing start. They entertained the large audience at the Palladium with a forty minute set worth of energetic power metal. The people in attendance really seemed to enjoy their set and Sonata really delivered the goods.
I have been a huge NIGHTWISH fan for many years and until now, I have never had the opportunity to see them live. Sadly, I missed the Tarja era, but I am more than eager to see them with new front lady Anette Olzon. After a brief intro, the band took to the stage with the opening song "Bye Bye Beautiful" from their latest CD "Dark Passion Play". Right away, the audience was into it. After that, the band did two songs off the phenomenal "Once" album, "Dark Chest Of Wonders" and "The Siren" was the first chance for the fans to hear Anette doing the Tarja songs and she did a good job. After that it was back to "Dark Passion Play" with "Whoever Brings The Night" and they followed that up with "Amaranth". As you could imagine the band focused heavily on the new opus, as they rocked through such songs as "Sahara" and the fourteen minute epic "The Poet And The Pendulum". All were received wildly by the huge audience in attendance, laying to rest that the fans would not accept Anette into the band. The fans were wildly cheering and singing all of the songs - old and new. Another newer number "The Islander" provided the only quiet moment, as bassist Marco Hietala and guitarist Empuu picked up acoustic guitars and Marco handled most of the vocals giving Anette a breather. The band also played several older songs as "Come Cover Me", "Everdream", "Dead To The World" and "Slaying The Dreamer" were definite highlights. As the show progressed, the energy level of the band and the fans only heightened. "Sahara" ended the main portion of the set, before the band returned to the stage to wild applause with an an encore of "7 Days To The Wolves" and "Wish I Had An Angel", before bidding us goodnight. Overall, I was not disappointed by my first experience of seeing NIGHTWISH live. Anette has a great stage presence and an awesome interaction with audience. She has an attitude, voice and style, that you can't help but get behind and judging from the large crowd at the Palladium on this night, many people would agree.
Text by: Tony Cannella
We were wondering how many people would actually show up tonight after a hot summer's day like this. It wouldn’t be the choice of the bands: not two but three female-fronted bands would play at the Underground in Lelystad. After a few hours walk through the nature park of Lelystad (where you can find some exeptional animals), we headed out to a Chinese restaurant, which was situated in a huge parking lot about five steps away from the Underground. The guestlist was perfectly taken care of (our thanks goes out to Hadassa of theNAME and the very friendly people of the Underground!!) and armed with our camera and a noteblock, we waited for the first band to arrive: VANADIS. The band started out with a song called “Mortal Prison”, followed by “Ad Midium”. Singer Manalys looks cheerful, but the band seems a bit uncomfortable on stage. Like it was their first show. Their progressive kind of gothic metal shows some very innovative ideas and and especially guitarist Nathan knows to impress me. However, when the set progresses, the band is getting better and seems to be sounding stronger each minute. Bassplayer David also plays the flute, which adds something special to the sound of VANADIS. The band closes their set with the NIGHTWISH cover “Ghost Love Score”. I think, that the very few people that showed up here tonight, have seen the band grown during their set and were positively surprised by this 5-piece from Amstelveen. Keep an eye out for their new EP “March Of Storms”, to be released soon!!!
Another very promising progressive gothic metal act is knocking at our door. theNAME is on next.We recently did an interview with the band and this is our chance to see them live in action. And action is what we’ll get! The band opens with “Recognition”, the title song of their latest CD, which is also one of my favorite songs. After seeing (and enjoying) their show here in Lelystad, it’s crystal clear to me: it’s simply impossible to label this band. Their music is a mix of progressive rock, (gothic) metal, pop, jazz, acoustic rock and shots of adrenaline, emotion, soul, love, sex and aggression. This mix may already sound unique, but there is more to it. Their frontlady is really special. Hadassa is not just the singer of the band. She is a black belt performer, who flirts with her audience. Her mimics are outstanding and grabs your attention during the whole performance. She transforms the songs into short plays. Her eyes make the male part of the audience melt. And her voice sounds just brilliant, too. Songs like “Lost”, “Lies” and “Mirror” become very special this way. “No Retraction” is a short piece of rest. Time for the band to sit down and grab some acoustic guitars. An exciting gig and both thumbs up for theNAME!!!
KINGFISHER SKY are the headliners of tonight. Their debut album was very well received and it slowly put them in the premier ranks of the Dutch gothic metal scene. And they lived up to that expectation. It’s a shame, that they have to play for an almost empty hall, because only fifty or sixty people showed up. The band opens with “The Craving’. Besides Ivar de Graaf (formerly Within Temptation drummer), Daan Janzing and Edo van der Kolk (both on guitar), George van Olffen (keyboards), Eric Hoogendoorn (bass) and singer Judith Rijnveld, the band also introduces a special guest – female cello player Maaike Peterse – who plays a big part of the set and not without merit! Maaike is a great eye-catcher and she gives the sound of Kingfisher Sky a very positive boost. However, the other bandmembers are also working very hard to reach the highest possible level. During the instrumental part, bassplayer Eric bangs his head like a madman. It’s a very energetic sight for all the fans. Most of tonight’s songs were taken from their album “Hallway Of Dreams”, like “The Craving”, “Big Fish”, “Balance Of Power” and title track “Hallway Of Dreams”. What caught my attention most though was a song, called “The Attic”. It really came alive thanks to the great vocal parts of singer Judith Rijnveld. I do hope, this song will be on the next album of KINGFISHER SKY. The next song is a nice surprise: Hadassa of theNAME joins KINGFISHER SKY on stage for an encore and together with Judith both ladies share the vocals on “The Craving”. This surprise appearance shows that both bands are good colleagues and there’s no rivalry whatsoever. They join forces and together they stand strong!
Three very talented female-fronted bands, who deserve a much bigger audience than the few people that showed up today. Shame on you for staying at home or going to the beach, instead of supporting these great bands! However, the bands didn’t seem to care and gave a full 100% tonight and that’s what counts! Cheers to VANADIS, theNAME and KINGFISHER SKY!
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photos by: Rita van Poorten
New York area band THE GENTLING started the show, but don't let the name fool you, their sound is anything but gentle. They really did a good job in getting the crowd ready. They are a four piece band, that includes a female singer, who really has a very powerful vocal delivery. No doubt about it, throughout the course of their thirty minute set, you couldn't help but sit up and take notice. Very impressive.
Next up was Sweden's FATAL SMILE. They gave a solid, fun and energetic performance. Great stage presence, songs and just an overall entertaining set.
And finally, what everyone came for. The reigning metal queen Doro Pesch. The band stormed on stage with the set opener, the all time metal classic, "Burning The Witches". And after just a few notes, we all knew that this would be another great DORO performance. Next, they launched into another classic "I Rule The Ruins", which was followed by "True As Steel". The band was as solid and energetic as ever. Nick Douglas (bass), Johnny Dee (drums), Luca Princiotta (guitar) and the returning Joe Taylor (guitar) are the perfect compliment to DORO's powerhouse vocals. It is so apparent, that they are all enjoying themselves on stage and it definitely transcends into the audience. The classics just kept on coming. "Metal Racer" was played and I think it is a great thing, that they added this song to the set. It really gets the crowd going. Perhaps the highlight from the show was the inclusion of "Love Me In Black". This is such a great song, that was never released in America, but the audience in Poughkeepsie ate it up. Some newer gems were also included. "You're My Family" is always a highlight and will be a concert favorite for years to come and "Burn It Up" got a great response as well. DORO also played an energetic version of the PRIEST classic "Breaking The Law". "All We Are" brought the main part of the set to a close. This song has been played live so many times, but it never ceases to amaze me how fresh it sounds. Of course, after this the fans wanted more, which DORO and band were only too happy to oblige. The band returned to the stage with the triple threat of "East Meets West", "Fur Immer" and "Hellbound". Which sadly brought the evening to a close. Did I mention they also played "Only You"?
This evening in Poughkeepsie saw DORO and her band at the top of their game. As a live band I would put them up against anybody. They may not play the biggest venues or in general have the biggest following, but live they are simply ferocious. A great time was had by all.
Text and photo [DORO] by: Tony Cannella
Tonight we’ll get to see two bands on stage with a female singer. First of all, there’s the Dutch band THE NAME and the headliners will be XANDRIA from Germany. The music of THE NAME could be called groovy metal and XANDRIA is playing gothic metal. THE NAME released two albums so far; “Remedy” in 2004 with former singer Denise and “Recognition” in 2006 with new singer Hadassa. Hadassa has a clear voice, which is in contrast with the sometimes (grunt) vocals of guitarist Silas. Best songs tonight were “Remedy” with its changing rhythms and the brutal sounding “Lies“. Hilarious was their heavy version of the BRITNEY SPEARS song “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Furthermore, we got to hear a couple of new songs. I’m very curious what their new album will sound like, but for tonight their mission to promote THE NAME has been quite successful.
Then it’s time for XANDRIA. It is a shame, they never toured Holland before, despite the release of four albums already. How long can you keep your fans waiting and still hope they will buy your records? Well, they were definately worth waiting for. Lisa and her mates were in a good mood and after the first notes of “Now And Forever”, people almost directly started dancing to their gothic metal kind of sound. Despite this show was mainly to promote their new album “Salome”, their previous albums were not forgotten. From the band’s first album “Kill The Sun”, they played the tittletrack and the fabulous “Isis/Osiris”. Surprisingly enough, the songs played tonight sounded much heavier than the original versions on the album. From the album “Ravenhart”, we got to hear the beautiful ballad “Eversleeping” and the band saved the favorites “Ravenhart” and “Blackflame” for the encores. From the third album “India”, they represented five songs, and amongst them were titletrack “India” and “Fight Me”. Somewhere in the middle of the show, singer Lisa was left alone on stage and she did an Irish folk song. During this song it’s obvious what an incredible voice she has! The songs off the new album sound very good live and are a bit heavier than we’re used to. The band also moves away a bit from their gothic sound towards more oriental influences. Just listen to “Salome” for example - the titletrack off the new album. However, the melodic chorus remained, as we can hear in the sing-along song “Save My Life”. Other new songs, such as “Sisters Of The Light” and “Firestorm” were received very well by the fans tonight. I think, it won’t take long before this band will be as huge as AFTER FOREVER or EPICA in Europe. Everyone went home satisfied and will be thinking why it took so long, before the band came to the Netherlands.
Text and photos [THE NAME & XANDRIA] by: Marcel van Santen
The second night of the EPICA / VISIONS OF ATLANTIS / THE AGONIST tour rolled into Hartford, CT and for many fans - including myself - it was a long time coming and treat for us all. Canada's THE AGONIST got things off to a frenzied start. I must admit that I am not too familiar with them, but they have a lot of energy on stage and they really got the crowd pumped for what was to follow. Next was the Austrian/American band VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. They are touring in support of their great third album "Trinity". Once their intro tape finished the band took to the stage with "At The Back Of Beyond". Dual vocalists Melissa Ferlaak and Mario Plank have great chemistry on stage as they trade off vocals throughout the show. They were also both note perfect. Next was another new one "The Secret". The band concentrated mainly on songs from the "Trinity" album and the audience did not mind one bit. "Trinity" is such a strong album and it was a pleasure hearing songs like "Flow This Desert", "Nothing Left" "Wing-Shaped Heart" (my personal favorite) and "The Poem". "State Of Suspense" and "Lost" were played from the second VISIONS OF ATLANTIS album "Cast Away" and Melissa really breathed new life into those songs. The whole band had a great stage presence and seemed genuinely excited to be there. We were excited to finally see VISIONS OF ATLANTIS on American shores. Next up was the headliner EPICA. I've waited a long time to see them live and it was just a surreal experience. Once the intro finished the band took the stage with set opener "The Obsessive Devotion" from their latest masterpiece "The Divine Conspiracy". Next, was "Sensorium" from their debut. Next up, was another older one "Cry For The Moon", which was followed by two newer songs "Menace Of Vanity" and the video/single track "Never Enough". The band really seemed to click and fire on all cylinders at this point. Admittedly, I had never seen the band live before, but they seemed to be really having a good time. The vocals of Simone Simons are both beautiful and haunting and guitarist Mark Jansen supplied his "death grunts" and even gave Simone a breather as he took over the vocals on the surprise cover of the DEATH track "Crystal Mountain". Simone returned to the stage for the next song "Facade Of Reality", complete with Tony Blair spoken part in the middle of the song. Other songs performed were the beautiful ballad "Linger", "Seif Al Dein", "Blank Infinity" and "Beyond Belief". EPICA finished their regular set with "The Phantom Agony", before returning to the stage with the encore "Consign To Obliveon". This concluded a great night of metal. Three bands really gave their all and sent the fans home happy. All three bands owned the stage and really rocked the hell out of the Webster.
Text and photo [EPICA] by: Tony Cannella
It’s the third weekend in August, which means that it’s time again for the Culemborg Blues Festival. This edition has a lot of interesting bands on the bill, and some of them are even interesting for Metal Maidens. In the afternoon, there was SUPERFLOOR, which we missed unfortunately. Mainly because we were still working on the latest reviews for MM. But early in the evening, we would see the JANIS JOPLIN tribute band KOZMIC BLUE and blues guitarist/singer ANA POPOVIC from former Yugoslavia. And Ana was the main reason to go to Culemborg again. Before these bands would play, we were positively surprised by SCOTT McKEON from Great Britain though. The band consisted of four young guys, who played like they were in their late fourties. Blues rock music with influences of the late STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN and JOE BONAMASSA. Played with so much class and style, that we will surely hear more from these young lads in the near future. A great opener for us, although the festival was going on for a few hours already. We had expected a lot from KOZMIC BLUE, named after one of the albums by the late JANIS JOPLIN. When we found out that their drummer had to play guitar as well, and that the electric guitarparts would be replaced by a mouth organ player, our enthusiasm faded away a little bit…. I checked out all my JANIS JOPLIN albums, when we came home, and she always had (loud) guitars in her band and (almost) never used a mouth organ player. And ‘Janis’ herself? Maggie Mackenthun has got a great voice and the looks of a hippie, so that was good. But in my opinion, she really overdid her performance. Sure, you could almost feel the emotion in her voice, but it was a bit over the top in a way. Songs like “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)”, “Ball And Chain” en “Me And Bobby McGhee” were quite nice, but the band also cranked out a few songs, that were not very known by many people. However, the craftmanship of the musicians was good and a lot of the audience liked what they saw. That’s what really counts. Metal Maidens has written about the talent of ANA POPOVIC many times already. Her guitarplaying becomes better and better every time we see her. Maybe not recognisable on each studio album, but especially her live performances are stunning, and really fantastic. She has played with all the great names on earth already, and it really shows in her live gigs. Not only this lady will draw your attention with her good looks, but she also plays some impressive guitarlicks. Backed up by a band of some great musicians, she easily moves through a one hour set, which mainly consisted of songs from her latest album “Still Making History”. Songs like “U Complete Me”, “Doubt Everyone But Me” and title track “Still making History” fitted very well next to older classics like “My Man”. Ana also played the JIMI HENDRIX cover “House Burning Down”, which made me feel that the female version of Jimi had taken over on stage. Next, the drummer got some space to show his skills in a drum solo, and the audience was invided to sing along to “Hold On”, which is also to be found on Ana’s latest album. For us, this lady was surely the highlight of the festival and after her, there were two more acts, who would play until the very late hours, namely ALQUIN and THE JUKE JOINTS. Ana will join JAN AKKERMAN this autumn on a little tour together, and she proved us, that she slowly developed herself into a true female blues guitar hero in this mainly male-dominated scene.
Text by: Toine van Poorten
Photo [ANA POPOVIC] by: Rita van Poorten
LEAVES’ EYES took a break from the their current opening slot on the KAMELOT tour to play a headlining show in Hartford, CT, and man, did they rock the hell out of the place? You bet they did. The band took the stage with the intro "Vinland Saga" and then launched into "Farewell Proud Men". Vocalist Liv Kristine Krull was in fine voice. She appeared wearing a flowing red dress and she sounded flawless. Next, she was joined on stage by Alexander Krull for the track "Solemn Sea". Alex really commands the stage and has a very powerful stage presence. The band is completed by: Mathias Roderer (guitar), Thorsten Bauer (guitar), Chris Lukhaup (bass) and Moritz Neuner (drums). They played a solid set, that lasted about seventy-five to eighty minutes. Songs like "The Thorn", "New Found Land", "Temptation" and "Into Your Light" really got the crowd going. The band left the stage before returning for a rousing encore of "Legend Land" and "Elegy" before finally bidding us good night. It was not the biggest of crowds on this night in Hartford, CT but those of us who were lucky enough to be in attendance will not soon forget this show.
Text and photo by: Tony Cannella
The third stop on the US leg of the "Warrior Soul" tour rolled into Hartford, CT and those in attendance were in for a treat. After an opening set by SAVATAGE/TSO guitarist Chris Caffery, that included the ‘TAGE classic "Edge Of Thorns”, the band took to the stage with the surprise opener "Earthshaker Rock". This was a great choice of opener, as it got the fans into it straight away. And there was no letting up as the band segued into the WARLOCK classic "I Rule The Ruins". DORO and her band ploughed through a blistering set, that included many older WARLOCK classics such as "Burning The Witches", "Hellbound", "East Meets West", "Metal Racer" (a huge - and very well received - surprise) and of course "All We Are", which really got the crowd going. "All We Are" in particular is a song, that has been played so many times over the years, but it continues to be a highlight of DORO’s live performances. It is a testament to the sheer awesomeness of this classic tune. But DORO did not rely on just the WARLOCK classics. She also drew from her catalogue of great solo material. She drew heavily from her latest release (the great) "Warrior Soul" with tunes like the title track "You’re My Family", "Haunted Heart" and my new favorite song "Strangers Yesterday". She also went back a few years playing songs like "Hellraiser", "Fight" and "Burn It Up" and surprised the crowd with a great rendition of the PRIEST classic "Breaking The Law". The band were tight, solid and energetic. Long time bassist Nick Douglas was born to be on stage, he’s got such an amazing stage presence, Johnny Dee is a monster on drums and very underrated. The band was completed by guitarist Chris Caffery pulling double duty and guitarist/keyboardist Luca Princiotti from Italy. All-in-all, it was a great night of true metal that only the metal queen could deliver. No matter what size the crowd is big or small, you can be sure that DORO will give her all every single night. And on this night she did that and more. A stunning performance. Website: http://www.dororocks.net.
Text and photo by: Tony Cannella
Tonight we will witness another newcomer in the gothic metal scene: the Dutch band SYLVER MYST. After releasing a few demos in the last four years, it was time to put something on CD. Now they have their first MCD "Depths Of Illusions", for which a presentation was organised at Tivoli (De Helling) in Utrecht. Originally, two other acts were scheduled to support this event, namely IMPERIA and ANGEL. Because Helena Michaelsen had an accident and couldn’t play, they were forced to cancel all of their shows. At very short notice, THE WOUNDED were asked to take their place. They play some kind of progressive psychedelic music with influences from bands such as ANATHEMA, MARILLION and PARADISE LOST. There are no females in THE WOUNDED, so let’s return to SYLVER MYST. The line up of SYLVER MYST is Marjolein Hüsken (vocals), Didier Roumen (guitar), Rob van Dijk (guitar), Marc Jaspers (drums), Marco Brugmans (bass) and Martijn in 't Veld (keys). The band started off with the intro "Seduction", followed by "Desire”, which could very well be a new NIGHTWISH song. The sound was very good and the band seemed quite happy to play the new songs to their fans. Singer Marjolein was extremely happy and thankful. It looked like, this was one of the best days in her life. Whereas other gothic bands have a soprano singer, who tries to sing as highly as possible, Marjolein easily switches from normal singing to soprano and back. I know, it’s difficult to develop your own style in the gothic metal, but if you want to get higher on the ladder of succes, you got to be special. However, “Escape From Reality" and "As Heaven Blessed A Dying Rose" are good songs and they prove, that SYLVER MYST took a few steps forward on this ladder. The best song from their album is definitely title track "Depths Of Illusions". After playing some songs from the past as well, it looks like the party is over. But the crowd wants more, so the band plays "Desire" and "Depths Of Illusions" once again, before leaving the stage. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on. They deliver a great live show, now they just have to capture this live experience to a studio album. I was told, that the CD presentation was recorded and filmed, so there probably will be a live DVD available soon. It is still not clear when this will be available, but keep an eye on their website for further information at: http://www.sylvermyst.nl.
By: Marcel van Santen
This seemed to be a nervous homecoming for Brody Dalle, who left Melbourne for Los Angeles, CA, when she was seventeen. She is a product of the local Rock and Roll High School and was once in SOURPUSS, an all-girl band who put out an EP on Felony Records in Australia, while Brody was in the band. Comparisions to COURTNEY LOVE stop at the strip paint off walls vocals. Musically and creatively, Brody kicks Courtneys arse. THE DISTILLERS are one of the premier punk bands playing around now, if that’s your scene. The 90% male dominated audience here to see QOTSA, who THE DISTILLERS were supporting, watched politely while a handful of fans who own a copy of “Coral Fang” moshed in front. Current single “Drain The Blood” was enthusiastically received along with “Die On A Rope” and “Coral Fang”. My highlight was “The Hunger” with Brody peering through her long dark fringe mumbling "It’s good to be back". The only audience acknowledgement of the night, as Brody seemed to be doing her best to ignore the crowd. It was like watching a band rehearsal. “Coral Fang” is definately an excellent album and worth the investment but as for live shows, maybe I saw them on an off night.
By: Debbie Jordan
The Headway festival is a two days event, where different styles of progressive metal are displayed, ranging from jazz ‘till death metal. Headliners on the first day are the American technical metal band WATCHTOWER, led by guitairst Ron Jarzombek, also known for SPASTIC INK fame. German prog. rockers SIEGES EVEN are closing this festival on Sunday. They will also record their live album during this show.
The still very young band XENOBIA kicks off on Saturday. Their line up, which consists of Collin Hoeve (guitar, vocals), Tessa Freeke (electric violin), Ewout Rotteveel (bass) and Koen Herfst (drums), has derived from the band KOELIN in 2000. Because of their (mainly) instrumental songs, they were compared a lot to the band PLANET X. But the lacking of keyboards and the addition of the electric violin confirms, that the band now creates a sound of their own. Songs like "Trio", "Put Some Cream On It" and "Stiff One Eye" are absolute prove of this and influences of bands like DREAM THEATER, RUSH, etc.etc. are a natural result here. The great technical guitar playing of Collin Hoeve, who fought several duels with the violin of Tessa Freeke is really outstanding. They also have a very tight drummer, who beats every second, so that there hardly was any space for the bass player. Next to the instrumental songs, there are several songs today with vocals, under which "Shadow Of The Sun" and "Desillusions". I think, when they are going to write more vocal songs in the future, they should hire a steady female singer. Furthermore I believe, when the band keeps improving themselves, also by the use of violin, they will be able to earn a steady place between all the other prog. bands. The organisation choose the Dutch band KARMA to open the second day of this festival. A rather big crowd showed up on this early afternoon, which resulted in a very enthusiastic appearance. The music style of KARMA could be described a little bit as power metal bands like KAMELOT, EDGUY, etc.etc.., but it also has some symphonic influences. The band also has a great female singer, Irene Jansen (she’s the sister of AFTER FOREVER’s Floor), one of world standard. Besides Irene, the band consists of Emerald Kloosterman (guitars and vocals), Tiemen Gerris (guitars), Martin Plag (synthesizers), Aram Rogalski (bass) and Ralf Haan (drums). With only one demo recorded (see review in this issue) and an album in the making, this sure is a great opportunity to present themselves to a big audience. The atmosphere was great from the start and opener "A Memory Remains" will certainly appear on their new album, to be released in June. The audience was all ears for KARMA, mainly because of their great sound and the power of the musicians. "Save Me" was also a new song. In the very epical "Atlantis", I clearly heard influences of LANA LANE. While a song like "Calling Isis", you can easily find back on the STAR ONE album, because of its song structure and build-up. With the song "What Once Was", we got a moment’s rest. It sounded a little bit modest at first, but changes to a more uptempo song in the end. The band closes with another new song, called "Your Silence", which was very acceptable, but that was all there was to it. We will sure hear a lot in the near future from this very promising band! And when the record companies won’t notice this band, they should release their album independently, because what is great will always reach the people. Since the review of the 2004 Headway festival for Metal Maidens stops here, I would still like to mention the tremendous organisation of the festival.
By: Marcel van Santen
Right after we did the interview with ‘Metal’ Mary Bielich, we heard that PENANCE would play in Holland, with a few other doom metal bands. Reason enough to go to Rotterdam, to see the bands and meet Mary in person finally. We missed a big part of the first band that played that night. Their music was slow, and their singer sometimes used a death grunt. The first band of which we saw a complete show was ORODRUIN, who made a great impression on me. Although they don’t have any female members in their line up, I thought they really came out as the best band of this evening. Their slow music had some very nice instrumental parts, and their sound was quite similar to bands like PENTAGRAM, CATHEDRAL and COUNT RAVEN. Slow, dark and depressing, but with enough melody to keep your attention. PENANCE was on next to our surprise. We would have guessed, that WHILE HEAVEN WEPT would be the next band. Despite their awful sound on stage, PENANCE left a great impression and they knew how to convince me of their strength. The band members almost couldn’t hear what they were playing. Nevertheless, the band overwhelmed the crowd with their dark soundscapes, that were taken from their albums “Alpha And Omega” and “Spiritualnatural”. Again, I discovered some CATHEDRAL influences during songs like “The Innocent”, “Gemini” and “Spiritualnatural”. Mary’s bass playing was very tight, and the guitarplayers shared the solos pretty well. After the gig we had a nice chat with Mary, who was very glad to see us. She was very impressed with the interview that we did with her a while ago. We were so overwhelmed by her enthusiasm, that we didn't take a look anymore at the next band. But I wouldn’t have missed this meeting with one of the most positive, enthusiastic and talented ladies in the doom metal scene for the world! And while WHILE HEAVEN WEPT wept, we started our drive into the cold, dark night. Keep rocking hard, dear Mary and we hope to see you back again soon with BEHIND ENEMY LINES or PENANCE.
By: Toine van Poorten
I-Rock had one of their shows where all bands have one or more female member. GAGE opened. The vocalist is the song writer and leader of the band. She also adds a second guitar. This makes the songs even stronger. Most of them are good hard rock songs. The three men in the band play them well. The exception would be one where a woman faces changing herself for her man. The desperate sound in her voice improves the song. Next up was DENDURA. The swelling keyboard introductions are played by Alicia Manninga. The vocalist and lyricist is Amy Poggie. Her vocals are high but not earsplitting extremes of some goth bands. The music is heavy enough that it is easy to listen to. That was followed by BLISS. The band consists of Adrea Najarian on vocals and second guitar, Gretchen Domino (ex-HUNTRESS) on bass, Liz Scaris (Lizard) on lead guitar and Dede Cook (Ms. X) on drums. They opened with “Dreams”. You may think of FLEETWOOD MAC with Stevie Nicks. When BLISS got it done, it sounded more like LED ZEPPELIN. They played both covers and original songs. Maybe they will set some of Gretchen's poetry to metal. Cleveland's LEVEL C headlined. The vocals were rap. The two guitars played rock. The drummer specializes in off killer rhythms. I gather from the words, their relationships don't turn out too well. Relationships are described as won rather than working out. LEVEL C look and sound professional on stage. With any luck they will reach Level B.
By: Jack Little
On a Sunday afternoon about 2:00 p.m., an unique event started. AYREON would shortly introduce their new album "The Human Equation". At this occasion, five hundred people would have a listen to the album. Besides that, there was the presentation of the new single "Day Eleven" (personally signed by Arjen), which was sold here today already, although it’s not yet available in the shops. After listening to a part of the album, we could also have a look to the DVD for thirty minutes, which will be included in the special version of the album. But the surprise of the day has only just begon… An acoustic show with Arjen Lucassen on guitar and Joost van de Broek behind the keyboards. Furthermore, Arjen arranged several guest stars, who are also to be heard on the new album. For example singer Heather Findlay of the band MOSTLY AUTUMN, Irene Jansen (Floor’s sister) of KARMA, some backing vocalists and performances by drummer Ed Warby, Andre Vierboom (SUN CAGED) and Jolanda Lucassen. They started out with "Valley Of The Queens" off the album "Into The Electric Castle", with Heather Findlay on vocals. After that, it was Irene Jansen’s turn to perform "Into The Black Hole" off the album "Flight Of The Migrator”. Followed by the first new song "Day 13", sung by Heather as well as Irene. A great song, that undoubtedly will sound even more heavier on the album. The next song "Dreamtime" is an oldie, taken from the very first AYREON album "The Final Experiment". In the meantime, the atmosphere is so gorgeous, that the song "Castle Hall" (from "Into The Electric Castle") was sung along by everyone at the top of their voices. And that while Arjen had his doubts first, if this CD presentation would attract any people in the first place. The new single "Day 11" was choosen as the last song and all the guest stars of today showed their vocal abilities on stage. After this wonderful concert, the audience asked for more of course, but according to Arjen, this was all. The single was performed once again and Arjen told everybody to buy it. Next on, it was time to listen to part two of the album and a meet & greet with the present musicians and male and female singers. At the merchandise booth, you could not only buy the new single but also pre-order the special version of the new album, which will be released at end of May. This foretaste certainly asks for more. There are too many musicians involved in this project to perform it live on stage completely. I would be highly pleased with a one time tour of "The Human Equation" with several guest stars, like it was done with STAR ONE in 2002. According to the huge attendance of today, I think the fans would agree with me here!
By: Marcel van Santen
The third CD presentation of the ‘Heavy Metal Maniacs CD’ was an enormous success! The Dutch bands, that presented themselves in hard rock café So What in Ede, gave us a good overview of what’s going on in the Dutch metal scene. Old bands got back together again, while new bands presented themselves to a bigger audience. And, as a matter of fact, to an audience that is pretty choosy, because most of them are die hard metal fans, who have already seen a lot of bands in their lives. Most of the bands are not really interesting for the readers of Metal Maidens, simply because they don’t have any female members in their line up. IT LIVES kicks off late in the afternoon with the RUNNING WILD cover “Under Jolly Roger”. At the end of their set, they play a short jam with the next band CHAINSAW, under the monnicker of IT SAWS. Then it’s time for CHAINSAW. Their raw metal mixed with somewhat punky influences is topped with some show elements, like the spitting of fake blood. And the singer of the band comes on stage with a chainsaw in his hand and a mask on his face. A highly enjoyable band indeed! The next band got our special interest. They’re called INFLUENCE, and they come from Schagen, which is situated in the Northern part of Holland. Chantal van ‘t Wout is the female member in the band and she plays the bass. The music of INFLUENCE can be described as heavy metal with influences from the good old NWOBHM sound. The band doesn’t need all the gimmicks, they just let the music do the talking. A good vocalist, a tight rhythm section, and two great guitarplayers pull out a great show, and convinced me all the way. They play several songs from their live CD “Live From The Other Side” (reviewed in this issue of MM), but also presented a few new songs. I think, they wanted to check out the reactions of the ‘maniacs’. And these new songs sound very promising for the new album, if you’d ask my honest opinion. INFLUENCE is really a nice band to check out live, especially when you like long twin guitar attacks and good songs with a great NWOBHM like atmosphere. The evening continued with gigs of CONQUESTADOR (including a guest appearance by Henkie Bakker of SWORD/JEWEL fame!), RESTLESS and headliners GILGAMESJ, from our hometown Leerdam. Obviously, GILGAMESJ was the most experienced band on the bill today, and they proved that without hesitation. However, INFLUENCE was the most impressive band and I think they are a big promise for the future!
By: Toine van Poorten
This was a great opportunity to relive my youth! Almost every band, that I admire so much from the early days, were playing at this classic hard rock and heavy metal festival in Lichtenvoorde (near Doetinchem, in the Achterhoek). Big names like UFO, SCORPIONS, MOTÖRHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST and ALICE COOPER were the eye-catchers on the bill. There are two reasons, why we decided to write shortly about these three magnificent days in our magazine. And both bands that I want to write about were playing on the last day of this festival. The first night was an opening night, that contained a rather hilarious Dutch cover band (I can’t even remember their name), THE QUILL from Sweden and a super great performance of MONTROSE. Then the first full day was filled with heavy metal bands. The last day captured the more symphonic and melodic legends like SAGA, YES and G3 with STEVE VAI and JOE SATRIANI. Two bands had female members in their line up however, and it was great to see both bands live again. First of all there was HEART, and their performance was really breathtaking! Ann and Nancy Wilson are definitely back in the premier ranks of the music scene! Prove was given at the amazing live set, that they played this afternoon. Ranging from new songs off the album “Jupiters Darling”, which they’ve just released, to early classics like “Barracuda”, “Dog And Butterfly”, “Even It Up” and “Magic Man”. When the band played an acoustic version of “Alone”, Ann showed the entire audience why she is still mentioned as a big influence of many singers, who are just starting their career. What a beautiful moment, and what a throat! It was really unbelievable. And so was sister Nancy. In the early days, she was always standing in the back doing her thing. But now she finally revealed herself as a leading lady. And man oh man, does she still look good after all these years!!! It’s really a treat to see the ladies perform all these classic HEART songs, leaving the crowd astonished in the end. Of course they couldn’t leave without an encore. And the LED ZEPPELIN cover “Black Dog” is a very good choice for this. After all, HEART can be seen as the female version of this seventies rock dinosaur. I hope that they’ll come back again soon, because this performance absolutely begged for more. The second lady appearing on the stage was Pamela ‘Sister Mary’ Moore, who was the guest singer of QUEENSRYCHE this afternoon. I really didn’t know what to expect from this live show at first. Their newer albums are weak, surely if you compare it to their earlier work. This afternoon, they choose to play the whole “Operation Mindcrime” album again. I was thrilled, and I loved every single second of their show this afternoon. Needless to say, that Pamela’s voice was in good shape as well, and the audience liked what they saw, and gave her a very warm welcome. Two highlights of a great festival. I am really looking forward to next years edition of this flashback to my youth. Wonder what the bill will bring us then? MOTHERS FINEST, PAT BENATAR, LITA FORD or SUZI QUATRO would be a nice suggestion. Or what about a reunion of THE RUNAWAYS………???
By: Toine van Poorten
Finally, we get to see MORNING on stage. Two blocks away from our house, is the big party tent lined up, in which the annual Glaspop festival takes place. Because MORNING is the only band with a female singer, we stricktly focus our review on this band. Besides the fact, it was far too hot to stay too long in this sweaty environment. During opener “Stop Drawing”, the sound still needs some adjustment. But in the second and third song of the set “Kill The Silence” and “Hour Of Joy”, the band starts to find the right sound. And although there wasn’t too much audience around, the ones who are there, seem to enjoy themselves a lot. Myself included, and this has several reasons. MORNING has got some very talented musicians in their line up. The keyboards for example, are not only used as an instrument to create a certain gothic like atmosphere. No, this band uses the keyboard to speed up the sound and give it some extra juice. And just like the guitars, it shreds like hell! Their presentation is also very good indeed. The band, and especially beautiful frontlady Saskia, are very enthusiastic and spontaneous. They play their role during the songs, and during the intervals, they are just being theirselves and have a good interaction with the crowd. Despite the temperature, and the small amount of people, which is a crying shame! But if you can still give yourself for the full hundred procent, then you have understood the golden rule of how to become successful in the giant web of no-hopers and wannabees. At the end of the set, the band decided to play a cover. And if you know the music of MORNING, your thoughts will probably go out to a cover of a band like AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION, THE GATHERING (Saskia’s voice definitely shows some resemblance to Anneke van Giersbergen!) or NIGHTWISH. But surprisingly enough, they pull out a great version of QUEEN’s “The Show Must Go On”. And although Saskia can’t stop from laughing out real loud, because our good friend Arie Piet gives her a serenade on his ‘invisible violin’, she also understands the meaning of the title of this song. And soon she corrects herself and makes the rest of the song to a good end. With “Inside”, they close their set. They clear the stage real quickly, because this very evening they have to play in Hoogeveen again at the Occult Festival. But first they have to travel for a couple of hours, in this burning heat. I don’t envy them! The song “Captured By The Colour of Faith” (taken from their upcoming new CD) is by far the highlight this afternoon. MORNING really deserves to become real big, ‘cause they know how to become one with their audience. Something a lot of other bands seem to have forgotten a long time. Great show and we hope to see you guys (and girl of course) on stage again real soon.
By: Toine van Poorten
The entire national and international press was invited to come to the DVD presentation of the band EPICA. But also fans of the band could simply get in and witness this event. The DVD, entitled “We Will Take You With Us”, contains the recordings of the “2 Meter Sessies”, that the band recently has done, as well as an acoustical performance and a lot of bonus stuff, including some video clips. The limited edition box also includes a CD with the “2 Meter Sessies” and the acoustical gig. The entire band is present this afternoon to receive the first copy of the DVD. Afterwards, the people are treated to watch a few different sections from the DVD. This takes about half an hour. Then, singer Simone Simons, guitarist Ad Sluyter and keyboarplayer Coen Jansen take the stage to play a special acoustic set. They start with an oldie; “Feint”, which sounds just great, especially because of the wonderful voice of Simone. Next up is the well-known “Run For All” – another amazing song! The last song, they play, is “Solitary Ground” - a completely new song. I’m curious, how this will sound on their next CD, but this acoustic version is very promising indeed! Many people were surprised that after these three songs, the band left the stage already. I think they would have enjoyed a few more songs. In spite of this, they showed a trailer of the upcoming Dutch movie “Joyride”, for which EPICA will write the music and appear on the soundtrack with one song. After this happening, people could also have a chat with the various bandmembers to let them sign the new DVD. All in all, this was a very nice (and interesting) Sunday afternoon to spend your day off!
By: Marcel van Santen
After seeing MORNING in our hometown Leerdam a few weeks earlier (see review MM#37), it was time for the real thing. MORNING supported LANA LANE on their Dutch shows. And I can only say, that my positive reactions will become even more favourable after seeing them under better circumstances. There was a better balance between the sound of the different instruments. Although the band was more focussed on playing a good set, they still sounded very fanatic. Their presentation was very good and they had a nice interaction with the audience. Saskia has got this unarming smile, and her voice does the rest. Their set was almost the same like Glaspop in Leerdam, so once again we can enjoy the QUEEN cover “The Show Must Go On”. I am very much looking forward to their full length CD, that will be released very soon. Live, MORNING already convinced me of their talent, especially after the show of tonight. A great promise for the future! After this good support act, we were of course waiting for LANA LANE. Lana was backed up by a great live band, consisting of her husband Erik Norlander, the magician, behind the keyboards. On vocals and bass we saw Kelly Keeling (DOKKEN, BATON ROUGE), also a real talent. The other half of the band were two of the finest Dutch rock musicians available. On the drums, the Dutch Cozy Powel and a living legend, Ernst van Ee. A man, who has already worked with bands like THRENODY, VENGEANCE, HIGHWAY CHILE, HELLOÏSE, TAMAS and dozens of others. And on guitar, the Dutch version of Michael Schenker, Peer Verschuren, who has already worked with bands like VENGEANCE and RANCID. The band opened with some instrumental stuff like “Dark Water”/“Fanfare” and “Neurosaur”. A good warm up for Lana, who was welcomed by a warm applause. The set of tonight was a good mix of the old and new stuff from Lana’s CDs and Erik’s solo albums. We even get to hear the URIAH HEEP cover “Weep In Silence”. Always, when I hear this song, my thoughts go out to PINK FLOYD. Somehow it has got a certain PINK FLOYD feeling over it. After “Project Shangri-La” and “Beware Of The Vampires”, it was time for Erik to do his tricks. He sounded very much like Keith Emerson of EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER, but later on, he switched over to a sound of his own. Kelly’s solo part was in fact his great singing in “Mariner”. Shivers run down my spine…. Wow, what a great song! But like Erik already said in his introduction, Lana was the big star tonight. Her voice is so warm and sensitive. She really blew me away! The set ended with great versions of “Alexandria”, “Guardian Angel”, “Queen Of The Ocean”, “Astrology Prelude” and “Secrets Of Astrology”, in which Ernst had his solo spot. The encores were consisting of Peer’s solo spot, “One Of The Machines”and “Symphony Of Angels”. The whole event lasted longer than two hours, and I think that everybody was quite satisfied after the show. We decided to continue our meeting with Lana and Erik backstage, to whom we had already talked a bit before the show. The whole band had a good feeling about tonights show. And because they had to do an interview, we decided to make this meeting a short one. But we just couldn’t let them go without wishing them good luck for their shows in Russia. That must have been quite an experience. An experience, they really deserve, because this band is on top of the bill when you’re talking about progressive rock music. No wonder, when you have such great musicians like this, and two people (Lana & Erik of course), who are so heavily dedicated to their music, that this success is the only thing they deserve!!
By: Toine van Poorten
Right before Christmas, we made a short trip to London. And we’re always checking, if there aren’t any record fairs or good live shows during our stay in this big city. This year we were extremely lucky, while ARCH ENEMY was playing at the Mean Fiddler (former LA2) on Tottenham Court Road. I think, we would have checked out HAWKWIND on the corner of the same street, if this gig hadn’t taken place this evening. ARCH ENEMY already surprised us with some great albums, and we read several times that their live shows are even more powerful and exciting. Reason enough for us to (finally) check them out. Already two and a half hours before the doors would open, the queue started. Over here it’s so much different, and we would never even think about queueing up before a club. Here in London, it’s a pretty normal thing to do. The guest list was taken care of perfectly (thanks so much, Angela!!), so we found ourselves a good place to see the show. On the balcony you had a good view over the crowd, but for tall people (like me) it was hell to bend over for such a long time and to look between the low ballustrades, they’ve created there. AKERCOCKE got the opportunity to present themselves to the hungry crowd and start the evening. I really don’t hate these guys, but I can’t tell anything positive about their show. It was one big mess, and one cacophony of tones, instruments and voices. I could hardly find any structure in their songs (??) and I was glad, that the forty minutes were over before I knew it. After a short break, Angela Gossow entered the stage with her band. I was really hoping, that the club was suitable for loud music, because their support act didn’t predict any good. But when they hit the first notes, I knew for sure that it was the band itself that couldn’t create a clear and loud sound. How different it was with ARCH ENEMY. Crystal clear tones, and what power! The setlist contained a good mix of the last two albums of the band. Angela is the perfect frontlady. She’s a wild animal, who growls, sings, screams, stamps her feet, swings her mike standard, and moves across the stage like a wild caged lion. And she still knows to hit every note right. The rest of the band simply does what they are expected to do. They play with so much power, that your stomach is slowly moving itself. At the end of the gig you can almost touch it, because it’s coming out of your mouth through the driving beats. No wonder, when you see what a colossus like Sharlee D’Angelo is doing to his bass guitar. He’s handling it like he was the soldier, who found Saddam Hussayn in his little hole under the ground. He simply wants to beat it to death, just like drummer Daniel Erlandsson, who pounds the most heavy beats imaginable. The Amott brothers constantly fire riffs and solos at the audience. And sometimes they come near Angela, asking if it’s loud enough for her. And Angela knows it’s okay, ‘cause slowly they get the public down on their knees. It takes just two encores, and then the party is over. Songs like "Silent Wars”, “The Immortal”, “Heart Of Darkness”, “We Will Rise”, “Diva Satanica”, “Buy Me An Angel”, “Dead Eyes”, “Bridge Of Destiny”, “Dead Bury Their Dead” and “Ravenous” hold the magic of the good old SLAYER stuff, and sure have the same effect on the audience. So I guess, it’s time for the ‘Slaytanic Wehrmacht’ to make some room for the new kings and queen of the thrash metal scene: ARCH ENEMY. It only took one show to convince me, these are the new heroes of the thrash metal scene. If it were up to me, they could go on for many years to come, if they keep on playing shows like this. An amazing evening!
By: Toine van Poorten