Monday 6 November 2023

Danava & Wedge - Little Devil Tilburg, 5 November 2023

Sometimes plans are bigger on paper than in reality. So we thought about the double in Tilburg. Afternoon Little Devil for Danava and Wedge. Than after a quick bite in the evening 013 for The Winery Dogs and Dave Cureton. Turns out that when leaving Little Devil we did not feel all that much like going to a large venue for a much slicker affair. We is Hans and I as Rene from the start said he woull join the afternoon only. It turned out that the double was not for us. If we would have been in Eindhoven for Elegy or Baroeg for Ducth Doom Days the second show would feel much more a logical continuation. Still the afternoon was good and Little Devil is always nice.

The afternoon was opened by Wedge from Berlin. I knew nothing of this band and they sounded rock and roll and stoner at the same time. This trio managed to surpise all three of us positively. The pace was kept at the right speed and the bassist swapping to organ made it sound seventies enough. Their hour flew by and this kind of music always works well in live setting. Most interesting stage appearance was the bassist with no face, only hair.  Good band, good start, so why not get another beer?

Headlining the afternoon were Danava from the USA. They exist 20 years this year, but their looks and music brought us back 40 years in time. Nice old skool heavy metal they played. They came by five, as they brought a vocalist along who did not sing on their 2023 album Nothing but Nothing. BTW don't you hate it nowadays when bands bring Vinyl and no CD's? So no shopping for me as their Tees were too smal as well. Still their show was great, even if there was a certain Spinal Tap element to it all. Especially when they left and came back for an encore, without much reaction. The inbetween song banters were hard to understand due to speed and accent of talking. I did understand that guitarist Gregory Meleney is the band leader, but wondered why he sung many parts, while their new vocalist to me has a better voice. Anyway this was a nice trip back in time and a good messy underground afternoon. For us the reason to let it follow by a nice Indonesan meal and no Winery Dogs. Still a good day was had and home at a more decent time, than in the middle of the night as National Rail always tries to hinder your gig-life.

Monday 9 October 2023

ProgPower Europe - Sjiwa Baarlo, 6-8 October 2023


Progpower for us always starts at campsite De Berckt on Friday afternoon. This year the Pre-party had with Novena a very promising name. Unfortunately only a trio and playing an acoustic set. So I did not go out of my way to find a sleeping spot for the Thursday and attend. Arriving slowly, bockbier and preparing your trailers for the weekend. Us this year meant 13.5 as Ton made his PPE debut only joining the Saturday (we all know what that means for 2024) and Peter sadly had to cancel after a fall and two broken ribs this very week. Due to several reasons (work, holidays or not impressed by the line-up) we missed four more faces, but Peter and Marga brought with Amii and Sven plus Leah the next generation next to Gwenda who did join already some 17 years ago for the first time bringing Peter making a debut. So the mood was set and good, but how about the program? Well this year PPE was different as they did not book any headliners of fame. Before people read this negative, some explanations. This year no bands of the Progmetal Champions League were booked. This only in name and fame. For me that did not matter much, as often I love the bands playing around the dinner break the most. OK when some of my favorite bands headline like Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Redemption, Threshold or Shadow Gallery I am very very pleased. Still sometimes you have bands who made their name in Progmetal (no need to list names here), but lost me along the way and I might well prefer a more unknown band making their debut in style. Another positive point was that this year no band was booked, which made me raise an eyebrow in advance for being far too soft for the festival. Still I did not know many bands in advance so surprises both positive and negative could happen.

Finally there is the competition in gig land. Not only in general metal shows, but even in progmetal itself there are other alternatives. Some bands who first broke through on PPE, played last year during the same weekend two shows in Holland and are now filed under Traitors of their original fans. Yes, shame on you Vola and Soen. Than de Boerderij seems to be turning it into a sport to book prog (metalish) bands during PPE weekend. This year Arena and the Aristocrats played on Friday and Sunday. Both also having one other Dutch show over the weekend. The Manofmuchmetal (missed for a chat) put me on the trail of Martin Miller earlier this year. He played Tilburg this weekend, but luckily a covers only set, so no big loss. My home venue Musicon in The Hague would normally see me both on Saturday and Sunday this year. Saturday Loud & Heavy Fest with Neverus and Martyr (with PPE veteran Vinnie on bass). On Sunday they had Brazilian Semblant with Romanian White Walls (ex PPE) as one of the supports. Still all without a chance, but one festival over the same weekend did hurt me (and some others) more than a bit. If in 1990 anyone would have told me that a festival within driving distance would take place with from my record collection Flotsam and Jetsam, Q5, Metal Church, Brian Downey, Dirkschneider and young strong metal bands like Ambush, Phantom Spell, Tailgunner, Evil Invaders., I would definitely be there. To make matters really hurt they even had Watchtower on the bill, a band I have been asking for on the PPE feedback form since 2000. In the end ProgPower stands above all others for the whole experience. Further those who are not just looking for the big names (and aren’t we all?) would agree that 2023 on forehand offered a very diverse and strong line-up with something for almost anyone.

 Anyway, back in Baarlo is a shere joy and after a fine meal prepared by Mary (thanks) it was off to Sjiwa, where I would bump into countless more Progpower friends. Unfortunately not all could make it this year and some were dearly missed. Biggest loss might have been Pois Chic. On their farewell tour of foodtrucks, Baarlo did not fit in the schedule during last weeks. So no very tasty food from Andy and Debbie and even worse, no always pleasant catching up with both. So after parking our bicycles at the new designated spot in front of Centraal the festival could start.

Before commenting anything on opening band Earthside let me first get the pink elephant out of the room. Lead vocals coming from a box are one of the eight deadly sins. I read about this sin in a deadly oneliner review of their show last week at Euroblast, so I was more than a bit sceptical in advance. When the band started playing it turned out that the music was really good. It always is strange to hear a voice while not seeing same. Still I pretty much liked the music. I also rememered that I saw them before some years ago in Duijcker. What I realized during the show was that maybe they are better on CD than live without the vocal confusion. My final verdict was positive though, but one person needs to be named still. The keyboard keytar player was running around wildly most of the time. When he announced that his dad was in the hall who was 66, he made it sound if that age is really ancient and life is nearly over. Well we have two 60+ granddads in our group too and several people including me pushing 60, so an unnecessary insult during an OK show. At the same time they made a national Dutch newspaper with their family trip together to Baarlo.

Headliner on the Friday were Wheel from Finland. Their pink elephant is called Tool, but I do like the debut CD I have by them. Live it turned out to be another nice band who I appreciate, but did not shock my world. After a while not knowing all, the songs started to sounded a bit samy to me. But the performance was good and the audience seemed to like them.  People knowing their full discography told me that towards the end the best and old came as the songs got heavier. A nice first evening closed by a quick stop in the basement and at the campsite another tradition Knackies with a final beer.


Saturday always has the problem of the too fast and to much drinking on opening Friday. So arriving semi hung over to find a band playing instrumentals only. Than they are Dutch as well, so I might see them again anytime soon. What I did see sounded pretty nice actually, but sitting in the basement was a nice alternative kicking of slowly and regaining powers.

Next band were Chaosbay from Berlin. I knew nothing about them and they showed what is so nice about this festival, they surprised very positively. Their style is more of the djenty metalcore with breaks in it, but lots of energy coming of the stage and back to them again from a very appreciative audience. Chaosbay showed that every line-up deserves one or two bands from this genre, just to entertain and energize us all. At the same time Chaosbay are not the first German band whose vocalist shows some Bono behaviour telling us how to make it a better world. Preaching to the converted in Baarlo really where you can start a nice conversation with basically anyone you meet. So as a rule of thumb. Mentioning your ideals once is appreciated and ok. Doing so three times in a row is not needed. Still teh most heard phrase over teh weekend hereafter "to my surprise I really liked this metalcore band".

A band with a complicated name, coming from Slovenia. Another one I entered blank and I had problems pinpointing them. The Caped and hooded Jon Oliva lookalike brought the heavy voice inbetween his struggles with his outfit. The clean vocals came from the blue haired guitarist, who was not always hitting it rightl. Musically I was as confused. Bits and pieces were really great and the blend of styles worked. This to get me off track again soon, with some non-cohesive work. In the end their set did not grab me and I went to eat something as the evening promised to be the highlight of the weekend for me.

Dordeduh are from Roumania and I knew I would like their set as I saw them before. I suppose not all of you speak Roumanian, so some help first. Dordeduh means Through The Door, if you are from The Hague that is. Last time I saw them they were on tour by van. So what? You might think, well what a lot as they brought all kinds of different instruments at the time. I remember some huge horns, and a sort of guillotine which they hammered on. So now several sounds came from tape. That did not matter at all to me as this was one hell of a show. This band showed they have lots of mileage on stage (ex Negura Bunget) and that came back in confident performance and playing. To add tot he fun they also brough a painter, who live painted a painting, shown on the big screen behind them. A first asolute high of the festival to me.

An Abstract Illusion
Talking about highs, if I was looking forward to one show this weekend it must have been An Abstract Illusion. Anyone who loves their prog blended with extreme metal agrees that last year’s Woe is a masterpiece. So the question was how much would they blow me away. Well to start with, they started late. Sound issues and some confusion on stage. When they did start the sound issues had not disappeared. Bass and backing vocals very loud, while guitars and main vocals were low in the blend. If you than add a zooming monitor at times, this became no feast tot eh ears. So where I expected a guaranteed high, we did not get same, due to poor sound. At times you could see and hear that the band should be able to bring us wonderfull things on stage, but it was not what I hoped for and outside many lovers of the band stood as disillusioned.

So it was up to Wilderun to close the evening in style again. Earlier this year they toured with Soilwork and Kataklysm and I saw them in Lisbon. For that tour they went to their heavier material given the package they were touring with. Tonight they played a long set and their full discography was visited. As I don’t own their first two albums I did not know all. What I did hear was lots of calm and folky intermezzos. Luckily the class of teh band shown through during the full set. So I liked what I saw, but they kept their best for the last 40 minutes or so. Also did the vocalist try to set a new record in number of times you can tune your guitar. When they did finish around 23:30 I was somewhat disappointed they did not play their best song Far From Where Dreams Unfurl. Luckily Wayne showed an arm and a leg as a sign they would return.The encore corrected that miss. In the end a great show by them again, even if form my taste they could have gone for more of the heavier work over folky bits.

And then it was down to the basement for the afterparty. On Saturday this means karaoke. This year I thought about giving the younger part of the audience a history lesson by singing Holocaust’s classic song Heavy Metal Mania for which I don't need to read along with the lyrics.. Unfortunately not in the database of the system, so a fast improvisation needed for a new song. I do think I nailed it again. I believe it always good fun to see people sing, but was under the impression that not everyone is as enthusiastic as the first year anymore. So maybe  next year, we should have the return of the Classic Heavy Metal disco. No matter what the program, at least one afterparty makes part of the weekend experience.

The bands on Sunday always face the disadvantage of fatigue starting to appear. So I was very pleased to see that Omnerod came up, introduced their set shortly and fired away. A great mix, where death metal was mixed with more atmospheric prog. It was the first band, where after the show I headed for the merch stand and get their CD. This as I want to know how they sound on CD. Live the hour flew by for me and I loved their show. Of course the one thing that was hard to understand was the social distancing on stage as if Covid was still very much  reality in Baarlo. Why was the grunting guitarist hidden so far to the back? Invisible by a mix of darkness and smoke. Maybe stagefright? But that was Legs Diamond last weekend. A very fine start of the day for me they were.

Obsidian Tide
Obsidian Tide are from Israel, so I think that in advance everyone wondered what was going on in their heads given the situation at home. They did give us after some technical issues a fine set where the clean vocals could use some more power for me. So while I pretty much liked their music, I did not stay the full hour. This was also a band where maybe getting to know their music a bit in advance would have helped.

Ihlo were representing the UK on stage this year. They are not listed at Metal Archives which means they play either metalcore/djent or are considered a bit too light. Listening tot hem I gues it was the second reason. Again I appreciated the band and their playing, but some more power would help to make me run to the merch stand. They looked lively and sympathetic enough on stage, where people from the UK have the mother tongue advantage making their inbetween song banters more at ease. Again a half show was good enough for me, but if playing in the area I would go see them again.

After the diner break, where I did not eat Maraton from Norway came up. By not checking them out in advance I did not know we had such a light band on the program after all. Their music sounded to me very eighties and Tears for Fears came to mind. It actually sounded pretty fine, but we left for a small meal, as more traditional progmetal was on the way. So not seeing enough to give a fair ordeal they were the light band on the menu, but fairly popular even so I understood.

Darkwater are no strangers to PPE veterans as they also played the 2010 edition. That was on a day opened by Haken and closed by Shadow Gallery, so one of the more legendary days in PPE history. I saw them a few years back returning on stage at Brainstorm. At the time I bought their CD after the show and soon after they had started I realized why. Darkwater was this weekend the band that would have best fitted the first Progpower line-up in 1999. In those days no extreme /djent /prog or postrock explorations. Just proper progmetal bands playing the style that made the genre popular in the nineties. During their set I was reminded of Enchant at times, or a band like Tiles. I loved every minute of their set and they convinced again, even if not the most active live band in history. For me this is the style that started it all. A great voice over a solid rhythm section with good guitars and keyboards played on stage not from tape. Call me old fashioned, but for me every Progpower needs bands like this. I saw they were pretty popular among the crowd, where I also noted that most people I saw first in Baarlo in 2000 stayed in the hall and loved the band. Is an age division happening in preferences? Probably the highlight of the weekend for me and no need to discuss the progresiveness of bands like this. Just great music.

And than it was up to Teramaze to close the weekend. They were here before only four years ago, but released since then 4 (four!) new full lenghts. I did remember that in 2019 I found them OK, but not the high I hoped for looking at their style of progmetal. Basically they play not all that different from Darkwater, may be a notch heavier at times. Keyboards also from tape again, but this also as not all songs do have them. Again I saw a division happening as during the set many people left the building. This happens every Sunday night closing set, by te way. I did love their set and was positively surprised. Maybe expectations were lower than in 2019 or they played better but for me it was a great closer of one fine festival again.

So than we had coins left. So the basement was calling. Some nice final drinks until two barbie girls chased us out. So I guess now it is time to say a huge thanks to organization and all volunteers. What a party did they put together for us again. Since we were with a big group in changing line-ups ourselves I did not get to speak to as many people as I would have liked, but I did meet some new people who next year shall receive the friendly nod of the head or talk as well. So 2023 did not bring the great names of the past maybe, for me the diversity in program made it a good one again. So see you all next year in Baarlo.




Tuesday 3 October 2023

Flotsam and Jetsam & Hallowed Fire - Musicon The Hague, 2 October 2023

SOLD OUT!! What a joy to see that announcement on a Monday evening. Comments have been made on the many bands of larger scale playing the Monday evening in Musicon. Tonight it was as far as I know the first sold out show, proving that metal bangs seven days a week indeed. This was great news for Musicon, but also very welcome for Flotsam and Jetsam. Recently they had to cancel a US tour, due to low ticket sales versus huge costs. This week before playing Keep it True Rising they put a small club tour together through The Netherlands and Belgium, with three out of four shows already sold out. Flotsam and Jetsam have been playing Europe a lot over the years and that gained them a stable fanbase. I also repeated with Alex, who goes by the name Thrasher so he should know, that Flotsam and Jetsam still release relevant albums. So you are not waiting for the old songs only. On forehand I had the intention to go slow on the beeers on this Monday night. Well, let's say the intention was there.

The evening was opened Dutch though by Hallowed Fire. They played Musicon before as many venues in the area. A fine young thrash metal band with a sympathetic expression on stage. Sold out or not it still took a few songs before the space in front of the stage was filled. I don't own their EP's, so can't quote many songtitles. What I heard and saw was good again and they managed to warm up most of us in proper thrashing style. 

During the break it was time to catch up with many and more. Rebuilding the stage went fast and than I had to pinch myself again if this really was Flotsam and Jetsam opening with Hammerhead on a Monday night in my home venue. Yes they were and in great form too. It was over a year since they played last and no rust appeared to my ears. Flotsam and Jetsam did what they do best they Flotzed us till death. A high energy set, where I did not take notes, so no clue what was all played until Doomsday closed the evening. Well I had some Dreams of Death later that night, so that's one.
Flotsam were in good shape so I would say go and see them if you can. With most shows already sold out a bit of a pointless advice, but today in Fluor there are still tickets left.

Both Flotsam and Jetsam and Hallowed Fire gave us a perfect Monday night out. Coming weekend Musicon has a nice package again, with Loud & Heavy festival on Saturday and Semblant plus White Walls on Sunday with more. Pity I need to be at Progpower, but let's hope many people will find their way back to Musicon supporting your local venue and scene. I came this night by bicycle which is nothing special. Last year I also went by bicycle, but then they played bloody Helmond their last non-festival show before this tour. So a good excuse to repeat the picture I took when upon arrival finding the band lunching in front of the hotel I stayed in that night. 

Monday 2 October 2023

Golden Age Rock Festival - Centre Cultural de Chenee Liege, 1 October

Golden Age Rock Festival had it's third edition. I can't call this a review of the festival as I only saw 4 of the 14 bands playing. I picked the Sunday because of two bands White Spirit and Legs Diamond. Two bands I loved over 40 years ago, but never saw playing live. With Progpower Weekend coming up, I decided to drive up and down on the day, which made it a hefty 550 km. Luckily enough both bands made it worth every kilometer.

I attended the first edition of GARF as well. Than also one day only, but with a stay in Liege overnight. The first edition had three days and I attended the Sunday to see Angel, Heavy Pettin', Dee Snider, 220 Volt and a local drummer who played with the Scorpions early seventies , so we got some Scorpions as well. Last year the lineup was good again, but Dynamo had a great Saturday program as well and on Sunday I attended the best band of the festival Angel in Baroeg. Also Alcatrazz and Girlschool would play Musicon a week later. So the set-up of the festival is bands from roughly 1968-1985 that rarely play Europe. Since attendance is relatively small, there must e some heavy sponsoring going on. Maybe as a result the guy introducing bands takes his time to tell a story on each band. He does so in French, so half the audience coming from Germany, Holland, England or further away had to pick their schoolboy French to get the point.  This year the event moved to the cultural centre, which was nice and small to fit the crowd perfectly. You could sit at the back, which came in handy if a certain band was not of your interest. Local brewery BestiAle had three beers on tap, and as I was my own designated driver I only tried the blond and the IPA in the afternoon, both approved. I drove alone, but knew I would bump into some people here. So basically time flew by in sunny Liege.

Since Liege is further away than hoped, Dutch highways only allow you driving 100 km/hour and I had a snack stop at a gasstation I missed the tribute to local guitarist Miche LeClercq. Ron told me that this sounded fine. My opening band were Highway Chile/Helloise. So I probably drove some 2 a 3 hours behind them on similar roads to Liege. I saw them in the eighties both Highway Chile and Helloise, so I knew most songs. Well they played two new songs noone knew obviously. I have a slight favor towards the Highway Chile songs and Jesse James plus Carol hit home. Actually For a Moment and Gates of Heaven sounded fine too. The bands looks solid and if you want to relive the eighties in Dutch hardrock they are the go-to band. 

Satan Jokers from France came on next. The only thing I knew about this band is the article in De Nieuwe Aardschok 5 (?) on French Metal. Satan Jokers actually played hardrock with a strong guitarist. The bottleneck for me came with the language. I did not know any of the songs, but the mix with French lyrics did no wonders. A bigger problem was the vocalists feeling the need to keep bantering on in French inbetween songs. It took the speed out of their set and was pointless for those not mastering French. When they played covers it became clear that English was no option either. Highway Star and Whole Lotta Love arenot the most original covers. When the last turns into some hoelattaheloe it becomes almost funny, which can never be the point. So I left before they finished finding an empty food stand to experiment one of the burgers on offer. Well Roosendaal Open Air did set the standard very high, but this one was pretty OK too.

Next band were White Spirit from England, which turned out to be partially France and Germany today. In 1980 they released their self titled debut album, which Gerrie and I agreed is an absolute Classic from the NWOBHM era. Their second album was released last year, only 42 years later. Right or Wrong was dedicated to Brian Howe who passed away in 2020. He sung on the songs of this album, but when the tapes were found a re-recording was needed. This year a new version was released and the band already announced they were going to play that album during this day. For those not knowing this in advance their T-shirt told the story. Rarely do you see a band who prints T-shirts for one show and does such a great job. The back had the festival and band logo, date and album to be played. So I secured my XXL version fast before they sold out. The gig itself than? Well for a band who had not played for 4 (four!) decades I thought they sounded pretty tight. From the debut album line-up only Keyboardist Malcolm Pearson is still present. Further guitarist Mick Turner was in the band in 1981 already. On drums they had Russell from Uriah Heep, on Bass someone from Nottingham whose name I forgot sorry (was it Wayne?) and on vocals Alexx Stahl from Germany. As from Right or Wrong this band sounded fine and maybe nervous at the start they sounded better by each song. Was it during Don't Say No, that the keyboard/guitar double solo was a highlight? Better Watch Out also live sounded like their tribute to Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow. For those who waited for songs from the debut , the new version of Right or Wrong holds a re-recorded version of Midnight Chaser. I believe that the audience reaction went even a notch up after this one. Than Rock and Roll (Is Good For You) closed the set. Only to find out they had time for one more song, but not rehearsed any So we got Midnight Chaser again to loud approval of the fans. They promised to tour more from now on, so the obvious request is adding some more from the debut album, or Cheetah from compilations. If they come in the area I shall be back. A great melodic hard rock set they gave us.  I might have been considering inviting them to play Musicon one day, but as I host bands in such a cse and they brought a whole army I guess that will be hard. Glad they are back 42 years later though.

As if one first time live in a lifetime was not enough, Legs Diamond would be on next. Last week I played all their albums and ranked same. Thsi was good as I now recognized all teh songs a bit faster. Legs Diamond come with three original members who were in the band since their debut album. Roger Romeo on guitars, Michael Prince on keyboards and guitar and Jeff Poole on drums. The latter having amounts of long hair at his age, that are an insult/slap in the face to all bolding men in the audience. Bassist Adam Kury (since 1992) and I guess this was Keith England on vocals completed the band. If we take the sound issues and techical problems aside Legs Diamond gave us a Masterclass in Classic Hard Rock. While watching the more I saw the more I wondered why they arenot a huge band headlining rock and general festivals worldwide. It can't be the songs, nor the playing as both are top notch. The setlist was a real trip through their discography 1976-1990. I loved every minute of their set, even if the balance between guitars and rest of the band was at times a bit too heavy on the guitar end. I almost started to think they would ignore their sophomore album A Diamond is a Hard Rock. Well they not when at the end of the show I Think I Got It came to us. And of course they could not skip Woman. Their ballad of the Uber category (think Y&T I Believe in You) If we thought ending on this high Rat Race from the debut was still to come. A missing microphone on stage, a broken drumset, bass issues and loud guitars could not stop this from being the second memorable show of the evening for me. 

And then it was time to drive home. I probably would appreciate seeing Arthur Browne once, but the drive was long and today I have to be fit for Flotsam and Jetsam in Musicon. Also experience tells me, attending an unknown festival show after two absolute highs does not work for me. So a big thanks goes out to organizers. What a great festival they have put together and I guess this venue stays now. Not sure if I can put is some requests for next year. On the melodic NWOBHM corner I can always see a Stampede show again, or get Shiva together again. From the USA Lillian Axe are always welcome and a band like Drive She Said might be suiting just fine as well. Who knows what GARF will bring, but if timing suits I shall be back, even if it is for 4 out of 14 bands again.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Damnation Plan - Demoniac - Tritop

This time three pretty different albums, all worthwhile of your time though.

Damnation Plan - The New Horizon
Questions: is this a full album or an EP? Same goes for the musical style. Metal Archives calls them Melodic Death Metal. I saw reviews talking about Progmetal, while I would say that people who like doomy Swedish Heavy Metal like Sorcerer should check these Fins out as well. I believe this band found me through adverts on Facebook. Interesting as 99% of the adverts having nothing to do with me or my interest. But The New Horizon than? well it gives us five songs totalling almost 33 minutes. Long epic songs, with dark and moody atmospheres are presented. If you add good vocals and strong songwriting this is yet another band I discovered this year, while their first album is from ten years ago. I can imagine that in the great flood of releases this one goes missing, but basically anyone liking any of the three styles mentioned above should check them out. If like me you like all three styles, you will love this album.

Demoniac - Nube Negra 
My favorite Chileans are back. In 2020 they gave us So It Goes. That was an album in both English and Spanish and had a title track of almost 20 minutes covering one side. A bit of a Blackened Thrash Rush therefore. This time English has left the album, leaving us only with Spanish lyrics and two instrumentals. No epic either, but still lots of variation as clarinet and accordeon are still present. No worries though as these won't disturb the overall heaviness of this album. I believe that over the last three years Demoniac got a notch heavier in general. I still need a few more spins before catching all that is presented to us. But I like what I hear so far and for me Spanish lyrics are a bonus and a refreshing crash course. So they did it again, but how long is it flying from Valparaiso to Europe?

Tritop - Rise of Kassandra
And now for somethig completely calmer. Italian progressive rock presented by Tritop. The album is already half a year old, but I found Tritop by a DPRP review, who are always late with their reviews. Tritop are Italian, but there is definitely also something American in their prog rock. As this is their debut holding four songs with an opener of 13:00 and a closer of 23:46 you might think of Spock's Beard and their debut. Musically they are also not miles apart. Prog rock with enough heavy bits and pieces, to potentially win over the progmetal fan as well. Italy was known for their prog rock in the seventies. I do like this century as well, with bands like Moongarden, O.R.k. and now Tritop. Recommended even if slightly late.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Night Demon & Speed Queen - Musicon The Hague, 18 September 2023

Monday night often means Musicon Metal night nowadays. Tonight we would go back in time with two bands playing heavy metal as if we were in the eighties again.. Or as Marko called it halfway the Speed Queen set, refreshing after the many death and extreme shows we get served lately. And so it was.

Speed Queen from Hamont Belgium would open the evening. With a name like that they play Heavy Metal with Speed tendencies. Not full speed all the time and when they went slow with a song for the ladies I believe they had some Krokus in them. As it was Monday and some people arriving still during their set, Musicon warmed slowly to their set and those who were of a certain age did like a trip back in time. While the band was good one special mention can go out to Andreas, as his solos were very tasty and fast at times. I believe tonight was the first times I saw two drumsets on the not so huge Musicon stage so the same was slightly extended to give Thomas some space to move around as well. Finally Zeeman shorts rule!

Night Demon touring their latest album The Outsider and I believe they opened their set with the full album. Now I don't own that album on CD yet and it was sold out I believe. This meant that I and many others were watching a show by Night Demon with unknown songs to start and more mellow pieces than we remember from the past. Luckily they played a long set and when halfway they went for their first albums speed and atmosphere went up. The first time I saw Night Demon was some 9 years ago in de Vinger. At the time I asked them why they did not play Radar Love in the hometown of Golden Earring. Since then I never saw them live without Radar Love in the set. That still works as it remains a great song also in the riff chorus metallized version of Night Demon. So after a calm opening they did win over the audience again in the end and  while the Demon song Night of the Demon opened their show, it was Night Demon to close the same. Another great evening in Musicon was had, with for me a bonus as I hosted Speed Queen. Very nice guys telling me about their trips, lack of sleep and legendary R-Mine festival in their hometown.


Tuesday 12 September 2023

Gluttony, Drap & Melting Eyes - Musicon The Hague, 11 September 2023

White Room Reviews Loud & Heavy presents; Normally that is reason enough for Marko and I to attend and tonight was not different. This time it was Death Metal that was presented two times Swedish and a local opener. Monday night and no huge names make it an even riskier affair, but luckily Melting Eyes did bring a fair number of friends and fans, so we were not having an evening of empty spaces.

At 20:00 Melting Eyes kicked off the evening. Well if the soundman would not do a disappearing act at that very moment that is. But 20:02 they kicked off and showed once again that if you want to have an OSDM party in The Hague you better invite Melting Eyes as well. They had 30 minutes and gave us songs from their EP My Final Resting Place plus some new songs. The question asked most later during the evening was how about a new album? Well it's underway and all in due time. For now their blend of Death Metal with at times doomy openings and a very comfortable low grunt made the evening kick off well.

Next band on were Drap from Sweden. Actually the a deserves a tiny o on top, but I simplify here. This also to match the music of Drap. Not that it was simple all the way, but for my taste it lacked some variation. The first song with a wait-and-see attitude of the audience made the screaming vocalist go wild off the stage. He promised than to get back on stage if the crowd would move forward a bit. Nicely found and followed up. Hereafter the main word describing the show was Energy. Easy to move along live, but for me not the style I play at home all that fast.

Gluttony were the band to close the evening with some Swedish Death Metal. Straight from the start I could feel how their metal was easier on my ears than what drap just presented. Mainly fulll speed ahead, with good and clear balance between the nstruments made the songs enjoyable at first hearing. This first also as I did not know the band in advance. Now some 18 hours later I know them pretty well as I had the pleasure of hosting them with the right on some late night beers and a breakfast learning more about Gluttony on the road. Impressive how their painted brutal image on stage transformed in very relaxed and laid-back talks at home. So thanks go out to the bands, Ralf, Loud & Heavy, Musicon and Kompaan beer. Next Loud & Heavy party is 7 October with some interesting names, but I have Progpower obligations that weekend.