Sunday, 18 November 2018

Deranged, Procreation & Putrified Corpse - Musicon The Hague, 18 November 2018

After being sensible and taking my rest made me miss Tokyo Blade in Little Devil on Friday  and Omnium Gatherum in Baroeg yesterday,  I did go to Musicon today for a step into the dark. Not knowing any of the bands in advance my visit paid of as yes we were entertained, So a matinee session in Musicon did look interesting and extreme Death metal would be my Sunday afternoon

The afternoon opened with Putrefied Corpse from Enschede and they were low, slow, heavy and death. Now the vocalist thought it necessary to ask if those already present were awake. Now bands might ask more of a feedback from Musicon at any time, but waking us all up with guitar solos being all fucked up in the mix is a bit extreme. Yet I liked the energy as usual with Death metal bands, but was not overly impressed with the songs. Hereafter we got Procreation from Zwolle and things would go to another level indeed. This band played tight, but also had good songs and the necessary variation to keep me hanging in there. Instrumentally they were great and when in between songs a nonchalant Annihilator riff was played I realized this band can play indeed. The almost hour they got was filled with good songs and musically Procreation were to me the winner of the day.

And then there was a headliner Deranged from Sweden. Starting their set the psychopath looking vocalist dove offstage and started to headbutt-light people in the audience. Singing he did as well although some might disagree calling this guttural noise singing. The band consisted of a guitarist raging over 8 strings, a bassist hurting 5 strings and a drummer hammering drums looking like sinterklaas on speed. So yes the band could play and the voice was evil. Yet songs I am still doubting about. Entertainment was not the issue, as I would definitely come back to see this set again. Still there was a bit too much going on to get the full picture for me. So until today I thought Ingested was the most brutal band ever to play the Musicon stage when I was there, Deranged might have just taken that title. So to be honest not music I would get on CD to play on a Sunday morning or any other day. Still the performance was to me outstanding and when they would give an encore if the drummer would get a beer, Ed made our day by breaking that record as well and we could one more time just look amazed towards the stage. Different, yes let's call it different by lack of better description.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Sorcerer & Officium Triste - Dynamo Eindhoven 15 November 2018

Sorcerer playing Dynamo and Hans and I knew we wanted to be there. Sorcerer play doom metal. Now Doom is a many faced beast. Sorcerer play the kind most blended with Heavy Metal, always counting on strong vocals, heavy but not extreme slow guitars and bass all filled up with guitar hero soloing (say Black Sabbath in the Ray Gillan/Tony Martin years). Like many of their Scandinavian colleagues as Candlemass, Abstrakt Algebra or Krux, they perfected this style and gave us recently two top-class albums. Now it is autumn the perfect time of year for doom and festivals and tours in that style are all around us. Yet when arriving in Eindhoven at the station things were quite the opposite of doom, where glow in the dark gave many colorful projections on buildings. We crossed as fast as possible through the masses to make it to dark Dynamo. Upon arrival it did not look all that busy and we remembered a certain Slayer was saying goodbye to Holland in Zwolle this evening. Interesting enough that show sold out in minutes/hours, while some years ago you could still decide on the day if you felt like seeing Slayer live. But for us doom it was.

There was an opener as well in Officium Triste from Rotterdam. Now Rene who drove and merched for them in the past told me they exist next year 25 years, yet I never saw them before. There is an explanation for that. It is only the last three years that I have time to spend on shows as much as I like. Before that work trips and family demands made me focus only on favorite bands. So bands playing doom as slow as Officium Triste might be missed by me unless supporting names I knew. Well I can say that now I saw them live I will go and see them again when opportunities arise. This was SLOW and HEAVY and the voice grunting as slow fitted very well. Now I was not the only one in the audience unfamiliar with much of their work, as they decided to play in their short set three new songs from their upcoming album. I will keep an eye on any release party as this was good warming up.  Close to the end vocalist Pim thanked us for not going to Slayer tonight and I realized I saw him last year guesting at Clouds during Dutch Doom Days. A beer a new stage and Sorcerer to come.

The basement hall meanwhile filled up decently and when Sorcerer kicked of it was clear we were going to be in for a treat. Sirens opened the evening and when we were asked to shout along hey hey hey, it was clear this would be more of a Heavy Metal show. No problem to me as I love the style of metal Sorcerer gave us. Now I have to admit that I did not hear of Sorcerer when they founded in the late eighties. They made a very strong return over the past years releasing "In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross" and "The Crowning of the Fire King". Today's set would visit both albums and some songs from the past. As I do not recognize all titles I can only state that the encore was The Sorcerer and probably the highlight of the evening for me was Ship of Doom. Commenting on the band I can only say they were as good as hoped for, including the substitute bass from Canada. Somehow vocalist Anders thought he was an old man using it as an excuse at times. I had the impression half the audience were at least as old as him. Good voice though and even if the mix was not always extremely clear I saw and heard a good band, which presented another highlight of 2018 for me. So now I am in for some more doom and while playing Abstrakt Algebra now checking gig agendas. Due to strong competition next weekend still undecided on Dutch Doom Days. Yet I hope to feel like driving down to Darken the Moon in Belgium 2 December as Bell Witch playing Mirror Reaper in full and Green Carnation headlining sounds very interesting indeed. Give me more Royal Epic Doom, just like the killer tee said.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Progressive Alliance - Effenaar Eindhoven, 4 November 2018

Progressive Alliance: as Holland needed a new Prog festival. This one edged more to the heavy side, but managed to get some big names on the bill.  Now I suffered from some cold this week and a late return the night before from Schenker Fest, so I would decide on the day if going down to Eindhoven would be a good plan. In comes our national cock-up company the NS who decided to work rails, which in my case meant a direct train now would be 3 trains plus a bus. So car it was and I went for the the first (of many?) edition of Progressive Alliance in healthy state as alcohol free.

Arriving when opening band AstroSaur just started I saw a band giving us an instrumental set with the necessary energy. Yet nothing extremely different or original. Actually one of the main reasons I drove down was next band Arabrot. Now I never heard of these guys before, but what I heard on bandcamp strange enough got me completely hooked. I say strange as they do not play metal. They blend whatever they feel like, kind of impossible to describe. As that does not help let me throw in some names.  Take some The Damned, or Sex Pistols for that matter , blended with Talking Heads and especially on bass some Queens of the Stone Age. Yet when Pygmalion started some This Mortal Coil comes in. And this all brought with the typical weirdness Norwegians seem to get by birth. Paying over 10 Euro a pint does raise creative and strange musicians. When they walked the stage the weirdness did not diminish as the guitarist/vocalist looked like a beardless Amish preacher and started singing about the Gospel. He was not the only one drawing attention by looks as the tall lady in her kimono and curled hair behind mellotron would make a good DDR spy in any seventies Bond movie if being slightly bigger. Than on the right there was a small bassist who was sonically very present throughout the set. A small man with lots of hair on and under his head. They had a drummer too, but I could not see him really. Finally I did not google translate their band name, but logically it might well mean Parrot sandwich. So we got one weird set of songs being shouted and sung to us. I recognized several tunes from Who Do You Love, which I got after the set. This is dance music not for the masses, as I did not have the impression they were the biggest success of the day (quite the contrary) but for me they were a winner. Towards the end they played one song building up to a climax that made all other post metal bands that day look boring. Curious how they pick their tours and gigs being so different, but one to follow.

As if the Arabrot party was not enough for a good start the main hall would open hereafter as well and possibly the best band of the day would open the stage: Ne Obliviscaris. Now I saw them before and knew what would be coming, but they impressed me again in a live setting. Their mix of harsh and clean vocals over some serious tech metal works very fine. Another outstanding feature is the violin the clean vocalists picks up at times. Now he does not play that humpa stuff many folk metal bands throw at us. Neither does he solo like Mama's boys used to do in the eighties. He plays some tunes when the band go finger tipping fast over many strings on guitar and bass. I do own the last two albums of this band, yet I can not recognize song titles as I did not spend enough time reading along the lyrics with CD. Yet I recognized bits and pieces (or full songs) and heard it was all fine. This band brings nice energy on stage and plays very well. This together with the large stage just gave us a very good show of a band that would go down well at PPE I guess.

So I could return home now, but was not going to. This paid off as walking into the small hall American band Rosetta were doing their thing. Never heard of them before and neither checked them out on internet before, this was a positive surprise. A screaming vocalist was joined by a good band and brought us good tunes. I guess it was post something core given the vocals. Turned out that when a style might not attract me all that much, good playing and nice presentation make a good show anyway. Yet I did not see the last song as we previously agreed next band Vuur would be our dinner break. One fast and nice pizza later we returned to see two minutes of Vuur, which to me is enough. Now the small hall hereafter would pack as The Ocean were on next. They are growing bigger and it turned out that many people sang along with their songs. Now these people had an advantage as they knew the band already. I came in in the blind and started from zero. Than suddenly the songs were not all that different between themselves. There would be mellow pieces and heavy outbursts and this in every song almost. The band played tight and good, but I missed something or was it my back aching starting to kick in. Anyway somewhere after halfway their set I called it the Ocean and went outside.

So I did have enough time to get a good place in the main hall for the last band I was coming over for Ihsahn. Last time I saw them I had to leave early getting a last train at Complexity. This time unfortunately matters would be not that different. I felt I was not top fit and two nights in a row standing on your feet started taking its toll. Also the fact that no alcohol would anesthetize the pain I decided to be smart and leave early. This meant  only saw some 30 minutes of Ihsahn and I realized Ne Obliviscaris were not the best band of the day, While Ne Obliviscaris gave the best performance jumping around the stage,  the songs I saw by Ihsahn were pure class delivery. I have a few of his solo albums and they always mix his black metal past with a family Leprous link. Pressure showed this all too well and I felt sorry that smarter me decided it was about time to drive home. So I got an abrupt end to Progressive Alliance. It seemed to me that the audience was of a decent size and of course one makes comparisons with ProgPower Europe, the mother of all Progressive Metal festivals. To me it looked that with more screams and grunts we also got a younger audience on average. The setup of one day worked OK as a start and with Vuur who played all over the country already we had a decent dinner break. Curious to see if this one gets a follow-up next year and if so, fair chance I'll be there again.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Michael Schenker Fest & Absolva - Melkweg Amsterdam 3 November 2018

Michael Schenker Fest came to Holland so I wanted to be there and no delaying trains would stop me from going to the Melkweg. Michael Schenker is returning probably annually to Holland over the past years. Yet there is a difference from Saxon, Y&T, Raven to name just a few of his generation friends. I saw him over recent years with MSG playing mostly songs from his name band, with Temple Of Rock using the Scorpions rhythm session and focusing a bit on his Scorpions days. Last year for the first time Michael Schenker Fest played de Boerderij when he brought his three main vocalists from the eighties on tour. This year there was the return, but again another format as Doogie White now joined the band and they released earlier this year a new album Resurrection.So as I said enough reasons to travel to Amsterdam tonight. Magchiel thought exactly the same as it is this month 35 years ago we traveled together to Leiden to see MSG.

First there was an opener and not just any. Absolva is easily the best opener MSG brought along on tour over the years. Now Absolva are not unknown to me as they  played Musicon three times over the past years and I was there three times. This band plays Heavy Metal and although they always are announced as members of Iced Earth and Blaze Bailey I think their own name by now should be enough to attract people. Now my first thought was how would they go down in front of an MAG crowd. Tonight again it was clear that MSG pulls Classic Rock crowd, meaning you see basically any kind of fan apart from young kids with friends. Saxon for instance would pull a Heavy Metal crowd and bring more people who would appreciate them. Yet to me it gave the chance to move close to the stage and see Absolva play for a decent 40 minutes. So they have 4 albums and visited them all. The set included my favorite Never Back Down and I guess the ballad Only When It's Over from their debut went down best with the beautiful guitar solo at the start. This was the last of their support slots  on this tour and they continue headlining. 30 November they return to de Nobel and I hope to be there. If there shall be many remains to be seen as I did see some  fierce competition in metal gigs that night.

Michael Schenker back on stage and it did not take long before we got a first surprise. Michael walking on stage and starting a happy chat with the audience. Also he gained some kilos and now starts looking healthy. Finally you bring four vocalists and the first song he sang himself and asked the audience to join in on Holiday (Scorpions) Now I remember the chorus, but singing the verses was not at the top of anyone's head. Immediately hereafter we got Doctor Doctor the usual encore, where all vocalists would join in and the hall was warmed up. Hereafter the set followed a formula I remembered from last year. One vocalists singing songs from his era at times joined by others on backing vocals. So first on Doogie White to give us some recent songs.Not a problem as they sounded good and Doogie has a great voice still. New song Take Me to the Church turned into a favorite of mine and the Dio tribute in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was already one of the best recent songs. Captain Nemo remains the second best instrumental Michael Schenker ever wrote. and Graham Bonnet came on next. Probably my favorite block of the evening as Assault Attack might be the best MSG album and these songs were all not that often in the set over the years. Graham Bonnet has to get some screams out of his toes, but often he just managed. Desert Song, well classic stuff. The next instrumental break was introduced with a nice speech on Rudolf Schenker and Gary Barden would sing the old MSG songs for us. Now all four would also sing a song from Resurrection, where they had the lead. Mr Barden seemed to be most at ease with new song Messin' around. The screams on Are You Ready to Rock for instance long left his vocal capacity. Yet he brings his songs sympathetic and gets away with this. After uber instrumental Into the Arena it was down to Robin McAuley. Now the McAuley Schenker years were reduced to one song Bad Boys only and he could focus on the UFO songs. With Strangers in the Night being the best live album ever, not much can go wrong there. And no matter the surprises or changes a Michael Schenker set always works towards that one guitar solo. In comes Rock Bottom and I should time the solo next year, but my god we are in guitar heaven and Michael Schenker is our God. Pity for the people on the right balcony, that he spend a few minutes of his solo so much right of the stage, that they could not see him. I did not mention yet that the guitar sound was perfect and Michael was probably in the best form in years. Seeing him soloing away makes anyone humble and all the new songs gained so much power now that I saw the solos live. So this is called a Fest and a party we got. After the orgasmic closure with Rock Bottom we did get one more encore in Lights Out and almost 2.5 hours after they came on stage the band waved farewell. I totally love this formula and the interaction between the vocalists looked genuinely positive with no ego crushes as long as the Black eye on stage from Chris Glen was not the result of some internal fights. Michael Schenker gives you one evening of Hard Rock at its best, with the Mad Axeman in top form. Amen.

Friday, 2 November 2018

August Life - Midnight Prophecy - Sacral Rage - Heir Apparent

It is 2018 and these four CD's brought me straight back to the eighties. Three times because of the style of music played and one rather late return (29 years waiting) of one of my favorites of the decade.

August Life - New Eternity
August Life are a new Dutch band of not so new Dutch artists and I think it is fair to say they are the best release of traditional Heavy Metal coming out of the low countries this year. So they won't win the originality award, but anyone into Heavy Metal should like this. Opener New Eternity reminds me of Graham Bonnet era Rainbow. Draw the Line has Dio references more than just under the surface. But when it all is played this well, who cares really. So a new band plays music from my youth. Actually I can't wait to see them at Westland Metal Meeting next year and shout along  "A Mission to Kill" during Immortalized. The band so far was a duo, but that must have been sorted for life shows now they confirm same. Classic Heavy Metal ending with Nevermore, which seems to be a tribute to the late Warrel Dane. Holland has a new Class act  in Heavy Metal and this is the first release by new label pt78 records. Promising start I'd say.

Midnight Prophecy - Midnight Prophecy
I tried to see Midnight Prophecy twice this year, but bad luck got in the way and both gigs were cancelled. Still I was keeping an eye open for their autumn released self titled album. So this is again eighties metal and yes they must have heard of Iron Maiden. But again a young British bands shows us that there is a Now Wave Of British Heavy Metal indeed. Ten songs giving us over an hour of good old Heavy Metal justifies at least checking them out. They now even released a Videoclip for Obsidian so YouTube might be a good starting point. .

Sacral Rage - Beyond Celestial Echoes
I originally missed the release of their 2015 album Illusions in Infinite Void. Then Mario put them in Little Devil, I checked them out on the internet and found a new favorite band. These guys are Greek but play US Speed Metal from the eighties. References are Agent Steel or Watchtower at times. The lyrics are high tech sci-fy story telling again, but the music is just brilliant. So yes I love the high pitched vocals with the screams, the fast guitars and the songs. Sacral Rage manage to not just show off how good they are, but pack their music in great songs. I saw them live on stage and they blew me away. Expectations were high for this album and no they do not disappoint. I'd say come back to Holland soon. Finally I bought there mint green EP last year due to lack of CD version of Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments. I now just read that all version on vinyl of this new album are selling out fast. This must mean the army of followers is growing, or they are too modest not pressing enough LP's. End of the year list material at the higher end.

Heir Apparent - The View From Below
So after three bands playing a style of metal I love, I now arrive at one of the albums I have been looking out for a lot after hearing it announced. Heir Apparent released in 1986 Graceful Inheritance and that is definitely (one of) the best US Metal releases ever. Three years later One Small Voice followed one of the best US early progressive metal albums. Now I buy my CD's from bands or websites, so before I received my copy I did read several reviews. Turned out that many Power metal related sites love the new album, while Aardschok and Metalfan in Holland seemed somewhat underwhelmed. I do not follow Dutch opinions here, as I love the album. OK so the tempo is mostly mid or slow. When they actually hit the gas and bang fast in Savior the song is also over before you know it, Yet this mainly mid-tempo album for me gives the band the chance to shine on their strong points. Starting with new vocalist Will Shaw who with this album alone proves he is one of the best voices in metal. At the same time the guitar of Terry Gorle gives us beautiful melodies all over the album. In The Road to Palestine we even get Heir Apparent's answer to Kashmir or Stargazer. So no this is not as fast as the debut, nor as prog as the follow up. Yet for me it is three out of three for Heir Apparent a band that only releases brilliant albums. They will tour Europe next summer, let me not miss them again.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Amenra, Toner Low & Hemelbestormer - Gebr. de Nobel Leiden, 20 October

This Saturday night I decided to leave my comfort zone and step into a world heavier, darker and slower than most shows I attend. Actually this was more of a Roadburn event and a crowd to match it. Yet after reading several rave reviews on Amenra live I was looking forward to this evening. Actually it was a double event with the day before an acoustic set in a theater in Leiden. I skipped that and also did not spend all that much time at the Amenra art exposition next door. I was in for heavy music and earplugs would ever come in so handy. Upon arrival I entered the longest queue I ever saw at de Nobel, so that was a good start.

First band of the evening were Hemelbestormer from Belgium. Their last album is called A Ring of Blue Light. A Dutch band name and an English album title. Well if you play instrumental post metal, you can do whatever you want on that front. This show was in the small hall, but as I entered early enough I found a good spot to feel their music for 45 minutes. This is indeed all about feeling the music, as Heavy was used in the capital letter form. A band on stage in the dark, with on the background black and white nature movies playing. Maybe not the first time we see something like that, but this was a good band and their continued set without one word was impressive. A few times the guitarist started applauding to us as a sign that we were allowed to clap. First band down and I already felt my chest and stomach pulsing on the basses.

Fast hereafter to the main hall for Toner Low. Main reason I wanted to see this band is the fact that for a few years now I keep running into their drummer Jack at shows in the area. So far I always managed to be away or at other gigs when he was playing live, so that would be sorted tonight. Toner Low play Stoner Doom and when I entered the hall they were already giving us their slow and heavy tunes. Again this could go really slow and heavy and it was good to feel them live. When moving from the back to the bar at the right of the hall I noticed that in spite of the full house the bar was not that busy. I guess this music is more for smoking than drinking. Their music was slightly less metallic than Hemelbestormer, but as a plus the guitarist did sing at times and actually spoke to us in between songs, even if only a Thank you Leiden. For me music like this is good to see live, but won't work at home on CD all that well I'm afraid.

Now moving back to the small hall after seeing Toner Low until the end and getting a beer, turned out a mission impossible.  So instead of  Soul Grip I moved back to the main hall and got myself a good spot at the balconies. While Amenra exist for some 20 years now, they are a new band to me. Last year I read about them in Portugal, where Loud made them album of the month and I believe even album of the year. So that was the reason for me checking them out on the internet and I could see this might be interesting live. A few minutes before 21:45 the band came on and the vocalist sits on a cloth with symbol and his back towards us. He hits some steel pipes together and later the drummer joins him and the band starts playing. After some time we move back to the theme of the night Heavy and we get a full blow of heaviness upon us. The band were announced as Doom Post Metal Sludge, so I guess that is what it was. I must say the movies were good and the band impressive. The vocalists sung main part of the show towards the drummer showing us his back. Yet as this was a dark stage experience that did not disturb. Actually I had the feeling that Amenra is full of symbolism and their T-shirts and exposition made you believe the same. Now I don't know them really, so could not get the deeper meaning. The vocals were mainly desperate, haunting screaming, but at times fragile and vulnerable. The band was very good in building heaviness and the overall picture was beautiful. One nice view from the balconies was the crowd banging very synchronized along the heavier and faster parts. Yet I must admit I was not as overwhelmed as I was earlier this year at Bell Witch. Maybe that was also caused by the guy standing in front of smelling like a French Union sales rep after running a marathon, who  distracted the people behind him a bit. Yet in the end I was pleased with the spectacle Amenra gave us and the two nice opening shows by Toner Low and Hemelbestormer. Maybe I should keep an eye on Roadburn's program next year.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Saxon, FM & Raven - Ronda Tivoli Utrecht, 16 October 2018

Saxon in Utrecht on a Tuesday night? Why not. Thunderbolt was a good new album and nothing beats an evening of songs from your youth to shout along with. The supports were also far from bad and given their status it was even a bit strange they played in front of a Saxon banner and pretty short too. So on a surprisingly summer day mid October I was off to Utrecht to re-live parts of my younger years.

Opener Raven played Musicon only a month ago. So I knew what we would get, only not which songs remained in the set. That being only six songs was a bit weird given it was Raven, but an evening only has so many hours to fill. Starting at 19:00 hrs the hall was still filling up and the sound was not all that clear. Yet Destroy All Monsters was a good start and Raven always runs around the stage. With more meters to do so this night they must only have gotten more tired. Highlights for me in the middle Hung, Drawn & Quartered following All for One. Yet I must say that shouting along with On and On felt better in Musicon after an evening of metal, than tonight while only warming up. Still sympathy votes always go out to Raven as they just give us a good time.

Next band FM were the lightweight of the evening. Originally Y&T would be here, but they had to pull out. Looking around the audience it seemed that many people picked up their Y&T-tee as support. On the other hand I did not see one FM T-shirt. FM do not play metal, but AOR/hard rock. For a man with an open mind and wide range of musical taste like me this was no issue, but I had the idea that many did not join me. I do have their classic album Indiscreet on LP, so seeing for me for the first time songs like I Belong to the Night or  Other Side of Midnight being played live was a treat. Actually the band seemed to be in good shape and Steve Overland remains one of the best voices in AOR. In order to get some metal credibility they mentioned themselves that a certain band called Iron Maiden covered their biggest hit That Girl. For me their second point of metal credibility was bassist Merv Goldsworthy, whom I last saw on stage 35 years ago with Diamond Head. Interesting enough they did not end their set with their biggest hit, but with a new song Killed By Love. I highly enjoyed their (also too short) set of 40 minutes and in the end several people seemed to like their set as well.

Saxon live is not all that rare nowadays, as I think they return every year to Holland. However, I can stay that for me this was their best show of the last years. The band is in great form and at the same time the audience was in good old eighties fashion. Thunderbolt is their latest album and we got I believe no less than six songs of that album. Luckily that album is rather strong and slowly in the set we moved to more and more old Classics we all know so well. Funnily enough through the set Biff joked it was too early for Wheels of Steel. Now that is a great song, but not my favorite Saxon song really. To me the highlights came in Dallas 1 PM, 747, Crusader and Princess of the Night. In reality there were no lows in the set as the new and more recent songs blended in fine. In total we got over two hours of Saxon, which might explain the short time the openers were given. Well it was right like this and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now next year Saxon exists 40 years and that shall be celebrated. Biff announced that even the Eagle shall be back, so watch your tour announcements as I shall be there again. Saxon still holds the Power and the Glory.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Solitary, PPTA & Remain Untamed - Musicon The Hague 13 October 2018

16 months after their first tour of Holland Solitary returned for a long weekend with 4 shows in the country. I was glad being able to help out and receive them at home after the Musicon gig and curious at the same time how this visit of The Hague would go down. Due to a Threshold DVD filming gig in nearby Zoetermeer I could not pull a small crowd for one, but Magchiel joined me as he liked them last year as well. Still the evening promised to be Ok as the two supports sounded interesting. Openers of the evening were Remain Untamed, who played a thrash metal crossover style according to the FB event, I quite liked their set and especially instrumentally they appeared a strong unit. The voice for me could have been more thrashy and less core, but that is personal taste. Their covers of DRI and SOD sort of hinted to their direction in metal.
Next band PPTA opened this summer for two local bands on their CD release party. At the time I quite liked their show, but you can't comment on them without mentioning the wrestling ring. I still not figured out how much that adds, although it gives them something own. Further I believe that their decision to give the referee a smaller role paid off. Musically they play thrash metal and are one of the many newer Dutch bands doing so at a rather high level. Good songs and catchy melodies. My favorite is the Sumo Wrestler where the heaviness just pours out. This band definitely did warm us all up and got me ready for Solitary.

Solitary back in Musicon so the first thing one does is comparing. This year we had two supports so a shorter set. This mainly meant that the big four covers were dropped. To get more on their big four background read the book "I promise to thrash forever". This year there was the release of the 20th anniversary of their record Nothing Changes on Dutch label Doc Records. So we got some songs from that album, but also Requiem and The Diseased Heart of Society were visited. The cover that stayed in the set was Into The Pit, but that is no surprise as they recorded it on Requiem. Last year I mentioned to them missing Anthem of Regret in their set. This slower and heavier banger for me does wonders in an overall fast set. They did remember my comment and decided to include it tonight and even better dedicate the song to me. Thanks for that guys and yes it worked wonderfully well live I thought. Their one hour set flew by and before we knew it we were bringing  amps back to the black box. For me Solitary proved again to be one of the more exciting current thrash metal bands. Still there must be people around who prefer to pay EUR 2200 for a VIP package Metallica over an evening of excellent music in Musicon. Still the crowd more or less doubled from last year, so if we keep that pace one day they get what they deserve. For us it was a cooling down over some Hertog Jan and peanuts/knakworstjes. Finally it is great to see how the 3-0 smashing of Germany this same evening also can make English football fans happy.

Monday, 8 October 2018

ProgPowerEurope - Sjiwa Baarlo, 5-7 October 2018

Coming Home! Not only the title of one of the better songs by this year's main headliner, also the feeling most regulars have when making their annual pilgrimage to Baarlo. Unbeatable in atmosphere this festival is an even split of music and people that makes it so special to many. Now even a book was released where visitors appear: Strange Kind of Epic Most people pictured for that book are staying at the Castle de Berckt. For us coming home is across the road at the Camping de Berckt. This year we were 10 for the weekend plus Yvon and Rene on the Saturday, so two packed trailers it was. Upon arrival during the Friday afternoon, the sun warmly welcomed us and the Bockbier was cold. Were we ready for a 20th anniversary party? yes we were! This weekend the competition of alternative shows was a bit crazy really. On Thursday either Sons of Apollo or Enslaved would be an option. Friday had Crippled Black Phoenix near home while Saturday had not only Haags Metaal, but also Toxik at Loud Noise festival. To top things of in Holland Baroeg decided to put a Progmetal package on with Soen and two good Dutch supports. Finally we shall never understand why Euroblast stubbornly blocks the same weekend as PPE, fishing in a very similar pond. Now this was only this weekend. In general also organizing a Prog festival in Holland seems to become the thing to do. Now as a fan I do think the more the better, but common sense should make you worried. I mean how many bands can carry a festival in our scene? And the feeling of embarrassement when a band you love plays for a handful of people comes lurking around the corner. No matter the competition PPE 2018 was sold out on the Friday and almost so on the other two days, so hurrah to that.

The last few years I skipped the Friday due to family preferences. This year the preferences did not change, but the musical program did. For me from all the bands I knew in advance the two I wanted to see most opened the festival on the Friday. So catching up quickly with some friends I was in time at Sjiwa to see my first long set by Need. As this was the 20th anniversary of the festival, some people who attended every year were allowed to suggest a band. In come: Ronald, Lia, Esther and Michel Holland's Need fanclub and the choice was obvious. Now last year Need toured Europe supporting Evergrey and on the day they played close to home it was Tiago's birthday so a no for me. A week later they played Diest in Belgium and a picture of a certain anniversary present made me drive to Diest to join the stalkers. Well Need were as good as I hoped for that night, so I was looking forward to a full set. At first I thought the sound was a bit unclear, but after some two songs that got solved and we had a great set passing their three albums. For me the set was building up to the two highlights ending their set Mother Madness and Hegaiamas. It was also very nice to see that I joined the majority, as for an opening band the response was rather overwhelming. How much that was due to the facial expressions by Ravaya throughout the set we shall never know.

Now we warmed up very well already the Friday headliner was from a level of band members not seen often on stage at Sjiwa. I mean all the guys in Sons of Apollo at one stage of their career would consider a crowd of 20.000 a poor turnout. Now they were at a sold out Sjiwa and they looked just as happy to play for us. This was one professional set by an impressive band. As I was not at Be Prog and they were not at Dynamo Metal Fest it was a debut to me and I loved it. With one album only the set had to be filled with some covers and I was pleased they picked the DT Falling Into Infinity album to give us some songs. Another highlight for me was when Jeff Scott Soto gave us some Queen songs to sing along to. Funnily enough he thereafter announced a long instrumental with the words, the moment you all have been waiting for. Well not all of us were, as I for one prefer their songs above too many instrumental masterclasses. Even that they kept under control and when they ended the set with Coming Home we knew we saw a band that can become a headliner of major summer festivals in the future, although they might be a bit too proggy for the masses. Very pleased with the Opening night we returned home for some knakworstjes and beer.

When I swapped on Friday my ticket for a wristband Christian asked me "which bands are you coming for this year?" Well I had not really given it much thought to be honest, but my not so deep research in advance made me very curious about the bands around the dinner break on Saturday. First band of the day was Golden Caves from Rotterdam. I saw them earlier this year at Progdreams and my feelings at that time were reconfirmed for me. This band can play and the girl can sing, yet the songs do not do much for me. So enjoyable enough and I will go see them if playing near home, but not overwhelmed. Next band of the day were The Thirteenth Sun from Romania. I knew nothing by them in advance and started blank. Well to be honest not fully my band either. They lacked some spice and decibels for my taste. Yet their set also did not annoy and I watched a fair deal of it. Hope they won over some fans as they drove up all the way from Romania. Next band was Adimiron from Italy and now we were talking. I was supposed to see them a few years ago, when they supported Swallow the Sun, but I had to cancel that gig at the last moment. At the time I already listened to some of their work, so when they were announced for PPE I was a happy man. This was not the first year things became louder and more interesting around the dinner break, so my hopes were high and well deserved so. It did not take long before the double guitars and their long looking shortly dressed female bassist got me into their set. Metal Archives describes their current music as progressive thrash/death metal and that seems right. What I liked most was the continuing stream of guitar riffs coming at us, even bringing Zero Hour to mind. The voice was harsher than ZH, but this was for me the first band I did not know in advance that got me to the Merch stand after their set. Pity the T-shirt were only made for Italian sized audiences, so it was their last CD for me.

Dinner Break and it became clear to me how much I would miss the Pois Chic food truck this year. Not only for the delicious food they have which is both fast available and healthy. Also Andy and Debbie are among the most sympathetic people I meet up with every year in Baarlo. So now it was a fast broodje kaas as the next band was also one not to miss: Ramage Inc. They played PPE a few years back as well, but that was one of the editions I had to miss due to work obligations abroad. So for me a new band really. Friends who saw them at the time already said they were good and so it was. They obviously must like Devin Townsend as well, but how Epic do you want to get it really. Great performance and a nice presentation as well, made this again one of the weekend highlights for me. Ramage Inc are from Edinburgh and I happened to be there two weeks ago as that is one of the two cities Tiago might start his study next year. I already informed him that with bands like this we have another big plus for Edinburgh. Next band of the evening was one that we all knew would divide opinions. Mattias as all-PPE-attender picked this band and their style is hard to describe. Now I love it when PPE sometimes goes out of the box and tries something different. Half of the times it works for me and the other half it does not. Unfortunately this time it became the latter category and I watched some 15 minutes before saying farewell to the band.The thought that at that very same moment I could have been watching Toxik on stage did cross my mind. By the reactions I saw I guess for several the best band of the festival, while others did not get it really. Headlining the Saturday were Evergrey. First time I saw them was also at PPE in 2000, when they were new to me. I remember being kind of blown away by their refreshing own style. Since then I don't think they really improved and the formula of Evergrey continued. In general we get a good metal show by them with some spoken word tapes and a dark mood. This year would be not any different and I say a good headliner. Surprises zero, show tight and volume too loud.

This day was supposed to be the day that rain would spoil the in between bands outside breaks. Well our gods must be progmetalheads as the sun was out again and slightly fresher we had another winner on the climate front. Musically four to me unknown bands would open the day and I was actually looking forward to a few of them. Temples on Mars was one of those bands I knew nothing about in advance and they were a pleasant surprise to me. Their metal was somewhat djenty and the voice high-ish, yet the total caught me. Not as much as Hans who run out to get their CD during the set already, but definitely one to travel for when back in Holland. DVNE were on next and they play a sort of post-rock. Luckily enough they tend to go to the heavier end in that spectrum. This resulted in a rather energetic set in spite of the long songs. Heads would bang on the slow haunting heaviness and Sunday kicked of with two pleasant surprises. Hereafter the stage was for Voices from London. This was the band I looked out to most on the Sunday, as I listened to some of their work in advance and the mix of Dark Rock with slight Black Metal hints from their past (Akercoke)  made this an interesting mix to me. Well it seemed that maybe even unintentional this would be an out of the box band for the festival as well. Unfortunately many people did not regard Voices'bleak dark music as entertaining, while I thought them absolutely brilliant. Somehow I was also not surprised to see Andrew, Alex and Rune highly enjoying this set. which was partially watched over by a young Bryan Ferry. While definitely not for everyone I did run into Anko whom I met at a Fen gig in Eindhoven last year, who came down to Baarlo just for them. Also interesting enough within our group Dark Rock is not depressing as they were the band that sold most merch to us 10 and if they would have brought XXL shirts even more. I already played Frightened today and it only confirmed what I liked when seeing them: Great band.

Dinner at the snackbar meant we were almost in time back for Circles. This band is from Australia and play Djent Metal. Positives: very alive on stage, good guitars and catchy. Negatives to me: It remains djent and than it is hard to stand out. If next year a djent metal band should return, please let it be The Contortionist. But the set was good and the band seemed to enjoy walking around the venue and at the Afterparty, gaining over quite some fans I guess. They went down well though and when they asked people to jump along I recognized some Cork Hats from a distance jumping up and down Then the festival would end with bands I knew on CD or in the case of Subsignal also from some previous live shows. In advance I was somewhat worried that these two rather calm bands would end the festival like the candle burning down at night. Well I did not need to worry. First Subsignal played as I expected. To be honest I loved Sieges Even, liked Subsignal at first a lot, but slowly lost interest in their CD's. Live I saw them in the past very good at PPE and not so good in de Boerderij. So when I entered the hall a bit into their set I was not all that open minded and we old people tend to get tired on day three. So I watched a bit, but never gave it a fair chance. Sound and voice were good again, but I cannot give an opinion really. Hereafter Caligula's Horse would close the festival. Now I have their last CD, but never attended Be Prog or Midsummer prog. Well what a nice surprise to end the weekend I got. A very lively set of band and audience. It is not given to many at PPE to get the floor jumping up and down like that. The vocalist had good humor as well and I did not expect such a party from this band. Shall replay their album one of these days and see if that now also becomes more alive. So if I might have had any doubts of their headliner status, they proved me wrong. And then it was over, but some of us wanted more. So we went downstairs and joined the afterparty. What I was doing there on the picture below says it all really and is easy to understand by PPE attenders. For those in the unknown it is about a collision of certain bodily parts with structures that hold buildings or confine rooms, celebrated in a classic eighties metal song. A perfect way to end a weekend that is so uplifting many look forward to the next edition already. No matter how big the competition might become, I am pretty sure that PPE holds that special feeling, that none shall be able to copy. Thanks to all involved in the organization of this annual party and see you again next year.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Danish Demolition Tour - Patronaat Haarlem, 27 September 2018

Metal and Denmark. My generation would first think of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond and Pretty Maids. Nowadays Volbeat seems big, but I know nothing of them. For progmetal fans like me, Mercenary, Anubis Gate and Vola come to mind, but this package was fully unknown to me. Four bands playing all a different style of metal touring for a week through England, Holland and Germany. With four bands and an advanced start I needed an early dinner in order to arrive just before kick-off at the venue. First sign that looked rather bad was that when buying my ticket the cash-desk was still locked, meaning I was the first paying visitor on the day. So few late deciders expected and unfortunately not that many early deciders either as the gig got moved to the bar stage. The only thing that can't be blamed is promotion as I saw various interviews with the bands on national metal sites. How many times can we repeat that those who do not support the underground slowly kill both bands and venues. This package was varied enough to have something for many. When entering the cafe I did run into Alex, so we could share some thoughts through the evening. Hardly having my first beer at hand Aphyxion opened the evening

Aphyxion play Melodic Death Metal and in the interviews it was mentioned several times that someone from Metal Hammer UK called them the future of Melo-Death. Well that is quite something to live up to and to be honest the man was wrong. Their set was OK and brought with lots of enthusiasm  with the vocalist stepping of the stage screaming to us from really close. My main concern was that while there were two guitarists they seemed to limit their playing to hitting chords. The loudest instrument seemed to be keys, but they were not on stage. For me the result was that they turned into a band playing along with tapes which were too loud in the mix. Still it was not a bad show as such, but the above killed the fun a bit for me. Next on were Defecto, the band I was looking most forward to based upon internet listening. This band opened earlier this year for Persefone, but I could not make it that evening. Actually in Denmark they also opened for Metallica and Rammstein, so they have been in front of larger audiences than this evening. Well that could be seen on their professional presentation and playing. At several sites their style is called progressive metal. I would not necessarily call their music progmetal, as it mainly had an old school stoner-ish base with very good guitar solo's in it. No matter the name of the style, this indeed turned out to be my favorite band of the evening. Now playing their last album Nemesis, I can confirm they are as good on CD. Only remark would be the in between song banter Never sure if it is smart to insult a small audience of people who obviously never heard of you. As it was done with enough sense of humor I think they got away with it, just.

Hellhorse was next and four shirtless guys hit the stage, followed by a vocalist in leather coat. These guys play stoner/speed rock and were the most organic band of the evening. What you heard you could see and it was mostly fast rocking and rolling. Again a vocalist who made many meters through the cafe and a very lively presentation.  If Defecto were to me musically winners of the night, show-wise Hellhorse was best. Again the vocalist came close to provoking reactions, so that must be something Danish Demolitionars do. Good live band and the evening was already  a success to me. Last band Siamese still had to come and Alex mentioned that some friends were nicely impressed with them as heavy pop band at UK Tech Fest. I listened to some clips as well and pop was there mix with something heavy. When they came on and played their set I was the full 40  minutes on two thoughts. At the one end this was an uplifting show, with catchy melodies and hooks. On the other hand there was the question what is played live and what comes from tape. When you hear so obviously instruments and vocals coming at you that are not played it becomes somewhat strange. The younger part of the audience seemed to know and love them and that was my final conclusion. I should introduce Tiago to this band. I can see them crushing high-school and university parties. When discussing before their show if a bad like this could play Progpower, my vote would be a big no, for overdose on tape. Yet if you are down this music will lift you up. Teenage metal it was. When they asked for a pit in the end, the karate couple jumped in again and we got the weirdest pit of sorts. A strange end to an amusing evening. I hope more people find their way to Muziekcafe in Helmond tonight. How often do you get 4 Danish bands to choose from?

Monday, 24 September 2018

Fish - The Queen's Hall Edinburgh, 22 September 2018

Sometimes the world turns in funny little circles, or in this case warm wet circles. I did not often use to buy tickets well in advance, as unexpected work trips made me loose too many of them later on. Now that this traveling is on hold I restarted guaranteeing my presence  at shows that probably sell out. So I did have my tickets for Diamond Head in Little Devil and Fish in het Paard in the pocket, when I discovered that that very same weekend is the best timing to visit Portugal again this autumn. So in the spirit of making friends of good music happy I gave both away and hope Lida enjoys Fish. Then on a whole other level of family business, Tiago has to decide this year on his future and Edinburgh is one of the two strongest candidate cities for him to start his study next year. Saturday the University had an open day and as this is the weekend of his birthday as well we made it a family trip Edinburgh, where we flew in from Schiphol and Josie took a plane in Faro. First things first Edinburgh is amazing. I was there once before some 25 years ago, but those memories are all fuzzily drowned. After having a motivational day at the Uni, we went for city walks and hit the Royal Mile also for Marillion's sake, when I suddenly found Fish would play the Queen's Hall opening the very same Weltschmerz/ Clutching at Straws Tour I was going to miss now. This show was sold out fast when going on sale, but I was going to try my luck at the venue anyway. Well talking about luck hopes went down when some 20 people were looking for tickets and none seemed to be on sale apart from a German girl asking three times the original price. And then I ran into Peter and Mark from Holland and we spoke about things Fish and Marillion when they informed they were waiting for a ticket and had one already. Long story short when they had two tickets they offered me to buy the expensive one as well (which went down to under two times the price by now) and share the pain, leaving all three of us to pay some 5 pound over the price only. Well at first impressed with their friendly offer I gladly accepted and we could see Fish opening a tour on his home turf. Thanks mates and the warm wet circle closed as it opened: with some random act of kindness.

So now we were in the Queen's Hall, it turned out to be a kind of Paradiso with the balconies going round and a church like setup. Strangely there were benches to sit on at the same level as the floor before them. Hope not too many Scots got pissed off by watching my back. There was a support band as well, but Doris Brendel was there to be back-up vocalist mainly for Fish. Her own band was OK, but not something I would get on CD really. Nine 'o clock sharp and Fish came on welcoming us with Slainte Mhath. I think Fish is the world's main defender of Scottish expressions, as who would know what that meant or Incommunicado for that matter. This tour is called after two albums and that is what you get, music from both. This also meant new music, that will be released only next year. Maybe already available on some format, all were new to me and varied in quality at first hearing. Man with a Stick seemed to repeat the title a lot, well Little Man What Now, came over good. Highlight of the new album so far shall be Waverley Steps which was nice and epic. Than I realized we just passed those steps in the center of town, so it added to the atmosphere. Seeing Fish live on stage always holds two main questions. How good is his voice this time and to what level the band can reach old status. Well regarding the voice no complaints whatsoever, while the band had the usual trouble in following the classics. For me the Marillion albums with Fish were not only my introduction to Progressive Rock as such, but also the best four albums ever released in that genre. This means I know the albums through and through. From the past we know that Robin Bould on guitars is nowhere near as good as Steve Rothery, so he adapts the style of the songs somewhat. This evening however, what most stood out was the keyboard sound. During the trilogy Hotel Hobbies/ Warm Wet Circles/ That Time of the Night  it sounded rather horrible to be honest. This also caused by the rather poor sound at the start (another Paradiso similarity). During Just for the Record the Keys ended fast and in tune and as if the band were relieved as well, they went complimenting the man behind the keys. At the end we got some versions that sounded hundred times better than the start with a highlight of the set for me in The Last Straw where a loud audience shouted their lungs out as they were Still Drowning. This audience was Scottish, but seemed to hold people from places like Boston, California, Syria and Switzerland as well. During one intermezzo the Scots took over and sung to Fish something we foreigners did not get, which resulted in a small improvised song. I guess it had to do with his favorite local football team, as we were in Edinburgh after all. And then after two hours it was over and we knew we witnessed something different, Fish in Scotland. If the sound gets sorted out better from the beginning for the remainder of this tour you get a winner. Playing four or five new songs always holds a risk, but they went down well. Fish announcing his retirement is nothing new, let's hope for at least two more tours hereafter. One when we actually know Weltschmerz and one farewell tour. For now thank you for the music and Slainte Mhath.

Friday, 14 September 2018

A Dying Planet - Manes - Dead Season - We Sell the Dead - Twisted Illusion

Some great new CD's and actually some slightly older ones as well.

A Dying Planet - Facing the Incurable
It was a sad day for technical metal when we learned that Troy Tipton would no longer be able to play the bass. Together with his brother Jasun he gave us great music through the bands Zero Hour, Cynthesis, Death Machine and Abnormal Thought Patterns. The bigger and better the surprise to me, when I read about this new band. Troy now moved to vocals and he does so well. At the same time some help from friends was asked to give us a diverse album. The opening two songs are the epics and Resist with former Sun Caged vocalist Paul Villareal is a highlight. ZH and C vocalist Erik Rosveld also joins in on one song and that is my favorite: Poisoning the Well. The album as a whole reminds me most of the two Cynthesis albums, where the frantic guitar parts by Jasun always are easy to recognize as being his. If there is one comment from my side, it might be that one calmer song could have been replaced by a fast rocker for a better balance. Yet as a total this is again one great progmetal album at the standard we came to know by the twins. I'd say PPEU 2019 book them.

Manes - Slow Motion Death Sequence
Manes is a band in you can not pinpoint. So like 9 out of 10 bands you can hardly describe they are from Norway. For me this is the first album I bought and I don't even know their Black Metal early days. I was tipped by Andrew's rave review and the fact that some Atrox members are part of this band. Well trying to say something there is trip-hop ad build up to heavier parts, always staying far from full out metal. For me the album as a whole works perfectly, while at the same time I never shall be able to mention individual stand-out songs.  If I have to search for references maybe early Antimatter sounded a bit the same. When you are in for something calm and different this album might do wonders for you.

Dead Season - Prophecies
Nowadays there is far too much music released in order to follow all by yourself. One of my sources for discovering bands is still Aardschok. When they also miss a classic and review it a year late I also end up very late. Yet when they name drop Nevermore and Opeth Still Life (their best) I get interested. Hearing it first through bandcamp this indeed is an instant Classic which would have ended very high on my 2017 year list if only I knew them last year. What a powerful album and yes Blood Links Alienation sounds like a new Nevermore song indeed. Due to the mix of strong clean and some extreme vocals also Scar Symmetry or Mercenary at 11 Dreams times pop up for me. This album really has it all. Great songs, strong lyrics and what a power. Need to go back in time for discovering their previous albums.

We Sell The Dead - Heaven Doesn't Want You and Hell is Full
Another album that is not very recent. I got this CD early in the year and thought it OK. Over the past months however, it grew on me and now it reached an upgrade from OK to very good indeed for me. The members come from bands I don't really follow like In Flames or Him. Vocals however come from Apollo from Greece and known from Spiritual Beggars or Firewind. Well he is one strong point of the band, whose music to me comes closest to Black Sabbath second half of the eighties. The album tells a story and I read about Jack the Ripper playing Heavy Metal. Well that is all just fine to me, but the artwork is interesting this time. Most of the songs have a clip released in black and white and red.So if you want to start listening to them, YouTube is a good point of entry. Give it time and maybe it grows on you like it did to me.

Twisted Illusion - Excite the Light part 1
Twisted Illusion are this band that just won't make it to any dutch fanzine or internet site. Yet somewhere in Northwest England they are slowly building a fan base by playing a lot and releasing even more music. This album is part 1 of a trilogy, being released one year after last year's double album Insight to the Mind of a Million Faces. Well maybe staying under the radar here, their pledge campaign again meant they reached target within one day and ended over 200% of target. We Illusionists are a loyal bunch apparently and the Thank you letter was humorous and insulting as we got used to. "You are wonderful. Even if you are a shit and a bit of a prick, you have good taste in music at least". So what is the music all about? Kind of hard to describe again. Classic Rock mentioned Rush, Queen and Dio in a blend as reference. I see what they mean, although this is not a metal album as such. Opener Excite the Light kicks of fast and heavy, but from there we get calmer parts dominating, with catchy choruses all around. A strong version of the Mearfest anthem Molly's Smile is definitely a highlight. Lyrically Matt does not hold back in sharing his sufferings and complaints with many references to pills on medical description. Well with this release they definitely set my target for 2019 in seeing them live headlining. This year I tried 3 times and failed, so that will be corrected. And if by 2020 we are 4 new albums further down the road I will get them to play in The Hague. Check them out and pledge along for Part two this autumn.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Night Demon & Screamer - Musicon The Hague, 11 September 2018

A Tuesday night turned out a good night for Heavy Metal in Musicon. For me this was going to be a bit different again as support band Screamer from Sweden would stay at my place after the show. Now I must admit that I only knew their name on forehand, never seeing them play live before. So in comes the internet for discovering and I was expecting a good show. And no Rene, this was not the first band staying over I did not know in advance. Starting at a for a Tuesday fairly late nine it quickly became clear where Screamer is taking us with their music. 80's Heavy Metal is the base, not too dissimilar from several of their countrymen bands. Most important in these bands to me is an enthusiastic presentation and no complaints on that front here. All five seemed to be enjoying themselves and movement on the stage was constant.  The songs themselves were fine as well and the set build-up seemed to work for me as they ended with three of their strongest songs: Warrior, Monte Carlo Nights and Rock Bottom. After their set I did what I do in such occasions and got their last album Hell Machine. Nice band and as I understood today you can the coming months still catch them in varied places like Holland, Germany, California or Japan. Don't miss it.

After an alcoholic little break we got Night Demon on stage. Now this band seems to be going from big to bigger especially in Germany as I understood. First time I saw them in The Hague, was in de Vinger. Well that place closed down twice in the meantime, but Night Demon are still going strong. Opening with Welcome to the Night and Full Speed Ahead they set the pace and the pace was fast. Night Demon is not a band wasting time on long introductions for songs, they just rock on. This is all brought with such energy that it seems to me impossible not to appreciate their show. In between their own fast songs they also included one or two covers during the shows I saw by them. While a few years ago Diamond Head and Jaguar were celebrated we now got a to me surprising version of  In Trance. Made me wonder how long ago it was I last played Tokyo Tapes. The second cover in the encore came less as a surprise as they brought us Radar Love again. The Hague gave the world two all time classic rock songs, being Radar Love and Venus. The Night Demon version is nicely metalled up a notch and rocks like crazy. All in all this was one roller-coaster set, with a fourth figure hitting the stage during The Chalice. Night Demon obviously toured a lot and it shows, great band for a celebration of live Heavy Metal. And then today breakfast was fine with the sympathetic guys from Sreamer SWE at the table. Skol.