Sunday, 4 June 2023

Kaderock - Around Musicon The Hague, 3 June 2023

Kaderock this year turned into a two day festival. After the sold-out closed doors of last year, the old people music went to the Friday and the (Hang) youth was welcome on the Saturday. As I am young at heart it was Saturday for me too, also as the two best bands would play that evening.

Our start with live music was surprising. With guests at home I city-toured as a guide and to my surprise found that the Hofvijver had a regatta. Apart from boats rowing against each other it also meant live music and beer stands. So our start was at the Lange Vijverberg.

At the end of the afternoon I went with Ricardo to Musicon in order to find that the entrance moved to the other side, since the last time I could make it. A busy street meant queueing for coins and beers, but soon that got smoother. The first band of interest was Temple Fang and they played well. Their spacey, stonerish music at relaxing speed came alive well and the outbursts did sound fine. A good way to open the festival.

Than it was outside as two stages were at the street and square. No names I knew of, but I did bump into friends of Tiago who asked if I also came for Hang Youth. Never heard of them my reply was: no, for Graceless. It turned out that Hang Youth was not bad. Singing about Belastingdienst and seeing some young people jumping around angry, while they never paid a cent of tax in their lives was good. I watched from a distance as at Kaderock you always meet people you haven't seen for a while. Nicest surprise this year were Petra and Wim being in town, whom I had not seen in some 20 years. Noone changed and our difference in lenght still stands strong as well.

Musically the festival would end for me in Musicon again, where Graceless gave us a strong show. One of Holland's leading Death Metal bands got the room moving and gave us Die on Demand, Where Vultures Know Your Name and the likes. A great ending of Kaderock, but not really. Outside there was still some 15 minutes of Rudeboy Urban Dance Squad. I never liked this crossover from teh nineties and still don't. The exception being Faith No More, who ar e on a different level. This just is not for me, but some people go down on memory lane to the nineties. After that set we learned that our new major is a bastard, so all bars closed at 22:45. This was written at the coin machines, but noone took that all to serious I found by reactions. Finally I noticed that wearing a shirt with a classic song opening results in many questions. René sang the lines to me, but most people had no clue. Women being confused and in awe, while upon leaving the area a girl even ran to me asking if my mother really was a witch and been burned alive. Nope, still very much alive and kicking, so ending the day with a smile.

Thursday, 1 June 2023

Ashen Horde - Finality - Hellripper - Max Enix - Trespass

Different kinds of extreme this time, resulting in four highly recommended albums.

Ashen Horde - Antimony
I believe the first time I read about this album was on Angry Metal Guy (yes them again). A concept album about the unsolved murder of Charles Bravo almost 150 years ago. Cause? Antimony. The album looks at several suspects and related people, Now that was interesting, but this extreme metal album got me hooked straight from the beginning by its music. The base is Black Metal of the progressive kind, but with Stevie Boiser from Inferi on vocals, some Tech Death also passes.  Even small parts of doom pass by and at times clean vocals can be heard. The last coming from Trevor Portz who started this band as a solo project ten years ago. The mix of styles is not my comfort zone maybe, but this intense album only got better when reading along with the lyrics. This is their fourth full lenght and I might especially need to check out 2019's Fallen Cathedral, when Stevie joined on vocals. I don't think any extreme metal album will blow me away this much, this year. After listening on bandcamp I ordered the CD and decided to add the kick ass shorts. Well that took three months and some emailing back and forth, but now happy owner of what must be the best extreme metal album of 2023.

Finality - Technocracy
Finality play a different form of extreme. Their progmetal is filled with thrash, tech and power. Last year Imminent Sonic Destruction made it to #2 on my end of year list. They announced playing at Finality's album release show. So you check out Finality and love the two songs they put online. So much I even broke my rule of never paying more for postage than for the CD. Listening the first two times I was maybe underwhelmed after my extremely high expectations based upon the two videos. The album does not vary a lot in speed, it is mainly fast. Well now I am at playing number 5 or 6 and man, is this another gem of 2023. An absolute must hear album and one that needs to be promoted with a tour through Europe. Well fat chance for that now that even bigger US names start cancelling tours due to high costs over here. For now the CD has to do, but what an album this is man. Be like me and pay postage over art for once.

Hellripper - Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags
Hellripper popped up on Bandcamp for me. Hellripper is a one man project, namely James McBain from Aberdeen Scotland. This is his third album already and he impresses here. Blackened Seed metal which nods to teh past, but sounds very fresh. Hellripper is touring quite a lot, so he should have a band for that. Reviews of his Effenaar show were very positive and he comes to Pitfest and Uden as well this summer. As that is during my summer holidays, I now definitely plan going to Roosendaal Open Air 2 September. This music should be heard and felt live. Not miles apart in style from Brazilian bands I hosted in my HM B&B Sodomizer and Imperador Belial. This with the advantage of Scottish mother tongue and a good sound, even if the latter might annoy purists. Extreme return to the eighties at one side, me extremely happy.

Max Enix - Far From Home
Max Enix found me online and his music is also extreme. Extremely long in this case. This album comes in the form of 5 (five) CD's totalling well over five hours. To be honest I found this too much. The first two CD's both amost 80 minutes are the base. The last three are orchestral versions, which I tend to play as often as the Inside Out hobby of adding instrumental versions with their albums. That is zero times. But the first two I heard and there definitely is something for many in this ambitious release. The playing and performance are fine, but the long list of guests is not really for me. I mean I am Dutch but can't be bothered by Ayreon. If you are into that band, you should check these albums out as I think you will like them.  Curious to see if Max intends to play live in some sort of form. 

Trespass - Wolf at the Door
Now that Trespass started to release full albums the last decade many comments are the same. Dated music, Marc Sutcliffe is not among the best vocalists and noone is waiting for this kind of music in 2023. Wrong!!!. I love the new Trespass as much as anything Trespass that came before. For me Trespass means extreme nostalgia and they bring me back to 14/15 year old me who discovered them on Metal for Muthas 2. I taped their songs at the time, but they never released an LP. Bright Lights I taped from Stampij and that was it. Years later I bought compilation album The Works, followed by The Works II. Eight years ago I travelled to their home-town Sudburry to see them playing the local theatre. What a perfect weekend that was. A year later they became the first band to stay at my HM B&B. So resuming a bit of a Fanboy am I. So I don't worry about Marc's voice it just fits Trespass. I love the guitars again, where the double work sounds comforting old school. The new album even holds some songs I would love to hear live on stage (Crooked Cross, Unsinkable, Live Like a King to name a few) Finally the album is packed in a beautiful cover created by Mark Wilkinson, my favorite cover artist. So what's not to like? Having wolfs at your door maybe, which became reality for some in Holland the last years.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Sniester Festival - The Hague, 27 May 2023

Sniester festival exists for some years, but this Saturday evening was the first time I joined the party. The setup is nice with several stages in venues and bars holding guitar based music. No pure metal bands, but lots of heavy work. I visited soem places I had never been before and wondered if these places (Koorenhuis hall, The Grey Space) hold live events more often. I made a route of potential interesting bands, but forgot my print at home. Together with Niels, Ingrid, Hans, Mary, Peter and Marga a nice trip was ha. Being with seven we found that not being allowed to bring drinks to teh street at times messed up plans a bit. It was busy all over resulting in Koorenhuis even running out of beer.

The music was nice with some surprises along the way. I based my going on two bands I saw at Complexity earlier this year. Iron Jinn were good again, a bot mor espacey than I remembered, but perfectly played with lots of smoke again, which seems to be one of their trademarks. 

Hereafter I saw parts or full sets by Headskinner (nice sludge,doomy groove metal) The Monsters ending their set with some all over the place songs. Captain Kaiser, Belgian punk with a great presentation and teh best performance by a vocalist today, mainly during his inbetween song banter filled with dry humor. Irish acoustic band The Scratch showing that acoustic sets can be a party and hold a wall of death. 

The best I saved for last, or the Sniester programming did. Tuskar: I saw them in Patronaat in February, this time they were even better. Pity we arrived late, as this doom duo from England  ruled. The Grey Space reacted accordingly and a warm evening ended in style in steaming hot Grey Space basement.
A nice festival, which I might revisit if competition on the gig calendar allows.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Exciter, Artillery & Blood Star - Musicon The Hague, 23 May 2023

Metal Monday rarely has been this true for me. What a great day when this package came to Musicon and I had a warming up and cooling down chance with stories of touring lifes. 

The day got metal in the afternoon, when Solitary passed by. They went for a small German tour starting ascension day and on their way to the ferry home they passed by to say hallo, have a lunch and visit the beach, which they had not seen so far. When Solitary hits The Hague the sun always comes out, so I even got sunburned, They loved the package that would play Musicon, but at the last minute work and ferry obligations made it impossible for them to stay overnight. So up to Musicon after a quick dinner with Josie it was.

Arriving in Musicon I heard live music coming of the stage. So I realized I made a foolish mistake by not checking facts. When I read that Blood Star could not make it to Little Devil the day before, I was under the impression that yet another American band had to cancel their tour due to fast rising costs. Not such a crazy thought as it is in fashion nowadays. So when I walked in Blood Star were playing Wild Child, with vocals being actually sung. The last two own songs sounded nice, but three songs were too little for fair judgement. Next time they play The Netherlands I hope to be there in time. Luckily I could make up for my late arrival later that evening.

Next band on the bill were Artillery. These Danish thrashers go down a long way as their first demo was released 40 years ago already. I must admit that I never had any LP or CD by them, but that did not matter much for their show. The lively presentation by the vocalist and tight playing band, made this a set to enjoy. Halfway their Set René asked if he could have a word with me. It turned out that Blood Star had so far a van as best option for sleeping, which he did not like as in advance all was confirmed to be arranged. A quick call to Josie and luckily she supports me supporting bands and they could come home with me, after they would be finished. Back to the hall, Atillery thrashed on with 10.000 Devils. They closed their set with apparently their biggest hit Terror Squad and I liked what I saw on stage by this band.

Headlining the evening were Exciter. They celebrate 40 years of Heavy Metal Maniac on this tour. Last year they also played Musicon and most people I heard agreed that this evening they were even better. This mainly because Dan Beehler was in great vocal shape and you almost feel sorry for the drums, the way he hits them. A setlist build around their classic album, with the remainder also coming out of the eighties was a party to the in general older audience. Well those under 40 did create a pit upon request and I have seen worse Mondays on the atmosphere front. When they were done playing Exciter songs the encore gave us Iron Fist which also turned 40 this year. A great set, by a band on fire and a good mood overall, what's not to like? 

And than I got a small encore, when my bicyle went into Blood Star's van afterwards and we drove home. Closing the evening with some beers and much appreciated borrel nootjes I learned more about Visigoth, Screamer and Madeline's Bday. A nice band they are, who I hope to see for a full set soon again. Meanwhile I shall be proudly wearing my Blood Star T-shirt in a venue near you. 

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Ne Obliviscaris, Persefone & The Omnific - Gebr. de Nobel Leiden, 20 May 2023

This was a late decision indeed. Sold out to my surprise I only found the day before that I could maybe make it after all. But than how to get a ticket? Henriette came to the rescue, but get well soon Harry. This trio was interesting as two headliners play a progressive kind of death metal, with the opener being unknown to me. When entering de Nobel apart from Henriette, Ramona and Jeffrey Bday were inside already. It was good to see that Stephan made it as well, since I was afraid I knicked his last minute ticket option. So this PPE crowd were all very aware of Persefone, but also Ne Obliviscaris was known and seen before by us, so let the fun begin.

The Omnific
11 days ago I saw Ross the Boss and commented how good it was to see Manowar songs without Joey de Maio's bassturbations. So when to me blind spot The Omnific came on I saw drums and two bassists. Well that meant a lot of bass and explained Stephan's comment on the dominating bass in this band. I had to get into them slowly, but found it hard to keep the attention spanned. There was a difference in styles between the songs, but I can't see this working at home on CD. Live it was better also due to the sympathetic presentation. However, talking into the mic should be trained as now half their banter went missing. 

Persefone are one of those bands who made waves recently, while being known to Progpower attendees for years. Apart from Baarlo I also saw them in Duycker where they played for a not so filled hall. So seeing them now at a sold out Nobel, with a prog death crowd was a party. Loud reactions, circle pits and as a highlight a guitar solo in the audience, made this a very energetic and lively performance from both band and audience. What was more important the sound and band were possibly better than I ever saw before with Persefone, A very tight show, with excellent mix between clean and grunted vocals. After the show I commented to Jeffery that I never saw the vocalist this relatively calm. Turned out that Marc Pia was not singing (mind you I thought he grew his hair during Covid, which is not all that strange) There also was no bass on stage, which was acceptable after the Omnific just before them. A setlist with many songs from their best album Spiritual Migration and Paul Masvidal  participated  from tape as well with Living Waves. An absolute highlight and I don't know if substitute vocalist Dani tells this every night, but their best show of the tour so far sounded like he meant it and I can understand why.

Ne Obliviscaris
Headliner this tour are Ne Obliviscaris. I thought in advance it was a double headline tour with equally popular bands, but where Persefone got some 45 minutes,Ne Obliviscaris played double the time. Headliner or not, for me  Ne Obliviscaris struggled a bit to follow up on the Persefone high, but that could have been me. When you say Ne Obliviscaris, which many say different by the way, you can not avoid mentioning the violin or as it turned out for me the bloody violin. I saw Ne Obliviscaris before seven years ago when they played with Enslaved. At the time they supported their Citadel album. Now I have that one and there is a violin, but not all the damn time. This evening it seemed to me that all songs had many changes in tempo with the violin being dominant and it broke the flow at times. The audience also needed time before the first pits returned. On top of that the split between clean and grunting vocals was a bit messy in the mix, with at times grunts being seen, but not heard. This is especially a pity as also Ne Obliviscaris had a substitute vocalist, who in ten days managed to absorb the full setlist. Now I start pretty negative, but the band themselves were great. Instrumentally top notch and also the songs being long and travelling. Maybe to no surprise my highlight came in Devour Me, when the revisited Citadel and the violin stayed where it should be on a standard. The crowd loved them as well and the maidenlike whoooohoooohooo went loud through the hall at one point.  For me maybe not as good as Persefone, but definitely very enjoyable. When they wanted to take a picture with me (and the rest of te crowd) at the end I had to rush off catching my train, but a fine evening was had, even without the total PPE hoooooaargh squad due to other shows and obligations. 

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Crown Lands - 66 Crusher - DHG

Three different angles of looking at progmetal.

Crown Lands - Fearless
The orgins of Progmetal? well you better read Jef Wagner's Mean Deviation to have extended input on that discussion. For me the first candidates I heard in the seventies are the first Uriah Heep albums and the Rush epic albums. Now Rush stayed always great but for many their peak was at the Caress/2112/Kings/Hemispheres era. For those fans the opening track Starlifter: Fearless Pt.II with 18:22 minutes holds everything you might have missed over the past 45 years. Is this a copycat or a very good band? For me the latter and what is more impressive they are a duo. The remainder of the album is also very much old Rush style, with in Right Way Back some Led Zep blended  in. This is the second full lenght by Cody Bowles and Kevin Comeau after also four EP's and one live album. I don't know how many times per year you can talk about a candidate for album of the year, but this late discovery made me very happy as it should put all 70's Rush fans a smile on their face. 

66Crusher - Limbo
These Norwegians play Progressive thrash metal according to Metal Archives. I do hear some traces of thrash, but in general it is progmetal of the heavier kind. Exactly up my alley so to say and with vocals being strong too this is another winner. This also is another band that exists over 20 years with Limbo being their 4th full lenght. Released in Feruary this year I only recently bumped into them while surfing the internet. Makes you wonder how many bands must be out there, you love or would love if only knowing of them. Not all is painted Black coming out of Bergen.

DHG - Black Medium Current
DHG or Dodheimsgard are also new in my CD collection, but I knew of them long time and saw them playing Musicon a few years ago. That was an interesting set and this new album is a great journey for the open minded music lover. They started of as a Black Metal band, while nowadays avant-garde prog is heavily blended in. This mix is leading to some beautiful atmospheric pieces, which can blast full out at times. Most songs have plenty of time to build up and calm down. An album to play many times, before grasping all and recommended for those who dare to appreciate the different..

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Ross the Boss, Sanhedrin & Savage Existence - Baroeg Rotterdam, 9 May 2023

By moonlight we ride, ten thousand side by side. Well the cloudy day hid any moonlight and the ten thousand turned out to be a hundred, but you get the geste. Baroeg was having a party for a reduced army of the immortals to celebrate the music of Manowar in the eighties through Ross the Boss. I don't know why Baroeg was so empty, but the people I know from greater Rotterdam or those who always walk around when eighties metal is on the bill were amost all not there. Maybe WASP celebrating 40 years drifted some to Eindhoven. Anyway Magchiel and I were looking forward to this one. The last time we saw Manowar together was in 1989. This year in February we tried going to Manowar, but I was in Portugal and Magchiel had work blocking the fun, so this was an almost as good alternative for about 22% of the price.

The first band of the evening came from Costa Rica, which might have been the first band from that country I saw. Savage Existence played a thrashy kind of metal, which got me confused at times. I mean during the last song when they started singing I want to be a Rock Star they sounded like Kiss. At other times they went much heavier with vocal acrobatics touching slam death at times. A nice warm-up, but not a band that made me run to the merch stand.

Second band Sanhedrin I saw before in Little Devil. I remember how I liked them at Mario's birthday party and picked up a CD afterwards. This week was the first time I revisited their second album, but live this band stands firm. No bullshit, no constant request for cclapping, just straight forward rock and roll of the heavy kind. Erica Stolz is an example how I like to hear my female vocalists. plain heavy metal without anything fairytale or operatic voices. If you than add guitars and drums of the highest level, we got a top performance of a sympathetic band. I did not pick up there CD this time, but would love to see them returning fast.

And then it was up to Ross the Boss to make us lose our voices. Manowar in the eighties means battle epics of the shout along kind and shouting we did. Baroeg might have been far from packed, the noise after the show told it all. Thoseewho came to see Ross the Boss got what they wanted and more. Main point when playing Manowar songs is that the vocals must be ace. Marc Lopes proved he is no Eric Adams (as who is apart from Eric Adams), but he stood firm throughout the set. Helped by the many chorusses sung by the audience as well. The setlist was a feast of recognition, but one comment I need to make. Manowar ignored Into Glory Ride many times and now Ross the Boss did the same. It remains beyond me why you would skip your best album altogether. Highlight now was a pretty neat version of Battle Hymn, what an alltime classic that remains. Another plus compared to Manowar is that Joey de Maio does not play with Ross. Therefore we get no long bass-solo, nor endless speeches about true or false metal. This was one evening filled with heavy metal and no bullshit. If Ross himself can actually talk, we do not know, but his pointing and smiling were good to watch. Kill with power Die! Die!