Saturday, 29 October 2016

Profet, Insurrection and Rages of Sin - Musicon Den Haag, 28 October 206

Friday night, home alone and three metal bands in Musicon. So that was easy, although I needed some advice from Josie first. Apart from being my wife she also is my home doctor, away from home now. Calling Portugal and sending selfies taught me that the blood in my eye was probably OK and I should only take it easy this weekend. Nothing better than go and see three Death/Thrash bands for taking it easy.  First on were local band Rages of Sin, only band I knew as I saw them play before. They play Death/Thrash Metal and have some experience in the band. The sound is good, songs have variation in them and presentation is good. They even included a Powah Ballad, although Hair Metal fans of the eighties (guilty) might not consider that song a ballad. What I recalled from them is the white outfit of the vocalist/guitarist while others are in black. Do not know if there is a meaning behind this, but it makes them easy to remember like that. Just a good show and next week they shall be back in Musicon again, so shall I.

Insurrection are from Friesland and play in a similar style as RoS. The band themselves are much younger, but all four seemed very good musicians. To me it is hard to distinguish any special songs hearing Death Metal for the first time, so no comments on any songs. The drummer told me after the show that they played mainly new material while tipping us on their 5 EUR EP. Playing that one now I do not immediatley recognize which songs they played either. The vocals were harsh and heavy, with a deep grunt from way below by their solo guitarist. Coming to him I have to repeat what I told the band as well. On guitar he was amazing and his solo during the last song came close to guitar hero work from the eighties. On the other hand at one point in time he started banging sideways and to me looked suddenly very much like Jochem Myer (a Dutch comedian with ADHD) this did distract as I was waiting for him to start telling jokes from that moment onwards. Still a good band and a pity that not more people showed up to appreciate them. Actually the generation 15-35 let us down big time. Those who were present almost all seemed to remember metal in the eighties from being there themselves.

Closing band were Profet from Germany It was good to see that they brought some friends themselves and that actually some people moved closer to the stage as well. What stood out to me most were the different looks of each band member. We had a short haired bearded drummer, a female guitarist, a metal guitarist, a punk/modern metal looking bass player and a vocalist who looked rather average and insulted all mothers on his T-shirt. Together they were a tight band though and actually rather good as well. Sometimes a member left the stage and played/sung from the floor and there were minor attempts at humorous announcements, which is always a risk being German. At times I thought that a true metal vocalist might sound maybe better with this band.

All in all a nice evening out and I do hope that today in Friesland they can attract more of an audience, actually making a wall of death possible by public and not just members of supporting bands.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Lluvia - Studio de Veste Leiden, 26 October 2016

Some weeks ago Arian from THHMA told me about the Wednesday evenings in Leiden, where mostly Black Metal is booked in Studio de Veste. I remembered trying to go to Of the Wand and the Moon in the summer, but had something else that night. So I kept an eye on the agenda. With Josie's recent comment on supporting Latin Americans and the very different music on Lluvia's bandcamp page, my interest was triggered and a quick show was scheduled for tonight. This by far outblasting the interest of my friends in the concert whatsapp group I went alone, which was not much of a problem. No support band, one hour from 9 to 10 show and Leiden being close. Studio de Veste it was tonight. First impressions were of a nice place I passed probably hundreds of times before, but never entered. Due to regular shows there also was a decent crowd when I arrived and for a Wednesday it looked very good to me when the band started.

The start of the show itself was a small test of patience for the audience. The three members came on stage in black hooded capes with black veils covering parts of their faces. A zoom started and the guitarist/ vocalist showed his back. This went on for minutes with some heavy gasping inbetween and slowly people started wondering when the brakes would be off and we could blast. I must say the silence of the crowd was impressive, not sure if the very long opening was as well. When the band suddenly kicked of things got heavy and interesting. We were taken for a show, so the three band members stayed in their role and with the capes and veils any interaction was not  in their plans. What I did not see many times before, was the vocalist singing facing the drummer. The heavy instrumental parts and screaming vocals were several times broken with quiet parts and the sound of running water (or Lluvia/rain?) coming from a laptop. During the show the talking in the audience got louder as paying constant attention cost some energy and the slow bits were a bit too many I thought. All in all an interesting presentation. Not the kind of music I would play on CD, but as live experience different enough. Studio de Veste itself was approved and I hope one day Mistur shall be here on a Wednesday.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Aisles - Boerderij Zoetermeer, 23 October 2016

This show had more of a Deja Vu feeling than I actually wished for. Last year the mighty Anubis flew over from Australia for only a few shows in Europe and found a Boerderij so empty that their show had to be moved to the stage in the bar. The good thing was they decided to play over two hours anyway and gave us one of the most memorable shows of the year. I don't know how big the South Pacific Ocean is, but the trip from Chili can only be a few hours shorter. Aisles are the national prog flag bearers and they are here for the first time on a short European Tour. Unfortunately ticket sales were so disappointing that again we got an intimate show in the cafe. While I feel very sorry for the bands involved, to the audience it has advantages as well. You can see two hours of top Prog Rock sitting on a barstool, while Bockbeer is available on the tap.

Similarities aside there were some differences with last year as well. From Anubis I have all three CD's and consider them amongst the five best new Prog bands of this century. Aisles is fairly unknown to me apart from several songs on Prog Magazine samplers. After Szyzygy they seem to be the most enthusiast advertiser in that magazine, resulting in sharing many songs. I never came to buying an album of them so stepped into the dark really. The last push came when talking to Josie in Portugal this morning. When I commented on the blast beyond Creation and Revocation gave last night and mentioned today's option, she convinced me to support South Americans and go to de Boerderij (she doesn't realize what she asked for as in the coming weeks at least 5 Brazilian and one Mexican band are scheduled to play the region). But getting slightly more to the point, I did go to see Aises and found a very good band on a rather small stage. The Boerderij mentioned Rush, Marillion, Camel and Porcupine Tree as references, four bands I like so what could go wrong. Well maybe the name-dropping went somewhat wrong as I could not hear much Porcupine Tree in it, nor lots of Rush or Marillion. Camel I heard and further all the great Prog bands of the early seventies were somehow blended in. This resulted in an audience of people who lived during the early seventies and I might have been below the average audience age for a change today. In order to match the disappointing turnout the full band was dressed in black playing before black curtains, where only a Jack Daniels label came through. The band was very good and highlights to me came in the many twin guitar solos or switching between the two. The rhythm section and keyboards were all doing the necessary and vocalist Sebastian surprised us during the song Club Hawaii. During one song one guitarist showed to have a great voice as well with more anger in it at times. As all the songs were new to me I did not recognize the material, but that did not hinder me the least. Opening with a 15 minute epic set the tone and basically the show never dropped from there. Aisles played two sets of both almost an hour and those who were present enjoyed themselves big time. I am now playing their last double album Hawaii and might have found a new South American band to follow. Good luck on the remainder of the tour. 

Obscura, Revocation, Beyond Creation and Rivers of Nihil - Patronaat Haarlem, 22 October 2016

Four technical death metal bands on tour passing Patronaat. Or as David Davidson, vocalist/guitarist from Revocation put it bluntly, any Tech-Death-Fan's wet dream. He was not far off the truth with the bands on stage all showing tremendous skills combining the fast and the heavy. Opening band was Rivers of Nihil, the only band I did not have any music from on CD. I considered them to be the warm up  for the bands to come and that is just what they did. Nice songs and of course good playing. My only concern were in the vocals which did not fully convince me, as being too close to hardcore screams. Presentation of the band and vocalist was good though, so nice enough opener.

Next on were Beyond Creation. I do have their debut album The Aura, but in the tsunami of new releases and shows had not played it for quite a while. This week I did listen again to it and realized that it sounded rather awesome. That put my expectations for this show pretty high and I can be short they overpassed any expectations and a bit more. Beyond Creation turned out to do everything right on stage. These Canadians to me became the natural succesors of Cynic and Atheist in the nineties setting the new standard for Progressive or Technical Death Metal. The music had long instrumental parts with many spotlights for the bass as well. The guitars moved from very heavy, to extremely fast twin riffs and solo's. Asking for circle pits one minute and hand clapping on slow bits a few minutes later. The grunt was heavy and moved to screams at times. Seeing the time schedule before the evening I could understand the fairly short sets for each band as this music can be very tense and energy consuming. When Beyond Creation announced their last song I was disappointed with the short set and certainly not being the only one. This is their first ever tour through Europe, so pleased I was there to see them. Rarely did I see this heavy and technical music being presented so seemingly simple. Not taking notes cost me on the setlist, but they did play Coexistence and Fundamental Process. After the show got their second CD Earhborn Evolution and the hoodie to match. Amazing show from this very sympathetic band. If  ProgPower is ever to consider bringing back a TechDeath band on the line-up Beyond Creation should be the number one candidate really. I'm still in awe 15 hours later.

Revocation were the band that made me buy the ticket at first. While long existing I only recently discovered them through their brilliant album Great is our Sin. This is to me almost the best release on the fast and furious Thrash/Death range (sorry Vektor rulezz here) so I was more than a bit curious how they would be on stage, especially after the blast Beyond Creation delivered us. As preparation I would get a beer (shame on you Patronaat EUR 2,70 for a very small beer or 5,30 for a pint and then charge again at the toilets) and stand not too far from stage again. Revocation kicked of with Arbiters of the Acopalypse and while their Sin might be Great we could see all was good. This band plays a different style from Beyond Creation, so there was no sense in comparing. There are thrash metal parts included here and the vocals are not only grunting. Helped by the fact that they opened with some  songs I did know this turned out to be the second absolute winner of the evening. Again time flew by and all was over far too fast. Before the show I already decided that this band deserved support by buying a Tee and their previous album Deathless. Glad to see that Madness Opus is on that one. a killer song. This turned out an expansive evening, but how often do you get blown away twice in a row.

To Obscura the hard task to close this evening in style. Following them I saw the Cosmogenesis tour where they supported Atheist. Omnivium brought them to Patronaat, but the small hall. This time Patronaat granted an upgrade to the big hall due to ticket sales going well. I do not think I saw them with the same line-up twice, but that never hindered the quality of the show. Gaining the longest set as headliner and the largets stage Obscura made things look more major show indeed. Being Germans there is always the risk of a certain slickness, but this time it was less than what I remembered from their previous tour. The music is what it is all about and there is not much to complain here. Most songs came from last album Akroasis, but a highlight was their "hit" The Anticosmic Overload. When they explained Perpetual Infinity being based upon the album Focus, my feelings from hearing the CD were confirmed and  another high in the set was reached. All in all a very convincing set, but to me they were never going to top Beyond Creation or Revocation. When they announced the last song Centric Flow it became time to head for the station catching my train home. A remarkable night with two good shows and two sensational ones. Everyone seeing this package passing by over the coming weeks, make sure you don't miss out.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Van Der Graaf Generator - Watchtower - Insomnium

This week a release that calls for respect and two absolute essential purchases.

Van Der Graaf Generator - Do Not Disturb
It was during my Brazilian years at the end of the nineties, that I discovered a lot of bands from almost 30 years before. It turned out that next to a fanatic underground in Metal many Brazilians still hung in the seventies for musical taste and so I got to know or expended my collections of bands like King Crimson, ELP, Yes and VDGG. This band is back for over ten years now, after a small break in releases from 1977 to 2005!! Most outstanding for their sound are the eccentric voice of Peter Hammill and their real progressive music. The haunting sax of David Jackson left for years, but still even before the voice of Hammill falls in, it is easy to hear which band is in your CD player. The album overall is calm, but contains some beautifull VDGG music, compacted in songs all under eight minutes. My favorite is Alfa Berlina which is based on an organ melody and tells the story of the band driving through Italy in the early seventies when they were topping the charts in that country. The rest of the world never reached that level of idolation for them. This might well be their last album ever and I never saw them playing live. A tour is welcome.

Watchtower - Concepts of Math: Book One
When the founding fathers of Tech Metal release an album after 27 years it is an obligatory purchase for many I'd say. Actually it is not a full new album, as it only contains five songs. The Size of the Matter was released some years ago already  and the first three songs were released digitally last year. I actually went against my belief and bought the downloads, by lack of physical release. The opener M-Theory Overture is my ringtone since and still scares the shit out of commuters, or people in the super market with its attention demanding furious opening. So for me there is only one new song, but the almost ten minute Mathematic Calculus alone is worth the purchase. This album might have taken 27 years to be released, it still is very much a logical follow up to Control and Resistance. This also due to the return of Alan Tecchio (Hades, Seven  Witches, Non-Fiction and Autumn Hour) on vocals. The mix of hectic music from the trio Jarzombek, Keyser, Colaluca and the high powerful metal voice of Tecchio makes this band so outstanding. When they toured C&R in the early nineties they were smart enough to stop in The Hague as well, giving me the chance to see one of the most astonishing shows ever. Ten years ago they headlined Headway and their version of 2112 blew all away. Now we have 5 new songs and maybe a full album coming it is high time to see them play this essential buy live again. The cover should make nice Merch  and a tour is welcome.

Insomnium - Winter's Gate
It seems we have a new trend at hand to beat the download generation: adding a book to the physical CD release. After Griot and None Other earlier this year it now is time for Insomnium to add their price winning story to the booklet. This story is also the base of this one song album of 40 minutes. While the other bands wrote rather forgetable stories in Progland this one tells us of Vikings looking for gold on an island west of Ireland while winter approaches. The story lays a nice base, but the music on this album is sensational. Insomnium play Melodic Death Metal. This album is mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö and coincidence or not the Crimson master pieces by Edge of Sanity are the clearest benchmarks for this album. One song divided into seven parts manages to keep you fully focussed for 40 minutes. There are enough changes in tempo and heaviness to make this 40 minute epic pass by flying. This is their seventh album, but I missed the first six. A trip back in time through their catalogue seems necessary after hearing this album.  A place at ProgPower is justified if they play this album in full. A tour is welcome and scheduled for January. A snowstorm shall be annoying but very much fitting the concept and mood of the tour.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Skyharbor, Sithu Aye and Modern Day Babylon - Patronaat Haarlem, 12 October 2016

Going to Patronaat in Haarlem for an evening of Djent and instrumental music. Djent is Progmetal's little cousin and the audience once again showed to be Progpower's audience little cousins. Still trying to figure out why the averae age at two fairly similar musical styles drops some 20 years when going to see Djent. First band were Modern Day Babylon, a Czech trio playing heavy instrumentals. They came on the stage and started tuning their instruments spoke some Czech to the sound man and kicked off after a few minutes. The band did not seem too experienced to me, as the bass player asked everyone to step forward and come closer. He learned this from a book, as the young audience was already standing way up against the stage. Bass 6 strings check, guitar 8 strings check energetic drummer check and off they went. There was a laptop on the amps and it turned out that this was a rather important tool this show. After a few songs it started annoying as all songs started with keys, a guitar rhytm or orchestral samples coming out of that bloody laptop. To me it  looked like a band playing along to their own CD. So while the members obviously knew very well how to play their instrument, they had no clue how to entertain the audience, making this a rather forgetable set in spite of some nice banging rhythms along the way.

Next on was Sithu Aye with his band. Sithu is a guitar god of this generation and while I do not have any of his CD's I do have some guest appearances of him I believe. Sithu is Indian, but born in Glasgow and he showed us how to put together an instrumental show that does not bore one minute. OK there was again a laptop, but far less prominent. Further the band moved on stage and looked at ease and enjoying themselves. Absolute highlight was the guitar work of Sithu Aye himself. His melodies, riffing and speed on the neck were all amazing. At times it seemed that I was watching Marty Friedman with many fairly similar styled melodies passing by. Sithu also showed the other bands that it is OK to introduce songs (even if being a rather pointless affair with instrumental bands) These 45 minutes flew by and I guess Senpai did notice him. Great band.

Headliner were Skyharbor from New Delhi India. I do have their debut album Blinding White Noise and love it when bands from non-metal countries surprise us positively (Serdce Belarus!!) . The fact that they are Indian, brought also several Indian people to this show and they seemed to love them, so I do not know how popular they are at home. Skyharbor was also the first band bringing a vocalist this evening, which was nice and refreshing. Their music is building atmospheres, with vocals mostly light. This band again had no issues instrumentally, nor vocally Presentation wise they were struggling somewhat inbetween songs. The singer kneels down in front of the drums and drinks something while the guitarists all turned their backs to us and tuned their guitars, or sipped from a Jagermeister bottle. My suggestion would be that one of them takes the role of communicator and introduces songs or just talks nonsense in between. Now after each song, there was a short drop in atmosphere. Also here several songs started on a laptop, but less disturbing than during MDB. This turned out to be a great band and I think they would look very good on Progpower stage which is known for exotic participants.

So it was again a wise decision to go out and discover something new. Modern Day Babylon know how to play, but to me should work on their presentation. Sithu Aye was the highlight of the evening with a very entertaining instrumental set. Skyharbor are a great band and maybe their modest approach on stage is part of their charm as well. Not often did I go see three heavy bands and no one having long hair on stage nor many in the audience: many beards though and that I can still grow.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Rotterdam Rocks: Tygers of Pan Tang, Tokyo Blade, Rebelstar & Impact - Baroeg Rotterdam 8 October 2016

Rotterdam rocked us yesterday all the way back to the early and mid eighties with a great line-up in de Baroeg. Two NWOBHM bands that were big in Holland some 35 years ago and one old Dutch local band, plus a newer Dutch band with some surprises. Opener of it all were Impact who already were on stage when I arrived. I did not know them from the past, so all was new to me. They played a boogie kind of hardrock with nice guitars and a decent voice. Good opening band and funny that they closed the set with a song titled "Never Too Young to Rock!", when the audience showed clear signs of being never too old to rock.

Rebelstar followed, a traditional hard rock band who formed not so long ago, but having an 80's feel to their music. They play often in the area and I saw them some times before, always liking their set. Today they added some bonusses as three vocalists from big Dutch bands in the eighties (Bodine, Helloise, Vengeance) all joined for two songs. This was one of the highlights of the evening, seeing songs like Rock Rosetta, Hard Life and May Heaven Strike Me Down was great. All singers still good by voice, although some microphone issues disturbed Take It Or Leave It a bit. Rebelstar's Serge described the feeling perfectly when he spoke about cycling to Kwintsheul to see Helloise play. I made the same bicycle rides to Kwintsheul and these bands would play all clubs and youth centers around, so we went and saw them often. I do not know who took this initiative of the guest appearances, but thanks for that.  Rebelstar alone we shall see again next month when they open for Tyketto.

After being ordered out of the hall into the cold outside a sandwich at the BBQ tent was the obvious choice. After the break Tokyo Blade came on and they were to me the highlight of the day. For NWOBHM bands there are basically two ways of approaching a set. Either you play only old songs, that made you big at the time or you give an overview of your career. Tokyo Blade opted for solution 1 and man were they good. The set contained only highlights as Sunrise in Tokyo, Night of the Blade, Midnight Rendezvous, Lightning Strikes and you name them. Performance was very good still very much uptempo and great solo's. Alan Marsh was back and good by voice, but without reading glasses on or enjoying the effects of some local consumptions he messed up some announcements. So when they left the stage they had a spontenaous encore, playing If Heaven is Hell a song that had already been announced twice before. Let's say it gave the show a human face and this song was the perfect closer of a great show. Next weekend they are back in Holland, but I shall be in Portugal. For those interested in seeing a classic NWOBHM show with an almost original line-up don't miss them in Little Devil. Only tip to the band, bring some Merch. This show deserved a patch, T-shirt or CD.

Headliners tonight were Tygers of Pan Tang. Contrary to Tokyo Blade they opted for solution 2 and gave us an overview of their career. Their new album is coming out in a few weeks, so obviously they played some songs from that CD. They further included a song from 2012 album Ambush. This all resulted in a show not getting into full groove anytime soon. When Suzie Smiled  and Don't Touch Me There passed by, atmospheres improved. The set was further somewhat shorter than the announced 75 minutes, so mixed feelings around. Earlier this year I saw Satan play a set of almost only recent songs and it worked really well. Ending the show we got a huge contrast. One but last song was my personal favorite of them Hellbound, sheer glory this song. They ended with Love Potion No. 9. This song alone was the main reason why their career took a steep downward curve in Holland. At the same time a Rotterdam Sinatra clone (they not only rock, Rotterdam sucks at times as well) had a hit in Holland with the same cover. This meant the end of ToPT with commercial album the Cage. Maybe someone should tell them to better skip this song in Holland, no matter it being their greatest hit.

And then it was over at decent Baroeg times, so catching an early train home. Thanks to organizers for this trip down memory lane. My highlights were the Rebelstar guest performances and Tokyo Blade. I am still undecided about Very Éavy festival next year and was considering maybe the Saturday which has a great line-up. Seeing Tokyo Blade I might have to reconsider, yet Roadburn is at the same weekend. Too many options and too little time.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Prog Power Europe - Sjiwa Baarlo 1/2 October 2016

No, Prog Power did not reduce this year to the  two day event of the early years. I could not make it on the Friday, so herewith some thoughts on the last twelve bands. Actually the real start of Progpower 2016 was already on Wednesday to me, when Andrew and Celine joined me to Obsidian Kingdom a bicycle ride away from home. This year's festival also suffered from a ridiculous amount of competition, with Epic Metal Fest and Euroblast being the big ones fishing in the same progmetal pond, while also many interesting smaller bands played not that far from Baarlo Dead Lord and Lizzies or Sinistro to name just a few. Still the effect of all this poor timing was neglectible, as ProgPower grew for years into something bigger than the actual bands playing there. Not stating that the bands don't make the festival, just confirming the fact that no matter the line-up some 85% of the audience shall show up anyway. This means you meet lots of friends over the days and manage to not exchange a word with some of them or meet people for the first time, who also happen to be there for the umptieth time. Finally glad to see that Pois Chic was back and Andy and Debbie already discussed plans for next year's return.

Saturday kicked off moody and almost instrumental with Belgian band Atmospheres. A pretty good band with some nice instrumental sessions. I did get the impression that a vocalist could add something at times, but the general impression was positive. What I further remember most are the metal poses of the central stage placed bass player, funny at times. And then for something completely different 6:33 came on. Coming on the stage fit, or with some help, their masks stood out first. These were not the Progmetal Crimson Glory type of masks, but coming closer to the Slipknot headwear. Starting the music the drums stayed under cover, while two keyboards gave us a base. Musically I do not recall all the details really (I take no notes). This was just a show to watch and undergo. Very entertaining band on stage and definitely one to go and see again while in the area. At times the music went carnavalesk, but to me they could get away with anything,since they gave us a show. Last band before the dinner break was Distorted Harmony from Israel. To me this band played music I heard before, although not knowing them yet. They seemed a kind of Symphony X light, so not dissimilar to several bands we saw before during other years, but with a good performance. After one spicy falafel salad I prepared myself for the band I was looking forward to most on the Saturday: In Mourning. A few years ago they impressed and since then they released The Weight of Oceans and Afterglow, two fine albums. Compared with some years ago, their hair got shorter, their beards fuller, but the show stayed pretty much at the same level. Progressive Death Metal with the occasssional break into calm guitar interludes. Grunts, shouts and a few clean passages. They played a mix of their albums and my expectations were met. Great band. Hereafter Chaos Divine came on. Australian band that played thrashy prog, with a surprise cover of Africa (Toto). This was a good band but for me they suffered a bit of having to follow up a highlight. Your energy tends to go down and you regain forces near the bar. Closer of the Saturday were Textures. This band released Phenotype this year and followed this by playing almost all available festivals around. I even got to see them on the beach near my house. This means that they are not a new thing to the Ducth part of the audience. Someone advised them halfway that being dutch is making part of a minority at Progpower, so announcements swapped to English and on they went. That is what they did most, be heavy and rock on. Good closer of the day, bringing lots of energy to the stage.

Sunday was the day I looked forward to most. Some bands I knew would surely be good and something to discover inbetween. Opener were Smallman from Bulgaria, probably the least known band from the festival. Over breakfast we had some fun over their not so metal bandname, but seeing them kick off, they shut us up. Mixing some folky instruments with atmospheric music they were the annual eastern european surprise of the festival. Next on were Sadist, one of my favorites of this year's line-up. I saw them only once before, some ten years ago and liked their tech metal a lot. Guitars and Keyboards played by the same guy, six string bass for some small breaks, some furious drumming and vocals that remind me of the agressive bits of Jon Oliva, but then all the time.  From One Thousand Memories until closer Sometimes They Come Back, we got an overview of their 25 year career. These are the bands I love most at Progpower, with their crazy instrumental masterclass on stage, while the heaviness never gets lost. I did have the impression they could have played some 15 minutes longer, or was time just flying by: a highlight. Klone from France followed and again suffering from following a high, they failed to impress me. Musically Ok, but a bit more of the same after a while, and the vocals could be more singing less moaning. After the dinner break Nordic Giants would be on. Progpower's Christian advised me the day before that it might not be my cup of tea. He doesn't know that I do like bands as Sigur Ross, GY!BE as well, which makes this not a huge step away. The drums and keys, with some guitars, playing to the morbid movies on a big screen, were to me maybe the biggest surprise this year. A band like this shall always divide opinions, but I felt that many people liked this different show. You further needed a rather black sense of humor to appreciate the coffin story or the suicide brothers, but I think I got their point and shall see this experience again if they ever return. Closing Progpower were two veteran bands, bringing us the best vocalists of the festival. Wolverine played their sixth Progpower festival. Since the start of PPE in 1999 they moved from a Melodic Death influenced band, to a moodier, calmer rock band. On their last CD I got a bit worried that they would turn too calm, but live they did impress again. This mainly due to the great voice of Stefan Zell. The album covers on the background  and some small comments to the songs did the rest. An emotional high came when Stephan announced the song he played for his daughter when she underwent heavy operations. I actually missed their Progpower 2001 performance as that year Tiago at 1 kilo was struggling for his life while being operated. Totally relating to the feelings and atmospheres in that song I now read for the first times along with the lyrics in the booklet as well. While the songs are dark and close to depresssion the show was beautiful and Wolverine showed once again, why they are the PPE house-band. Closer Threshold did not yet make it to six appearances, but should come close. They are just the perfect band for closing the Sunday night. Everyone is tired and struggles to stay fit on the last evening. There comes Damian Wilson who started warming up the crowd outside when the stage was being prepared. This man just does not allow people to drift off for a second, making his usual mileage through the audience. The band is also never disappointing and the setlist started and closed fast with some epic songs inbetween. The best surprise came in Sanity's End. Don't know when we heard that one last, but interesting to see how all the old songs are always in the front of your memory, while during more recent songs you need time to figure out which one they play. The Mexicans, from Australia being highlighted was a laugh and the wall of death turned into a waltzing alley. Threshold are entertainment combined with great music closing down this year's ProgPower in style.

And then it was over and we all go home knowing we shall be back next year. As I am Dutch and we are the complaining kind I can end with a remark. Research recently proved again that the Dutch are the tallest people in teh world. Yet all the bands I really would have liked to get a T-shirt from brought S/M and maybe L sizes. That just won't do for me, so sorry In Mourning, Sadist and Wolverine much less shirts left the table, then should have been possible. (I mean even Smallman brought XL) A final word of thanks to all those making this possible to us, a Hyaena scream for Organizers and bands, see you in 2017.