Sunday, 7 June 2020

Green Carnation - Katatonia - Havok - Defazer

Some more CD tips.

Green Carnation - Leaves of Yesteryear
Last year at Prognosis Festival I saw Green Carnation for the first time live. To my surprise I recognized all their songs. Later on I checked the band's discography on internet and found I have all their full lenght albums. These things can happen when a band disappears for over ten years. Now they are back and I can state they do not disappoint. Green Carnation always made this progmetal of the dark and moody kind. The opening title track immediately takes you back to their signature sound. Second song Sentinels is my favorite as it is more uptempo. Hereafter long song My Dark Reflections from their debut album gets a new version. I recall they played it live as well and it is a good song indeed. Herafter is Hounds the last new song already, which again meets expectations. The band decided to close the album with a cover Solitude by Black Sabbath. I would have preferred another new song, but I am not the one to decide. So overall we only get three new songs, but those show that Green Carnation are now fully back also as recording artist. If PPE 2021 can be held we shall see them again and no doubt undergo a great set.   

Katatonia - City Burials
Katatonia are very good at what they are doing. Thirty years down in their career that is making atmospheric doomy rocksongs. My first purchased album by them was 99 release Tonight's Decision. They then already passed their heaviest phase and something gothic our way came. Nowadays they mostly remind me of Anathema in the way that after a heavy start they only give us dark and moody rock. As I stated in the first line they do so very well, but..... In my case this but means a cry for loud and heavy outbursts. If you play the album on the background while doing something else you won't hear any difference between the songs and suddenly it is over. When you listen closer you grasp the beauty of it all and at times (Flicker) even hear something upbeat. I am sure that a live show can be interesting if you are in the right mood. On CD this is not for every moment, but when timed well a very nice 48 minutes pass by as performances and singing are above average for sure.

Havok - V
For the necessary uptempo metal there is always thrash metal coming to the rescue. Havok are among the flagbearers of the younger generation. This means they only started this century. For purists almost all of the young bands can be critisized as being not original. This is always the case when you play a genre but are born 20 years too late to join the heyday of same. So I look at the music only and do like Havok. Opener Post-truth Era shows that lyrics shall be socially critcal again and the music harks away in that thrashy mode that makes all live shows so good to watch. Energy is thrown at you and this album holds all the ingredients I look for in a thrash album. Highlight is closing epic Don't Do It. This anti suicide song starts with a few instrumental minutes, then goes to midtempo verses in order to thrash out the last minutes before an instrumental closing gives us time to catch our breath again. Looking forward to one day seeing them back in Holland.

Defazer - Burning Horizon
Closing down today with The Hague's  main thrash metal band Defazer.  Three years after their EP Order Out Of Chaos, they now release their first (almost) full lenght Burning Horizon. The first time I saw Defazer live was at Schollenpop 2016 and I did not expect The Hague to have such a tight thrash metal band. Through the years they suffered some line-up changes, but that never impacted their sound. Also the line-up who recorded this CD is no longer together as bassist Maxime de Koning left to focus on her other band Hallowed Fire. Many times we could see Defazer opening for any band from Death Metal to NWOBHM playing in the region. This resulted even that by first hearing of this new album I recognized bits and pieces here and there (Southern Hell definitely). Defazer plays thrash metal which very much brings you back to the eighties. As they do so very well I can highly recommend Burning Horizon for anyone into metal and a must buy for thrash metal fans. Finally we seem to be lucky in The Hague with such a strong scene developing in Corona times. When live music returns one day I guess it shall be based very local. After Temple Renegade and Rages of Sin before them, now Defazer gives us a local release that should help them growing bigger.     

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Azusa - Project Renegade - Lotus Thief

In my week of female vocalists some CD tips with more of the same.

Azusa - Loop of Yesterdays
Azusa are a band with members having a past in Extol, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sea+Air. That should give a good idea on what to expect more or less. In 2018 I was impressed by their debut album Heavy Joke. in 2019 they were sensational live on stage in Merleyn and now in 2020 they give us the next album to impress. So next year I shall see them touring again. Well something to look forward to indeed. Azusa is not easy and for me also not for all moments. But when you are in the mood for something that requires total attention Azusa gives a lot. Within all the musical insanity going on I guess vocalist Eleni stands out most. I saw how live she used two mics for both the cleaner and mostly screaming parts. When you hear her angry scream, you wonder how she a second later manages to sound so sweet. This album holds in the title track even a full song where the pressure drops and all becomes softer on the ears. Just to burst out with Rapture Boy hereafter. Azusa managed again to astonish and I am already waiting to see them in 2021.

Project Renegade - Order of the Minus
Project Renegade are from Greece and found me. This band apparently already played in Holland at the Femme Festival, but I never go there as female fronted metal is no genre. Now unlike Azusa Project Renegade are not wildly original. They play a sort of alternative hard rock with female vocals. Their album sounded instantly accessible to me and pretty nice as well. In order to spice the album up some spoken word samples appear here and there, but in general they just produce decent songs that you can hum along to. I will keep an eye on this band and next time they play Holland I probably might be there. While writing this I was trying to think which band they reminded me a bit of and than I thought of You're Pretty. Yes some Nu-Metal influences blended in as well and simply nice.

Lotus Thief - Oresteia
Lotus Thief are a band whom I strange enough discovered through a review in Prog Rock magazine iO Pages. This is strange as Lotus Thief are pretty far from prog rock with their post black rock doom alternative sort of mix. After checking them out though I did immediately order their CD. This is one that needs time and attention again, but you will be rewarded for your efforts. Assuming here you are open for some landscapes of moody music. Inbetween the long songs are some short instrumentals/noises that do not add all that much for me. During the long songs however they did capture my attention and provide some epical work. I believe that especially those into Madder Mortem might want to check this out as atmospheres match at times. 

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Deadrisen - Riot City - Rages of Sin

With an extended homestaying advice, why not discover more new music. Some tips

Deadrisen - Deadrisen
This might be to most yet another band or project with Mike Lepond on bass. For me this is a new album with Will Shaw on vocals. Last year I was one of the lucky ones seeing him on stage with Heir Apparent where he showed being one of the best voices in metal nowadays. I was unaware of the bands the other members came from, but it does not take long to realize that we have a topclass band together here. This is heavy metal as it is meant to be from the beginning. A majestic intro Risen Death A.D brings you to opening track Prophecy which tells you all you need to know about this album. All five musicians appear loud and clear, perfect production and some instrumental wizardry blended in a heavy monster of a song. I believe the album maintains that level throughout. Halfway there is a ballad for a breathcatching moment. Straight hereafter maybe my favorite of the album Visions, with some easter melody line in the mix reminding me of Stargazer (yes far fetched I know) Going through some other reviews main concerns seem to be that the album does not surprise and the metallica cover does not add a lot. My answer would be if they bring just what I expect in such a way I can't be bothered. Not every album needs to be highly original, or originality would become extinct by itself. And I can't remember last time I picked up a Metallica album, so For Whom The Bell Tolls sounds refreshing after a long time to me. One great album for Heavy Metal  fans who like some Power and Prog blended in at times.

Riot City - Burn the Night
Riot City was definitely one of the bands I was looking out for to see at Up The Hammers. Then Covid-19 hit us and all was cancelled. I passed by the No Remorse shop in Athens on Thursday before flying out the next morning. I intended to get a festival Tee in support, but same had not arrived. So I bought CD's including this one, which I was going to pick up at the festival anyway. Riot City eats, drinks and lives 80's Heavy Metal. This with an overdose of high pitched screams throughout each song. Somehow I knew this would mean a total party in metal loving Greece. During a very eighties 37 minutes Riot City brings their message across in eight songs. Some might call it old fashioned, or true metal from the past. I love it and would expect a total party with this bunch on stage. Somehow visions of the legendary Ranger gig in de Nobel came back, when a full house jumped up and down to their old school speed metal of the new century. I do hope this band survives Corona and can cross te pond in better times again. Gotta love the artwork as well if you dig this metal.

Rages of Sin - Divergence
Some people still say The Hague is not for metal. Well I beg to differ. With The Hague Metal Fest, MetalCon, 10 year White Room Reviews and Haags Metaal we would have had 4 great metal only festivals in town. This next to Kaderock and Schollenpop where metal and hardrock are always present as well, plus the ever increasing number of big metal bands playing Musicon. Further the number of local bands that have it in them to break through nationally and who knows what more seems to be getting bigger each year. In the extreme metal corner I guess Rages of Sin are my favorite local band. First time I saw them was on the legendary THHMA stage at Schollenpop. Since then I saw them many times and bought their EP. Now a new album was to be officially released at THMF 25 April. Sadly that event had to be cancelled, but the CD will be released anyway. As members of this band often walk around during metal gigs in Musicon I already heard this album would be hard to pin in one genre and I can tell no lies told there. While fast opener Defeasance holds even some slam death vocal acrobatics, second song Deference is mainly sung clean. Hereafter an Epic of over 10 minutes Defiance brings lots of variation within one song. Further on the album you hear computer bleeps, thrash, death, tech parts and even a sort of ballad to close the album. Variation is key on the album indeed, this while all songttles look exactly the same. One word, starting with a D and many words I had to look up before getting the meaning. This album is so well thought through it deserves to be heard by many. Seldom supporting your local scene was that easy. now bring on that CD release party as soon as venues are opened again.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Anubis - Hypnotic Nausea - Novena

Some more music for quarantaine days

Anubis - Homeless
I follow Anubis since their debut album 230503 from 2009. This australian band plays neo prog with some 80's pop music seemingly blended in mainly due to the vocals. They managed to come to Europe twice and I am pleased to have witnessed two sensational 2.5 hour plus shows first in de Boerderij cafe stage and a few years later in 't Blok. In the past I called them already a hope for the future of progrock So yes I am a fanboy and slightly biased. Now they are back with their fifth studo album Homeless. When you thought that Anubis repeats the same trick, you are wrong. While all albums had something different to them, this definitely is their to the point straight forward album. Gone are the epics over 15 or even ten minutes. We now get 9 songs which apart from opener Reflective all last around four to five minutes. And do I like this compacter style? yes you bet. Because even in shorter songs, Anubis remain challenging and interesting. I can not really mention one favorite song, but suggest you give them a try and I meanwhile hope that 2021 can bring them back to Europe.

Hypnotic Nausea - The Death Of All Religions
It is interesting how I visited Greece, finding a cancelled festival and suddenly interesting Greek Progmetal bands find me. Hypnotic Nausea passed by me without me knowing and it turns out this was my bad. On their bandcamp page someone called them a blend of Queensryche and Tool. Well I can hear the latter mainly in the heavy bass being present. Queensryche not so much, also because that band did not release many long instrumentals. This album contains quite a few and even 11 minute opener Holy City almost hits the 8 minute mark before a voice kicks in. So is this mainly instrumental music interesting enough to keep your attention close? Yes it is, although it might not be for the impatient. When we arrive at The Priest this album shows it might also atract stoner fans. Actually that is also the case for some shorter instrumentals. The title track is where matters calm down, before final long song Inquietum Cor closes the album in style. This is a 2019 release, but the title of the album was predicting 2020. The Death of all Religions, seems to be right now that even in these days of world crisis all churches and mosques appear to be pretty empty.

Novena - Eleventh Hour
I was drawn towards Novena as their vocalist is Ross Jennings of Haken fame. Well that is one of the vocals, as next to his clean voice Gareth Mason (Slice the Cake) gives us some grunts through the album. Apparently this band released an EP four years ago, but I missed that one completely. Further in spite of  members having a past in progmetal or even tech death this album is released on Frontiers Records, known for their melodic hard rock albums and keeping the eighties alive. I saw two clips posted by Frontiers for Disconnected and Sundance and thought lets try this out and I ordered the CD. Now hear comes the shock: Frontiers made some sort of inverse marketing campaign. The two songs  mentioned are by far the least interesting ones on the album. The last five songs are amazing and make this album a candidate for ending very high on my end of year list. Corazon, manages to  mix flamenco handclapping with a Spanish female vocalist next to very strong progmetal. Closing song Prison Walls is an epic, which might even have been stronger as it would have ended after the wild and heavy eruption atround the 11-12 minute mark. This album was a very positive surprise especially after the clips posted. Only comment might be the lyrics are at times impossible to follow with so many paralel singing and tiny letters over pictures, but that might just be old man me. Must hear album of the month.    . 

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Waiting For Monday - Parthian Shot - God Dethroned

Some tips for the Lockdown Days.

Waiting For Monday - Waiting For Monday
Some people might categorize WFM as guilty pleasure as not being metal enough. I have no feel of guilt whatsoever, as I also openly admit that 40 years ago I did like bands like Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Suvivor and mostly Journey as well. Now this Frontiers release just fits that category. A melodic hard rock - AOR album with a great vocals and strong hooks and solo's on guitar. This new band definitely touched a nostalgic factor within me and ever since receiving this album I played it a lot. At times it brings back Journey at their peak rocking maybe a notch harder. Music that makes me happy in dark days so what's not to like.I did add a clip on my FB page for you all to get a feeling. Maybe not musically album of the year, but definitelty among those I shall play most.

Parthian Slot - Promises
Sometimes music finds me and when Panos of this Greek progmetal outfit contacted me I was interested in hearing their album. He offered to send me the album by dropbox, but I thought bandcamp would do. So I had a listen and recall liking the blend were progrock met with the heavier end of progmetal at times. Some long epic songs bookending the album and the rough edge of the voice giving it something own and not overly smooth. So now trying bandcamp again it seems I passed the limit of free listening sessions. As digital releases disappear into nothingness with me, I know from experience and no CD is available I guess I wait for Youtube to hear all again. So some hectic days have passed since I last heard the album, but I do remember I would recommend a listen really.

God Dethroned - Illuminati
I am not deeply rooted in the Dutch extreme metal scene. I knew of God Dethroned, but don't recall ever seeing them live. When even people like Matt the man of much metal started hyping this release I wanted to give it a try for sure, both live and on album. Then that February weekend came, when they had release parties and Baroeg was included. In those days we still thought heavy storms and rains were our main problem of the start of the year and I was afraid trains would not bring me home. So I skipped the trip to Baroeg, but did order the album. Well after many spins I can safely say it might well be my favorite Dutch extreme metal album of the year, although I have yet to hear the new Graceless album. What a party of welll crafted blackened death metal with melody always playing a main role. Their April Musicon appearance was postponed in the meantime, but one day I will make up for 20 lost years. Highly recommended   

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Diamond Head & Savage - Ragnarok Bree, 6 March 2020

Diamond Head coming to Holland and Belgium, so I knew I needed to catch them on tour. Their last year's album The Coffin Train made it amongst my favorites of the year and their self titled predecessor of 2016 was also that strong. It seems Diamond Head is one of those NWOBHM bands that manages to release a series of albums the last years, that are as strong as their past diamonds. I guess maybe Satan is the only other NWOBHM band managing to do the same. So going to see Diamond Head was not the issue, the question was where. They do support some Saxon these days and I saw Willem opted for Nijmegen and Ron & Astrid travel to Düsseldorf today. Yet I wanted a headline set so the choice became between Bree and Helmond, Belgium and  Holland. Tiago staying away the Friday night was one point for Bree and when I learned that Bree would bring Savage as support the choice fell for Bree.

I never was in Ragnarok before, so a new club to visit which often appears in metal gig calenders. With google maps on the computer and navigation in my car not much could go wrong. Well it turned out Friday evening roads are busy. Then arriving in Bree 1 km from the venue the road was blocked. It took many turns including unpaved roads ending in gates Before I followed advice to go against traffic a bit, before I arrived at Ragnarok. A nice little venue which holds a fairly large stage. It was nice catching up with Gerrie as well. We both agreed the new Psychotic Waltz is sensational and the last Diamond Head albums are as well.

Now we would be warmed up. Savage managed (just) to arrive at Ragnarok. Later on they told us it took them 12 hours to drive down today, so suddenly my 3.5 hours did not look all that bad. Somehow when I see Savage live lately things go wrong. On R-Mine festival a few years ago in Belgium Chris Bradley tore out of his pants halfway. When they closed Westland Metal Meeting I knew all few fans who stayed till the end watching them by name. But the show tonight was fine. The only album I have by them is their classic album Loose 'n' Lethal.Ther setlist is build around this one, but actually newer songs did fit well into the set as they were in the same style. Almost the full album came by and we were working towards the end with that song. Metallica also once coverd Savage, so Letting Loose became their hit in hindsight. Well I pretty much enjoyed Ain't No Fit Place and On The Rocks as much. Good set by this band of fathers, sons and ex-uncles.

Then the wait was for Diamond Head. Somehow the name Metallica always drops when I write about them. Sorry for that, especially if you consider the strenght of all Diamond Head's albums through the years. This when Metallica only released two half-decent albums after Master of Puppets their last real classic. Yet the royalties on Am I Evil?, The Prince, Helpless and It's Electric are probably helping Diamond Head going on in a good way. Brian Tatler released an interesting book co-written by John Tucker where you can find all the facts about this and their full history. In that book I did read that the copy I own of Lightning to the Nations is a rare one as well as German label Woolfe Records never paid any royalties either and probably max 2000 were pressed at the time. Mentioning that album it is for years the core of their live shows. Luckiliy tonight we also get several more recent songs with 3 of the Coffin Train and two from their self titled album. All five great, but especially Bones and the Messenger sounded really fine. Bones was the second song after Borrowed time in two attempts kicked of proceedings. I did not know in advance that my space at the side of the hall would mean that Brian Tatler would solo away literally 1 meter away from me. He is one of metal's unsung guitar heroes, who has an own style and makes you recognize the Diamond Head sound instantly. With next to him a young bold and bearded vocalist showing there are great new voices in metal last year's show of Heir Apparent came to mind, when another unsung guitar hero stood right in front of me next to a similar looking vocal hope for metal. The set moved through the times initially when towards the end the focus came on Lightning to the Nations Only, One song that represented the evening for me best and was maybe less obvious was To Heaven From Hell. This song starts mid-tempo and straight forward, when halfway a typical Diamond Head increase in speed turns this song into a fast headbanger. When the songs covered by those Americans passed by it always is a party when Am I Evil arrives. What a killer song and what a wonderful solo close to the end. I never witnessed this from that close and Diamond Head ruled the evening for good, I should mention the whole band actually, as this definitely is not about Brian and Rasmus only, Karl Wilcox hits hard and heavy, while Dean Ashton was new to me on bass and solid. That other guitarist is Abbz and he gets his solo spots as well, which at times on and off with Brian culminating in some double solo work. This evening was so far the musical highlight of 2020 to me and the realization that the music business shalll never be fair. Why such a class act on such small venues. And when we thought it was all over after their biggest hit, they did come back. Interesting enough with the only song I do not have on LP or CD by them. Play It Loud appeared on singles, which I never bought and on the CD version of LttN. Good end of an entertaining night and the drive back home was so much smoother. Those living in Brabant and not staying home this weekend due to Coronavirus go to Helmond on Sunday. You simply can't afford to miss this.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Winterfest - Popradar The Hague, 29 February 2020

Winterfest holds an interesting setup. The building of Popradar is full of smaller and bigger venues,where many genres can be heard. The program did also hold some metal and hardrock bands, so after a reminder by Frank I decided to check this festival out. In the afternoon workshops started and as from 17:00 first bands would hit the stage.I wanted to have early dinner with Tiago first so I missed first interesting band to me Rise of the Wood. Saw them before and will no doubt see them again, so this did not hurt. Upon entering I walked a bit lost through the building until spotting a group of black T-shirts outside room 6 with several known wearers among them. So Ditch playing stoner would be the first songs of the evening for me. Unfortunately the sound was not very clear with vocals somewhat soft in the mix. Sound issues would be a reoccuring theme through the evening. After finding in the Popradar Labyrinth the Radar Zaal I found a bar and could wait for some old skool metal as the program indicated. Black Silence were announced as blending Melodic metal with Slayer, well I could not hear either. The female voclaist luckily enough did not go operatic, but sung rather raw over a fast playing metal band. A poor man's Leather was what came to mind. Pretty OK 45 minutes of metal to me.

At general music gatherings I always like to let out the amateur antropologist in me. So during Black Silence many people walked in who usually don't hear any metal music. It did not take long before I could see two main reactions. First cover your ears and look horrified. The second reaction came back even more, strike a macho pose headbang and laugh looking back at your friends. My point is if you don't get it, don't bother. There was somewhere in the building an Urban & hip-hop stage. I am pretty sure I would not appreciate the artistic level of bands and any comment for sure would insult some of nowadays easily insulted youth. So I stay away from the dump. Whatever, the Radar zaal turned out to be the place to stay for me.

Next band were Drunktank who play some sort of skatepunk mixed with at times pretty metallic guitars. Now this is not music I need to hear at home, but this band did bring an atmosphere to the stage and can create a party. Nice surprise and they even had a crowdsurfing french fan. My last band of the evening would be Rosie. I think it must have been over 35 years ago when I saw Rosie first playing. At the time they were a pure AC/DC coverband. Nowadays they have some own music released which sounds exactly like AC/DC. This resulted in a party set which towards the end even confetti and passing through the hall of drop-shots we used to drink in the nineties in places like de Paap or de Bieb. I already stopped drinking as recent health drop made me smart and limit the alcohol tonight in order not to fall back. One interesting fact about the bar was that they would reuse our glasses if you did not ask for clean ones. This at times when TV is even teaching us how to wash hands to prevent Coronavirus from spreading. But back to Rosie who ended their set with 4 AC/DC covers anyway and Whole Lotta Rosie was a nice ending for me of an interesting festival. It even stopped raining in the evening for cyclist to get home dry.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Psychotic Waltz - Pendragon - Pyramid

This year started fairly slow for me on the CD purchasing front. This mainly because I was spending some weeks abroad and I was waiting for the first album reviewed here. Now two months in the year my first tips of 2020 starting with te letter P.

Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Void
Warning I am a total PW fanboy. They were after all the best live band in the nineties when we saw them play so often. Then in 2010 there was the tour with Nevermore and Symphony X. Silence followed with the announcement of a new album. In 2016 they played in Amersfoort, were amazng and already gave us While the Spiders Spin. Last year's performance at PPE was overruled by vocal and sound issues, while I still loved to see the Waltz back on stage. There is something mystical, magical dark about their music and now there is a new album. I was very curious after a long absence what they would bring on CD. At the same time Heir Apparent and Fifth Angel to name a few showed recently that long absences can result in very strong albums. I only needed one spin (of the spiders) to realize that we have a winner in our hands. It is all there again The moody heavy progmetal that sets its own standard. Favorite song? the whole album. Some more catchy chorusses, some faster bangers, some emotional intro's, some flute. Everything that made me love their music is back, which includes the nice artwork and interesting lyrics. A must buy album and now we wait for their revenge on European stages.

Pendragon - Love Over Fear
Progrock started for me with Marillion and thereafter bands like Pendragon and Pallas, before I would discover prog history. Pendragon first came to us as opener on Marillion's Misplaced Childhood tour. That is when I started to like them a lot and always did. For me Pendragon is build around the guitar and voice of Nick Barrett. Breaking te Spell does hold possibly progrock's most beautiful guitar solo. So again I am a fanboy. Yet I drift a bit away from Progrock and their last album Men Who Climb Mountains was not their best. Maybe because they said goodbye to drummer Scott Higham (also ex Angel Witch) then, who helped making the albums Pure and Passion heavier and in my ears thus better. So what to expect now, with again a new drummer? Calmness it turned out to be. This album is also released as triple with an acoustic and instrumental version. At first hearing I thought I received the acoustic album by mistake as there is no rocking going on. At times the beautiful guitar still weeps around the corner, but I was underwhelmed. Now slowly the album grew on me, but I guess I keep it for Sunday mornings and won't go to de Boerderij next week to see them live again.

Pyramid - Amnesty 
Pyramid is a band that unfortunately manages to stay under many radars. I read about them on Forgotten Scroll, but it was not untill Rune played a song of previous album Gold Tooth on his Progfiles show that I got really into them. Gold Tooth did not come out on CD, so I don't own a copy. Yet when succesor Amnesty was announced on CD I did pre-order through Bandcamp immediately. Why? because this band might be one of the best discoveries over the past years. They play Progmetal of the heavy kind, where somehow amazing technical display is packed in accessible songs that at times remind me of Zero Hour. With two members of Arch Echo and on drums Chris Quirarte (Redemption) the technical mastercraft is explained. This week I got an email stating the album is on bandcamp and before even receiving the CD I am completely sold. Nine songs all around six minutes with closer Instill passing eight minutes this band takes you on a trip that impresses. Are you listening PPE? It is bands like these that make me extremely happy to see one day. Actually they would fit technical as they are on any mainstream Heavy Metal party as well. Go check them out and you might be as blown away is I was after first hearing.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Noctem & Spectrum of Delusion - Musicon The Hague, 18 February 2020

Noctem coming all the way from Spain to play for us on a Tuesday night in Musicon. Looking at recent weekday shows this holds a risk, but as the alternative is not playing at all I guess for the band this is always the best option. Competition this night mainly by the Thrash Alliance tour hitting 013 Tilburg. I guess the restart of the Champions League did not count that much as after last week's discovery of Manchester City's cheating scheme we by now all should realize that modern football is shite. (BTW mark my words, City will not be punished for two years) But I am drifting away this Tuesday was a night for breakneck speed so on we moved.

Tonight's opener were Spectrum of Delusion from Katwijk. I did not have the pleasure of seeing them before. I say pleasure here as this Technical Death Metal band from Katwijk played very good. Maybe the songs did not stick as such in my head after first hearing, but you could tell this band could play. The many strings on stage were used well and this band turned out to be a good warmup for tonight's headliners.

Noctem played The Hague Metal Fest last year. I recalled a lot of energy coming off the big stage in the mainhall plus some locally coloured light effects. As a club is always more on top of the band I was curious what tonight would bring. An instrumental opening with attention for the heavy hitting on the floor toms until vocalist Beleth ran to the stage and we got blasted. I can say that the Technical Death Metal we heard before is more my thing than the Black Metal Noctem presented. Yet you could tell the difference in experience tonight. Noctem gave us one hell of a show, with at the right moments times to catch your breath during calmer bass or guitar parts. When during a second instrumental part Beleth went off stage in order to come back shirtless covered in blood (or a substitute to be more precise) my first thought was that this would paint my shower red later that night. Nevertheless we could see another good second half of their set. I don't really know song titles, but this band was about creating an atmosphere on stage and they did so very well. As I was receiving them in my HM B&B this evening I could get an idea on band dynamics later on. A great evening in Musicon yet again and go see Noctem on tour later this week nearby among others in Essen and Bree. In the end the shower did not turn red and some people had a long drive to Hildesheim today. Cheers!!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Complexity Fest (afternoon) - Patronaat Haarlem, 15 February, 2020

Complexity Fest 2020 became for me some sort of race against the clock. After Monday's tour of Diabolical hitting town I managed to catch a cold. This cold culminated on Thursday in a day of weakness, heavy coughing followed by a lousy night. So on Friday there was no way I could stand three hours for Arkhangelsk'CD release party in Musicon and Saturday became doubtful. Now Complexity Fest is this musical event for those liking their music heavy but most of alll challenging. On previous editions I attended I saw many bands I knew in advance and liked a lot: Disillusion, Gorod, Zeal & Ardor, Ihsahn, the Ocean to mention but a few. Further I always discovered new bands I liked, so I had my ticket bought some time ago already. Now at the same time I feel my musical preference is a constantly moving animal. This year in Q1 my musical high definitely shall be Up the Hammers in Athens next month, so pretty far from the technical instrumental masturbation we had on offer in Haarlem. Further this year's line-up was so that I only knew the opening band in advance and had on CD already. So long story short on Saturday morning I decided to go to Haarlem, by car staying far from alcoholic temptations and I would see how long I would last fit. This meant an early departure. Upon arrival at Haarlem I ran into a large group of PPE regulars who were just saying goodbye to PPE partners who were not bothered for this trip of musical madness. I guess that sums up Complexity Fest pretty well. Where Progpower is about bands who play songs Complexity is not. From my last year's 12 friends joining to PPE, I guess maximum two or three would enjoy Complexity Fest.

But I do enjoy the festival and in I went just in time to take a good place for openers Our Oceans, the band that made me drive down to Haarlem in the end. Our Oceans is a band build around Dutch ex members of Cynic and Exivious. With the recent sad passing away of Sean Reinert (Cynic's drummer) I was silently hoping to see a tribute by a song from Traced in Air. After all Tymon played on that album and Robin toured this album wth Cynic. Unfortunately this was not to be and I guess these guys were rather modest to do such thing. When after a few songs Tymon asked if he should speak English or Dutch as he thought it prententious to speak English to a Dutch audience he won sympathy points with me. But let the music do the talking. They started with some songs from the self titled debut album. Now those reading Cynic expecting technical Death Metal could not be further away really. Our Oceans plays calm music to start with, guided by high angelic humming and as a reference that other Cynic offspring Aeon Spoke at times comes close. Now Tymon's vocals were not for everyone, but did not disturb me at all. One new song was clearly heavier than the rest of the set, did hold a beautiful guitar solo at the end and made me sure I shalll pick up the second album as well. Overall the now trio met my expectations and made me already pleased I decided to go to Patronaat today. Tangled from the debut album closed the 45 minute set and now the discovery of new bands could begin for me.

Well the first discovery was for me one to forget. Goat from Japan in the mainhal were drumming minimalistically yet fast through their set, but I was still recovering from something I liked. Later on Marcel explained they played without in-ears and it was amazing what they did. Can be, but not my thing really so I was out roaming through Patronaat pretty fast. Another nice thing about Complexity is the large amount of known people from PPE walking around. Say the more open minded experimental dutch part of PPE would be here and even some foreigners normally walking Baarlo roads begin October were present. From now on during breaks in the main hall there would be paralel sets in the small hall and at the bar stage. My first choice fell on the small hall where Danish Cold Night For Alligators would play. This technical metalcore band were the first nice surprise of the day. For starters they were one of the few bands today with actually a good strong vocalist. Second their presentation was enthusiastic with bandmembers waving at us constantly. This contagious set of metal did create an atmosphere and had enough variation between the screaming bits and well sung cleaner parts. Good band that I will keep an eye on for when they return .Moving back to the main hall meant Herod from Switzerland. I saw them last year opening a tour with The Ocean. What I remembered was the highlight being latter band's vocalist joining during one song. Now he was not there and we got mainly heaviness. Nice for a few songs, but not enough happening to keep me interested for 45 minutes. So time for a Vegan Chilli burger. Yes Complexity Fest's best food stand is vegan and I would almost say obviously as it fits the atmosphere of the whole event really, so do beards by the way so I did not shave in the morning.

Next choice was to be made between Ni and Pijn. I started with Ni, but where I liked Pliniol last year I had issues getting into Ni fast and went to other instrumental option Pijn. This was much more to my liking. This UK post metal outfit played songs based upon a heavy groove which made things way more accessible. Centre stage a violin was played, although many people confirmed same could be a bit louder in the mix. This was another nice surprise for me. Stilll feeling more or less fit I decided to hang on and see one of the bigger names Thank You Scientist.  Unknown to me apart from internet bits I let myself be surprised. First song was dixieland with Sax, trumpet and violin turning out to be in the band. Yet it did hold some interesting vibe and obviously this band could play. Before the set started the vocalist made an insider joke that his butt still did hurt. When he opened his mouth I guessed his balls also suffered some heavy kicking as this was one that required a specific taste. Coheed and Cambria blended with cartoons came to mind. Pity as the band played obvously well, but it was hard to overcome. So in a final attempt I moved up to the balcony seeing if that would help by any means, but I never really managed to get into this band. Don't blame the vocalist alone, the trumpet buzzed unpleasant in my ears at times as well. Still I could see they were a good band, but probably not for me. Slowly my lack of condition was picking up, but I would try to stay and see Night Verses for a bit, as they sounded good on clips. This first meant an intermezzo with two of the weirdest bands of the day. In the bar I saw the start of Zalm. The festivalsite called this noisy one man grind punk. In reality this meant dutch samples (often funny) followed by loud screaming. Average song time some 15-20 seconds. After some hilarious laughing around it became rather quick enough to most. Then in the other hall Stuff did their thing. Well at least they played instruments, but this was also not for me.

So I did manage to see a bit of Night Verses in the end, but also did listen to my body and enough was enough. So after a while I went back to the car and home. Passing a day of not easy listening music is never easy. When you then start half fit only you tend to become more conservative. Yet I was pleased to have come over to Haarlem. Our Oceans. Cold Night for Alligators and Pijn were great and catching up with many friends you hardly see is always nice. On the program I had the impression some changes were made this year. Normally there would be technical death metal bands as well, a big name in the main hall and a smaller band on anothet stage. If you like great vocalists you were this year definitely at the wrong festival with the huge amount of instrumental acts and dubious voices. Yet it is not up to me to criticize a festival setup that obviously serves their own niche. And yes I will be back in 2021 (health allowing).

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Diabolical, Devilish Impressions, Souldrainer & Frantic Amber - Musicon The Hague, 10 February 2020

An interesting package hitting Musicon on a Monday night. Storm Ciara is stilll leaving her marks on railway and roads, The day before I was planning to attend God Dethroned in Baroeg, but also skipped because I lost confidence our national rail would bring me home in the evening. So I knew what it is to skip a gig because of the circumstances. So I was not expecting a full house and I was right. Luckily several of the usual suspects were around so we enjoyed a fine evening of metal anyway.

First band was Frantic Amber. I did not check on the internet what tonight's bands were about, so I was surprised to see an almost all female band in battle outfit hitting the stage. Their music had some epic topics and was brought enthusiastically. Drum pedal issues or not the 40 minutes flew by and we had a nice opener for the evening.

Next band Souldrainer gave us more groove. At times they sounded like Hypocrisy to me. Now I like Hypocrisy so Souldrainer was fine as well. Hairy windmills on the stage accompanied what to me was possibly the best band of the evening.

Devilish Impressions from Poland were the only non Swedes on this tour. They even had two fans from their hometown showing up. I heard of them many times by my good friend Andrew who managed some UK tours with them I believe. Painted faces on the stage and Black Metal it was. This band had a lot of energy coming of the stage and I did see what Andrew liked in them. Another good band on this Monday.

When headliner Diabolical hit teh stage all we could see was smoke. The light effects were nice through it, but we could not see the band really. Hooded at the start, long haired later on their music was actually quite good. Black Death with a good mix of harsh and clean vocals. I am not sure if so much smoke made the experience any better, but the music was fine. There are worse ways of spending one's Monday evening. Now let's see if next time more people understand this. Next show Friday Arkhangelsk.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Temple Renegade - Paardcafe 6 February 2020

The Hague has a new strong progmetal band. At least that is what I read in iO Pages. The fact that I never heard of them before is already strange by itself. I always thought I did follow the local scene closely, progmetal is so to say my homeground genre and I was looking for a new local progmetal favorite after Resolve fell apart. Well after reading the review I looked them up on bandcamp and indeed they sound nice. So then I found they would be playing Musicon Friday 7 February only to realize that I can not go and see them that evening. So when they were added as opening act for Voodoo Chambers in Paardcafe I was pleased that I could see them on stage. Starting a bit earlier as given only short time for playing it soon was clear to me that iO Pages were right.
In reviews it always is easy to mention names for references and with them I saw Karnivool, Mastodon, Gojira and A Perfect Circle passing by. I did not think them all that heavy and on calmer parts when drums dominated I can add A Liquid Landscape maybe. All in all references do not matter I liked the songs, which at times were very accessible as well with grungy or poppunk influences in the sing along choruses. One thing that stands out with younger bands is that their English is better than my generation. I always kept a healthy dose of Dutch in my English, but with these guys I was actually surprised they also spoke dutch after the show. I did get their CD afterwards and playing it now this is one band to follow. Go see them tonight in Musicon if you can.

There also was a headliner holding none other than Koen Herfst on drums. Koen is next to Cesar Zuiderwijk (Golden Earring) that other drummer from The Hague that is known worldwide. I saw him before with I Chaos and Dew Sentenced, but he also played for instance Madison Square Garden with Armin van Buuren. So he is open minded and I was not yesterday. This band was build around drums and bass which is not a problem to me as I did stay the full 80 minutes when Bell Witch performed their one song with only drums and bass at Into the Darkness. Yet this trip hoppy, psychedelic rock was not for me this evening as a bit too monotonous for my mood. When Temple Renegade return though, I will be there again.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Dream Theater - Campo Pequeno Lisboa, 2 February 2020

Dream Theater touring their last album Distance over Time, with as added bonus a full version of Scenes from a Memory celebrating 20 years since release. This tour started 11 January in Holland, but as I had not too many friends going and I already knew I would be in Lisbon this day I picked this one. Also being Dutch the price difference of 75 against 40 Euro's made Portugal look more interesting. So we would get Metropolis PT 2 in full and that is where a part of the problem lays for me. Being their biggest album and breakthrough part 2 as well, it probably is my least favorite album amongst their first seven. So let me share my relation to Dream Theater first. In 1989 I still bought LP's and when their debut When Dream And Day Unite was released I was blown away. This was yet another great band from the USA mixing their Heavy Metal with progressive traces (Progmetal did not yet exist as genre at the time) This much like other US bands I loved those years: Heir Apparent, Watchtower, Savatage, Lethal and even Queensryche and Fates Warning were originally more Heavy Metal. I guess the album did not do much in Holland as a year or so later the CD could be bought for EUR 2,25 at Free Record Shop. Then it went quiet until Images and Words came out. This CD catapulted the band straight to major progmetal league and did hold their hit Pull Me Under. This was also the first time they came to Europe and we saw them in a sold out Vredenburg. Hereafter they released my favorite DT album Awake and a return to Utrecht followed together with Fates Warning. Around those days we also saw them at Bospop and headlining Aardschokdag with Warrioir Soul and Riverdogs. When Falling Into Infinity came out critics were they became commercial. I did like that album and to my luck they choose Brazil as warmup place for their tour when I lived there at the time. I recall they sold great caps that night with the DT logo and the Brazilian flag on it. As I still had hair those days I did not see the point of caps, which I became to regret some 10 years later. Then 1999 saw the release of Metropolis PT2: Scenes From a Memory. For many their favorite DT album, while I had some issues. OK in general it is a great album, but for the first time the balance with Dream Theater went a bit too much to instrumental masturbation and ballads. Also comparing this concept album with the other big progmetal bands it could not stand next to Operation Mindcrime or A Pleasant Shade of Gray. I guess some short headbangers were missing. Next albums Six Degrees, Train of Thought (the metal album) and Octavarium were all more to my liking. Hereafter I still bought all their albums, but stopped seeing all tours. I try to see them at times and on CD only The Astonishing did very little to me. Actually the best DT show I saw the last years was by Dream Thaken, where Mike Portmoy with Haken performed his AA suite in full. So after some six years it was hello again and bring it on.

But this was not a regular show, as it was in Lisbon. The venue chosen was Campo Pequeno. I did not realize it before as I am not into bulll fighting really, but this was the local bulll ring and one impressive building. If you realize that nowadays quite a few metalheads are vegetarian or vegan the choice for a bull ring gave the evening a cynical touch. I love it when travelling to a show means only four stops by metro and you are there. While leaving same metro I did run into a known Norwegian face from Progpower. Proves again it is a small world in metal. As he was sitting and I had arena tickets we split up at the entrance after taking some pictures of the building with huge banner announcing the show. While at an underground festival in Portugal I did meet some friendly prices for my beer, this major show was charging same as Holland would. During the show there would be mobile beer sellers walking around, which was interesting as there never was a queue at the easy accessible bars on either side.  The arena was covered with plates with carpet on it, which seemed to be a bit above the ground. This made you walking floating around, good for a dreamy evening. Regarding the audience I noted that Dream Theater are no underground, so I saw only big band shirts around, being definitely the only one wearing a fashionable Redemption The Origins of Ruin Tee. So when the hall was filled up well the lights went off and we were treated on an evening with Dream Theater.

In the Post Portnoy years the complaint is that surprises left the setlist. So after reading some reviews of their Amsterdam show I already knew what was waiting for me. Actually they did change around a bit as the first part was built around Distance over Time. This evening their single Paralyzed was skipped and Fall Into Light made the set. From the start it all sounded great and with the big screen on the back of the stage we got some images to up the experience. With Dream Theater live it is a popular sport to moan about James Labrie. I was never in that camp as I like his voice and have no problems accepting he can't reach alll the notes any longer. Tonight his performance was OK and for those not liking him, half the time he runs off the stage anyway. After one hour Pale Blue Dot finished the first part and we had a twenty minute break. Lights going off meant Metroplis PT2. Well in spite of my comments above I must admit that live in one go this is one impressive album. The instrumental wankery is not so much annoying as more impressive. What I did notice is that with Dream Thetaer I nowadays tend to go in order to see John Petrucci on guitars (very much like seeing Marillion for Steve Rothery only) What mr Petrucci gave us from heavy riffing to Floydian dreamy solo's was sheer class again. In contrabalance the keytar solo's by Jordan Rudess with his strange pointy beard don't do much to me. At the start of the tour the sad news of the passing away of Neil Peart was remembered by a moment of silence in the full hall. By now Peart was included in the clip on the graveyard during Through Her Eyes. No mentioning any longer and Sean Reinert probably was not an influence to the band even being one of metal's greatest drummers of all time as well. So after some 75 minutes Nicholas got shot and the noise of the LP getting stuck meant the end. I could well do with the Glass Prison which starts with the same noise as an encore. Well that was not to be as the encore this tour is At Wit's End. A great song with a second cynical bit of the evening when after singing six tine Don't Leave Me Know, James Labrie left the stage for good. So all in all I had a fiine evening with Dream Theater and maybe started appreciating Metropolis PT2 a bit more.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Picture & Highway Chile - Boerderij Zoetermeer, 24 January 2020

A Tribute to Alfred Lagarde with Picture and Highway Chile. That was the full name of this evening. Alfred Lagarde was hollands hard rock and metal DJ on national radio since the seventies. I knew he passed away, but did not realize that was already 22 years ago. In the seventies he presented Betonuur on the radio. I got into hard rock and metal through Hans, when he moved from favorite pop acts like Queen, Quo, Cheap Trick and Meat Loaf to bands like Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Deep Purple, Van Halen and the likes. This last one got famous in Holland when Alfred Lagarde started playing Runnin'with the Devil on national radio. I did listen to Betonuur, but as it was an afternoon show, not as frequent as follow-up Stampij on the Wednesday evenings. If you check the internet you can still find streams of the last eight or so episodes of Stampij. Later on Alfred Lagarde showed up at Countdown Cafe, but I do not recall listening a lot to that show. So where Alfred was fundamental for the start of metal in Holland the bands Picture and Highway Chile were as important for the local scene to develop. Now I must admit that I never really got into Picture. I only started travelling to shows when I just turned 17 and I believe Picture were not playing that often anymore as from begin 83. At least in my memory bands that would tour all the time in the mid eighties were Jewel, Vengeance, Helloise and even Vandenberg. Still Highway Chile I saw a few times, mainly as support in major venues. My first big gig was Whitesnake and Ozzy in Tivoli January 83. Whitesnake were in their Moody/Marsden years with Cozy Powell on drums Jon Lord on Keys and Neil Murray on bass in their favorite line-up for me. Ozzy was rumored to refuse opening for Whitesnake and cancelled, so Highway Chile stepped in. Later that year when I already knew Storybook Heroes, they would also support MSG and they were among Holland's finest. Picture can be considered Holland's first metal band and as was mentioned during the evening James Hetfield was spotted with a jeans jacket with the Picture logo on it. Pity for them Metallica never covered a song by them as that can do wonders to name and income. So for Picture I know their hits. I believe I had a tape of the Stampij show where Schmoulik Avigal was introduced as their new vocalist as well. So this evening woud be a trip down memory lane and it was no surprise that the decent filled Boerderij was full of people in their fifties and sixties. I even ran into Gerrie from Limburg, so being Dutch bands people would travel for this occassion as well.

Highway Chile were opening the evening and Stan Verbraak is taking care of vocals nowadays. As he was also in Helloise we did get a Helloise intermezzo with songs I recognized as well. Highway Chile already sounded pretty good, with The Fever as highlight. After some 40 minutes original vocalist Armand van der Stigchel joined and we got treated on their best songs Jesse James and Carol (Lady of the dark room, dark room) He flew over from the USA for this and showed he still has a stage presence and the voice to match. Later we got a hairmetalish song on Highway Chile's metal infused Whiskey, which was touring along in a barrel, but not served (tip). Ending in style Armand came back singing for us that we are Headbangers. I was maybe coming more to see Highway Chile once again and that did not disappoint. During the break Kees Baars another DJ with a heart for metal was supposed to talk about Alfred, but he was sick as a dog and could not make it. Stan Verbraak and Armand took over and we got a short lesson in metal history in the Netherlands and Alfred's major role in that. So hereafter Picture came on. A band in almost original 79 lineup meant we got a lot of white hair on the stage, with most of them managing to keep their big hair. As I said never the biggest Picture fan it was nice to hear Eternal Dark, Heavy Metal Ears, Diamond Dreamer live on stage. Peter Strykes gave a guest performance and showed he has a better voice although more commercial maybe. Their biggest hit is Bombers and this song got introduced by a radio interview with Alfred of some 40 years ago. So this was an evening of old school dutch metal and it seemed to me that those present highly enjoyed it with two bands in still remarkably good form. Rock 'n' Roll proved to be still better than music.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Sneeuwpop - Hofpark Wateringen, 18 January 2020

18 January was originally the day that I invited friends for a New Year's drink in Musicon while enjoying some German Power Metal by Mystic Prophecy and Mob Rules. With a last minute cancelation by a band due to family circumstances an alternative was needed. Now Peter was asked to introduce bands this year on stage at Sneeuwpop, so I asked him if there would be anything to my liking playing. The answer was yes, so cycling to Wateringen was the new best plan. Now Sneeuwpop is a brilliant name as it both means snowman, as well as ending on pop being Wateringen's winter edition of the long running Waterpop in the same area in the summer. Paaspop in Holland are always bragging how they open each year the outdoor festival season at Easter. In greater Wateringen (read The Hague) we all know that the real opener is mid January at Sneeuwpop already.
The festival is held at an area which during bigger Waterpop serves as backstage area. Still in the end a few hundred people at least attended. Nearby Ice Skating and snow centre de Uithof supplied a truck full of snow the day before. This  is a smart move as with the scary fast global warming we now raise children who won't know snow whatsoever. While the winter is mild I still was smart enough to wear a thermoshirt as six hours standing outside even in a sunny 7 degrees gets you cold in the end. Also here precautions were made with available Snert or Broodje Bal. When during the day several friends turned up  we had a succesful opener of the festival season indeed.

So what about the music? Peter advised me to be in latest 14:50 as I might like second band The Worst Example. I did as suggested and missed Square therefore. The Worst Example are from The Hague and play a kind of pop punk that reminded me of the Offspring or Greenday. I am no specialist in the genre, but they also mentioned a link to a Blink 182 song and it sounded all pretty good. Nice opener for the day to me. Actually most bands were acceptable to me, but the one that stood out were Monster Machine. This band plays hard rock and original songs. Between many covers today it was good to hear a band playing own songs being best. Good vocals and strong band. They seem to be recording a debut album, so I guess to see more of them soon. Slowly the temperatures were getting lower, outside it got darker and the three open fire pots were very welcome indeed. Hanging on till the end I had a good afternoon and Peter did a fine job announcing bands while giving us constant updates on the actual liters of snert sold so far. Cheers to Sneeuwpop and we return in 2021.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Imperador Belial - Musicon The Hague, 10 January 2020

Back in Holland what better way to start the new year than going to a show in Musicon. This evening was not going to be easy as from the start things went slightly pear-shaped. Imperador Belial played here before and two years ago they stayed at my place. So I was looking forward to seeing them again.  In 2017 they toured together with their countrymen of Luxuria de Lillith, which meant we got two short sets of old school black metal. This time the support was to be local, but original planned support cancelled. Strangely noone wanted to step in. Result we were depending on Imperador Belial alone for the evening. Due to family circumstance the bass player could not join this tour and two potential substitutes both living in Germany also had work obligations. So a bassless show it was, with some effects to cover up the loss.

At 22:00 a short intro announced the start of the emperor. They played ten songs from their discography. Now they do not write very long prog epics really, so after some 35 minutes we learned the set was over. Circumstances on both band and support therefore made this not really a full evening of live music. What we did get was sounding good though, where to me the lack of bass player was overcome rather well. The not so big crowd present this evening seemed to like their performance as well and in the end we did get a kick ass old school show.
When Imperador Belial finished, the news of the passing away of Neil Peart came in. Soon my Whatsapp and Facebook where all about this sad news. So herewith I want to share one of my favorite Neal Peart memories as well. Rotterdam Ahoy I believe it was the Roll the Bones tour. Hans and I went together thinking we had arena free standing tickets. Upon arrival it turned out all seated and our place was way at the stands in the back at the side. After initial complaints by us and all around us it soon turned out that sitting at the side, next to a bar with no queues do to the all-seater had its advantages. And then we got what was one of the most beautiful arena shows I ever witnessed, with of course a long drum solo by the Professor. He really was next to Cozy Powell the only drummer that managed to get me emotional over a drum solo. Today all genres seem to be saddened by this loss which proves he and Rush were without any doubt an inspiration to many.

After the show I also learned that Imperador Belial's sleeping plans being basically not present, so I put my address in their navigation system and welcomed them at home for some final drinks. Turned out that Tiago's efforts to not clean the house properly became a plus, with mattrasses already waiting for a band crashing onto them. The Beast did return and good luck on the road to them.