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2014

Y&T and VOODOO VEGAS (18 October 2014)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Wim van Grunsven
Another October, another Y&T concert at de Pul in Uden, The Netherlands. The support act was not known to me, they are an English band called VOODOO VEGAS. And they bloody rock! This is party rock early Guns 'n' Roses style. But also with a lot of proper hard rocking influences as well. This has swing, this has groove, this is rocking, this is rolling. They play a few songs from their album The Rise Of Jimmy Silver, but also two new songs. And it all sounds good. I must admit that I like them best when put the throttle down, as then they really come into their own. That's when they're most impressive. As for watching the band, men and women alike will enjoy what's on stage. For the women (mostly); vocalist Lawrence Case, guitarist Nick Brown and bassist Ash Moulton are pleasant to look at. For the men (mostly); guitarist Meryl Hamilton is a sight for sore eyes. And a very good guitar player as well. As for drummer Jonno, he's hidden behind his drumkit, so I'll not pass judgement on him.
It was then time for Y&T. They have never disappointed before, and they're not going to tonight. As usual they come out and play to their hearts content. What is becoming more obvious every year is that Dave Meniketti needs a little longer to get his voice quite right. But when he's loose, there's no stopping him, whatever you try. Thankfully he has a very loyal band of brothers around him, making it all fit live the proverbial glove. Another sticking point is the setlist. It's never exactly the same, so a few surprises to pop up from time to time, unfortunately including some songs that make my heat cringe. For the most it's business as usual, and they play most of the all-time favourites, Dirty Girl being one of the greatest examples ever. After some 140 minutes of pure pleasurable hard rock Y&T style everybody has a big smile on their face and either heads home to the bar feeling absolutely happy. Well, I guess it's a case of see you next year, guys.

BRITISH LION & THE RAVEN AGE (12 July 2014)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers
On 12 July, I prepared myself for a nice evening in The Pul in Uden. I have visited a lot of concerts in The Pul and I like it. It is a cosy place and they book a lot of good (heavy) bands.
The head liner for this evening was British Lion and the support act was The Raven Age. THE RAVEN AGE describes themselves as “a melodic metal band from London”. In 2009, guitarists Dan Wright and George Harris (son of the bass player of British Lion) began their band which had to combine “contemporary heavy music with powerful melodic vocals to create an epic and unique sound.” After completing the line-up with some likeminded musicians, the band created their first album, an EP entitled The Raven Age. Their music can be described best by a mixture of Linkin Park and In Flames. The stage presentation was in the beginning a little bit uncomfortable but became better as the show continued. It has to be said that the band played the songs quite well. I personally preferred the heavier parts of their songs, but the overall reaction of the audience was more than positive. After approximately 35 minutes, the band ended with the last song of their EP, Angel in Disgrace.
At 21:30 the headliner of the evening, BRITISH LION, started their gig. I expected more people; there were only approximately 150 fans present. The band leader and bassist of the band, Steve Harris, needs no long introduction. He is one of the founding fathers and bass player of Iron Maiden. British Lion is his solo / side project. Besides Steve Harris on bass, the band consists of Richard Taylor on vocals and guitar, David Hawkins on guitar and keys, Grahame Leslie on guitar, and Simon Dawson on drums. The gig started with the opener of the album (This is my God) and the crowd was immediately enthusiastic. The music contains some elements of Iron Maiden (galloping bass play of Steve Harris, double guitar solos), but do not expect an exact copy. The songs sound a little bit more mainstream and catchy, but that makes them not directly commercial. The songs which suited me most were The Chosen Ones and Judas. Especially The Chosen Ones has a nice refrain. That brings me also to a small point of criticism, the voice of Taylor missis sometimes a little bit of power during the refrains. But his stage presentation is more than acceptable. Unfortunately the concert ended after 80 minutes, after an encore. That was a pity. I had some small doubts when I listened the album before the gig, but these are gone now. The band played the songs very well and I was quite disappointed when the gig ended at 22:50. I really had a nice evening and in my opinion, the people who were not present missed a nice evening!

GOLDEN EARRING & THE3rdMAN (1 May 2014)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
A few weeks before Dutch veteran rockers of GOLDEN EARRING were playing on May 1st 2014 in the Jupiler Hall of 013, Tilburg, Holland, I was listening to the albums "Seven Tears" (1971) and "Moontan" (1973) a lot. Especially these two studio albums belong to my favorite GOLDEN EARRING albums of the 70's. I knew they were going to play in 013 on the 1st of May, so thought by myself "let's buy a ticket before it's sold out again", because the last time I saw GOLDEN EARRING in 013 was in 2009. And if I'm right, tonight it was sold out again (or nearly sold out). Anyway, first we got THE3rdMAN as the support-act. THE3rdMAN is a trio from The Netherlands and Belgium and exists of Jo De Roeck (vocals, guitar), Carlos Lake (bass, vocals) and Richie Bleijenberg (drums, vocals). The band played about 45 minutes, and I must say it sounded nice. I don't know the titles of the songs the band played, but there were a few which I really liked, and some were sounding less to me. Just nice to have seen the band once.
When GOLDEN EARRING got on stage, they kicked off with "Just Like Vince Taylor", followed by "In My House", which I didn't recognize, and two songs which I didn't know ("Identical" and "Little Time Bomb"). "In My House" is from the "Winter-Harvest" (1967) album, an album which I don't have, but I have that song on the compilation double album "The Devil Made Us Do It 35 Years" (2000), and "Identical" & "Little Time Bomb" are from the album "Tits 'n Ass" (2012), which I also don't have. When GOLDEN EARRING finished with the classic "Another 45 Miles", they again played a song from the "Tits 'n Ass" album, which was "Still Got The Keys To My First Cadillac", and after that one all the classic hits followed. "The Devil Made Me Do It", "Twilight Zone", "When The Lady Smiles", "Going To The Run", the superb "She Flies On Strange Wings", "Long Blond Animal" and of course "Radar Love". But also "Future" and "Johnny Make Believe", which are not classic hits, were in the set. Well, anyone who's familiar with GOLDEN EARRING, knows of course that Bary Hay as well as George Kooymans are doing the lead vocals. And both gentlemen are still singing great. The entire show I was standing in the second row from the barrier in front of bass player Rinus Gerritsen, who belongs to one of my favorite bass players. Gerritsen did a great bass solo before the band started to play their all-time classic "Radar Love", which as usual also included a drum solo of Cesar Zuiderwijk. After "Radar Love" the EARRING left the stage for a few minutes, and came back to do a few encores, which were "What Do I Know About Love" from the "Tits 'n Ass" album, the classic "Back Home" and "Holy Holy Life". As with all the other times I've seen GOLDEN EARRING live, I again enjoyed it very much. But, although I know they can't play all their classics, I really missed a few songs, such as "Vanilla Queen", "Buddy Joe", "Candy's Going Bad", "Movin' Down Life", "Weekend Love" and "Bombay" to name a few.

MARIO'S METAL MEETING 8 (29 March 2014)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands

This was the 8th edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to some reviews...........

NOISEY (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

ROCK AND METAL IN MY BLOOD (Only in English) (Italy)


STATUS QUO & VANDALE (23 March 2014)
IJsselhallen, Zwolle, The Netherlands
Review by MetalWim van Grunsven
The Frantic Four are touring Europe (Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, The UK & Ireland) for the very last time. They did the islands last year as well, and demand for a rematch was so great that they couldn't resist the temptation. In contrast to last year they did bring a support act, the old Dutch rockers of Vandale.
As VANDALE kick off, it is quite obvious that about 95% of the audience doesn't know them and/or isn't interested in them. Luckily I belong to the other 5%, but I must admit I wasn't impressed. Not only did they bring two (lovely looking but very unnecessary) female backing singers. On top of that they don't play too tight and singer Bet van Klaveren can't keep up all with all the lyrics. Having said that I still enjoy songs like Geitenwollensokkenrockers, Rot Op, Paddestoel, 'T Zit Me Tegen and Stale Verhale. For me this massive hall was too big and empowering for the likes of Vandale. They need to play the more intimate venues and stay with their core business: rocking without extra frills.
Last year I went to see the Frantic Four reunion in London's Hammersmith. That was brilliant, so when the chance arose to see them again in my own country I jumped at the occasion. First off I'll state the few things that disappointed me. The setlist was just about the same as last year, only Caroline had been exchanged in favour of Don't Waste My Time. (They had promised more older songs.) The other thing was that the sound in this large concrete former cattle-trading venue isn't half as impressive as what I experienced in London. Well, now I've got that out of the way I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, as STATUS QUO were in good form. Although, because of having played football on the parking lot Francis Rossi had hurt his knee and Alan Lancaster his foot, so they weren't as agile as they normally are. It seems the latter won the game, though. This is what happens when OAP's try their hand at stuff that should be left for the young. Something that doesn't apply to the band on stage, as Status Quo can still kick the arses of o lot of the younger bands when it comes to showmanship and radiating the joy of music to the crowd. But the joy of seeing these four together makes it even better, as this is what and how Status Quo should be. Except for the humorous talks in between songs. Maybe the band were afraid we wouldn't get them, because they didn't interact as much as they usually do. It doesn't make this evening's experience any less memorable. And for those who expected hits; tough! Rain, Caroline and Down Down were the only ones being played. The most recent songs were off the Blue For You album, which dates from 1976. So as an audience member you did need to know your stuff. And most did. And enjoyed every second of it. Thank you Frantic Four. You will never be forgotten.

VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS & THE ROAD HOME (15 March 2014)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by MetalWim van Grunsven
Tonight I am ready for an evening of Dutch rock and anticipation, as it is all about the resurfacing of the Dutch guitar master Adrian Vandenberg. The Moonkings album is killer, so expectations for their third (sold out) show ever are high. At least for me they are, especially as this, their first ever European Tour, is played in mainly small and intimate venues.

Support act THE ROAD HOME from Enschede is the former band of the Moonkings drummer, and boasts two brothers of the Moonkings bassist on guitars and vocals. So at least the connection to the main attraction is quite obvious. Musically it resembles Green Day, The Gaslight Anthem and such and what they play has some interesting points, but in my opinion the band hasn't made the most of them tonight. The opening song and the two last songs of the set showed that they know how to play, but also packed quite some punch. Something the rest of the set unfortunately lacked. Also the vocals weren't very strong live, just too thin for me.
When VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS make their entrance, you can feel the anticipation in the room. And boy, does the band deliver. From the very first note to the last, this is beyond what any of us expected. Yes, it is obvious that the band is still getting used to each other, but the quality of the players and the music is without doubt. The singer Jan Hoving must have been living under a rock somewhere, as I can't explain that such a great voice hasn't been heard earlier in a small country like The Netherlands. The drummer Mart Nijen Es is a younger version of Animal (The Muppets), very aware of playing well and making a show of his performance. Even his drum solo, which are usually quite tedious, was quite good. Bassist Sem Christoffel is the most solid foundation a band could wish and then there is Adrian Vandenberg. He hasn't lost it. On the contrary, he has found it again and is playing to his hearts content. Add the fact that everyone is having heaps of fun, and it all makes this to one very happy experience. They do play almost all songs off their brilliant debut album, and without exception they sound better live than they do on vinyl. The really come to life on stage. Of course we also get some blasts from the past like a (great) rendition of Vandenberg's biggest hit Burning Heart. Bloody effing hell, this sounds good. Surprisingly they also do Pushing Me off the very much underrated Manic Eden album, as well as Judgement Day from his Whitesnake (Slip Of The Tongue) era. Covers are thrown in as well, with Superstition (Stevie Wonder), I Put A Spell On You (CCR) and Alright Now (Free). On top of that there is the inevitable Here I Go Again. At the end I feel elated, as I have seen an international super act. This was electric. On top of that a little later the band does come out into the venue to talk to people and have their pictures taken and autograph stuff. What a great bunch. Vandenberg's Moonkings rules!
This tour will be the last time you'll be able to see these guys in such intimate settings, of that I'm sure. If you are Dutch and want to catch them live (again), you can see them at Fortarock 2014 and Bospop 2014! Don't miss out!

ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN & KIN KOBRA (15 February 2014)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
In September of 2013 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN released her fifth album "Drive", which is again a great album. Anneke already had done a first leg of her "Drive Tour", and on February 1st, 2014 she started the second leg of the tour at the venue Paard Van Troje in The Hague, Holland. During the club shows in Holland of this second leg, she had four Dutch bands who were the support-act. Those bands are KIN KOBRA, PACESHIFTERS, CARTOGRAPHER and PIL & BUE. Well, this show in the small venue of 013 in Tilburg is Anneke's fifth show, and it was completely sold out. Tonight it was KIN KOBRA who were the support-act. The band, which comes from Gorinchem, Holland, started around 20:30 and they played about 7 songs. The band plays Rock with, in my opinion, also some new wave influences, and did got a very good response from the audience. Well, I liked the songs they played. So, KIN KOBRA is absolutely a good band, and has a lot of potential.
Well, around 21:30 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN and her band got on stage, and they started with "You Will Never Change" of the "Drive" album. Well, the set list which Anneke did tonight was just marvelous. Of course she played the most songs of her "Drive" album (the aforementioned "You Will Never Change", the title track "Drive", "She", "My Mother Said", "Mental Jungle" and "The Best Is Yet To Come" as the last encore of the evening). Everyone knows (or should know) that Anneke van Giersbergen has sung in THE GATHERING (from 1994 until 2007). Well and of course she treated the audience with a few songs from the period she was the singer of THE GATHERING. The first THE GATHERING song she played tonight was "Saturnine", from the "If Then Else" (2000) album. Four songs later, the second one was "Even The Spirits Are Afraid", which is on the "Souvenirs" (2003) album. The last song of the regular set was the well known "Strange Machines" from the "Mandylion" (1995) album, the first THE GATHERING album with Anneke on vocals. Between the songs, when Anneke was talking to the audience, she had also a lot of humor in her talking as well. Anyway, other songs that Anneke played of her own material were from her previous album "Everything Is Changing" (2012). From that fantastic album Anneke played the songs "My Boy", "1000 Miles Away From You", "You Want To Be Free" and "Stay". After Anneke and her excellent band left the stage, when they had finished the classic "Strange Machines", they quickly came back to do some encores. When Anneke was back on the stage again, she asked the audience which other THE GATHERING song they wanted to hear. The audience could choose between "Broken Glass" (from the "Souvenirs" album) or "Leaves" (from the "Mandylion" album). And everybody wanted to hear "Leaves", so the first encore Anneke did was "Leaves". The next two encores were again from her "Drive" album, namely "We Live On" and the aforementioned "The Best Is Yet To Come", with whom she ended this excellent concert with. The sound was just awesome, a great light show, and of course Anneke sung as beautiful as ever. What a GREAT singer she is. As well as Mario as myself did enjoy this show very very much.

VENGEANCE & REBELSTAR (8 February 2014)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Some review links to this MMM show;

LORDS OF METAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

3 voor 12 (VPRO) (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)


LAMB OF GOD, DECAPITATED & HUNTRESS (10 January 2014)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Rob Claesen
At the moment opening band HUNTRESS hits the stage, the venue is already crowded. It's the third time in a year the band around frontlady Jill Janus visits 013. Last summer they gave an impressive show in stage 1. Today the band's opening up for one of the most succesfull metalbands of the last decade. Huntress delivers a very tight and enthousiastic set and has made a lot of progression. Janus gets the crowd gowing from the start of the set, which includes songs from last years Starbound Beast end their 2012 debut album Spell Eater. After 30 minutes and six songs Huntress leaves the stage. We will defenitely hear more from this band and I'm looking forward to heir performance at the Graspop Festival.
Setlist : ''Senicide'', ''Destroy Your Life'', ''Spell Eater'', ''I Want To Fuck You To Death'', ''Zenith'', ''Eight Of Swords''.

I was not familiar with the material of DECAPITATED; second band on the bill. Of course I've heard about their tragic car accident in 2007, but I've never took the chance to listen to the Polish technical death metallers. To be honest: the material didn't get to me, perhaps because of it's complexity. The band gave an intense performance and one look around the venue learned that a lot of visitors did know and appreciate the band. I will shure check their albums out after witnessing their 40 minutes of riff and melody mayhem.
Setlist: ''404'', ''Day 69'', ''A View From A Hole'', ''Carnival Is Forever'', ''Lying and Weak'', ''Spheres of Madness'', ''Pest''.

By the time LAMB OF GOD starts their show, the 013 venue is packed. The groove metal band from Richmond came, saw and conquered from the first note of opening track Desolation until the last one of encore Black Label. Guitar player Mark Norton couldn't make it to Tilburg due to family issues. His place is being filled by Between The Buried And Me guitarist Paul Waggoner. It's good to see the band's having fun after all the troubles they've got with lead singer Randy Blythe's manslaughter case in the Czech Republic. Perhaps that case made the band more aware of their fans, given the fact that they stop the show to make sure an injured fan is doing all right!
Setlist: ''Desolation'', ''Ghost Walking'', ''Walk with Me in Hell'', ''Hourglass'', ''Set to Fail'', ''Now You've Got Something To Die For'', ''The Undertow'', ''Omerta'', ''Ruin'', ''In Your Words'', ''Vigil'', ''Laid To Rest'', ''Redneck'', ''Black Label''.

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2013

MARIO'S METAL MEETING 7 (2 November 2013)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands

This was the seventh edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to some reviews...........

LORDS OF METAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

TRUE METAL FAN (Only in English) (The Netherlands)

More will follow later....


Y&T and BEYOND THE LABYRINTH (12 October 2013)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by MetalWim van Grunsven
Another October, another Y&T concert at de Pul in Uden, The Netherlands. And because they usually play 2 ½ hours or more, I wasn't expecting a support act. But the surprises never cease, do they? BEYOND THE LABYRINTH classes themselves as a Classic / Melodic Rock band with a twitch. So not a twist, but they forgot to add the Progressive part to the description. Or might that be the twitch they were on about. Whatever you might call it, the quality of the band was outstanding. Their mix is fine, their power nicely balanced and their songs quite good. The rest of the audience agreed with me and gave the guys a well earned applause after their show.
It was then time for Y&T. They have never disappointed before, and weren't about to tonight. What was unexpected was the calmness of the set start. It took until their fifth song of the night , Black Tiger, before they loosened the reigns and went at it in full force. From then on there was no holding back and Dave Meniketti and his brilliant set of colleagues set the stage alight. We even had a bit of a celebration, as it was John Nymann's 500th show with Y&T. The setlist has a lot of certain songs, but the band always try to vary the order they're in, even adding some unexpected ones. And like every year there are some songs that the band could have skipped, but that's nitpicking when looking at the whole picture. Even the enthusiasm with which the band plays during the entire show is commendable, as they do it every night. Y&T has done it again. They came, they saw and they blew the audience away. And the fact they are getting more recognition is to be seen by the growing number of shows they play in teh Netherlands every year. Let's just hope that they keep this up for many years to come.

REVERENCE & VOODOO HIGHWAY (26 September 2013)
Rock Temple, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Right on time I arrived at the Rock Temple in Kerkrade. Just after a few minutes since I came in the support band VOODOO HIGHWAY from Italy (which replaced the lately cancelled Vision Divine) started with their show of pure Rock 'n Roll! Not really refreshing stuff but nice music to warm up for the mighty Reverence! Mostly bands that play The Rock Temple have standard a good sound and today it was great again!
Only during the first songs of REVERENCE their was some acoustic feedback….. In the meantime about 30/35 visitors joined me to see one of the best shows of this year; REVERENCE!!!
REVERENCE is a band that was formed around guitarist Bryan Holland (ex-Tokyo Blade), Doc Wacholz (ex-Savatage) and the awesome singer Todd Michael Hall (also Jack Starr's Burning Starr). Ive seen singer Todd Michael Hall in April during the Keep it True festival and he was my personal winner of this years KIT! Awesome voice! On the sleeve of the album he is still having extreme long hair but nowadays his hair are even shorter than mine ;-) Live drummer Doc Wacholz is replaced by a former Tokyo Blade drummer which name I forgot…. Their album :When Drakness Calls” is an awesome album which I spinning around in my cd-player regularly!! \ Around 9:30 PM Reverence starts with the title track of their album “When Darkness Calls”, followed by “The Price you Pay”, “Gatekeeper”, “Monster”, “Devil in Disguise” (not the Elvis edition), “Evil Never Sleeps” (Burning Starr), “Revolution Rising”, “Phantom Road” and a few other songs. After “Phantom Road” Bryan Holland played a short guitarsolo and the bands continues with Tokyo Blade's “Night of the Blade”. Next songs on the bill are “Bleed for Me”, “Power of the Night” (Savatage) and “Too Late”, followed by a guitarsolo of Pete Rossi. Due the fact that the band only has 1 album so far, they attracted us with some more covers “Another Thing Coming” (Judas Priest), “Wasted Years” (Iron Maiden). “Vengeance is Mine” is the last song of the album but also the last regular song of the set. After that the boys from Voodoo Highway joined them on stage to sing all together Dio's (Rainbow) “Long Libe Rock 'n Roll”. A great evening with awesome musicians, a good sound and a band that sparkles fun on stage!! Only little bummer was the fact that they didn't play the best song (Ballad) of the album “After the Leaves have Fallen”…..

KING DIAMOND (6 August 2013)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
This year KING DIAMOND was, after an absence of several years (because of his health), doing festival shows in Europe. But we, the Dutch metalheads, were the lucky ones that KING DIAMOND did an exclusive one and only club show in Holland. And that club show took place in my hometown in the Jupiler venue of 013, Tilburg, Holland. This was the fourth time that I saw KING DIAMOND in Tilburg. The first time was on December 20th, 1987 in venue Noorderligt, Tilburg, with Dutch band ELEGY as the support act. The second and third time were two days in a row, namely February 16th and 17th, 1990, with CANDLEMASS as support act, and both shows were also in the aforementioned Noorderligt. Anyway, this evening there was also a meet and greet with KING DIAMOND, only I don't know if many fans have made use of that meet and greet. Well, tonight there was no support act, only KING DIAMOND. KING DIAMOND opened the show in 013 with "The Candle" of the "Fatal Portrait" (1986) album, and that was the only song he played of "Fatal Portrait". The stage of 013 was turned into a kind of haunted house. And during the first five or six songs, there was standing a fence on the edge of the stage. On this Tuesday evening, the Jupiler venue of 013 was very well crowed, I guess it must have been nearly sold out. Personally, my all time favorite KING DIAMOND albums are the aforementioned "Fatal Portrait" and the "Abigail" (1987) album. Actually, after the third album "Them" (1988), I stopped buying every new release of KING DIAMOND. And to be honest, if I have to choose between KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE, then I still prefer the self titled EP "Mercyful Fate" (also known as the "Nuns Have No Fun" EP) (1982), and the "Melissa" (1983) and "Don't Break The Oath" (1984) albums of MERCYFUL FATE. Anyway, back to this concert, with the second song of this evening, "Welcome Home", grandma appears on the stage in her wheelchair, and a few more show elements followed. In my opinion, during this concert there were a few songs in the set, which I didn't like that much (for example "Up From The Grave" and "Dreams"). Those songs absolutely can't compete with the material of the first few KING DIAMOND albums. When KING DIAMOND played the first MERCYFUL FATE song this evening, the classic "Come To The Sabbath", really…the whole crowd became totally crazy. And that craziness repeated itself again when he played the second MERCYFUL FATE classic "Evil" as the second encore. Those two MF songs (and the accompanying craziness of the audience) were absolutely the highlights of the show. I'd personally liked to hear some more MERCYFUL FATE songs this evening, instead of the guitar solo of Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead and the drum solo of Matt Thompson. And I'm sure I was not the only one, who wanted to hear some more MERCYFUL FATE classics. All with all, the show was excellent, and also King Diamond himself (who's age is 57) was very good by voice. By drinking some beers with friends and watching a fantastic show of the King, I really had an enjoyable evening. Eventually, KING DIAMOND didn't play a set of 3 hours, as was announced by 013 on their website, but played just a set of 85 or 90 minutes. The set list of this evening existed of "The Candle", "Welcome Home", "At The Graves", "Up From The Grave", "Voodoo", "Sleepless Nights", followed by a guitar- and drum solo, "Dreams", MERCYFUL FATE's "Come To The Sabbath", "Shapes Of Black" and "Eye Of The Witch". The encores were "The Family Ghost", the second MERCYFUL FATE song "Evil" and the final song of the evening "Black Horsemen".

SKUNK ANANSIE, DUDETTES (11 July 2013)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
An evening full of NON-Metal but with a rockband that has more energy and guts than most of the standard rockbands that name themselves as Hard Rock bands……

8 PM; DUDETTES; a 75% female band and the band played catchy rock/pop music. Not real music for a metalhead like me but im open-minded enough to judge these kind of bands. Musically they reminded me a bit of Krezip but singer Zjoly has a more soul voice and even reminded me sometimes to Amy Winedrinker (or was it Winehouse)?? Nice opener.

Around 9:10 PM the one and only SKUNK ANANSIE comes on stage to prove they are back as never before! Ive seen the band a few times in the past; before they broke up. Since a few years the band has reunited and is touring again. During the first songs “The Skank Heads (Get Off Me)” and “I Will Break You” Skin's voice was not really that good (she was singing out of tune) but after that 2 songs it looked like her warming up has begun for an evening to never forget! During the 3rd song “I Believed in You” she was already crowdsurfing and it suited me to see she was still in good shape! Next songs where “God loves only You”, “I hope You get to meet Your Hero”, “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)”, “I've had Enough” and “My Ugly Boy”.
During the next song; the first Skunk Anansie hit ever “Weak” Skin asked the audience to put all the hands in the air and what she did was unbelievable: she really walked over the hands of the insane crowd! I go to concerts for over 30 years now but never saw something like this!!!!
Skunk Anansie continues with “Hedonism (Just because you feel good)”, “My Love will Fall”, “This is not a Game”, “I can Dream” (again crowdsurfing!!), “Spit You Out”, “Sad Sad Sad”, “Because of You”, “Yes its Fuckin Political” and “Charlie Big Potato”. After this the show was finished and the crowd was screaming for more…and they DID get more!!
Bonus songs where: “Tear the Place Up”, “Secretly” and again crowdsurfing AND singing “Little Baby Swastikka”… It was the fourth time for me to see Skunk Anansie live and it wont be the last time! I also saw singer Skin and guitarplayer Ace during the 25th Anniversary show of Motorhead in London (2000) doing some guest appearances. This proves that Lemmy is also as open minded as me, hahahahaha.
Great show by a great band! Till next time!

POWERIZED, LORD VOLTURE, GHOST DIVISION (23 June 2013)
Avenue, Breda, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
This afternoon I went with my 7 year old son Jorn to the CD presentation of Powerized; a young band from the Breda area formerly known as YOUR SOUL PLEASE and during that period (half June 2012) they ended as second best band of the international Emergenza band contest! A young energetic band with influences from bands like Edguy, Iron Maiden, Avantasia.

During our travel to the venue we had the bad luck that it started to rain intens and so we had to take shelter in the rain. When we finally arrived the opener GHOST DIVISION was already busy to warm up the other visistors. GHOST DIVISION is a SABATON tribute band hat I had seen a few more times already. Sadly I'm not a SABATON fan at all and these guys couldn't convince me for one second. Nevertheless we had time left to get some drinks and take a look at the merchandise stand.
Around 4 PM my friends of LORD VOLTURE started their show with the title song of their second album “Never Cry Wolf”. Lord Volture is a pure metal band for fans of Jag Panzer and Judas Priest. Ive seen the band several times and they also played a few of my own MMM shows and these guys never let me down (as musicians AND musically). They played a decent show with several songs form both their albums and also a new tune named “Where the Enemy sleep” from their forthcoming album. Last song of the set was “Hearts of Steel”. As said; I adore Lord Volture” very much and we both (My son and I) enjoyed it very much!
Around 5:30 PM it was time for POWERIZED to hit the stage; introducing their MCD “My Creed”. As said I discovered the band at the time they still where called YOUR SOUL PLEASE”. I got in contact with these youngsters and after watching some clips from the Emergenza contest I knew I had to book them for my 6th edition of my own festival; Mario's Metal Meeting on 21 September 2012. Just a few weeks before the festival they changed their name into POWERIZED; a band inspired by bands like Edguy, Avantasia, Helloween. So MMMeeting 6 was, as far as I know, their first gig ever under the new name. I saw the band already a few times (mostly with my son Jorn, also a huge Powerized fan) and everytime singer Nick Holleman sings he gives me goosebumps! I go to concerts for more than 30 years now but never ever a dutch singer gaveme goosebumps; Nick is the best metalsinger The Netherlands ever had; mark my words!!
The band started with the first song of the EP, also called “My Creed” an awesome song with excellent vocals. It suited me that during a year most of the original members where already replaced and that the band was sounding fitter and better than ever before! It looks like bandleader Nick Holleman knows exactly which direction he wants to go! Powerized also played songs like “Beware the Shadows” (also on the EP) and a few other songs that I don't know by name because they are never released yet. During one of the last songs I went to the bar to get some drinks and when I came back my 7 year old son was on stage and “singing” with Nick Holleman! A very nice gesture of the band!! The show ended with a Helloween cover which was as far as I know the later stuff from Helloween “Mr. Ego (Take Me Down)” . Incredible afternoon with good music, an awesome Nick Holleman and a very lucky and happy Son (especially when I asked him to do the afterparty at the local Burger King ;-)
Keep an eye on this band and especially their singer; one day he will be famous!!!

HEATHEN, GENERATION KILL, DUST BOLT (16 June 2013)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Right on time I arrived at the once mighty Dynamo club for an evening of Thrashmetal!
7:30 PM; I just ordered my first drink when the German thrashers of DUST BOLT entered stage. Their music is Bay Area influenced thrashmetal and it really sounded okay! Also a very acceptable sound for Dynamo standards. The bass sound was a bit to hard in the mix but nevertheless these German thrashers gave a very enjoyable show! Pity it was only a 30 minutes set. Want to see these guys more in the future.
At 8:20 PM GENERATION KILL was the next band and the band gained a lot of support because of their singer Rob Dukes who is also the frontman of Exodus. Also in the band is Rob Maschetti (ex Pro-Pain, MOD). The band also had a good sound and was driven by energy. Personally I'm not a big fan of Rob Dukes due for 2 reasons; I don't like all his drugs promotion talk and political shit-talk AND I don't like his metalcore voice. Since he joined Exodus I also lost my interest in that band. Generation Kill will suit a lot of modern metal lovers but for me it's a band that I will never ever buy any stuff from. But that's, like always, personally. The 100 people that showed up mostly loved it. After 40 minutes the band stopped and everybody was waiting for the one and only headliner this evening:
HEATHEN started just around 9:30 PM and the band around singer David Godfrey was also suited with a good sound and a bunch crazy fans! This tour also Jon Dette (Slayer, Testament, Evil Dead, Anthrax) was kicking the drums and doing an unbelievable job! Musically this band is a good as any of the oldschool Bay Area bands from the 80's and their debut album “Breaking the Silence” (1987) is for most oldschool maniacs a classic one! Personally im not that impressed by David Godfrey's voice but musically the band convinced me total!! Last song of the set was “Death by Hanging” which was the absolute highlight of the show with awesome drumwork of Jon Dette! Good show, nice evening but personally Dust Bolt was the biggest surprise for me!

CRUCIFIED BARBARA (18 May 2013)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
It was nicely crowded when Swedish all-female Metal band CRUCIFIED BARBARA played in the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland. This was the only show these ladies did in HOLLAND. When Paul of the Little Devil told me he had booked CRUCIFIED BARARA, I already knew I had to be there. I have the second album "'Til Death Do Us Party" (2009), which I reviewed for MMM (see March update of 2009), and the third album "The Midnight Chase" (2012) of CRUCIFIED BARBARA, and never saw them perform live so far. So, I really wanted to see them. As I said, it was nicely crowded, but actually I had expected that it would be nearly sold out. Anyway, around 22.30 Mia Coldheart (vocals, guitar; real name Mia Karlsson), Klara Force (guitar, backing vocals; real name Klara Rönnqvist Fors), Ida Evileye (bass, backing vocals; real name Ida Stenbacka) and Nicki Wicked (drums; real name Jannicke Lindström) entered the stage of Little Devil and started with "The Crucifier", the opening track of the "The Midnight Chase" album, of which they played the most songs this evening ("Shut Your Mouth", "If I Hide", "Rock Me Like The Devil", "Rules And Bones", "Into The Fire" and as the first encore "Count Me In" and the last encore "Everything We Need"). From the second album, they only played "Jennyfer" and "Sex Action" (which was the second encore), and from the first album they played "Play Me Hard", "Motorfucker", "Losing The Game", "Rock 'N' Roll Bachelor" and the title track "In Distortion We Trust". The sound was good, and there was a very good atmosphere in the Little Devil. These Swedish beauties did got a great response of the audience. The band also had one cover in their set list, which was the classic MOTÖRHEAD song "Killed By Death", of which the lead vocals of the first part was done by Klara and the second part by Mia. Too bad, the band didn't have their first album with them (they only sold "The Midnight Chase" on CD and vinyl, and several t-shirts), so a few days after this show I ordered "In Distortion We Trust" at my local record store. Anyway, this was a very nice and enjoyable evening, that is definitely worth repeating for booking CRUCIFIED BARBARA again in Little Devil.

SLASH (featuring MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS) & THE JACKS (26 February 2013)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
With his "Apocalyptic Love World Tour", ex-GUNS 'N ROSES guitarist SLASH did one show in Holland, which was at the venue 013 in my hometown Tilburg on February 26th 2013. This concert was completely sold out for weeks. I arrived at 19:15 at the 013, and when I entered the venue, it was already pretty crowded. The whole evening I stood in the fourth or fifth row on the left side of the stage. Around 20:00 the opening act this evening, Dutch rock band THE JACKS from Eindhoven/Tilburg, played a set of about 30 minutes, which existed of songs from their two E.P.'s (now available as "Epic Trois") and a very well performed cover version of LED ZEPPELIN's "Whole Lotta Love". This was the fourth time I saw THE JACKS live, and it was nice to see that the band did get a very good response of the audience.
It was 20:55 when SLASH entered the stage of 013 together with singer Myles Kennedy of ALTER BRIDGE, (who also played guitar during some songs) and THE CONSPIRATORS, which are rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris, bass player, singer Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz. The first song the band played was "Halo" of SLASH's second album "Apocalyptic Love" (2012). Other songs during the set of the "Apocalyptic Love" album were "Standing In The Sun", "Bad Rain", "No More Heroes", "Anastasia" and "You're A Lie". The third song this evening was the first GUNS N' ROSES song of the show, namely "Nightrain". And I have to admit, what a fantastic singer MYLES KENNEDY is. Well, the next song after "Nightrain" was "Ghost" of SLASH's first solo album "Slash" (2010), which is sung on the album by Ian Astbury of THE CULT. Other songs from the "Slash" album were "Back From Cali", "Doctor Alibi" and "Starlight". A real surprise to me was, that bass player Todd Kerns was also doing some lead vocals, and he seemed to be a fantastic singer as well. He sung "Doctor Alibi" (on the album sung by Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD) and the GUNS N' ROSES songs "You're Crazy" and "Welcome To The Jungle". Well, the atmosphere in 013 was fantastic, also the sound was excellent and the band had a beautiful light show. SLASH also played songs of SLASH'S SNAKEPIT ("Mean Bone", "Serial Killer" and "Jizz Da Pit") and VELVET REVOLVER ("Fall To Pieces" and "Slither"), but personally I am not that familiar with material of these bands. But to me, the highlights of this show were of course the GUNS N' ROSES songs "Nightrain", "Mr. Brownstone", "You're Crazy", a brilliant 14 minutes lasting version of "Rocket Queen", "Sweet Child O' Mine", "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Paradise City". After the band left the stage, they came back for only two encores, which were the just mentioned songs "Welcome To The Jungle" sung by Todd and "Paradise City". Altogether I had a very enjoyable evening, and I even got a guitar pick of Frank Sidoris and of Todd Kerns which they threw into the audience. To bad, I didn't caught a guitar pick of Slash himself. Anyway, I do collect guitar picks of bands for years, so I can add these two to my collection.

MARIO'S METAL MANIA Presents: RAVEN & PREDATORY VIOLENCE (3 February 2013)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands



This show was organised by Mario's Metal Mania so it would not be fair to review our own gigs; for that reason I only add links to the reviews done by other web- and magazines:

LORDS OF METAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

3 voor 2 VPRO (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

There was also a review added to the Dutch leading magazine Aardschok (by Mike van Rijswijk)
Top


2012

TESTAMENT & XERATH (3 December 2012)
Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
When I entered the Effenaar it suited me that it was already very crowded this evening; the show which should originally take place at the Dynamo club was relocated to the much bigger Effenaar due to the fact that ticket sale went very well for this show.
At 8 PM XERATH started their set and musically it all sounded very nice and technical. Still the band couldn't convince me because of their metalcore elements; a style of metal I don't like that much. After half an hour the show was done and that okay with me and also with a big part of the more oldschool orientated audience…

After a break of 30 minutes the TESTAMENT show started with the Fortuna intro, an intro that is used by a lot of metalbands during the years….
The band started with 'Rise Up' from their latest album “Dark Roots of Earth”. From this album they also played 'Native Blood', 'True American Hate ' and the title song 'Dark Roots of Earth'. Big negative aspect to the whole show was the out of proportion sound quality; the sound was so fucking loud and messy that it was a puzzle to recognize the songs. This wouldn't change for the whole set; the soundman obtained no hearing, as we speak.
Other songs that I COULD recognize where 'The New Order', 'Into the Pit', 'Practice what you Preach', ' Over the Wall', 'More Than Meets The Eye', 'Alone in the Dark' and 'Disciples of the Watch'.
After nearly 1,5 hours the band stopped and I went home with a bad feeling and treble troubles in my ears which continues for several days….and that says enough after more than 30 years of concert experience…. This could have been such a great show with a very good setlist but it was ruined by a deaf soundtechnician…….better let him sign his Testament……..Truly a missed opportunity!

MOTORHEAD, ANTHRAX & DIARIES OF A HERO (23 November 2012)
Klokgebouw, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
This evening I was very early at the concert hall because my daily job is also in Eindhoven and it was easy to stay around till the Klokgebouw venue opened their doors. My first acquaintance with this large hall and I was really impressed about this former Philips factory which was rebuild to a concert hall. Easy to travel and park and nearby a train station.

Around 7 PM the UK metallers of DIARIES OF A HERO kicked off with their Pantera-a-like metal. Not bad at all and I even didn't have the annoying tendency to leave the hall. This kind of metal is i.m.o. not really the good type of metal to warm up the Anthrax and Motorhead shows but hey: Ive seen Motorhead with lots of worse bands during all these years! They played their modern metal with good musicianship and enthusiasm and most of the 300 people that also joined me in the enormous hall liked it. After half an hour it was done. Nice band but to modern for me personally.

7:45 PM ANTHRAX entered the stage and what I saw was a nearly new line up! I mean; Scott Ian was the only original member this tour while even Charlie Benante was replaced by Jon Dette (Testament, Slayer, Killing Machine & Evildead). Luckily Jon is a very good drummer and I didn't miss Charlie Benante for one second. Live the band is completed with (ex-) singer Joey Belladonna who is in my opinion way better than his boring predecessor John Bush. The band kicked off very fanatic with “Caught in a Mosh” which already turned out into a moshpit! It suited me that Anthrax had a very good sound and that Joey's voice was also very clean/powerfull. Next song “Fight 'Em Til You Can't” from their latest release “Worship Music” was sung also by all the die-hard fans in the crowd. During this song Jon Dette caught my attention again with his superb drumming. The next song, “Antisocial” is a Trust cover but also one of the evergreens of Anthrax. Again good for a big moshpit!!! “In the End” is a tribute song to Ronnie James Dio and "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. After this tribute it was time for a few of my favorite songs “Deathrider” (Neil Turbin era) and “Madhouse”. After again a few newer songs the band continues with “I am the Law” and “Indians” which caused one of the biggest moshpits I ever saw!! Very good and energetic show!! Looking out for them again after this great gig!!

At 9:15 PM it was finally time to see MOTORHEAD again! This was my 42 th(!!!) time seeing Motorhead live but last time I saw them was already 4 years ago! So the more curious I was after this long break. Motorhead is playing more and more festivals during the last years and I don't like to go to these crowded festivals like Graspop and Wacken anymore. I prefer the club shows and so I was glad the band entered Eindhoven this year. The set opened with the only new song they played this night “I know how to Die” but it was hard to recognize due to the messy sound. After this it looks like the band didn't have time or mood to rehearse more new songs which is a pity! So again a lot of classic songs follow up: “Damage Case” (in which Phil Campbell even tries to play a serious solo), “Stay Clean”, “Metropolis”, “Over the Top”, “Dr. Rock”. During these songs the sound quality was getting much better. The last few times I saw Motorhead I was bothered by the uninterested and terrible guitar playing of Phil Campbell. Well tonight he even did a solo; armed with a green-lighted guitar, and I most admit that he was doing a very good job this time!!
The set continues full speed with “The Chase is better than the Cath”, |”Rock It” (from their great and most underrated album ever “Another Perfect Day”), “You better Run” and “The One to sing the Blues” (with an incredible drum solo of drum god Mickey Dee)!!! Lemmy's voice isn't getting better during the set but that's not a shame if you know that the master himself is getting 67 in December this year!!! “Going to Brasil” continues and during the next song, “Killed by Death” Phil Campbell starts with a terrible out of tune guitarpart…..
The regular set stops with their all time classic “Ace of Spades” and it looks like a big part of the audience only knows this song??? After a small break the band returns on stage with a Thin Lizzy cover “Are you ready to Rock” which sounds, except for the moderate guitar parts, okay. Last song is, as usual during the last 10/15 years; “Overkill”. After 75 minutes the show is done and I left home satisfied …….

Very nice evening with a nice opener, a very good Anthrax show and a more than average Motorhead show!! Goal is to see Motorhead at least 50 times but looking at Lemmy's condition and shape (he is very scrawny) im afraid in not gonna see them another 8 times ….
Thanks to all the other 3000 visitors to join this party and also to Mojo for arranging this all!!

SANTERS (21 October 2012)
Lakei, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
On a Sunday evening I went to 'De Lakei' in Helmond to finally see one of the few bands that where still on my “want to see live-list”; SANTERS. The Canadians of SANTERS deliver sleek, fast and loud hard hitting hard rock. This trio packs a heavy musical punch with members Rick Santers (lead vocals, guitars, keys) along with brother Mark Santers (drums and vocals) and Rick Lazaroff (bass). 
The day before this show the band performed at the Firefest Festival in England and the booker (thanks Wim) off 'De Lakei' offered the idea to get them over to The Netherlands also for 1 show! Good initiative if you ask me!!

At 21:30 the band kicks off (there was no support act this evening) with 'Winter Freeze'. Followed by 'Time after Time'. It counted me that the band had a great sound and that's remarkable after I heard that they only had a 15 minute sound check and a borrowed backline! The set continues, for not even 50 visitors, with 'Black Magic' 'Mystical Eye” and 'Still I am”. During the next song 'The Rapper' the band shows their technical skills with a lot of prog parts! Really great musicianship these guys showed here on stage! 'Backstreets' is next on the bill followed by ballad 'Dreaming”, 'Dog without a Home', 'Shot down in Flames' (with drumsolo), 'You turn me On', 'Allright Now' (Free cover), 'Mistreatin Heart' and 'Cant shake You'.
After a small break the audience managed to get the band back on stage where they played 2 bonus songs: 'Mississipi Queen' and 'Road to Morocco'. Pity the band didn't hear me screaming for “Baby Blue”, in my opinion their best song ever…… But I'm not complaining; the band played a very good set of nearly 90 minutes with a very good sound, excellent musicianship and with a venue/room filled with ONLY die-hard Santers fan!
A big thanks to 'De Lakei' for arranging this! Really appreciated!!!! Hope to see the band again some day (please don't wait another 30 years)…

CARACH ANGREN & THE UNKNOWN (28 September 2012)
Lakei, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers
On 28-9-2012, I had the opportunity to see one of the best symphonic black metal bands of this moment live: Carach Angren. This band played at Popstage Lakei, a real nice rock stage in Helmond with a capacity of 700 people.
At 9 PM, the Limburgian trash metal / hardcore band THE UNKNOWN opens the show as support act for Carach Angren. The Unknown is the band of former Born From Pain singer Ché Snelting. They consist of the following members: Ché Snelting (vocals), Marcel Hendrix (guitar), Cliff Demandt (guitar), Ruud Haan (bass) and John King (drums). After an instrumental opening, the band starts with “Burn your World” followed by “Stranded”. These heavy songs are really appreciated by the relative small audience. But professional as they are, that does not matter the band. The sound during the show is quite well but it is sometimes difficult to hear the guitar solos. The Unknown plays their songs with a lot of enthusiasm and half an hour later, the band ends their gig after playing “Risen from Ash” and “Hell will Follow”. After the show, I was informed that this was Ché Snelting`s last show with The Unknown. He has decided to leave the band. His successor will be Boris (ex Leng Tch`e) and he will be the vocalist on the new EP which will be released later this year. I am looking forward to it!

Carach Angren is one of the new leading black metal bands of this moment. This Dutch band, consisting of Ardek (Keys & Arrangements), Seregor (Vocals & Guitars) and Namtar (Drums) released in 2008 their official debut album “Lammendam”. The (international) press was immediately enthusiastic. After the release of “Death Came Through A Phantom Ship” in 2010 (about the legend of the flying Dutchman), the band moved to a new record label: Seasons of Mist. A huge compliment of course. Recently, the band released their latest album: “Where The Corpses Sink Forever”. With this new album, the band makes a new step in the development of their style: symphonic black metal with dominant keyboard parts, screaming voices and bombastic orchestrations which is used as basis to share the band`s passion for old legends. (like for example story of the Flying Dutchman)
At exact 10 PM, CARACH ANGREN enters the stage for their gig. Insiders know that this band has a lot of talent, but I was a little bit concerned if the band was able to reproduce their complex songs live with only three musicians. But quite soon, I am convinced that it is possible. The gig starts, of course, with a sinister intro and after this intro the band plays ”Lingering In an Imprint Haunting” from the new album “Where the Corpses Sink Forever”. The sound is, after some small adjustments, more than acceptable! The enthusiastic performance of the complete band has also his influence on the crowd. The intense black metal with a lot of tempo breaks is really appreciated! The band plays of course some songs from their new album (like Bitte Tötet Mich) but they do not forget their older albums and demo`s too. From their official debut “Lammendam”, they play “Haunting Echoes From the Seventeenth Century”. The band shows their vulnerability when they play their orchestral songs like “Spectral Infantry Battalions”. These orchestral songs (with hardly any drums or guitar parts) are quite strange among all the blast beats, screams and heavy guitar parts, but they fit perfectly in the band`s classical, storytelling approach. In the second part of the gig, the band plays mainly the songs of the last three albums like “Bloodstains on the Captain's Log”, “The Carriage Wheel Murder” and “General Nightmare”. After the band plays their encore, the gig ends at 11:15 pm. It can be concluded that the band has confirmed again that they can meet with bands which are active in the highest regions of the Black Metal premier league.

MARTYR & Guest, 30 Years Anniversary Party (8 September 2012)
Tivoli, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Today was a special day; Oldschool metallers MARTYR arranged a complete show/festival to celebrate their 30 years in Heavy Metal. It all started on time and I drove by train so I had the opportunity to party with them (a party without alcohol is not a real party, hahahaha). That it was a great party for me became clear last night when I was looking for the annotations I made during the day...I lost them with my drunken head.....
I arrived on time but got lost in the center of Utrecht and so I missed a few songs of opener POWERPIMPS; a dutch sleaze rock band with some raw rock 'n roll elements. Not really my cup of tea (or bottle of beer in this case) but the people that also already arrived, around 50/75, enjoyed it a lot! Looking at their popularity we will hear more from this band in the near future!
GLORIA VICTIS was the second band of the day and the band is formed by some old roadies of Martyr according the information I got. The band plays true heavy metal in the eighties style but when you know that some of the members also adore the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs fanclub; its all logic ;-). Martyr is also a band that supports this fanclub for years now so it was a logical decision to add Gloria Victis also to the line-up of this day. Singer Bozzy is a very nice guy; maybe not the best singer but a very good frontman. Musically it was also not all perfect but this is a young talented band and im looking out to hear their CD which is released lately!
Next band on the bill was MALDITA and to be honest; this kind of metal cant convince me for one second. This is typical Brasilian metal in a way Sepultura played it in their worst period; lots of "Ratamahatta-a-like" metal. Time for me to take a break and take a walk in search for some food in the center of Utrecht.
I was back on time to be witness of IZEGRIM's performance. I like the bands death/thrashmetal for years now and its also always a nice band to see on stage (not only because of their goodlooking frontwoman Marloes). Marloes is not only blessed with a nice body and awesome long hair but she is also very sympathetic to the audience. The band played a very good show and it was good to see that the number of audience grew during the evening.
Personaly I was also looking out for the next band: AFTER ALL from Belgium. I know the band for years now and they also already played at one of my Mario's Metal Meetings in the past. Since the band welcomed singer Sammy Peleman to their ranks; the band has a fast growing popularity. The band also signed to RoadRunner lately and released one of the best albums of 2012 "Dawn of the Enforcer". Sammy is a big addition to the band and is such an amazing singer. Live he easily hits all the high notes and he is sounding un-Belgium if you ask me! Their new album is still spinning in my CD player for months now! Great show with a lot of songs from their new album: "Demolition Course", "Becoming the Martyr" (whats in a name!), "Ruins of Bones"', "Land of Sin", "My own Sacrifice", "Insufferable", "Digital War", "To Breach and Grieve", "End of your Words", "Betrayed by the Gods" (My favorite After All song), "Forgotten", "Parasite Within" & "Timeless Machine". Awesome show guys!!
Headliner and organiser MARTYR was formed in 1982 and debuted with the very interesting "For The Future" in 1985, mixing technical riffing with a pre-thrash base. Certainly an atypical sound for a Dutch band (or for that matter any metal band at that time), the album won a decent amount of critical and fan approval. Their second album, "Darkness At Times End", was released a year later, but the lack of promotion, coupled with the band's inability to find a large audience for their unconvential style, spelled the end of the band, the group breaking up in 1987. The guys got together for a reunion show in October of 2001, and buoyed by its success, did some more reunion shows in 2005 and is presently active, with a long-awaited new album released late 2011 (Circle of 8). This all according the BNR metal pages ;-)
Well tonight the band organised this special event and it went out as a hell of a party. The whole day/night was presented by Angel Druif (formerly of Vara's Vuurwerk; a wellknown dutch metal radio program). The band also had programmed a few guestmusicians but the only one I saw/heard was Liesbeth Cordia (Eve’s Fall); or had to do again with the fact that it was a woman?? Singer/Entertainer Ropke van Haren is one of the best frontmen Holland had ever delivered but today he had serious throat problems. Pity that this has to happen during this special night. Nevertheless the band builded a great party at the Tivoli with about/around 300 visitors/fans. The other bandmembers are always willing to play and great musicians. They are all very sympathetic and I did several shows with these guys in the past and they are one of the finest bands to work with. Up to at least another 10 years my friends!! Still pity I lost my annotations because I remember also that a few of the bands that played today also did a coverversion of a Martyr song!!

MARIO'S METAL MANIA Presents: PHANTOM-X & LORD VOLTURE (7 September 2012)
Rambler, Eindhoven, The Netherlands



This show was organised by Mario's Metal Mania so it would not be fair to review our own gigs; for that reason I only add links to the reviews done by other webzines:

ROCK PORTAAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)


MARIO'S METAL MANIA Presents: VICIOUS RUMORS, SKULLSUIT & LORD VOLTURE (26 August 2012)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands



This show was organised by Mario's Metal Mania so it would not be fair to review our own gigs; for that reason I only add links to the reviews done by other webzines:

ROCK PORTAAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

3 voor 2 VPRO (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)


CRIMSON GLORY, NIGHTMARE, FIREFORCE & DESPERATION (16 August 2012)
Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
Review by Mario van Dooren
This day was (and always will be) a special one to me \m/
A few weeks before this show I was invited to join a meet & greet with one of my alltime favorite singers Jorn Lande (Masterplan, Jorn, Beyond Twilight, Ark, etc...) in Tongeren, Belgium. My 6 years old son (and my best friend ;) is named after Jorn Lande and already really interested in Heavy Metal. After I asked him if he wanted to meet the "real" Jorn he answered my question with a "Yes" wholeheartedly. Later one he went mad when I told him that we also went to a concert that same evening in Vosselaar, Belgium. Armed with his ear protectors we travelled from Tongeren (meet & greet Jorn) to Biebob, Vosselaar for over 100 km again for some quality time with my boy.

When we arrived the first band DESPERATION already played and my Belgium friends from FIREFORCE also where nearly done with their set. Luckily I had the chance to hear my favorite FireForce song "Moonlight Lady" and the last bonus song "Born to be Metal". Sound was okay and FireForce is a live band pur sang. Pity that there was not much crowd at that moment and that wouldnt change much during the night. I think this had to do with the last-minute booking of this show due to the fact that they couldnt announce Crimson Glory earlier because the band was one of the highlights of the Alcatraz Metal fest a few days earlier. Nevertheless nice to see/hear my friends in FireForce again. Next time I will try to be their much earlier...
NIGHTMARE is an oldschool French power metal band which was formed in the early eighties. To be honest; I was not familiar with the bands music but they really did impress me this night. What suited me where the sound, the musicianship and the very good singer of the band. Melodic power metal was the order of the day here, but with a few twists of their own to keep from sounding tired. Singer Amore (who used to be their drummer for years) has a gritty yet powerful voice that suits the style well, forceful yet not overbearing. Even if I didnt knew the material I still was attracted for the whole set. And that says enough. Some songtitles I remember: "Wicked White Demon" & "Cormovision. Good show guys.

Headliner CRIMSON GLORY was the main reason for me to travel to Vosselaar because I wasnt able to see the band live since their Keep it True gig a few years ago. And during that gig I was blewn away. New frontman Todd La Torre has an incredible voice and is also a very sympathetic guy. He even took some time during the show to kneel behind my son Jorn (who was tired and sitting on the stage) and gave me a hint to take some pictures of them. Very much appreciated! Ive seen Crimson Glory with all of their singers and all of them are great; Midnight, Wade Black and Todd La Torre; great to see that the band manages to find such great singers every time. Hope Todd will stay with the band for long but personally im afraid he will leave the band now that he is also officialy the new singer of Queensryche these days! The band played a good show but pity for me, and luckily for my son who was tired) the band stopped after 45 minutes. At 23:00 we drove home after sharing some superb quality time together! Some songs of the setlist: "Valhalla", "Dragon Lady"', "Azrael", "Queen of the Masquarade", "Lady of Winter", "Painted Skies", "Dragons" & "Red Sharks".

MARIO'S METAL MANIA Presents: WARBRINGER, SEITA, CONTRAST & HAMMERHEAD (25 July 2012)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands



This show was organised by Mario's Metal Mania so it would not be fair to review our own gigs; for that reason I only add links to the reviews done by other webzines:

3 voor 2 VPRO (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)


MARIO'S METAL MANIA Presents: JAGUAR, MARTYR & BURN (29 June 2012)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands



This show was organised by Mario's Metal Mania so it would not be fair to review our own gigs; for that reason I only add links to the reviews done by other webzines:

3 voor 2 VPRO (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)


OBITUARY, ENTRAPMENT, TORNADO (11 June 2012)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
When we arrived, TORNADO already started. Due to the fact that we where to late, traffic jam, but also because most concerts nowadays at Dynamo start earlier as announced. So we where witness of 1,5 song which was not bad when you know they only played 4 or 5 in total. It was also one of these boring nights that the National Soccer team had to play against Portugal (I hate soccer) which made Dynamo decide to start/stop this "evening" early. I already knew Tornado for a while but never had the chance to see them alive; simply because they didnt plays that much at all and also because most of the members are also in other, more important, bands. Nevertheless Tornado plays original thrashmetal with a very strange sounding AND looking frontman.....I'm going to concerts for over 30 years now but never saw a frontman in a white latex Superman suit??? Did you? They band played a nice show (as far as I can judge after 1,5 song) but I prefer their album much more.
Next band on the bill was ENTRAPMENT from the North of The Netherlands. This band played 13 in a dozen deathmetal; well performed; good sound and decent musicians but nothing more than that. On stage the band had less charisma than their predecessors Tornado. Time for a visit to the bar....

Headliner of the evening OBITUARY started at 18:50 and had a reasonable sound. The orginal members John and Donald Tardy never let me down live but this time it was different. Why? Well the band had an average sound due to the fact that they kicked out their second (solo) guitarplayer just before the tour. Pity because I missed the typical guitarparts that makes Obituary so special. Obituary was and always will be one of the leading deathmetal bands in my opinion but this show was the weakest I ever saw from this fundamental act in death metal. At 20:00 the band stopped with their evergreen "Slowly we Rot" and most visitors left to watch the soccer game.....and they where not happy also after that game ;-), whahaha.

CAULDRON, STRIKER, WARCKON & VILLAINY (18 March 2012)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
First band of the evening was VILLAINY. The band had to open for a small audience but did it very good! I was surprised by their musical style; it sounded like a mix of thrash- and doom metal and reminded me to bands like Mercyful Fate & Coroner. These guys from the South of The Netherlands knew how to play their instruments and for such a young band they did a very good job! Coming out soon to see you again guys! The band played for about 35 minutes which isnt that much but its normal for an opener.
After a short break, WARCKON from Belgium started their 30 minute set. This band confirmed also the upcoming thrash revival in Belgium; after Gae Bolga, Evil Shepherd & Prematory another upcoming talented thrashband from Belgium! During the third song they opened with a Slayer kinda intro and thats exact what the band was influenced by; the masters of thrash!! Nice gig and after the first 2 gigs we could have better left the place.....why??? Read on....
The band I was coming for was STRIKER from Canada; one of the best bands I discovered during the last few years!! Such an energy; great musicians and an awesome singer!!! Well; not today; The band had a terrible sound; their singer wasnt singing that good this night and the band also had to stop after just 35 (!!!!) minutes!!! Shame on those who arranged this!! Ive seen the band several times during the last few years and every time they blew me away but this time is was a desaster.... A part of the setlist: "Terrorizer", "Full Speed or No Speed", "Eyes in the Night", and a Saxon cover "Princess of the Night".......
Headliner of the evening where CAULDRON, also for Canada. I already reviewed a cd of these guys at the time they where called GOAT HORN. Personally im not a fan of their music; it all sounds to boring (Metallica rip-off) and they cant convince me for 1 second. Only the last song was nice because the Striker guys joined them on stage to jam a bit around.

After all a bit disappointing night with 2 good opener bands and 2 bands that couldnt convinve me.....pitty guys....thats all I can say about it...

Top


2011

ARENA & ALAN REED (5 November 2011)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers
On 5 November, I prepared myself for a nice evening in The Pul in Uden. On this Saturday evening, Arena and their support Alan Reed visited the Pul. This concert was part of The Seventh Degree of Separation Tour of Arena. The Seventh Degree of Separation is Arena`s new album which is released on 28 November.
Support act of this evening is ALAN REED. Reed is the former singer of the symphonic rock band Pallas who has gone solo now because, as he said, “I want to do something else”. He was the voice of Pallas for 26 years, a couple of years ago I saw him with this band in Helmond. The line-up is very minimal: Reed accompanies himself on guitar and he is accompanied by keyboard player, guitarist and bassist Marc Spencer (Twelfth Night). This night, Reed plays some new material but also some Pallas songs like Queen of the Deep and Win or Lose. Especially this last song is played and sung with a lot of emotion. This semi-acoustic gig lasts 40 minutes and it was really entertaining! At this moment, Reed is busy with working on a new album which will be available early 2012: 'First in a Field of One'. I`m looking forward to it!

After a short break, ARENA enters the stage with their new singer, Paul Manzi, and John Jowitt, which returns in the line-up after 10 years. Manzi, who was active for The Oliver Wakeman Band replaces Rob Sowden. The band further consists of Mick Pointer (drums), Clive Nolan (keyboards) and John Mitchell on guitar. I`m glad to see John Mitchell again, in my opinion, he is one of the best guitar players at this moment. Fortunately, he is in a good shape tonight! The gig starts with the first song of the new album, The Great Escape. It is always risky to play a lot new songs from an album which has not been released yet. The release of The Seventh Degree of Separation is planned for 28 November. Arena`s seventh album is a concept album, which explores the last hour of life and the first hour beyond, quite a dark theme and this atmosphere is also present in most of the songs.
The first part of the set consists of songs from the new album which are alternated by songs from the album the visitor (A Crack in the Ice, The Hanging Tree), in my opinion still the best album of Arena. The new songs sound not bad at all, but I miss a little bit the epic touch and great instrumental parts which characterised the first albums of Arena. The music on The Seventh Degree of Separation is more “song minded”. During the second part of the gig, Arena plays also songs from other albums like Songs from the Lions Cage (The terrific Solomon and Valley of the Kings), Immortal (Ghost In The Firewall) and Pepper`s Ghost (The Eyes Of Lara Moon). During this songs, the audience gets more excited which has also its influence on the band which level increases during the gig. Manzi is also a good rock vocalist, however I sometimes miss the dramatic touch which for example Paul Wrightson (former vocalist) had. But after 2 encores and 20 songs further, a really nice music night ends. It was really worth to see Alan Reed and Arena and satisfied (and with the signed new album) I return home!

Y&T (29 October 2011)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
On Saturday October 29th, together with MILKMAN bass player John Emmen, I went to the venue De Pul in Uden, Holland, to see Y&T. And the reason why I didn't want to miss this show is because of that Y&T would play the entire "Earthshaker" (1981) album this evening. We arrived pretty early at De Pul, which wasn't open yet, so we went to have a drink somewhere else first. After two drinks we went back to De Pul, and when we entered the venue it was already nicely crowded. There was no support-act this evening, so it was 20:45 when the intro started and Y&T opened their 2 and a half hour set with "On With The Show" from their latest album "Facemelter" (2010). Second song the band played was already one of their classics, namely "Black Tiger". The first hour, songs like "Lipstick & Leather", "Mean Streak", "Midnight In Tokyo" and "Winds Of Change" past by. Although Dave Meniketti, who's voice is still sounding great, is the only remaining original member of Y&T, the band exists with John Nymann (guitar, vocals), Brad Lang (bass, vocals) and Mike Vanderhule (drums, vocals) of a perfect line-up. Like Meniketti said 'with this line-up the band can go on for years'. Of course Y&T played more songs of the "Facemelter" album during the first hour of the set, namely "Shine On", which is a tribute song to the band's original bass player Phil Kennemore (who died on January 7th 2011 of lung cancer), "If You Want Me", "Blind Patriot" and "Don't Bring Me Down". After "Don't Bring Me Down" it was time the band started to play the entire "Earthshaker" album. The atmosphere in De Pul, was fantastic, and with the first tunes of "Hungry For Rock" everybody went crazy. Dave Meniketti said to the audience 'the first time Y&T ever played overseas was in 1982, when we played at the Pink Pop Festival in Holland, and that's why Holland always will be special for the band'. Well, I don't know how many tickets were sold, but I guess it was almost sold out. Also tonight, just like during all other concerts that I have seen in De Pul, the sound was very good. Anyway, during the "Earthshaker" set, we got a nice drum solo of Vanderhule, which wasn't a boring solo. After the band had played "Shake It Loose", guitarist Nymann asked 'do you wanna hear a hippie sing?', and started to sing "Squeeze". It still is a pleasure to listen to Meniketti's awesome guitar solo's. It was pretty hot in De Pul, so Dave made the remark 'they should do something about the air conditioning here'. With the mighty "I Believe In You", Y&T ended the "Earthshaker" set, and after this classic song they played one last song of the "Facemelter" album, namely "I'm Coming Home". Then the band left the stage for just a couple of minutes and came back for three encores. Well, you will understand that this was an awesome and unforgettable show. Ooh yeah, Meniketti also said during the show 'next year we will come back and play the entire "Black Tiger" album, alright!'. Let's hope so, because that would be great as well. Anyway, for anyone who missed this excellent concert, the complete set lists existed of: "On With The Show", "Black Tiger", "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark", "Lipstick & Leather", "Mean Streak", "Midnight In Tokyo", "Shine On", "If You Want Me", "Blind Patriot", "Winds Of Change", "Beautiful Dreamer", "Don't Bring Me Down", "Hungry For Rock", "Dirty Girl", "Shake It Loose", "Squeeze", "Rescue Me", "Young And Tough", "Hurricane", "Let Me Go", "Knock You Out", "I Believe In You", "I'm Coming Home" and the encores "Hell Or High Water", "Summertime Girls" and "Forever".

MARIO'S METAL MEETING 5 (14 & 15 October 2011)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands



This was the fifth edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to some reviews & YouTube clips:

LORDS OF METAL (Only in Dutch) (The Netherlands)

More will follow later....

Some cool YouTube clips that where shoot at MMM5:

Rain

Lord Volture
Lord Volture
Lord Volture

Angus
Angus
Angus
Angus
Angus
Angus
Angus
Angus

If anybody has more YouTube links; let me know!!!!
FIREWIND, WOLF & VANDERBUYST (15 September 2011)
Willem II, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Finally after many years I had a good reason to return of the once legendary Willem II venue in 's Hertogenbosch. In the past I've seen SO MANY great gigs over there but later on the venue stopped with booking metal bands…Luckily the venue found their second life and is now and then booking some real metal again! Great! When I arrived at the venue it counted me that there was a rebuilding taking place and it looked good. Pity enough there was not much audience when the first band VANDERBUYST started. Maybe it had to do with the competition of other metal concerts nearby? But I didn't care; I came to see 3 great bands!;

VANDERBUYST started on time; 7:30 PM, and gave the audience what they where waiting for; real oldschool sounding hard rock! The band is immense popular these days and is touring around Europe for months now! They lately did a tour as support of Saxon and that says enough about their popularity! Normally the band always starts their set with UFO's “Rock Bottom” but today they didn't play that song at all. I suppose it has to do with the fact that the song is about 10 minutes and would take ¼ of their total playing time.
Some songs of their set: “December”, “Filthy Love”, “Tiger”, “Tracy Lords”, “Stealing your Thunder” and a new song from the upcoming album named “Into the Fire”; a more midtempo song.
Willem Verbuyst is the main man of the band and its always a pleasure to see this guy ”rolling” on stage! This band is gonna be big (if they already aren't!). If you still didn't see them alive; then you better hurry up! This is an incredible live band!!

WOLF from Sweden already played my own festival in 2008. This energetic band did according a lot of people their best show ever at Mario's Metal Meeting 2 in that particular year. Well that's always good to hear but I must admit that the band nearly always convinced me on stage. Today it all sounded less aggressive and the set was filled with to much midtempo songs. I think the band was also a bit disappointed in the meager turnout this evening. It was a nice show but as said one of their weakest I've seen so far. Part of the setlist: “Evil Star”, “Voodoo”, “Skull Crusher” & “Full Moon Possession”. Next time a 'speedier' setlist please!

Next band on the bill was headliner FIREWIND from Greece. The band is most well-known for their guitar player Gus G. who is nowadays also the leadguitarplayer for Ozzy Osbourne. The band already released several albums since the beginning of this century but I must admit that im not acquainted with their stuff. Luckily I have a broad taste and was curious after this band. Original singer Apollo Papathanasio wasn't able to do this tour and so the band hired Mats Leven (Abstrakt Algebra, At Vance, Yngwie Malmsteen. Krux) to do these shows. Man what a singer he is!!! It also fitted superb with the melodic metal of Firewind but I personally think Mats's voice fits to all kinds of metal! He is comparible with one of my idols; Jorn Lande. The band was suited with an awesome sound! Even if it was not really my favorite kind of metal; I enjoyed it pretty much! Great show! Some songs: “Destination Forever”, “Ready to Strike” & a new song “Heading for the Dawn”.

BLASPHEMIC ASSAULT FESTIVAL XX (18 June 2011)
Side B, Benavente, Portugal
Review by William Nijhof
Hell Yeah on the plane to go play in Portugal with my band (FORETOLD) on the Blasphemic Assault Fest XX in the Side B, where a lot of metal bands played as Obituary, Entombed, Grave etc. The reason for me to write a review is that there were playing 4 Portuguese bands that totally rule.
The first band on the bill was NEFASTUM (Por). This band plays black metal in vain of the legendary Darkthrone and other old black metal legends. Normally when I listen to black metal I always get bored after a few songs. This band is one of the few black bands that made me listen to the entire concert because they play their music with a great groove and keep you move your head. Evil screams combined with a very groovy black sound. And very long riffs. Very well done!
Second band on the bill was DEEP ODIUM (Por). These guys give no room to leave the concert because their music is fucking energetic and keeps you listening. Very fast guitar riffs and drums that keep on pounding like a train that cannot be stopped. The vocals are pulled out of a gutter and sounds really great and brutal. This is a band that clearly knows how brutal death metal should sound. They even had a guest singer on stage that joined them for a song, the legendary “Blasphemator” from “Infernus” and “Alcoholocaust”. I do not remember what song it was but it sounded great. This is a band which I can recommend to all brutal death metal fans because you have the entire package, fast and brutal songs ,technical and most import these guys play and you can see that they really enjoy their self on stage.
The third band on the bill was FORETOLD (NL) and they were great!!!!! hahaha
The fourth band of the evening was FUNGUS (Por). I already knew this band because I reviewed their records but live it is even more brutal. For this show they didn`t have a bass player but that is something that you do not miss at all. This band plays brutal death metal in vain of Aborted with more brutal vocals on it (this guy also sings in Deep Odium). The guitar riffs are very technical and fast. And the drums (also the drums in Deep Odium) are also very fast. Everyone in my band was really surprised to see how fast and technical the riffs are and how easy and relaxed these guys play it. This was one of the best bands that played that evening. And what also was a surprise for us is that one of the guitar players (Bob) originally comes from my home town Tilburg in the Netherlands so that even talks easier hahaha.
The fifth band on the bill was SAPIENS END (NL) and they make brutal death metal that goes right through your bones. These guys bring you a great combination of old school and brutal death. These guys also went without bass player but I didn`t miss that at all. The guitar riffs are very old school and sometimes reminded me a bit of Asphyx. And then you got the drums that are very straight in your face and very steady with a great groove. The vocals of this band are awesome and very brutal. It sounds like when he grunts it comes from out of the sewer and then it goes through a grinder. If you like brutal death then check there myspace because they rule.
The headliner of the evening is the almighty “GROG”. This band has been around since 1991 and brought out an arsenal of demo`s and albums. This was clearly the band of the day. Do you know Dying Fetus? Well their music reminds me a bit of that. Do you know Napalm Death? Well the vocals reminds me of that. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and fast and very technical. Then you get the drums....man that was not normal. This guy plays so fucking fast that you get a wall of sound that is so fucking constant that the only thing you can do is listen and look. And then you get the best part for me ,the vocals. This guy has a very low and brutal death grunt that sounds great and evil. Normally I do not mention a bass player (sorry bass players) but the guy that plays the bass in Grog reminds me a bit of Origin (he plays that thing very technical and fast). This was the headliner of the festival and they were awesome!!!! This band has it all tight; fast music and a vocalist that sounds brutal and moves around the entire stage so the eye also has something to look at. I heard of this band through their albums and never seen them live, I hope they will play on more places on the world so you can see them for yourself because this is definitely worth checking!

CHEAP TRICK & THE DIRTY DENIMS (17 June 2011)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
Just one day before this concert took place I had bought my ticket for this only show CHEAP TRICK did in Holland. The first time I saw CHEAP TRICK was on July 9th, 2004, when they played at the BOSPOP festival in Weert, Holland. So, I decided to go see them for the second time, this time at the venue De Pul in Uden. I never have been a huge fan of CHEAP TRICK. I only have their live album "Cheap Trick At Budokan" (1978), and that's all. But hey, that is really a fantastic live album and a real classic. Anyway, however drummer Bun E. Carlos is still officially a member of the band, I knew he wouldn't be the drummer during this tour. The drummer on this tour was Daxx Nielsen, yes….he's the son of guitarist Rick Nielsen. Anyway, this show in De Pul, was the fourth show of the eight shows CHEAP TRICK did during this European tour. The support act this evening were THE DIRTY DENIMS. I saw THE DIRTY DENIMS two times earlier this year, and when the band were entering the stage, I noticed that female bass player Lionne van der Hagen wasn't with the band. She was replaced by a male bass player (I forgot his name), who did, by the way, a great job as well. But I understood that Lionne just couldn't perform this evening. Anyway, it's great for the band they have the opportunity to open for CHEAP TRICK. It was 20:40 when they started with an instrumental one, followed by “Rock & Roll Victim”. The only song which they didn't play of their 5 track EP “Going Out” was “Bad Girl”. Other songs the band played besides “Ride Tonight”, “Going Out” and “Baby Let's Go” of the EP were THE ROMANTICS cover “What I Like About You”, “The Rocks Gotta Roll”, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Wanna Be Famous”. Singer and guitarist Mirjam Sieben knows how to entertain the audience. The band got a very good response of the crowd, which they deserve of course. Like I said before in my live review of RHINO BUCKET (March 5th, 2011, The Rambler, Eindhoven), THE DIRY DENIMS is a fantastic band with a promising future.

It was 21:40 when the intro started and CHEAP TRICK entered the stage. The band opened with “Way Of The World” from the “Dream Police” (1979) album, followed by “Hot Love” from the band's debut album “Cheap Trick” (1977). I think there were between 350 and 400 people in De Pul, who came to see CHEAP TRICK, so it was nicely crowded. And it was notable that the age of the public was very varied. Okay, most of the audience was between the age of 40 and 50, but there were also some teenagers and between 20 and 40. Singer and rhythm guitarist Robin Zander was dressed in black and wore also a black police cap. The microphone stand of guitarist Rick Nielsen was full with different colors of guitar picks, which he threw into the audience during every song the band played. I was standing in front of Nielsen, so I caught 6 picks (a red, green, white, orange, light blue and purple one) during the show. That made me happy, because I collect guitar picks for many years. Anyway, CHEAP TRICK played most of the songs from their first 4 studio albums, two songs from the “One On One” (1982) album (“If You Want My Love” and “She's Tight”) and three songs of the last studio album “The Latest” (2009), namely “These Days”, “Sick Man Of Europe” and “Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda”. It was mainly Nielsen who did the talking between the songs, and as usual he changed often of his guitars (Nielsen has a large collection) during the show. Bass player Tom Petersson was more standing at the backline. The sound was magnificent, the light show was beautiful and there was a fantastic atmosphere among the audience. It's a kind of tradition that the band always ends their regular set with the classic “Surrender”. During the line 'Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out', Nielsen threw a “copy” of KISS' “Dynasty” into the public. And talking about classics, other classic hits which the band always play are of course “I Want You To Want Me” and “Dream Police”. Anyway, when CHEAP TRICK returned on stage for the encores, they played “Taxman, Mr. Thief” as the first encore and Nielsen said to the audience 'we haven't done that one for a long time'. The last song the band played was “Goodnight”, so Rick, Robin, Tom and Daxx left the stage at 23:10. Well, I did have a great evening and it was just fantastic to see CHEAP TRICK in a smaller venue like De Pul, instead of on a large festival field or concert hall. Oh yeah, the complete set list of this CHEAP TRICK show existed of “Way Of The World”, “Hot Love”, “Ain't That A Shame”, “He's A Whore”, “If You Want My Love”, “I Want You To Want Me”, “These Days”, “She's Tight”, “High Roller”, “Auf Wiedersehen”, “Need Your Love”, “The House Is Rockin'”, “Sick Man Of Europe”, “Closer, The Ballad Of Burt And Linda” and “Surrender”. The encores were “Taxman, Mr. Thief”, “Voices”, “Dream Police” and “Goodnight”.

PAGANS MIND & BEYOND THE LABYRINTH (27 May 2011)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
A night of Progmetal in De Pul, Uden. The venue wasnt that crowded, most likely due to the fact that Rush was playing in Rotterdam that same evening??

Opener BEYOND THE LABYRINTH started exactly on time and it was for me my first acquaintance with this dutch progmetal band. Musically it suited well with headliner Pagans Mind and the band had a good sound. But after 15 minutes I was getting bored. Why? Simply because their singer was singing very moderate; he was missing power in his voice and he had no stage performance at all! Pity because as said; musically it was okay! The band played 45 minutes and that was to long to hold my attention for the whole show…so my advice; replace the singer and you will be more respected by the real progmetal audience.

Headliner PAGAN'S MIND is always great live and so where they this time! Singer Nils K. Rue is one of the best singers on this planet in my opinion! Pagan's Mind delivers exactly what prog metal fans want, that being superior musicianship, a crystalline production, soaring vocals, and diverse songwriting. Every instrument is clearly heard and makes its presence felt, and every note is seemingly in the right place. Pagan's Mind is unquestionably among the best melodic progressive metal bands playing today. The band already released 6 albums and all of them are real prog jewels! Lately they released their “Heavenly Ecstasy” and of course they played a lot this release. Singer Nils was looking a bit woody today but later on he explained why; he had broken his hip six weeks ago and they had toyed with the idea of cancelling the tour but he decided to soldier on in the end. He has walking very gingerly around the stage for sure though his showmanship and crowd geeing from the waste up was still tip top. Pity enough the band had some soundproblems; especially with Nils's wireless microphone. Some of the songs the band played; 'Eyes of Fire', 'Enigmatic Mission', 'Walk away in Silence', ''God's Equation', 'United Alliance', Evolution Exceed', 'Alien Kamikaze', 'Through Osiris' Eyes' & 'Hallo Spaceboy (David Bowie cover)'. This was again an excellent show of the band but it was a pity that the crowd didn't show up in large numbers…Next time I will be there again…for sure!!

CRIMSON GLORY, TRIOSPHERE & CIRRHA NIVA (27 April 2011)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Just one day before I would travel to the Keep it True festival in Germany I had the need to see Crimson Glory an extra time. I heard so many positive things about the new line-up (read: singer) that I needed to see them twice that week. So let's start with the review of this once legendary band with his support acts Triosphere & Cirrha Niva.

Due to problems with the national railway I arrived to late at the Dynamo club to see the complete show of the first band CIRRHA NIVA. This also had to do with the fact that Dynamo decided to start earlier with the package as announced on the several media. Last year Cirrha Niva played my own Mario's Metal Meeting 4 and they did an excellent job that time! I really love their progmetal and musically it's much better than their earlier stuff with Liselotte Hegt on bass/female vocals. Singer LeGrand is an incredible good singer and also a superb frontman! It counted me that the band was blessed with a very good sound; something that is rather unique at the Dynamo club. The band also had a new bassplayer in Jan van Baal; a real bass monster from my own hometown Tilburg. Luckily I could witness a few songs and believe me; this band is gonna be big in the progmetal scene!

After a small break TRIOSPHERE entered the stage and this time I was on time to see the whole show. After their show a couple of weeks earlier, supporting Sonata Arctica & Labyrinth (see review below), I was so curious! Also due to the fact that I love their latest album “The Road Less Travelled”. The band played an incredible good set and it's a pleasure to see this young metal band (and no; not only because of the good-looking singer/bassplayer Ida Haukland). Their latest album was a real surprise to me (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). Their music reminds me a lot to another Scandinavian band Sinergy but with more melody in their songs. Some songs the band did play during this 45 minute show where; 'Onwards Part II (Decadent One)', 'Human Condition', 'Trinity', 'Burnnn' (Deep Purple cover), 'Watcher', 'Worlds Apart' & 'Sunriser'. Very good show; hope to see them more soon!!

Finally it was time to see CRIMSON GLORY again; I've seen the band several times in the past with singer Midnight and also once with singer Wade Black during their “Astronomica” tour. All these shows where excellent so it would be difficult for new singer Todd La Torre to equal this high level of the past…..According all the You Tube clips on the internet I was even more curious! Well from the first till the last song it was one big highlight! Awesome!!! The band played mostly songs of the first two releases; 'Valhalla', 'Dragon Lady', 'Angels Of War', 'Azreal', 'Where Dragons Rule', 'Lonely', 'Red Sharks', 'Queen of the Masquerade', 'Masque of the Red Death', 'Burning Bridges' and as bonus songs 'Lost Reflections', 'In Dark Places' & 'Eternal World'. The band was in shape and it's unbelievable that their new singer used to be a drummer in some (even for me) unknown bands…… This is a real metal blessing; hope the band will continue to arrange new songs & record a new album! This was an evening filled with goose bumps…. Incredible good show!!

SONATA ARCTICA, LABYRINTH & TRIOSPHERE (28 March 2011)
Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
When I arrived at the Effenaar, TRIOSPHERE already was playing due to the fact that the venue started earlier as was announced. Luckily I still had the chance to see this female fronted metal band from Norway. And also the idea that I would see the band a month later as support of Crimson Glory (see review next month). The venue was filled very well when I entered the large concert hall. Singer/bassplayer Ida Haukland is good looking and (most important) a nice front woman who looked pretty amused by the large crowd. At times she sounds very raw, but she keeps it all very varied by using clean vocals as well. Because of the female vocals, Triosphere can be best compared with a band such as Sinergy. The band lately released their second album “The Road less Travelled” but the only two songs I heard this evening 'Trinity' and 'Sunriser' where both from their debut album “Onwards” (2007). Nevertheless it was nice to see them to get some idea about this band.
Next band on the bill was the band for which I especially drove to Eindhoven; LABYRINTH! One of my all-time fav. Italian powermetal bands and their singer Roberto Tiranti is one of the best powermetal singers ever! Also guitar player Olaf Thorsen is of course well known in the powermetal scene for his work with Vision Divine. Olaf Thorsen left the band several years ago and during that time the band released several more progmetal influenced albums which where not always accepted by the die hard Labyrinth fan base. Luckily for them Olaf returned and so did their musical direction. For that reason they named their first release after Olaf's return “Return to Heaven Denied Pt II”. The band played pretty well but had some small sound problems which would continue during the whole set. Pity also that the band only played for 35/40 minutes which was way to short for me!! It was nearly 10 years ago since I saw the band for the last time so I was hoping for more……. Still I enjoyed it a lot and it was great to hear several old tunes from this underrated band. Some songs of their setlist; 'In The Shade', 'A Chance', 'New horizons', 'Sailors of Time' and as bonus their anthem 'Moonlight'. Good show of some great musicians! Come back ASAP!
Today's headliner was SONATA ARCTICA from Finland. This band is very popular for many years now and it was clear that most of the visitors came to see these Vikings. The band was having a lot of fun on stage and especially their singer was in a very good mood. He was talking a lot of nonsense and enjoying the big crowd. Funny to see also the reactions when he asked the audience who where his Facebook friends and dozens of visitors raised their fist I the air…and than he told them that he didn't have a Facebook account at all. Whahahaha…
I've seen the band several times during the last years in my hometown Tilburg (013) but it suited me that the singer was singing much better than during these other gigs. Even though im not a big fan of their music; I always go back home satisfied after a SA show. Some songs I did remember; 'Juliet', 'Replica', 'Victoria's Secret', 'In Black And White' & 'Don't Say A Word' (bonus). Good show with a very nice stage backdrop/lights. Next time again!!

GUILD OF STAGS (10 March 2011)
Cul de Sac, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
GUILD OF STAGS is the new band of former KREZIP members Joost van Haaren (bass), Jan-Peter Hoekstra (guitar) en Bram van den Berg (drums). After KREZIP call it quits, Van Haaren, Hoekstra and Van den Berg continued playing together. During a jam-session in 2010, somewhere in Holland, these guys met English singer Michael Devlin, with whom they played LED ZEPPELIN classic "Whole Lotta Love" on Devlin's request. A few more sessions in England followed and GUILD OF STAGS was born. I saw GUILD OF STAGS last year on the Zwarte Cross festival on July 18th, which was the band's first gig in Holland. And man, I really enjoyed that performance. Okay, the band had a few songs in their set which in my opinion were sounding a bit commercial, but most of their own songs they played were awesome and reminded me of the legendary LED ZEPPELIN. And one thing is for sure, the band, which exists of course of fantastic musicians, has in Devlin a real great singer. Anyway, because I knew what I could expect of GUILD OF STAGS, I decided to go to see the band again, this time in café Cul de Sac in Tilburg, Holland. I was on time at Cul de Sac, and it was 22:00 when the band got on stage and kicked off with "What Do Ya Know". It was very crowded in Cul de Sac, and the band got some very good responses. And also this second time that I saw GUILD OF STAGS, I really enjoyed their fantastic songs. This band just really breathes the LED ZEPPELIN feeling. Devlin, who also played acoustic guitar on several songs, has the voice and also a bit of the looks of Robert Plant. Other songs the band played were "Need Her Love", "Scarlet Liege", "Diet & Decay", "18", "Holding You Tight", the first single of the upcoming debut album "Hit 'N Miss", "Too Long", "School Days", "They Call It Love" and the QUEEN cover "Tie Your Mother Down". When Devlin announced their single "Hit 'N Miss", which can be downloaded, he said 'come on and get your cameras to film this song', and a few girls in the audience started to film the band with their cell phones. Anyway, the sound in Cul de Sac was just excellent. I think it was after the superb song "Too Long", when I yelled to Devlin "Living Loving Maid" (of "Led Zeppelin II"). And Michael answered to me 'yes I would like to have one'. The last song the band played this evening was "Millionaire", and left the stage at 23:00. So, they didn't do any encore. Well, the debut album of GUILD OF STAGS will be released in August this year, therefore I would advise to anyone who's into excellent 70's Hard Rock, to check that album out when it's in the stores.

RHINO BUCKET & THE DIRTY DENIMS (5 March 2011)
The Rambler, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
In 2010, when RHINO BUCKET played at The Rambler in Eindhoven, Holland on January 8th, I missed them, because I had some other obligations. But months ago, when I saw that they would be playing at The Rambler again in 2011, I thought by myself 'yes, I won't miss that concert this time', because I liked their album "The Hardest Town" (2009) very much (see my review on the January 2010 update). So, on Saturday March 5th I went to Eindhoven by train, and arrived at 21:00 at The Rambler. When I entered The Rambler, there were already a few people and openings act THE DIRTY DENIMS were doing their sound check. So I ordered a beer and sat down on a bar stool, waiting for the moment the band would begin. Slowly it became more crowded in The Rambler, and I think it was around 22:00 when THE DIRTY DENIMS got on stage. And I must say, THE DIRTY DENIMS is a very nice and promising band. They have a very good 5 track EP, titled "Going Out", which was released in 2009. Anyway, the band, which exists of Mirjam Sieben (vocals, guitar), Jeroen Teunis (lead guitar), Lionne van der Hagen (bass) and Thomas Spauwen (drums), sounds like a mixture of AC/DC, THE DONNAS, early BLONDIE, DANKO JONES et cetera. Besides their own songs like "Rock & Roll Victim", "Bad Girl", "Baby Let's Go" and "Going Out" from their EP (they didn't play "Ride Tonight"), and "Backstage", "Don't Get In My Way", "The Rocks Gotta Roll", "Gonna Get It", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (which is not a PAT BENATAR cover) and "Wanna Be Famous", which are all sounding fantastic, they also played a nice cover version of "What I Like About You" of THE ROMANTICS. Like I said, THE DIRTY DENIMS are a very nice and promising band, which I would like to see more often. And I was not the only one who liked them, because the band got some very good response of the audience. Anyway, I am really looking forward to the band's first full length debut album. I'm sure that would be a fantastic debut album anyway.
Well, headliner and AC/DC sound-alike RHINO BUCKET entered the low stage at The Rambler at around 23:00 and started with "Who's Got Mine" from their brand new album with the same title. What notices me was that they had a new drummer, because I had expected Simon Wright (ex-AC/DC) behind the drums, because Wright played on "The Hardest Town" (and on the 1994 album "Pain" as well). Anyway the new drummer is called Anthony Biuso, and did a very good job as well. Biuso played in punk bands TSOL and THE DICKIES before. Anyway, singer and guitarist Georg Dolivo told the audience that this was the last show of their nine week European tour, but that the band would come back in June. Although there were about between 50 or 60 people at The Rambler, I must say that most of the audience was very tame. Okay, they just watched the band from a small distance, and they gave a good response. But I think that most of the people were there just because there were playing some bands, and that they didn't know RHINO BUCKET at all. Anyway, RHINO BUCKET played two more songs from their new album during their show, which were "Joke's On You" and "Message In My Bottle". From "The Hardest Town" (2009) they only played the fantastic title track and "Street To Street". Songs they played from the "Get Used To It" (1992) album were "Beat To Death Like A Dog", "Hey There" and "She's A Screamer". From the "Pain" (1994) album they only played "I Was Told", and from the "And Then It Got Ugly" (2006) album the songs "Welcome To Hell", "Smile", "She Rides" and "Hammer And Nail". And from their self titled debut album from 1990, they played "One Night Stand" and "Ride The Rhino" with whom they ended their show. The band, who has in Brian Forsythe (also from KIX) a great guitarist who sounds just like Angus Young, didn't play three songs which were written on their set list, which were "Word", "Ride With Yourself" and "Bar Time". Anyway, I had a very enjoyable evening.

FATES WARNING & SUN CAGED (12 February 2011)
De Bosuil, Weert, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
On a Saturday evening I went to De Bosuil venue to see Fates Warning & Sun Caged perform again. It has been a while since I saw both bands for the last times. I never was a huge Fates Warning fan but due to the fact that Sun Caged was support act I traveled to Weert..

When I arrived at the venue SUN CAGED just started with their set. I've been a great fan of the band for years and especially their debut album is still running in my cd player regularly! After that album and a lot of gigs singer Andre Vuurboom left the band and was replaced by Paul Adrian Villarreal. To be honest; his voice isn't that great as from his predecessor Andre. And that's also the reason I didn't see the band that much during the last years. Well today it was the same; musically Sun Caged is a great band but with a better singer the band would be more well-known after all this years. But okay; that's my opinion. Pity was also the fact that the sound wasn't that good this night at De Bosuil, especially Marcel Coenen's guitar was too weak in the mix which gave the whole performance a kind of an AOR sound instead of the progmetal sound I was expecting. Nevertheless it was a nice show, nothing more, nothing less.

After a break FATES WARNING came on stage and what counted me most where the long hair of singer Ray Alder, especially because a few years ago during his Redemption gig at the Headway Festival he was nearly bold! But this has of course nothing to do with his vocal capabilities. The band starts with 'One” but from the first second the band has the same sound problems as Sun Caged. And this would continue the whole evening. As said; I never was a big Fates Warning fan; especially not after original singer John Arch left the band years ago. I've seen today's singer Ray Alder several times with Fates Warning and Redemption and he could never convince me. Also today he was singing hoarse and a bit out of tune on tracks like 'Point of View', 'Still Remains', 'Monument' and 'The Eleventh Hour'. In combination with the moderate sound during the 90 minute gig it wasn't the evening I was expecting. Musically 2 great bands with great musicians but both with very moderate singers……and a weak sound….

STRIKER & STATE: CHAOS (16 January 2011)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
When I entered the Stage 01 venue (formerly known as the Batcave) of 013 at 16:25, openings band STATE: CHAOS was already playing for about 25 minutes. So, I only have seen the last four songs of the band. Well, I am not that familiar with the material of the band. So far I had seen the band just once before, and that was on March 30, 2007 when STATE: CHAOS opened for OUTBURST in the Little Devil in Tilburg. Anyway, the band did also one encore, which was a totally new song. And because the fact that that song didn't have a title so far, and that they were opening for STRIKER, they called that song "Striker Rules". Anyway, nice band, who played very tight and got a nice response of the audience.
But I came especially to see Canadian band STRIKER. And that's because Mario made me curious about STRIKER. He had asked me in an email if I also came to see STRIKER, and said to me that STRIKER are a real good band (Mario had seen them on the "Metal Assault Festival" in Wurzburg, Germany the weekend before). Anyway, these young guys started at 17:15, and opened with "Full Speed Or No Speed" from their first full length album "Eyes In The Night" (2010). And really, from the moment they played that song, I was immediately impressed by this very talented band. STRIKER exists of fantastic musicians, and most of all they do have in Dan Cleary a great singer with an awesome voice. Although it wasn't that crowded (I think there were about between 40 and 50 people), Cleary welcomed and thanked the audience to be at their show on a Sunday afternoon. The band treated us for one hour with excellent Speed-, Thrash- and Power Metal like in the eighties. You really can hear that these guys are influenced by bands like JUDAS PRIEST, RACER X, SAVATAGE and VICIOUS RUMORS, to name a few. Ian Sandercock and Chris Segger are both excellent guitar players, and treated us on great (twin) guitar solo's. The band played songs like the aforementioned "Full Speed Or No Speed", "Road Warrior" (the first song the band ever wrote, Cleary said), "Eyes In The Night", "Lord Of The Sword" et cetera. Half way the show Cleary asked the audience, 'does anyone know DIO?', and the band started to play RAINBOW's "Kill The King". Other covers which STRIKER had on their set list were "Aces High" (IRON MAIDEN) and "Power Of The Night" (SAVATAGE). The sound in Stage 01 was very good, and there was also a good atmosphere amongst the audience. After the show I bought the EP "Road Warrior" and the album "Eyes In The Night" (both are a real recommendation), and went home on my bicycle. Although I had some back problems that day, I'm glad I went to see this fantastic band. Well, if you missed STRIKER this time, make sure you go see them on their next European Tour, especially if you like high quality Metal. STRIKER will also be playing at this years HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR on July 29th 2011. Hopefully they will do a club tour as well in that period, and if so, I hope they will be playing in 013 again as well. Maybe next time in the small hall?? Only it would be very nice for the band if the next time the audience would exist of more than 40 or 50 people.

Top


2010

MICK POINTER & DEC BURKE (17 December 2010)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers
What can you expect when you go to see a band play live that split up nearly three decades ago? Well, I had no expectations other than to enjoy myself!

On 17-12-2010, MICK POINTER visited the Pul in Uden again to play Marillion`s fabulous album Script for a Jester's Tear. Mick Pointer was the original drummer and one of the founding members of the symphonic rock band Marillion in 1979. EMI later signed the line-up of Marillion that wrote the platinum selling debut album Script for a Jester's Tear. Released in 1983, the album featured the top 40 hits He Knows You Know and Garden Party and is regarded by many as a modern classic of the symphonic rock genre. Pointer played on 18 April 1983 for the last time in the original line-up.
This performance was Pointer's fourth visit to the Pul, he successfully played here earlier in April 2008, early 2009 and December 2009. Because of a lot of snow, I checked the website of the Pul before I left home. As could be read on the website of de Pul, the band had arrived but there could be a possibility that they had to perform without Brian Cummings (who plays the role of Fish), but he was underway and maybe he would arrive on time. Finally, it became a remarkable night which I will never forget!

The support act of this evening was one of Mick Pointers own favourites: DEC BURKE. Dec Burke is a talented singer / songwriter who has released a new album with his own project. This album is called Destroy All Monsters. Dec Burke is also active in Frost and Darwin's Radio.
During their one hour taking set, they played a real nice couple of songs (8 in total) of a high progressive calibre. Before this gig, I was not familiar with Dec Burke's music, but it reminded me of the best days of Rush for example. The compositions of the songs are great! However it was a pity that it took some songs before the guitar sound was amplified very well. But I'm enthusiastic!

On 22:45 started the gig of MICK POINTER and his friends. Besides Mick Pointer (Drums), the following musicians entered the stage: Nick Barrett (Pendragon; Guitar), Mike Varty (Credo; Keys) and Ian Salmon (Arena; Bass). It became clear that Brian Cummings did not make it to the Pul, so some of the band members sang (parts of) some songs, but most of the songs were played instrumental. The band made copies of all the lyrics for the audience to sing the songs by themselves. Mick Pointers announced the band as: “Mick Pointer's Karaoke”.
The gig can be roughly divided into two parts. During the first part, the complete “Script for a Jester's Tear” album was played. In my opinion, this is one of the best made symphonic rock albums ever. The band is in a good shape and after the first song (Script for a Jester's Tear), it is obvious that the crowd reacts positively with regards to the absence of the singer. The crowd sings passionately the songs, but sometimes it is a little bit “chaotic”. The second part of the gig, the band plays songs from old b-sides from the early period of Marillion like Charting the Single (which is stopped timely due to the limited “Karaoke factor”), Grendel and Market Square Heroes. During the encore (Margaret, a nice interpretation of an old Scottish folk song), the public becomes very enthusiastic again. After this song, a remarkable concert ends. This was my first (almost) complete acoustic concert (although Apocalyptica is also acoustic), but the enthusiasm of the band during the gig makes everything good.

After the gig, I was able to speak some words with Mick Pointer. He explained that it was never an option to cancel the show, although it was uncertain if Cummings would arrive on time. Cummings tried everything to join the band, but a lot f flights to Schiphol were cancelled and when he arrived in Dover to catch a train to Calais, there was no place. He explained too that they were quite nervous to enter the stage without a singer, he had never done that before. When I asked him about the status of Arena, he revealed that the fans can expect a new album in 2011 with a new singer (Paul Manzi)!

DEEP MACHINE & SMOKIN' BARRELS (21 November 2010)
The Bridgehouse2, London, United Kingdom
Review by Eddie van Vugt
What can you expect when you go to see a band play live that split up nearly three decades ago? Well, I had no expectations other than to enjoy myself!

DEEP MACHINE are known to the real NWOBHM-aficionados for playing heavy, well-crafted songs filled with interesting riffs. Bands from the same generation such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Angelwitch and later Satan and Tokyo Blade shared their style and got signed, but Deep Machine never did. Of the five demo tapes, give or take, that they released, their most famous one from 1981 has been remastered and consists of Demon Preacher, Asylum, Witch Child and Deep Machine, which are all cornerstones in their live set. These recordings featured bass player Andy Wrighton, guitarist Johnny “Bravo” Wiggins (who both joined Tokyo Blade and rejoined them earlier this year), rhythm guitarist Bob Hooker, singer Roger Marsden (later of Angel Witch and the Ericson Fischer Band) and drummer Rick Bruce (later of Angel Witch as well). Nowadays Bob Hooker is the only surviving member, but he found himself capable artists to complete the line-up that is as follows: Bob Hooker (guitar), Nigel Martindale (guitar), Johnny Riley (bass guitar), Lenny Baxter (vocals), Charlie Towler (drums).

The band had sound checked, went on stage and without further ado, started rocking! Instead of headlining tonight, the band decided to open for their own support band! The reason being that this support act, Smokin' Barrels, would ring more bells nowadays which might even be true. Opening with the thundering Demon Preacher, the train was set rolling and the next handful of songs were equally heavy and well-delivered. From the pounding Iron Cross the band smoothly moved onto the slow and atmospheric intro of Black Priestess as they did thirty years ago. After this, on it went with three more rockers of the same caliber and the Judas Priest cover Running Wild closed the set. No encore followed. However impressive these songs are, especially given the fact they were written 30 years ago, the stage performance was modest. The gig was low key and there was no real interaction with the crowd. Then again, 25 people do not make a crowd, so the band was missing feedback other than the constant humming from the PA which was a shame. Altogether, the gig was great and it must be said that these are all wonderful musicians. Hope to hear more from them. For that, we should not have to wait that long as their upcoming lp record is due in spring. That is right, vinyl! I was not expecting a cd from this band, were you? Look out for it!
Soon after that, SMOKIN' BARRELS took the stage and they were obliviously enjoying themselves! They played an energetic set of good old no-fringe, but highly listenable AC/DC-style hard rock. By this time, the pints of beer were adding up which added to the live experience but complicates my recollections as well as writing a detailed review!

Deep Machine Setlist:
1. Demon Preacher
2. Witch Child
3. Killer
4. Asylum
5. The Wizard
6. Iron Cross
7. Black Priestess
8. Highway
9. Warhead
10. Deep Machine
11. Running Wild


METAL FEMALE VOICES FESTIVAL VIII (22, 23 & 24 October 2010)
Oktoberhallen, Wieze, Belgium
Review by Kees Schijven
At the end of October it's time again for the next Metal Female Voices Festival in Wieze, Belgium. A festival for female fronted metal bands, with a friendly atmosphere and fans visiting from all over the world. The festival has grown from a one day happening to a three day festival over the years, where in the early years mostly gothic metal bands were programmed is now a bill with some gothic, mainstream and even extreme metal are presented.

Due to the fact we had chosen to see Y&T on Friday night, we missed the first day. On Friday the bill consisted out of THE VEIL, MANIC MOVEMENT and HELLS BELLES.

When we arrived on Saturday SKEPTICAL MINDS just started to play, so we had already missed 4 bands, PYTHIA, GODYVA, BARE INFINTY and 69 CHAMBERS. The venue opened already at 10:30 in the morning, while the first band started playing around 11:20, this is really early, so early we couldn't make it on time unfortunately. As there is only one stage, only one band is playing at the same time, so you never have to miss any bands like at some other festivals. The stage is huge with a big video screen on the side of the stage, there is also a festival market and a signing corner inside the Oktoberhallen. We watched a big part of the set SKEPTICAL MINDS played, and we're surprised by this energetic band, whom have a great front woman in Karolina! We left the front of the stage to see what else was going on, other than the front of the stage, the signing corner was also very crowded (and that would go on for the whole weekend, I think some people didn't even see the stage as they went from one row into another) this seemed to be a popular part of the festival. Also DORO was appearing there, without even performing at the festival. While looking around we missed the next show by VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, who gave a good show as I coud hear from the crowd. Next up would be DYLATH LEEN from France, whom I didn't wanna miss, this great band did what they came for, play some good female fronted death/thrash metal in a modern way, with singer Kathy doing her clean and sreaming vocal parts perfectly! TRISTANIA was the next in line, as they we're on tour together with REVAMP (who also played MFVF) and ASRAI (who we're told they already played MFVF too much, so they didn't play unfortunately, while they only played there once!). TRISTANIA introduced their new female singer on this tour, and played a good set of old and new. KRYPTERIA followed, and didn't disappoint at all, as I didn't knew them before, but certainly not your typical gothic metal band and again a great vocalist on board. Our own REVAMP was the last band to play before headliner ARCH ENEMY ruled the stage, and did what we are used to from Floor and band, the crowd went wild. But the band I came for played last and even Angela wondered for a moment why she was asked to play the metal female voices festival, as she said her voice didn't sound so female at all. But they ruled the stage for an hour and a half playing all their buttkickers as 'We Will Rise' , 'Ravenous' or 'My Apocalypse', after which day one was ended.

On Sunday we arrived a little earlier and only missed one band namely DEJAFUSE, but as we heard later they didn't play and were replaced by another band if I am correct. RAM ZET was the first band we did see, and was a strange and interesting band, and actually original too (see also Archive CD/DVD Reviews). OMEGA LITHIUM was another band we missed on stage, but the reactions of the attenders where good. Then the program was changed, and SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA came up next, in her babydoll. As I never heard them before, but knew of her reputation with Cradle of Filth, I was expecting something totally different, but their metal sounded actually refreshing and they certainly had a lot of fans in the crowd today. After this I did my discovery of the festival, later then planned was now the time for THE AGONIST from Canada to perform on stage. I was blown away by this extreme band with their beautiful and brutal singer, best of this MFVF in my opinion (I know not everybody will agree with me). I had to do a bit of recovering after this, and missed DIABOLUS IN MUSICA, but was back in time to see HOLY HELL, something totally different again but great metal in the Maiden style, well performed with a truly amazing singer (yet again, that's why they call it MFVF!). LEAVES EYES was the last band to play for headliner of the sunday EPICA. LEAVES EYES gave their best as always, and performed a wonderful show yet again, this sympathetic band deserves to be headliner in my opinion! While EPICA can't do anything wrong in Belgium, as they are kind off the house band of MFVF, and ruled again for the I don't now how maniest time. MFVF is a great festival with a very friendly and social atmosphere where you see more friends by every year you visit from all over the world. It's a unique concept that works, so lets hope they keep this going for many years to come!

Y&T, THE NAME (22 October 2010)
Patronaat, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Review by Kees Schijven
After arriving at one of the nicer venue's of our country, Patronaat in Haarlem, for the first time for me, I was impressed by this place, it's comparable with the old Noorderligt in Tilburg. A great place for live gigs, which this night would prove for sure!
Just after eight on the clock THE NAME started off, with their female fronted metal, first time for me to see the band live. As I've heard a lot about them I was very curious how they would do live on stage, and it wasn't disappointing at all. They played a varied set of about 40 minutes, and halfway singer Hadassa made an announcement about Phil Kennemore of Y&T, who is in the hospital back in the USA diagnosed with cancer. To help him pay his hospital bills, a collection was being done in the venue to raise money. Singer Hadassa reminded me a bit of Simone Simons of Epica in her performance on stage, somebody told me there was a name for this kind of bands, namely ventilator bands. True it is, as all these female singers wave their hair on a giant fan in front of the stage, think of Epica, After Forever to name a few.
About a half hour after The Name left the stage, the lights went out and the intro of Y&T started, the band came on stage and started off with 'The Show must go on' of the new 'Facemelter' album. It was obvious most people came to see Y&T and they got value for their money, a great show of about 2 hours and 15 min from a band that was having fun on stage and gave it a 110%. Dave Meniketti was absolutely in top shape, and played his guitar like there was no tomorrow. Dave's voice sounded great too, and they played all their old hits, like 'Mean Streak', 'Midnight in Tokyo', 'Black Tiger' and also songs from their new 2010 album 'Facemelter', which sounded as good as the old ones. They played with a stand in bass player as Phil was hospitalized back home, but he shure knew how to handle his bassguitar. Every member got some time to do a solo, and after two hours they left the stage. The crowd kept calling them back, so after a few moments they were back to play '25 hours a day', 'Open Fire' and 'Rescue Me' to finalize their show. This was by far one of the best show I've seen them play, the band was in top condition, and I think everybody got where they came for, and went home satisfied. I know I can't get enough of them when they play shows like this, so, when are they coming back?

ANNIHILATOR, SWORN AMONGST & ADIMIRON (10 October 2010)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen
When I entered the venue at 20.15h sharp. ADIMIRON was playing their last song. More and more venues are starting earlier as stated. Quickly asked my friends if I missed something but the thrash metal presented was decent but nothing special. Vocals had a lot in common with Phil Anselmo (Pantera) and the overall sound is also very influenced by the guys from Texas.
Next up: SWORN AMONGST. A thrash metalband from Britain that has just released their third full-length: “Severance” Big problem with this second wave of Thrash is that there isn't one new band that is sounding original. But with an energetic performance and enjoyable songs such as the fast sounding “Darkness” there was enough to like about this band.
The main reason about 300 people made it to De Pul was of course ANNIHILATOR. With that 300 people it was pleasant and not too crowdie. The atmosphere was immediately great when the band started the first song “Ambush”. It's good to see that Jeff has finally found a stable companion. Dave Padden definitely has grown as both vocalist and guitar player and although his voice is good but not great I think he is the right person on the right place for now and the future to come. Jeff was in his element as always showing little lights on his guitar and making jokes all evening long. I still find it a shame that the man doesn't reach bigger crowds with his fantastic guitar playing. Some things will unfortunately never change, I think. From almost every album a song was played so that actually nobody was disappointed. I know that not every Annihilator album is as good as the first two –and most of the people only want to hear songs from that albums - but the band never failed to release quality and an album as 'Kill of the King' was presented with four songs. It looks like that album finally gets the attention it deserves not only from the band but also from the crowd. Highlight of the evening was the acoustic medley with the songs “Phoenix Rising and “Sounds Good to Me” by Jeff and Dave sitting on a bar stool. After the 18th and mandatory closing song “Alison Hell” the band left the stage, the weekend ended and everyone went home with a good feeling.

MARIO'S METAL MEETING 4 (1,2 & 3 October 2010)
Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by several magazines/webzines

This was the fourth edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to the several reviews/pictures on webzines & magazines:

FURY (The Netherlands)

LORDS OF METAL (The Netherlands)

More will follow later....

Some cool YouTube clips that where shoot at MMM4:

Reviver

Martyr

Mother of Sin



BLIND GUARDIAN & STEELWING (24 September 2010)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Sammy de Maere
BLIND GUARDIAN used to be one of my favorite bands and even now, when I have outgrown the entire power metal genre, I still enjoy their live shows. Since it has been years since I saw the band on an indoor live show I was quite enthusiastic to see them again. Unfortunately Swedish speed metallers Enforcer had to cancel their tour as support because it would have been a nice warm up.
Instead we got Swedish heavy metal band STEELWING to warm up the crowd and they did a pretty good job. With catchy heavy metal tunes that reminded me greatly of Iron Maiden and a lot of enthusiasm they got the crowd going and had them heated up nicely for Blind Guardian to finish them off.
I had high expectations and the German band did not let me down. The band was in great shape and Hansi's voice was great as ever. The band played a nice setlist filled with classics and a few songs of the new album which also sounded good. The crowd was also very much into the show which led to several memorable moments such as singing the chorus of 'Valhalla' for minutes long after the song has ended, an entire hall of jumping people during 'Lord of the Rings' and of course 'The Bard's Song' with 2 guitars on stage and a thousand voices in the hall itself. For the fans this was yet another night to remember and I hope to see the band at next summer's festivals.

SWORDBROTHERS 9 FESTIVAL (11 September 2010)
Juz, Andernach, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Again I travelled to Germany for the yearly Swordbrothers festival; organized by German friend Volker Raab. This year it was the 9th edition and what counted me was the fact that Volker booked this year 4 headliners instead of 1;
Swordbrothers has every year one or more bands that cancel at the last moment and this year it was again the same problem; after the cancellation of Cage a few months ago also Ruthless cancelled their gig just a few weeks before the festival and Cloven Hoof's line up broke up… Bad luck for Volker again. Luckely he could convince Cloven Hoof to play a few songs with some guest musicians but this was a dumper with only 2 songs. For Ruthless he could book the Dutch Steel legends of Picture. Well lets go the review;


DESERT SIN was the opener of the day and when we arrived the band was already playing. This band from Austria played decent powermetal with a lot of US-powermetal elements. Good show!!
Because we arrived during Desert Sin we didn't have time to eat so we left the venue to grab a pizza nearby the hall. During our foodfight we could hear parts of the HURLEMENT show and what we heard sounded great! Just on time we went back to be witness of the last 2 bonus songs which where both cover songs of other French bands; Sortilege's 'Sortilege' en H-Bomb's 'Exterminateur'. Hurlement turned out to be a very good band with a more than average singer! Compliments!
WIDOW from the USA was next on the bill but their music couldn't hold my attention for a long time; their guitarsound sucked and their music was to standard to my opinion.
ETERNAL WINTER was another US band but this time a band I never ever heard of before! Pity because these youngsters showed that they could battle with the bigger bands of the festival easily! Because most of the audience was not familiar with the band; there where only about 25/35 people inside of the venue and the rest was outside…a shame because this band deserved much more! Their singer sometimes reminded me to a younger Geoff Tate and I wish this band a great future! Great performance!
Another band that reminded me a lot to Queensryche and especially Lethal was THROES OF SANITY, also a US-metal band but this time with several progmetal elements! The band was blessed with a very good singer AND great musicians!! It's always great to see these kind of bands in Germany because in The Netherlands its impossible to book these kind of metal because not one venue is interested in this genre of US quality metal! Good choice to book this oldschool band!! Again a great performance!
During PARAGON we again left for dinner and this time we missed the whole show. Luckily ive seen the band in the past but after Eternal Winter & Throes of Sanity they could only be disappointing…..
My personal headliner this year was ASKA (USA) and man they ruled!!! They came, they saw, the conquered!!! Mainman George Call is an incredible frontman! He has a typical voice and it's a delight to see this guy perform! He brings the show with a lot of humor and for people that are not familiar with him; he is also singing in Omen these days. Great show and as said; for me the personal headliner of the festival!!
Again it was time for another headliner from the USA; SKULLVIEW. This is a real underground band and they have just released a new album after many years. This is US Powermetal in the tradition of the old 80's metal scene. I've seen the band before at the KIT festival; but that time it was a disgrace because a few band members where drunk as hell during their performance. Luckily this time it was a good, sober, show! Nothing more, nothing less
Well now I was curious about what CLOVEN HOOF would bring us; well that was not much! Promised was a 30 minute shows but the band disappeared after 2 songs!!! What an embarrassment!! It would have been better if the band had not show up at all to my opinion. Last band was nothing more than Dutch Steel legends PICTURE. The band played a decent show as always but couldn't hold my attention for the whole gig. Maybe that also had to do with the fact that the band would headline my own MMMeeting a few weeks later. Nevertheless a good, decent show!!

Volker again thanks for the hospitality & the good bands!! The level of the bands was much higher than the SB shows in the past! Looking out for SB 2011!!

VOI VOD & NASHVILLE PUSSY (13 August 2010)
De Lakei, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Corinne van den Brand & Mario van Dooren
What a combination of bands!! Because of the wide metal interest of the MMM team I was glad that Corinne could review Nashville Pussy because I couldnt make it on time to see both shows completely. I was not familiar with the NP stuff but VoiVod has always been one of my alltime favorite bands!!

CORINNE:
First band this night was NASHVILLE PUSSY. These enthusiastic Texas based band really heated up the crowd. In some cases literally when guitarist Ruyter Suys welcomed a guy very personally. The guy couldn`t stop smiling afterwards. The band played a varied set with songs from all their albums like 'Speed Machine' and 'Ain`t your business' from "From hell to Texas". 'High as Hell' from the "Higher as Hell" album. "Hate and Whisky" from the "Get Some" album. "You`re going down" from the 'Let them eat Pussy' cd to name a few. Ofcourse they also played the covers 'Nutbush City Limits" (Ike & Tine Turner) and "Rock `n`roll Outlaw (Rose Tattoo). They had a very good sound and although Nashville Pussy and Voivod are a weird combination it totally worked out because I can`t imagine why anybody doesn`t like this steamy rock `n` roll band. The songs aren`t really original and are pretty straight forward but it`s a great party band. Especially guitarist Ruyter steals the show and was named Angie Young by some guys around me. Well, that name suites her. Not everybody was charmed by the looks of Karen Cuda and Ruyter Suys but who cares !! Fact is I enjoyed it very much and the crowd was warmed up by now. Good show !!!

MARIO:
Finally after to many years I was going to see one of my all time fav. bands VOI VOD;
The last time I saw the band was in their Eric Forrest line up which I liked also very much! A few years ago the band decided to reunite in their original line up. First new studio line up was one with Jason Newsted (ex-Flotsam & Jetsam.. oh yeah and off course non-metallers Metallica). Live Jason was mostly replaced by original bassplayer Blacky. This time it was again, Snake (Denis Belanger), Away (Michel Langevin) & Blacky (Jean-Yves Thériault) completed by guitarist Dan Mongrain (ex- Martyr (Canada)) who replaced the legendary Piggy (Denis D’Amour) who died of cancer in 2000 (R.I.P.)!
Curious as a child I was of the band after all these years in a nearly original line-up!!! Well luckily I did see the band several times in the past with that original line-up so I knew what I could expect. Snake was back after many years and maybe he wasn't so energetic anymore on stage (don't blame him, its just a matter of age, hahaha) but what an incredible frontman it still is! His typical movements on stage; the way he translates the songs with his performance was again great; Away that creates more out of 3 toms than most other drummers can get out of a “complete” drum kit and off course Blacky with his typical style! Also “newcomer” Dan was getting near close to Piggy's sound!! Man what a night!!! The band played a nice mix of most of their albums with songs like; 'VoiVod', 'The Unknown Knows', 'The Prow', 'Ripping Headaches', 'Tribal Convictions', 'Brain Scan', 'Ravenous Medicine' (in which both bassguitar en leadguitar broke down), 'Experiment', 'Nuclear War', 'Astronomy Domine' (Pink Floyd cover) & as bonus 'Nothingface'. They also played 1 new song ,'Global Warning', of the “Infine” album but after 65 minutes it was done L. That was the only negative comment I want to give to this more than incredible show!! Glad VoiVod is back!!!! We want more!!!!

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR (29, 30 & 31 July 2010)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren
Headbangers Open Air; the place to be!!! Especially when you're just like me into oldschool metal!! This is the Metal Heaven for every underground metalfan and the place to be when you are looking out for oldschool/cult bands you never saw before OR bands that play like they where formed in the eigthies.....
This was the 7th time in a row for me to visit the largest en most atmospheric festival in the world! Or as the organisers say; the biggest garden party in the world! Every year im looking out for this fest because of the geniality of the organisers, crew, visitors and all the bands that are walking the area for 3 days!! Its unbelievable that organisers Thomas & Jurgen can create this atmosphere for some many years now without becoming commercial. Okay, last year there where a lot of complains about the growing number of visitors & the lack of variety of food. For 2 years HOA is one week before the huge Wacken Open Air and last year a lot of Wacken "scum" ruined a part of the hospitality & atmosphere. Luckily the organisers are both also fanatic metal fans and they took action after all these complains! Well, this year was again great with less visitors, good food & drinks and I had a hell of a time!! But lets go to the review of the festival:

THURSDAY:
Due to traffic jam around Hamburg we missed Spanish metallers STEEL HORSE. We were hoping to see at least the second band KILLING MACHINE with ex-Slayer drummer John Dette. We arrived on time for that show but....the band didnt show up so that was a bummer :(
When we left our taxi GRAND MAGUS was already playing. I liked their latest album "Hammer of the North" but I need to say that live the band couldnt convince me that much; after half an hour my interest was gone. Good musicians but their doomy music is just not my cup of tea.
Next band was SHOK PARIS which I remember especially from their "Go for the Throat" album. I liked the band already in the 80's but never bought any of their stuff. So I was curious after this show. Well the band performed very well and played solid US-metal. Nice band to see after all these years!
Headliner DESTRUCTION was off course a great choice of the organisers and fitted perfect at this varied first day! Its always a caress for my ears & eyes to see this great band on stage! Schmier is always singing good and he is a great performer also. Some songs of the setlist: 'The Butcher Strikes Back', 'Nailed to the Cross', 'Life without Sense', 'Invicible Force', 'Thrash 'Til Death', 'Nailed To the Cross', 'Tormentor', 'Unconscious Ruins', 'Bestial Invasion' & 'Mad Butcher'. Great show of this German Thrash Gods!! Curse the Gods!!!!

FRIDAY:
JAMESON RAID was the opener of day 2 but they couldnt impress me at all. I never was such a huge NWOBHM fan and especially not of these kind of bands; the band was playing very moderate and the singer was singing out of tune in nearly every song. I know that a lot of (especially German) fans adore this band but to me its a no go....sorry guys!
STORMZONE from Ireland replaced Aska who cancelled just a few days for the festival. I was not familiar with this band which signed lately to the German SPV label. The band played very well and are suited with a good sympathetic frontman who can easily replace Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden (if you ask me). The songs were also all very cathy and performed very well. Good band!!
NWOBHM tributeband ROXXCALIBUR is a very good cover/tribute band and they are specialized in NWOBHM covers. A few years ago the band was mostly playing the typical NWOBHM evergreens but this time they choose a more cult setlist with several bands I didnt ever hear off at all! They played several songs from bands like; Cloven Hoof, Grim Reaper, JJ's Powerhouse (of which some members came on stage), Bleak House, just to name a few. Roxxcalibur has some great musicians and thats probably also the reason that this band is also available as touringband for several reunionshows like they already did with Savage Grace, ThunderRider and next year at KIT with Griffin.
TYGERS OF PAN TANG delivered several great albums in the past like "Wild Cat", "Spellbound" & "Crazy Nights" which are still regularly inspecting my CD player from the inside! Live the band could never convince me because of the boring voice of Jess Cox. Last April I saw the band again at the KIT festival and for the first time they blew me away!! New singer Jacopo Meille (ex-Mantra) is a great singer and lifts the band to a very high level! At HOA they again blew me away with their energy AND their great setlist: 'Raised on Rock', 'Hellbound', 'Live For The Day', 'Dark Rider', 'Slave to Freedom', 'Never Satisfied', 'Rock And Roll Man', 'Take it', 'Don't Stop By', 'Hot Blooded', 'Wild Cat', 'Euthanasia' & 'Gangland'. Superb show!! This way TOPT can go on for years!!
AMULANCE was next and they were to me the most important band; simply because I love their 2 albums full of superb US metal with high pitched vocals!! Pity the band couldnt meet my expectations! The band didnt have the best sound and their singer wasnt singing as good as I was hoping for. I also didnt like the time-spoiling with a long intro-tape AND an unnecessary drumsolo. ON Sunday when they played the aftershow at The Ballroom in Hamburg; they were playing a lot better but still couldnt convince me fully! Missed opportunity!
Because of a dinnerbreak I missed the happy metallers of STORMWARRIOR but today I heard that they will play next year again WITH Kai Hansen (of Helloween)!
MEKONG DELTA came, saw & conquered!! Hell what a great band this still is!! The band is not playing that much live so I was glad I could see them again live after nearly 19 years!!! These guys really know how to play their instruments and this is for sure one of Germany's most progressive techno thrashbands. For me one of the highlights of this years HOA!! Incredible show!
ANGELDUST reunited after a few years of silence! Ive seen the band several times in the past and they could always impress me. This time it was again nice but nothing more, nothing less. It counted me that singer Dirk Assmuth not only lost his hair but also a part of his voice...he was singing out of tune several times and that was a pity because I know he could sing very good years ago! A bit of a dummer.....but still great to sing-a-long with the classic songs like; 'Border of Reality', 'Nightmare', 'Freedom Awaits', & 'Bleed'. Other complain is that I missed songs of their first releases like "Gambler', 'To Dust You Will Decay' & 'Fighters Return'.
DEMON is again a typical NWOBHM band that could never take my interest. Ive seen the band many times but they could never hold my attention. This time I tried it again and I have to admit that I liked Demon this time much more! The band turned out to be a solid co-headliner! Setlist: 'Night of the Demon', 'Into the nightmare', 'Commercial dynamite', 'Sign of a madman', 'Blackheath', 'Liar', 'Remembrance day', 'Standing on the Edge', 'Life on the wire', 'Don't break the circle' & 'One helluva night'. Good show!!
CULPRIT was headliner of day 2 and man they where superb! I saw the band years ago at the Wacken Open Air but this time it was even much better! Such an energy from this old guys and especially the bassplayer, Scott Earl, who was acting like a real rockstar and raping his bassguitar. Funny if you know that Culprit only released 1 album in 1983 but still they are headlining a festival like HOA; thats what they call; supporting the underground!!. Culprit played a great show with off course mostly songs from their one & only "Guilty as Charged" album: 'Guilty as Charged', 'Ice In The Back', 'Ambush', 'Fight Back' & 'Players' (which refrain was most sung by the audience). Their singer was the only little complain I have; he was not singing bad but good neither! After Scott smashed his bassguitar in pieces the band played a bonus song; Black Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell". Great show and a decent headliner!!

SATURDAY:
Day 3 started with the Australian TRENCH HELL; a thrashmetal band which we missed that day (but we saw them one day later at the aftershow).
Next band was the German metalband NOT FRAGILE; a moderate band with a few nice songs; nothing more; nothing less!
BATTLEAXE is also one of these NWOBHM bands that never got fame. The band released 2 full length albums in the 80's but never got discovered by a bigger audience. Maybe this had to do with the fact that the band plays AC/DC influenced metal which to many people does not sound original....Strange offcourse while these days bands like Airbourne are enormous popular!! And they also imitate AC/DC a lot. Battleaxe played a decent show.
DER KAISER is already deleted from my memories; a boring French band with boring music. Luckily for the band; the German audience is a good audience for this kind of metal. Next time H-Bomb please!!
BLOODFEAST was one of the surprises of HOA this year! I had a listen to their album years ago but it couldnt impress me at all. Live the band was energetic as hell and they delivered one of the better shows of the third HOA day! Great thrashmetal the way only US-bands can deliver it!!
OMEN was never one of my fav. bands till they added singer George Call (what's in a name!!). This singer lifts the band to a very high level with his unique voice! Since last years Swordbrothers festival Omen has a new fan ; Mario is the name! Good show!!!
ANVIL CHORUS was the crowds favorite; expecially by the undergound legions in Germany. The band had the bad luck to be the only band that was playing during a rainshower and most of the audience was gone or taking shelter. I was not really familair with their music but their music could convince me easily because of the originality AND the great musicianship of the band! Good show, pity most of the audience where afraid of getting wet.......
RAVEN headlined my own first Mario's Metal Meeting in 2007 and till now they are still the best headliner I ever had!! This (old) guys must be using drugs (XTC) or Red Bull because its incredible to see how these oldies still take the stage with their act! Their energy is inexhaustible!!
As always the band was going full speed ahead with songs like: 'Take Control', 'Live At The Inferno', 'All For One', 'Tie Your Mother Down', 'Rock Until You Drop', 'Lambs To The Slaughter', 'Speed Of The Reflex', & 'Mind over Metal'. This band is so experienced; when Mark had some guitar problems; his brother John was not even looking behind but directly started with filling the musical gap. Again a great show! Only little complain is the fact that the band is improvising to much between the songs which cost them a lot of playing time and us, as fans, a few other songs....
SOLITUDE AETURNUS is one of the few Doom metal bands that I like! Singer Robert Lowe had an incredible good voice and I prefer what he is doing in Solitude above his singing in Candlemass (or was it Cancellmas ??). The band performed very well and showed to be the right co-headliner of the last day! Good choice HOA!!
VIRGIN STEELE was never my kind of band and last time I saw the band at the KIT festival it was also awefull to see on stage how singer David Defeis was playing his keyboard AND singing at one and the same position on stage. Luckily this time he didnt harp on the same string...and was only using his microphone and the stage! In this set up he was more coming into its own and I must admit that I liked Virgin Steel very much this time! Good show!! Ony big dummer was the way the crew acted during the first songs when David's microphone didnt work...it was reminding me of Comedy Capers and Laurel & Hardy. That was very unprofessional but was not to blame the band at all! David took his job serious and just went on singing.....this way he showed his professionality!!

Again I had a great HOA and im already looking out for the 2011 edition (last weekend of July). Thanks to Thomas for putting me on the guestlist! See you all next year again guys!! HOA rulezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!

ROCK AREA FESTIVAL (29, 30 & 31 July 2010)
Loreley, Germany
Review by Sammy de Maere
A few weeks ago a friend asked me to join her on another festival in Germany. After looking at the schedule and the price I didn't had to be convinced. Thursday afternoon we arrived at the beautiful site of Loreley in Germany. This small festival is hosted at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is sure to give a magnificent view. Because the stage is made up of an old amphitheatre you can see the bands from nearly anywhere on the site.
On Thursday we were just in time to see EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS kick off the festival. The band, which isn't that much more than a parody of all other types of music, immediately got the crowd moving. While they aren't that good musically they played a nice set full of jokes. Great way to start a festival.
During AXXIS we went back to the campsite to enjoy a barbecue with our neighbours. We arrived back at the festival in time for the last songs of J.B.O.. This band seems to be immensely popular in Germany and while I don't understand a word they were saying I couldn't help but get in the mood myself. Headliner on Thursday was DORO. The Metalqueen delivered an amazing set with a bunch of Warlock songs and some newer work. She still has a great voice and a really good band to support her. During one song Blaze Bailey came on stage to prove he also still has it. Overall this was probably the best gig I saw during the 3 days although I might be biased because I have always loved her music.

Friday started with a couple of local bands we missed because we were enjoying the scenery. First band we saw that day was GAMMA BOMB. The Irish thrashers played a tight set and got a nice response from the crowd. After them we waited for BENEDICTION but due to technical difficulties with the drum they had to start 20 minutes later so they played a really short set. The songs I heard were really good but it was just too short. DARK TRANQUILITY also had troubles with the sound and since I never liked them we left halfway through the set. After them the folk metallers ENSIFERUM came on stage. Since both me and my friend are allergic to all the humpa music we thought it was a good time for dinner. After dinner we were back at front row for English grinders NAPALM DEATH. This band is always good live, when they have good sound and they had. Besides the fact that it just wasn't loud enough to hear the music properly we also didn't understand a word of Barney's speeches so they were quite boring silent moments. But besides that the band played a killer set and I can't wait to see them in a hall again. Next was the band the entire crowd was waiting for: SODOM. Tom Angelripper immediately got the crowd on his hand and he didn't let loose until after the show. The band played a good set filled with classics and practically every german song they ever wrote and the crowd loved every minute of it. To me it was also one of the best times I've seen the band. On the second stage there were also some bands playing and being a huge Iron Maiden fan I decided to go check out BLAZE BAILY. Blaze remains an amazing vocalist and a bad ass frontman but I just don't like his own songs. I did have a lot of fun during the Maiden songs though. After Blaze I was back just in time to see the opening of headliner APOCALYPTICA. The band played a festival set with lots of Metallica covers but also played the new single in premiere. I enjoyed the band a lot but didn't really like the songs with vocals. Too bad for the bad sound in the beginning but still a very good show.

When DESASTER, the first band we wanted to see on Saturday, started the crowd was already warmed up by some local heroes and ready to give it all to the black-thrashers. I'm a big fan of Desaster's music and really enjoyed their set. After them it was time for HOLY MOSES but I never really liked Sabrina's vocals. The music wasn't all that good either so this was a show to easily forget. Next up was THYRFING and my friend was very excited about them. I generally dislike viking and pagan metal so this wasn't my cup of tea, although I must admit that in their genre they are one of the best bands I've seen. Nice atmospheric set but the guitar sound and vocals just don't do it for me. After them another Swedish band came on stage and I was looking forward to them all weekend. ENTOMBED came and destroyed! What an amazing live band they are. Petrov seemed quite sober, for his doing, and the music itself was really tight played. The band played songs from nearly every album so I was a very happy man with a nearly broken neck afterwards. After Entombed we decided to see SEPULTURA from a distance and eat something. I'm very glad we decided to eat on the festival site cause I was in for a surprise. I was a long time ago that I saw the Brazilian band and I never liked them after Max Cavalera left. But on this festival it seems that Andreas Kisser realized that nobody was really interested in their new work. What followed was a set of flawlessly played songs coming from all the old albums and an insane crowd that didn't seem to miss either of the Cavalera brothers. With even a few songs from Schizophrenia, tightly played riffs and solos and decent vocals this was the best Sepultura show I've ever seen after the lineup changes. After the thrashing bomb that was Sepultura I was completely in the mood for SACRED REICH. It would be my first time to see them live and I was very much looking forward to it. The band started out slow and quite boring actually but in the middle of the show it turned out to be a great concert anyway with lots of hits and a Black Sabbath cover. Headliner for this day was ARCH ENEMY. This band is a hype that I completely missed. I knew it was melodic death metal with Michael Amott and a woman on vocals and that's about it. I figured to just go watch and see what this band was made up of. Musically this was excellent, great melodic riffs, solos from both guitar players and an amazing drummer. Too bad the vocals completely lacked any quality. I hope it was because of the sound and because of Angela's performance. There were almost no grunts and the high pitched screams really worked on my nerves. If the vocals would have been good, this would have been a show I would have loved from a band I had to check out afterwards. No it just left me with a big 'what if?' that might make me listen to their myspace for studio versions of the vocals but it will probably end there. A missed chance perhaps? I do know that a lot of the crowd liked the show so they won't really miss me as a fan.
Overall this festival turned out to be a nice holliday with good weather, a nice location and lots of great bands. I will be checking out the bill for next year!

LOUDNESS & MONSTERTONE (19 July 2010)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Loudness on a Monday evening; what would it bring was my concern. Last time I saw the band was 11 years ago in Waalwijk (Tavenu) and that time they really sucked! One of the most terrible gigs I have ever seen (and if you know how many thousands of bands that I already saw, than you will understand how terrible it was). So normally I would never go to such a band again but when I heard that the band was playing in the (nearly complete) original line-up I became curious again and decided to travel to Eindhoven.
As support act Dynamo added MONSTERTONE to the line up but why?? I really don't know because their kind of stoner rock didn't fit to Loudness's music at all! For me, and most of the visitors, this was very boring and a lot of people left the hall after a few songs. Musically they where good but they didn't fit in the line-up at all! Bad choice…
LOUDNESS is most famous for their earliers albums: 'The Birthday Eve', 'Devil Soldier', 'The Law Of Devil's Land', 'Disillusion' & 'Thunder in the East”. For the first time in years it counted me that Dynamo (Loudness in this case) had a great sound and that's spectacular for Dynamo concepts J. The band started with an intro and played mostly songs of the above mentioned albums. From the “Thunder in the East” album they played: 'Crazy Nights', 'Heavy Chains', 'Never Change Your Mind' and 'Like Hell'. Other songs they did play where: 'Esper', 'The Law Of Devil's Land', 'In The Mirror', 'Shadows Of War', 'Loudness', 'S.D.I.', 'Crazy Doctor', 'Never Change Your Mind', & 'Black Star Oblivion'. From their latest album “King of Pain” (2010) they played: 'Requiem' & 'The King Of Pain'.
They band played an excellent show but I must admit that there is only one person that's credit to this all; masterclass guitarplayer Akira Takasaki. Singer Minoru Niihara is not that bad but has never been an excellent singer; Bassplayer Masayoshi Yamashita is doing his job well and drummer Masayuki Suzuki is a good replacement for original drummer Munetaka Higuchi (who died in November 2008 due to liver cancer). Nevertheless I had a hell of a night with a lot of old classic Loudness songs and a bunch of long-time-no-see people! Great performance guys! Come back asap!!!

NEUROTIC DEATHFEST (30 April & 1 May 2010)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Sammy de Maere
After having a lot of fun at last year's edition and with this year's edition having an amazing line-up I decided to drive to Tilburg again for Neurotic Deathfest. On Friday my day started with an immense queue in front of the ticket office so I already had an idea about the big crowd of the weekend. I managed to catch the last few songs of ABORTED in their new line-up. They seem to have become more brutal again and less metalcore but the band will never be my cup of tea. Next up were German thrashers DEW SCENTED who played a decent set as always. It became immediately clear that I wouldn't see many bands in the smaller halls of the 013 because of the crowd.
I went to the big hall for the first band of the day I was actually looking forward to: BENEDICTION. This would be the first time I'd ever see them live and I was quite anxious but they delivered! A very tight set with an awesome vocalist who knows how to work the crowd. Also a nice set list consisting of a few new songs and a lot of classics. Afterwards I decided to check out Severe Torture but it was way to hot and crowdy in the small hall so I went for dinner instead.
Next band I saw was SIX FEET UNDER and while Chris Barnes his voice is nothing compared to what it used to be the band still knows how to get a crowd moving. All in all this wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be.
Because of the crowd I really didn't try to get into the batcave stage for BEHEADED but I managed to sit outside and still hear the sound of a good performance by the band.
Next up was another surprise for me: NAPALM DEATH with decent sound! I never managed to hear this band with good enough sound quality to actually enjoy them but now I must say that they blew me away; very tight performance by the British grinders.
At last it was time for the headliner of Friday, and I was looking forward to them all day. BOLT THROWER came, saw and conquered the 013 and blew everyone to pieces. This was without a doubt the best gig I've seen in months. Very tight, musically superb and amazing vocals. Also a very good set list although too short for my liking. After that I drove home a happy man anticipating another cool day.

On Saturday the second day of the festival began for me with ORIGIN. While highly impressing with their technical skill the band just doesn't do it for me and I got bored soon so I went to see if I could still get into the middle stage hall for INSIDIOUS DECREPANCY. This one man band formed by Viral Load front man Shawn Whitaker did quite well but since I really can't stand drum computers I left after a few songs.
Up next was DYING FETUS and since I'm still hurting from the moshpit as I'm writing this I can say that their show rocked! Very tight performance, great setlist and an amazing atmosphere in the crowd.
Next show in the main hall was a band I was looking forward to a lot since their show in Biebob a couple of years ago is still one of the best death metal shows I've ever been to. But unfortunately IMMOLATION left me disappointed. I heard a lot of good commentaries of the show so It's probably more because of me than because of the band. They did play a lot of songs of their new album and I'm not that fond of it so that might be the case.
After another trip into downtown Tilburg I managed to see the last half hour of LOCK UP and got completely blown away by a great performance. I never thought they still had it in them but it all just fit and I had a hell of time.
Up next was one of the bands I was looking forward to a lot but PESTILENCE turned out to be the disappointment of the weekend. I love the old albums but I'm not fond of the new one. Problem is that the set list contained of almost only new songs. I also don't think the band had that much fun either. The crowd's response wasn't all that either and more and more people started shouting for old songs and Martin Van Drunen.
I left halfway during the show to get a drink and didn't come back until it was time for the headliner of this year's festival: CARCASS. I didn't have any high hopes for this band. I've always been sceptical about reunions and sometimes I've been shown wrong but a lot of times I've been right to doubt the usefulness of yet another old band returning to the stage. Well Carcass sure shut me up! Musically this was as good as it gets. The amazing set list was played to perfection and had a lot of variation. Where I was standing the voice didn't sound like it had to be but the overall performance of the band made that up nicely. I can conclude that the band was a great ending for an awesome weekend. No doubt that I'll back again next year if the bill's keep evolving like this !

AIRBOURNE & TAKING DAWN (23 March 2010)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
Australian rockers AIRBOURNE just have released their fantastic second album "No Guts. No Glory." (see album reviews April update) and are doing two shows in Holland during their European tour. And I'm glad they did two shows in Holland, so I could go to De Pul in Uden instead of going all the way to De Melkweg, Amsterdam (March, 25th). Because of traffic activities around Eindhoven (I think I missed a turn, because the whole city ring has changed, which is a real crime), I arrived too late at De Pul. The support act of this tour, TAKING DAWN, a band which just released their debut album "Time To Burn" on Roadrunner Records, was almost finished with their set. So I can't tell you much about them. I only have seen one and a half song. The last song which TAKING DOWN played was a cover version of FLEETWOOD MAC's "The Chain" (from the legendary and classic "Rumours" album). But according to colleague Kees Schijven, who was there too, I really haven't missed much. Anyway, it was 21:15 when headliner AIRBOURNE got on stage and they opened their set with "Raise The Flag" from the new album "No Guts. No Glory.". After "Raise The Flag" singer and lead guitarist Joel O'Keefe said 'thanks for coming down tonight' and the band started with "Hellfire" from "Runnin' Wild". Well, it wasn't allowed to take pictures, unless you had a photo pass. In fact, it's complete bullshit, because lots of people in the audience took pictures of the band with their cellphone. And with some cellphones you really can take some excellent pictures. Anyway, back again to the new album with "Chewin' The Fat". I think it was a full house tonight at De Pul. The audience was really fanatic, by singing along with several songs, banging their heads and raising their fists in the air. Some fans even stage dived and several times someone was crowd surfing. That's why Joel said 'you guys are great tonight, thanks' after they played "Get Busy Livin'". Although AIRBOURNE's second album "No Guts No Glory" has been released since a few weeks, the band played nine songs of their debut album "Runnin' Wild" and seven songs of the new one. Halfway the song "Girls In Black", Joel jumped into the audience, still playing guitar, made a small round through the public and climbed through a light pole on a sound box. Although the show was very simple, Joel really knows how to entertain the audience. In that case he's an excellent front man, but also an awesome lead guitarist. Anyway, AIRBOURNE, who are in fact the "new" AC/DC, are a great live band, which you really must have seen in your life. One thing is certain, these Australians are really getting big. And I'm sure, next time they will play in bigger venues. The complete set list which AIRBOURNE played was "Raise The Flag", "Hellfire", "Chewin' The Fat", "Diamond In The Rough", "Blonde, Bad And Beautiful", "Get Busy Livin'", "Girls In Black", "What's Eatin' You", "Born To Kill", "Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women", "Heartbreaker", "No Way But The Hard Way", "Back On The Bottle" and "Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast". The two encores were "Runnin' Wild" and "Stand Up For Rock 'N' Roll". It was 22:45 when AIRBOURNE left the stage and I went home by an alternative route. Anyway, I enjoyed AIRBOURNE's show very much, so I had a very pleasant evening after all.

PAGAN FEST (7 March 2010)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Corinne v/d Brand
It`s a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon.The wind blows through the trees and I feel the need to dress in fur and fill my cow horn with a alcoholic beverage to keep me warm. With other words, a perfect day to listen to some pagan bands.
First band this day is SVARTSOT from Denmark who filled the spot after Equilibrium cancelled. These guys who sing in their native language Danish had an half hour to convince the public. The sound wasn`t really good. Much to frail. When after a few songs a second guitarist joined the band the sound was much fuller. At least after he found out he had to plug in his guitar!! The band played very decent folkmetal with a good death grunt and they proved they were a good opener for this festival. 013 is fairly packed and the reactions to Svartsot were good but the public still had to be warmed up. A lot of bands to go by now.
Next band is VARG from Germany. This red and black painted Viking metallers are more black metal orientated with Iron Maiden like melodies and the occasional humpa passages. The lightshow is mainly red and purple light which is very suitable for their show and gives them a somewhat dark, evil appearance. They just released their new album "Blutaar" and ofcourse they played some songs of this album.They played songs like Windzeit, Skol (Nice singalong), Wolfszeit. I don`t think this music is very exciting but the public is reacting very well on Varg. They also had 30 minutes to convince the audience but I wasn`t impressed because they don`t write very interesting songs. A bit too simple. But the audience liked it.
Third band was the first highlight of this day. Russian pagan metal band ARKONA. What an energy from this frontwoman Masha. She screams, grunts and is also very good with clean vocals while she dances, runs on the stage. What a performance. The rest of the band is rather calm but this is the first band that`s has a professional vibe. Too bad about the bad sound. The soundman is terrible. It`s logical that grunts aren`t as loud as clean vocals but the sound guy doesn`t anticipate at all. So the clean vocals are suddenly very loud after a grunt part. You can`t hear the cymbals of the drums. Too bad because this was a good performance. They played for 45 minutes but the crowd wanted more.
Then came the strangest band of the day, DORNENREICH from Austria. It started with an acoustic song with guitarist Eviga and Inve on violin. It`s more ambient than metal at times but this trio is really impressing. What a drummer!!! It`s because of him that this music doesn`t bore for a minute. And his fluorescent earplugs give a funny effect although they are not supposed to. It`s not party music or even easy to listen too but they have well thought out songs. The vocals are more black metal but he uses his voice as an instrument. I mean Eviga doesn`t just sings some lyrics but stretches his voice to the limits. It`s just a guitar, a violin and drums but it`s a real band and I don`t miss a bass or a second guitar. But this is not music for the mainstream public but I liked it a lot.
And then it was time for the party band of the day, ALESTORM from Scotland. That this band is popular is pretty obvious because after the happy intro the crowd goes nuts and stays that way for 45 minutes. These Scottish pirates with Christopher Bowes on command sure know how to make a party. Although the sound guy fucks up again. The keyboards are much too loud and it takes him much too long to get the sound right. A bit the story of the day unfortunately. Personally I think the vocals are a bit annoying but they are perfect for the Alestorm sound. He really sounds like a pirate. Christopher is also a very good frontman and knows how to work the crowd without overdoing it. A really sympathetic guy. Their drummer left the band a few days before the show and their replacement has a difficult job but does it perfectly. Alestorm played songs like Wenches and Mead, Captain Morgan`s revenge, the very happy Keelhauled, title track of the latest album Black Sails at Midnight, that famous ol`spiced. Alestorm had the best reactions from the crowd this day.
On with the program with ELUVEITIE from Switzerland. They were missing one guitarist due to military duty. But there were still seven people on stage. Enough to look at. They played very decent folk/death metal but due to the (again) bad sound a lot of nuances from the flutes and other instruments were lost and that was really too bad. Due to that it sounded a bit lame. Especially the drum parts were boring. Only the last few songs had a good sound and all off a sudden you could hear how it was supposed to sound and it became much more interesting. Asshole soundguy ruined the whole show. Ofcourse this is a good band and I especially liked Anna and Meri who were the only ones who moved on stage and did a very good job on violin and hurdy gurdy. And singing ofcourse. I especially liked the sound of the hurdy gurdy which goes very well with metal. Also Christian is a good frontman with a decent grunt but the flute he played you could hardly hear for the first half of the show. And the lightshow was very good. That is an important part of the show and is often underestimated. I would like the see the band again with a good sound.
Last band of the night was FINNTROLL from Finland. And finally the sound was good from the beginning. The crowd went crazy again and it was obvious this band is very popular. The music is a mix of black metal/folkmetal with humppa parts and they do that very well. Although the crowd loved it I had some reservations with their show. It was all a bit routine and there wasn`t a lot of fun on stage. Especially the drummer didn`t move at all and was looking quite bored. It was all a bit tame and that was a bit of an anti climax after especially Alestorm and Eluveitie. But the guys can play and the crowd had a great time so who am I to judge…After an hour it was time to put an end to this successful festival. It was a long day but I`m glad I went. SKOL!!!!

OVERKILL, SUICIDAL ANGELS, SAVAGE MESSIAH, CRIPPER (6 February 2010)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Finally after 14 years I returned to De Pul in Uden to see one of the best thrashbands of the US history; Overkill.
Right on time we arrived at the venue to see opener CRIPPER from Germany. The female fronted deathmetal suited me well but didn't fit in this oldschool package if you ask me. The venue wasnt that crowded when the band started at 7:30 P.M. For a few songs I went to the front of the pit to see the band and I must admit that front woman Britta was good looking which is of course a plus for a healthy man like me, ha-ha. The band names their music thrash but to me it sounded more deathmetal. Maybe because the band also names bands like The Haunted & Boltthrower as their influences. Nice band, nothing more, nothing less..
Next on the bill where UK thrashers SAVAGE MESSIAH. The band is highly influenced by bands like Testament; oldschool based thrash with good musicianship. A nice band but musically far from original so after half an hour I was getting bored and went (again) to the bar.
SUICIDAL ANGELS from Greece was one of the bands I was again looking out for because I like their oldschool thrash (in a German way) very much. This was the 3rd time for me to see this band and again they convinced me fully. The band plays thrash in a way bands like Kreator & Sodom did 20 years ago. Check these guys out if you're into this kind of thrash and believe me; you'll get smashed by their energy! Again a very good show guys!
In the meantime the venue was very crowded because most of the audience showed up for headliners OVERKILL. I lost my interest in the band for years because on stage their setlist couldn't convince me that much anymore. Last time when they opened for Motorhead in Kerkrade the band was already playing a few more old songs but I wasn't expecting to much this night. From the first note I knew I was wrong; the sound was awesome and Bobby Blitz was as energetic on stage as always! This was going to be a legendary show with mostly all-time classics; 'Rotten to the Core', 'Powersurge', 'Battle', 'Hello from the Gutter', 'Overkill', 'In Union we Stand', 'Feel the Fire', 'Bastard Nation', 'Elimination', 'Fuck You' & 'Sonic Reducer' just to name a few…… The crowd went nuts and I was so glad that the band finally made the switch to put more older songs in their setlist. Believe me, I was not the only one with these thoughts!!!! The band created an incredible pit in front of the stage and showed everybody that they can go on for many more years this way! Till now one of the best shows I've seen during the last few years (and that says enough…). Compliments guys! Come back ASAP!!! Thanks to De Pul also for putting me on the guest list to write this review! Its appreciated!

Top

2009

MICK POINTER & CASUAL SILENCE (18 December 2009)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers

Mick Pointer`s visit to the Pul (Uden) on 18-12-2009 was part of the Script for a Jester`s Tour. During this relative short tour, Pointer and his friends played successively in the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Holland. This performance on 18-12-2009 was Pointer`s third visit to the Pul, he successfully played here earlier in April 2008 and early 2009.
The support act this evening is CASUAL SILENCE. Founded in 1993 by 3 different vocalists with all a different background, Casual Silence played mainly covers in their early period. But this changes quick and the band develops to a real good symphonic, progressive rock band. Casual Silence released Lost in Life in 2007, in November 2009, some members of the band released an acoustic album, entitled Acoustic Fields.
Casual Silence starts their gig at approximately 20:15 and the following 45 minutes they show the audience their excellent skills. Real nice polyphonic singing is alternated by heavy guitar parts. Casual Silence plays 7 songs from different albums, like Lost In Life and Shamelessly Dressed. In my opinion, Casual Silence showcases its best foot forward with a really nice gig!

On 21:30 starts the gig to which I have long looked forward to. Together with the talented musicians Nick Barret (Pendragon; Guitar), Mike Varty (Credo; Keys), Ian Salmon (Arena; Bass) and Brian Cummings (Carpet Crawlers – Genesis Tribute Band) as Fish, Mick Pointer enters the stage of a well filled and cosy Pul.
MICK POINTER was the original drummer and one of the founding members of the symphonic rock band Marillion. This all happened in 1979. EMI later signed the classic line-up of Marillion that wrote the platinum selling debut album Script for a Jester`s Tear. Released in 1983, the album featured the top 40 hits He Knows You Know and Garden Party and is regarded by many as a modern classic of the symphonic rock genre. Pointer played on 18 april 1983 for the last time in the original line-up. Pointer later formed the band Arena with Clive Nolan, after a long break from the music industry.
The gig in the Pul starts with one of the best songs made by Marillion, Script for a Jester`s Tear. This song is followed by all the other songs on the album Script for a Jester Tear, alternated with songs from old b-sides from the early period like Three boats down from the Candy, She Chameleon, Charting the Single, Grendel and Market Square Heroes. Brian Cummings plays his role as Fish very well. His cloths, make-up and mannerism are just like Fish, even the Scottish accent is present! One small point of critism is the low volume of the guitar during the gig. During the encore, the volume of this instrument is increased to a level I hoped to hear the whole gig. But the enthousiasm of the band during the gig makes everything good. At 11:30 ends unfortunately a great evening with very good music!
SWALLOW THE SUN, INSOMNIUM, OMNIUM GATHERUM (8 December 2009)
De Kelder, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen

On the 8th of December the tour caravan -with all of the bands coming from the beautiful country of Finland- took up one's residence at de Kelder in Amersfoort. For about 40 to 50 man it was quite calm. But the people who were their tried their best to make it a nice evening. And although outside the winter hadn't started, inside the gloomy dark tunes of the bands set the tone for a dark season to come…

OMNIUM GATHERUM: When I entered the venue Omnium Gatherum had already started to play their set. I only know their last record “The Red Shift” and most of the songs were coming from that album. It's obvious that on this last record there are more progressive influences. The vocals are quite unique and sound the same live. After a few songs their “hit single” “Nail” passed in review. The band knows give a turn to the melodic death metal scene and was a pleasant opener.
INSOMNIUM entered the stage at about 21:00 hours. I was very curious about seeing them live. Unfortunately a few of the band members were ill and they couldn't play the whole set. The vocals were a bit to low in the mix and most people are right saying that they are a tat to one dimensional. Think of Amorphis during The Tales…. period. I think that the band members themselves know that too because on the last record clean vocals suddenly appeared between the grunts. On stage the correlation between these two doesn't go very smooth. Most of the songs played were from the album “Above the Weeping World” such as “Drawn to Black” and “The Killjoy” From their last album “Where the last wave broke” was played. Due to the illness of a few of the members my expectations couldn't be for filled but I would like to see the band again at one of the summer festivals.
SWALLOW THE SUN: at the stroke of 22:00 hours Swallow the Sun got on the stage and it must be said; They absolutely rule! And boy, does that singer has an alternate voice smoothly changing from grunts to clean sung parts to high pitched vocals. Great! Their set was full of songs from the last record: “New Moon” such as the title song “Sleepless Swans” and “Falling World” but also the older records of the band were presented in the setlist. There wasn't much interaction with the public but hey, this kind of gloomy doom metal doesn't need that. From “Hope” the title track was played. After 50 minutes the band left the stage but quickly came back for an encore starting with “The Morning Never Came” after 2 minutes the fire alarm of the venue got of. After this problem was fixed the band played the song again without the intro. The closed their set with the majestic song “Swallow” from their debut. Since their latest album is such a fantastic record I think this will be one of the last times we'd seen Swallow the Sun in such a small venue. Mark my words!
SEITA & ASSGOBLIN (6 December 2009)
The Rambler, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Corinne van den Brand

I think most people in Holland were playing with the gifts they got from Sinterklaas or were on obligatory family visits because I can`t figure out why there were so few visitors this evening. Unbelievable , because SEITA deserves more attention then this. Originally Claustrophobia were scheduled to play this evening but due to problems they were forced to quit the tour prematurely and return to Brazil. Assgoblin from Limburg, Holland were the substitutes for this evening but I didn`t see them.
In spite that very few people showed up, Seita played like it was a full house. The intro started and after that they played 'Fire and Pride', 'Drowning in Blood', 'Dethrone the King', 'No one but Me' and 'Not a matter of Pride' followed by a second intro. Why? I don`t know. They play really brutal death metal and it sounds very tight but with a greasy good groove. It`s not all very original but they have a good vibe and they`re good musicians. Singer/guitarplayer Michel Gambini grunts and screams from the top of his lungs and has a lot of charisma. But also guitar player and background grunter Edson Munhoz ignores the fact that the place is empty and gives it all.The drummer Dom Mura is so absorbed in his drumming that he now and then bounces on his chair. Funny. And finally tattooed stoical bass player Andre Sparta who is playing very controlled. Hilarious was the fact that one of the few visitors announced that he had to go to the toilet and the band waited till he got back before they started playing the next song.Very sympathetic action from these Brazilians. Haha. After intro 2 they played 'Imprint Forever', 'Existence is Warfare', 'Speaking with Ghosts' and the last song was 'Baptism. So they played their whole cd "Imprint Forever" +3 extra songs .They didn`t play an hour but it was time well spend and I enjoyed the gig. I hope next time metal loving metalheads in Holland aren`t so lazy anymore and also go to concerts on a Sunday night because Seita is really worth it. A really sympathetic band who produce a really decent piece of death metal.
JORN LANDE & COOPER INC. (3 December 2009)
The Rock Temple, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Again I found my way to the Rock Temple stage in the very south of The Netherlands to be witness of maybe one of Jorn Lande's latest live shows now that he returned to Masterplan lately. Jorn Lande is one of my favorite rock-singers (I named my son after him) and I was curious if he could continue his way to the top! A few years ago I already saw Jorn with his solo project at the Biebob club in Belgium and he smashed me with his powerful show and singing. He is not a great performer on stage but with such a great voice nobody cares about that! COOPER INC. had the luck to do the opening spot of this night and they did that very meritorious. Singer John Cuijpers (Ayreon) is a very good singer with a powerful voice and musically the band fitted perfect as opener for Jorn Lande. The band members are very experienced. Vocalist John Cuijpers played with Ayreon, drummer Hans In't Zandt with Vengeance and Mad Max, while guitar player Christian Tolle already had released 2 solo albums. It also suited me again that every band at The Rock Temple has a good sound quality! That's also a very big plus for this very nice club! Good show of Cooper Inc.
After a long break JORN came on stage around 21:30 to play a nearly 2 hour set with a nice mix of his solo stuff. The first tour he played several rock classics from Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and also some songs from his previous bands Beyond Twilight & Masterplan. Now he only did 2 covers of Thin Lizzy (Are you ready) & Deep Purple (Stormbringer). The rest of the set was filled with only songs from his solo albums: 'Spirit Black', 'Below', 'War Of The World', 'We Brought The Angels Down', 'Road Of The Cross', 'Rock & Roll Angel', 'Black Song', 'Shadow People', 'Below', 'Stormcrow', 'The Inner Road', 'Man of The Dark', 'Tungur Knivur' & 'Soul of the Wind'.
Jorn was singing well as always and the whole show was a lust for my ears & eyes! Little complain where the 2 guitar solo's & the drum solo which is mostly only a space filler to my opinion. Nevertheless a very good show and im curious after the new Masterplan album now that Jorn returned to them! See you next time Mister Lande! Also cheers & thanks to Ludy from The Rock Temple for his loyalty!
VICIOUS RUMORS & MARTYR (13 & 14 November 2009)
The Rock Temple, Kerkrade & The Rambler, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

I had plans to visit my friends from Vicious Rumors 4 days in a row but because of an upcoming hernia I had to cancel my visits to Rotterdam & Antwerp (Belgium). Luckily I was witness of 2 great shows in Kerkrade & Eindhoven (both The Netherlands). When I arrived on Friday night at The Rock Temple, MARTYR was already performing but I only missed just a few songs. It's always great to see this energetic band on stage. Singer Ropke is a real stage animal and entertaining the audience every second of the show. The other band members are all well experienced and taking their jobs more than serious. Their setlist was filled with a few classic songs; 'Darkness at time's edge', 'Speed of Samurai', & 'Snow and Fire' but consisted mostly newer songs from their latest album “Fear”; 'Different Kind of Rain', 'Fear', 'Take me Home', 'The most Evil' & 'Eaten Alive'. Again a good show from this cult metal band from Holland! Only little complain I have is the fact that the band plays, to my opinion, to less older (speed) songs.
VICIOUS RUMORS was the headliner of the 2nd Edition of my own Mario's Metal Meeting in 2008 and they raised the roof that time. Singer Ronnie Stixx is one of my best friends in metal and it was great to see/hear him again! The other members are also always very nice to me so I was wondering if the band could still continue with their new line-up. Well luckily VR managed to bring over the same line up again and that's unique for VR if you ask me. Singer Ronnie Stixx got great responses from his first tour in 2008 with the band and nearly all the press named him as the best singer VR has since their legendary singer Carl Albert died years ago. (Lately I heard that VR & singer Ronnie split after this 2009 tour for several reasons which I will not subscribe here). Vicious Rumors was again great live and it's always a plus to see that Geoff Thorpe, even if there where only 50 people in Kerkrade, is enjoying the responds of the crowd and thanking them directly. Great show again and a pity that Ronnie left the band lately….
Vicious Rumors had a great mix of mostly all their albums; ,Don't wait for Me', 'On the Edge', 'World Church', 'Digital Dictator', 'Minute to Kill', 'The Crest', 'Ship of Fools', 'Six Step Sisters', 'Soldiers of the Night', 'Sonic Rebellion', 'Abandoned', 'Only live Twice', 'Down to the Temple', 'Hellrazor', 'March or Die' & 'The Lady took a Chance'.

The show at The Rambler was more crowded and about 100/125 people found their way to this rock pub. INCARNATE was opening this evening but why they added this metalcore band to the line up was a big question to me because they didn't fit in this oldschool line up at all! They where only playing for a few people (30) and if they did win any new fans?? Im afraid they didn't…
The shows of Martyr & Vicious Rumors where both comparable with their shows the night before in Kerkrade. The only difference as said was the number of visitors which was much better on Saturday in Eindhoven. I had a great weekend with these shows and I will both see them again in the future; that's for sure!
HALLOWEEN ROCKFEST (31 October 2009)
La Vida, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Booker Peter “DesPEERado” van Weel is the organizer of this festival which celebrates his second edition this year. Last year I wasn't able to visit the festival but I heard so many positive things about it that I needed to be there this time! The main reason to organize the festival is to promote the Halloween tradition in The Netherlands and is there a better way than doing this with a few good metal bands in all kinds of genres? NO! Last year Vengeance was headlining the festival and it was a difficult choice to find a band that could at least equal this party band.
This year DesPEERado managed to book the (probably) oldest metal band in The Netherlands; Picture.

At 20:35 BAIL had the honor to open the festival but the band had the bad luck that not much people where witness of their performance. The band plays stoner rock which is normally not my cup of tea. Besides that the band is doing a good job and they can fascinate me for mostly the whole set they play. MMM already reviewed the bands “Blood Red Stains” cd in June 2008 and it got a nice rate from one of my (ex-) reviewers. This is a more than nice band and I see a bright future for the band also due to the fact that this genre metal is popular in The Netherlands. Nice show!

Next on the bill where the Greek true metallers from BATTLEROAR. I've seen the band several times at the mighty German festivals and they always satisfied me with their, even its far from sounding original, power/true metal with epic elements. A few months ago long-time singer Marco Concoreggi was replaced by (ex-Innerwish) singer John “Yiannis” Papanikolaou. A good new singer but vocally I had a preference for his predecessor. Battleroar played a good decent show but didn't get the reckoning they deserved. This kind of true metal isn't popular in The Netherlands for many years, I already noticed that during the MMM & THF festivals I already organised in the past years. So except for a few Dutch fans & about 6/7 Greek fans the audience was very calmly; something the band didn't deserve! A good show to my opinion!

Next on the bill was a TWISTED SISTER TRIBUTE band with some local musicians that where doing this for a once only show. Most of the band members took their jobs seriously and also tried to look like the original Twisted Sister. Musically it all sounded okay except for their singer Koert; he was not only singing very moderate (as usual) but he also didn't spend time in looking & acting like Dee “Fuckin” Snider. Most of the audience had a hell of a time but to me this was the weakest band of this year's edition. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I've seen the original band several times in the past. If you want to play a tribute to Dee Snider; you should at least act like him and keep “fuckin up” the “fuckin” audience!! Missed opportunity!!
Setlist: 'Burn in Hell', 'Stay Hungry', 'Kiss of Death', 'We're not gonna take it', 'Destroyer', 'You cant stop Rock 'n Roll', 'The price you Pay', 'I wanna Rock', 'Tear it Loose'.

Headliners of this years edition where most likely the oldest metal band from The Netherlands; PICTURE!
I've seen this band already in 1982 (!!) and I also saw the band several times during the last 2 years since their reunion. Picture has now in their ranks Pete Lovell as singer and already released a live album last year “Live 2008” & a new album this year called “Old Dogs New Tricks'. The band played a nice mix of all their material and had a set list which took more than 2 hours!! That's something younger bands can learn a lot from! I wasn't even able to see the whole show because of an upcoming 'hangover'…..
Nevertheless I saw a good performance and it suited me that singer Pete is singing better and better every time I see him! Good show and the perfect headliner!
Setlist (as far as I've seen the gig): “You're All Alone', 'Heavy Metal Ears', 'Diamond Dreamer', 'Old Dogs New Tricks', 'Blood Out Of A Stone', 'Just Incredible', 'Eternal Dark', 'Battle For The Universe', 'Celtic Cross' & 'Live By The Sword'.

My first acquaintance with the Halloween Rock fest was a very good one! Not only the atmosphere but also the stage setting of the festival; just book some good bands; start a Halloween dressing contest & hire some good freaky/scary actors and you have a hell of a night! Also compliments for the DJ & VJ which both 'dressed up” the evening in their own way! Cheers with a Despeerado beer in my hand! Trick or Treat! Till next year!
RAISE THE DEAD FESTIVAL (30 & 31 October 2009)
Park Teatred, Oslo, Norway
Review by Ruud Fleskens

The Raise the Dead festival was created by old school booking, which is an agency with a mission to draw the attention towards old school metal bands. You can think about the old 80's speed/thrash and heavy metal, but also new bands that have the old sound are very welcome here. The raise the dead festival was the biggest festival these ladies from old school booking had been planning so far. Some really big names were on the line up like Manilla Road, Sodom and Asphyx so it was worth for me and some friends to go there. After finding our crappy hotel on Thursday we had some beers in a local pub and were ready for the next day which would be the first day of the festival.

DAY I
WAKLEVÖREN is the first band that's playing on this day which started around 20.00. The band was formed in 2002 and had a goal of creating the 80's crossover/thrash sound. I didn't know much about this band but they sure have the old sound. I would describe the band as an 80's thrash band and a very good opener for the festival! It's too bad the hall isn't quite filled up yet because the people that are late are probably missing one of the best acts for the night.
The next band on the bill is SALUTE. This band from the UK surprised me with their act. It seemed like they were already on stage for years and the sound was amazing. It did remind me of Celtic Frost, but some parts were quite fast as well so I couldn't really put them somewhere, which is fine of course. This band combines the traditional heavy metal with some slow but also the fast rock 'n roll sound. I enjoyed it and looking forward to hear more stuff of these guys. Almost every song had a different style, which makes it really enjoyable to check this band out live.
Next up is TYRANT. At the time this band starts the hall is nicely filled up and there is a great atmosphere. This band started about 3 years ago in Sweden, and these four headbangers create a sound that reminds me of Venom and Frost again, very raw and just the way I like it. This band is playing well, but is not special as the band before with the same style, Salute. Still, people seem to enjoy the show and I can't blame them.
ANGEL WITCH is next up and people inside are showing that they are ready. The crowd in front of stage before the show is (of course) quite big in comparison to the other bands. The last time I saw this band was quite some time ago and I was happy with their gig at Raise the Dead. Kevin Heybourne, the founding member of this band is still doing great maintaining the NWOBHM sound with Angel witch and the performance is great. I would like it though if they could come up with something new, but I'm sure some people will disagree and have peace with the classics Angel Witch is performing. The band starts with “Sweet Danger” which gets the audience go loose already. Other classics that pass by are “Gorgon”, “White witch”, “Atlantis” and of course the crowd sings loudly with the last track “Angel Witch”. A great show worth remembering!
The last band of the first night is the mighty MANILLA ROAD. I was really looking forward to this band because the last time I saw them had been like 5 years ago. The band stayed in the same line up with Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick on vocals. The only replacement was on bass, because Hellroadie's brother Harvey quit in 2007. He has been replaced by Vince Goleman. The band starts with “Riddle of Steel”, which is the opening track of their 2005 album “Gates of Fire”, and the atmosphere is awesome! In the beginning the sound is quite bad in my opinion, but it could also be that I was hearing too much of the monitors on the stage. Must say I was also getting quite drunk too … Anyway, the songs that the band is performing are great, and surely maintain the epic sound Manilla Road always had. Some tracks from the setlist: “Riddle of Steel”, “Haunted Palace”, “Necropolis”, “Open the Gates”, “Astronomica”, “Mystification”, “The riddle master” and “Cage of Mirrors” all come by. The vocals on “Riddle Master” are done by Mark 'the shark' himself who still has it. Great show and a lot of respect for this band. I think they are playing for almost 2 hours which is great for the last act of the night.

DAY II
The festival kicked off on the second day with thrashers RAGING STEEL. These Swedish thrashers started a year ago and perform pretty standard thrash metal with raw vocals on top. I didn't know really much of this band and they didn't play that long, but I was happy with their act on the festival. The sound reminds me of Possessed which is always good of course. Later I heard some of the members were actually sick at the time of the gig so respect for still producing a nice gig of old school thrash. We'll definitely hear more of these guys in the future.
The second band on this day is RAM. RAM has been together for 10 years now and have released a new album this year called “Lightbringer”. Most of the played tracks are from this album but also classics from their first album pass by. (Machine Invaders, and my favorite track Infuriator..) Good RAM performance as always. After the festival I heard that some bass guitar got stolen, sad story but hopefully they'll find it back.
The third band of the day is called GENERAL SURGERY. This band was already formed in 1988 but had their first full length album released in 2006. I am not really sure what this band was doing in the line-up because it was so much different than all the other bands on the bill. General Surgery produces raw death/gore metal. A nice hour of brutal metal to keep the crowd awake and ready for the last 2 bands of the night.
Dutch death metal heroes ASPHYX are next, and I can notice people were waiting for this band. For myself it had been a while too so it was nice seeing Asphyx again. The current band line-up is just awesome with Paul Baayens from Thanatos on guitar and Wannes from Pentacle on bass. Asphyx plays the pretty standard setlist with Vermin, M.S. Bismarck and Wasteland of Terror. The surprise to me was the song from the new album. A complete new style which can be described as death/doom.
The last band of the festival are German thrashers SODOM. A fantastic headliner for a festival like this. They kick off with some 80's classics but also newer tracks like M-16 pass by. The following tracks were heard; Outbreak of Evil, Blasphemer, Witching Metal, Napalm in the Morning, Sodomized and of course Ausgebombt and Bombenhagel. A great last act of a great festival. Due to some circumstances I unfortunately missed the last part of Sodom.
Thanks to oldschoolbooking and all bands that played for 2 fantastic days!
GOD DETHRONED, HOLLENTHON, ENDSTILLE, ONHEIL (25 October 2009)
Mezz, Breda, The Netherlands
Review by Kees Schijven

After arriving too late due to family circumstances, we missed ONHEIL completely, and came in just in time to see ENDSTILLE play their last songs. This was a bit too short for us to give it a proper review, certainly because we aren't familiar with the black metal these guys play.
Next was HOLLENTHON, symphonic black metal from Vienna. Fortunately the band appears to be completely back. After seven years of silence between “With Vilest of Worms to Dwell” and “Opus Magnum” (2008), the latest EP “Tyrants and Wraiths” came out only one year later. The EP was already for sale at the merchandise-stand, although the album was officially not for sale yet.
The show started with a few technical problems. The symphonics are played from tape, and that didn't work properly at the start. But after two tries the tape behaved as it should and the show started out in all it's might. Of course the classics from the first three albums were played, but also two new songs, “Tyrants and Wraiths” and “Deathly Dirges”. Both songs sound very familiair in comparison to the former album “Opus Magnum”. The Hollenthon-sound is still there, although I personally prefer the sound of the first two albums, which were more symphonic. Hollenthon played a very good show, the interaction with the public – mainly from bass-player Gregor Marboe – was very much one direction though. It was evident that most people came to see God Dethroned. Hollenthon is not that well-known in the Netherlands, so that might explain.
The last show of the night was the Dutch death-metalband GOD DETHRONED. And very interesting already at first glance; behind the band a full-sized albumcover of the latest album “Passiondale”, which refers to the Belgian city Passendale (near Yper), well-known for the many battles in WWI. Apart from this, the band is musically speaking very good as well. I hadn't heard of them before the shows, but first impressions are great. The audience loved the show, fully banging their heads, and obviously enjoying. The band itself, although tired and with a jetlag from being just a few days back from their USA tour, played as tight as a duck's ass. It seemed that the melodic death metal of God Dethroned is very popular, and they gave it their best. A very good end to an evening too short.
AGES OF METAL FESTIVAL (17 October 2009)
J.H. 't Ipperste, Oostrozebeke, Belgium
Review by Mario van Dooren

Ages of Metal; a newborn oldschool festival in the South of Belgium. I was invited to join the festival and I grabbed the possibility to review it because I love this kind of underground/oldschool events! Im also always trying to relive the old days with my own Mario's Metal Meetings and I can only welcome every new festival with the same kind of goals! I already knew what to expect with the (great) NWOBHM headliners but was also curious about the newcomers from Belgium.

UNGOLIATH had the honour to open the festival and the band is described as a black metal band. These youngsters had the bad luck that 1 of their members was ill (pneumonia) and had to cancel. So the band performed as a trio. Personally the band sounded more as an average thrashband than as a black metal band and I advice the band to practice a lot more before going on stage again because it all sounded as a bad rehearsal. Luckily the band played only for about 20 minutes and added 2 covers to their set: Motorhead's 'Bomber' (only recognizable by the lyrics) and Turbonegro's “I got Erection'. The band sounded really inexperienced and im curious if they sound better with a complete line up? Let's wait what the future brings….

HYPERBITCHES where next on the bill and the band plays a kind of speed rock which is not spent for me. The band also played as a trio but a lot of these kind of bands are doing this; probably because most of them are influenced by one of the best rock 'n roll bands in the world; Motorhead?? The band sounded more professional than their predecessors but also quit after 20 minutes which doesn't leave a good feeling to me. “Speedway Crash Test Dummies” was their nicest song but will not stick in my mind for long im afraid….

GAE BOLGA just played the Warm Up show of my third MMM festival 2 weeks earlier and did impress me a lot during that gig. So when I heard that they where sharing the stage with Cloven Hoof & Tokyo Blade I decided to travel to the South of Belgium again. These guys are also totally nuts but that's probably the main reason why they are sounding so well experienced on stage (or is it just that they already exist for nearly 10 years!). The band plays oldschool thrashmetal in a way I like it most; fast, furious & aggressive! They also add a lot of humour to their music, just listen to their song titles and you will know what I mean. The band sounds as an 80's German thrashband but also have influences from non-European thrash bands like Whiplash, Destructor & Hirax. These guys again convinced me totally and im sure I will do business with them again in the future! Good show and one of the best bands of the festival! The audience also went crazy when these guys thrashed around! A part of their setlist: 'Blood of the Demon', 'Drink 'till Death', 'Cemetary at Midnight' (not dedicated to the lately died Crimson Glory vocalist), 'Mambo nr. 666', 'Dr. Oetkah', 'He's not Gay (... Let's Thrash Him Anyway)' & 'Spit on your Grave' (Whiplash Cover).

FIREFORCE is the “new” band by long-time ex-DOUBLE DIAMOND members Filip Lemmens (vocals) and Erwin Suetens (guitar). The band is a logical continuation for Double Diamond but according the setlist of the band they don't share my opinion I suppose. 'Born To Play Metal' & 'Firestorm' where the 'oldies' they played but most of the setlist was filled with newer tunes like: 'Annihilation', '1302', 'Moonlight Lady', 'War Machine' & 'Metal Rages On' (Instrumental song). It all sounded as a well oiled machine and these guys can go on for years with this kind of metal. As a Double Diamond tradition the band added 2 cover songs as bonus to their gig; 'Battle Hymn” (Manowar) & 'Breaking the Law' (Judas Priest). Personally I would give the band the advice to add a 'new' song as bonus-cover. 'Battle Hymn' is very predictable because they already played this song with Double Diamond for years and Judas Priest' 'Breaking the Law' is originally already one of Judas Priest's weakest songs ever. Still I enjoyed the show a lot and im curious to the bands debut album which will be released soon…… Good show guys; see you soon with Vicious Rumors in Antwerp!

AVENGER was next on the bill and this was the second time I saw the band; before I witnessed them at the Headbangers Open Air festival a couple of years ago. During that HOA gig I wasn't that much impressed by these NWOBHMetallers… Well times change and this time I was already impressed by the good & heavy sound of the band. Im not familiar with the bands music simply because I never was such a great NWOBHM adorer. Well singer Ian Swift (ex-Satan, ex-Atomkraft, Tysondog) is a real entertainer on stage which he also proved last July when he fronted Tysondog at the Headbangers Open Air festival. The band played a tight set and radiated fun. Only thing that went wrong was the fact that every time Ian covered his ear with his hand; his wireless microphone quit and you couldn't hear much of his higher notes….technical problem which was a pity. The band has a lot of Iron Maiden influences and it counted me that Ian Swift was sometimes trying to imitate Bruce Dickinson (musically & theatrical). Nevertheless a very good performance. Some songs of their setlist (with a lot of new stuff): 'Midnite Mass', 'Race Against Time', 'Fate', 'Decimated', 'Brand of Torture', 'Into The Nexus', 'Hard Times', 'In Arcadia Go', 'Run for your Life', 'Flayer Sychosis', 'Death Race 2000', 'Fields Of The Burnt', 'Enforcer' & 'Go To Hell'. As an extra bonus song they also played Iron Maiden's 'Killers'. Good show anyway!!

Unfortunately I had to miss the next band TRENCHFOOT because of a hunger attack…. Hope to see them soon because I heard a lot of good things from this Belgium band!

CLOVEN HOOF was the main reason I travelled to Oostrozebeke; I've seen the band several times during the last few years and every time they blew me away! Im not even familiar with their music but what these guys show on stage is incredible! Singer Russ North is to me the European version of Jag Panzer's Harry Conklin. Already during the sound check he provided me goose bumps!!! This band exists for about 30 years but I discovered them just a few years ago. The band reformed at the beginning of this century after an absence of about 10 years. For me personally they where the real headliners even though im a great Tokyo Blade fan also. Cloven Hoof also played about 80 minutes while TB only played for about 1 hour.
A part of their setlist: 'Cloven Hoof', 'Nightstalker' (which is also used on the new computer game “Brutal Legend”), 'Return Of The Passover', 'The Gates Of Gehennah', 'Laying Down The Law', 'Mutilator', 'Nova Battlestar', 'Reach For The Sky' (with incredible high pitch vocals!!), 'Road Of Eagles', 'Astral Rider', 'Mistress Of The Forest', 'Inquisitor'.
Again this band lived up my expectations and to me Cloven Hoof was the one and only headliner of the festival. Tokyo Blade was more a kind of 'after party'…….
One week later I heard the bad news that singer Russ North has left the band to spent his time on a solo career (outside of the metal)…That's damn bad news!!! Luckily I was a witness of his last performance with Cloven Hoof!!!!

TOKYO BLADE is a band that I already saw live for the first time in 1984 (Aardschokdag) and also in 1985 (Heavy Sound festival & Earthquake Festival). I always liked the band very much but never owned any of their albums. Why? Simply because they where not THAT special to me; a great live band but not a band to listen to on my turntable…..
Last year I witnessed their show at the 11th edition of the Keep it True festival in Germany and that day they where one of the best bands from the whole festival. So my expectations for the festival where high……but to be honest (and I told it to guitarist Bryan Holland right after the show) they didn't sound that good this time. Mostly due to the fact that only original member Andy Boulton was ill and couldn't join the band on tour. Not that he is that important to the band (even though he is the only original band member); it more had to do with the thin sound when you miss a second guitar player in this kind of metal. Overall it didn't do the sound any good and the band also had a moderate drum sound (to loud snare drum). Most of the people called this TB a tribute band but sometimes tribute bands are better than the original bands.
Some songs of the setlist: 'Someone to Love', 'Lightning Strikes (Straight Through The Heart)', 'Midnight Rendezvous', 'Mean Streak', 'Love Struck', 'Sunrise In Tokyo', 'If Heaven Is Hell', 'Night Of The Blade' & also a Rainbow cover 'Long Live Rock 'n Roll”. After all a nice show but it wasn't equal with their KIT performance from last year.

My first Ages of Metal festival and I went home very satisfied (even though I couldn't drink much beer which is normally a must for this kind of festivalsJ. Some moderate bands but also some very good bands! Winners to me where Gae Bolga & Cloven Hoof. Next year I hope to be there again and see again such a high quality of (especially headliners) bands. Thanks to Bert & Sandy for putting me on the guestlist! I will spread the word about this great upcoming festival! That's for sure!!
THE CULT (13 October 2009)
Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch

THE CULT did a European "LOVE Live" Tour of 17 dates. On October 11th, 2009 they played at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. But I preferred to go see this legendary rock band in a smaller venue. So, on Tuesday October 13th, 2009 I went to Eindhoven to see THE CULT at the Effenaar. There was no support act this evening, just only THE CULT. I already saw THE CULT on July 4th, 2006 in 013, Tilburg, which was a superb show. As the title of this tour says, Ian Astburry & Co. are playing the entire classic "Love" (1985) album in the exact same order. It was 21:15 when the lights went out and the band started with "Nirvana". I think that the concert was nearly sold out tonight. The audience was very varied, metalheads, rockers, alternative people etcetera and there was a very good atmosphere. I was standing in the second row in front of bass player Chris Wyse. During the "Love" set, rhythm guitarist for the tour, Mike Dimkich, stood next to Wyse in front of the stage, but after the "Love" set he stood at the backline. Ian Astburry told the audience he was a little ill. Despite the fact that he was ill, he sung fantastic and of course he's still a great performer as well. Astburry said 'we play in any condition, broken hand, broken feet, ill, not ill'. Billy Duffy, together with Astburry the only original member of THE CULT, is of course a great guitarist and he played fantastic. Sometimes Duffy came to the left side of the stage to sing backing vocals along with Wyse. Behind drummer John Tempesta was a very large video screen, and during every song fantastic video images were shown which fitted perfectly for each song. After the band played the last song of their "Love" album, "Black Angel", they left the stage for a few minutes and came back to play seven other songs. What else can I say, it was just awesome and I enjoyed it very much. Great sound, beautiful lightshow and most of all great songs. Especially with the songs "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Love Removal Machine" the audience went totally crazy. The order of the set list was "Nirvana", "Big Neon Glitter", "Love", "Brother Wolf, Sister Moon", "Rain", "Phoenix", "Hollow Man", "Revolution", "She Sells Sanctuary", "Black Angel", "Electric Ocean", "Wild Flower", "Sun King", "Rise", "Dirty Little Rockstar", "Fire Woman" and "Love Removal Machine". Next time perhaps an "Electric Live" or a "Sonic Temple Live" tour???? That would be great as well.
MARIO'S METAL MEETING 3 & Warm Up show (3 & 4 October 2009)
Little Devil & 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by several magazines/webzines

This was the third edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to the several reviews/pictures on webzines & magazines:

DIGITAL STEEL (The Netherlands)

FURY (The Netherlands)

METALKRANT (The Netherlands)

LORDS OF METAL (The Netherlands)

METAL EXPERIENCE (The Netherlands)

METAL SHOTS (The Netherlands)

BERKHOUT ONLINE (The Netherlands)

GUERRILLA PHOTOGRAPHY (The Netherlands)

More will follow later....
There is also a review in underground magazine Violent Moshground, check it out!

Links to a lot of cool YouTube clips that where shoot at MMM3:

Holy Moses 1
Holy Moses 2
Holy Moses 3

Acrostichon 1
Acrostichon 2
Acrostichon 3
Acrostichon 4

Hyades

Sanity's Rage

Hatchery

Warm Up show:
Methedras

Gae Bolga 1
Gae Bolga 2

Chaos Asylum



SWORDBROTHERS 8 FESTIVAL (12 September 2009)
Juz, Andernach, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

This year was the 8th edtion of the German Swordbrothers Festival and the 4th time I was visiting this atmospheric festival! Swordbrothers mainman Volker Raab arranged again a great headliner and gave also the possibility to a lot of unknown bands to show their musicianship to a larger crowd. The same premeditation as my own Mario's Metal Meetings.

BARBARIAN from Spain where todays opener and the band plays powermetal with some thrash elements. The band sings mostly in their own language and is suited with a very good sound, especially for an opener. Musically the band couldn't impress me the whole show but that has most to do with the moderate singer of the band. Nice opener after all.
STEELRAISER from Italy was again a band from Volker's recordlabel Pure Steel. Steelraiser played powermetal with a lot of Judas Priest influences. The band sounded much better and more professional than their predecessors from Barbarian. Their singer, with a kind of Midnight (Crimson Glory) mask, was a real entertainer and could hit the high notes good! Good band!
HELLISH WAR came all the way from Brasil for a small European tour and also played Swordbrothers. Understandable because this was the third band I a row from Volkers' own Pure Steel label. This band really convinced from the first till the last minute! I have a weak for this kind of bands; they always sound more professional than any European band in their genre. Very good musicians and a great singer/frontman! One of the best bands for me from this years edition! The band plays Traditional, Heavy Power Metal. Some songs they played: 'Hellish War', 'Metal Forever', 'Defender of Metal', 'Memories of a Metal', 'We are living for the Metal' & 'The Sign'. Good show!
ZARPA from Spain was next on the bill and even if the band exist for more than 30 years; I never heard of them before….. Musically a good band which was received very well by the German audience. Personally I was not really impressed and after a few songs it was time for my first diner break this day. Nice band.
ENCHANTER from the USA was one of the bands I was looking out for because their "Symbols Of Stone" CD was a nice album to listen to. The more I was disappointed in the band; especially their boring singer and also musically it was not what I expecting from the band. Also their stage performance was not spectacular and Enchanter is the proof for me that not every US-metal band is okay. Sorry guys, next time better!
GODDESS OF DESIRE was next on the bill and everyone who has seen this band from The Netherlands before knows what to expect! Solid metal with a lot of show elements! The band found some extra fans by giving away free cd's for every visitor! Why?? Well the band decided in May to pull the plug! I was not aware of this decision and I regret it a lot! Because the band is only doing one more show in The Netherlands (21 November, Almere) and they still had left 4000 cd's they decided to give a part of them away to the fans! A good gesture! Goddess of Desire are immense popular in Germany and the fans enjoyed every minute of this last show in Germany; and so did I. In the beginning the band had a very poor sound but after a few songs it went much better. After 2 songs the stage was conversed into a kind of school with a schoolboy and his severe "teacher". During the Venom cover "Teacher's Pet" the severe teacher, Delilah, did a kind of striptease which was received well by the horny German crowd (and also by myself hahaha). "Ride" was the next song on the bill but this time with a guest singer who sounded exactly like my idol Lemmy! Only difference was the haircut of this singer (he was bold) (Later on I heard that it was their old gitarist Bart aka 'Greve Drake' who is recovering from cancer!!! Thanks for the extra info by Martin van Wijk)!!!
"Fear the King" was a "new" song which will most likely never be released anymore on CD; Its only on a compilation album. During "War of the Crusade" Delilah comes on stage again to perform a spit fire act; now she had 2 things to warm up the crowd! After "Metal Forever" and "Conquerors Divine" the band brings a big pentagram on stage which is set on fire by Delilah.
After the show is over the whole crowd started to yell "Goddess of Desire" in the chorus of "Vamos a la Playa"….very funny! The band returns to do 1 bonus song "Scream For Metal True" and than its done…..Pity that this band is disbanding but hey; isn't Germany the country for reunions???? Great show guys! Proud to be at this farewell show! I enjoyed it!!!
The Canadian band THUNDERRIDER was next. I already reviewed their second album a couple of years ago but I didn't like their epic metal. Also live during their Keep it True performance a couple of years ago they couldn't convince me at all. My expectations where minimum. The band plays robust epic metal which isn't my kind of metal. Later on I heard that the singer was the only original member; the other members where all German musicians from the band Roxxcalibur (who are also doing the Savage Grace reunion shows next year). ThunderRider will never be my kind of band; especially when you know how much other great bands they have in Canada! Even the singers flute solo was out of tune……Sorry guys but this was one of the worst shows of today!
Volker has a reputation to book bands that never show up or don't show up complete…..Well ARAKAIN was this years absent band. I don't know the band so I guess I didn't miss anything from this Eastern Bloc band…..
OMEN is also a band which I never liked but because I missed them at the KIT X festival with their new singer George Call (also in ASKA) I was curious this time! Singer George Call who is doing an excellent job in his other band ASKA is a welcome gain to Omen! With the singer the band made 500% progression and in combination with the hard/speedy set Omen convinced me for the first time in my life! I can even say it was a great show!! This was the proof that a good/bad singer is so important for any band! Omen has (finally) a new fan! Good show guys!
The US Shock Rockers of HALLOWEEN where the main reason for me to travel to Germany again! Ive seen the band twice before and live this band is fabulous! Not only musically but also the show and act of the band. Singer Brian Thomas has a typical voice and is a real performer. During the whole set he is changing clothes and masks and he is treating the audience the way they deserved! Shock Horror Metal at it best!
Setlist: 'Don't Metal with Evil', '(guitarsolo)', 'What a Nice Place', 'Night Walker', She's a Teazer', 'Tales from the Crypt', 'To Fight the Beast', 'Cemetary (new song)", 'Hell', 'Her ghost comes out to Play (new song', 'Victims of the Night', 'Children of the Witches', 'Misserie'S Child', 'Candles', 'Busted', 'Scared to Death', 'Justice for All', '(drumsolo)', 'Trick or Treat (some nice ladys on stage to throw candy)', 'The Wicked Witch', 'Rats (1983)', 'Die Forever', 'Crawl to the Altar', 'Black Skies" and as extra extra bonus Judas Priest' "The Ripper'.
Great set with a nearly complete first album set (I only missed "Haunted" but maybe I missed it because of a piss-stop). Excellent show and the best headliner Volker had so far!

Congratulations & thanks to Volker and sure Im back next year! Next years line up looks awesome with a lot of US-metal: CAGE (USA), CLOVEN HOOF (UK), ASKA (USA), RUTHLESS (USA), PARAGON (D), WIDOW (USA), ETERNAL WINTER (USA), THROES OF SANITY (USA), DESERT SIN (A) & HÜRLEMENT (F).
Be there!!!!
JUNGLE ROT, LONG TIME DEAD, DREAD, ION & NIGHTFIRE (9 September 2009)
Frontline, Gent, Belgium
Review by Sammy de Maere

After waiting for too long because of previously cancelled tours I finally had a chance to see JUNGLE ROT and I wasn't going to miss out on that one! In the small venue of the Frontline in Gent I was one of the very few fans who decided to give up their Wednesday night for awesome death metal. And I wasn't proven wrong.
First band of the evening was NIGHTFIRE who brought a great mix of brutality and technical death metal. I enjoyed their performance a lot. After their show I decided to go eat something and because I ran into some people I completely missed ION and a part of the show of DREAD. That last one was a very nice brutal death metal band. The sound wasn't that great but it was very good anyway.
After these bands the two bands I actually was there for went on the stage. LONG TIME DEAD delivered an awesome performance with a mix of old school thrash metal and some groovy layers. Too bad the crowd wasn't really in the mood cause this should have been one hell of a moshpit. And then it was time for JUNGLE ROT and it was well worth the wait. The gig itself was quite short but it was amazing. I really like the fact that this band still considers the 3 'R's of death metal: riffs, riffs and more riffs ! This show was really tight and I banged my head off.
To all the death metal lovers who missed this: 'Ha ha ha you should have been there!'
MUCKY PUP & CLOON (6 September)
Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
Review by Ad van Osch

MUCKY PUP is doing a small reunion tour of ten dates in Europe. We already saw them on August 30th at the Dynamo Outdoor 2009 festival, and after all those years (the last time I've seen MUCKY PUP live was on June 2nd, 1991, in Noorderligt, Tilburg, Holland) it was great to see MUCKY PUP back on stage. So we decided to go see them in the Biebob as well. Arrived at the Biebob, it was already very crowded and it was very hot in there as well. The support act this evening was CLOON from Belgium, which is a band I never had heard of before, so I'm not familiar with any of their material. Anyway, it was 20:20 when this four piece band started with their set. They played songs as "He Who Knows", "Burned Rubber Blues" and some songs ("The Doll" and "The Runner") which will be on their forthcoming full length debut album. But after seven songs we've seen enough of the band, because CLOON wasn't really our type of band. And to be honest, CLOON wasn't the perfect band for MUCKY PUP to open. The response they got from the audience was also very minimal.
It's 21:45 when MUCKY PUP hit the stage, and after the intro they opened with "Hotel Penitentiary" from their third album "Now" (1989). The next five songs MUCKY PUP played were of their first album "Can't You Take A Joke" (1987), namely "Knock Knock", "Nazichizm", "Caddy Killer", "Woody" and "Bushpigs". The line-up of the band for this European tour exists of Chris Milnes on vocals, Dan Nastasi on guitar, Marc DeBacker on bass and Kevin Powers on drums. Chris explained why his brother and MP drummer John wasn't with them. John and his wife got a baby, so Chris said 'I'm an uncle now'. Anyway, tonight it's the last show of this small reunion tour and, just like at the Dynamo Outdoor festival, it became a great party. After "Bushpigs" they played "Batman" of their, in my opinion, best album EVER "A Boy In A Mans World" (1988). And while the band played that classic one, the audience went totally crazy and sing along with. When they finished playing "Batman", Chris said 'hey, even the soundman was dancing on that one' and played another one of the first album, which was "U-R Nothing". Of course they played more songs of that classic album "A Boy In A Mans World", which were "Mr. President", "Death By Cholesterol", "Landscrapers", "P.T.L." and "Little Pigs". After MP played "Mr. President" guitarist Dan said 'it is hot as a motherfucker up here' and took his shirt off. From "Now" they played also great songs like "Three Dead Gophers", "I Know Nobody" and of course the awesome "Hippies Hate Water" with whom they ended their regular set with. Of their fourth album "Act Of Faith" (1990) they played "The Skinheads Broke My Walkman" and "Please Don't Burn The Johnson". Before they started with "The Skinheads Broke My Walkman", Dan invited tattooist Sascha Sevic (from Dragon Tattoo, Eindhoven) on stage to play the washboard along with. Dan said about Sascha 'he's the best European tattooist'. The sound at the Biebob was just fabulous and way much better than in the beginning of their set at the Dynamo Outdoor festival. Especially during classic songs like "Batman", "P.T.L." (we want your money money money etc.), "Landscrapers", "Death By Cholesterol" and "Little Pigs" the crowd went totally nuts. Chris said, after they played "Little Pigs", 'MUCKY PUP is not done, MUCKY PUP is not dead'. Let's hope so. Anyway, the first encore MUCKY PUP played, was a great cover version of IRON MAIDEN's "Running Free". During this classic MAIDEN song Chris wears his special painted Maiden denim jacket (which he painted himself 27 years ago he said) with Eddie on the back. And finally they ended their show with "U-Stink" (but I love you). And just like at the Dynamo Outdoor, Chris also asked the audience of the Biebob if he may freestyle during "U-Stink". So he did, and did a striptease again. We enjoyed this show of MP very much, so it was great to see the band twice within one week.
URIAH HEEP & THE BREEZE (4 September 2009)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch

On Friday September 4th I went to De Pul in Uden, Holland to go see URIAH HEEP again. This concert of HEEP tonight is gonna be my sixth concert of them. Anyway, arriving at De Pul, it appeared to be almost a full house. The support-act of this evening is Dutch rock band THE BREEZE, a band which exists since 1984. Personally I never had heard of this trio before. They started at 20:15 with "Bad To The Bone". The very simple bluesy Hard Rock they played didn't impress me that much. Especially the drums of Hein van Kastel are so simple. And it looked like he finds himself a terrific good drummer. I can't say that the songs of THE BREEZE are very strong compositions. Okay, the third song they played, "Boogie Town", was a nice one. The band also played two songs of their brand new album "Nightflight" ("Arabia" and "Don't"). Nick Helmond is a reasonable singer, but a good guitarist anyway. I'm not sure if it was during "Working" that Van Kastel did a very simple and unimpressive drum solo. The last song THE BREEZE played was a cover version of THE ROMANTICS' classic "What I Like About You". Great song of course, but just nicely done. Their version even can't compete with the original (which is a real favourite one of me).
Headliner URIAH HEEP started at 21:25 with the first three songs of their last album "Wake The Sleeper" (2008), which are the instrumental "Wake The Sleeper", "Overload" and "Tears Of The World". Bernie Shaw, who's the singer of HEEP since 1989, said to the audience "the festival season is over, now it's time for doing a club tour. And tonight it's the first show of the tour". The first two classics on the set list were "Stealin'" and "Sunrise". Then back to the last album again with "Book Of Lies". Actually, the mighty HEEP only played songs of the "Wake The Sleeper" album and the rest of the set list existed of classics like "Gypsy", "Look At Yourself", "July Morning" and of course "Easy Livin'" with whom they ended their regular set with. Not that Phil Lanzo (keyboards, vocals) and Russel Gilbrook (drums) are bad musicians, but you can't deny that Bernie Shaw, Mick Box and Trevor Bolder are THE faces of URIAH HEEP. Shaw is a fantastic singer and a very good front man, who can really entertain the audience. Box is a great guitarist of course and a very sympathetic person (I shortly spoke with Mick backstage in 1994 at one of the two shows I saw of them in Noorderligt, Tilburg (March 24th, '91 & May 15th, 1994), when I was working for AARDSCHOK magazine). And Trevor Bolder is just a fantastic bass player. As usual, there's always a fantastic atmosphere during a HEEP show. The audience sings a long with especially the above mentioned classics "Gypsy", "July Morning", "Easy Livin'" and "Lady In Black", which was the only encore HEEP did tonight. But….it was a great show, good sound, great lightshow and most of all fantastic songs.
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM & MARTYR (23 August 2009)
The Rock Temple, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

The Rock Temple is a nearly new Rock club and today was my third visit to Kerkrade. After the great shows of Vicious Rumors and lately Cage, the venue booked again a great US-metalband; Flotsam & Jetsam. Most positive about the Rock Temple is the awesome sound most of the bands have when they play overhere.
With about 100 visitors the place wasn't that crowded but that didn't influence the atmosphere! As opener for their small European tour, F&J brought dutch metallers MARTYR. This band is one of the best still lasting oldschool metal bands from The Netherlands. The band already raised the roof of the Tilburg Headbangers Fest (which I co-organised for 2 editions) a couple of years ago and I was looking out to see the band again finally! Vocalist Rop van Haren is the bands original singer but the band never released any stuff with him till their latest reunion MCD "Fear the Universe" (review also online this month). This guy is totally nuts and he is the one that takes your intention; even if you don't even want it!! He is singing, throwing water & entertaining the audience during the whole set. The band played an energetic set but I need to mention that their newer songs like "I am the most Evil" & "Eaten Alive" are not as good as their older stuff. Nevertheless they managed to warm the audience up for the upcoming Flotsam & Jetsam show. Playlist: "Snow & Fire", "Darkness at Time's Edge", "Fear", "Different kind of Rain", "Take me Home", "Speed of Samurai", "I am the most Evil" & "Eaten Alive". Good show! The band will support Vicious Rumors later this year so if you missed this show……
FLOTSAM & JETSAM already headlined the KIT festival in November last year with an "Oldschool" set….Problem is to me that their debut album "Doomsday for the Deceiver" is an alltime classic but I lost attention in the band after their second album "No Place for Disgrace". Simply because they changed their musical direction a bit to much to my opinion. Today the band played a nice mix of all their releases and I have to admit that singer Eric A.K. had again a great day and sung awesome; he is the one & only F&J singer! Their typical US metal style suits me very well but again I was hoping for more oldschool songs from their legendary debut album. But im not complaining because after all I had a hell of a time with this performance! Some songs they played (im not familiar with all their stuff): "Hammerhead", "No Place for Disgrace", "Secret Square", "Hard on You", "Escape from Within", "I live you Die" & "Doomsday for the Deceiver". Good show and hope to see both bands more in the future!!!
Thanks to Rock Temple owner Ludy for putting me on the guestlist again. Cheers!!
HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (23, 24 & 25 July 2009)
Brande Hörnerkichen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Headbangers Open Air 2009; the festival I was looking out for already during the 2008 edition! HOA still is my favourite festival (yes, even more important than my own Mario's Metal Meetings!!) and it's always a party to be there! Since 2008 the organisers plan the festival 1 week before the mighty Wacken Open Air festival (also nearby Hamburg). A good commercial action but not so good for the real underground fans that travel to HOA every year. Already months ago the festival was sold out (for the first time) and that was due to the fact that a lot of Wacken travellers made a "stop" in Brande Hornerkirchen. On Thursday evening the "garden" was already crowded like never before! Pity because it didn't do the atmosphere that good. Organisers Thomas & Jurgen both promised me that the festival will never grow bigger than this year's edition (about 2500 people). So let's wait & see what happens in the future…..

Thursday:
We (Pim; Digital Steel) and I drove to HOA on Thursday morning but because of some traffic jam, a diner break and 6 hours of rain we missed the first 2 bands; LICK THE BLADE & BULLET. I've seen Bullet already a few times but the band never could convince me with their AC/DC & Accept influenced metal. So it wasn't a problem we missed them this time. Lick The Blade was opener on this year's edition and the reactions where positive according to the people that did see the band. Luckily Lick The Blade also played the after party on Sunday at the Ballroom in Hamburg and I must admit that there mix of Iron Maiden & Exciter suited me well!
The first band we witnessed was Q5 which was one of the bands I was very curious about. The more I was disappointed with their show and especially their music (which I wasn't familiar with); it all sounded to standard and the band also reminded me to an AC/DC influenced band; especially because singer Jonathan K was not only sounding like Brian Johnson; he also looked like him!
TANK was the next band on the bill but again; they have been always a moderate band in my opinion; they couldn't impress me 20 years ago and still they couldn't! Cult member Algy Ward was not even part of the line up! Drummer Mark Brabbs was the only original member today as far as I know. Good thing was the addition of Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Cornerstone) as singer. The audience loved it and that's more important than my personal taste, isn't it?
VICIOUS RUMORS was the band I came over for already on Thursday. The band headlined my Mario's Metal Meeting II festival last year and the band only got great reviews! Especially new singer Ronnie Stixx was named as "the best VR singer since Carl Albert" in nearly every press release of MMM3 (and also the other shows I helped the band with last year). The band played a familiar set as last year but during "Soldiers of the Night" original singer of the debut album, Gary St. Pierre, jumped on stage to sing 4 songs from the bands debut album. In Germany its cult to get a band together in the most original line up but why they "digged up" Gary St. Pierre from his grave?? I really don't know because he was singing moderate. Okay, it wasn't bad but it added any value to my (and more peoples) opinion. After 4 songs Ronnie Stixx returned to perform another part of the setlist. The band proved again that they can headline this kind of festivals. Pity that the sound wasn't that good during the whole set. Luckily the band will tour Europe again in November and believe or not; I will be there again (several times)!!!

Friday:
When we arrived; France true metallers LONEWOLF already started. I was not familiar with most of their stuff but it all sounded nice; nothing more, nothing less.
The next band was MEMORY GARDEN from Sweden. The band plays oldschool doom metal in the vein of bands like Solitude Aeturnus & Forsaken. They where blessed with a good frontman/singer AND a very good sound! This was a valuable introduction with these guys! Good show!
Next band on the bill was for me personally one of the most important on this year's line up! I've seen PILEDRIVER already at one of the KIT (Keep it True) festivals and was impressed by the bands performance! A few months ago the gig at HOA was cancelled because the whole band (except for the singer) packed their bags and left the band. Singer Gord Kirchin didn't discourage himself and showed up with a complete new line up!! And they did a hell of a job! One of the highlights again for me! Later on I met singer Gord and we had a whole conversation about the whole line up bullshit and all the shitty managers Piledriver worked with. Some songs of their setlist: 'Sodomise the Dead', 'Pile Driver', 'Metal Inquisition', 'Metal Manifesto' (which was announced as a song from their 'hardly to find' new album), 'The Fire God', 'Sex with Satan' & 'Witch Hunt'. During Witch Hunt it started to rain and most of the audience where hiding for it. Nevertheless a great performance again! Hope to get this band over to The Netherlands some day!
ENFORCER is a young metal band from Sweden which play metal in the oldschool style. These young dogs know how to play and to amuse the audience! I've seen the band before on the KIT festival but this time the band was performing much better. Nice show! Good singer!
JACOBS DREAM was also one of the bands I was travelling for to HOA. Their first albums are all classic ones in the US Powermetal scene (which is my favourite scene) especially because of the unique voice of singer David Taylor. Pity David left the band after 2 great albums. His successor did a great job at the bands third album "Drama of the Ages" but live he couldn't convince at all. He had problems to hit the higher notes and because of that also the older songs didn't sound as I was hoping for. The audience also didn't show up much for these guys but that had more to do with the increasing rainfall. Musically the band was good but vocally it was very moderate; it reminded me of the Deadly Blessing show from last year's edition. The band played a nice mix of all their stuff and later on I received a copy of their latest self released "Dominion of Darkness" album for a review on MMM. Nice show.
EXXPLORER was in Germany again after their KIT performance but again they couldn't impress me for a minute….sorry guys, not my kind of metal. Good musicians but its not getting me "by the balls"…
DEATHRIDERS is the "new" band of ex-Anthrax frontman Neil Turbin (who sung on Anthrax debut album "Fistful of Metal"). As far as I know Deathriders doesn't have any releases so far but as you can expect; most metalheads showed up for the songs from Neil's 25 years ago released Anthrax debut album like: 'Metal Thrashing Mad", "Deathrider" & "Panic" They also played some post-Neil Turbin songs like: "Armed & Dangerous" & "Gung Ho". When it was up to me: Anthrax; get this guy back in the band! A more than expected great show from a good singer and also a great performer! Hope to meet you again soon guys!
To review HELSTAR is always difficult to me; after the review I did a few months ago (about their Dynamo show); James was only complaining about the few comments I gave in this review while I wasn't that negative at all! Luckily the band was playing much better than a few months ago at the Dynamo club (im not saying this to please you James, you know my honesty!). The band looked more energetic and James was singing way better this time. A few of the songs I did remember: "King of Hell", "The King is Dead", "Evil Reign", "Burning Star", "Suicidal Nightmare", "Angel of Death", "Run with the Pack", "Dracula's Castle" & "Witches Eye". The band played a more classic based set which is a good idea on this kind of festivals. At the end the Vicious Rumors members (except for Ronnie Stixx) joined the stage and together they played a few Vicious Rumors songs which where to my opinion not really necessary but nice to hear. I preferred some extra Helstar songs. Good show after all.
PRETTY MAIDS was one of my favourite bands in the past but I don't own all of their later albums. Years ago we travelled to Die Zeche in Bochum to see the band because they didn't play for a long time in my home country The Netherlands. That time it was a big disappointment. Well today Pretty Maids spread some rumours that they would play a more oldschool set and YES; they did! Singer Ronnie Atkins is still a great singer and musically the band played very tight! Some songs from the setlist: "Lethal Heroes", "We came to Rock", "Wake up to the Real World", "Cold Killer", "Walk Away", "Scream", "Back to Back" & as a bonus "Future World" & "Red, Hot & Heavy". Finally after all these years again a good Pretty Maids show!! Well done guys!
With headliner MANILLA ROAD I never had any connection; it is not my type of music and it will never be. I've seen the band several times in the past (only on German festivals) but they never impressed me at all. In the past, when Mark Shelton was also singing, I disliked the band very much. Later on when they hired a (good) singer; the band was worth watching on stage. But again; it's not my band and never will be. But in Germany they adore these guys and so it was a good idea to let them headline day 2!

Saturday:
We arrived just in time to watch ZED YAGO. It suited me that the first band already had a very good sound! I now the band for quit some time and did review their latest studio album "The Invisible Guide" a few years ago. Musically the band was playing okay but far from spectacular. Also singer Yvonne Durand was sometimes singing a bit out of tune. So it was not a good choice to cover Deep Purple's "Burnnn" because that was too ambitious to my opinion (and Glenn Hughes is unbeatable). Some songs I did remember; "Warrior of Fantasy" & "End of the World". Still a nice performance from these German rockers.
PORTRAIT was the second band of the day and it was my first acquaintance with their new singer. I've seen the band a few years ago at the KIT festival and they couldn't impress me at all that particular show. Well, after this HOA show I hope it was my last acquaintance also! What a terrible show; bad sound, false guitars and a moderate singer; long time ago I did see such a bad performance…..
NWOBHM heroes CLOVEN HOOF was again one of the highlights after the fabulous shows I've seen the band in the past. Cloven Hoof; CAME, SAW & CONQUERED!!!! Singer Russ North sounded again as the European version of Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin and gave me goose skin after every high pitcher!! What an incredible good singer is this guy! Compliments the way he was singing AND entertaining the crowd! Also the other musicians are superb and together they where one of the winning bands of this years HOA. Only little complain was the interruption with the Jameson Raid singer which was to my opinion a disappointment. Nevertheless a great Cloven Hoof show!!
I didn't see TYSONDOG since 1985 (damn, im getting old…). What I remember was a moderate NWOBHM band that didn't leave scars in my musical brain. So today I didn't expect anything at all. Well; luckily sometimes even I am wrong and Tysondog played a decent set with good musicians and the band was fronted by Ian Swift (ex-Satan, ex-Avenger, ex-Atomkraft) who did a great job and was very energetic on stage! God show after all!
PARADOX is named as the German Metallica by a lot of press but why?? I don't know; their debut album "Product of Imagination" did of course have a lot of Metallica riffs but after that album the band developed a complete new and original sound. Live the band is always playing decent shows and today was no exception to that. Due to the fact that I had a long conversation with the singer of Piledriver during the Paradox show,I missed a big part of it but what I heard & saw was as always very good.
The French metallers of KILLERS are not well-known in The Netherlands but I had the luck to see the band before on Wacken 1999. I like their debut album "Fils de la Haine" but after that I never bought any albums of the band; simply because they where hard to find in The Netherlands. Funny to see also how much response this band got from the German audience! Some songs I do remember: "Rosalind" & "Killers". Good show again after 10 years!
TANKARD is a real party band but I never had any connection with these German thrashers. Okay, its fun to see the band perform live but after 4 or 5 songs I know all their 'tricks'. That the band is very popular in Germany was not a surprise to me and the band got a great response! A part of the setlist; "Zombie Attack", "Slipping from Reality", "Die with a beer in your Hand", "Under friendly Fire", "Freibier" & "(Empty) Tankard". Good show but not my cup of tea (or was it beer)?
NIGHTSHADE was the next band on the bill but it seemed that is was nearly the same band as Q5 who played 2 days earlier. The only difference was that both bands have their own drummer; the rest of the line up is equal. Well because Q5 couldn't impress me at all we decided to have a diner break.
When we returned we also missed a big part of the ANGELWITCH show and because im not an Angelwitch fan at all; I will save both bands and don't review them.
THE RODS where co-headliner of the last day and it counted me that they had an incredible sound! Carl Cannedy showed a lot of youngsters how to play the drums and also the other original members David Feinstein and Gary Bordonaro where taking their jobs very serious. The Rods was never one of my favorite bands in the past but I must admit that today's show was very nice; mostly due to the fact that the band had an awesome sound! Nice show.
The main reason for me and most of the German thrashers to visit HOA where headliner RAZOR!! The band didn't play in Europe since 1999 (Wacken) and it was great that Jurgen & Thomas could finally convince the band to play in Germany again! There where some rumours that original singer Stace McLaren would join the band but the band performed in the same line up as 10 years ago (im not sure about the bassplayer). The band played a great show with lots of classic songs and the band proved that they where the one & only headliner of this years edition! Setlist: "Instant Death", "Iron Hammer", "Take this Torch", "Violent Restitution", "Shotgun Justice", "Tear me to Pieces", "Free Lunch", "Parricide", "Cut Throat", "Speed Merchants", "Nine Dead", "City of Damnation", "Behind Bars", "Electric Torture", "Concussion", "Brass Knuckles", "Soldier of Fortune" and as bonus: "Nowhere Fast", "Cross me Fool" & "Evil Invaders". So a good mix of most of their albums and musically performed very well.

After all this we went back to our hotel to rest because on Sunday the party went on at the HOA after party at the Ballroom in Hamburg with; Lick the Blade, Q5/Nightshade, Jacob's Dream, Trinakrius & Neil Turbin's Deathriders.
Thanks to Jurgen en Thomas for again a great weekend full of REAL metal in an awesome area with a great atmosphere! Please put me on the guest list already for next year because the bands they booked already are even better!! Jag Panzer, Raven, Culprit, Cirith Ungol, Der Kaiser, Aska, BattleAxe, BloodFeast, Omen, Rock Goddess, Virgin Steele, Trench Hell, Roxxcalibur and more to come……
Only little complains to mention are, as said above; the festival is growing too big and that will cost some real metal lovers in the future. Also the food variety is weak and didn't grow with the number of visitors. So next year please less people and more food, hahahaha. Thanks again Jurgen & Thomas; you both are the real masters of (underground) metal!!!!!
Cheers; Mario van Dooren
Pics I made can be found at: www.digital-steel.com
AC/DC, THE ANSWER & DRIVE LIKE MARIA (23 June 2009)
Arena, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch

On Tuesday June 23rd I went, together with a nephew, to the ArenA in Amsterdam by touring car to see AC/DC. I was really looking forward to see AC/DC for the third time in my life. The first two shows I saw of these legendary Australian rockers was on March 15th, 1988 (Rijnhal, Arnhem) and September 1st, 1991 (Goffertpark, Nijmegen). Anyway, we went on time, but because of a traffic jam around Utrecht, we arrived to late at the ArenA, so we totally missed the first band DRIVE LIKE MARIA. When we arrived THE ANSWER was already playing. We only have seen the last three or four songs of them. To bad, because I really would have seen the whole show of THE ANSWER. Exactly at 21:00 the lights went down and the intro tape of AC/DC started. During that intro I just went to one of the bars for some large beers for my nephew and myself and it took me a few minutes before I finally found my nephew again in the field. Anyway, the whole audience was yelling and Angus & co. started their set with "Rock 'n Roll Train" of their "Black Ice" album. Second song was the classic "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be". After the show I heard people say that the sound was to loud, but to me the sound was okay, because I had my special ear plugs in. Anyway, everyone went crazy this evening. Besides "Rock 'n Roll Train" other songs the band played from "Black Ice" are "Big Jack", "Black Ice", "War Machine" and "Anything Goes". The rest of the set existed of real classic songs like "Back In Black", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Shot Down In Flames", "Thunderstruck", "The Jack" with Angus' famous striptease, "Hells Bells", "Shoot To Thrill", "Dog Eat Dog", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "TNT" (Oi Oi) and of course "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Let There Be Rock". Angus Young still makes lots of kilometers on stage with his famous "Chuck Berry" walk. There was a long catwalk on which Brian Johnson could walk and sing between the audience. As usual, rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and bassist Cliff Williams are most of the time standing at the backline. On both sides of the stage and behind drummer Phil Rudd there was a very large screen, so that people in the back and on Ring 1 and Ring 2 could see the band better. AC/DC's show always has some special elements, like the large bell during "Hells Bells", a giant Rosie ("Whole Lotta Rosie") and of course the many cannons for "For Those About To Rock". After the regular set the band came back for just two encores, which were "Highway To Hell" and "For Those About To Rock". Anyway, I really enjoyed this show and I'm glad we had a ticket, because, like many others, we had to miss the show in March in Rotterdam because it was sold out very quickly. Hopefully it won't take to long for their next tour and new studio album, because I really would love to see the band some more.
PRONG & DIE SO FLUID (6 June 2009)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Frans Neelen

Thanks to the programmers of The Pul in Uden (who do a wonderful job in serving metal for the South of Holland in a very nice venue; you guys did it again with this package !) we are able to loosen up our neck muscles witnessing an all star "Power Trio" Tour as you can call it (both great bands consist of three members). I was looking out for this one because I get to see the awesome Die So Fluid again who are finally seeming to emerge from the London underground. Pure luck it was on the 8th of December 2004 when I headed of to London to see Girlschool. Die So Fluid was the support act right over there and they immediately blew me away with their energetic, powerful show and a combination with Prong, hey, who wants more ……Anyway, DIE SO FLUID kicks off at the early time of 08.10 pm with two songs of their debut album "Spawn of Dysfunction" ( "Bitterness by Discipline" and the superb title track) and I new that this was going to be a memorable evening. Vocalist-bass player Grog is in the possession of a really amazing voice which she fully uses to sing and spit out the marvellous lyrics into the audience. With her explicit looks she is the eye catcher of the band and she knows how to get the attention from the audience. But this is certainly not a one-woman act. Together with guitar player Mr. Drew, who plays his powerful solo's and heavy guitar grooves with a straight face in a quasi nonchalance way, and the driving drums and backing vocals of Al Fletcher this band forms a tight hard rockin' unit. Die So Fluid have memorable songs with hooks, breakdowns and grooves lesser bands would kill for, and they know how to put them across on stage. The music contains so much influences like rock/wave/gothic/powerpop/metal that it is hard to describe, but they have the skills to forge all this into catchy, heavy songs. Their set goes on with the tracks "Happy Halloween", "Vorvolaka" and "Existential Baby" from their impressive second album "Not Everybody Gets a Happy Ending", interrupted by a new, promising song called "Raven" (on the next album; release around September) before ending up much to early with two of the bands favourites "Kiss the Floor" and the biopic "Gang of One" (Yeah !!!).
Die So Fluid proof once again that they are very capable of playing their songs live even more impressive as on the album and i am certain they gain a lot of new fans during this tour. As a support act the only bad and sad thing is that the playing time is limited, but this will only just be a matter of time. This hardworking class act is definitely on his way up and if there is any justice in the music industry this band is going to be big!
PRONG is going to be next on stage and they have a hard nut to crack after a show of Die So Fluid. But hey, if you have a three piece combo consisting of Aaron Rossi (man; what a machine !), Mike Longworth (who replaces Monte Pittman during this tour) and Tommy Victor himself this should be a guarantee for a fine evening. Opener "Bad Fall" sets the tone for an impressive set (22 songs) which accentuates with 7 songs their latest album(s) "Power of the Damager/Damn Mixxer". Follow up "Rude Awakening" sounds a bit tame, but after "Looking for Them", "Another Worldly Device" and a razorsharp version of "3rd Option" Prongs grip on the crowd is tight enough know and the audience knows Prong is going to succeed in their mission to give them what they want; hard grooving alternative metal with hookes that punch you down with a big smile. The sound is great, Tommy is in a good mood and the audience is ready for more. Of course they get more in the form of classics like "Beg to Differ", "Irrelevant Thoughts", "Broken Peace" and the scream along ones "Whose Fist is this Anyway" and "Snap You Fingers, Snap Your Neck". Prong digs up his history playing the old speedcore ones "Freezer Burn" and "Disbelief"; this to much approval of the fans of the first hour. Prong finishes of the job with the encores "Power of the Damager and "Dark Signs" in front of a moshing, satisfied crowd in a well filled The Pul. Indeed, it turned out the way I hoped; just excellent !
"You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck…..Aaarrrrgghh"……. "but you and I return to earth"…………….
SACRED REICH & TYPHONIC BLAST (30 May 2009)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Corinne van den Brand

Because the Helstar gig a week earlier was very badly visited I wasn't expecting a full house with SACRED REICH but to my surprise it was crowded when I got there. And very hot!!! The first band was TYPHONOC BLAST from Eindhoven who started at 20.45 hrs. I wasn't really impressed by Freek-vocals, Joris- guitars, Roland-Guitars, Marco- drums and Claudio-bass. A few days later I couldn't remember anything from them except the song 'Fuckface'. They played half an hour and that was long enough for me. Everybody came for the next band: Sacred Reich.
The first song they played was 'One Nation' and it was very clear, SACRED REICH still got it. It was very hot but when these Phoenix thrashers started playing it became tropical. Next song was 'Independent' and the first crowdsurfers appeared. I liked the fact that a few generations of metal fans came to see Sacred Reich. The young ones crowdsurfing and the 'older' ones hanging in the back of the Dynamo. They even played the song 'Sacred Reich'. They said they didn't play it for 20 years because they didn't like the song that much but that the visitors of their website voted for it. They played a lot of the older songs from the first three albums but that was logical because that were the most popular albums. 'Death squad', 'Victim of Demise', 'Love…Hate', 'The American Way', 'Who's to Blame'; to name a few songs. Phil Rind still has a good voice and is a good entertainer just by being himself. No attitude or arrogance, just a sympathetic guy. They also played 'War Pigs' from Black sabbath with the audience singing with them as loud as they could. After an hour they left the stage but everybody knew they would come back to play 'Surf Nicaragua' and ofcourse they did. After 75 minutes the party was over. Too bad because I really enjoyed myself tonight. But my guess is I will see them again!!!
NEUROTIC DEATHFEST (29 & 30 May 2009)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Sammy de Maere & Dennis van Dommelen

Death metal fans from across Europe gathered again at the 013 in Tilburg for the 6th edition of Neurotic Deathfest. Every year the organisation manages to book a wide variety of death metal acts, varying from old school to grind and from the biggest names to underground ones. This year Sammy de Maere (SdM) and Dennis van Dommelen (DvD) were there to report on this great two day festival.

Like every year the festival had to bear with some band that cancelled. On Friday Vital Remains (SdM) couldn't make it because of problems with their flight. Because of this the time schedule got mixed up and I could throw away my nicely made planning and start to improvise. Fleshrot (DvD) in the second hall was the first band I saw on Friday. The brutal death metal presented sounded very standard and the sound wasn't that good so after a couple of songs I decided to go to the mainstage. What I did saw was all of high quality. I started my festival with Leng T'che (SdM), the Belgian razor grind quartet. I've seen these guys a few times but that was some time ago and I didn't had the chance to experience a show with the new singer. I have to say that while Boris was even more energetic Sylvain does a great job and the guys delivered a brutal performance. Another compliment to the organisation is the fact that while this was the first band of the day in the main hall, the sound was already superb and would stay like this for the entire 2 days.
Next up were God Dethroned (DvD) who have just delivered a fantastic new album called "Passiondale" Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought they played three new songs from it namely: "Under a darkening sky", "Behind Enemy Lines", and "Poison Fog" which is already a classic GD song. Glad to see Roel Sanders back behind the drumkit. I still think that he is the best drummer for GD. Besides this the band fired some classics like: "Villa Vampiria" and "Bloody Blasphemy" at the audience. A great show and I saw people literally thinking: "why are they placed before Hail of Bullets, just because it's an all star band?" The answer was only moments away… Hail of Bullets (SdM). The old school death metalband around living legend Martin Van Drunen managed a hell of a performance that made the hall explode, this was by far the best show of the day for me. Moker (DvD) was the headlining band in the Batcave. They were somewhat of the "strangers" in the Friday line-up. I can appreciate some good deathcore now and then so I decided to go and watch them. I had already consumed a lot of beer and with the tunes from the new cd: "Total Domination" made me want to jump and scream so I made my way in the pit or started one I don't even know that anymore. A great show from these Belgium masters. Next year on a bigger stage, please! During the Moker show I was hit by a sledgehammer so I entered the mainstage quite tired. Misery Index (DvD) immediately gave me some new energy though. What a fantastic death/grind band this is and with "Traitors" they have definitely left the underground behind them. Unbelievable what an energy this band has. Concerning the crowd reactions Misery Index was the absolute winner of the day! Unleashed (SdM) was the headliner at the mainstage. Strangely enough I've never seen these Swedish death metal legends live before this show so I was looking forward to this a lot, maybe a bit too much. The band played a nice show with a great mix of new songs and a bunch of classics, finishing with their hymn Death Metal Victory. The band itself was great but the atmosphere in the crowd was severely lacking which disappointed me. Afterwards we went to see Human Mincer (SdM) close the day in the second hall and while I've never heard of this band I was highly surprised and impressed by the singer of the band. While the music was mere mediocre this must have been the most extreme vocals I have ever heard live. A great grind act to finish off a great day!

On Saturday Tilburg made himself up for another load of death metal bands and for me the second day of the Neurotic Deathfest also had the best bands of the weekend. I started my day with Facebreaker (SdM), a fairly new Swedish death metalband who puts more attention to riffing than to blastbeats, something that I highly appreciate. The band played very well after a slower start. It's unfortunately that they had to open the day because their performance deserved a bigger crowd and more atmosphere. More atmosphere is just what the Dutch band Severe Torture (SdM) received. Playing a home game they got the crowd going from the first minute till the last. Afterwards I went to the Batcave, a small room on the top floor of the 013 to watch Torture Killer (SdM). The Finnish Six Feet Under worshippers are back with their own vocalist after their record with Chris Barnes and have just released a new album which blew my head off so I had to check out these guys. What I saw there will make many fans regret that they weren't there: this might just have been one of the best death metal underground acts I have ever seen. For a small crowd the band played a very tight performance. After the show I realized I still had 15 minutes to check out Aborted (SdM) so I went and see if the Belgian brutal deathmetal act was any good live. To answer this question I have to switch between my own answer and the answer of the entire hall that was packed to the top: the crowd loved every minute while I got extremely bored after 30 seconds. I never liked the band on cd and unsurprisingly I didn't like it live at all either.
Up to the next band than: old school Swedish black/death metallers Demonical (SdM) were playing the second hall and even if I didn't know any song from these guys I enjoyed the show a lot. After their show and dinner I got to see two more bands and they were both highlights of the weekend. First of all I went to see Inhume (SdM) and nearly got my head blown off by the mere enthusiasm of the band. Playing in their own country they played a mix of old and new songs and the crowd nearly teared the place apart. The old school grindcore with the in your face brutality was very well received and the entire room changed into one big violent moshpit. I had a great time and was sorry to leave the show before it was over but I had to hurry to the main hall for the headliner of this year. Swedish death metal legends Entombed (SdM) were co-headlining this year's fest and the fans were all waiting for the band to start. Starting with a new song the band already had the crowd going and that just got better and better with classics from the first 2 albums. During the show the front rows shared a bottle of vodka with their singer and we all had a great time. It's too bad that after the obligatory Left Hand Path the organization refused the band an encore. Due to drunken (..) 's reaction became exaggerated and even violent. A sad way to end a great show although it would have been prevented if they just gave the biggest band on the bill an extra 5 minutes of play time. As I was completely exhausted I didn't go to watch Rotten Sound (SdM) but I'll get a second chance at the summer festivals so that didn't really bother me. As headliner for this fest the organization first had the legends of Repulsion but due to the cancel of Behemoth (SdM) was asked to repeat their performance of last year. For me the band has good songs but they're all alike so a show of this Polish band is quite boring after the second song. I did get to see them for 2 minutes and the crowd obviously enjoyed it a lot. While the grindcore band Gadget (SdM) finished off the weekend I was already on my way home.

Note Sammy de Maere: I had a great time and saw many good bands so to me Neurotic Deathfest was a great experience and while I hated the beer and the food (I am Belgian after all) I probably will return next year if the bill is as good as this year.
HELSTAR & LANFEAR (24 May 2009)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

I was still not recovered from the superb Cage shows a few days before in Antwerp & Kerkrade and I already had to travel again to see Helstar at the (once legendary) Dynamo club in The Netherlands.
Support act LANFEAR is a very nice band which I already saw a few years ago when they played at the warm up show of the Keep it True festival in Germany. These guys from Germany delivered a new album "X to the Power of Ten" last year and that was a damn good one! The band had the bad luck to have the typical Dynamo sound (read: moderate sound with always to much snare drums). Pity enough the band couldn't convince me on stage again. Nice band but im afraid they will disappear in the mass of powermetal bands these days.
HELSTAR finally played again at the Dynamo club after their superb "Houdoe en Bedankt" festival a few years ago. The band played in the 'Remnants of War" line up except for drummer Rene Luna which was replaced by Russel DeLeon. During the show more audience showed up but still their where not more than about 100 people which is of course a shame for such a band! The band played an energetic show with a big role for promoting the new album "The King of Hell". A few of the songs they played that night are: 'The King of Hell"(opening song showing James Rivera with mask), "The King is Dead", "Evil Reign", "Burning Star", "Pain will be thy Name", "Dracula's Castle", "Suicidal Nightmare", "Wicked Disposition", "Baptized in Blood" & "Run with the Pack".
Helstar also had the problem of the moderate sound at the Dynamo club with a messy mix and again a to loud snare drum sound. Also James Rivera was not singing as good as I was used from him, probably this also had to do with the "Sean Peck Syndrome" I got a few days before Helstar's show…… (see Live Reviews below).
The musicianship of this line up from Helstar is awesome and im glad that Larry Baragan, Rob Trevino, Russell Deleon quit (?) Eternity Black (see Archive 2005 CD/DVD reviews) to rejoin Helstar! Helstar has (and still is) always been a great live act and today was not their best show but it was worth the travel to Eindhoven. Hopefully next time more people will show up for this legendary metal act!
CAGE & DRAGONSFIRE (22 May 2009)
The Rock Temple, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Just 2 days after their show in Antwerp (see Live Review below) I had the opportunity to see CAGE again and this time in The Netherlands. The Rock Temple is a new metal pub that was opened at the end of 2008. Owner Ludy is a very nice guy that is always willing to help. This time Cage had 2 support acts and as you can guess we nearly missed the first one L.
Opener JUDAS RISING (A Judas Priest tribute band) was just playing their last song; "U got another thing Coming".
After a while DRAGONSFIRE where ready to play and they played a nice 45 minutes set. The music is real German powermetal but with a raw voice. Quite original when you know all the other typical German Power (Happy Metal) bands! The band is suited with some good musicians and they gave a good show! Some songs I remember: 'Rebellion - The Kingdom', 'Shine On', 'Wings of Death' and Iron Maiden's 'The Trooper'. Hope to see you soon again guys!
CAGE was of course the main band that I was travelling for so far. After their good show (with terrible sound) in Antwerp I was curious how the band should sound with a good sound quality. Well believe me; the band blew me away this night; what an incredible good band and what a perfect sound! Compliments also for the sound engineer at The Rock Temple! Till now the best gig of 2009! I got the new album during their gig in Antwerp so now I was more familiar with the new stuff! The new album "SCIENCE OF ANNIHILATION" is superb and reminds me a lot to the superb "Painkiller" CD (Judas Priest) but than much much better! The band played as tight as can be and gave me a night to remember!! What an awesome band with great musicians! Compliments! Some of the songs I did recognize: "Science of Annihilation", "I am the King", "Kill the Devil", "Scarlet Witch", "Hell Destroyer", "Black River Falls", "Speed Kills", "Metal Devil", "Final Solution", "Operation Overlord", "Wings of Destruction" & "Christ Hammer".
After about 70 minutes the show was done and we had plenty of time for some conversation with the band members. This was a classic night with my favourite kind of metal: US Powermetal!!!! I heard that the band is planning to come back to Europe around September so check them out if you missed them this tour!!! You will not regret it!! Cheers to especially Jan (Dragonsfire), Sean (Cage) and of course Ludy from The Rock Temple!
CAGE (20 May 2009)
De Rots, Antwerp, Belgium
Review by Mario van Dooren

Last year I had to miss CAGE (and a lot of other great bands) at the 10th anniversary show of the German Keep it True festival because my wife gave birth to a lovely daughter just a few days before the festival. So when Volker "Swordbrothers" Raabe contacted me if I could be of any help to book some shows for Cage in 2009 I was enthusiastic! Finally I could see the band that released the classic "Darker than Black" album in 2003. I was not familiar with their latest 2 albums ("Hell Destroyer" & |Science of Annihilation") because I never received them to review for MMM (Singer Sean Peck gave me the last album finally during this show; see CD/DVD Reviews).
Due to traffic jam and parking problems in the centre of Antwerp (nearby the Red Light District) we missed the opening band Dragonsfire. Luckily we where right on time for headliner Cage! Problem with a small pub like De Rots is the very moderate sound. This problem was the main thing that ruined a part of the gig. Musically it was okay but we could hardly hear guitars en not even a bass drum sound! Pity because with ex-Psychotic Waltz drummer Norm Leggio they have an ultimate drummer in their ranks. The band played a nice mix of all their albums (for setlist see the Kerkrade show review) and singer Sean Pack showed his power. He is not only a good singer but also a great frontman who knows how to mould the audience (about 30 people which is of course a shame for such a fine band of musicians)! Good show but badly enough a terrible sound…..luckily I could see the bands 2 days later in Kerkrade (see Live Reviews). Thanks to Michel from De Rots for his loyalty! See you soon!
LEGION OF THE DAMNED, IZEGRIM & DEVIOUS (15 May 2009)
Mezz, Breda, The Netherlands
Review by Robin van Tilburg

In the last couple of years, Legion of the Damned has managed to become the flag-ship of the Dutch metal scene. A few months ago they released their highly acclaimed fourth album 'Cult of the Dead' which also gained a lot of international attention. Not only does Legion of the Damned convince on their records, they are also more than worth it to watch on stage. In my opinion they are one of the best live Dutch metal acts at this moment. Therefore I traveled to the Mezz in Breda to experience their show again. When I arrived, the first support act DEVIOUS was about to hit the stage. It was my first acquaintance with this Dutch group and I've got to say: they really surprised me. Devious brings a brutal mixture of death and thrash metal with long, melodic instrumental parts. Their stage performance is what you would call energetic and the threatening look of singer Arnoud is very suitable to the music. Brutal and mean! This band played an excellent show and I would like to see them more often for sure. Devious will soon be releasing their third full length album on Deity Down Records. The same label that recently released the latest Thanatos album. Based on the songs that were played live, this album is going to be a killer.
Up next were the Dutch metalheads of IZEGRIM, who are also around from quite some years now. Armed with the relative new female vocalist Marloes Voskuil (note Mario: she was already playing bass in the band for a while) they started spreading their music. The thrash/speed metal was well received by the audience. They gave away a solid performance with a lot of interaction with the audience. They couldn't quite convince me based with this show, but on the record I bought afterwards you can hear the potential of this band. Check out their website and listen to the songs. The thrash metal of was a nice warm up for the headliner of the night…
LEGION OF THE DAMNED; The reason (almost) everybody came to the Mezz. As soon as the dark intro 'Sermon of Sacrilege' was coming from the speakers followed by the brutal 'Pray and Suffer' everybody was into it. As mentioned, Legion of the Damned is one of my favorite live bands and tonight I knew exactly why: The heavy sound they can create with only one guitarist. The sickening vocals from Maurice Swinkels and the traditional thrash riffs. The aggressive drums. Anyway, enough ingredients to create on hell of a show. 'Wherewolf corpse' was followed by 'Slaughtering the Pigs' and the phenomenal 'Son of the Jackal.' When they also played 'Malevolent Rapture' and their anthem 'Legion of the Damned' the night was complete. Great performance from a great band.
As always, the Mezz treated us good and once again the small concert room gave that intimate vibe. A package like this guarantees a night of qualitative good metal and especially Devious made quite an impression. And concerning Legion of the Damned? Next time I will be there again for sure!
BACK TO THRASH 2 FESTIVAL (15 May 2009)
Willem 1, Arnhem, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

It was a long time ago that I visited this venue but this Friday Willem 1 venue organised an oldschool thrashfestival which suited me very well, especially because I'm organising an equal kind of festival later this year in 013, Tilburg. So it was an ideal opportunity to promote my own festival & to check out some other thrashbands that might by interesting for one of my upcoming festivals J. When I arrived at the venue the first band CRUSHING JACKHAMMER was already playing and I was only able to see the last 2 songs of their set. Unfortunately I was not a big fan of their "Time to Thrash" demo so I guess I didn't miss that much. It's also not fair to judge this band by the 2 songs I heard.
Second band of the night where the German thrashers of INFERNAL DEATH. I was not familiar with this band so I was, as always, curious after them. The band plays typical German thrashmetal in the vein of Sodom & Exumer. The band had the bad luck that their sound wasn't that good in the beginning. After a while it got much better and the band played a nice, but not spectacular, show. Playing time was nearly 30 minutes. Nice band; nothing more, nothing less.
The Greek thrashers of SUICIDAL ANGELS where one of the bands that I showed up for. I saw the band already a year ago when they supported Onslaught at the Dynamo club in Eindhoven. That time the band impressed me a lot. From the beginning the band had a lot of problems with their drumkit and their sound wasn't good either. The band plays really tight oldschool thrash and pushed the audience to the first moshpit of the evening. The only little complain about this band is the fact that the breaks are to long and that the singer speaks very poor English (I know; just like me hahahaha). Maybe he can work on his presentation the next time. It was nevertheless good to see a moshing audience (especially when you compare it with their Dynamo show a year ago). This is a band to keep an eye on in the future if you're into oldschool thrash! As bonus they played Sodom's "Ausgebombt" and ended their show after 40 minutes. Good performance!
US retro thrashers BONDED BY BLOOD was one of the bands I was looking out for and believe me; they didn't let me down! Such an energy!! I was not familiar with their music but heard so many good things about this band that I had to check them out finally. After a few notes I knew that my opinion was again true; musicians from the USA are (mostly) much more dedicated to their music and are most of the time better musicians than their European competitors. The band plays as tight as a ducks ass in a Bay Area style which was a mix of bands like Exodus (strange with such a band name) & Death Angel but dressed with crossover sauce from bands like Leeway and D.R.I. The complete show was one huge moshpit and I felt young again! I even was thinking of stage diving again after 20 years (luckily I was sober and not drinking alcohol that night). Highlight of the show was when a drunken stage diver dived from a 4 meter high PA into the audience. After his second jump he was removed because of his (and others) safety……
After 50 minutes they had to quit because the whole festival was running out of their running order. Nevertheless a GREAT show!!
At 23:50 the last band of the night, FUELED BY FIRE, finally started but they had the bad luck that a lot of visitors already left because they needed to pick up the last train. At the end only 25 people (out of 150?) where witness of the Fueled by Fire show and the band does not deserve this. I already saw the band last year April at our local 013 venue and they did impress me that time. Well today they did impress me again but I have to be honest that the winning band of the night was Bonded by Blood. Still Fueled by Fire is an incredible good band that didn't deserve to play for such a small audience.
After all a very nice evening but I did expect more visitors than the 150 people that showed up that night…… Thanks anyway to the Willem 1 venue to give me the opportunity to review this small festival! Hope to see a lot of these visitors back at the 3rd edition of my own "Mario's Metal Meeting" which will also be very oldschool thrash orientated with Holy Moses, Acrostichon, Hyades, Sanity's Rage & Hatchery. (more info available on this webzine).
SAGA & IT BITES (18 April 2009)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Jordy Brouwers

On 18 april '09, Saga visited the Pul in Uden to promote their new album "The Human Condition". It Bites is supporting Saga during a part of their European tour, they have also released a new album: The Tall Ships.
IT BITES started their 45 minute set at half past eight in a well filled hall. They played songs from their new album 'Oh My God' (opening song), 'Ghosts' and 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' as well as older work (like 'Yellow Christian' of the album "Once Around The World"). It has to be said that all the songs where played with a lot of conviction and enthusiasm. Recently, John Mitchell (Arena, Frost, Kino) has joined It Bites. He is responsible for the guitar work and lead vocals. His vocal performance during the gig is ok, but he has some small problems with the higher notes because of his pretty hoarse voice. Musically, everything was all right and the audience appreciated the gig with a big applause.
After a short break, SAGA entered the stage. Because of an illness, Brian Doerner (Drums) was absent. He was substituted by Chris Sutherland, who fulfilled his role with fervour. Of course, it was the question how the audience reacted on the new lead vocalist, Rob Moratti. The first couple of songs he acted a little bit uncomfortably, but when Jim Gilmour introduced him after the second song, he performed with more confidence. During the one and a half hour taking set, Saga played songs from the new album ('The Human Condition', 'Crown of Thorns' and 'You Look Good to Me'), but they did not forget the older material. They play songs from the albums "Heads Or Tales" and "Images at Twilight" (the classic ' You're not Alone') The audience reacted quite calm when the new songs were played, but that's understandable because the release date of this album is 27 April, so a lot of fans where not familiar with the new material. The older songs could count on a more enthusiastic reaction, and it has to be said that Moratti sang them quite good! Finally, I saw a good gig. The only disadvantage of this evening was the price of a consumption. You had to pay € 2,- for a beer in a plastic cup…
ALESTORM, TYR, HEIDEVOLK & ADORNED BROOD (12 April 2009)
Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
Review by Sammy de Maere

In order to bring attention to the release of their upcoming albums Alestorm and Tyr joined hands to tour Europe with a mix of old songs and already a few teasers of the new albums. Heidevolk was also asked to join the tour and Adorned Brood agreed to open the night. Folk fans were in for quite a night as the four bands came onto the stage for a great show.
German folkmetallers ADORNED BROOD Brood started the show and as a band I didn't know they immediately surprised me with a very decent show. The band seemed in good shape and the aggressive vocals of the singer sounded great with the folkish pagan metal of this relatively unknown band.
Second on the bill where Holland's folk metal pride HEIDEVOLK. The band from Gelderland plays decent folk metal with dutch vocals. They have a big fan base in Belgium and immediately had great reactions in the crowd with moshpits and crowd surfers all around. All in all I'm not a big fan of their music but they did well and have proven that they can create a great atmosphere.
Next up was TYR and I was afraid this would bore me completely since I'm not a fan of these Faroërs on cd but as a live band they have proven me wrong. The new songs the band played even made me curious of the new record and all in all the guys really did play a very good show.
Headlining this tour was ALESTORM. The Scottish pirate metallers seemed to be the band where everyone was waiting for since the crowd went wild from the first note of the first song until well after the last song. The band was in a good mood and played a nice setlist including 4 songs of the upcoming album which were very well received by the extremely enthusiastic crowd. Soon the entire venue became one big moshpit which lasted untill the last song. The band has proved to everyone that they are indeed headlining material and they were the perfect ending of a great evening filled with folkmetal and beer.
ERIC SINGER PROJECT (9 February 2009)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch

Well, I had thought that this only show of ERIC SINGER PROJECT in The Netherlands would be sold out, because there are so many KISS fans in Holland. But I was wrong, De Pul wasn't sold out, it was just nicely crowded. Perhaps the reason that it wasn't sold out is that it was on a Monday evening. Anyway, the show should begin at 20:15 but it was 20:45 when the band opened with the KISS classic "Parasite", which is sung by bass player Chuck Garrick (ALICE COOPER BAND) who's nickname is Hellvis. The songs of the set were sung by Garrick or John Corabi. Well, to bad the audience wasn't allowed to take pictures of the band, you needed a special photo pass for this show. So if you took some pictures, a co-worker of De Pul would came to you and warn you about it's not allowed to take pictures. I assume this is all because of E.S.P.'s management. Anyway, I didn't recognize the second song of the show, but the third song was the ALICE COOPER classic "Under My Wheels". Actually you can say that the ERIC SINGER PROJECT is the most expensive cover band of the world, because E.S.P. are only playing classic covers and songs of the bands the members are in (or have played/sung in). The band doesn't have any new written songs. E.S.P. has in John Corabi (MÖTLEY CRÜE, UNION, RATT etc.) a good lead singer and front man. Tonight Corabi looks with his goatee, moustache and headscarf on like Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp in "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movies). Some other covers the band played are "Power To The Music" (MÖTLEY CRÜE), "Highway Star" (DEEP PURPLE) with a fantastic guitar solo by Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS, GOOD RATS, UNION, and since 2001 in GRAND FUNK RAILROAD) and "Helter Skelter" (THE BEATLES). Of course because of Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick the band played a lot of KISS songs like "Domino", "Unholy", "Master & Slave" and "I Love It Loud". The whole show I've been standing in the second row in front of Bruce Kulick. Bruce still is a fantastic guitarist. After the regular set E.S.P. returned very quickly for some encores which were the KISS classic "Black Diamond" (of course sung by Eric) and "Tie Your Mother Down" (QUEEN). So after one and a half hour of playing E.S.P. left the stage. Of course there was a merchandise stand where you could buy pictures, CD's, DVD's, shirts, drumsticks, guitar picks etc. for ridiculous prices. What else is new, if it has something to deal with KISS, well then it's BIG BUSINE$$$$$$$$$. Anyway, there was told the band members should come back for a signing session after 15 minutes, well they finally came back after 30 minutes and there was a long row of fans waiting to let sign only one item by Eric, Bruce, John and Chuck. But all with all I really enjoyed this evening.
GRAVE DIGGER & ALESTORM (6 February 2009)
Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
Review by Sammy de Maere

Due to working late and traffic I missed the first band Taletellers and I didn't hear anyone talking about them so I asume they weren't too bad but didn't give a lingering performance either.
I arrived when ALESTORM started their show. This scottish band is the only 'pirate metal' band which isn't a blatant rip-off from the masters of Running Wild. The guys seemed very enthousiastic and so was the crowd. After some songs from their debut (who according to the singer were all about drinking beer and fucking groupies) we were treated with a new track of their album that is to come out at the end of this year. This new one sounded more like the other songs but had such a catchy chorus that they have me looking forward to this new album allready. All in all a very decent show that could have taken longer without getting bored.
Next up was the headliner of this evening, german heavy metallers GRAVE DIGGER. The band has just released a new album, "Tales of a Hangman" and treated the crowd with a few new songs which all sounded really good and gave me a very good reason to buy the new record at the end of the show. As usual the singer ... was very enthousiastic and the rest of the band was on form as well and helped with a very good sound they treated the crowd to an excellent show. Of course a Grave Digger show wouldn't be a Grave Digger show if they didn't play a lot of their classics. Ending the show with 'Excalibur' and 'Tunes of War' to return for an encore with ''Heavy Metal Breakdown was truly the icing on the cake. I enjoyed myself a lot and I hope to see the band soon, maybe at a festival this summer.

SAXON, ICED EARTH & OUTBURST (3 February 2009)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch
Well, it has been fourteen years ago since I had seen Saxon live. So I decided to go see them again after all those years. The first time that I saw Saxon was on April 19th, 1991 and the second time was on April 12th, 1995. Both times were at the Noorderligt venue in Tilburg. So, this is gonna be my third concert of Saxon in my life and the first time I see the band in 013. It wasn't sold out, but I think there were about 1200/1300 people. Just a few days before the concert, I had noticed that one of the best metal bands of Tilburg, Outburst, were the opening-act this evening. I've seen them several times so far and I really like their "Fair And Balanced" (2006) album. When I arrived at 013, OUTBURST already had begun, so I missed only two songs ("Slaughterhouse" and "My Own Hell"). The Dommelsch Hall was already nicely filled, but during their set the audience was very tame. This fantastic five piece band stands guarantee for some high quality Thrash metal. The band had a great sound and played some new songs like "What Lies Below" and "Unperfect Skill". And those new songs sounded great. Outburst is working on their second full length album, which is planned for a release in the Spring of 2009. Well, I'm looking forward to the new album of these guys. Anyway, other songs they played were "Your War", "Hollow" and "Hear My Voice". Very good band, but to bad they didn't get that much response.
Second band this night is ICED EARTH, which is a very popular band amongst metalheads. Well, personally I'm not that familiar with their material, because I don't have anything of them, but I know that a lot of Iced Earth fans are glad that singer Matt Barlow is back. Last year I saw Iced Earth for the first time at the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium. And I have to admit that, also now that I've seen them for the second time, they are a very good band. They remind me of a mix between Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Only the sound of Iced Earth wasn't that good during the first five or six songs (at least from were I was standing). And I was not the only one with that opinion. Anyway, some of the songs the band played were "Burning Times", "Vengeance Is Mine", the semi-ballad "Watching Over Me" and "Dracula". After a set of one hour the band came back for just one encore, which was "Iced Earth".
Around 21:25 headliner SAXON entered the stage of 013 and they opened their set with "Battalions Of Steel", the first song of their brand new album "Into The Labyrinth". The second song was "Let Me Feel Your Power" of the "The Inner Sanctum" (2007) album. The atmosphere in 013 was fantastic and everyone went crazy during Saxon's show, especially with the classics of the band. I was really surprised that one of those classics, "Dallas 1 PM", was so early in the set. Of course Biff & Co. are promoting their newest album with this tour and other songs they played of "Into The Labyrinth" were "Demon Sweeny Todd", "Hellcat" and "Valley Of The Kings". Biff is still a fantastic singer and a great performer. Saxon is a solid Metal band with great musicians. The band played a simple show, no guitar solos or a drum solo, just fantastic songs. Besides songs from the new album, the band played mostly old classics like "Heavy Metal Thunder", "Power And The Glory" and "Crusader", which was the last song of the regular set. The band came back very quickly for their encores. The first encore Saxon played was "Live To Rock" from the new album, which sounds a little bit like AC/DC. The other two encores were the classics "Princess Of The Night" and "Denim And Leather". And with these songs the show ended at 22:40. Well, I'm glad I went to see Saxon again, because it was fantastic and I enjoyed it very much. But I really missed some classics like "747 (Strangers In The Night)", "Motorcycle Man", "Wheels Of Steel" and "The Eagle Has Landed".

Top

2008

CHRISTMAS METAL SYMPHONY (28 December 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Kees Schijven


Time for something new, Joost v.d. Broek (AFTER FOREVER) must have thought, when he decided to arrange this Christmas Metal Symphony. A metalized Christmas tale it was gonna be, Joost put a very nice line up together with some well known musicians and singers. He re-arranged some metal classics to be played with an orchestra, in this case the Magnum Opus Rockestra; Europe's Finest Metal Orchestra. The band itself consists of, besides Joost on keyboards, Frank Schiphorst on guitar (ex-Symmetry), Koen Herfst on drums (ex-Epica), Johan van Stratum on bass (Stream Of Passion), Jeffrey Revet on Keyboards (Stream Of Passion) and Marcel Coenen on guitar (Sun Caged/Stormrider). The whole idea was a story about Jonathan, told by narrator Jan Bijlsma, on two big screens on each side of the stage, inbetween performances of different guests. Unfortunately in the audience the story wasn't really good to follow, but I think nobody minded, they we're all there for the music.
First to appear on stage we're Mats Leven (Therion) and Marcela Bovio (Stream Of Passion), who kicked off with 'Blood of Kingu' from Therion and this sounded mighty awesome with the orchestra. Unbelievable what a vocal reach Mats has, and together with Marcela it was quite a combination. For the next song Marcela left the stage, and Mats did a version of Priests 'Victim of Changes', just perfect, I don't understand why Mats wasn't higher on the bill, what a vocalist! After Mats and Marcela did a version of 'Son of the Staves of Time' from Therion, the first part was over and the story continued on the screens. The next part was for Marcela Bovio doing a few of her own Stream Of Passion songs, 'Passion' and 'Out in the real world', after which the storyteller returned. Ian Parry was up next doing version's of Metallica's 'Enter Sandman', followed by Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid', in my opinion the least part of the evening. The songs were well chosen to get the atmosphere going, cause who doesn't know these classics. Now Doro came on stage for a duet with Ian in the form of Doro's version of the (again) Priest classic 'Breaking the Law'. Ian left the stage, leaving Doro to continue with 'All We Are' assisted by Floor Jansen, and 'I rule the Ruins', which was one of the highlights of the evening for me personally. And again a part of the story was told, although I wasn't able to follow it all, and I don't think I was the only one. Back to the music, the most important guest for me was entering the stage, Chuck Billy of Testament! After a great version of 'Souls of Black', the choice for the next song was a bit strange, as 'Return to Serenity' isn't one of the most popular Testament songs, instead 'Over The Wall' would have been a more appropriate choice. But the next one made it all up, 'More than meets the Eye' from the latest Testament effort, together with George Oosthoek (ex-Orphanage). Chuck left the stage, and George continued with some of the heaviest songs of the evening, 'Arise' from Sepultura and 'A new Level' from Pantera. Inbetween we got the Orphanage classic 'Mountains of Madness' together with Floor Jansen, with the orchestra, again a highlight as there were so many. Again the storyteller appeared on the screens, and it was time for the next guest to take the stage, Johan Edlund (Tiamat) presented a version of 'Cain', and a duet with Marcela Bovio on 'Brighter than the Sun' before doing the Scorpions 'When the smoke is going Down' in a dark metal version. Although this was really not my thing, the performances were great, and the variety in musicians made that there was something for everyone this evening.
After another part of the story, Floor and George treated the audience on a great version of After Forever's 'My pledge of Allegiance no.1'. Floor continued with 'Equally Destructive' from her own band, and finished off with their version of Maiden's 'The Evil that Men Do'. The storyteller appeared again, and the orchestra started playing 'The Odyssey' from Symphony X, which led to the main guest of tonight, Russel Allen of Symphony X, doing versions of 'Evolution' and 'Paradise Lost'. Allen finished with the orchestra, with a version of Ayreon's 'Dawn of a Million Souls', and the storyteller finished his tale. The next highpoint of the night was the finishing duet by Floor and Russel Allen 'Phantom of the Opera' from Nightwish, this was really something special to end with, a great performance. This was really something unique, and certainly something to go on with in the future in my opinion. Joost did a splendid job putting this all together, two and a half hour of the finest metal in all it's diversities, well done is the only thing I can say. Before I went there I had expected a little more Christmas, and a little less metal, but luckily I was wrong, this is just done how it should be done. Maybe not everyone was happy or satisfied with the choice of songs made, but there was something in it for everyone! I can only hope there will be a next edition in 2009, what a better way to spend Christmas, see you all next year, hopefully.
WHITESNAKE & STONEFLY (21 December 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mr. Globbetrotter


I had never seen WHITESNAKE perform live before, other than the live dvd that was released some time ago which gave me a good impression of Whitesnake's live performance. So I had to take the opportunity to see mister Coverdale and his band in action.
Support act STONEFLY was a surprise to me. The band managed to impress me with a few nice bluesy rocksongs, in which the singer made me believe he was David Coverdale's younger brother. His voice reminded me a bit of David, and I was surprised to notice the almost absence of a cheering crowd. In my opinion they did a great job!
The moment the lights go out, the crowd goes mad. Here is the dinosaur of historic hardrock, the man that starred in Deep Purple, the man who made historic albums, and not in the least, the man who had "our" Adje Vandenberg in his band. David was very energetic and let us all believe he really is still there at the top. But…that goes for his singing abilities in the lower regions. As soon as he had to go up in the octaves, he was out of it, sounding like a crow who hadn't learn to use a thing called a voice. It became very clear to me that David's voice is breaking up big time. Of course, all the famous songs passed by, but also some tracks from the latest album "Good To Be Bad" which did not impress me at all. Coverdale has always managed to gather a steady line-up to play the Whitesnake back catalog. Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach fought out their guitar duel, unfortunately without really excelling where they could have….and should have. The drumsolo was OK but nowadays it is not common to still include that in a setlist. Whitesnake gets away with it, and as all of the visitors expected, good old Adje Vandenberg came on stage for 2 songs (this time he also played along on "Still Of The Night"). After more than 90 minutes, Whitesnake says goodbye to Tilburg, and since this is their last show of the tour, they also seem to say goodbye to eachother.
It was –except David's vocals – a great show, and the audience went home, pleased to know that they got their White-snake Christmas….
DORO; 25 Years in Rock (13 December 2008)
ISS Dome, Dusseldorf, Germany
Review by Kees Schijven


Finally the day of the long awaited rock party of the year had arrived, the queen of metal; DORO celebrates her 25th Anniversary, with a great rock party with lots of guests at the ISS Dome in her hometown Dusseldorf. After checking in to the hotel, we arrived early at the Dome as we didn't want to miss anything, so we had to wait some time for the arena doors to open. There was already a nice crowd when we got there, so when the doors finally opened, everybody wanted to get in there at the same time. After getting into the arena, we got to see a perfect place for a happening like this, with a huge stage and enough place for about 12000 people I guess, although I don't think it was sold out. We wanted to get there in time as we thought Leave's Eyes was opening the party, but when we got in, I immediately saw Atomic Steif's drumkit on stage, so the opener had to be HOLY MOSES instead of Leave's Eyes, which was a nice surprise!
Holy Moses played a (too) short set of about 25 minutes, but they did it great. Among the songs played were 'Master of Disaster' and 'Lost in the Maze', and ofcourse I missed a lot of classics being played, but they had only 25 minutes to play so it was impossible to play them all unfortunately. Sabina truly is a great frontwoman, and although the sound wasn't perfect, they gave a great performance. After a short break, next band up would be…
LEAVE'S EYES entered the stage for the next 35 minutes or so, and performed a great set with among others, 'New Found Land', 'Elegy' and 'Legend Land'. Always great to see them perform live, they never give less than a 110% for their fans, and Alex and Liv are an energetic frontcouple. Alex banging his head off and running round the stage, while Liv sings and moves beautiful in her kinda opera way. They were supposed to present their new album live, but due to the short amount of time they had to play, they left that out, because no one would know these songs as the album isn't out yet. After the show they always make time for their fans, so they came out to the merch stand for some signing and stuff, nice to see they are normal people and not on a high horse. Because of all the talking and taking pictures with the fans they almost forgot they had to do an interview as well, very sympathetic band.
ARCH ENEMY was next on the bill, but due to the fact that we had to eat sometime, and we already had seen them the day before at De Pul in Uden, we missed their performance this night. But now we also had time to see the whole metal market which was also part of the whole happening.
Finally, around eight, the lights went out and an introduction was started, on the big screens on both sides of the stage, on the career of the star of tonight. After this, long time friend and boxing champion Regina Halmich, announced DORO, and 'Earthshaker Rock' started the party, immediately followed by 'I Rule The Ruins' and the ode to her fans 'You're my Family'. Also some songs of the new album 'Fear No Evil', which will be released in January, were played like 'Night of the Warlock' and 'Herzblut'. The whole stage background was a gigantic moving Warlock, with furious eyes, and big hands, this was an amazing stage setup with special effects and fire, it really showed that a lot of work was done here to get it right. One of the first guests, in a long line of guest appearances, who was on Doro's side, was Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth (Overkill) with whom she did a duet on 'Always Live To Win'. And a few songs after that 'Burn It Up' featured Jean Beauvoir (Plasmatics) on guitar. The whole night was a coming and going of many guests and friends who wanted to contribute to the 25th Anniversary of the queen of metal. On 'Celebrate' a lot of female vocalists joined Doro, like Liv Kristine (Leave's Eyes), Sabina Classen (Holy Moses), Liv (Sister Sin), Floor Jansen (After Forever), Jackie and Enid from Girlschool, and I'll probably forgot some more. One of the highlights of the evening was a duet with Tarja Turunen on 'Walking With The Angels' and 'The Seer', some of the best female voices in metal together. 'East Meets West' featured Chris Boltendahl (Gravedigger) on vocals and Axel Rudi Pell on guitar, who fell flat on his face when he left the stage. Another highlight was the appearance of Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker of The Scorpions, with whom Doro performed the Scorpions songs 'Big City Nights' and 'Rock You Like a Hurricane'. Then the time was there the Warlock reunion was announced with the '86 line up, except for Frank Rittel who was replaced by DORO bassplayer for 19 years, Nick Douglass. They performed a set of Warlock classics, which featured among others 'Fight For Rock' and 'Burning The Witches', and on 'Hellbound' Warrel Dane (Nevermore) joined in. After the Warlock set, the DORO band returned to give an encore with 'Warrior Soul', 'Unholy Love' and 'Fight', which showed that Doro has an awesome band around her with Johnny Dee on drums, Joe Taylor on guitar, Nick Douglass on bass and Oliver Palotai on Keys and guitar. The night ended with another encore of 'All We Are', on which all guests joined in on stage, a great ending of a great night. About more than 8000 fans from all around the world witnessed a once in a lifetime happening, which certainly didn't leave Doro untouched by the love she received from her fans and friends. And to all of them she proved to be still the only real Metal Queen (sorry Lee Aaron) after being on stage for almost 3,5 hours!
SICK OF IT ALL & GUEST (Persistance Tour) (10 December 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


This is the fourth time that the Persistence tour comes to Europe and the third time it strikes down at the 013 in Tilburg. Each year the tour is the wet dream for every hard- and metalcore fan. With the best bands around chosen by the public via the internet the bill is always very diverse. Each year there's a little surprise concerning the bill. Last year Napalm death was that surprise and this year Heaven Shall Burn and Discipline are here for a change between the more hardcore/punk sounding bands.
The previous concerts I watched at the 013 the venue chose to began very early in the afternoon. This time it was no different. When I entered the venue at 17:00h THE SETUP were about to play their last song to the very few people who could make it on time. The few people who saw this Belgian band had seen a good opening act. Their sound reminds me a bit of Path of Resistance the band with Earth Crisis members with at times some softer parts.
After The Setup it was time for the Christian metalcore brothers WAR OF AGES to begin with their 25 minute set. The band was very pleased to play in Europe for the first time in their career. Their metalcore with a lot of Maiden twin guitar parts in it sounded somewhat weak and not original. And the crowd seemed not very interested. Last song: "Stand your Ground" got some crowd response but to me War of Ages is no more than Maiden influenced metalcore with some breakdowns.
With H20 the first "big" band entered the stage. Way too low on the bill but H20 gave all they had in their 30 minutes playing time. During the first song I couldn't hear any vocals but this problem was gone when the second song began. With the third song "Me and all my Friends" the sound was o.k. and the first real pit of the day was there. Later on Lou Koller (Sick Of It All) came on the stage to do a little guest vocals and after that it was time for H20's version of "War Pigs" from Black Sabbath. With "What happened" the show ended and H20 showed hardcore from New York is still there!
Then DISCIPLINE, something different! The streetpunk band from Veldhoven has just released an album full of covers. They began their set with the intro "You''ll never walk Alone". The few skinheads who came to the show were in front of the stage but the rest of the public didn't know how to react to the music from our own Dutch boys. A shame if you ask me. Discipline deserves this much better. Although the sound was a little thin and Joost (vocals) was ill. He was using cough medicine in between the songs. "Running Riot", "Road to Freedom" and the ultimate football hymn: "Everywhere we Go" deserve so much better. The band ended their set with the cover "Frontline Skins" from their first cd.
An other Dutch band but with a very other sound then hit the stage. It was time for BORN FROM PAIN. Although suffering lots of line up changes the last years the band had a great sound from the beginning to the end. Rob who turned from bass to vocals seems a very good replacement for Che who I always found a very charismatic vocalist. Rob looked like he's been the singer of Born From Pain for sometime. Only minor complaint I have is that the good man has said "come on" Tilburg for about 64 times during the show. For the rest he involved the crowd in a very good way. And the new drummer, Man! He seemed a real hard hitter! A beamer with war images took care for a great backdrop. With songs like "State of Mind", "Stop at Nothing" and the crowds favourite: "Behind Enemy Lines" Born From Pain made a deep impression on the crowd. A lot of people I spoke found them the best band of the day! To me the band that came right after was that "winner of the day"; TERROR never seems tired. Man, what a fuckin' energy this band has. The security couldn't help that the people got through the barricades and stormed on the stage to dive off right after. Vocalist Scott felt honoured to be back in Europe (for God knows how many times). The crowd never seems to get bored by this fantastic band. All their classic songs like: "Better of without you" "Always the hard way" and "One with the Underdogs" were played and after 30 minutes the show was over and I didn't know how HEAVEN SHALL BURN could top this. The band got the first proper soundcheck of the day and got 45 minutes to do their trick. After the intro "Endzeit" cracked out of the speakers and vocalist Marcus fell flat on his ass! Hilarious! I really enjoyed the show but most of the hardcore minded public thought that the sound of HSB was too "metal" so the response was way less than deserved. Pity that because the show was very heavy and came to a climax with "Counterweight" Also hilarious were the pronouncements by Marcus. Always great to hear a very big German accent while people are speaking English!
Last band of the evening was SICK OF IT ALL. It was sometime ago that I have seen the band live. Their previous albums are unknown to me but Sick Of It All has always been more of a live band. Today this is again no different. Classic after classic were fired upon the audience. "Good looking out", ""Injustice System", "Step down", "We stand Alone" to name a few. The security was annoyingly present during the show. Almost nobody was allowed to get on the stage during the show. Lou excused for being that much in Europe for the last years while their last studio albums is released years ago. The crowd doesn't give a shit. Sick Of It All is here for a party anytime, anywhere. But as with al parties they must end sometime! And after one hour with Us Vs Them a great festival ended. Next year again with no barricades before the stage and a more relaxed security!
CRADLE OF FILTH, GORGOROTH, MOONSPELL, SEPTICFLESH (3 December 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


With a somewhat interesting line up and Cradle Of Filth releasing a new album ("Godspeed on the Devils Thunder") that is worth listening to again Mario's Metal Mania went down to the 013 in Tilburg late in the afternoon to miss nothing of this festival! I arrived early at the venue but not early enough to see much of ASRAI. I saw them perform their last song but I am not going to say much about this plastic goth rock formation because it has nothing to do with the music this webzine is dealing with!
Second band SEPTICFLESH delivered a great come back album in 2008. "Communion" will reach high to places at the 2008 year lists. The main focus during this show will be on this new album with songs like "Anubis" and "We The Gods". Unfortunately the sound was heavy but not o.k. Too much bass drum in the mix spoiled a what further would be great show. You almost couldn't hear the guitar parts. The classical parts that are performed by a real orchestra on the album came from DAT recorder and the band reminded me a bit of Nile in the early days. The stage presentation was o.k. though and at the end of the show I think they pulled some new fans into their realms despite the bad sound. I hope to see the band back soon in a (co-) headlining position.
MOONSPELL then hit the stage and had –what later turned out to be- the best sound of the evening. They began with "Night Eternal" the title track from their latest opus. A beamer with some nice, weird images decorated the backdrop and with songs like "Luna", "Night in Mercury" and "Scorpion Flower" (with our own Anneke van Giersbergen, ex-The Gathering) on vocals the band seemed to do nothing wrong. Still there was something missing. The crowd didn't give the response the band deserved no matter how much vocalist Fernando tried he couldn't get the public on his side. After the oldies: "Vampiria" and "Opium" the band left the stage and the stage was set for GORGOROTH. The band took the stageshow (unfortunately without the pigheads) from their latest dvd (the Krakow show) to Tilburg. This means 4 big crosses with nude people crucified. At the beginning of the show a Dutch TV channel made some recordings so the big fuss around Gorgoroth was already complete. Just like Ghaal wanted. I have seen the band numerous times and this was nothing more than average. Still Ghaal doesn't make any contact with the audience and while their dispute with former band member Infernus goes on there aren't much older songs to be played. The sound wasn't o.k. (too much bass drum AGAIN!) but with this kind of black metal it is not that big problem because it needs to sound dirty. After an hour the band left the stage and some youngster who were standing next to me said that they had hoped for something more spectacular from Gorgoroth. I wisely didn't react…
Speaking about youngsters, the headlining act of the evening CRADLE OF FILTH was the band most that youngsters came for this day. With the return to form album "Godspeed on the Devils Thunder" the band took an advantage on their 2 some or what disappointing predecessors and I wondered if this positive thing will be shown on stage also. Again the sound was bad. How is it possible in 2008 during a concert that all the bands (except Moonspell) have a very bad sound. Again too much bass drums (tik-tik-tik) and vocals. It drove me completely mad! Classic songs like "The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, "Dusk and her Embrace" were completely ruined. During that last song a big witch doll came on the stage. Maiden rip off I heard someone say (note Mario: It was me Dennis, haha). After "Sulpher and Honey" I was done with this show! This show was more like a drum and bass show with some black metal vocals underneath it. A pity for Cradle of Filth because they did their best.
MOTORHEAD, DANKO JONES (24 November 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


Normally one of my reviewers should review this gig but because lack of time (or he is just a lazy bastard, hahaha) he couldnt manage to deliver it on time...... Damn what a fuss!! Now I had to do it all on my own....... Luckily I AM familiar with Motorhead because this turned out to be my 41th time to see the band live on stage!! This year/month it was also the 10 year celebration of the 013 venue and in which way could they celebrate it better than with the mighty Lemmy & Co???
As opener today they brought DANKO JONES who played a kind of bluesy rock which was nice to hear but couldnt enthrall me for the whole set. After 3 songs I had the idea that the band was repeating and repeating their songs. The crowd wasnt also charmed by the bands music and a lot op people where chanting at the band. The band didnt play to long luckily and so we could prepare for the Motorhead gig.
What to tell about Motorhead that I didnt tell before on MMM?? Just because I saw the band so many times it was hard to write a review about the band without repeating things I didnt tell already earlier....That was the main reason why I decided to ask someone else to write the review with some freshness... The 013 venue was again, despite of the high entrance fee, sold out again so more than 2000 people where witness of Living Legend Lemmy!
MOTORHEAD kicked off with the famous words "We are Motörhead and we play rock and roll". It marked me that the band had a very nice show on stage with a few large screens on which they alternated pictures/album sleeves with some very good camera shots from the band members. So it was good to see Mikkey Dee with a camera above his head and see how superb this guy can drum! On the other side you could also see better how mediocre guitarplayer Phil Campbell still is....
The band had a good, not to loud, sound and you could see that Lemmy felt at home in Tilburg because this was also the 10th time the band played in Tilburg. Great to finally hear the title track from the "Another Perfect Day" album, they never played this song before live and thats a pitty because this album is one of the most underestimated albums Motorhead ever made!! Also the bluesy 'Whorehouse Blues' was nice to see with Phil Campbell & Mikkey Dee on acoustic guitars while Lemmy was "singing" and playing a mouth-organ! Very funny! Also some new songs from the bands latest album "Motorizer" where played: 'Rock Out' & 'The Thousand names of God'.
Setlist for as far as I can remember; Iron Fist; Stay Clean; Be My Baby; Rock Out; Metropolis; Over The Top; One Night Stand; I Got Mine; The Thousand Names Of God; Civil War; In The Name of Tragedy; Another Perfect Day; Just 'Cos You Got The Power; Going To Brazil; Killed By Death; Bomber; and as encore: Whorehouse Blues, Ace of Spades & Overkill.
Again a great evening with the only master of Rock 'n Roll! Even Lemmy is (at this moment of writing) 63 years old; I hope he will continu for at least 10 years! Keep on rocking old Bastard!!!
SATYRICON, EVILE, ZONARIA (20 November 2008)
Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


With the new album "The age of Nero" just released Satyricon returns to the Netherlands for two shows. The last time I saw them was at the Dynamo festival 11 years ago! Back then they just released their highly acclaimed album "Nemesis Devina". Unfortunately that show was rather weak with a very bad sound and performance. Since then the tables have turned and now Satyricon is one of the best live bands around. Something I witnessed at a rainy Thursday night in Amsterdam…
I arrived early at the venue because I had to do an interview with EVILE. I then didn't know that their guitarist fractured his jaw a day earlier at the Rotterdam show. The lady at the cash register felt sorry for me arriving that early. No problem I thought because if you can not amuse yourself in Amsterdam there is something wrong with you! I went to "het Leidscheplein" which is just besides the venue of the Melkweg and is one of the cosiest places in Amsterdam. After a few drinks I went back and ZONARIA where about to begin their set. First thing I noticed was the big comparison to Behemoth. The vocalist wearing almost the same clothes and corpsepaint as Nergal. The melodic death metal they play is far from original and the drummer sounded inconsistent during the blast beats. The stage presentation is something which must be better. Only some headbanging. With this kind of music it is important to at least try to involve the crowd. The response from the crowd was rather weak. I haven't heard their new (2nd) album "The Cancer Empire" yet and I don't think I am going to track it down.
Then after 30 minutes of waiting the mighty SATYRICON came on the stage. They opened with "Possessed" from the "Volcano" album. The sound was great from the beginning and after this one it was time for the first song of the new record: "Wolfpack" a dark mid-tempo song in the vein of the "Now Diabolical" album. Satyricon has done it again and hired some of the best musicians for this tour. It was as if they played with each other for ages. The song "Now, Diabolical" came shortly after and this was the first time the whole crowd chanted the chorus. What followed were three other new songs including the fast "Die by my Hand" and some other ones from the latest albums. Unfortunately the first two albums were neglected completely. It is well known that Satyricon doesn't play the same setlist day after day but for me it was a pity that they ignored these ones tonight. The setlist came to an end with the ultimate black metal hymn "Mother North" with the crowd chanting the first lines. The song was played too fast by drummer Frost but hey, the man is faster then the speed of light! At this show they also played "Forhekset" and "Angstridden" which they didn't play at the Rotterdam gig. For me this was the best show of 2008 and I hope Satyricon will return in the summer for the festivals!
UNLEASHED, KRISIUN, ONE MAN ARMY & THE UNDEAD QUARTET (19 November 2008)
Effenaar, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Corinne v/d Brand


When I arrived at the Effenaar it wasn't very crowded. It wasn't even half full. But it was a Wednesday night so maybe that was the problem. But the first band ONE MAN ARMY & THE UNDEAD QUARTET played like it was a packed house. They only played half an hour but it was a good set with songs like 'Bulldozer Frenzy' and 'So grim so True so Real' from the "21st Century Killing Machine" and a few songs from their latest cd like 'Bastards of Monstrosity' and 'Cursed by the Knife'. They played very enthousiastic and energetic death/thrash metal and the people who came later really missed a good band.
Then KRISIUN entered the stage. The Effenaar was a bit crowdier by then.They mostly played songs from their "Assassination" cd like 'Bloodcraft'; 'Refusal' and 'Vicious Wrath'. But they didn't forget their older songs like 'Hatred Inherit'. A very good set.What a drummer!! He makes it look like it's very easy to constantly produce blast beats. I was impressed. They make a lot of noise for a three piece band. But this is a band who needs a very good sound otherwise it all sounds chaotic. And that was the case; too bad. But the crowd responded very well and they also played a new song which sounded very promissing. They played 40 minutes but itseemed shorter. That's always a good sign.
UNLEASHED entered the stage at exactly 22.00 clock for an hour of genuine deathmetal. And they fullfilled that promise. They had a very good sound and the crowd reacted very well and sang along with almost every song. Ofcourse they played several songs from their latest album "Hammer Battalion" like 'Your Children will burn', 'Black Horizon', 'Warriors of Midgard' and my favorite; 'Hammer Battalion'. But they also played tracks from earlier albums like 'Into Glory Ride' from 1991 and 'Final Silence' from 1992!! It still sounds up to date. After half an hour they left the stage. The crowd didn't respond at all because everbody knew they would come back. They played another 15 minutes and left again . Ofcourse they came back again and played a few songs more. And Death metal victory became a big sing-along song and the crowd went crazy a last time. 23:00 sharp they left the stage and a really good evening with 3 great bands ended.
MARIO'S METAL MEETING 2 (9 November 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by several magazines/webzines

This was the second edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to the several reviews on webzines & magazines:

METAL TO INFINITY (Belgium)

FURY (The Netherlands)

DEN OF INIQUITY (Belgium)

DIGITAL STEEL (The Netherlands)

METAL TEMPLE (Greece)

More will follow later....
There is also a review in underground magazine Violent Moshground, check it out!

Links to a lot of cool YouTube clips that where shoot at MMM2:

Vicious Rumors:
Mr. Miracle
Sonic Rebellion
Ship of Fools
The Crest


Wolf:
Steelwinged Savage Reaper
Children of the Black Flame
Venom
Electric Raga
The Bite


Shadowkeep:
Riot on Earth
Shadowkeep


Arctic Flame:
The Unknown God
Hammer Down


VICIOUS RUMORS, COURAGEOUS, MYTHOLIC (8 November 2008)
The Rock Temple, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


Mario; why a review of 2 bands that will play your own festival one day later? Well simply because I WANT to and I don't find it fair to judge them on my own festival. Knowing that I was the one that gave new Vicious Rumors singer Ronnie Stixx the advice to apply for the open spot of singer in VR after they fired James Rivera last year; for that reason I was so curious to see them! I also helped the band to book 2 extra shows in Itzehoe (Germany) and this one in Kerkrade on the days before Mario's Metal Meeting 2.

When I arrived at the new great venue of Ludy (Eternal Rock) the first band MYTHOLIC from Venlo still had to start. I was not familiar with the bands music; I only saw their frontman Willem once with his coverband Ozzy Oz (guess who they are covering??). Funny to see that his movements on stage where still that typical Ozzy Osbourne-like but that his voice was totally different (read: much better) than from his work with Ozzy Oz. The band really impressed me with their powermetal which reminded me a lot of oldschool bands like Nevermore, Iced Earth & Iron Maiden. The band tried to revive the "good old days" of Heavy-Metal for the fans and to my opinion they did a great job!! I will keep them in mind for a probable next edition of Mario's Metal Meeting! Good job guys!!.
COURAGEOUS from Frankfurt/Main, Germany where the second band today and I only heard their latest album a few times in the past. Musically the band sounds like a mix of bands like Nevermore & Kamelot. The band had a very good stage performance and is suited with great musicians! Especially their singer has a typical voice and gave the band an even more Nevermore sound. The band played for about 40 minutes with songs like: 'The System Has Failed', 'Hollow Creation' and as bonus a BEATLES-cover ' Yellow Submarine". Good show and I was looking out for their show the day after also!!
The main reason for driving all the way to Kerkrade was of course seeing VICIOUS RUMORS & hanging out with my friend Ronnie Stixx. I've seen Ronnie in the past with Shadowkeep at the German KIT festival (where they blew away all the other bands) and he also played the first edition of Mario's Metal Meeting last year with his own band Divine Ruins. To me he is one of the best metalsingers around these days. He has a typical voice and can hit the high notes easily (which is very important to me)! The band had a very reasonable sound and played a great set with a leading part for all members! Also the new guitarplayer Kiyoshi Morgan was fitting perfect to the band and his duelling with Geoff Thorpe was amazing! I was also already convinced that Ronnie would sound very Carl Albert- a-like and my expectations became true!! His predecessor James Rivera is also a very good singer but hasn't the wide range of vocal variation that Ronnie has. Especially the older songs sounded fabulous and the crowd was very enthousiastic! Their setlist was one to dream about: "Digital Dictator", "Minute to Kill", "Don't wait for Me", "Soldiers of the Night", "Abandoned", "You only live Twice", " Warball", "Sonic Rebellion", "Mr. Miracle", "On the Edge", "Ship of Fools", "Lady took a Chance", "The Crest", "Six Stepsisters", "Down to the Temple" (dedicated to the venue???) & "Hellraiser".
Superb show even if Ronnie has to work a bit more on his stage performance; still he's a killer singer!! Awesome!!
KAMPFAR, KOLDBRANN, CUTTHROAT, MONDVOLLAND (2 November 2008)
Azijnfabriek, Roermond, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


When I entered the nice little venue on a rainy Sunday afternoon MONDVOLLAND from the province Gelderland (the Netherlands) were about to begin their show for lets say 40 people. The band tried their best and gave the audience half an hour of "Folkloristisch metaal over het Hamaland en omstreken". To compare the band to Heidevolk and Myrkvar would be too easy. Mondvolland sounds darker and the folk parts are more like the ones on the "Nordavind" album from Storm. New guitarist Harold needs to do a few more shows to learn to know the material better. So he can then work on his stage performance. All in all a nice opening act!
CUTTHROAT who are from the "new" hometown of Dolk (Kampfar), Larvik, are nothing more then a Cannibal Corpse clone with a hilariously looking singer. His belly is that big you can put a beer glass on it. With two members from Dimension 3th in it I expected much more then this average stuff. Lots of people went to the local snackbar during the show, including me.
Then over to "True Norwegian black metallers": KOLDBRANN who just released a fantastic mini cd. The band gave me the feeling I had in the mid nineties seeing a black metal concert: spikes, corpsepaint, fast black metal and an overall evil atmosphere. From the beginning there was lots of headbanging in the front of the stage. The band played material from all their records. From the new mini cd "Opium Fields Forever" (great title) was played and they ended with the totally misplaced cover song "Russian Vodka" from? Say it if you know it!
At 22 'o clock KAMPFAR entered the stage for about 50 people. Dolk said that the day before they played for 1000 but that he likes it just as much when there is a select group of real fans going completely nuts! And nuts they went! After the intro the opening song of the new album "Infernal" was presented to the people. For me this song is already a classic. Through this song Jon suffered some problems with his bass monitor. After the problems were fixed the band played the crowds favourite: "Ravenheart". Almost everyone in the venue sang the chorus. Spine chilling, what a fantastic song. Then the public ordered the band to play "Hymne" which also resulted in lots people singing the lyrics. This sort of actions show that Kampfar fans are dedicated fans. Further on the band played some another new songs including "Vettekult" in order to end with my favourite song "Norse" which is one of the only "old" songs with English lyrics. The people who didn't go will have the chance to see the band in February when they come to the Netherlands again together with Vreid and Iskald. Don't miss that!
GRAND MAGUS, SERPENT CULT, MONSTERTONE, SOUTHERN VOODOO (1 November 2008)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by William Nijhof


An evening in Dynamo (Eindhoven, Holland) listening to metal with a lot of beer is the best way to spend your saterday. The evening started with SOUTHERN VOODOO from Belgium that makes a raw mix between Motorhead and Nashville Pussy. Allright it would not be Dynamo if it started at the given time so we had to wait 45 minutes before it started but I must say it was worth it. Their songs are very over the top with a lot of rock n roll in it and of course with dancing ladies on stage (not the most beautiful ladies). Great raw music with a lot of solos and bang your head songs.
The second band that played was MONSTERTONE from Holland. I must confess that I only have seen two songs but I must say that they sounded great. A raw mix of influences of led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I didn't really like the vocals but their music is great.
The third band of that evening was SERPENT CULT from Belgium. I can say if you like doom metal or stoner you're definitely going to love them. Slow and groovy riffs combined with a female voice. The first time I saw them I thought what the fuck is this. A female voice with a stoner band? Well that sounded very surprisingly good. They played a lot of songs of their latest record (Weight of Light) and that sounds fucking good.
And of course the headliner of the evening…GRAND MAGUS. This band from Sweden is in my opinion one of the ring leaders of stoner, they opened with the song "When the oar strikes the Water" of their latest album "Iron Will" and everybody was straight in the mood for some banging. They played songs from the "Monument" album and I was very surprised about their live performance that stands as a brick. The vocal of their singer is clean and that sounds great. The guitar riffs were slow and groovy. I was very happy that they played a lot of songs from "Iron Will" because if don't have that album you're really missing something. They played for almost 70 minutes and I was banging the entire show.

All though every body was getting really drunk their was also an surprise act by ADAM BOMB who was in Eindhoven that night and brought his band and played a gig after Grand Magus. In my opinion it sucked but the show was funny. Adam Bomb plays rock n roll mixed with punk. It was clear that nobody was waiting for him because almost everybody left….oh well that's life.
MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (MSG), DIGGETH (23 October 2008)
De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands
Review by Mr. Globbetrotter


The MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (MSG) started off their new European tour in "De Pul" in Uden, a village in the southeastern part of Holland. A nice venue, where a band called DIGGETH had the honour of warming up the audience with their stonerrock. Unfortunately for them, they did not succeed in heating things up, so the audience were relieved when the band went off stage to make room for the main act, being master guitarist Michael Schenker.
Their last album got mixed critics, and I must say that I wondered why mister Schenker had not heard the songmaterial that Gary Barden used on his last two soloalbums....but I got the answer to that question in the interview that I had with him after the show (see INTERVIEWS section).
The band came on stage after an intro which I thought, featured a song by Gary Barden..Michael looked very fit and energetic. I had seen his previous two shows in Tilburg, and his last one there at 013 was outstanding. This evening, he came close to that level. It was also great to see Gary Barden back in the band; Gary still has that thing with the audience (and vice versa), it's like a lost love that had returned although of course after so many years, his vocal capacities had changed. Still, Gary gave his best and in the end the audience were thrilled to have seen him back on stage with MSG. Also back in the band was bassplayer Chris Glenn. The Scotsman has gained a little weight over the years, but he can still use his strings the way he used to back in the eighties. And there also was Wayne Findlay; the keyboardist and second guitarplayer is almost a Schenker protegé, being in the line up since the beginning of this century. Wayne had a few issues with his guitar during the first two songs, but they were solved. Behind the drums was the bald Chris Slade, who once filled the space with AC DC and it was a bit obvious that he had to get used to the MSG songmaterial, this being the first show on the tour. MSG played two songs of their latest album, and frankly, that was OK for me; with Gary back in the band, i just wanted to hear the older material. And oh yes, there was a lot of that; i think "Lost Horizons" got the best response from the audience, and also the old UFO songs and of course the proverbial anthem "Into The Arena" got the audience moving.
It all went by sooo quickly, that i was quite anxious to talk to mister Schenker to congratulate him with being back on stage fit and steady. After that interview, by the way, i hung out with Gary, Chris, Chris and Wayne, and these guys are absolutely brilliant, coming out in the venue and taking their time to talk to fans, have pictures taken and sign what they got in their hands. Great gig from a great band, and they still amaze me after all these years.
SWORDBROTHERS 7 FESTIVAL (13 September 2008)
Andernach, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren


Swordbrothers is the lifework from Volker Raabe, a metalhead with all his heart and soul (or is soul not the right word?). This is his yearly underground festival at the wonderful location in Andernach, Germany. Normally I wouldn't travel to this years edition because of 2 reasons;
- I was not really impressed by the line-up this edition except for the headliner Steel Prophet.
- It was also that day my 44th birthday party but that was no excuse to let Volker down; there are worse places to celebrate your birthday than this one with all my German friends !!

That I was celebrating my birthday party a bit to extreme will follow later……. When I arrived around 13:10 the first band METALHEAD (Germany) was already on stage and it suited me that this opener already had a very good sound quality. The band played heavy metal pur sang and the singer did remind me sometimes to King Diamond when he was singer the high-pitching parts. Unfortunately he began to sing worse later on in the set. Still a nice opener for the, about 150, people that where already in front of the stage.

CONQUEST OF STEEL from the UK already proved their live experience to me earlier and also this time the guys where great! They had again such an enthousiastic appearance that its nearly impossible to stop your head from headbanging! Also a very good version of Dio's "Holy Diver". Very good live band that I will keep in mind for a possible next edition of Mario's Metal Meeting J Good choice of Volker to add this band to the line-up!

STEELPREACHER from Germany is a well known band in the underground circuit and the band reminded me to bands like Stormwarrior and the opener of today Metalhead. Good, straight in your face truemetal but of course far from original. Nice band but not the kind of bands I personally prefer.

CROM is a band from Volker's metallabel Pure Steel Records and the band lately released a new (debut??) album "Vengeance". I heard some parts of that album and it made me curious about the bands live performance. Well pity enough they couldn't convince me for 1 single minute and especially their singer sounded awefull. Sorry guys…..not my cup of tea (or not my glass of beer??)

As surprise act Volker booked RITUAL STEEL for Germany. No not Titan Steel but RITUAL STEEL; I was sure this band broke up years ago and went on under the name Titan Steel but according inside information I got I was totally wrong; both Ritual Steel and Titan Steel are still alive. Sascha "Sir Lord Doom" Maurer is singing in Titan Steel these days and in Ritual Steel he is replaced by another, also bad singing, frontman. Musically both bands sound nice but the new singer of Ritual Steel is even singing worse than his predecessor Sacha. Also nice on Sacha was his presentation on stage; I could at least laugh the whole set because of his funny clichés and stage act. That was also the thing I missed at todays show.

Volker every time has the bad luck of last minute cancellations and also this year 3 US-metalbands cancelled during the last month (Ravensthorn, Salem's Wych & Exiled). As a replacement for 1 of these bands he booked UK newcomers SNAKE EYES. A very nice band with a very good singer which also covered a few Judas Priest classics. Because I was already getting a bit drunk I'm not sure if it where 'Living after Midnight' or 'Breaking the Law' (or both??). A nice performance but not good enough to keep me concentrated for a whole set so I quit after about 6 or 7 songs.

HOLY MARTYR from Italy has a real cult status in the underground but personally I never knew why because they are (where) not very special. The band plays decent truemetal and has some good musicians. Ive seen the band before but today I had to admit that they really kicked ass! Or had it to do with my alcohol percentage and the will to party?? Doesn't matter; I loved the show today and I will check them out again asap! Good show! Great singer!

BULLET is one of the bands that are adored by the truemetalfans in Europe and they can always cheer a party up to a higher level. The band was also booked as replacement for one of the US-metalbands that cancelled lately. Personally I never liked their AC/DC & Accept- a like hardrock/metal because its all far from original (read: stolen). But who am I to say that the bands sucks if hundreds of metalheads raise the roof when these guys are playing?? The audience loved it and that's the most important thing J

Next band on the bill where US-legends OMEN but…they didn't show up either! After all the bullshit Volker had with dutch bands some years ago (Powervice, Angus & Emerald (the dutch ones)), he now had the same problems with the US bands he booked this year. The band later on sended a MySpace mail that there airplane didn't leave the airport because of the storm "Ike"…. Bad luck for Volker again (and for a lot of Omen fans).

STEEL PROPHET was the band I was travelling for to Germany but also these guys didn't show up complete. Volker booked all their tickets but mainman Steven Kachinsky didn't come over with the rest of the band because "he was not interested in his European fans????"
Gladly the rest of the band DID show up and proved the audience that they didn't need ego-asshole Steve Kachinsky to prove their qualities. I spoke to Rick Mythiasin (who has the same weight problem as I during the last years) and he told me that they would kick some ass. Well they did! Pity enough I wasnt able to see the whole set because I was honestly to drunk!! After 6 or 7 songs I had to quit otherwise I would have felt asleep in front of the stage because I was already as "drunk as fuck"…..Damn because this should have been the highlight of the day and now I had to leave the venue earlier because I partied to much this day…but hey; I HAD A HELL OF A BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!

Thanks to Volker for again a very nice festival and please go on with this kind of festivals! We need to support the underground! Hope the rumor is true that he already booked HALLOWEEN for next years edition J Cheers mate!! (its already confirmed now that HALLOWEEN will headline next years edition)
LOUD FROM THE SOUTH FESTIVAL (30 August 2008)
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


Finally a new metal festival in the south of the Netherlands. The organisation had to deal with some major problems before they could promote the festival. At first the festival would be in the small town of Bakel. When the organisation heard that they wouldn't get a license they moved the festival to the ground nearby Het Klokgebouw in Eindhoven. 2 Months before the 29th of August the second huge disappointment was there. Loud from the South had to move inside Het Klokgebouw because it was not allowed to organise the festival outside. It was already too late for the advertising then. And when the weather turned out to be beautiful that day a lot of people chose not to go to the first edition of Loud from the South…

When I entered the venue EVILE and THE LUCIFER PRINCIPLE had already played. My friends told me that EVILE was o.k. with their old school thrash sound although most of the riffs are stolen from Megadeth and Metallica! THE LUCIFER PRINCIPLE didn't impress them much. Both bands had to contend with a very bad (too hard) sound. Unfortunately this didn't get much better during the day. Darkane then has not quite seem to impress me much with their latest albums but today the band plays with an enormous power. The sound is still not o.k. but the first moshpits of the day are there… The new album "Demonic Art" will be out by the end of October. Something to look out for. The stoner rock from MOTORJESUS then. This kind of music is not my and most of the people's thing. Time to take a look at the small merchandise section…
NORTHER power metal and Children of Bodom clone is up next. Power metal is o.k. but not in the way NORTHER plays it. Myself and the crowd are still waiting for the first real good band. I didn't see PILGRIMZ because I paid a visit to the snackbar.
DARK TRANQUILLITY was the first band I really looked forward to seeing today. Vocalist Mikael Stanne is always in a good mood and is a fantastic performer. The latest album "Fiction" has sold very well and it is from this album that most of the songs are played from. The band plays with a stand in bass player because long time member Michael Nicklasson decided to leave the band right before the tour. Pity they didn't play some of the older songs. I always love to hear stuff from "The Gallery" Superb show by one of the leading metal bands! SABBAT has also reunited and before the show I quickly listened to the "Dreamweaver" album again. What a fantastic album that is. Andy Sneap and Martin Walkyier made it a feast for the old school metalfan. Welcome back!
After the some or what disappointing (sound at the) Wacken show CARCASS could prove that that was just a one time mistake. And boy, they took that chance. Classic after classic were fired at the audience who answered with a big mosh pit. Sometimes you see a show from a band that has meant so much during your life. CARCASS is such a band and with the songs as "Reek of Putrefaction and "Heartwork" we went completely bananas! What a show! Nice detail was that old drummer Ken Owen (recovering from a brain haemorrhage) came on the stage to say hello to the Dutch crowd.
LAAZ ROCKIT gave everything at their show. During the first songs there wasn't much public in front of the stage. This got better after a few songs. Latest album "Left for Dead" has been received well by audience and press and the new songs are just as good as the old ones if you ask me. With "Fire in the Hole" they ended their show in their second hometown Eindhoven. Last band of the day was SOULFLY who I had to miss because of family obligations. Opinions were different. Some said it was o.k. others didn't like it at all.

Conclusion: Organizational there are things to improve. The next time the location must be definite on an earlier date. So that the advertising can begin earlier. It was a shame that the sound quality was bad during the whole day. Maybe there could have been more food facilities. Now there were only fries and "loempias" More "metal" bands. The program was too diverse. Lower ticket prices. 55 euros is a lot of money.
Although this all may sound very negative I must say that I had a very good day. There were lots of well known people and at the end of the day I saw some memorable gigs. Their site says we don't have to wait until next year for the second edition; So maybe we can go to ""The clockbuilding" in the winter again!
PARTY SAN FESTIVAL (7, 8 & 9 August 2008)
Bad Berka, Germany
Review by Sammy de Maere


For the 14th time, black and death metal fans from all over Europe were lured to Bad Berka, Germany for the Party San festival. Every year this festival succeeds in making a bill that is appreciated highly by the fans of the more extreme metal and this year was no other. Me and 2 friends decided to find out what's so good about this small festival.

After driving 600 km we arrived at the campsite on wednesday evening. Immediatly we found out that this festival is really small but very fun to be at. The atmosphere was nice, pleasant and easy going. With only about 9000 people on the campsite it's pretty nice to check out who is standing around you. After our tents were put up we decided to check out the partytent on the campground, about 50 meters away from our tent. The partytent gave a good idea of what the festival is all about: beer, fun and good music. Drinks were at €2 for 40cl and every song played was a black, death or thrashmetal classic. It was late at night when we returned to our tent after having a lot of fun with local metalheads.

Thursday was the first actual day of the festival but the first band wasn't till 8.00 PM so we spent the entire day on drinking in the sun, having some laughs with people there and looking at all the beautifull women around the place. German death metallers PURGATORY had the honour of opening the festival. They did their best and played a decent setlist. After them things got more brutal as DEADBORN climbed the stage and they also played a very nice and energetic set. Now it was the time for FARSOT, followed by SKYFORGER. I decided to go back to the campsite since I just don't like black metal. When we returned to the festivalsite, we were in time to catch DISMEMBER, the headliner of that day. After their show I could clearly say that the trip to Party San was allready worth it, the band played probably the best death metal show I've ever seen. A setlist containing lots of classics and some songs of the new (and brilliant) album. After some more beers at the campsite we decided to call it a night.

Day 2 started at 2.00 PM with IRATE ARCHITECT who were pretty good. Afterwards we saw a decent performance by DEFLORATION and walked around the ground for some time while black metalband TYRANT gave it their best. The first real highlight of the day were dutch deathmetal elite HAIL OF BULLETS containing members of almost every good death metalband The Netherlands have to offer including Martin van Drunen of Asphyx on vocals. An awesome set was unleashed at the crowd and very much appreciated by myself. No time for relaxing because soon after HoB LIVIDITY climbed the stage for a great show of goregrind. After them it was time for KAMPFAR which ment diner time for us. The campsite was pretty fun and we stayed there during TYR, UNANIMATED and ENDSTILLE. We returned to the festivalground for the 2 headliners of friday and I was really looking forward to these bands. BLOODBATH didn't dissapoint me at all ! The swedish death metal elite played their second gig ever, their first being at Wacken 2005 but it felt like they were playing together for years. I'm not a big fan of the newer work and you can hear that the new guitar player isn't as good as Dan Swano but I still really enjoyed their performance. After banging my head of, the best of the day was yet to come. BOLT THROWER honoured Party San by making it the only festival this summer where they would be playing and they treated the crowd with a musical bulldozer that pounded us all into pieces for an hour and a half. Several old classics were played as well as more new material. Perfect way to end the day if you ask me.

The final day of the festival was more relaxing for us as there were a lot of bands we didn't need to see. We started our day with INSISION who would have been good if it wasn't that we allready saw plenty of bands who were better. Because of the high volume me and my friend went more to the back were we met the singer of Lividity who joined us into checking out FACEBREAKER. Those swedisch death metallers played a brilliant performance and at any other festival they would have been in my top 5 immediatly. This just to show how many great bands I allready saw at Party San. The next band playing the stage was KOLDBRANN and after those we were treated to a great grind show by GENERAL SURGERY. Super cool performance by the band who played a set that had to remind lots of people to Carcass. After them I wanted to check out VREID but even though I like them on cd it's not my thing live. 2 songs into their set we went back to the campsite to stay their untill nightfall. Another good thing about the campsite being close to the festivalsite is that I can still review some bands while I was barbecuing with some of our friendly neighbours. MAROON seemed like a decent performance but I just wasn't into metalcore at that time so I let them be. IMPALED NAZARENE sound pretty good musically but I can't stand those vocals. LEGION OF THE DAMNED and BEHEMOTH were as boring as usual: I like almost every song of these bands but there is just not enough variation in their music to keep me interested for more than 3 songs. Meanwhile at the campsite one of my friends finally had some luck with charming the beautifull german ladies so he missed the last band of the festival. I however decided to grant him some privacy and went back to the festivalground one last time to enjoy OBITUARY. It wasn't the best time I've seen them but I really enjoyed them once more. No suprises in the setlist and still no Alan West on guitar but Obituary will always remain a great live band and I just can't think of anything better to end a festival than 'Slowly we Rot'.

As conclusion I can say that Party San 2008 may have been the best festival I've ever been to. I loved the general atmosphere of the people and the bill was brilliant. If I like next year's bands I'm definatly returning to Bad Berka again, and I recommand the trip to every fan of extreme metal.
WACKEN OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (30 July till 2 August 2008)
Wacken, Germany
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


For the 19th time the biggest metal festival of the world is organised on. It is for the first time that Mario's Metal Mania will give an impression of this massive festival with 5 stages in the north of Germany with names such as Iron Maiden, Carcass, Avantasia, At the Gates and many more. Because we wanted to avoid the traffic commotion we chose to travel by night...

Wednesday/Thursday:
Picked up my friends at about half past 11 p.m. for a 5 hour drive to Wacken nearby Hamburg. No Tom-tom but routenet.nl was a good alternative (we thought). We safely drove to the Dutch border near Enschede. Twisted Sister was coming out of the radio and yeah, we wanted to rock! When we drove past the border the sight was getting dimmed, are there any lanterns besides the German highways? I haven't seen any. Fortunately there wasn't much traffic on the highway so we could drive at high speed. After a few hours I thought we drove through a familiar area. Dortmund? Oh, no! I saw Iron Maiden at the Westfalenhallen in 2006. No wonder I knew this area. So we made kind of a detour but were on the right way now to the north. No more routenet.nl for us in the future.
At 8 a.m.! we made a stop for a short rest. After that we quickly entered Hamburg and shortly after Wacken. We followed a bus with a huge Wacken logo sticker on the back. Through lots of sand roads and narrow paths we finally entered the Wacken camping site. This is absolutely fantastic. You can park your car and put your tent right after it! We cracked a few beers and the party could begin. The only band we would like to see this Thursday was IRON MAIDEN. It was 33 C degrees. So we decided to look for a spot in the shade. We weren't the only ones thinking that. Damn it was really hot that day. The festival ground wasn't open until 19:00 p.m. so after a little nap we decided to visit the metal market where it was 45 C. Quickly bought some cd's and then back to the beer tent. In the evening the temperature finally went down and the alcohol kicked in. A few minutes to 22 p.m. "doctor doctor" came out of the speakers. Yes, the sign for the mighty Maiden to play their show.
This was the second time I saw them this year. Everybody already knows that the tour this year is somewhat of a copy of the "Life after Death" tour. Including all the hits from the ""golden years" period. After the famous speech from Mr. Churchill Maiden fired their way through the setlist. The whole show the sound was not very hard. I was standing in the middle in a crowd of 70.000 people so maybe I was standing to far from the stage. During "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" Bruce forgot some parts of his lyrics but I doubt that someone has heard that. That song was the absolute highlight of the show. I find it rather weird that the band has chosen to play "Run to the Hills" , "Fear of the Dark" and "Number of the Beast" for this show. It shows that Maiden still is a conservative band. The only big surprises were the above mentioned "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Moonchild". It would be nice to hear something they have never played live such as: "Alexander the Great" or "Flash of the Blade" Maybe I am complaining too much. So after a good show from the mighty Maiden (they never disappoint) we stumbled to our tent/car and immediately felt asleep.

Friday:
At 9:00 hours I literally burned out of my car by the sun. We all quickly took a "camping shower" (wash your face and hair with mineral water) and then quickly went to the blackstage to see the almighty GRAVE. While it was early in the morning the festival ground was already filled with metalheads. GRAVE played their asses off and after "Deformed" we already ordered our third pint.
After Grave we went to the partystage to see the masters of tech- death metal CYNIC play. Cynic has always been a very special band to me. With "Focus" they recorded an all time classic and I was very glad they chose to reunite again and even bring out a new album in the autumn from whom they also played one song which sounded like the "Focus" material. The show was perfect with one minor complaint. The sound of the bands playing on the party stage was constantly overruled by the bands that played at the black- or main stage. Highlight of the show for me was "Uroboric Forms" also there hardest song. At times I completely drifted away and I wasn't realising that it began to rain during the show. For me one of the highlights of Wacken 2008! After Cynic we chose to leave the festival ground and take a walk through the town. Nice to see that in almost every garden there was a beer tent! The whole town is metal minded for 3 days. Fantastic!
When we returned we went to see THE ROTTED. It was already one big mudd pool so the tent was packed. The Rotted played a very tight show. And I must admit that I actually like there new more death metal sound. During The Rotted I went to take a piss and took the time to listen to a few songs of KAMELOT. Not really my cup of tea but the crowd seem to like it.
My friends and I thought it was time to take another rest after the show and return in the evening. When I woke up it was already 23:00 hours. Damn I slept like a baby! Quickly went to the stage and saw the biggest part of the AVANTASIA show. What a massive show it was and what a hyper personality Tobias Sammet is. With guest appearances of Jorn Lande, Uli Jon Roth and Andre Matos this was a real special show. I didn't count the amount of people on the stage but I think they were with more then 15! With his latest album Mr. Sammet really broke through and I could see that a lot of people now the lyrics of every song. Over the top show but nice to see.
So finally one of the moments I had been waiting for that day :GORGOROTH the Ghaal version. At 2 'o clock the stage was set and the curtain fell… Yes! They brought the same show as on the Krakow dvd with them. Crucified nude people, pig heads and lots of torches. The band gave a stunning performance. This is how a black metal concert must be. Lots of evil atmosphere and a band playing at their peak. Only small complaint is that there were no songs played from the early albums. This because of the conflict Ghaal and King ov Hell have with Infernus. At 3 'o clock I went to the camping ground for another well deserved rest…

Saturday:
3 INCHES OF BLOOD kicks of at the main stage on Saturday. I don't know what this band is doing at Wacken. I think they already had their 15 minutes of fame a few years ago. The combination of old and new school metal then seemed o.k. but the hype was over when they released their new album last year. The crowd thought the same…There are better bands who deserve a place at the festival.
Time to visit the beer tent again. The organisation did a good job throwing sand and hey on the mudd pools so that the ground was dry again. Nice to see the old men from SWEET SAVAGE on the main stage. The success the band has/had is mostly because of Metallica who have covered "Killing Time".
OBITUARY played at the party stage and really disappoint. Bad sound and a less inspiring performance with again the overwhelming sound from HATEBREED on the other stage. Normally Obituary never disappoints. Sad enough today they did.
Then the crowd at the black stage becomes larger a larger. The masters of gore return have chosen to return to the stage after a silence of 13! Years. CARCASS is one of the reasons we made the trip to Hamburg. Back in the day we never had the chance to see them live because we were to young. So thank god they have chosen to reunite. The sound at the beginning of the show is weak. During the blast beats you couldn't hear the snare drums. It lacked power. Sure it was enough for us to go completely nuts hearing "Exhume to Consume" ,"Heartwork" and "Reek of Putrefaction" but unfortunately their was something missing. Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) did a guest appearance which wasn't necessary if you asked me. Most memorial thing was the moment Ken Owen came on the stage. Ken is still recovering from a brain haemorrhage. He gave a drum solo and it is nice to see that the other members take him them throughout the whole tour. Respect!
AT THE GATES was one of the highlights at the Graspop festival. Today they will headline the black stage with an even longer setlist. We had seen a lot of good band the previous days but this was completely mind blowing. With a setlist that covered their whole career At the Gates owned! From the 'Garden of Grief' ep until their groundbreaking "Slaughter of the Soul" album. The crowd went totally mad. So after almost two hours the band ended their show with "Kingdom Gone"
We decided to leave after At the Gates so that we could avoid traffic jams after the NIGHTWISH show. During the walk to the camping ground we could hear Nightwish performe at the main stage. Same story as Avantasia I thought. Over the top show the way "ze Germans" like it.
Back to Holland it was then. The return took us 5 hours. A much shorter way then the outward journey! Mario's Metal Mania will be back in 2009 to celebrate the 20th birthday of Wacken! The pre-sale has already begun…!
HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (24, 25 & 26 July 2008)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Headbangers Open Air is for me THE festival as a lot of people already know. This years edition was my 5th visit to the festival with a line-up I could only dream about!! Okay, the Keep it True festival always has bigger names on the bill but the atmosphere in combination with the great underground bands that are playing at HOA is unbelievable!! After a bit weaker 10th edition in 2007, HOA put a line up together that was marvellous! Pim from Digital Steel webzine & Melissa Records joined me during this battle of attrition and my pictures will be added to the Digital Steel webzine later on.

DAY 1

Due to traffic jam nearby Hamburg we had to miss the first band MESSENGER from Germany. Pity because I saw the band a few years ago at the KIT festival and they where okay that time.

Italian metallers ANCESTRAL cancelled their gig just a few days before the festival and where replaced by a NWOBHM tribute-band named ROXXCALIBUR. These guys (with members of VIRON & ABANDONED) where already doing their things when we arrived at the festival. Gladly we could pick up some covers of bands like JAGUAR, GRIM REAPER & SAVAGE. Nice tribute band but I prefer to see these kind of bands at metal parties and not at a festival like HOA. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I never was such a huge NWOBHM fan??

DEADLY BLESSING was one of the reasons/bands I travelled to North Germany. Their older stuff is great and their former singer Ski (now in Faith Factor) is one of my alltime fav. metalsingers. His voice is incredible. So I was very curious about his successor and the new songs of the band. After opening with "Search & Destroy" I already had a bad feeling. Their new singer isnt bad at all but on stage it was a kind of a disappointment. After a few songs he began to sing even more out of tune and that's a pity if you know how good the band was in the past. Musically they still kick ass, eventhough the new songs are more Maiden-a-like than their previous material. The band played a nice mix of older & newer songs. Later on I heard that the singer had a throat infection so I have to give the band a second opinion some day. According the 2-track demo the band gave me, I have to admit that the new songs sound cool and the vocals do remind me a lot to Alan Tecchio (ex-Hades, Ex-Watchtower, Seven Witches, et al…). Review of that demo will be online soon…

A few years ago I also saw BENEDICTUM with front-lady Veronica Freeman. During that gig in Belgium (Biebob) I wasn't impressed by her vocals because she was screaming (in a negative way) and it didn't sound like singing that time. Luckily this time she was singing much much better and their gig turned out to be the best gig on Thursday. Veronica is not only a lust to SEE on stage because of her looks but also because of her stage act. A very fanatic stage animal which finally proved me that their 2 great albums can be performed live as well. I also had the feeling that the line-up changes could be debit for a big part of that. The band played an Accept cover 'Balls to the Wall" with two great guest 'singers' from the audience which where both having as much fun as we had, hahahaha. Good show!!

EXODUS was the headliner on Thursday. After nearly 1 hour soundcheck the band finally started. Personally I did like their show a few weeks ago at the Dynamo Club in Eindhoven but I was irritated by the political bullshit the new frontman Rob Dukes was talking about. Tonight he did it again. Nobody is waiting for his opinion, especially not a true-metal audience!! The band at all didn't fit in the HOA line-up because of the hardcore throat of Rob Duke which wasn't appreciated by most of the people I spoke to after/during the show. Some songs of their setlist: 'Bonded by Blood', 'Lessons in Violence', 'Fabulous Disaster'. Nice headliner for a dutch audience but not for HOA followers…..

DAY 2

BLACK HAWK from Germany where opening on day 2 and the band played standard heavy metal, nothing more nothing less. I heard this kind of metal all before but I have to admit that the band performed well. I also didnt like the Kiss cover 'Detroit Rock City" just because I dont like Kiss at all! Nice opener but not spectacular.

German Speedmetallers PARADOX where the next band on the bill but they cancelled (I first heard they where not satisfied with their place on the bill but later on I read the news that there singer was ill and now they will play at next years HOA)??) and where replaced by, again, DEADLY BLESSING who already played the day before. The gig was nearly equal to their show on Thursday so take a look back for details….

18 years ago I already saw MORTAL SIN when they supported TESTAMENT in my hometown Tilburg. That time I was not really impressed by the band even if I did like their debut album "Mayhemic Destruction" very much. So my expectations for today where not very high. The more I was surprised by their stage performance: I was really blown away by their energy!!! What a power!! Their singer was really fun to see: headbanging & singing all the time. I could nearly see his face because his head was banging the whole set! Superb gig especially because I didn't excpect that much from these Australian guys! Also the newer songs (from their last album: "An Absence of Faith") sounded great.

SWEET SAVAGE was the first "real" NWOBHM band on this years edition. I already saw the band 10 years ago at the Wacken festival. The band is most wellknown for the fact that their former guitarplayer Vivian Campbell (according the dutch Aardschok magazine; the best metal female guitarist ever, hhahahahaha) was picked up by Ronnie James DIO and later moved to DEF LEPPARD. The band wasn't looking that young anymore but I could see that they still had a lot of fun on stage! I had to wait till the end of the set before they played their classic songs "Eye of the Storm" & "Killing Time". Good show from this oldies!!!

One of the most important bands for me to visit HOA again was LETHAL (USA). Last year the band blew me away during their Keep it True appaerance and I was so curious if they could do it again this time. Well, they did! Singer Tom Mallicoat is still a singing metalgod even if he looks very nervous on stage. The band is musically oiled very well and it was again a pleasure to see/hear these guys! Also the day after, at the HOA afterparty at the Ballroom in Hamburg, the band was superb. The band played a lot of songs from their debut album "Programmed" but also some later stuff and even a new song! The band had the bad luck that during the last couple of songs, Tom's microphone had a breakdown on the line. Gladly this was solved after 2 songs. Cant wait to hear the new songs! Hope they come back to Europe again soon!! LETHAL rules!!

US thrashers AT WAR was a band that I liked very much in the past and im a big fan of their 2 albums. Pity enough I never saw the band earlier and the more I was pleased when I heard they did play HOA!! The 3-man band played in the orginal line-up which is ofcourse extra fun! The band played mostly songs from their 2 albums but also played some new song(s) and a Motörhead cover "The Hammer". The band had a special sound in the old days and it was great to hear that they still had this sounds on stage! Very good show from these guys! Some songs from their setlist: 'Church & State', 'Ilsa (She Wolf Of The S.S.)', 'Eat Lead', 'Rapechase', 'Ordered To Kill', 'Mortally Wounded', et al... Please come back asap!!

US Schock rockers IMPALER where also on the bill but I never liked their stuff anyway. Also now on stage the band couldn't impress me for 1 minute. Their "show" looked childish and is not of this time. A guy with a bloody shirt running around the whole time on stage is looking cheap and reminded me to the Mad Butcher from Destruction. Difference is that Destruction uses this act for only 1 song, Impaler used him the whole set. Not my kind of band. A waste of time…

DETÈNTE played finally in Europe with a nearly original line-up; nearly ofcourse because original singer Dawn Crosby died years ago (in 1996, due to a acute liver failure). The band found a replacement in Ann Boleyn (ex-Hellion). Ann was doing a good job even if she doesn't fit in perfectly. Why? Ann's voice is much more melodic than Dawn's voice ever was. Still they convinced me live and I have to be honest that they could have picked out a worse substitute for Dawn! Personally I didn't expect to much of this reunion but I was positive surprised by the band musicianship and Ann's performance! Some of the songs from their setlist: "Holy War', 'It's Your Fate', 'Life is Pain', 'Vultures In The Sky'. Good show!!

I will not say to much about the headliners BLAZE BAYLEY & SODOM because I only saw parts of the shows and I never was a real fan of both bands. Day 2 was at an end and we went back to our hotel to rest for day 3….

DAY 3

STONE COLD BLACK from the Hamburg area was opening on the last festival day (we still had the afterparty to go…..) but their raw metal/pop couldn't convince me for 1 minute, Musically it was okay but their "singer" was terrible to hear….skip......

ABANDONED is one of todays newcomers in the German thrashscene and today they did a good job. Their singer isnt such a great vocalist but his appearance on stage is making it all worth to check these guys out. It suited me that he was complaining about the Exodus performance in which he was, to my opinion totally right! (read my Exodus review above). Abandoned plays straigth is your face thrash which I like very much. Good show guys! Pity of a few false guitarsolos. German thrash still kicks ass!!

US thrashers DESTRUCTOR played to early on the time schedule if you ask me. Im a big Destructor fan from the first minute and they only released good albums during all these years. I saw the band several years ago at the Bang Your Head festival and they blew me away! Last time at the Keep it True festival they where playing a bit less inspired so I was curious about their show today. Luckily for me the band was giving a great show again and it was for me one of the headlights of this years HOA. Only complain (same as on KIT) was that they didn't play "Bondage" again… But their singer promised me to do that next time for me specially:). Some of their songs they did play: 'Tear down the Heavens', 'Destruction', 'Take Command', 'Maximum Destruction', 'Iron Curtain', 'Storm of Steel', 'Pounding Evil', 'Overdose'. Great show!!

PRAYING MANTIS is most wellknown because ex-Iron Maiden guitarplayer Dennis Stratton was once one of their guitarplayers. The band makes NWOBHM which I did like but when you compare it with SWEET SAVAGE it was not that special. Nevertheless the band has a great singer! Nice band but not really my cup of tea (or in HOA terms; not my glass of beer)...

AXEHAMMER from the USA made some great albums but last time at the Keep it True festival they really sucked!! That time their original singer Bill Ramp was singing out of tune the whole set and I was glad when I heard that he "left" the band. Their new singer used to sing in the US cultband THRUST ("Fist Held High" album) and it was a good refreshment in the Axehammer line-up. Personally I couldn't recognize his voice anymore because in his Thrust period he had a more high-pitched voice. Now he wasn't singing that high but he had an incredible power in his voice. (Lately singer Mark Stewart contacted me and told me that HE was not the singer during the "Fist Held High" period). Good show anyway this time! Hope to see them more in the near future! Some songs they played: 'Princess", 'Lord of the Realm', 'Axehammer', 'Stand Up and Fight'.

WILD DOGS; came, saw & sucked! What a terrible disaster!! Most of the people where waiting for an old school Wild Dogs set but Fatt Matt (now I know why he uses this name) also played a lot of songs from his Fatt Matt & Dr. Mastermind projects. Even the "Reign of Terror" performance sounded very very weak. One of the biggest disappointments of this years HOA!!

Because of a hunger attack I missed REBELLION

One of the US bands I went over to HOA again was the slightly progressive metalband NEW EDEN. The band showed up with a new singer (Rod Arias) and I was curious if he could replace his predecessor Rick Mythiasin; well he could! The band had several problems with their sound and started more than an hour to late. Nevertheless they gave a good performance but it counted me that this kind of progressive metal isnt that popular in the German underground scene. A few years ago I saw the same problem when Pyramaze played at HOA. Little disadvantage to the band was the fact that second guitarplayer Tim Thomas wasn't in the band anymore and that bandleader Horacio Colmenares was the only guitarist in the band which didn't gave the total sound a extra. Still New Eden kicked ass! Setlist according the band: 'Piracy', 'Sunshine', 'Sypmptoms of Time', 'Dance of the Dead', 'Demons of Earth', Land of Filth & Money', 'Stagnant Progression', 'Threshold of Tolerance', 'Crawling Erect' & 'The Not Self". As a bonus they also played Iron Maiden's 'Running Free'.

26 years ago I saw PICTURE from my homeland The Netherlands for the frist & last time! I've never been such a great Picture fan but I have to admit that they played a very tight show this evening. Their singers voice didn't stand the time that good but the rest of the band was playing very well. Funny to see how popular this kind of dutch metalbands are in Germany. Good show and a good choice of the organisers to put the band so high on the time schedule! Some of their songs: 'Heavy Metal Ears', 'Eternal Dark', 'Choosing your Sign', 'Unemployed', 'Battle For The Universe', 'Live by the Sword'.

The most important band for me to come over to Brande Hörnerkirchen was the fact that my metal-hero Dan Beehler showed up with his "new" band BËEHLER. Dan Beehler is most wellknown for his incredible drumming & singing in the old EXCITER line-up. Also ex-EXCITER bassplayer Allan Johnson was in the band together with guitarplayers Sean Brophy & Scott Walsh. The band played an incredible set with lots of old EXCITER stuff and a few Beehler songs for their demos (which are already collector's items). The sound was a bit hard but bands like EXCITER/BEEHLER can effort this. Man, I had a hell of a time to see Dan Beehler playing drums & screaming out his lungs just like in the (his) old days! The absolute highlight for me this edition of HOA!!! Superb!!! Watch for their setlist and get scarred!!!: 'Stand up & Fight', 'Heavy Metal Maniac', 'Iron Dogs', 'Evil Sinner', 'Black Witch', 'Rising of the Dead', 'Pounding Metal', 'Beyond the Gates of Doom', 'Violence & Force', 'Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)', 'Long Live the Loud' and some songs from the Bëehler demos: 'One Foot In Your Grave', 'Destroy', 'Used Bitch' & 'Psychotron'.

I only knew the headliner from saturday DEATH SS from their name & cult status so I was curious to check them out. Well it was all nice done, good musicianship, nice (but bit childish) show and a fanatic audience. Not really my cup of tea but still a well chosen headliner which is appreciated very much by the real underground visitors!!

Again I would like to thank Thomas Tegelhutter and Jurgen Hegewald for their support and for putting me, again, on the guestlist! My thanx also goes out to Pim B. from Digital Steel (webzine) for joining me to this Mekka of Metal! The overal sound of nearly all the bands was much better than before! Only little complain I have is about the variety of food and im also afraid that HOA will become to big. This year there where already a lot of Wacken visitors which used HOA as a warm up festival :(
Till next year my German Underground Metal Friends!! HOA ruled again!!!
MAGIC CIRCLE FESTIVAL PART 2 (10, 11 & 12 July 2008)
Bad Arolsen, Germany
Review by Sammy de Maere


After last year's succes and in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the legendary Kings of Metal album, True Heavy Metallers Manowar deceided to organize a second Magic Circle Festival. Only this time the festival would be 3 days and the other bands on the billing weren't all unknown bands of their own label. Tuesday afternoon me and my friends started our journey to Bad Arolsen, Germany for probably the coolest festival ever for Manowar fans. Not only would the Kings of metal headline this event for two evenings in a row, they would do this while playing their first 6 albums live and complete. Other goodies for the fans included free beers, free singles and a chance to win the own custom build Harley Davidsons of the band members.

Tuesday night we arrived at the campsite and nearly wrecked our car because of the bad field on which we had to camp and the lack of light there. After a few drinks we went to bed to start the festival well rested. On wednesday there would not be any bands playing but there was a chance of checking out the stage and get an autograph of the band. After I saw the waiting line I decided not to waste the entire day on one autograph and just went to the beertent for another dissapointment. Being belgian I love our own beer and truely disliked the german beer which ment I would spend the entire weekend sober. Now that I have to write this report I'm actually quite happy for that. At wednesdaynight the vikingship used at the festival last year would be "burned and sent to Valhalla", unfortunatly I missed this because of a lack of information on the starting hour of this event.

Thursday was the first day of the actual festival with the first bands. I missed the first 2 bands (Benedictum and Michael Shenker Group) and arrived during Ted Nugent. I've never seen him live but he didn't really impress me with his hard rock music. Last band of the day on the main stage was 'special guest' Alice Cooper. This was the third time I've seen him and by far the best. Last two shows were quite good musically but there was no show what so ever. This time the young fans saw a glimpse of what a real Alice Cooper show is about. While Alice and the band played classic after classic a nice show was put on with the actual hanging of Cooper as the highlight of the evening. A great headliner for the first day but it wasn't over yet! In the event hall we were promised to a show of Thrash metal legends Death Angel. Too bad we had to endure 3 hours of 'battle of the bands' shows. the first band wasn't really good so we decided to wait at the campsite till 3.00 AM before going back to the festival for some late night thrashing. Too bad the communication at the entrance wasn't that good because the security insisted that Death Angel was allready over and we could not get in anymore. Unfortunatly they were wrong cause the band had just started but by the time we were able to pursway them the gig was over.

Friday was the first complete day of bands and started early with South Africa's Kobus, followed by Stormwarrior, Jack Starr and Brazen Abbot. The first band I saw was Doro. The Queen of Metal never lets her fans down so this was another good concert. Too bad there was a lot of wind at the moment which caused the sound to be lacking. Another fact about Doro is that the setlist of her shows hasn't changed that much in the last two years so we didn't get any surprise songs. Of course the songs played were all great but Doro and Warlock have so many good songs that deserve live attention that I keep hoping they will surprise me some more. After Doro I was looking forward to WASP. Rumours were spreading that the band would please the fans with an old school shock show. None of this was true and the performance of WASP highly dissapointed me. Blackie Lawless didn't even bring his microphone and after 6 or 7 songs the party was allready over. I also noticed that his voice no longer cuts it live and the hard parts are always sang by the guitar players. Another legend that is trying to make more money on the succes of years ago that should know when to stop.
Highlight of the day was of course the Manowar show. And what a performance they put on stage !! 3 hours of heavy metal with a setlist containing every track of Battle Hymns, Into Glory Ride and Hail to England. A lot of favourite songs of mine that I've never heard live before were blowing through te speakers as the crowd went wild. After the obligatory speech of Joey the day was ended with a live version of the new single 'Die with Honour' and 'Warriors of the World'. A wonderfull ending to great and epic show. I couldn't wait for next day's show.

Saturday was the last day of the festival and started later than planned due to the cancelling of Def Leppard and Whitesnake. I was looking forward to them but as long as Manowar would be playing I didn't really mind. While they opened with the winner of the Battle of the Bands competition (Cassock from Norway) and continued with Sixth Sense, Mob Rules, Titanium Black and Beloved Enemy, I started my day with Holy Hell which just isn't my style. Besides Doro I'm just not fond of female vocals and the band also played a lot of slow songs. The best song of last year's festival (Phantom of the Opera, sang with Eric Adams) wasn't performed this year and that was the only thing I was actually looking forward to of this band. Next up was Majesty who apparently changed their name to Metalforce. A nice performance by the host of Keep it True festival and his band and a much better sound than last year.
Next up was the second gig of Manowar and this was probably even better than the first one. Starting again with 'Manowar' and continuing on with the complete albums Sign of the Hammer, Fighting the World and Kings of Metal the band played their best setlist ever. The show was interrupted a few times for speeches and other entertainment. Including the announcement of the winners of the bikes contest who reveiced their price on stage and even a wedding proposal, which resulted in a lap dance for the lucky groom-to-be during Pleasure Slave. Near the end Joey announced his plans for next year and it's looking great allready: the new Manowar album (to be released in premiere at the festival) will be played live on stage. This new album will be another exclusive event for the fans as it will be released together with a novel written by germany's best selling fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein and based on the album. There are allready plans to turn this book into a moviescript and a videogame. The last songs of the festival were again 'Die with Honour' and 'Warriors of the World' followed by a majestic performance of 'The Crown and the Ring' in wich Manowar was backed up by an entire choir.

All in all this wasn't the best festival I've ever been too because the accomodation was pretty lousy (especially at the campsite) and also because, for me, there just isn't enough variation with the bands. I'm a big heavy metal fan but 3 days of nothing but heavy and powermetal is just a bit too much for me. Still I would recommend this festival to all the Manowar fans across the globe since for them it's probably the best festival ever. For fans of the other bands on the bill I would advise them to go and see your favourite bands somewhere else on their tour cause it's quite clear that the festival is made for Manowar fans. The other bands just don't have the (normally very enthousiastic german) crowd at their side which is too bad for the general atmosphere of their shows. Because of some organisation problems this festival isn't going to be my number 1 but it sure was a great experience, mostly thanks to the 2 terrific perfomances of The Kings of Metal.
Untill next year
HAIL & KILL !!!
ACE FREHLEY, SOUTHERN WEREWOLF FARM (12 June 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch


This show of original and ex-KISS guitarist Ace Frehley was originally planned on Wednesday June 11th, but because KISS played in Oberhausen, Germany that day and they expected that a lot of Dutch Kiss fans would go to Oberhausen, the show of Ace was moved to June 12th. What surprised me, was that this show of Ace Frehley, looking at his huge popularity, wasn't sold out. There were about 900 people in the Dommelsch Hall of 013. Anyway, the support act this evening was local band SOUTHERN WEREWOLF FARM. Since the start of SWF in October 2005 I already had seen them 5 times so far, but I guess to a lot of people they were a totally unknown band. They played a set for about 30 minutes, with songs like "Crash And Burn" and "We Rock" (no DIO cover). Great band with a good stage presentation. SWF are gonna release a CDemo very soon. How many songs it will feature is not known at the moment. Around 9:15 PM my all time favorite guitarist and KISS hero ACE FREHLEY entered the stage and he opened with "Rip It Out", the openings track of his solo album from 1978, followed by "Parasite". The atmosphere in the hall was fantastic. I was standing in the third row and could watch the Space Ace very closely. Of course Ace played a lot of old time KISS classics like the just mentioned "Parasite", "Shout It Out Loud", a small piece of "I Want You", "Deuce" ("the first song I learned with Kiss" Ace said), "2.000 Man" and "Rocket Ride". But also "Into The Void" from the last KISS studio album "Psycho Circus" (1998) was in the set. Besides "Rip It Out" Ace also played "Snow Blind" and "New York Groove" (with his special guitar) from his solo album. From his FREHLEY'S COMET period he played "Rock Soldiers" and "Breakout" (which Ace wrote with Eric Carr). During the show Ace was shooting a lot of guitar picks in the audience and he threw a few towels too. After Ace played "Love Gun" he said "thanks to Paul Stanley for writing this great song". A real surprise to me was that he played "Strange Ways", which is one of the best tracks on the "Hotter Than Hell" album. The band Ace had with him existed of Scot Coogan (ex-Brides Of Destruction) on drums and vocals, Derrek Hawkins (ex-Stabbing Westward) on second guitar and Anthony Esposito (ex-Lynch Mob) on bass and vocals. Of course Ace sung the most of the songs, but also drummer Scot sung a few songs (he's a great singer) and bass player Anthony sung one song. Space Ace himself played fabulous this evening and with this show he still proved why he is my favorite guitar player. Songs we definitely could not miss in the set were of course "Shock Me" and "Cold Gin" (which was one of the encoures). However Ace will release his new studio album this year, he didn't play any new songs. So, I hope he will be back soon in Holland (hopefully in 013 again) to promote his new album. Well, for me this evening is one I will never forget. Of the fifteen times I have seen KISS live in my life so far (I'm gonna see Kiss twice this month too, Arrow Rock & Graspop), six of the shows were with Ace. So, it's just a historical moment for me, seeing my favorite guitar player in my own hometown. That's something I'd never had expected. But hey, dreams COME true!!
TESTAMENT, OUTBURST (3 June 2008)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


When I entered the Dynamo club dutch thrashers (from my hometown Tilburg) OUTBURST where just playing the latest song of their set. What I heard sounded good but it is impossible (and incorrect) to write a review of this show. I'm sure I will see them again later this year somewhere in the area.
At 9:05 PM TESTAMENT started their show. It was not allowed to stagedive & throw beer on stage this evening, what a silly request if you play thrashmetal in a way Testament is wellknown for. Later that evening Chuck Billy allowed a fan to come on stage but I think it had more to do with the fact that it was a (lovely) girl. Nevertheless I will not judge the band for this kind of tomfoolery. Personally im a big fan of the bands first album but never bought any of their later stuff anymore because their where lots of better bands during that period(s) (which is ofcourse also my opinion). Gladly the band played some songs from their debut and also a lot of other classic ones. The sound was very good and Chuck & Co proved that they still can go on for years! Such an energy!!! Pitty they sometimes used to much stage smoke with the result that the band was sometimes nearly untraceable on stage. Some songs from their setlist: 'Over the Wall', 'Into the Pit', 'Apocalyptic City', 'Practice what you Preach', ''New Order', 'Electric Crown', 'More Than Meets The Eye', 'Low', 'Trail Of Tears', 'Henchmen Ride', 'Souls Of Black', 'The Preacher', 'D.N.R', 'Days In Darkness' and as bonus they played: 'Alone In The Dark' & 'Disciples Of The Watch'. Nothing to complain about when its up to me???
The club was nearly sold out and it was also funny to see/hear/talk to people i didnt see for many years. Compliments to the Dynamo club; they are doing a great job booking all these oldschool 80's thrashbands again...(Onslaught, Exodus, Death Angel, Testament)....Forbidden will be the next one on the 4th of July....be there!!!
GLENN HUGHES (1 June 2008)
Plato, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


GLENN HUGHES is my alltime favorite rocksinger and I was pleased to hear that THE VOICE OF ROCK visited the Plato venue in Helmond, The Netherlands. Glenn Hughes is most wellknown for his bassplaying & singing in DEEP PURPLE years ago. This allrounder also played with several other bands in the past; Trapeze (before his Deep Purple period), Black Sabbath ("Seventh Star" album), KLF (on their hit "America- What Time is Love?") and with great musicians as Pat Thrall (Pat Travers band) & John Norum (Europe). The last years Glenn Hughes turned musically more into Funk & Soulmusic bit it still is a pleasure to see & hear this voice magician! Everytime I hear him singing live I get goose flesh!!! Such a power and he sings so easily, unbelievable!!!!! Also tonight it was great again; Glenn is not only a great singer but he is also a freaky funky bassplayer which knows how to handle his instrument. Last tour I saw Glenn Hughes he was in the company of Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Pity enough Chad was not part of the band this time but the band did bring an extra guitarplayer which gave the band a more rich sound. The band played a few songs from their latest album "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen" and gladly also a lot of older stuff. A few songs from his setlist: 'Crave', 'First Underground Nuclear Kitchen', 'Oil and Water', 'Mistreated', 'You got Soul', 'We shall be free', 'Don't let me bleed', 'Love Communion', 'Steppin' on', 'Soul Mover' and as bonus the mighty 'Burnnnnn'!!! Even if im not very familair with Glenn's latest albums; I will be there again next time!! You can count on that!!! Superb show!! The band played for nearly 2 hours in total which is ofcourse also a proof of his good attitude :)
BORSTROCK FESTIVAL (17 May 2008)
Nieuw-Vossemeer, The Netherlands
Review by Ronny Elst and Sien Willemse


Borstrock already exists for 18 years now. It takes place in a huge tent in a small village between Antwerp and Rotterdam. Friday evening, there were 3 bands which have this in common ; fun & beer! Unfortunately we couldn't be there. Saturday is the "real" festival day. The first band which played was the 70's/80's hardrock/metal cover band JAILBREAK, from the East of Holland. They played a lot of good songs from bands such as Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Saxon, Deep Purple and other classic hard rock bands. Excellent musicians and a great vocalist-frontman! After this very good start, the next band entered the stage, after some problems with the drumkit. DOUBLE DIAMOND from Belgium played songs from both their albums, some new songs from the next album, and covers from Manowar and Judas Priest. A very relaxed and powerful gig it was from the metal proud of Belgium! Next band were Swiss metallers GODIVA. I didn't know them that well, and that will not change I think. They played a mix of power, thrash, heavy metal and hardrock. The vocalist acted and moved like Ozzy does these days; like an 90 years old man. Also his singing couldn't impress me at all, just like their songs. The weakest band of the day for me. Up next were LION'S SHARE from Sweden. They played mainly songs from their latest album "Emotional Coma". They are an excellent hardrock band, with guitar riff-God Lars Chriss and the phenomenal singer Patrik Johansson. Excellent classic Dio/Black Sabbath influenced stuff! As an extra they let hear 2 new tracks from their new album, probably released in October/November. After this great gig, it was finally time for THE POODLES! My girlfriend and I came especially for them. The Poodles are an excellent melodic hardrock/metal band! Not only the songs are catchy as hell, they also perform like real professionals. Jakob Samuel, the vocalist, acts like Axl Rose (also his voice sounds almost the same) and guitarist Pontus Norgren is an excellent guitarist, without being too egocentric. Pontus also got the chance to play an instrumental song, where he could show his capacities as a guitarist. Backstage he told me that this was his latest gig with The Poodles. He leaves the band and will play in HammerFall in the future. Jakob told me that they will release their third album early next year, together with a live dvd! Next band ROYAL HUNT had severe sound problems during their gig. That was a pitty because their complex symphonic/progressive metal needs a good sound. Their new vocalist Mark Boals is ofcourse very good, but personally I don't like that much his voice. Too theatrical for me. Well, after Royal Hunt, we had to go. So we didn't see and hear MOOIE MENEREN (a Top 100 rock/pop cover band from Holland) and closing act I SEE/THE SEA (a young AC/DC tribute band from Belgium). To conclude, it was a very nice day with some great bands, a well organised festival, an enthusiastic crowd and good beer (Jupiler)!!!
JOE SATRIANI, REAL MEN DON'T DANCE (10 May 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Ad van Osch


This show of master guitarist Joe Satriani in 013, Tilburg was already sold out for weeks. What was notable to me, when I entered the Dommelsch hall, was that the audience was very varied. The support act this evening was REAL MEN DON'T DANCE from Amsterdam, which is a band I never had heard off before. This trio entered the stage at around 8:30 PM and started with an instrumental. Other songs they played were "Southern Belles", "Nice Guys Sleep Alone" and "Killer Boogie". It's not very original what they played, even some songs, like the above mentioned "Nice Guys Sleep Alone", reminded me a bit of ZZ Top. All with all a nice support act, but it was clearly that everyone came for Joe. Tonight it's the first show of the three shows JOE SATRIANI is doing in Holland. The other two shows are on June 12th (Rijnhal, Arnhem) and June 13th (Paradiso, Amsterdam). It's also my first time that I see Joe Satriani live as a solo artist. So far I had seen mister Satriani only once in my life, and that was when he played in the Mark 6 line-up of Deep Purple (on June 24th 1994 at the Brabanthallen, Den Bosch). That was at the time when Ritchie Blackmore had left DP again and before they got finally Steve Morse as their guitarist. Anyway, it's around 9:30 PM when Joe got on stage and he opened with "I Just Wanna Rock" from his recent album "Professor Satchafunkilus And The Musterion Of Rock". After the second or third song Joe said "tonight we play some new songs, old songs and some we haven't played for a long time". And indeed, Joe played his all time classics "Satch Boogie", "Ice 9", "Surfing With The Alien" and the beautiful "Always With Me, Always With You" (from his best album ever "Surfing With The Alien", that's why he just had to play and always will play those songs), "Cryin'" and "One Big Rush". Of course Joe is promoting his last album and if I'm right (I just had his new album a few days), he almost played the whole CD. At least I recognized the songs "Musterion", "Overdriver", "Professor Satchafunkilus", "Out Of The Sunrise", "Diddle-Y-A-Doo-Dat" and "Asik Vaysel". Also bass player Stuart Hamm showed us what he can do on the bass, by doing a very great bass solo. After his solo the audience was yelling "boo, boo" at Hamm. During the whole show Joe had played on four different guitars (a red, white, silver and black one). The sound was magnificent, a beautiful lightshow and the atmosphere in the Dommelsch hall of 013 was fantastic. After playing a set of two hours, Joe came back for two encores. Well, you understand that this was a fantastic gig, but hey……what else you had expected!
AXTHOR (9 May 2008)
Beerse, Belgium
Review by Ronny Elst


May the 9th 2008 was the day that Chris Verstappen (Stappie) invited some of his friends and family for his birthday party. In the 80's Chris was a member of the Belgian heavy rock/metal band THORAX. They released 3 demo's and were quite successful in the North of Belgium. Thorax doesn't exist anymore, but together with his wife Carine Van der Schoot (vocals) and former Thorax bass player Wics Rombouts, Chris formed AXTHOR. At his birthday party at his home, Axthor played some old Thorax songs, but also covers from the Scorpions, Annihilator, UFO, MSG (the great instrumental "Into The Arena"!), Judas Priest ("Breaking the Law" with guest vocalist Dimi) and a few acoustic songs (from the Cars and Uriah Heep). Chris still is a very good hardrock guitarist and Carina sounds good with her melancholic female voice. And Wics completes the line-up with his enthusiastic bass playing. Playing old Thorax songs (mixed with covers) is a very important thing in Stappies's life! I hope that they can play a lot of other live gigs, and who knows, maybe record an album with the new line-up.
http://www.myspace.com/ccaxis
INTO THE ARENA (1 May 2008)
Motor Blues Festival, Geertruidenberg, The Netherlands
Review by Mr. Globbetrotter


INTO THE ARENA had the honour of opening this festival playing classic hardrock covers of the seventies, eighties and nineties. The "ace" of the band is former Vengeance and current Lana Lane guitarhero Peer Verschuren, the bold axeman whose trademark is to play fluent, melodic and sometimes speedy solos, emphasizing each note he plays; in other words, he is one of a kind and one of Holland's most respected guitarists. The band opens with a Pink Floyd medley, beautifully arranged with Marco Borghardt on keyboards who pulls up this symphonic wall, filled up with Dave Gilmour solos (when you closed your eyes you actually saw Gilmore playing), followed by a list of wellknown hardrock classics like Schenkers "Armed And Ready" and of course the anthem "Into The Arena" in which Verschuren shows that Schenker has to start worrying ! Through two Deep Purple songs ("You Keep On Moving" and "Highway Star"), versitily shows in playing the Queen anthem "The Show Must Go On" in which singer Mauri Oliver uses a few octaves and the semi-ballad "More Than A Feeling" from Boston. One poppy interlude (Frampton's "Show Me The Way", including the talktube) did not hide the undeniable musicianship this band has to offer. A packed square in Geertruidenberg witnessed a quality rockband that easily plays Malmsteen to Alice Cooper.
Few bands have a cover repertoire like Into The Arena and have the skills of approaching the original tracks on a high level. I'm curious when they will start writing their own material; these guys are so good that it only seems a matter of time that they will have their own songs and open for big bands that play in Hollands top venues as their support act. Qualitywise they do not need their own songs for that. Quality was written this afternoon, and people who are curious can listen to their demo which is in the media section of their website, http://www.intothearena.nl
HEIDEVOLK, BLACK MESSIAH (25 April 2008)
Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen


After the closing of De Goudvishal, De Willemeen will take over a part of the metalprogramming. After Dismember a few weeks earlier and Angelcorpse a day before it was time for HEIDEVOLK to present their new cd "Walhalla Wacht" to the audience.
It took some time to get in the venue. I felt like I was in the Efteling. A big row in front of the building. First I had to tell my name then I got inside and had to wait on the stairs for 20 minutes. After that I got my stamp and finally could see the bands. BLACK MESSIAH (Germany) were already playing when I got in. The band has already released three cd's which I haven't heard. What I saw was okay, Folk metal with black metal influences and here and there a technical note. Perfect warm up. Than after a short break Saruman came on stage. For a moment I thought: wat the heck this is the real Cristopher Lee! I mean he does some spoken word passages at Manowar and Rhapsody so why not at a Heidevolk show! Unfortunatly it wasn't the real Cristopher Lee but a really good stand in! After a short spoken word passage Heidevolk came on the stage. It took a few songs after the soundengineer got his stuff together. After that it was pure joy! Only complaint I have is that the clean sung voice could not be heard good enough where I was standing. The people from the moor almost played their whole repertoire. In the middle of the show there was a break. A few people from the audience were invited on the stage to do battle each other out via different games. At first there was the drinking game. Drink your pint as fast as you can. In the end there were two people left. They both got a shield and had to prove who was the strongest. Nice from Heidevolk that they gave the audience something extra with this show. After the break they followed on with their set. "Krijgsvolk" and "Het Gelderse volkslied". The audience went mad and after 3 encores Heidevolk left the stage! Heidevolk's the rising star of the dutch folk metal scene!
EXODUS, EVILE (14 April 2008)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


Just 3 days after the great Onslaught gig I went to the Dynamo club again to see/hear Evile & Exodus. I was wondering if they could equal the high level of Onslaught and their support acts. Well now I can tell you they couldnt, just read the reviews below.....
EVILE from the UK started at 8:20 PM with their very much Slayer-influenced thrashmetal. I never saw the band before but according the stuff I heard from them I was very curious! As most supportbands, Evile had a very moderate sound. The only big difference with the original Slayer was the typical accent of their singer Matt Drake. Funny also to hear :)
Nevertheless the band played a nice show and did a good warming up for Exodus. The crowd liked it also and according the nearly sold out venue the people did not only show up for Exodus! Some songs from their setlist: "Thrasher", "We Who Are About to Die", "Schizophrenia", "Bathe in Blood", "Armoured Assault" and "Enter the Grave".
At 9:30 PM EXODUS finally entered the stage. Also Exodus had a moderate sound in the beginning and this was commuting the whole set. The band played a special show because it was also a kind of DVD presentation of their upcoming release (from their 1986 legendary show in Dynamo, which I visited also!!). Pity enough original singer Paul Baloff passed away several years ago and they never could find an equal (or better) replacement for him. New frontman Rob Dukes is much much better than than his predecessor Steve Sousa but he cant even be touched by Paul Baloff (but thats of course also a personal opinion). The band starts with "Funeral Hymn" from their latest album 'The Atrocity Exhibition ... Exhibit A'. The next song is "Lesson In Violence" from their debut album which is still one of my alltime fav. albums! After this second song Rob Dukes starts talking crap about the legal drugs regulation in Holland. Its always the same with this kind of bands and its irritating me every time! Followed by another new song "Children Of A Worthless God", "Piranha", "Deathamphetamine", "Metal Command", "And Then There Were None", "Bedlam 123", "Strike of the Beast", "Shovel Headed Kill Machine" and as bonus "War is My Shepherd" and "Bonded by Blood". After this second bonus song the band starts with a lot of bullshit on stage; a metal-medley which is only fun for the band themselves according the reactions of the audience. Finally the band (with the returned Tom Hunting on drums) played "Toxic War" as their last song and the gig ends about 11:20 PM.
Conclussion: an evening with 2 good, but not superb, bands. Especially when you compare them with the Onslaught show a few days earlier. Nevertheless I had an enjoyable evening!
ONSLAUGHT, SUICIDAL ANGELS, SEPIROTH (11 April 2008)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


When I entered the Dynamo club the first band, SEPIROTH (from The Netherlands) was already on stage. For an opener they had a very reasonable sound which was of course a plus. The band played oldschool deathmetal with influences from bands like Death, Autopsy, Vomitory, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation and that kind of stuff. Nothing to complain about that! The band had a rich sound even if they didnt have a bassplayer on stage (or did I miss him also visually like the second guitarplayer at Izegrim's gig last month :). Nice show from this young band!
Second band of the evening was SUICIDAL ANGELS from Greece. My first thought was that I had to do with a German band because the band played music in the vein of bands like Sodom, Kreator, Exumer, Desaster and that kind of typical thrashmetal. The band had the bad luck to play for about 75 people which was of course unbelievable for a concert on a friday evening! They also didnt get any response at all except for the moments they gave some free beers and the real profiteers showed up in the front! Disgraceful!! I liked it very much what they had to offer musically and thats the only thing that counts for me! Some songs I did recognize from their setlist: "Vomit on the Cross", "Evil Attack" (great oldschool thrash song), "Quench Your Thirst With Christian Souls'', "The Prophecy" (as thight as a duck's ass!!), "Crematory", "Hate And Torture" and a few other songs. As bonus they played Sodom's "Ausgebombt". Great band that didnt get the respect they deserved tonight! They got a new fan from now on!
The announced support act Carnal Forge was not present but I never heard why? Gladly I was showing up to see ONSLAUGHT live again! I have to be honest when I tell you that I never liked the band that much in their older days (D.O.A., 22 years ago!!) but after their reunion in 2005 they stole my heart finally! I think the band plays tighter than ever these days and I special like Sy Keeler's voice! Such a power!! The band started around 10:15 PM with their "flame intro" and continued in a fast pace their setlist. The sound was not that great and sometimes quite messy. Gladly for Onslaught the crowd was now about 150/200 people but still to little for such a good band. Their setlist looked this way: "Killing Peace", "Let There Be Death", "Destroyer Of Worlds", "Angels Of Death", "Fight With The Beast", "Metal Forces", "Twisted Jesus", "Planting Seeds Of Hate", "Demoniac", "Burn", "Power from Hell". Pity the gig stopped after about 1 hour which was to short for me. Except for the moderate soundquality this show as great! The homesitters where wrong again!! Next time be there!!
KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL X (4& 5 April 2008)
Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany
Review by Kostas Kounadinis



Keep It True Festival has become one of the most important events for the heavy metal world. Metalheads from all over the world gather twice a year to witness a testimony of steel! The guys, who have been organizing this event for 6 years now, always look for the best cult metal acts and manage to create a very tempting billing. For the 10th edition of the festival, Oliver and Tarek put together one of the best metal parties ever! Instead of the warm up show and main festival day, they decided to organize a full two day show gathering some of the greatest bands of all time. The show became a complete sell out as expected. Let's see what happened during the 4th and 5th day of April.

Day 1

BATTLEROAR
Greek epic metal band Battleroar stormed the stage. Although it was relatively early, a fanatic crowd gathered to listen to old and new anthems. The show coincided with the release of the band's third and best (in my opinion) album and we had the chance to listen to some of the great new tunes such as "Hyrkanian Blades".

STRIKE MASTER
Mexican thrashers Strike Master was clearly a force inferior to Battleroar. Their typical old school thrash could not move me that much. They seemed to have a good following though.

MERCILESS DEATH
American thrashers Merciless Death continued in the same pattern but they sounded a bit more interesting than Strike Master. Old school thrash for old school thrashers and all sorts of bangers.

SENTINEL BEAST
Cult speed metal act Sentinel Beast appeared with a brand new line up. Legendary figure Debbie Gunn was accompanied by 4 young and talented musicians. The band played classic tunes from the debut such as "Depths of Death" and "Mourir" and also laid down some new tunes too. The crowd went nuts. They also did their version of "Phantom of the Opera".

METAL INQUISITOR
German heavy metallers faced some last minute problems. Their lead singer was unable to perform due to health problems and Blumi stepped in both as singer and guitarist. It was obvious that he could remember all the lyrics so the setlist had to be modified. "Daze Of Avalon" appeared twice due to lack of songs while some special guests made their appearance. The singer of a German Judas Priest tribute band sung on "Invader", Jess Cox from Tygers of Pan Tang did "Euthanasia" and Brian Ross laid the Satan anthem "Trial by Fire". The audience seemed quite happy with the whole show.

ATTACKER
Personal favorites Attacker stormed Keep it True for the second time. The guys owned the crowd from the very first moments. This was a show dedicated to the legendary debut album "Battle at Helms Deep" which we heard in its entirety and to late guitarist Jim Mooney who passed away a year ago. Flawless and energetic as always, they deliver a show to be remembered.

OMEN
Watching American metal legends Omen performing live is quite an experience. Reunited with original drummer Steve Wittig and with Aska mainman George Call on vocals, what we heard that night was pretty much the closest thing to original Omen we could ever hope for. Call sounded like a Kimball clone, singing the band's epics with ease. Powell was a bit drunk and had a fair share in mistakes but who gives a shit. The guys blew the roof off. No need to mention the setlist. We heard all the classics.

HELSTAR
Houston destroyers Helstar were up next. The return of Larry Barragan has really boosted the band forward. The band delivered the "Remnants of War" in its entirety and we had the chance to listen to anthems such as "Evil Reign" and "Angel of Death". But the devastating force named Helstar didn't stick to that. They played hymns such as "The King is Dead", "Baptized in Blood" and "Run with the Pack" leaving the audience totally satisfied. We also heard the two new songs featured on "Sins of the Past", the band's most recent recording.

TITAN FORCE
The time had come for the most significant appearance in this year's festival. The mighty Titan Force appeared live after almost 15 years of inactivity. I just couldn't believe my eyes and ears. The quintet rushed on the stage with "Small Price to Pay" and I immediately went into trance. The line-up featured 3 out of 5 original members. Harry Conklin and two of the Flores brothers in drums and guitar were accompanied by two new members on bass and guitar. The new members proved worthy replacements. Especially the bass player who dominated the stage. This "once in a lifetime" experience carried on with "Winner / Loser", "Chase Your Dreams" "Master Of Disguise", "Wings Of Rage", "Will O' The Wisp", "Darkness", "Only the Strong" (both featured in the 1994 lost demo!), "Eyes Of The Young", "Fields Of Valor", "Shadow Of A Promise", "New Age Rebels", "Fool On The Run", "Blaze Of Glory". Harry's voice was in the best shape possible. He even sung higher than on the original recordings. I strongly believe that despite his magnificent moments with Jag Panzer, Titan Force is actually his band, the place where he truly spreads his wings. This was one of the best live moments I had ever witnessed.


Day 2

BATTLE RAM
This Italian epic metal band appeared with a new singer. His voice was pretty similar to his predecessor so he had no problems with the band's songs and all the cover versions this band usually plays. The audience enjoyed the show.

FUELED BY FIRE
This band was actually the best thrash metal act out of all three that performed in the fest. The guys offered some good headbanging moments and the crowd had a good time.

DEMON EYES
French metal act Demon Eyes was up next. This is a cult band which plays heavy metal in the old Metallica vein. They even did a "Seek and Destroy" cover version. Not my cup of tea though. I could tell that they had a fair share of supporters.

CRESCENT SHIELD
There is no doubt that Crescent Shield is one of the most promising metal acts out there. It's the band of vocalist Michael Grant (Onward, Cypher Seer) and guitarist Dan Delucie (New Eden, Destiny's End). Their show was one of the best during the two day fest. The band played many songs from the debut album and also delivered a new song from the upcoming second one.

PHARAOH
Pharaoh features Psycho Scream and Control Denied vocalist Tim Aymar. This is another promising band playing U.S. power metal. I have to admit that the guys where a bit out of shape but managed to present a good show. Tim Aymar was obviously tired but he did ok in most occasions. Never the less don't miss any of the three albums of the band with "Be Gone" being the most recent.

CAGE
This was the most important band for me after Titan Force of course. I pushed myself forward in order to witness the Cage holocaust and the guys from San Diego didn't prove me wrong. They stormed the stage with such force; my neck almost broke from the non stop headbanging. Frontman Sean Peck is one of the best vocalists around. With a great range and explosive performance he surely teaches some metal lessons. The rest of the band was equally devastating. Guitars and rhythm section built a solid wall of riffs and pounding bass. The band delivered songs from the ravager "Hell Destroyer" such as the same titled opus or "King Diamond", "Metal Devil", "I am the King" and "Rise of the Beast". We also heard "Final Solution" from "Astrology" and "Kill the Devil", "Wings of Destruction" from "Darker than Black". What a great performance! The only drawback was that 45 minutes is such a little time for a band like Cage.

DOOMSWORD
Italian epic metal veterans Doomsword had a surprise for us. The singer from the band's debut album Nightcomer was invited to sing along. It was obvious that Doomsword is a completely different band with the addition of Nightcomer. The songs sounded 100% better. We were fortunate enough to listen to some epic songs from the debut and the band focused on all four recordings.

HEATHEN
The time had come for speed metal heroes Heathen to hit the stage. I am not the greatest fan but I can appreciate a good show when I see one. The guys where passionate and energetic and the crowd enjoyed the show creating mosh pits and banging. With original members Lee Altus and David White, Heathen played songs from each and every release they had, including the 2005 demo.

MANILLA ROAD
This band will always be in my heart. Manilla Road was one of my first cult discoveries as a child and they will always own a special place in my metal universe. The band we saw live that day is far from the Manilla Road I know and love. The legend Mark Shelton cannot sing anymore. Thus he has hired his vocal clone Hellroadie to sing instead. Hellroadie is good but he is no Mark Shelton. The drum slot will never be adequately filled. Randy Foxe is irreplaceable. The magic songs where there but the magic was absent. The band played many songs that covered its entire career but they honoured "Mystification" the most. I really wish things were different though. I wish I could feel the magic once more…

JAG PANZER
The time had come for the headliners of the festival. The mighty Jag Panzer! We new this was going to be a special show. Not only because of the return of "Chain of Command" guitarist Chris Lasegue but mostly because of the appearance of the vocal legend Bob Parduba! The show kicked off with "Generally Hostile" and we went berserk! Leaving us no time to rest, the band bombarded us with "Licensed to Kill" and "Symphony of Terror". Harry Conklin invited Parduba on stage and the man delivered "Chain of Command" and "Never Surrender" flawlessly. His voice sounded exactly like the original recording! Harry return on stage and accompanied Bob on a fantastic version of "Shadow Thief". Parduba stayed on stage doing the background vocals for songs like "Take to the Sky", and "The Mission" but unfortunately some technical problems almost ruined the show. The guitar amps had many problems and ruined songs like "Battle Zones. Fortunately the technicians solved these problems and we where able to hear more classic songs such as "King at Á Price", "Fate's Triumph", "Black", "Future Shock", "Tyranny", "Iron Eagle", "Lustful and Free", "The Moors", "Warfare", "Reign of the Tyrants" and "The Crucifix". The performance of the band was over the top. Especially Conklin who blew the rooftop off with his screams. The encore was comprised of three cover versions. Mercyful Fate's "Gypsy", Judas Priest's "Electric Eye" and Iron Maiden's "Where Eagles Dare". That was one of the best nights of my life!

This year's K.I.T. festival exceeded some of our wildest dreams. I wish Oliver and Tarek will continue with the same passion and love for this event. Thank you guys!
BRAINSTORM, PAGAN'S MIND (7 March 2008)
De Bosuil, Weert, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


Just when we entered the venue the first band, PAGAN'S MIND started with their set. I had seen the band a few months ago also as support of Fates Warning in the same venue. That time, November 2007, Pagan's Mind kicked some serious ass and blew Fates Warning of the stage so easily; you cant imagine. For me a reason to check them out again at this beautiful venue in Weert, The Netherlands. The band started with a moderate sound but during the gig the sound went better and better. The band owns a superb vocalist in Nils K. Rue. Live this guy is even better than on CD! After a couple of songs from their earlier releases the band also played some stuff from their latest release "God's Equation". Not only singer Nils is superb, the band is blessed with some realy fine musicians and according their latest 2 releases (im not familair with their earlier stuff) this is for me one of the leading progmetalbands these days! Some songs from their setlist; "Through Osiris Eyes", "Atomic Firelight", "Hello Spaceboy" (David Bowie cover), "Alien Kamikaze", "Farewell" (in remembrace of former member Thorstein Aaby), "Osiris' Triumphant Return". Pity enough they didnt do the Heart cover "Alone" this time with After Forever's Floor Jansen on vocals. Pity because Floor was, again, in the crowd this night. Nevertheless an awesome gig from Pagan's Mind again! Next time I will be there again!!! Already one of the best shows of 2008!!!
Headliner BRAINSTORM's powermetal never could impress me in the past. Ive seen the band a few times but they never left some musical scars to me. Tonight it was nearly the same again: The band was promoting their 7th album "Downburst" but had the bad luck that singer Andy B. Franck had catched a flue and wasnt singing very well. Gitarist Todde was also not on tour with the band but his substitute Tom Naumann (Primal Fear, Sinner) was a good replacement for the tour. Brainstorm is a very professional band and it is good to see how singer Frank can stir up the crowd even if his throat is hurting. After 70 minutes the band stops the show and apologizes for the weak performance due to their singers illness. After all it wasnt that bad tonight and their fans loved it; personally its not really my cup of tea. Some songs from their setlist: "Inside the Monster", "All those Words", "Falling Spiral Down", "How do you Feel"", "Fire Walk with Me". Nice show, nothing more, nothing less.
FLOTSAM & JETSAM, NON DIVINE, IZEGRIM (3 March 2008)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren


IZEGRIM had the honour to open this evening with their mix of thrash & deathmetal. The music of the band is not realy surprising and the band also had the bad luck of having a moderate sound which was more a trademark for the old Dynamo club (but isnt much better these days either). Im not familair with the bands music but I heard they played a lot of new songs from their debut album which is released by the dutch Rusty Cage label. The looks of the band are great (with 2 goodlooking ladies) but I advice the band to add a second guitarplayer to the line-up because the overal sound was a bit flat. The band has the potention to grow but they also need to find their way in writing better songs. I will keep an eye on the band!
Next band NON DIVINE had the same problem as Izegrim, their sound was moderate and the band was not realy accepted by the majority of the audience. I never liked their kind of metal so its difficult for me to give them a honest review. For me was thier Machine Head cover 'Davidian' the best song of the set.
The only band for which I travelled to Eindhoven was FLOTSAM & JETSAM. Their first album (Doomsday for the Deceiver) is a real classic one but after their third album I lost my interest in this band. From the original line-up only guitarist Ed Carlson and singer Eric A.K. are left. The band had a much better sound than their support acts but still it was not terrific. The band started with the famous openingswords "Hello, how are you, ready tonight" from their classic song 'Hammerhead'. This was the first, but also the last song from their debut album which was a little damper to me. The band played a mix of nearly all their albums and it suited me that Eric A.K. was still singing good and could hit the high notes quit easily. Okay, sometimes he was singing a bit out of tune but who cares?? The audience liked it. The setlist also contained: 'Waiding through the Darkness', 'Dreams of Death', 'Hard on You', 'Fork Boy' (Ministry cover), 'No Place for Disgrace', 'Me', 'The Master Sleeps', 'Swatting at Flies', 'Escape from Within' and as a bonussong 'I Live, You Die'. After this only bonus the band stopped and had a total playing time of just 1 little hour which was a bit of a disappointment to the audience. Overall a good show but I missed the oldies a bit. Gladly the band will play an oldschool set during their November edition of the Keep it True festival later this year! I'll be there!!
MUNICIPAL WASTE, TOXIC HOLOCAUST (11 February 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Dennis van Dommelen

With two bands bringing the best of the 80's thrash revival going on at the moment the 013 was packed on a Monday evening. Headbangers, skins, punks, fans of the younger-but also from the older generation. The way it is meant to be.
With this show booked at the last moment between one in Groningen and two days later in Debaser Sweden MUNICIPAL WASTE were in a hurry. The show lasted for only 40 minutes with all the classic songs included such as "Terror Shark", "Unleash the Bastards", "Headbanger Face Rip" and "Rigorous Vengeance" with the public scanding: "Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up!!!" Unfortunately there was no beer bong and no surfboards. But that was just a small minor on the further perfect show. Stagedivers from the first tones, a wall of death during one of the songs and constant circlepits going on. Didn't see that during a show in Holland for a long time. Encore versions including the cover "United Forces" from S.O.D. with colleague Marco on the stage ended the show. With the promise of returning to Europe in the summer at the festivals the Waste will grow bigger and bigger. I can only say: Be there cause Municipal Waste will surely fuck you up!
First band of the evening was TOXIC HOLOCAUST who lately inked a deal with Relapse records. With the "Hell on earth" album and the promise of Ryan Waste -that this was the best opening act they could get- in my mind they started the set with 666 and a lot of rustle coming out of the P.A. system. This disappeared after a few songs so the black/trash metal could fully come to its right. Indeed the perfect warm up for the main act.
HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, AXXIS (7 January 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

AXXIS: Unfortunately I missed this one because of some problems with the public transport. But what I've heard of it, it sounds like I've missed a good show and a good band I haven't heard before.
GAMMA RAY: The legendary German Gamma Ray gave a short, but powerful performance this evening. Frontman Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween and founding member of the band) had a good voice and the band showed some great enthusiasm and were seemingly having fun. It's only a shame that they haven't played any songs from before 1995 that evening. It's not that I don't care about their new material, but I just wanted to hear some classics like 'Heaven can wait' from their debut album. From the last album they only played 'Rising Again' and 'Empress'. Furthermore they played songs like 'New world Order', Valley of the Kings', 'Heavy Metal Universe' and 'Send me a Sign'. Top notch was the Helloween cover 'Ride the sky', like only Power metal god Kai Hansen can play it; they played off the roof as they conquered the audience more and more.
HELLOWEEN: This German foundation of the Power metal genre began their show fairly weak with the song 'Halloween", but they recovered as they progressed through the show. Ex-Pink Cream 69 singer Andi Deris reclaims his position as the substitution from Micheal Kiske more and more and also Weikath is making a good progress. The band is still making a positive progression and that's why I'm still not bored of them. The drumsolo was a little to the long side, but the puppet show and their 'Smoke on the Water' happening were great! The stage setting was impressive and the sound was great. The hall was properly filled, definitely for a Monday evening. The setlist of Helloween was okay, as they played classics like 'March of Time', 'As long as I fall', 'Eagle fly Free', 'If I could fly' and 'Dr. Stein'. For the encore the band had a pleasant surprise: Helloween & Gamma Ray together on stage performing "Future World" and "I Want Out". It's great to see that Helloween and Hansen have buried the hatchet and go on as friends again. The diehard fans could have some points of critic, but I thought it was a great evening full of commercial power metal. Keep on the good work!
OBITUARY, HOLY MOSES, AVATAR (4 January 2008)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Kees Schijven

This is one tour I've been looking forward too, with two of my favorite bands on it, namely Holy Moses and Obituary. This is only the second night of the tour in one of the best concert venues of our country, 013! The night before they played at the Hedon in Zwolle, where I also went to see them, as I don't want to miss out on my favorite bands playing over here! In contradiction to the night before, 013 wasn't sold out, but the amount of people attending was about the same I guess being a much bigger venue, with about 5 or 6 hundred being there.
When I arrived AVATAR was already playing their Swedisch style metal, which wasn't bad at all, although it became a bit boring after a while. But then again, this was not the band I was here for, like most people.
After a short break the stage was ready for HOLY MOSES, and after their intro they thrashed away with a set of classics from all of their albums. Personal highlights for me were the songs from their 2nd and 3th albums ('Finished with the Dogs' and 'The new machine of Liechtenstein') of which they played "Life's Destroyer", "Current of death", "SSP", "Lost in the Maze" and "Defcon II" among others. Frontwoman Sabina used the whole stage, and had a lot of interaction with the audience, and got the people in the pit to do the 'Wall of Death', which was fun to watch. The set was a little different than the night before, but the ending was the same with their cover 'To Drunk To Fuck' (Dead Kennedys), Sabina invited everyone to come on stage to join in.
After another short break the stage was set for OBITUARY, who started off with my favorite track 'Find the Arise' from their "Cause of Death" record. The band played a very tight set of old and new classics, with a.o. 'Turned Inside Out', 'Chopped in Half' (both also from 'CoD' record), 'Threatening Skies', ' Back Inside', 'Insane', 'Evil Ways'(from their latest record 'Xecutioner's Return') and a lot more. The crowd went wild, a big pit was going on, the band was at it's best. Only thing to say about it, there was no interaction or whatsoever with the audience, they just played their set with little or no break or talk in between. They played the same set as the night before, so no surprises there, and ended up with 'Slowly We Rot' from their first album. A great performance, without a doubt, on to the next, Antwerp on February the 2nd (for those of you who missed it). Hopefully they will return to play some festival gigs in the summer!
Top


2007

VENGEANCE, ROADKILL (12 December 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mr. Globbetrotter

I was "going to a party on a Wednesday night", so to speak. Vengeance was to do a cd presentation gig in Tilburg, with coming band Roadkill as their support act. Starting with ROADKILL, the band did their best to warm up the audience for main act Vengeance, and partly succeeded in just doing that. The band had just released their debut album "Dark Side" so for them, it was a good thing that they were asked to tour with Vengeance. I don't know about sales figures of their debut album, but the audience seemed to appreciate what was brought on stage. They had about 45 minutes before the break would pave the path for VENGEANCE to shine on stage.
After having seen 2 shows in this line up earlier, and having heard the new live album, I was curious to see if the party on stage would effect the audience in the same way. The audience had their party. I don't know why, but the setlist could have been mine. Hearing "Down And Out" again which was decades ago was brilliant and they played it very well! The setlist was compiled of typical Vengeance classics, with some surprises as well; the ballad "If loving you is wrong" hasn't been played that often in the past, and when Peter Bourbon took an acoustic guitar, I wasn't prepared for what they were going to play. But I just LOVED the version they did of this song, as I appreciated most of the first part of the gig. The second part, however, was disappointing to me. A terrible version of "Planet Zilch", "Arabia" with an intro waaaaay to long and fuzzy (with Leon as Arabic prince on his flying carpet above stage but forgetting parts of the lyrics when back on his feet); if I am not mistaking, I heard one or two unreleased songs which were both very AC/DC-ish but when they played "Rip It Off", a heavily tattoed girl walked on stage and did an erotic striplike-act during an extended version of the song, with Goewie puring a large bottle of whiskey on her. For me, this act was not necessary, not even as a gimmick; the historical white cello was brought on stage (which the band had used in the past during "Down And Out") but hardly really used. I also remember the Indian tipi a year back, and long before that the Samantha Fox poster which was "raped" on stage. THAT was fun. Together with long breaks between the songs and a setlist that wasn't in the memory banks of mr Goewie, I had mixed feelings about the show. On one hand they showed they can really rock, but on the other hand I missed the tightness and a kind of orchestrated discipline in their stage performance which was so noticeable in the past. For the band, I hope that their next studio album will again be a blast, followed by a tour (and a dvd?) but I would personally applaud to more professionalism and good taste in choosing ways to please the audience beside the music.
CARNIVORE, RAGING SPEEDHORN, MILKMAN (11 December 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

This evening was one I was looking out for months already. Carnivore was one of the few 80’s metalbands which I never saw before simply because they never came over to The Netherlands earlier. The band had 2 support acts in Tilburg which both didn’t fit into this package if you ask me. MILKMAN from Tilburg, The Netherlands played a home match. The band played fast old-school hardcore in the vein of bands like D.R.I., S.O.D. & M.D.C. The band played for about 30 minutes full of old-school hardcore/punk. They played some songs from their latest album “Nostalgiator” but also some older stuff and even a Slayer & S.O.D. cover. Nice show but pity that the band had a bad sound quality on stage.
RAGING SPEEDHORN, in contrast to the other bands, had a very good sound but I didn’t like their modern hardcore/emocore stuff. After a few songs I went, and lots of other people followed, to the bar in the lounge of the venue. Not really an interesting band for todays audience.
Finally, after an intermission of more than 45 minutes full of a constantly repeating Efteling tune (Carnaval Festival) CARNIVORE finally came on stage and started to play a musical intermezzo……and left the stage after a few minutes to start again with the terrible Efteling tune! Well this time it wasn’t that long and the band returned and opened with the song ‘Carnivore’ followed by ‘Race War’. It counted me that there was a liner notebook holder right next to Peter Steele’s microphone. Why??? I didn’t know exactly because he still didn’t sing one of the songs completely!! Peter looked drunk, was constantly drinking wine, singing out of tune and forgetting big parts of the lyrics!!! Some of the parts where sung by the 2 guitarplayers but most of the parts werent sung at all! What a disgrace!! I was realy pissed off by this misbehaviour and lots of other visitors where also complaining about this lack of professionality. With songs like: ‘Angry Neurotic Catholics’, ‘Male Supremacy’, ‘Inner Conflict’, ‘Technophobia’, ‘Predator’, ‘SMD’, ‘Jesus Hitler’ and a Beatles cover “Helter Skelter’ they played a great set but it was all nullified by the bands (especially Peter Steel) performance. Even the bonus tracks ‘WW 3 & 4’ & ‘Sex & Violence’ couldn’t save this gig anymore. And what a childish impression they gave after throwing dozens of bloody tampons into the audience during ‘Sex & Violence’. What a show (NOT)!!! One of the most disappointing shows ive seen during the last few years and sure one of the worst concerts of 2007!! The legend Carnivore is over when its up to me! I wished after this show that they never had done this reunion show so I could remember the band as in their old glorious days……
TSA, NEVIM (24 November 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

I thought I was dreaming when I saw this pronounce: TSA in my own town, wow! TSA is the AC/DC and DEEP PURPLE from Poland and attracts many visitors in their homeland. Me, as a big fan from this Polish Heavy Metal band, already have their classic albums "Heavy Metal World(1985)", "TSA(1981/1982)" and their new one "Proceder", who is less good, in my home for years! So it was really great to see these giants live. But before that, we saw the Czech child Rock/Metal band NEVIM: three long-haired boys between the age of 12 and 16 which were totally great! While they were a little unsure on stage, their music sounded great. The tiny bass player was singing with his fragile and soft child voice "I love rock 'n'roll " from JOAN JETT. It was so cute to see. The tough little drummer that constantly stole the show behind his drumkit and the tough guitarist/singer who was imitating Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, it was all great! Their own material and covers they played were pleasant, like NICKLEBACK, LIVE, NIRVANA and the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH ("paranoid"), OZZY OSBOURNE ("Facing Hell") and two songs of JUDAS PRIEST ("Breaking the law" and "Living after Midnight").
TSA that's the number one band from Poland! The organization was pretty sure to attract the maximum people 013 could handle with this show in the west. Unfortunately, they were wrong and only 300 men/women stood in the huge concert hall. Also, the amount of Dutch people could be counted on one hand. Next to a few employees from the 013, my friend and I were the only Dutch people! Where where the so-called Eastern European Heavy Metal Maniacs? It's a shame that a band with such class and talent is playing here in Tilburg for a handful of Polish workers. Luckily, my presence honored and was openly welcomed by the Polish Hardrock Heavy Metal fans. It didn't take long before they discovered my TSA and Kat patch on my denim vest, and I could drink the whole night for free on cost of these social and nice Polish Metal fans. "Respect, respect!" is what I heard the whole evening. TSA was totally great, with songs like "Proceder", "TNT", "Matnia", "Alien", "Mass media" and "Rock 'N' Roll". The audience went totally crazy, so that frequently people were banned because they stage dived or pogo'd too wild or just because they drank too much. But that Polish people aren't greedy and also love to party and to rock was totally clear! Unfortunately I had this feeling that the band wasn't satisfied with this gig in Tilburg; probably the small amount of visitors? At the end of the gig I tried to get backstage to make some pictures and maybe do an interview….but what was the case: they had some problems, out of which I can conclude they probably won't be playing here anymore. It's a shame that so many people don't stand open for these kind of bands and it's so strange that the 'so-called' Eastern European Metal fans weren't here for such a fantastic gig. I wish the organization good luck and I hope there will be a continue. They can count on me!
MOTÖRHEAD, OVERKILL (20 November 2007)
Rodahal, Kerkrade, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Today it was a kind of jubilee for me; this night I would see Motörhead for the 40th time live! Also the fact that they brought Overkill as support was a special reason for me to drive to the south of Holland to see 2 bands that always impressed me a lot!
I was right on time before OVERKILL hit the stage. This was also already the 12th time that I was going to see this band live. The last years I didnt realy follow all their latest releases but ON stage the band always did a good job. At 8:00 PM Overkill opened with the song 'New Machine' and it suited me that Bobby 'Blitz' Elsworth was in good vocal conditions because he sounded as smutty as can be! After the classic 'Rotten to the Core' the band played 'Walk through Fire' from their latest album "Immortalis". It counted me also that the band had a more than reasonable sound for a support act. After 'Thankx for Nothing' the band continued with several songs like 'Necroshine', 'Old School', 'Elimination', 'In Union we Stand' (the worst song they ever wrote to my opinion), a couple of new songs from their latest releases & as an encore "Fuck You'. A good show after all but I have to admit that the sound was getting worse later on during their set. Nevertheless; next time they are around; i'll be there again!!
MOTÖRHEAD has always been my favorite LIVE band. Their albums vary a lot; some of them are superb but they also released some rubbish albums. The last years I was also not happy with the 'lazy attitude' of guitarist Phil Campbell. Mostly because he was/is to lazy to play some decent live-guitarsolos and was rattling off his "solos". Today he gladly was in a good mood and did play some decent guitarparts. The band opened at 9:30 PM and had a loud but clear sound. The venue was filled with more than 1500 visitors and thats not bad at all for a Tuesday In The Netherlands; especially when you know that the venue is established in a kind of hinterland...... It was years ago for me when I visited this venue (1983: Iron Maiden & 1990: Gary Moore) but it was a perfect hall for a band like Motörhead. Motorhead played this setlist: 'Dr. Rock', 'Stay Clean', 'Be my Baby', 'Killers', 'Metropolis', 'Over The Top', 'One Night Stand', 'I Got Mine', 'Sword of Glory' (In which Lemmy tried to sing), 'Rosalee' (Thin Lizzy-cover dedicated to Phil Lynot), 'In The Name Of Tragedy' (with drumsolo), 'Just 'Cause You Got The Power', 'Going To Brazil', 'Killed By Death', 'Iron Fist'. As bonus they played 'Whorehouse Blues' (with an excellent Lemmy on mouth-organ) & their alltime evergreens 'Ace Of Spades' & 'Overkill" (not dedicated to the supportact?????)
After 90 minutes the band stopped and I went home with a very satisfied feeling; this way they can go on for another 30 years :). Lemmy rules!!!
Special thanks to Jeps from Mojo for putting me (as one of the most fanatic Motorhead fans) on the guestlist! Its appreciated!
MARIO'S METAL MEETING (11 November 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by several magazines/webzines

This was the first edition of Mario's Metal Meeting and because it was organised by Mario's Metal Mania it would not be fair to review my own festival :) For that reason I only add links to the several reviews on webzines & magazines:

DEN OF INIQUITY (Belgium)

DIGITAL STEEL (The Netherlands)

There are also some reviews in Dutch leading metal magazine Aardschok & underground magazine Violent Moshground, check them out!
ETERNAL ROCK FESTIVAL (13 October 2007)
Hanenhof, Geleen, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

Saturday morning around 12 o clock me and some of my friends left to Geleen to visit the second edition of The ‘Eternal Rock Festival’. Their organistator ‘Ludy’ had already told me that he wasn’t expecting a lot of people, and unfortunately he was right. I think there were only about 200 people around the evening… Much too less for such a cool festival!
The first band of the day was MYTHOLIC from Limburg. I had already seen this band in the locla bar 'Little Devil' a while ago. Mytholic plays fast Heavy Metal with a singer that instantly gives you goosebumbs, woow that singer of Mytholic can scream! Mytholic was really great live, but on cd it’s no more than just fun. I hope I can see the band live once more, because with the right connections I think this band can get really far! Goodluck gentlemen.
The second band was NON DIVINE, which I didn’t see, stupid actually to put a band like this on the bill of a Heavy/Power metal oriented Festival, Non Divine is way to modern for me.
MACHINE MEN from Finland was the next band on the bill en was really great if you ask me. The screaming singer, en the great music was a pleasure for the ear, good choise Ludy!
SYMPHORCE from Germany was the fourth band of the day. This Power Metal band with ‘Brainstorm’ singer ‘Andi B Frank’ was quite fun, but I would much rather have seen Brainstom, That is what I call a great Power Metalband if you ask me!
SILENT FORCE from Germany was the next one on the bill en I can tell you it was awesome! This singer looked a lot like ‘Jon Bon Jovi’ and ‘Joey Tempest (Europe) and what a great musicians. The sound was fine and the guys of ‘Silent Force’ showed Limburg that Germany has a band that looks a lot like ‘Yngwie Malmsteen’ and his band ‘Rising Force’. Great show and I think the audience can agree!
After that it was only waiting for the German metalgod ‘Udo Dirkschneider’ and his band! UDO started and everyone in the hall went nuts, it looked like 95% of the people were here for the Old German hardrocker. Udo ofcourse played the classics: ‘They Want War’, ‘Thunderball’, ‘Man & Machine’, ‘Animal House’ and of course the Accept song ‘Metal Heart’. Also new songs from his new album ‘Mastercutor’, which included title song ‘Mastercutor’, ‘Vendetta’ and the new ballad ‘Tears of A Clown’! It was really great, The audience that day (including myself) had a great time at this show!
The German PRIMAL FEAR with : ‘Matt Sinner (ex-Sinner) and Ralph Scheepers (ex-Tyran Pace and ex-Gamma Ray) was cool, but not as I hoped it would be, this was because the guitar player of ‘Silent Force’ replaced their guitarist and this caused the classic Primal Fear sound to vanish. Ralph had a really great voice that day and the setlist was great! ‘Primal Fear’ played all their classics like : ‘Nuclear Fire’, ‘Chainbreaker’, ‘Running In The Dust’ and the number 1 song of their new album ‘Face Of Emptiness’! Luckily they didn’t play the gothic alike song ‘Everytime It Rains’ cause I wasn’t waiting for that. Maybe it had some downpoints but this show was really worth the effort! ‘Eternal Rock Fest 2007’ was a great day of headbanging and drinking beers. See you next year!
VICIOUS RUMORS, AGENT STEEL, AFTER ALL (6 September 2007)
De Bosuil, Weert, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

AFTER ALL had the honour to open this night of pure, heavy speed metal. I have never been a big fan of this Belgium band because live they never could impress me. After their latest album "This Violent Decline", which I rated very high, my expectations where much higher than normally. Well, the more disappointed I was again. Singer Piet Focroul is a very energetic frontman but live his vocals still cant impress me at all. The band played mostly songs from their latest albums but as said, live they are not turning out that great. After All had the bad luck that they also had a very moderate sound during the whole gig. Sorry guys, hopefully next time better
AGENT STEEL has always been one of my alltime favorite bands, also after the departure of John Cyriss. Bruce Hall is a very good substitute for him but tonight I had the feeling that he was in a rush... Most of, especially the older, songs where performed much faster as the original songs. Pity because this didnt do these songs good at all! The band played mostly all their classic songs; 'Rager, Bleed for the Godz, Unstoppable Force, Guilty as Charged, Evil Eye, Agents Of Steel, Mad Locust Rising' et al but also some newer stuff like: 'Illuminati Is Machine, Ten Fist Of Nations, Fashioned From Dust, Hail To The Chief, Know Your Master'. Last tour the band didnt bring Bernie Versailles with them because he had other obligations. This time the band brought another bassplayer with them. Nevertheless a nice gig but not as good as i'm used from this (for me) legendary band. The band also had a very moderate sound which of course didnt do the band good.
VICIOUS RUMORS where the one and only headliner this evening because they came, saw & conquered! The band is blessed with their new singer James Rivera (wellknown from Helstar, Seven Witches, Flotsam & Jetsam, et al) who fits perfect in their music! Ive seen James Rivera several times with different bands and he is not always singing superb but tonight he was the king!! What a throat!! After Carl Albert probably the best singer they ever had!
The band played a lot of older songs but gladly also a few from their latest album (with James Rivera) "Warball". Their setlist (as far as I can remember): 'Immortal, Mr. Miracle, On The Edge, Soldiers Of The Night, Don't Wait For Me, Digital Dictator, Minutes To Kill, Dying Every Day, Sonic Rebellion, Lady Took A Chance, Abandoned, Hellrazor, Ghost Within, Six Step Sister, March Or Die' et al. Viciour Rumors was the only band with a very good sound and for me the absolute winner of this evening! I went to this gig especially for Agent Steel but was positive surprised by the power of Vicious Rumors! They where the "Digital Dictators" tonight!!
HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (12, 13 & 14 July 2007)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Headbangers Open Air is for me personally the highlight of the festival season. This edition was my 4th visit to this festival and I was looking out for it from the day after the last edition in 2006!! The atmosphere is so outrageous; its indescribable!! The whole place is filled with friends from all over the world and its for me the best festival of the year! The line up of this 10th edition wasnt that good as we are used but it was worth the wait!! Also the afterparty at the Ballroom in Hamburg was a real party (also on behalf of Pim & Oliver from Digital Steel webzine & Melissa Records who joined me during this battle of attrition).

DAY 1

SIXTH ALLOY from Germany was opening the jubilee edition of HOA and they did a good job. The band had a good sound quality and their thrashmetal had a lot of variety and I also liked the clean singing on some of the songs! Nice show!
Spanish SILVER FIST suited me much more this time than they did during their KIT performance a while ago. Still after a while I got bored stiff and the conclusion is that i'm still not a new follower to their fanclub....
INTENSE from the UK sounded good a while ago when I heard their latest album but they couldnt impress me last year as support of Ruffians. This time the band was much better than during that tour but after I while I got irritated again by the nasal voice of their singer; nice gig, nothing more.
GRIM REAPER from the UK is a band that never enthralled me though the band has a real cult status. Maybe it has to do with the fact that i'm not a real die-hard NWOBHM fan. I did recognize their latest song of the set 'See you in Hell" because it was covered by Seven Witches a while ago. Nice show.
Swedish WOLF came, saw & conquered on the first day of HOA. The band is very fanatic on stage and is musically a good band. Personally I miss the variation in the voice of their singer but they where a worthy headliner for the first day!

DAY 2

ETERNAL LEGACY from the USA where opening on Day 2 and the band plays typical US-metal in a way I like it very much. Pity that the sound quality wasnt that good. I also heard sometimes some "out of tune" guitarsolos and I have to admit that I was only wellknown with the songs on their MySpace which sounded much better on MS that they did live. The band also played at the afterparty on Sunday at the Ballroom in Hamburg and that performance was much better! Still a very good, promising, band!!
KAOS: I already met guitarplayer Keven Albert (son of the legendary Carl Albert of Vicious Rumors/Ruffians fame) when he was playing with Ulysses Siren at the HOA festival in 2006 and he already told me that they would perform on this years edition with KAOS. Well, the more disappointed I was after a few songs; the music of the band sounds good but doesnt belong on a festival like HOA; their metalcore-a-like metal doesnt fit between the mostly truemetal line up. Musically its all performed very well and the band is very fanatic but it was not really my piece of cake ....and a lot others visitors agreed with me!
I never expected to see the Aussies from RAVEN BLACK KNIGHT in Europe! The more I was surprised when I heard that the band did play HOA and also some other gigs in (ofcourse) Germany! One of the first CD's I ever reviewed for MMM was their "Choose the Dark" (2005) album and I was so curious for their live performances! The music of the band varies between doomsongs but also a lot of more uptempo songs. Great gig and I liked the short high-pitching screams from their singer/guitarplayer. The band also did the afterparty show in Hamburg and that gig was great too! Glad that I finally saw this band after all this time!! Hope these guys come back to Europe soon!! Good, well performed show!
KALEDON is one of the dozen powermetal/happymetal bands from Italy. The singer was sometimes singing out of tune but after all a nice gig.
BEYOND FALLEN (USA) also made their debut on the European bottom. Their typical US-metal is well received by the German fans. Personally I never liked Joe's voice that much (I miss the high-pitching vocals) but beside of that; he is a great frontman! Musically the band also played "as tight as a chicken's ass" (hi Joe, hahahaha) and they also had the honour to headline the afterparty on Sunday. On the afterparty the band was again playing top!
Germany's PARAGON is a great live band which is always well received by the German audience. Musically it all sounds standard but it is performed very well. Good show!
WARNING SF played my fav. style of metal: US-metal! Musically its nearly perfect and you could see that the band was enjoying their performance very much! Very good gig from these guys out of San Fransisco, USA. Their show on the afterparty was also great!!
VENGEANCE (NL): Partytime!!! Vengeance on stage is a guarantee for a big party. Personally im not impressed by the bands showart because the band is repeating & repeating their jokes for years now. Nevertheless; Vengeance is & will always be a big partyband. Nice show.
SINNER (Germany) did a nice job on stage but personally I dont have any feelings with this band; their music is very corny and not my cup of tea.
America's shock-rockers HALLOWEEN blew everything away with their superb performance! At KIT a few years ago the band already impressed me a lot but this time it was much, much better!! After singer Brian Thomas came on stage in a white suit; the hell broke loose!!! Good sound, good show and awesome performance!! I spoke to their singer later and he was hoping to play in The Netherlands someday..so maybe at another edition of Mario's Metal Meeting???

DAY 3

DECEPTIVE SILENCE from Germany was almost finished when we arrived at the HOA area but the few songs I heard werent that bad at all. The band won this years bandbattle in Hamburg and thats the reason they opened the last day of the festival. Nice show.
KNIGHT ERRANT: from Turkey was a weird band between most of the festival bands during this days. The band uses a female violinist which gave the music sometimes a bit of a folkmetal-feeling. The band still plays real metal and I liked the first songs. The singer was doing a good job in the beginning but after a while he was singing out of tune. The violinist was very fanatic on stage which gave a special effect to their performance. Nice band for about 5 or 6 songs but after that it became boring.
HOLLOW GROUND is a NWOBHM band which I only knew by name. The band did a very good job and had a lot of variety in their setlist. Good band; pity I was not familiar with their music earlier.
THE BLACK from Italy: Terrible band, worthless singer, messy sound and an awefull performance; Worst band I ever did see at HOA!! Forget it a.s.a.p!!!
TAUNTED (USA) was one of the bands I was looking out for. The more I was disappointed; the band had a bad sound and I also didnt like the singer's voice. The band also had a shabby sound because they only had 1 guitarplayer. The band played also at the afterparty on Sunday and they did a good job overthere and proofed they're a good US-metal band which will probably make a lot of progression in the future.. AVENGER: Another NWOBHM band on stage and I have to admit that they werent inferior to Hollow Ground at all. Eventhough NWOBHM is not my fav. Metal style; I liked both Avenger & Hollow Ground.
Sweden's BULLET; The AC/DC & Accept klone! Ive seen the band several times but they never impressed me with their 'stolen' kind of metal. If I want to hear this kind of music ill prefer to visit an AC/DC or UDO gig! Bullet is a party band, nothing more, nothing less.
WRETCH was also one the (US) metalbands that made me decide to travel to HOA again! The band is, despite the singers overweight, very fanatic on stage! The German crowd loved it and so did I!! Truemetal in a way I love it most! Good band and for me one of the winners! Hope to see them again someday!
MOONSORROW from Finland plays atmospheric Pagan metal and thats not really my kind of music. What I heard didnt sound that bad at all but I will never buy this kind of metal for my private collection. The crowd loved it and thats what counts!!
I never liked CANDLEMASS because their former singer Messiah couldnt impress me at all with his boring voice. Well, after I heard that the singer of Solitude Aeturnus (Rob Lowe) joined the bad: I was very curious because Rob Lowe is one of the best doommetal singers! And yes; I liked it very much! From now on Candlemass has a new fanclub member. Great show!!
RAGE from Germany did a good job on stage but personally I dont have any feelings with this band; after a while the band played their superhit "Dont you fear the Winter" and shortly after that song we decided to grab a taxi. HOA was done, damn!!!

Again I would like to thank Thomas Tegelhutter and Jurgen Hegewald for their support and for putting me, again, on the guestlist! My thanx also goes out to Pim B. & Oliver K. from Digital Steel (webzine) & Melissa Records (recordlabel). I had a hell of a time with these guys and still have a lot of homesickness......
Till next year my German friends!!
TESLA (29 June 2007)
Plato, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

Finally it was time, the American TESLA in my own country! For months I’ve waited but finally this was it. Tesla started their set with the Bluesy ‘Comin’ Atcha Live’ , and after that they immediately played the newer title song of the "Into the Know" album from 2004. After that it was time for some real classics like for example: 'The way it is', 'Modern Day Cowboy' and 'Lazy Days Crazy Nights'. Great to finally hear this classics from my youth live. After this we’ve got the great surprise that they were gonna play UFO’s 'Rock Bottom', which ofcourse is a classic for every self respecting hardrocker. After that 'Little Suzy' and 'Love Song', these guys just couldn’t stop with their great hardrock, wow! All the classics were played with full enthousiasm and joy and ofcourse not a single classic wasn’t played. What you give, 'Miles away', 'Thank You' and 'Signs', they were played every single one! Tesla even played some material from their upcoming cd: "Real to Reel". So the setlist was just perfect. Every bandmember had the qualities to give a perfect musical show, for which they didn’t need nonsense and/or a stage act. The guitarsolo’s of leadguitarist Frank Hannon gave you the goosebumbs all over your back en Jeff Keith’s vocals sounded really American, that guy really has a great accent. The hall was filled for 95% with real hardrockfans and every single one had to admit that it was really worth the effort in Helmond. The audience was really enthousiastic and that made the band play better. Tesla excists since 1986 and they haven’t changed their style and looks at all, all the bandmembers except for their drummer Troy Loccetta still have long hair, and they all (which includes the new guy “Dave Rude” ) still live for pure Rock ’n Roll. Tesla gave us a really energetic and good show here in Helmond, which will haunt my memories for a long time. I’m curious how it was at the Arrow Rock Festival because Helmond was brilliant!!!
PAUL GILBERT (30 May 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel & Nick Polak

Wednesday, May the 30th, we've got the message to visit/review a concert in one of our local concert venues 013 of one of the best allround guitar players ever.
PAUL GILBERT is known of his hits with hardrockband 'Mr Big', but Paul Gilbert does a lot more than making commercial hardrock. He also played in speed metalband Racer X and he ofcourse has his own solo albums and some projects with other bands/musicians. The concert started with the title song of Paul Gilbert's new album 'Get out of My Yard', for which he used an Ibanez double neck guitar and his bass player for an 'human capo, this was a very fascinating experience to see and that was only the begin of a great evening. This was just one of the eight (!) songs he played from his new album. But personally I was waiting for some old Mr Big material, and then finally I heard the first notes of the worldwide hit 'To Be With You' in a brand new version of the song. It was a pity he didn't play the whole song, but luckily he also played other hits like: Nothing But love, Interaction and my favourite song 'Green Tinted Sixties Mind. Great for the melodic rocker but I think most of the metalheads were more waiting for the old Racer X stuff which he also played ofcourse! He played the songs 'Technical Difficulties' and 'Scarified' which he hilariously announced with saying "…The next song… is a Heavy Metal song!...". The stage was kinda empty and what was very weird too was the fact there were no Laney amps on stage but only a new Marshall series amp… very strange. The very last song was the Jimi Hendrix cover 'Foxy Lady' which rocked everybodies socks of! Paul Gilbert at 013 was a great experience and too bad he doesn't come here that often cause he's a great guitar player!
AXEL RUDI PELL & MAD MAX (26 May 2007)
Plato, Helmond, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

Hardocker 'Ludy' from Limburg did it again with his Eternal Rock Promotion. Ludy organised another oldschool melodic hardrock concert. This concert was actually suppossed to be at '9 February 2007', but because of 'Pell' being ill the concert was moved to 26th May.
MAD MAX from Germany opened the evening with their christian A.O.R Hardrock. The band was here already years ago at the Dynamo Open Air festival in 1987 at Eindhoven. Because of that festival "Mad Max" made friends with the Dutch band "Vengeance". Vengeance was even invited to the concert in Helmond. Leon Goewie ( Singer of Vengeance ) was standing at the first row the whole concert watching his german buddies. Mad Max had a monster-setlist with old classics and covers but they also played new material from their new E.P (In White) and album (White Sands) too. For example they played 2 classics from their 1987 album "Night Of Passion": 'Night Of Passion' and 'Hearts On Fire'... but ofcourse they played the Sweet cover "Fox On The Run" from "Night Of Passion" too. They didn't only play old songs, but they played some really cool new songs too such as: 'Family Of Rock', 'Little Princess' and 'Fight In White'. The new "Mad Max" sounds like the old American Christian Hardrockband Stryper. Mad Max really met my expectations and I really enjoyed this show. Mad Max was really brilliant, good show, good music, great sound and great guys!
AXEL RUDI PELL: This German guitargod from the cultband "Steeler" opened with a really cool song: "Fly To The Moon" and after that more great songs and ofcourse some old songs, for example the brilliant "Call Her Princess", The show was really brilliant, singer "Johnny Gioeli" had a great voice and performance, the audience their response was great too! Maybe because of the fact this was the first time they played in The Netherlands, who knows? It was a great evening of headbanging and hardrocking fun at Plato Helmond!
SWORDBROTHERS FESTIVAL (19 May 2007)
Club Juz, Andernach, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

This was for me the second time to visit this German underground festival which is organised by metalhead & friend Volker Raab. After the cancellations of Ignitor (USA) & Powervice (NL) there was another cancellation just a few days before it all started; Knights of Tethys (USA) couldnt make it because a few members decided to quit the band and it was impossible to find substitutes in such a short time before the festival. The organisation decided to change the playing times of all bands and that turned out very well!! Good solution Volker!
DEJA VU from Germany had the honour to open this edition of SB and they did it right. Deja Vu is a nice band, not sounding very original but their performance was good. The band owns a very good singer who hits the high notes easily. The sound of the band was also good, especially for an opener! Nice gig!
CRYSTAL VIPER from Poland was for me one of the most important bands after Ignitor cancelled. The band is blessed with a very good, female, singer. A little girl with a great voice. Musically it sounded as a mix of Mystery Blue and (old) Warlock. Not all the songs where from a high level and I didnt like the Manilla Road cover but that has to do with the fact that I dont like Manilla Road at all. Nice gig after all with a reasonable sound.
STIKKY FYKK; this was a kind of a parody on a parody. This kind of "metal" is only appreciated in Germany who also like bands as, for example, Oncle Tom. Not my piece of cake and I ran away after only 1 song..... Climax of the gig was the playing time; just 25 minutes of crap....
Next band on the bill was Belgium's DESPERATION. I've seen the band already once as support of Battleroar & Aiged L'Amh and they couldnt impress me that time. Well, things didnt change a lot; I still think its a very moderate band with an even more moderate (read: boring) singer. After Stikky Fykk they didnt sound that bad but to be honest; this kind of bands will never make it....
REAPER from Germany was also new to me. Their singer had a very raw voice which was nice for a few songs but not for a whole gig. The band exist for years now but its clear for me now why they never became more wellknown... Moderate band that was boring after a few songs already. Also the coverversion of Judas Priest's 'Breaking the Law' couldnt change my opinion about that.
VALKYRIES CRY from Canada was also one of the bands that I come over for from The Netherlands. Musically the band did sometimes remind me to cultband Sacred Blade (because of the high screams) but qua looks they reminded me of Death Angel. The band had a reasonable sound but I missed a second guitarplayer in this band; now it all sounded a bit to shabby. So my advice; get an extra guitarist and a good producer and you guys will make it!!
ARCTIC FLAME from the USA already came over to Europe about a half year ago to perform at the November edition of the Keep it True festival. That time I liked the band but I didnt like all their songs. Now they had the same problem; their performance was quiet good but not overwhelming. Their singer has sometimes very weird singing melodies through which he sounds like 'singing out of tune'. Hitting the high notes was no problem at all and thats a plus!! Hope to see this band more in Europe!!
After Arctic Flame it became a bit quiet because the next band, EMERALD (from my homeland The Netherlands), didnt show up!! Organiser Volker was quite rightly pissed off because they didnt give him any sign at all. Later I heard that the drummer had an accident and wasnt able to play. I still do understand Volkers reaction and really hope that the band will show up in September during the Tilburg Headbangers Fest (which I co-organise).
Gladly the two headliners decided to play both a longer set to fill up the caused space in the running order. I've never been such a great SACRED STEEL fan but I have to admit that they did an excellent job today!!! The band is getting/sounding much more professional during all these years and their singer is a damn good frontman! The band also played a cover of Jag Panzer "Generally Hostile" and at the end of the set the female singer from Crystal Viper came on stage for some jamming..... Good show!!
BLITZKRIEG (UK) had the honour to headline this edition of SB and hell they did!! The band had a superb sound and played a great set. After listening to singer Brian Ross I was wondering why Black Sabbath never did him an offer?? This guy would fit perfect to Black Sabbath with his typical voice. Well, gladly he is still in Blitzkrieg and thats the main reason that this band still kicks ass!! Great band on a wonderful headlining spot! They (and we also) deserved it!!
Many thanx to Volker & crew and maybe till the December 22th edition ( DOOMSWORD (I), ZANDELLE (USA), ANGUS (NL), NIGHTMARE (F), SILVERFIST (E), SKELATOR (USA), KINGSCROSSING (USA), ICY STEEL (I))
L.A. GUNS, POINTERS HEAD, HOTT (3 May 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

A perfect evening of sleazerocking in own town ! All local glamboys were here for the local evening of some glam metal! It was still very calm but ofcourse the die hard hairsprayers were already here!
HOTT: From Rotterdam kicked the show off with their poser metal! Hott is more like a parody of real glamrock and it may seem a bit fake but the music is quite good. Hott is more over the top glam, a bit fake with al those hairpieces but because of that, not less fun. The guys from Rotterdam play glamrock in the vain of Motley Crue, Poison and Iron Maiden... Yes! Iron Maiden! A lot of riffs are almost stolen from Iron Maiden and that gives Hott a bit of a heavy metal twist. Prominent was too the return of their second guitar player, the guy needed to kick off from the drugs and rock 'n roll for a while! Hott played only one classic 'Wake Up', the other two 'Barely Legal' and 'Hott' weren't played because of the short time they had. Too bad because Hott was kinda cool!
POINTERS HEAD: From Germany was the second band of the evening, and although their hardrock sounded kinda 'okay', it was not really my type of hardrock...! The band didn't had good looks as well and they couldn't get the audience moving. But what would you expect... everyone was waiting for L.A. Guns, not some kind of obscure German band.
L.A. GUNS: Yes! The one and only L.A. Guns with "Tracii Guns and Paul Black'' were here in Tilburg Town on stage! The guys from Los Angeles played every classic live in our local club! For example all the classics from their 1988 debut were played: 'No Mercy', 'One More Reason', 'Electric Gypsy', 'One Way Ticket' and ofcourse 'Sex Action'!
Ofcourse they played classics from their second album as well: Cocked & Loaded from 1990. They ofcourse played 'Never Enough' and afcourse the classic 'The Ballad Of Jane'! All the fans were asked to climb on stage to sing along with the most well known "L.A Guns" ballad, it was really cool! Ofcourse they played more songs, but I didn't had a setlist so I can only name the songs I know. The old rockers of L.A. Guns showed that Glam/Sleaze Rockers are definitely true! I have almost never seen a band that was this true to it's roots! A lot of true and thrash metalbands/heads can learn a lot from this! What was great too was the good contact with the audience and the fun they had theirselves. Yes! the guys of L.A Guns know what Rock 'N Roll is about! Keep Going guys, Tilburg is ready for a second Sleaze Attack!!!
TRIVIUM, ANNIHILATOR, SANCTITY (2 May 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Joey Ferwerda & Nino v/d Mark

The opener for this evening was SANCTITY: This is a band that earned recognition before their first album was even released, according to their website. Trivium frontman Matthew K. Heafy saw their show and liked it so much that he helped them get a record deal, and Megadeth's frontman Dave Mustaine invited them to the second outing of his Gigantour festival. They play Melodic Thrash-Metal with a heavy metal sound with it, but try to do some new things as well, and the result is grinding riffs and screaming solo's backed by the raw vocals their frontman Jared supplies. Technically this band is top-notch. Additionally, they really know how to get the crowd warmed up, before they even started playing they had the crowd's full attention, and where able to hold it through most (if not the entire) show. The legendary 'bang your head, tits, cunt or whatever' showed up and everyone thrashed there way to the end of the show! To bad the sound was killing everyone's ears.. better hire a new sound-guy. The band was good.. no better.. there great! Seriously this guys rock so check them out!
Second in line, the legendary ANNIHILATOR: one of those bands your dad listened to in his "Heavy Metal" period. It's top-grade old-school Technical Speed/Thrash with a nice heavy metal sound to it that's just technically superb. From 1984 till today they've released a host of Demo's and albums that are considered to be classics by many today. Before the show started their crew was hastily improving the sound as best as they could, and if you where already inside early on you could've heard that their roady isn't a shabby rummer himself. Me and some friends even thought the roady would play some songs! And then the show began! They played some new work, the more groove sound of this band really hit the fans but it was good! For the old school lovers, don't blame them, they had a million changes in line up, only two full members! Songs like “Funpalace”, “Never neverland” and “Welcome to your death” where welcomed with banging heads and people screaming along. They finished the show with “Alison Hell”, and I'd like to speak for myself when I say that I've never experienced anything as cool as being there and hearing that song being played live. All the people yelling: "Alison Hell!".. just priceless. He even could make it to the high notes!While you could hear that not all of these guys are as fast as they once where, this is one event that will stay with me for quite some time to come.
And then we had the headliner, TRIVIUM: Although some call this neo-trashmetal; Trivium's frontman described it as Flash-metal where they combine fast pumping melodic riffs and excellently composed solo's. Where the vocalist can sing as well as growl. They just played it almost 1.5 times the speed! You can say a lot about these guys, but they most definitely have skills! Half-way the song though I noticed some things... First off they suffered from a similar thing as Sanctity did, though less so. Because most of their songs have relatively high-pitched guitar melodies through them this wasn't too much of an issue, but something else was. Sometimes one of the guitarists would decided to burst into soloing while it wasn't in the original song. Now don't get me wrong, I love sudden content but most of 'em didn't match the song and only made it more chaotic to listen to. Besides that the show was great, the music was top-notch and if you where in the thrash-pit you probably had a blast too. Personally the band did not get to me. Hey don't get me wrong, they are great players but the feeling wasn't there! Trivium was: "Good on CD, but LIVE better keep you expectations low."
KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL VIII (14 April 2007)
Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Opener CAULDRON from Canada will not be very wellknown by most of the thrashers in Europe. The bandname they originally had a few years ago was GOATHORN. I reviewed the Goathorn album a while ago but I was not familiar with the new Cauldron stuff. Cauldron played a nice set of 80's thrashmetal but couldnt impress the audience that much; maybe because of their very moderate sound. Nevertheless a very nice opener!
BULLET from Sweden is a nice AC/DC & Accept clone (or clown) that will do it good on any metal party but the band doesnt belong on this kind of festivals when its up to me. Still I enjoyed to see the band live again but this are not the bands I came over all the way from The Netherlands.
TWISTED TOWER DIRE was one of the bands I was really looking out for. This US-outfit lately released a very nice album "Neatherworlds" and I was curious if the band could prove their qualitys on stage. The band played a mix of their older & newer stuff and enjoyed themselves a lot on stage! Pity that the band had a very moderate sound (lots of reverberation) but still they did a nice job. Nice job because I expected much more from these US-metallers!
DEFENDER from The Netherlands reunited a few months ago and I already had the luck to see the band during the Rusty Cage festival a month ago. That time they where for me the winning band. This time it was almost impossible to win because a few of my fav. metalbands performed overhere (Lethal, Destructor & Piledriver). Defender played a great show/set with, again, a leading role for their singer who even sung much better than during the Rusty Cage festival! Good show and during this show I was proud to be a dutchman :)
PILEDRIVER was one of the most important bands for me to travel to Germany (together with Lethal) but in my thoughts I was expecting a kind of a parody on a parody. Gladly my thoughts where wrong and Piledriver showed us an incredible show! Technically the band will never play on a Progmetal festival but who cares? The band did what they are good in; playing oldschool thrash in a way they already did it on their 2 albums years ago. I'm not gonna tell you how the band was dressed because if you know the album sleeves; you know enough :) A few of the songs they played are 'Piledriver', 'Human Sacrifice'& 'Metal Inquisition'. Great show!!!!
Because Artillery cancelled their show just a few weeks ago; the organisation decided to book a second show for DESTRUCTOR. Well the show the band gave was almost similar to the show a day before at the warm-up gig (read that reviews below). Again they didnt play 'Destructor' & 'Bondage' and that was a big disappointment for the die-hard fans of the band.
LETHAL from the USA was the most important band for me. These guys delivered one of the best metal albums ever "Programmed" but never played in Europe before! I was so glad with the news that the band reunited & played at KIT!! Finally after all these years I would see one of my alltime fav. bands. During the photoshoot in the pit I noticed that singer Tom Mallicoat was OR fuckin nervous OR has a kind of nervous tic in his face. It looked like he was starting to cry but gladly he didnt .....No; he was singing the best he could and I didnt expect that the band was still so great after all these years of absence. Again I got goose bumps during several songs and I again realised that metal was more than a hobby for me! This was so brilliant that I couldnt believe it! Bands like Lethal make me realise how important metal is to me! The band almost played their complete "Programmed" CD and did it in an awesome way. One of the best shows i've seen during the last years. Magnificent!!!! Superb!!!! Awesome!!!!
After Lethal it wasnt that important for me anymore because i've seen bands like SABBAT & LAAZ ROCKIT already several times in the past and I still havent got any of their albums. Why? They are both good live bands but on vinyl they never could impress me. The same goes out for DIAMOND HEAD; a good band, nothing more nothing less. Conclussion is that Piledriver & Lethal where the winning bands to me & Sabbat, Diamond Head & Laaz Rockit where more a kind of afterparty to me. A good afterparty by the way but personally I would have 'programmed' Lethal as a headliner :)
Oliver & Tarek; thanx again for inviting me to this superb festival! Till now one of the best line-ups KIT ever had!! In November I will be there again with great US bands like; Toxik, Leatherwolf & Sacred Oath; I cant hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!
KEEP IT TRUE WARM UP SHOW (13 April 2007)
Dittigheim, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

The 8th edition of KIT and for me the 7th time to visit this great festival (I only missed edition 1...). Because this time KIT was doing the "big" edition there was again a warm-up show on friday in Dittigheim.
IVORY NIGHT from Germany was opening 2 days of pure metal. I was not familiar with the band and I dont want to be after this gig. From the first song on the singer was singing out of tune (read: false). Musically it all sounded far from original; it was performed well but with a crappy sound and a terrible singer the band failed complete! Garbage.
Next band on the bill was WARRANT (the German variant). I know this band for years now and to me their song 'Bang that Head' is a real classic one! Musically it all sounds standard but I feel some magic in their songs that hit me. Some other songs the band played are: 'Ready to Command', 'Satan BT', 'Condemned Forever', 'The Enforcer", just to name a few. A good show from an old German thrash outfit that I still like very much! Good show!
TANKARD is Germany's partyband nr. 1 and its always useful to book these kind of bands because the German audience loves it!! I've seen the band several times in the past but musically they never could impress me at all but who cares?? The audience liked it and that counts. Have a beer on me guys! Prosit!
DESTRUCTOR has always been one of my fav. bands and I already saw the band twice during their BYH performances in 2003. During these gigs I was blown away by this great band. When I heard that the band was playing this years KIT my metalheart started beating faster & faster! The more I was disappointed this weekend in the band because of the moderate sound but mostly of the (missing) agression in the music which they did have a few years ago. Other point was the fact that the band didnt play two of their classic songs: 'Destructor' & 'Bondage'. Songs they did plays are: 'Storm of Steel', 'Sonic Bullet', 'Maximum Destruction', Skull Splitter', 'Pounding Evil', The Iron Curtain' et al..... After all a reasonable show but my expactations where a bit to high probably.
Still I had a hell of an evening with all my German friends.......
LANA LANE & ROCKET SCIENTISTS (9 April 2007)
Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium
Review by Mr. Globetrotter

It was not crowded at the venue; that surprised me the most. Rocket Scientists is a highly respected progband from the USA, and Lana Lane, the Queen of Symphonic Rock, is a very talented singer, surrounded by even talented musicians.
Opening act was DIAL, the band formed by Kristoffer Gildenlow (ex-Pain Of Salvation) and his wife Liselotte Hegt; they played half an hour to warm things up, but did not succeed in doing that, receiving only polite applause.
ROCKET SCIENTISTS then opened bombastically; keyboard virtuoso Erik Norlander is a master in combining songs and melodies into a medley (or "suite", as he likes to call it), and the band brought a 75 minute set with songs from the "Earthbound" and "Oblivion Days" album, combined with material from their latest gem, "Revolution Road". The song "Mariner" was brought with vocals of Mark McCrite, a man with a soft and smooth voice, who also plays the Line 6 guitar next to Dutch axe man Peer Verschuren. That was the only moment that I missed Kelly Keeling, who always gives me loads of goose bumps when he sings this song. Nothing to degrade Mark, but Kelly has the power and the octaves to really set different moods into this song.
After the set and a short break it's LANA LANE's Time; this time the band played 1 entire album, being their latest "Lady McBeth". Now THAT promised a whole lot, because this is a very versatile album, with smooth ballads and some real shredding. This also gave Dutchmen Peer Verschuren and drummer Ernst Van Ee a way to show the audience what they got. Peer played his solos like he had to rape all six strings, where Ernst was really testing his bass drums. After having played the album in full, there was an encore from Lana's "Gemini" album, namely Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". Over two and a half hours of quality music deserved a much bigger audience; hopefully next time the band will get the response they so well deserve.
HEADWAY FESTIVAL V (6 & 7 April 2007)
P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Headway was celebrating their 5th edition this year and the organisation programmed a very varied line up again this time. Gladly I was invited to review this festival but even if I wasnt; I would have been there with such a good line-up!

Friday (6 April)
Opener on friday was OBSIDIAN, a band from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Obsidian was blessed with a reasonable sound for a first band. The band played a kind of technical deathmetal which reminded me to a mix of bands like Fear Factory, Textures and also some Scar Symmetry. It was not all sounding quite original but after all a very nice opener.
TO-MERA from Hungary/UK was the next band on the bill and also one of the bands that made me decide to travel to Amstelveen. I was only wellknown with their 2-track demo which I reviewed a few years ago and that demo impressed me a lot. Well, the more I was disappointed in the beginning of the set; the band had a terrible sound and female singer Julie Kiss was singing as a false Dolores O'Riordan (The Cranberries). After more than half an hour the sound quality was getting much better and Julie could even hit the higher notes. So at the end of the set I had to conclude that is was a reasonable performance but far away from the expectations I had of TO-MERA. Plus to the band is the view because Julie Kiss is a wonderfull woman ;)
Progmetal in Holland doesnt mean that much in the international scene till now. Bands like Sun CAged and Sphere of Souls are the leading bands in this genre and one of them was playing here tonight; SUN CAGED. SUN CAGED had a nearly perfect sound from the begin till the end (good job Martin!!). I've seen the band last year already with their new singer Paul Villareal and it striked me that he couldnt sing the older Sun Caged songs so well that time. Their former singer Andre Vuurboom (now in Sphere of Souls) had a much wider range than the new frontman. The band had noticed that also probably because today the band was mainly playing stuff from their latest album "Artemisia". Sun Caged played a great set/gig but I dont think the band will make it international. Mainman Marcel Coenen has a lot of arrogance and thats probably also the reason that the band already had dozens of line-up changes. Pity because musically its a great band!
Todays headliner ZERO HOUR (USA) also had a new singer in their line-up; Eric Sardinas and what a talent this guy is!!! The band opened with 'The Falcon's Cry' from their latest album "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond". This is one of the best albums I heard during the last year! That is also the reason I rated it with 95 out of 100 points :) You can imagine how curious I was about these guys. Well, Eric Sardinas is doing what his predecessors couldnt; singing as good (or even better) than on the album!! He reminded me to a mix of Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Tom Mallicoat (Lethal) & Steve Benito (Heir Apparent). From the new album they also played; 'Evidence of the Unseen', 'Face the Fear' and a few others but also some oldies like 'Stratagem'. This show was superb and looking backwards also the best show of this years Headway edition! Awesome performance guys!! Hope Eric will continu singing with Zero Hour because he is the best guy for this job!!

Saturday (7 April)
Todays opener was also a dutch band named TRANSMISSION O. I was wondering what this crappy band had to do at Headway because there was nothing progressive in their music at all! Rubbishy band that played a kind of Nu-metal that had no variation at all and which was performed terrible. A band which I have to forget a.s.ap!!
DIAL was the second band on saturday and the band is build around ex-Pain of Salvation member Kristoffer Gildenlöw and his dutch wife Liselotte Hegt (ex- Cirrha Niva & also working for the Aardschok magazine). Dial played a kind of psychedelic music that had little to do with metal at all. The musicians are all good and multifunctional but I dont know what to do with this kind of music. Dial even makes The Gathering sound as heavy as hell!! Not my piece of cake....
SEVENTH WONDER from Sweden was also one of the bands I travelled to Amstelveen. After a 40 minute (!!) break the band finally climbed on stage. In the beginning the band had a messy sound but later on they took revenge and enjoyed me with a very good technical show! Singer Tommy Karevik told the audience that he had some problems with his voice but personally I couldnt even hear that. The band played a lot of songs from their last album "Waiting in the Wings". Seventh Wonder plays a mix of progmetal & powermetal. Good show even after all the starting problems!
MORGLBL from France was again a very strange band in this years line-up but luckily these guys where great! Morglbl is a french trio who mainly played instrumental songs. These 3 boldies gave a hell of a show and it was to me the biggest surprise of the festival! You could notice that the band themselves also had a lot of joy on stage! Mainman Christophe Godin is a very good guitarplayer but also a real entertainer! Caramba; a great show guys!!
LOCH VOSTOK is also a Swedish band and after reviewing their album lately I was looking out to see them live. From the very first note the band impressed me a lot and their "huge" singer had a very wide range in his voice. He could grunt but also hit the high notes from time to time! A great band which is on stage much better than on their album "Destruction Time Again". Check them out if you have the possibility! Great show!!
SLEEPY TIME GORILLA MUSEUM (USA) was the next band. I never heard of the band before and I wish I will never hear from them in the future also! This is a bunch of posers/gays that really couldnt play at all. Visually it looked like a mix of Marilyn Manson & In Extremo but musically STGM is even much worse than these bands (is that possible: YES!). This was to my opinion a terrible choice from the Headway organisation and i'm not gonna spent more time in reviewing this crap-band.....
REDEMPTION (USA) was the headliner on saturday and it was a very nice headliner. Nice? Yes; musically its more than okay but singer Ray Alders (also in Fates Warning) voice wasnt that good today and after a few songs I even got bored by his voice. He was also sometimes singing out of tune. Pity I never saw the band with former singer Rick Mythiasin (Steel Prophet/Mythiasin) because that would have tunred out much better. The band had a lot of variety in their songs; pity also about the boring keyboard solo. After all a worthy headliner on saturday but they couldnt be touched by friday's headliner Zero Hour!!

Conclusion: Headway was again a very enjoyable, good organised festival with some great, some moderate but also some terible bands. It was a shame the audience didnt show up in great numbers because Headway deserves it!! I will be there again next year! Thats for sure!!
RUSTY CAGE FESTIVAL (16 March 2007)
Dynamo, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Today Rusty Cage Records, a new label from The Netherlands, had their first anniversary and the label wanted to celebrate this with a few of their bands. The label re-released several old albums from Dutch metalbands but also a few newcoming bands.
Funny was the fact that the opening "band" PAUL CLARK was the only not-dutch act (he is from the UK) on the bill. Acording to the Dynamo website the festival should start about 4 o'clock PM. Because we (Mario & Pim from Digital Steel) didnt want to miss any band we arrived on time. Pity because when the festival finally started it was more than an hour later as announced!!
PAUL CLARK didnt show up with a supportband but used a tape. It all turned out to be a kind of guitarclinic. Paul plays classic guitar in the vein of guitargods like Steve Vai & Vinnie Moore. He played a lot of tunes from his "Shredz at an Exhibition" album. For an opening band the venue was filled really well. Pity for Paul that the sound, as usual in Dynamo, wasnt that good. Probably its even with 1 guitarplayer & 1 tape impossible to create a good sound in Dynamo....the sound was reverberating to much.....
Next band on the bill was one of todays reunions and to me it was already the best band of the day: DEFENDER! I have seen the bands several times in the past as support for Toxik and so I was curious about their performance today. The band played a good set and performed in various line-ups during the gig. Defender still play their typical smooth kind of metal which suited me very well; especially because their singer still could hit the high notes! They also played the same covers as they did in their earlier years; 'Metal Church' (Metal Church) & 'Allison Hell' (Annihilator). Because Defender had a very reasonable sound; they made me long for the early days; great performance!
LWS INC. (Lunatics Without Skateboards) was the next (reunion) band on the bill and I didnt see them for nearly 17 years now! In the beginning the sound quality was good but after a few songs it got from bad to worse. Musically LWS was (and still is) a good band but with a crappy sound like today they couldnt impress me the way I was hoping for. Also strange that they didnt throw the drunken stagedivers off stage but that had probably to do with the organisation because the band wasnt glad with that either.
NON DIVINE is one of the new metalbands from The Netherlands which Rusty Cage signed lately. Non Divine won the 2005 Metal Bash Competition but why?? Thats a question for me? Me, as initiator & webmaster for MMM, could not enjoy this kind of metal. To me it sounded as a mix of later Metallica but than with some grunge elements in it; or better said; not my piece of cake!! Funny to see that I was not the only one who was ignoring the band because most of the visitors left the hall and went outside. Moderate band and moderate performance.
JEWEL was also one of the (reunion) bands I went to the festival; they have always been a real party band and I was very curious about their appearance today. Musically it all sounded good; just like in the early days. Still I could notice that the band wasnt that fanatic anymore like in their old days. Years ago singer Rick Ambrosius was always joking & climbing on bars, tables et al but I think they where to old for that :) But what am I complaining; i'm not stage-diving anymore either these days, hahahaha. Good performance but again; pity of the moderate sound!
CYPHER was the latest band of the evening and it was a bit weird band in todays line-up. The band plays melodic deathmetal that remind me to The Haunted. The music of the band was, just like with Non Divine, not appreciated by the older audience. Because the time shedule didnt left any time space for a diner break; we decided to knock off after a couple of songs. Nice band but not playing for the right audience today!

Overall it was a very nice festival; some good bands from the earlier days and some moderate "new" bands. The audience was great; lots of memories came back when speaking to people I havent seen on concerts for a long time in combination with the 3 reunion bands! Unfortunately the sound quality was bad by most of the bands and I recommend Rusty Cage to search for another location for the next edition (hope this will come)! Thanks to Rusty Cage for inviting me to the festival; hope that from now on they will also send me all their releases for reviewing on MMM (dropping a hint).......
KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, LEGION OF THE DAMNED, WATAIN (11 March 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

Yep Finally! It was time again for an evening of Thrashing at 013! Because it's becoming routine that bands play half an hour earlier at 013 so I made sure I was right on time. The first band WATAIN was just starting. Watain comes from Sweden and plays Oldschool Scandinavian Blackmetal like it was meant to be in the early 90’s.
The second band was the Dutch band LEGION OF THE DAMNED, their band name is changed from Occult to Legion Of The Damned and they still play great oldschool thrash with some modern influences. They played songs like ‘Son Of The Jackal and title song ‘Legion Of The Damned’. Too bad they were playing at a too big stage with no background at all. But what am I complaining ? The gig was great!
The Swiss CELTIC FORST was up next, to me personally it was very disappointing. To me the show in 2006 at ‘Biebob Vosselaar’ Belgium was way better. Celtic Frost shouldn’t be playing at such a big hall but in a small underground club! But anyway let’s talk about the musical performances of the gig. Celtic Frost’s bassplayer “Martin Eric Ain” was talking about too much bullshit like religion and death.. that kind of negative bullshit. They played “Circle Of The Tyrants” too early at the set, stupid move I think, you should play such a classic as last. Ofcourse the band played more classics like: “Dethroned Emperor" and “Into The Crypts Of Ravs”. But that was the only cool thing about this gig. One very good thing: this gig had the best sound of all the bands this evening.
KREATOR was the headliner today and played new songs like: “Violent Revolution, Reconquering The Throne, Enemy Of God and Suicide Terrorist” but also old classics afcourse like: “People Of The Lie”, “Europe After The Rain”, “Extreme Aggression”, “Betrayer” and the medley “Flag Of Tormentor”(Medley of the 2 old classics of the first record). You can already guess that an thrashing evening like this is really great! Kreator played fast, furious & aggresive, totally metal like it was meant to be many many years ago ! Real Thrash Metal deep from the heart ! This gig had just a couple of downpoints (for example; 2 agressive skinheads in the pit) but overall it was quite a good show. Kreator was absolute the best band of the evening !!!
THRASH 'TILLBURG FEST (18 February 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

A whole weekend of metal takes it toll, so at the moment of writing i'm unbelievably tired. Too bad I missed the first band of the evening because of the local carnival and a little problems with the guest list. This cool thrash festival was organised by local thrasher Tjerk ( Outburst/ Loudnoise ) and has almost the same name as the festival me and Mario organise ("Tilburg Headbangers Fest"). Thrash Tilburg Fest was taking place in the small hall of the 013 venue and there was not that much audience. Probably it was because of the local carnival.
The first band I saw was the new Gothenburg-sounding thrashmetalband THE NEW DOMINION from Tilburg with Stip (Flesh Made Sin) at bass guitar. The music sounds a bit like bands like The Haunted and In Flames.
The second band was the British EVILE; they played good 80's thrashmetal like (old) Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and Evil Dead. Evile has a great singer with vocals that sound a bit like 'Tom Araya' (Slayer) and 'Joey Belladona' (Anthrax). The band sounded great, great licks and fast drums, like thrashmetal was meant to be!
The third band of this afternoon was the local thrash band FLESH MADE SIN; these guys played (like usual) really great! They played their most well known songs ('Lustfull Killing', 'Tormentor' and 'Descending Life') but also some songs of their upcoming new album and a Slayer cover "Necrophiliac".
The fourth band was the Dutch DEAD HEAD. This oldschool Deaththrashers played in the original line up and played only a few old songs like: 'Kill Division', 'Unholy', 'Cold Being' and 'The Festering'. They sounded okay and for me it was great to see them finally live onstage.
The last band was the long expected British ONSLAUGHT! This 80's thrash band reunion was with original members like Nigel Rockett (guitars) and Steve Grice (drums) return, ably assisted by vocalist Sy Keeler (who sang on the first two ONSLAUGHT albums, "Power From Hell" and "The Force"). The band played a lot from 'Power From Hell', 'The Force' and their 3th album 'In Search Of Sanity' from 1988/89. Songs like: 'Let There Be Death', 'Metal Forces', 'Shellshock', 'Demoniac', 'Power From Hell' etc. Onslaught played a fucking great show ! Totally back to the old days with lots of headbangers, moshers and just one stagediver/crowdsurfer (myself) haha. It was a much better reunion then their last reunion in 013 Club in 2005. For me the two British bands Evile and Onslaught were the very best bands of this great festival!
THERION, GRAVE DIGGER, SABATON (16 February 2007)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Marco van Empel

SABATON was the first band of the evening. This Swedish heavy/power metal band played very good! I even think it was the best show of the evening. I only own their “Attero Dominatus” CD from 2006 so I only knew the songs: ‘In The Name Of God’ and ‘The Metal Medley’ ( Metal Machine, Metal Crue). I really liked the metal medley because they were singing about all the great bands in the world ! Sabaton has a really good singer and has great musicians. I hope to hear a lot more from this band!
GRAVE DIGGER was the second band on the bill. They looked very true metal and they had a great singer in the name of Chris Boltendahl. It was a pity they only played just a few cool songs (Excalibur, Valhalla and Heavy Metal Breakdown) and that there was not much contact with the audience. Personally I was expecting much more from this old German Power/Heavy Metal band and for me the biggest part of the show for me was not very well. Hopefully they will come back in the future to play a much better show here in The Netherlands.
THERION was headliner of this concert and played a very good show for the fans. I'm not a fan at all but I can say it was not bad ! They got four new singers, one man was really cool to see. The Thor looks like a Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Memento Mori and Notre Damme) + another male vocalist and two ladies. Therion played some own classics ('Nightside Of Eden' and 'To Mega Therion’) but also a very cool Manowar cover from 1984 ('Sign Of The Hammer’). The stage was very cool with lots of candles, gates and cages. But for me the music was still a bit boring and I perform their old black/death metal of the early 90's more than their newer stuff of these days. But that is my opinion and I’m sure that for the most people in the venue it was a very good show. But I am too oldschool for these kind of gothic metal. People who like modern theatre female vocals and lots of tralala rhythms had the night of their life. Oldschool metalheads will say it was pussy metal and I'm definitely one of these people. But to get back to the point, it was a very good show for the fans and I think the most fans were sad at the end of this good gig in 013. Therion is absolute a band for the future !
Top


2006

ETERNAL ROCK FESTIVAL (7 October 2006)
Hanenhof, Geleen, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

Eternal Rock; a new festival in the South of The Netherlands; organised by metal/hardrock fan Ludy. This was the first edition of Eternal Rock which took place at concerthall Hanenhof in Geleen, The Netherlands. A very nice place with an overall good sound during the whole day!

First band PREDATUR from the UK played a very moderate kind of hardrock that couldnt suit me at all. Their musical direction was a mix of Status Quo & Led Zeppelin. Not really my cup of tea and a bad opener (to my opinion). Luckely the rest of the other bands didnt disappoint me at all!

Next band where the dutch newcomers of POWERVICE. The band played as normally a good set. Their Maiden-a-like metal fitted perfect to the taste of most of the festival visitors. Singer Stockie was, again, singing superb and the rest of the band where also taking their job(s) serious. Again a very good show from these guys!!

FREEDOM CALL from Germany was the next band on the bill. The band started with a bad sound quality but after a few lsongs the sound engineer pulled it al equal. The band played Helloween-a-like powermetal but to be honest; not all of the songs could impress me! Another great loss is the fact that the band sounded shabby because they only had one guitarplayer. Conclusion: nice show but i'm convinced that they will sound much better with a second guitarplayer in their ranks!

VENGEANCEdoesnt need any introduction. This band reunited last year, again, around frontman Leon Goewie. Singer Leon is still the eye-catcher of the band. On stage this guy totally gets loose and opens his box of tricks. Lots of jokes and tricks are his trademark. The band played a lot of songs from their old repertoire but also a few songs from their latest album "Back in the Ring". Vengeance was suited with a good sound and the band showed that they are still one of the leading live bands in The Netherlands. Good performance!! As a bonus the band played the Rose Tattoo cover "Bad boy for Love".

One of my alltime fav. bands headlined this edition of Eternal Rock: Y & T. The band had an awesome sound and they played a special set because the show was recorded for a possible DVD. Most of their classic songs where played; 'Hang 'm High', Lipstick and Leather', 'Keep om Runing', 'Dirty Girl', 'Mean Streak', 'Barroom Boogie', 'Winds of Change', 'Eyes of a Stranger', 'Hurricane', 'Rescue Me'...and lots of other songs.
Frontman Dave Meniketti is still singing great after all these years. The music of Y&T is in my opinion ageless. Awesome show from this great band!! Ludy: You did a hell of a job!! Thanx for inviting me to ER. Next year I will be there again!!

TILBURG HEADBANGERS FEST (30 September 2006)
Cafe Extase, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Kees Schijven

As I arrived too late, I missed the first two bands (CEREMONY OF OPPOSITES and CHAINSAW) unfortunately, from what I heard Chainsaw had a real good live performance so I'm sorry I missed that. The atmosphere was great, and the weather too, so a lot of bangers were outside on the terrace when I got there, but also in the venue there was a crowd, so it must have been nearly sold out I guess. As I didn't know most of the bands, I was curious what to expect and was going to be surprised by some bands as I found out.

But one band I did wanna see for sure was FORETOLD, after I reviewed their CD 'Factor' for Mario's Metal Mania (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews), I was anxious to see them perform live. When I got inside the venue they had already started, and were playing 'I am the way' which sounded very brutal! They had a real good sound, and played very thight, and William's throat sounded awesome, one of the best dutch grunters if you ask me. They played a lot of songs from their CD, and did a good job too, so for me this performance was brutal perfection.

Next up was METHUSALEM from Friesland, this was really a surprise for me as I didn't knew them, they play real heavy metal in an old school way. Their singer sounded like Rob Halford himself in his better days, and is a great frontman, although I later on heard this was his goodbye gig. They really got the crowd going, this band should have been higher on the bill if you ask me, Heavy Metal!!

RED DRAGON played together for the first time in 25 years, in their hometown. A lot of family and friends were there to see them after all that time, which was a nice sight to watch. The venue was packed, and they got the crowd wild and going. Although their kind of metal sounded a bit out of date, nobody seemed to care, least of all themselves, the band had lots of fun playing and it showed! This band got the most response of the day if you ask me. Their music sounded like old Bodine, Picture and Vengeance, so real recognizable dutch hardrock/metal sound.

After the diner break it was time for MARTYR to hit the stage. I only knew their name, but never heard their music, but it rocked! They also have a great (wet) show/frontman who got the place going. The guys played full energy and fanatic as hell, which the crowd picked up from them as well as they went wild. They seem to play a lot lately since their reunion a few years back, and it showed, a well oiled machine!

Next up was the only foreign band on the bill, MYSTERY BLUE from France, who play true 80's heavy metal. Their sound is like Saxon or Priest with female vocals, and this makes it an unique and surprisingly well combination which sounds killer! Not many people knew this band, but after just a few songs it sounded so familiar as if it was back in the 80's, everybody banging their heads off, great! This was an excellent choice for this festival, well done…

Headliner were dutch Celtic Frost, PENTACLE, around for over a decade, and still going strong. They played as if their lives depended on it, real energetic performance which got the crowd going wild again. This was a true headliner for this edition of THF, which had a great true metal atmosphere, positive and friendly like it should be. Hopefully the following editions of THF will be just as good, or better, thanx to Mario and Marco for this! Keep up the good work…

SWORDBROTHERS FESTIVAL (16 September 2006)
Club Juz, Andernach, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

Swordbrothers, again an underground festival in (offcourse) Germany! This was the 4th edition of Swordbrothers but it was my personal debut on this festival. Well again I was positive surprised!! The festival is organised in a very nice club just outside the borders of Andernach, a small village nearby Koblenz. It's an one-day festival which is organised by Volker Raab (who also works for Blue Steel Agency, an European truemetal booking office)
The weather is already great at the moment we arrive and a lot of people are enjoying this outside of the club. After a short conversation with organiser Volker, we hear the first notes of the opening band:

PHENIX from France. I was curious about this band after listening to their latest album "Wings of Fire". Phenix plays powermetal and the band is blessed with a very good singer who easily hits the highest notes and thats for me the most important element in a good metalband! The band is also blessed with a good sound and thats remarkable for an opening band! Musically its not sounding all to original but who cares if its performed this way? Not me! Besides of their own repertoire the band also plays a Deep Purple cover "Speed King". Good show!

INFLUENCE from my homeland The Netherlands was the next band on the bill and it was my first acquaintance with these guys on stage. They already delivered a few very nice albums (he guys, i'm still waiting for a copy of your latest album "House of Silhouettes")! According to the bands website it was also the last show with singer Bas Assenbroek. This is a pitty because this band has got everything to become great!! Great musicians, great songs (with a very high Iron Maiden level) and a very sympathic superb singer!! Prove for that was the superb coverversion of Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law". Guys, my advice: dont quit!!! Great show!

STORMRIDER from Germany was the next band; musically it all sounded okay but because of the very moderate & boring singer I left the club for a diner break.

Right on time I returned to see RAVAGE from the USA. Musically a lot better than Stormrider but the band also had the same problem as their predecessor on the bill; a very moderate singer. Pitty again because musically they reminded me to a lot of 80's US-metal bands. With this kind of metal you really need a singer with high pitching vocals and that was the only thing that failed with Ravage! My advice; drop the singer guys; you wont regret it!!

RAM was the next band according the running order but they didnt arrive on time so SOLEMNITY took their place. I only knew the band by name. Because of a small diner/beer break I didnt see the whole show but what i saw & heard didnt disappoint me at all!! The band had a very nice show with nearly all the bandmembers dressed as monks and after a few songs a half-naked girl came on/off stage to perform a rite of communion. It was funny to see how the crowd reacted and showed up to take some photographs from the girls white boobies, hahaha. Offcourse; I was one of them :) The music of Solemnity has a lot of doom influences and I was positive surprised by these guys (and girls).....

Meanwhile RAM from Sweden arrived. To be honest; I didnt expect much from this band after their moderate shows at KIT & HOA. Both times they couldnt impress me at all. Well time changes (gladly) and I have to admit that musically/technically the band has grown a lot! I really liked Ram this time and i'm even looking out to see them again soon!! Great show & performance!!

Most important band for me to travel to Germany was US-cultmetal band DEADLY BLESSING. From the first notes & screams I was blown away!! Frontman Ski is one of the best metalsingers in the world and its a joy to see/hear how easily he hits the extreme high notes! This is METAL!!! This is the kind of metal I live for! Superb performance and again (after their KIT show last year) I got in ecstasy! Hope to see these guys very, very soon again!! This was for me personally THE headliner of the festival! Deadly Blessing came, saw & conquered!! They didnt even need to play Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" to convince me......

ATTACKER (also from the USA) was the real headliner and its always a pleasure to see these guys live. This was already the 5th time I saw the band during the last 2 years and again it suited me well. Singer Bob's voice was a bit raw tonight and sometimes he (again) remembered me to Udo Dirkschneider (he's also sounding on some of their songs on the latest 2 albums). Nevertheless it was a great pleasure to see/hear & meet these spontaneous guys and i'm sure I will see them more the next years because the band is very popular in the undergound scene! Good show!

After a day full of great metal, good beer/food & a great audience I left the club during the Attacker gig to have a nap outside in the grass border..... When my "friends" woke me up it was time to jump in the taxi and remember Swordbrothers as a very good organised & friendly festival. Special thanx to Volker Raab; you rule!! Next year we will be there again; thats for sure!!

Already confirmed for the April 2007 edition: EMERALD (NL), DESPERATION (B), IGNITOR (USA) VALKYRIES CRY (KANADA), DÉJÀ VU (D), ARCTIC FLAME (USA) & POWERVICE (NL)

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (14 & 15 July 2006)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

HOA, finally!!!!! I was looking out for this garden festival already when last years edition wasnt even finished!! This was the third time for me to visit this superb festival which is organised for real heavy metal fans BY real heavy metal fans!! The intention of the festival is quite unique. Even if there are playing more than 20 bands from all over the world, the festival is always breathing an underground feeling that I never felt on any festival before! Pity we had to miss the warm-up show on thursday with MASTER, VIRON, SATAN, OVERDRIVE & METAL LAW. On Friday Pim (www.digital-steel.com) and I drove to Brande Hornerkirchen (nearby Hamburg) to join the most enjoyable metal audience in the world. As always Belgium metal-cop Rico (www.hellspawn.be) & his lovely wife Peggy visited the festival. This year they where joined by stand-up comedian Jorith (a.k.a. Tiger) who entertained us a lot during these days!!

DAY 1

Because we had to search a while for our hotel, we missed a part of the first band IVORY TOWER. The few songs we heard from this German band sounded good and the band left a professional impression to me. I already knew that the band had some good musicians in their ranks because some of them played on the live album of Josh Kramer (of Saint) and that album also kicks some serious ass!! Nice band!

Next band was our national Dutch pride; POWERVICE!! The band played, again, an incredible show with a leading part for singer Stockie! This guy has an un-dutch throat of which a lot of bands in Holland (and also outside of Holland) will be jealous! Their maiden-a-like metal suited the audience very well. Powervice was blessed with a great sound and played a great set with songs like; 'Behold the hand of Glory', 'The end is coming', 'Nightstalker' and a lot of other songs. I'm curious how long this band will survive into the metal scene because a few of the bandmembers have an extreme way of living (you know who you are guys!).

ORDER OF NINE was one of the bands I was really looking out for. Their progressive kind of US-metal suited me well on their debut album "Season of Reign". The only complain I had about the album was their moderate singer. Well, on stage the band had the same problem. The singer was performing very modest and the band couldnt enthrall me for the whole set. Also on sunday, when the band was playing the afterparty in Hamburg; I was bored by the singers voice. Musically it all sounds okay, so guys; you know what to do!!

SHEAVY from Canada played a kind of stoner rock. I dont like this kind of metal at all so its impossible for me to review this kind of bands. The band was blessed with a great sound and thats the only positive thing I have to say about them.

Next on the bill was, again, a band from my homeland; MARTYR. I did see the band a while ago during their KIT warm up show and they impressed me a lot that time! This time the band was also playing very well and fanatic! Martyr had another singer this time than they had during their KIT performance. Someone told me that this was their original singer but I cant confirm this because I only knew the band by name before their KIT show. The band wasnt playing that good as they did at KIT but I still had a hell of a time!!

Because i'm fully addicted to US-metal; ICARUS WITCH was on my wish-list too. Their latest album disappointed me a bit, especially after their superb EP. Live the band was great and especially the singer was awesome! Rob (Metal Gay) Halford should have got a spontaneous erection when he had heard the coverversion of "The Ripper". Great band; US-metal at its best!!!

Everybody knows that when you drink a lot of alcohol; you also have to eat regularly. Well, KORPIKLAANI was the perfekt band for me to visit the hot dog & steak stand…….

After the diner break we went back to see German cult lady Sabina Classen and her band HOLY MOSES. It suited me to see how popular this band still is in Germany. The band played as tight as a chicken's (Sabina's ???) ass and had a great sound. I tried to get nearby the stage to take some pictures but I couldnt manage it to enter the "mosh"pit! Good show!

As "headliner" for the first day, the organisation booked an Iron Maiden coverband named POWERSLAVE. After the Ross the Boss/ Manowar farce at last years KIT I was curious about this coverband. Well, they didnt disappoint me at all. Their singer even reminded me several times to Bruce Dickinson (and thats a compliment). The band played Iron Maiden songs from all their albums and did it damn good! Good idea to book a band like these on festivals as curfew! Every drunken headbanger still can sing all the Iron Maiden classic songs.

DAY2
After a quick breakfast we had to hurry up for day 2 of the festival.....

Opener TALES OF HORROR was already blessed with a good sound quality and their kind of heavy metal suited me. Pity that their singer couldnt hit the higher notes but after all this was a very nice gig!

CHAIN REACTION from Germany where the winning band of this years metal contest "Metal Battle". Every year the winning team gets a spot on the Headbangers Open Air festival. Personally they couldnt impress me for one second. The band was musically very moderate and the female singer was even worse!! If they where the winning band; how bad are the other bands that battled during the contest??

TRINAKRIUS was called a doom metalband by a lot of people but personally I dont think they belong to this catagory. The band played a lot of up-tempo songs, had a good singer & good musicians. This was a very positive surprise to me!!

MILES BEYOND already took me by surprise with their great debut album last year, so I was very curious about these guys. Well, again, a great band from the USA!! Miles Beyond came, saw & conquered (when its up to me)! On stage the band is even much better than on CD. Also their afterparty gig at the Ballroom in Hamburg on Sunday blew me away! Awesome performance with great musicianship, superb singer & great sound. If you ever have the chance to see this band live, don't hesitate!! Their maiden-a-like sound will bring you in extase. Miles Beyond was this years winning band for me!

No time to rest because the next USA/Danish metalband jumped on stage: PYRAMAZE. Singer Lance King (also in Avian) has a superb voice and fits perfect to the music of this Danish band. The band isnt that popular by most of the HOA visitors but that has to do with their progressive kind of metal I suppose…….. Most of the visitors are true metal warriors and probably dont know how to handle this kind of progressive music. After Miles Beyond, again, a highlight for me!!

Because i've seen METAL INQUISITOR already several times in the past, I planned my diner break during their gig. I like their music very well but I have to admit that it all sounds to standard for me.

After our diner break we had to hurry up again to see the next US-metal band:ULYSSES SIREN. Before HOA I never heard of this band. Its a shame because the band already did exist in the early 80's. The band plays a kind of US-thrashmetal in the vein of bands like; Violence, Exodus & Dark Angel. During their gigs (they also played the afterparty in Hamburg) I got the 80's feeling back again; it felt like I was 20 again (or was it because of the high alcohol level in my body???). A very energetic live band which I hope to see more in the near future! Great performance!!

UK legends PRAYING MANTIS had the luck to have an old Iron Maiden member in their ranks; Dennis Straton. Well, had, because he is not in the band anymore these days. Musically it doenst make any difference; I've seen the band already several years ago but still they cant impress me with their standard NWOBHM. Not my piece of cake……

METAL CHURCH; What to tell about this US band?? They have always been one of my alltime fav. bands in heavy metal. The "new" singer Ronnie Montrose is superb and sounds a lot like David Wayne (R.I.P.) in his real old days. Metal Church have a lot of classic albums and they played a very divers set with songs like: 'A light in the Dark', 'Badlands', 'Ton of Bricks', 'Start the Fire', 'Watch the Children play' (dedicated to David Wayne), 'Mirror of Light', 'The Dark', 'Cradle to the Grave', 'Date with Poverty', 'Gods of Wrath', 'Beyond the Black', 'Metal Church' and the Deep Purple cover 'Highway Star'. The band gave a great performance as usual. Again a great show!

GIRLSCHOOL was the next band to "jump" on stage. Well jump; the two old original members probably already use a rollator to reach the stage (just kiddin'). I've never been such a great Girlschool fan and I think the highlight of the bands career is the cooperation with Lemmy (Motorhead for the newcomers) years & years ago. Probably they have to refresh the line-up once in a while to keep on going….. Not a bad performance at all but not really my style of metal/rock.

Headliner BLITZKRIEG already surprised me a few years ago during their KIT performance. Tonight singer Brian Ross was again singing very good and the band even did a good coverversion of Judas Priest's 'Breaking the Law'. A very nice show and a welcome curfew of the festival!!

This years edition of HOA was the best i've seen till now!! The line-up had a lot of variation and I still am homesick when I think back about the festival. Thomas, Jurgen & Mac; thanx again for this great festival! I had a hell of a time and I will be back next year; thats for sure!!! Headbangers Open Air rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheers; Mario

KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL VI (8 April 2006)
Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren


POWERVICE from my homeland (The Netherlands) had the honour to open this edition of the Keep it True festival. And they did a hell of a job!!! The band, that only has a 3-track demo released, came-saw & conquered KIT!! The opener 'Hands of Glory' already got a great respons from the audience. Their Maiden-a-like heavy metal fits perfekt to this festival and its incredible to see how easily singer "Stockie" hits the high notes!! This band has the future, especially in countries like Germany where heavy metal never died!! One of the best openings bands KIT ever had (and i'm not chauvinistic at all!)

I was very curious about WOTAN because the last (and first) time I saw this band was at the KIT warm-up show a few years ago and that time it was totally crap!! Well, the band learned a lot during these years and today they played a very reasonable show and the band was blessed with a good sound!

DARKNESS from Germany did remind me a lot of the older Kreator but not with the musical qualities of them. I liked their show but after a while I got bored and took a diner-break! Not my piece of cake!!

SILVER FIST (formerly known as MURO) from Spain played a set in mostly the Spanish language. The band has a moderate singer and, again, I got bored after a while! I'm not familiar with their (and the older Muro) songs so its difficult to judge these kind of bands. Nice show after all.

AXEHAMMER was one of the most important bands for me to visit KIT. After their legendary "Lord Of The Realm" album the band released a new album last year "Windrider" and that one also kicks some serious ass!! After more than 18 years the band finally played in Europe. Well, because I was so curious about them, the band disappointed me very much!! The singer was complaining all the time about his monitor sound but the biggest problem was the fact that he was singing terrible! Pitty because musically it was okay and the other musicians where doing their jobs great!! The singer didnt have any radiation at all and on stage he didnt even sound like the guy that is singing on both albums! This was a big disappointment for me!!

GRIM REAPER did never impress me at all. After all these years the band still sounds jocular. Most of the songs are up-tempo which is the only positive thing I can say about this band. Even their singer is moderate! After a few songs it was time for another diner-break!

What a difference with the next band: PARADOX! The band played a very good set with a lot of classic songs from their first two albums! After Grim Reaper this was a real relief!! Good show!! Great to see this band again after all this years!!

SOLITUDE AETURNUS had to cancel their performance during the 5th edition of KIT last year but this time they finally showed up!! The week before KIT, the band played the Doom Shall Rise festival with the singer of Dantesco because the original frontman had some problems at the border. Well, at KIT they gladly played with their original singer! The band was blessed with a superb sound and it was great to see this band on stage again! Solitude Aeturnus is one of the best Doom metalbands for me and it will be difficult to find another doom metalband of this class for next years edition of KIT! Maybe a reunion of Saint Vitus with singer Scott Reagers??

ROSS THE BOSS?? Ross played together with the German Manowar coverband Men of War. To me this was a farce!! The singer of Men of War could not hit one high note so it was incomprehensible for me that he was the leadsinger of a Manowar coverband; Eric Adams is the most important bandmember of Manowar so you should at least bring a singer who is (nearly) equal !!! Ross the Boss is a nice guitarplayer; nothing more, nothing less but it was scandalous to deceive the crowd with this crap! This was a real non performance…………

EXCITER has always been one of my alltime fav. metalbands and their debut album "Heavy Metal Maniac" is my alltime fav. metal album!! Even with the "new" line-up the band is great and its always a pleasure to see these guys on stage! Last year at the Bang Your Head festival the band disappointed me for the first time but at KIT they stole my metalheart again! Great show! Only complain is the fact that they (always) play 'Pounding Metal' which is to my opinion the weakest song they ever wrote!! Nevertheless it was great to see/meet these guys again!

Headliner RIOT was also blessed with a very good sound!!! The band played with Holy Mother singer Mike Tirelli and I have to say that it was a plus for the band because Mike Tirelli is a much better singer than Mike Dimeo (who was to busy with his other band The Lizards). The band played a very heavy set but I missed a lot of their classic stuff. The band played also a Deep Purple cover 'Burnnn' but I prefer the Glenn Hughes version. Riot was a perfect headliner for the festival and I have to give a compliment to the organization about the overall sound quality during the whole day!!

In November there will be a smaller KIT version but again with some great bands; HEIR APPARENT, FLOTSAM & JETSAM, WOLF, ONSLAUGHT, etc, etc…………
That show is already sold out and i'm glad I already bought a ticket for that edition!! See you all there metalheads!! Oliver & Tarek; thanx again for another great metal weekend!! When its up to real heavy metal; Germany rules!!!!
Cheers; Mario

KEEP IT TRUE WARM-UP SHOW (7 April 2006)
Sporthalle, Dittigheim, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

First band to kick-off for, again, a great metalweekend in Germany was DANTESCO; a heavy/doom metalband from Puerto Rico. Their singer is a yearly visitor of the festival so these guys have their metalheart on the right place! The band played a nice set but I have to admit that the looks of the singer (he reminded me of Demis Roussos) where more impressive than his sometimes boring voice. Nice opener after all.

SEVEN WITCHES frontman Jack Frost has the capability to engage a lot of great singers during the career of his band. After Bobby Lucas (now in Overlorde), Wade Black (ex-Crimson Glory, now in Leatherwolf), James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny's End, etc.) he now has another giant ensnared: Allan Tecchio (Hades, ex- Watchtower, etc). Funny is that every time I see Seven Witches, the singers are the most important members of the band. Founder Jack Frost on the contrary is a very, very moderate guitarplayer. Allan Tecchio was, again, after all these years singing awesome but personally I think he does not fit in the kind of metal Seven Witches make. Older songs like ' Metal Tyrants' and ' Exiled & Infinity" didnt sound that good with his voice. The Judas Priest cover 'Victim of Changes' on the other hand blew everything down!! Rob Halford (the metal gay) should be jealous of him!! Good show but I prefer Allan Tecchio during his Watchtower, Hades & Power period!

DRIFTER from Switzerland didnt play anymore in Germany for more than 12 years. Well, when its up to me (and a lot of other visitors I spoke) they should stay away again for at least 12 years! Totally crap, this band was really boring!!

ASSASSIN played a very nice set. The band was very fanatic on stage and the audience liked it very much. They have a moderate singer in their ranks but when you play a lot of old classics; nobody complains! After the collapse of Drifter it was good to see/hear this band. Nice show!

Headliner DEMON (who was doing a tour these days with Seven Witches) played a very reliable show with a good sound but, again, couldnt impress me. I've seen the band a few times before and every time they do disappoint me a bit. With the good sound quality & some classic songs, Demon was quit rightly the headliner of this warm-up show!
Top


2005

KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL (5 November 2005)
Sporthalle, Dittigheim, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

KIT is together with the Headbangers Open Air festival one of the most important festivals to me personally!! I'm not gonna subscribe the great atmosphere and kind hearted audience of this true metal festival because everyone who calls himself a true- metalfan already knows the ambiance of this great festival!
Due to personal circumstances (the birth of my first son 1 week before the festival) I had to miss the warm-up show on Friday and had to drive to the festival on Saturday morning.

When I arrived at the Tauberfrankenhalle, the first band IGNITOR (USA) just finished their gig so I cant review it. According the positive reactions I heard from a lot of people I spoke during the day; this band did a hell of a job and where called the best opening band for KIT ever! Later I had a short conversation with female guitarist Beverley and she told me that they received a lot of positive reactions from the audience also.

First band for me to see was the Maltese doomband FORSAKEN. I already saw this band during the 2004 HOA edition and they impressed me again this time! The band had an untidy sound but showed everything they got. Forsaken plays doommetal in the vein of bands like Candlemass & Solitude Aeturnus and have a good singer in the person of Leo Stivala. They already played a few new songs from their upcoming CD "Dominaeon" Good show!

Next on the bill was the German band STORMWARRIOR who treated us with a portion standard metal. The band also had a very moderate sound but had a very fanatic stage performance. Musically they didnt impress me at all but i'm sure most of the audience loved it!

SKULLVIEW (USA) was the next band and according to a lot of people; this should be THE cultband at this edition of KIT!! Personally i couldnt discover much positive things on their performance; they had a moderate sound, a lot of technical problems and musically a lot of things went wrong. Not to talk about the drunken guitarplayer that smashed his guitar at the end of the show.. Only positive thing to me was their very good singer. Maybe next time better guys!

SLOUGH FEG (USA) had a moderate sound too and the band also have a very standard singer. Musically it all sounds nice and reminds me sometimes to the earlier Iron Maiden days. After half an hour it all began to bore me and it was time for my first diner break…….

INTRUDER (USA) already impressed me during their HOA 2004 appearance and I was very curious about them today! Well, again the band played "as tight as a chicken's ass" and they had a very reasonable sound. Their Bay-Area-a like thrash suits me very well and it was to meet these guys again backstage (together with their lovely ladies). Great performance!!

RUFFIANS (USA) already played several times in Germany but for me it was my first acquaintance with this US-metal band. The band played a strong set and they where blessed with a good sound! Most of the songs are mid-tempo but who cares? I was positive surprised by their performance and i hope to see this band again in the future!!

JAG PANZER (USA) The most important band for me and the only reason i came over to KIT this time!! According to the news on the KIT website; the band would play a special "Ample Destruction" show. There was also a possibility they would record the whole show for a live CD or even a DVD……….. Well, after the show i was a bit disappointed; not in the band but more in the setlist. Most of Jag Panzer's songs are classics but when you expect a full "Ample Destruction" set and you only get 5 songs out of it; you'll understand I was a bit disappointed! And I was not the only one when you read the reactions on the KIT website-guestbook! Nevertheless, Jag Panzer was, again, superior on stage (as always) and i had a hell of a time with songs like; 'Iron Eagle', 'Black', 'Chain of Command', 'Thane to the Throne', 'Battlezone', 'Hostile', 'License to Kill', 'Warfare', 'The Crucifix' and a few other songs. Singer Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin showed again that he IS the best metalsinger on this earth!! Come back a.s.a.p. guys!!!!!!!!!

RAVEN (UK) I've seen the band several times in the past and personally I prefer to see them ON stage instead of listening to their albums. Raven was the first band that had a real good sound and though the guys are getting older (and fatter), the band is still very fanatic on stage! They played a good set but I have one little complain; on a festival like KIT you should play much more oldies!! Good show from these guys with my personal highlights; 'Rock untill you drop', 'Faster than the speed of light' and 'Dont need your Money'.

VIRGIN STEELE (USA) is a band that never impressed me at all but i have to admit they took their job as headliner of KIT very serious. Nice show, good musicians but also not enough classic evergreens to my opinion.

Conclusion: Most of the bands had a moderate sound and didnt redeem my expectations but there were also, again, some very positive highlights. And personally i think it will be very difficult to overrule KIT II and KIT IV !!!
But in April 2006 i will be there again with bands like: RIOT, EXCITER, SOLITUDE AETURNUS, PARADOX, AXEHAMMER, DARKNESS, SILVER FIST, ROSS THE BOSS (EX-MANOWAR), HIRAX, POWERVICE and a few others.

Thanx again to the organisation (Oliver, Tarek & Jurgen) for inviting me again! See you next time in April!!
Cheers to you;
Mario van Dooren.

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (8 & 9 July 2005)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Mario van Dooren

HOA, the ultimate festival for the ultimate fan!! Last year i also visited this back/front yard festival and was so impressed about it that it became one of my main festivals to visit this year again! The festival is organised by a German metalhead in his parents garden and it is visited by only real metal lovers! Its impossible to subscribe the impact of this festival if you have never been there!! Organiser Thomas (who's parents live in this house) invited me again and i didnt doubt one second about it!! The festival has a little stage at the end of the drive, a few merchandise stalls in the garage-boxes, 2 beer bars, a few food stalls and a real backstage garden! No, no backstage room, just a pasture. Most of the bands that play this festival (from all over the world) dont get paid for it and most of them have to self finance it!! They sleep in tents in the backgarden. Except for the few headliners; they get paid a bit and can book a hotel if they want. Can you believe this?? This can only be done in the mighty Germany where real metal still lives these days!! Compliments!!!!

DAY 1

MITHRIL
A German band from Kiel that mixes doom & thrashmetal. The band won last years Headbangers Ballroom competition and that was the reason they played HOA. Not really a big opener and musically the band didnt impress me at all! Technically the band still has a lot to learn and after this show i was wondering about the fact that this band won the competition?? What about the level of the other bands that played the competition??

MAVERICK
A band from Japan that plays heavy/speedmetal with a lot of humor. These guys can pull faces!! Great to see this kind of bands overhere and they did get some good reactions from the crowd. I tried to get in contact with the guys from Maverick, but there English is as bad as my Japanese……… Two days later they also played at the aftershow in the Headbangers Ballroom in Hamburg. Nice band!

BLACK MAJESTY
This Australian band played a more traditional kind of metal that suited me very well! The band owns a very good singer that reminded me to Ronnie James Dio (even visual). This was for me the first good band and i hope to see these guys more in the future!! They also played the afterparty on Sunday and did a great job overthere too!! Check out this band!!

INNERWISH
Drummer Terry is a good friend of mine and he already told me during the HOA 2004 edition that they would play overhere. Because i love both of their albums (especially the 2nd) i was very curious about their stage performance. Well, these Greek guys didnt disappoint me at all!! Their Jag Panzer / Riot style of music suits me very well and on stage they managed to even surpass this!! Great band, great performance!

NECRODEATH
This Italian band was the most extreme band from this years edition. I know some of their stuff and with ex-Sadist drummer Peso is was very curious about their gig. Well, the more disappointed is was. The sound was bad and their music didnt impress me at all live on stage. Pitty, maybe next time better. But to be honest; this kind of music does not belong on a festival like HOA.

WEAPON
One of the reunited NWOBHM bands that played this years HOA edition. Everytime HOA has a few of these kind of bands what is admirable. Because of a diner-break i've only seen some of their songs and these songs sounded good!

RAVENSTHORN
This US band only exist for a few years now but they kicked some serious ass overhere!!! Woooww, i was blown away by this great band!! These guys know what US-metal means! Singer Bill has a great voice and the band is playing like we're back in the 80's!! This is the metal i need!!! The frontman was dressed in a dark cape and together with the corpse paint it all looked very funny. And to be honest; he could be an actor too!! Looking back at the whole festival; this was, for me, the winning band!! GREAT!!!

RIVAL
Another US metal band that already played HOA in 2002. In a lot of press-articles the band is described as they are influenced by Omen. Personally i like Rival's music much more!!! The band played a set with lots of fast songs and technically the band can battle with all the other US bands on this years HOA. Good show!!! On their afterparty gig on Sunday i have only seen a few songs of this guys because of a diner break. Hope to see them again in the future!

HEATHEN
Years ago i've seen this US Bay Area band as support act for Sepultura in my hometown. That time they didnt impress me at all!! This was in 1991 and i have to admit that the band is doing much much better nowadays! The band played a lot of old songs but also a few new songs from their latest "Recovered" CD. The band was great on stage and, again, i had a hell of a time! Great show!! After this we decided to grab a taxi to our hotel because we had to wake up early for the continuation the day after......

DAY2
We arrived on time to see the second days opening band

CARPEDIEM
This band from Elmshorn, Germany plays progressive powermetal but sounded very original because of their weird frontman. This guy could have been in a punk or hardcore band because of his looks AND his voice!! He has a very raw voice that sounded weird in combination with the progressive music. But it was original!! Nice band, especially as opener for the second day.

MYSTERY BLEU
One of the most important bands for me to visit HOA!! I already reviewed the bands latest album (See Archive Reviews) and so i was very curious about their live-act. Especially because this French band has a great (female) vocalist (Nathalie). One of the guitarist had a lot of problems with his amplifier but the band was professional enough to go on and utilizes their 45 minutes of playing time. Great performance and what a great voice this frontlady has!! Lots of 'male' singers can kiss her feet!! (but probably they want to kiss other parts of her body, hahahaha).

GUN BARRELL
From Germany is a real party band that reminded me sometimes to the Dutch Vengeance. They own a very good frontman that stirred up the audience very well. I think this band will be doing a lot better at night, in a small bar and with an audience that is ready to party. Today the band played to earlier to attain that! Nice gig!

MIRROR OF DECEPTION
A German doommetal band that didnt infect me at all. After 2 songs i had the luck to get hungry and so it was time for a diner break! I like only a few doommetal bands but not this one; sorry guys!

GASKIN
Because of my diner break i missed a few songs from this NWOBHM legends. I´ve seen the band already during their 2000 Wacken Open Air gig but they didnt impress me that time. Well, time changes and i liked what i heard/saw this day!! Singer Paul Gaskin has a very clean voice that is not typical for a heavy metal-rock band. Good show!

UNDERCROFT
from Chile played thrash/deathmetal but didnt impress me at all! Their standard kind of Deathmetal sounded not really professional and when you know that Europe has dozen of better bands in this genre you are asking yourself: what the hell are these Chile guys doing overhere??

ALL SOUL'S DAY
Is another doommetal band but this time from Italy. After the collapse of Mirror of Deception it was a relief to see this band! Their music sounded a lot like Candlemass but they have the luck (just like last years Forsaken from Malta) to be blessed with a great singer!! Good show!

WARRANT
I bought the legendary cult EP "First Strike" from this German band years ago and when you're talking about banging your head; this is always the first song that reminds me to this band. I've seen the band in 2000 at Wacken Open Air and i have to admit that todays show wasnt that good as their WOA show. Their singer didnt sound really well and after half of the show it was, again, time to get some cold beers! Nice show

WIZARD
Personally i'm not really a fan of their music but i like the screaming vocals of frontman Sven. The band plays metal in the vein of bands like Hammerfall and/or Majesty but has the luck to have a great singer, something i miss by the bands mentioned above. Maybe a comparison with Manowar would do well; nice music, nice show, SUPERB singer……

ATTACKER
This is the 3th time within 15 months i've seen this great US metalband and i think they are getting better every time i've seen them. Especially the aftershow on Sunday (my 4th Attacker gig) was superb!! (For a review of that gig; read Pim's review below (source: www.metallive.nl). The band played the complete "Battle at Helm's Deep" album overthere in Hamburg!!! These guys discovered their popularity in the mighty Germany and i have to admit that i'm very happy with that!! On their latest album "Soul Taker", singer Bob Mitchel is sounding a bit boring but on stage he is singing perfekt!! GREAT band!! The band told me that they will probably play next years Bang Your Head festival in Balingen, Germany (offcourse).

TYRANT'S REIGN
The best band during last years (november) Keep it True festival edition!! Their US-metal suits me very well and this time the band also played some new songs. Tyrant's Reign didnt bring their 2 original guitarplayers with them but brought 1 substitute guitarist that did his job very well!! Singer Randy Barron was not always singing clean and/or high but it was, again, a great show!!!!

DAMIEN THORNE
Another cult US-metalband as headliner on the second day. I have to be honest that i didnt know any of their music but that was not necessary to review this band. The band emerged as a real headliner and its incredible to see how popular these kind of bands are in Germany!! The band also played a few songs during the aftershow on Sunday and i can tell you; they have a 'new' fan!!! Great shows!!!

After the shows we had to hurry up again to go to our hotel because, we as die-hard fans, had to visit the afterparty on Sunday at the Headbangers Ballroom in Hamburg. Thanx to the mighty Thomas from HOA and Jurgen Hegewald from Hellion Records for making this kind of festivals happen, Pim (from www.metallive.nl) for the aftershow review (see below) and offcourse all the German, Dutch and Belgium (hello Rico & Peggy) fans we partied with!! Hope i will be invited again next year!! METAL RULES!!! GERMANY RULES!!!
Cheers; Mario

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR AFTERSHOW (10 July 2005)
Headbangers Ballroom, Hamburg, Germany
Review by Pim Botermans http://www.metallive.nl/

To celebrate the 20th aniversary of "The Battle At Helm's Deep" release ATTACKER took the opportunity to play the entire album at the legendary Headbangers Ballroom located in Hamburg. A day before we saw a devastating gig at the HOA festival so the question is, what can we expect today? In the half filled Headbangers Ballroom the band kicks off with the opening song 'The Hermit'. Out of sheer admiration some fans kneel deep for their hero's and soon the frontrow turns in a headbanging pit. The band plays as tight as a chicken's ass and looks relaxed on stage. Singer Bob Mitchell hits all the high notes and the stagesound is very loud but clear, just the way we like it. Without much introduction the songs 'Disciple', 'Downfall' and 'Slayer's Blade' are played and after the titlesong we can sing along with 'Kick Your Face'. After 'Dance Of The Crazies' the Attacker anthem '(Call On) The Attacker' ends this set and it's clear that Attacker is an excellent and powerfull live band. Last song is 'The End' from "Soultaker" to satisfy the crowd and my remaining words are that we were witness to an extraordinary performance of an extraordinary band. Attacker kicks ass!!!

BOSPOP (3 July 2005)
Weert, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren

My first invitation to a real big festival!!Man, I was so curious about it, especially about the heavy Sunday line-up!! Pitty I couldnt make it to visit the festival on Saturday too, because with bands like Marillion, Uriah Heep, Steve Lukather and even Joe Cocker they had a great line-up on that day also! But looking at my target group, Sunday was the most important day for me.

When i arrived, SQY ROCKING TEAM (formerly Sequoah) already did play but gladly i could see/hear a part of ACTION IN DC.

ACTION IN DC is one of the best coverbands in the world and singer Mario Verhulst has that typical Bon Scott voice. It's always great to see this band play live with hits like: 'Whole lotta Rosie', 'High Voltage', 'Hell aint a bad place to be' and lots of other classic AC/DC songs.

First band for me on the main stage was DRAGONFORCE. I was not familiar with this band but their Helloween-on-speed metal suited me well. The band played mostly fast songs and had a reasonable sound. Guitarist Herman Li is a very good musician and Dragonforce also owns a good frontman. Some of their songs: 'Valley of the Damned ', Black Winter Night', 'My spirit will go on' (from their latest album). Good peformance!

WHITE COWBELL OKLAHOMA? I heard a lot of positive things about this Canadian band so i was very curious about them. After watching about 4 or 5 songs of this band i was dripping with perspiration out of the tent. It was so f*ckin hot in there, i couldnt stand it anymore!! Their music also didnt impress me; they make a kind of southern rock & boogie the way ZZ Top already did 70 years ago!! Also the show with some half-naked nurses (ugly as hell, i've seen them close-up backstage) and a guy chopping a Winnie the Pooh bear with a chainsaw looked very childish. Not my kind of music/entertainment.

On the mainstage IN EXTREMO also tried to entertain the big audience and they DID it with their folkish-metal with a lot of Rammstein elements. The band has a great show on stage and it all looks/sounds very professional. Not really my kind of music but it is always good for the variation to add these kind of bands to a festival! Some of their songs: 'Wind', 'Santa Maria', 'Rasend Herz'.

Mainwhile MASTODON was already playing in the tent stage. I was not familiar with this band also but they DID impress me with their show. The band plays a mix of Thrash- and Deathmetal and they did remind me to bands like The Crown and Hatesphere. Mastodon was suited with a great sound and they had an energetic stage performance. The moshpit in the frontrow proved their popularity! Next time they tour the club-circuit, i will be there!!!

MASTERPLAN; one of the most important bands for me to visit Bospop!! I'm a huge Jorn Lande fan for years now and that only became bigger after I met him backstage later that evening (Suzanne Smaling did an interview with him for MMM, read it!). The band had a moderate sound but did perform very well that evening. They played nearly the same set as they did during their latest tour with songs like: 'Kind Hearted Light', 'I'm not Afraid', 'Heroes of the new World' (Helloween-a-like song), 'Enligthen Me', 'Pathfinder', 'Let the spirit never die' and also their latest single 'Back from my life'. Jorn's voice was sounding much better than during their latest tour, so I had a hell of a time!!

In the tentstage OVERKILL already started, so i had to hurry up to see one of my alltime fav. bands overthere! The band played an energetic show (as always) but had the bad luck to have some problems with the snare-drum and later with Bobby Blitz microphone. During these problems, stage-animal Bobby Blitz entertaint the audience with the few dutch words he learned from his girlfriend/wife. Except for the singalong tune 'In Union we Stand', the band played a great setlist with songs like; 'Rotten to the Core', 'Hello from the Gutter', 'Necroshine', 'Elimination', "Fuck You' and also a new song "Relish the Old School'. The band played this show with only 1 guitarplayer but with a frontman like Bobby, you didnt even miss it!! Great show!

WITHIN TEMPTATION; what to tell about this band that isnt told before?? The band is wellknown for their hits and their great live-performances. Singer Sharon den Adel was singing good this time (during their Pinkpop gig a few months ago she was sometimes singing out of tune). The band has build a great stage performance during all these tours and festivals and their was nothing this time to complain about!! All their hits where played; 'Mother Earth', 'See who i am', 'Stand my Ground', 'Ice Queen' and also the Kate Bush cover 'Running up that Hill'. The only little complain about Within Temptation in general is the fact that they dont play any old stuff from their earlier days anymore! Pitty.

Because of a diner-break and a backstage visit i missed MY DYING BRIDE. Sorry guys, next time i will be there again!

Right on time i arrived from the backstage area to see one of my alltime fav. rockbands Y&T. The band reunited a couple of years ago and during that time i've seen the band several times. Personally, it's one of the best reunions during the last years and all the shows i've seen the band; they Rock like they did in their younger years!! Dave Meniketti is a superb singer/guitarplayer and bassplayer Phil Kennemore is still acting like a beast on stage! The band also has the luck to have lots of classic songs and they now damn good which ones; 'Open Fire', 'Straight through the Heart', 'Dirty Girl', 'Winds of Change', 'Squeeze' (with Phil Kennemore on vocals), 'Recue Me', 'Meanstreak', 'Forever' and the alltime classic 'I believe in You'.
They also played a few less interesting songs (like for example: 'Summertime Girls'). Again a great show from these guys and it was rightly the organisation put the band so high on the bill!! Pitty that the stage announcer didnt know the band and introduced them as Yesterday and Tomorrow…….(or maybe he was just a bit drunk??)

PORCUPINE TREE; personally its difficult to review this band; i'm not familiar with their progressive sound and singer Steve Wilson has a typical voice that does not suit me at all. It catches me that this band is so popular, maybe i first have to listen to some of their stuff and visit another show of these UK band.

IRON MAIDEN; I'm a big fan from nearly the beginning of this band and i've seen the band already during their 'Piece of Mind" tour in 1983. Well, the band played only songs from their first 4 releases, so they nearly played the same set, they did in 1983!!! I didnt know this before, so i was very pleased with it! Technically; 'Powerslave' is my fav. Maiden album but i'm not complaining at all!! With songs like; 'Murder in the Rue Morgue', 'Trooper', 'Remember Tomorrow', 'Where Eagles Dare', 'Run to the Hills', 'Revelations', 'Wrathchild', 'Die with your Boots on', 'Phantom of the Opera', 'Number of the Beast', 'Hallowed be thy Name', 'Iron Maiden' (with a big Eddie head behind the drumkit), 'Running Free', 'Drifter' (with the 4 meter tall walking Eddie), 'Sanctuary' and a few other songs, the band played a great set!! The band played as tight as a duck's ass (a Dutch phrase) and, again, had a great visual show!! Bruce Dickinson is one of the best frontman for years now and i hope Maiden will go on for years too!!!

Bospop couldnt pick up a better headliner to celebrate this 25th edition!!!! I really had a superb time and hope that the organisation will invite me again next year!!! Thanx for this wonderfull festival;!! Cheers; Mario

KEEP IT TRUE WARM-UP SHOW (1 April 2005)
Sporthalle, Dittigheim, Germany
Review by Fleur http://www.metallive.nl/

This was already the fourth edition of the German underground festival called Keep It True which is held in Königshofen twice a year. A place where the oldschool metalhead is lost between the thousands of vinyl and where there is generally a lot of enthusiasm. How time flies at KIT. Well, what do you expect with bands like Torch, Overlorde, Thunder Rider or Martyr? Like the last time, it were once again two days of enjoyment and we got the chance to see bands we might never see again. A huge disappointment was the fact that Satan got cancelled because the bassist apparently fell of the stage the night before. Anyhow, as a result Overlorde got the chance to extend their setlist and After All came from Belgium to play a few songs. In short, we had nothing to complain about and the upcoming 6 months will take ages for sure!

It all started on Friday, April first, in a hall close by where the preparty would take place. The first band of the night was LANFEAR.
This German band was still soundchecking when we entered the hall and from hearing they seemed to have an acceptable sound. A little less than half an hour later when the band is starting their set, the sound suddenly changed to a mess. The drummer and the keyboard player were hardly hearable, but luckily the guitarist and vocalist didn't have such problems. During their 45-minute taking set Lanfear played a lot of songs from their new album "Another Golden Rage", such as "Another Golden Rage", "The Unretrained", "Shades of Black", "In Silence", "Transmigration" and of course some old songs. The band is quite fanatic and both the vocalist and the guitarist were in great shape. The crowd seems to enjoy it and in spite of their bad sound, Lanfear receives a lot of support from the present people. Lanfear can consider this performance as a nice final rehearsal for their coming tour with Morgana Lefay at the end of April and for the audience this was an entertaining gig from a band that could've given a much better appearance with a decent sound.

MARTYR would give a special show tonight, since this band hasn't been playing for many years and after a couple of failed attempts for reuniongigs it finally worked out for this night. Martyr is the Dutch pride, and the present Dutch visitors made that clear to everyone. Martyr hasn't released any other album ever since their last LP "Darkness At Time's Edge" from 1986 so their setlist consisted only of material from their first two LPs: a bad setlist was therefore impossible. They proved this by kicking off with "Snow And Fire" and subsequently they played one magnificent song after the other such as "Black Sun", "Invisible Touch", or "Darkness At Time's Edge". Yet, the highlight of the night for me was "Speed of Samura" and I don't doubt the fact that many share my opinion on this. Martyr proved to be a band that is still as strong as iron (both literally and figuratively speaking!) with a vocalist that can stillr each the highest notes without any struggle. Apart from that, they managed to produce a decent sound for a hall like this one. Without doubt the best band of the night.

The Italian band ADRAMELCH was the third band that played on the preparty. The year before they played on Headbangers Open Air where they didn't impress me much, although I very much enjoy their album "Irea Melanox". This time, unfortunately, it was the same story. The sound was - especially when you compare it to Martyr - mediocre, even disappointing. On one way or another songs like "Fearful Visions" and "Was Called Empire" tend to turn out very different when played live. On the record these songs sound amazing, it contains a lot of spirit, energy and the cries from Vittorio Ballerio sets your teeth on edge. Nonetheless, all of this is missing during their live show. Possibly Adramelch was overshadowed by the previous impressive performance but in the end, the band themselves is to blame. Maybe a more extended soundcheck could've preventing a disappointment.

SHADOWKEEP was a band that surprised me pleasantly. I didn't know this fresh English band before this performance yet, but they certainly left a significant impact to everyone. They played a considerable share of heavy metal with both new as old influences. At some moments, the band reminds me of the old Fates Warning or Queensryche. Previous members of ShadowKeep have played in bands like Angel Witch and Tygers of Pan Tang so that should give you an idea of the metal that ShadowKeep play. Especially the song "Dark Tower" was very tight, the sound was alright as well, at least it was noticeably better than the prior band. In short, a nice closing of the night. But actually, everything has only just begun…

KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL IV (2 April 2005)
Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany
Review by Fleur http://www.metallive.nl/

INSANE was the opener of Keep It True on Saturday. This thrash-band from Italy doesn't sound Italian at all. They play thrash as if it were an extension of "Show No Mercy" from Slayer. Their sound was rather messy, the vocalist was difficult to understand but when it comes to thrash I'm not as concerned as usual. Insane is an energetic band and they play songs which differ from each other and in ym opinion that's an important factor within the thrash genre. Particularly "Evil Is At Hans" was a very good song where Slayer and Exodus were clearly heard. To sum it up, a good opener for KIT.

The day continued with PARAGON, a German band that is grower more popular by the second. I am sickened by the tag of 'melodical power-metal', and luckily Paragon aren't one of those modern power metal bands that are emerging on the metal scene with hundreds at the same time. No, Paragon knows how to combine their powerful modern influences with the old-fashioned speed-metal riffs, nice solo's and vocal parts. Plus, a tight sound and a well-chosen setlist that almost runs through their entire history of 7 albums. They started with "The Legacy" and luckily they played 3 or 4 songs from the album "Law of the Blade" which is my personal favourite. Especially the songs "Across the Wastelands", "Armies of the Tyrant" and "Deathsquad" were the highlights of their performance. The newer songs like "Traitor" and "Impaler" from their last album "Revenge" however, were great as well. Paragon probably has a big future ahead of them, and I wish - especially after attending their concert - for them to receive the credit they deserve.

I expected the next band to play later than 2 in the afternoon, but that's just the way it is. With or without daylight, THUNDER RIDER was one of the main reasons for me to go to KIT. This band from Canada is a very unique band and they hold a special place with their album "Tales of Darkness and Light". They play metal in the vein of the 80s us-metal, but with more special touches like Blackwing (vocalist) playing the flute. Blackwing (like the name of the song) has a warm and exceptional voice. Almost the entire first album was played, "Executioner", "Death To Death" and the encore "Blackwing" gave me chicken pocks. The highlight for me though, was without doubt "For Chirst's Sake" which couldn't take long enough for me. The songs from their follow-up album "Tales of Darkness And Light Chapter II" like the opener "Thy Kingdom Come" and "Heavy Metal Wizard" were amazing as well. Thunder Rider threw themselves entirely into this concert, and I highly pity the fact that this show was only half of the complete set of 90 minutes that they played throughout Germany.

There was only little time to recover from the previous band, because TORCH were shortly on stage. I was looking forward to this Swedish metal band with a lot of curiosity, would they still sound like their albums from the '80s? In 2003 they reunited and that gives us the chance to see them live today in 2005. My fear for a disappointment turned out to be completely unnecessary. Torch played an incredibly tight show in the typical atmosphere of the '80s. Vocalist Dan Dark - who resembles Udo Dirkschneider surprisingly much - has a voice that fits very well with the raw heavy metal that Torch play. The setlist started with the best tracks from their first album, such as "Warlock", "Rage Age" and "Beauty And The Beast". What more do we need, something from their next album? Needless to say, "Electrikiss" and "Thunderstruck" were played as well. Torch's performance went beyond all my expectations. I mean, even "Fireraiser" from their first EP was played! A disappointment? Not even close!

OVERLORDE is a band that gained a lot more - well deserved - attention from the fans and press lately. They just finished a new album called "Return of the Snow Giant" that received outstanding reviews. This band plays power metal from 20 years ago. That's what made this album one of my favourites from last year and I was very much looking forward to their performance at Keep It True. As mentioned before, Overlorde was given more time to play since Satan got cancelled. Their setlist was extended with songs I wouldn't have wanted to miss at any cost. Their sound wasn't bad, but it could've been better. At least, in the first row next to the speakers it was hardly noticed that the volume of the guitar could've been driven up a bit. "Snow Giant" was of course the ultimate song of the night, since it is the song that fits best with Overlorde's energy and riffing. Besides, this song was originally written way back in 1987 so that makes it more special. Actually, as highlights of their set I could name all the tracks because they hardly missed out on anything. Of course, there were some songs that I have to give special notice to, like "Hell Has No Fury", "Metallice Madness", "Mark of the Wolf" and not surprisingly, the matching titled track "Overlorde". One of the last songs "Trapped By Magic" is one of the lesser songs of their album and therefore this song wasn't exceptional live either. But, in the end that's just my opinion. I regretted the fact that their relatively long setlist was over so soon. Hopefully they will visit Europe again sometime soon.

MAJESTY generally plays one of the two times that KIT is held, so that's once a year. So, this time Tarek and the other Majesty members were all present again. Actually there's nothing much to say about this band. They're not surprising but they do provoke singing along with songs like "Keep It True", "Sword and Sorcery" (sometimes sung as "Sauce and Sausages"), "Reign In Glory" and "Heavy Metal Battle Cry". There's a lot of talk about Majesty being a Manowar-clone, but I don't agree entirely. Sure, Manowar is a so-called 'obvious' metal band, with predictable songs (often, anyway) but when it comes to Majesty this is a lot more the case. Majesty is more obvious, more predictable, and catchier. The influences are clear, but does that matter? I don't think so. Majesty remains a good festival band, period.

DEADLY BLESSING already exists around 30 years. They're and American band, but they don't play the typical us-metal. The red line throughout Deadly Blessing is thrash and speed metal combined with extremely high vocals. The setlist mainly consisted of songs from "Ascend From The Cauldron". After the eighties they haven't released anything new, so we got a good share of old heavy metal. The first three songs were immediately the best ones: "Search And Destroy", "Salem's Lot" (my personal favourite) and the staggering "Cry of Medusa". Then of course, "Deliver Us From Evil" and "Deadly Blessing" couldn't be left out. Apart from the setlist being absolutely amazing, the sound was pretty good too! As far as Deadly Blessing is concerned: volume on max overload and fire away! I have to admit, that goes for many bands. But only few bands who've been around for so long can do this again in 2005 with so much class as Deadly Blessing!

COUNT RAVEN, something completely different from the previous band. Count Raven plays traditional doom metal (to my ears, at least). Maybe a bit of a weird choice for KIT? Yes, I must say it is, but doom is a genre you can't get away from anymore these days. "Doom over the world," as Reverrend Bizarre say. If you like the Swedish Trouble, or Saint Vitus and similar bands, you'll probably dig Count Raven as well. Not me though. I adore Black Sabbath, and Count Raven is obviously influenced by them (which doom band isn't?). It's just that Count Raven is a whole lot slower, almost lingering. I prefer more dynamic in a band, and Count Raven clearly lacks that. The good parts was that, every now and then, the vocalist reminded me a bit of Ozzy. So, at least they sound a little like the good part of Black Sabbath. As for me, I prefer a bit more power on a festival like KIT.

Due to Satan's cancellation, the headliner AGENT STEEL was the next band on the billing. These speed metal heroes played the same setlist as the week before on Raise Your Fist. That means, the entire album "Skeptiks Apocalypse" and some other songs were played. Agent Steel remains to be an energetic live-band, again and again. If only the sound weren't so bad… especially the sound of the drums was terrible. It sounded more like a drummer with kitchen tools. A big disappointment, especially if you compare this concert with previous Agent Steel performances. Even the week before, I had no complaints about their sound at all. So maybe it wasn't the band's fault. Anyway, most of the fans either didn't notice or didn't care, because the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic. And in the end, why shouldn't they be? With or without kitchen tools, Agent Steel continues to be Agent Steel, and at any rate: you need to bang your head!

VORTEX was at last the final band of the fourth KIT edition. A better closing band hadn't been possible. Maybe I'm prejudiced, because Vortex finds it home in the Netherlands like I do, but no one can deny that this band put the entire hall in an uproar. Vortex, as usual, come with their familiar masks, cannibal-outfits, a corpse-painted look-a-like vocalist and fireworks. A predictable setlist, but I would blame Vortex if it weren't predictable. It included classics like: "Gotta Get Away", "Open The Gates", "With Witches Help", "Heavy Metal Is Kind" but also "Hammer Of The North" from the last album. On stage it was a real party (everyone backstage was brought on-stage) but also behind the fences it was one big chaos of metal. And that's the way a proper KIT closedown should be.

In short, again few disappointments this year. In the end the sound is only a side issue when the band knows how to keep the crowd amused. The next line-up for the upcoming KIT already looks very promising. My compliments for Oliver who makes it possible for metalheads to go back into the '80s twice a year. That many more KIT's may follow!
MASTERPLAN, CIRCLE II CIRCLE, ROB ROCK, PURE INC. (28 March 2005)
De Bosuil, Weert, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
Already during the first band of the evening it suits me that a lot of people show up for this event. PURE INC. from Switserland opens this evening with a mix of Audioslave-a-like metal. I've already seen this band before when they opened for the Michael Schenker Group (MSG) is Tilburg and they didn't impress me that time at all. Well, to be honest; they didn't impress me this time either! After about half an hour i had enough of this boring band.
ROB ROCK was the second band and he came over to The Netherlands with a totally renewed line-up. Most of the guys in this band also play in NARNIA. When i asked Rob Rock after the show about this line-up, he told me that it had only to do with his financial budget, he couldnt bring his US band with him. Rob Rock has already delivered 2 terrific albums and i did see the band already in 2003 during the Bang Your Head festival where they developed as one of the best bands from the festival! The band played several songs from their first two albums; 'Rock the Earth', 'Eyes of Eternity', etc. and also played an old M.A.R.S. song; 'I'm a Warrior'. Rob Rock also played a few new songs like; 'Slayer of Souls' from their new album "Holy Hell". The band gave an incredible show and Rob was singing his lungs out!! Maybe he should change his name into Rob Metal ( Thanx for the idea Pim!)
Most of the people showed up for ex-SAVATAGE frontman Zak Stevens and his "new" band CIRCLE II CIRCLE. Personally i have never been a huge Savatage fan but what C II C shows this evening suits me well. The only complain about C II C is the fact that most of the songs have the same speed and need some variety. So it was a good choice of Zak to play some Savatage songs also: 'Edge of Thorns' & 'Follow Me'. Good show after all. Zak is a very good singer and a very nice person also (read the interview Suzanne Smaling did with him!)
MASTERPLAN was one the bands that did made me decide to travel to Weert (and Vosselaar, the day after). I'm a huge Jorn Lande fan and i like everything he sings; from his solo-albums, ARK, MILLENNIUM, BEYOND TWILIGHT, etc. The band lately released their second album "Aeronautics" but to be honest i was not familiar with this album during these gigs. The new songs they played did sound even more grown-up than their debut stuff. The band played for 1,5 hour and played songs from both of their albums; 'Enlighten Me', 'Soulburn', 'Kind Hearted Light', 'Heroes', 'Back For My Life', etc, etc. I only have one little complain to their performance; I still have the feeling that Jorn Lande is restraining his voice because i know that he can do a lot better than he did during these shows!! But after all; i had a great day with all these bands and thats why i decided to visit another show of them the day after at Biebob, Vosselaar in Belgium.
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2004

KEEP IT TRUE FESTIVAL III (6 November 2004)
Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany
Review by Pim Botermans http://www.metallive.nl/

The KIT festival is considered as a festival for people with a truth metal addiction. Given the bill of the november edition it's justified to say that with bands like Jaguar, Witchfynde, Helstar and Stormwitch. That the festival would turn out in a major dissappointment was not to be expected and could have been prevented. Nearly all bands performing that day had a reasonable to a really crappy sound and that is something I'm not used to in Germany. That some bands kicked ass nevertheless was a gift from the Gods Of Metal and not from the organisation.

REPENT
For me an unknown German band which fired their set of speed/thrash with a persuading bad sound towards the audience. The response was according to the bands stage act = moderate.

METAL INQUISITOR
This German band already made a positive impression on me at the fifth editon of the Dutch Heavy Metal Maniacs festival and seems to impress me today once more. With a reasonable sound this sympathetic band hacks through their setlist with great enthusiasm. The German bangers like it and to show that they know their classics Metal Inquisitor plays the Sweet Savage cover "Eye of the storm". Good performance.

ROTTWEILLER
This American band is playing around for some time and here on the KIT festival they present themselves with singer number many. One of their earlier singers (Ronny Munroe) performs at this moment with Metal Church. The band plays American powermetal and musically it sounds not to bad but the vocals are a different story. The singer shrieks and screams with an irritating sound which is not at all appropriate for the music. That the reasonable sound does not cooperate is obvious so I think it's fair to say that the band as a collective can't convince anyone.

SACRED STEEL
According to the Headbangers reaction one of the winners of KIT III. This German band seems to be very popular in German and I don't get it. The sound is terrible so I can't make out what songs are played so to endure this is somekind of Hell for me. The frontrow is tearing the place down despite my negative feeling of the band so they deserve to be one of the winners today.

WITCHFYNDE
I can talk little sense about this band because I didn't know them in the 80's and that's fine with me. Their standard metal sounds fair but never really inspired. My first thoughts were that the band got together to ride with the reunion wave but Witchfynde is working on new material so maybe they give themselves a few more years. Nevertheless the bandmembers enjoy themselves on stage and musically they perform pretty good and that is a compliment.

JAGUAR
This British band descends from the NWOBHM time and hits the stage with fury and power. Infested by a bad sound they do not persuade the German public. This moderate response is strange to see in Germany. Jaguar with singer Jamie and bass player Darren Furze has two clowns performing on worldlevel. These two idiots chase each other on stage and don't allow themselves a quit moment. Jaguar plays some old hits like Chasing The Dragon, Backstreet Woman, Axe Crazy and also the album Powergames is not overlooked with songs like Dutch Connection, Mastergame and The Fox. Despite the calm reaction of the public Jaguar puts on a profesional show with lots of action but unfortunately with a bad sound. Damn.

TYRANT'S REIGN
For the first time to be seen on European soil was this American speedmetal band from the Chicago area.Tyrants Reign plays mainly work from their last cd (click here for a review) Tyrants Reign. The band rages through their setlist with main focus on singer Randy Baron who sometimes is still screaming as hell. Musically Tyrants Reign reigns on all fronts. The drummer goes wild behind the kit and the guitarplayers torture their instruments untill they both bleed. Metal Thrashing Maniac, Starchamber, Kill or Be Killed and Tyrants Reign are some of the tracks played. The song Unconditional Surrender is dedicated to the deceased bandmember Chris Nelken and with the cover Sanatarium of Metallica this great performance is concluded to everybody's satisfaction.

HALLOW'S EVE
That every reunion gig doesn't automatically mean a big thank you to the Gods Of Metal is a statement that is proved by Hallows Eve. By far the baddest reunion gig I have ever seen and the concert is an insult to every ex-member of the once great Hallows Eve. Total crap. The bad sounding tape I have of some 80's gig at least shows a band in their prime with a passion for music. With long time bandmembers bass player Tommy Stewart and guitarist Skeletor in the ranks we get to hear shitty outputs of Hallows Eve hits like Metal Merchants, There are No Rules, Horrorshow, Hallows Eve and Plunging To Megadeath. Both gentlemen share also the vocal duties but they don't have any talent for this. It's obvious that this reunion was a big mistake to begin with and should never have happened.
Bought Hallows Eve t-shirts must be burned ritually as a sacrificial gift to the Gods Of Metal.. (I agree Pim, Note webmaster)

STORMWITCH
From the ashes arose Stormwitch and they came, saw and conquered. After so much misery on stage Stormwitch present themselve as semi-headliner next to Helstar and afterwards I can only conclude they deserved this spot. The band has a good sound and their singer is very good. Their 1980s German metal is nice to hear and Stormwitch enriches their stage act by adding some show elements. Monks, swordfighters and lovely maids, the metalcliches pile up in a quick tempo but nevertheless it doesn't affect the music. During the 80's I would probably fall a sleep but with so much bad sounding bands performing I enjoy the Stormwitch show. Metal Forever.

HELSTAR
The honour belongs to this American band to conclude this third edition of the KIT festival. The sound at the Helstar gig is reasonable to good so it isn't problematic to enjoy the music. Helstar with prehistoric bandmember bassplayer Jerry Abarca go for it by playing classics such as Burning Star, Shadows of Iga, Evil Reign, Remnants Of War to name a few. James Rivera's voice is very good as usual, this man has vocalchords of steel because he always sings at a high level. As always The Man surrounds himself with superb musicians to accompany him on a tour. Besides fixed bandmember guitarist Eric Halpern (ex-Destiny End) two other hired guns are present who should be permanent members according to their musical skills. Helstar shows a small weakness by playing two Distant Thunder songs because Helstar has more than enough material of their own. Besides that it's obvious that the Distant Thunder material is inferior to Helstar's. Despite this little setback we can speak of a succesfull closing act of a not so succesfull festival.
HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR FESTIVAL (9 & 10 July 2004)
Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany
Review by Pim Botermans http://www.metallive.nl/

In a large part of the world Germany stands for the territory of Metal worshippers. It does not really matter what kind of metal, as long as it isn't nu-metal, but otherwise the German Headbanger will adore it. That only the most fanatical headbanger joins the HOA seems quit natural when we enter the festival area. Although this festival is already organised for the seventh time, to me it seems it's still done with the same number of visitors as seven years ago. The area covers the area of the parents house of the organizer. The broad entry is the concert area where a barn with an open front is the stage, the frontlawn is for eating, on the side of the house is some rainshelter and the backyard is backstage. When myself and Mario (the photographer & webmaster of MMM) has taken the matter once in consideration we can only conclude that the organisation isn't in it for the money but that this has been organized because metal for many German Headbanger is a way of life. In this enjoyable environment we decide to judge the 23 bands performing the next few days.

DAY 1 ( 9 july 2004)

A little bit too late (15.15) SAVALLION DAWN from North-Germany kicks off the seventh edition of HOA. The band exists about 5 years and released two demo's of which most of the material is played. Savallion Dawn plays straight forward heavy metal, nothing more nothing less. The moderate zanger from Uruguay does not really contribute to the enjoyment but for an opening band their oke. Nice.

Hereafter the next band is CRYSTAL SHARK which started in 1998 and has released already two demo's and a complete cd. The band is from nearby Hamburg and tries to amuse us for the next 45 minutes and succeeds. Although the band interacts nicely with the audience and the band members can actually handle their intruments well the mediocre singer becomes a little bit boring after half an hour. The fanatical crowd thinks otherwise and gets crazy when they play a covertune from Running Wild.

When the singer of the third band ROSAE CRUCIS from Italie begins to sing I'm overwhelmed with excitement. What a voice. I always enjoy high and long screams and when the band plays good metalsongs they deserve my complete attention. The other advantage is that the musicians can handle their instruments well but this isn't astonishing when we take in consideration that the band already exists for about 14 years and ended their demo phase in 2003 with the release of their cd "Worms Of The Earth". When Rosae Crucis decide to play "Pleasure Slave" from Manowar it's obvious that the singer has no problem with the range and power of the once great metalvoice of Eric Adams. Great band.

The fourth band of today DARK AT DAWN from Germany with zanger Marcel Van Drunen (ex-Pestilence) had a car accident and therefore they cannot attend this years edition. Too bad, but with 6 bands togo and a bad timeschedule I don't really mind. Next year perhaps.

That there were Greek metalbands I knew already but that there are also qualitatively good bands from Greece I found out at that moment. BATTLEROAR hits the stage with their power/heavy metal where the clear and good singer claims a leading role and not undeserved. He maintaince his stage pressence despite the musical power the band produces and in the meanwhile their is some nice musicianship from the bandmembers. Very well done and I'm looking forward to that other Greek band Bloodstained which enters the stage tomorrow.

TYR from Denmark have probably lent their name from the album of Black Sabbath with the same name and that can be also said in a certain way of the music. The reasonable doom metal originating from their only release Eric The Red has a good impact on the audience so that both are enjoying themselfs during the set. Despite this I decide to head for some food after some time.

With a full belly I'm curious to the suprise act which is the seventh band on the bill. It appears that it is the Swedish formation RAM. Never heard of and I don't wanna hear them anymore. Absolutely not my taste. Standard metal and carried out badly.

After these suprise act it is time for todays headliners. The American band INTRUDER plays US speedmetal and has released during the 80's three albums out of which the last two (a Higher form of Killing and Psycho Savant) through the famous Roadrunner Records. Of all three releases the band plays some songs. The crowd goes wild and so does the band. Unfortunately the sound isn't that great so that has it's negative effect on the soloparts and on top of this it seems that the drummer has some problems with his kit. But despite these setbacks songs as Killing Wind and the title track of their first record Live To Die are delivered well. That the band can do better they prove a few days later at the afterparty in the Headbangers Ballroom in Hamburg.

In Germany the American outfit BROCAS HELM is a wellknown cultband and that's something I have never understood. However it's nice for the band and I must admit that their first record Into Battle is quit good actually but what I see and hear that night is total crap. Bad played songs and a terrible sound is the only thing we get. Strange enough I hear of several fans that the band was captivating therefore I think I'm just stupid and when the crowd enjoys themselfs who am I to think otherwise. It's about musical enjoyment, isn't it?

When the Canadian band HANKER enters the stage at 2:00 we are a bit fatigue but we nevertheless hang on to see what's to come. Hanker treats us with good US metal and the good musicians make it worth it to listen to. Outside some songs from their first three records (In Our World, The Dead Ringer and Snakes & ladders) we also get some new tracks from their upcoming cd "Web Of Faith". Good to hear that the new stuff is just as good as their old stuff so I can conclude there is nothing wrong with the performance and this band despite some problems with the drumkit, again. A good band to conclude this first day of HOA 2004.


DAY 2 (10 july 2004)

After a short night's rest we proceed rapidly to the festivalarea because the first band of the second day performs already at 12.00. Of course our German friends are also in large numbers present and are entirely ready to get to it.

This time, however, on time METAL WITCH has the honour to open the second day. This local band has won some kind of bandcontest at the Headbangers Ballroom and therefore plays on HOA. The band kicks in with tough and furious metal arrangments and both band and audience go for it. The bandmembers do their best and keep tormenting their instruments as if their lives depend on it. Also the singer gives al he has got but he doesn't deserve the first prize for his singing qualities. His lack of talent is well compensated by its commitment and performance. Pretty good opener.

As second another local band (Bremen) can show what they've got. ETERNAL REIGN plays slightly progressive metal where the singer with his short high screams supports the music very well. As one of the few bands Eternal Reign uses a keyboard to spice up their songs and that works very well. Also the crowd can appreciate this and when the band decides to play a covertune from the first record of Vicious Rumors (Soldiers or the Night) they receive a big applause.

At last a Greek band. After I got a good impression of Battleroar I had been curious to watch BLOODSTAINED. The band plays powermetal ala Helloween and of course a good singer is not lacking. Bands who play this kind of metal can always count on support from the German audience because they simply love it. Nothing special but their singer makes it worthwhile to watch them.

When I read some information about FORSAKEN I can hardly believe that there are metalbands in Malta. Nevertheless Malta contains a metal secret for some 14 years because that's howlong this bands operates from there. Forsaken plays doom metal which refers to Candlemass. To be honest, they are actually quit good except then that Candlemass has a better guitarplayer but this minor setback is only a question of time. It is striking to see that the singer scarcely rises above the crowd in length but he rises for certain with its powerful voice. When the band honours their heroes by playing a cover with the titel Dark Reflections Forsaken establish them as a band to stay.

RITUAL STEEL are to follow and since this is their farewell show I can sufffice with a short comment. Bad standard metal with a bad singer who is also called Sir Lord Doom and writes reviews for the Hellion Catalogue. It's obvious that he's better doing that than to sing so it's not my loss the band dissolves after this show.

The sixth band of today had it's heyday during the NWOBHM hype at the beginning of eighties. De band is called FIST and even had a litle hitsong with the track SS giro. The well played metal/boogie is nice to hear and the zanger/gitarist appears to be able to still sing with a firm voice after all those years. Despite that his looks are touched by fathertime his short highpitch screams sound very good. Nice entertainment from a good band.

DESASTER needs no introduction of course because this German band kicks around for a lot of years with their black metal/thrash style. Nevertheless a little bit strange to see such a band on this festival. Definately the most aggresive band of HOA 2004. The audience always likes some thrash so they go for it for the next 45 minutes.

In the past I found the Swedish band OVERDRIVE already a bit boring and unfortunately I can still account for this. Too bad because it's clear that the band did their best to learn and play the songs according to the orginal. Nevertheless bad songs stay bad songs and no super-musician can change that. Boring.

ELIXER is an often seen guest on all kinds of festivals ( Keep It True 2) and as a result the band got on the bill of the HOA 2004.The band plays British Heavy Metal with much enthousiasm and the band enjoys themselfs onstage and when a band onstage is having a good time then most of the time the crowd is amused too. Despite of their somewhat standard metal it's no torture to listen through their setlist.

Italie has been represented by means of Rosea Crucis and ADRAMELCH on the HOA. Adramelch seems to have built also a cultstatus but honestly I have to admit this is something of a riddle to me. The band plays progmetal on a considerable level so I ask myself the question why this band still hangs around in this underground circus. I like to blaim it on the factor -no luck- because according to the songs and the instrumental qualities this cannot be true. Sometimes the singer has some long highpitch screams but most of the time he unfortunately performs on a midrange level. In spite of what inferior sound problems the band has a strong performance and is their excellent drummer one of the highlights of the festival.

For day two we have again arrived at the headliners which exists today from the Dutch VORTEX. The band plays already for the second time on HOA and again it's somewhat of a mystery to me because I'm looking at a mediocre SPINAL TAP imitation. All heavy Metal cliches are again visible like there are; the corpse paint and wig of the singer, pyro effects and a logo of the band with light effects. Nevertheless I do not get the impression that the band takes itself seriously and that results in the fact that the bandmembers of Vortex take the stage with much pleasure and humour. The audience goes wild and according to the show element I can say that Vortex is a just headliner.

The US powermetal of the American band BREAKER are second to last to play some music at the HOA 2004. The straight forward metal barely affects the headbanged tired crowd in the beginning. It nevertheless lasts some songs before the fanatically playing band and the very fanatical and symphatic singer Greg Wagner (ex-ARCHETYPE) gets some response from the audience. Too bad that such a great singer joins Breaker because his dynamic voice doesn't fit the music and it's obvious Wagner is keeping his voice a bit down and that's a shame. When Wagner decides to give a stagedive performance at best the audience gets full into the show to the end.

The clock already points 2.00 in the night when HIRAX enter the stage. Unfortunately due to the late hour the band didn't had a soundcheck therefore the first songs didn't sound like they're supposed to. The band plays some tracks of all releases such as Demon Evil Forces, Thunder & Lightning, The Plague, Destroy and the hitsong Bombs or Death. Also we get some songs of the new record "New Age Of Terror" where Unleash The Dogs stands out because this is probably the only midtempo song of the set and here both guitarplayers give their best performance. Singer Katon dePena gives himself totally from the first song to the last and we see a fanatical band showing how thrash has to be played: In Your Face!!

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR AFTERSHOW (11 July 2004)
Headbangers Ballroom, Hamburg, Germany
Review by Pim Botermans http://www.metallive.nl/

Only for the most fanatical bangers there was an afterparty where you could see some of the bands who performed on the HOA. For 5 Euro (or 2 euro when one was also at the HOA) one could see successively Intruder, Hanker, Vortex, Metal Witch and Breaker playing a small set. When we enter the Headbangers Ballroom around 16.00 it appears that the first band hits the stage around 18.00 instead of the announced 15:00. We choose for an alternative to just hang at the bar with a few beers and enjoy this nice and neat arranged club with room for about 200 people. It is striking that the crowd tonight exists for 90% from musicians and people involved with them whom I learned all resided in a hotel nearby.

INTRUDER kicks off the evening with a vigorous and powerful act that with regard to the performance isn't inferior for the HOA act. What however makes a large difference is the sound that can be called an optimum considered with the HOA sound. Furthermore the songs get played super-tight as if it was 15 years ago. That's how speedmetal must sound. Great. Afterwards the band was also pleased with the sound. It seems that the backline and drumkit belonged to Metal Witch and with good equipment it appeared that every band had a great sound.

HANKER played as second and they sounded much better than a few days before. The guitarwork is excellent and we see a tight band releasing their set on the crowd. This is how the band should have performed on HOA.

VORTEX had to actual headline today but since some bandmembers had to work the next day the organisation decides to put them earlier on the bill. To my astonishment the Spinal Tap sound is of course much improved then the day before and therefore I'm able to pull myself through.

Since a part of the installation of METAL WITCH is used the band can also join the action. With a better sound and with as many commitment the band kicks the songs from the stage towards the crowd. Still fanatical and with still a failing singer.

BREAKER has the honour to try amuse us as last band and of course Breaker has an improved sound. Greg Wagner is still this fanatical and the band plays tight their songs during 45 minutes. Unfortunately Mario and I are obliged to leave after a half hour due to public transporation. With the last action still fresh in our memory we can look back on an extremely succeeded and a tiring weekend. HOA rules!!!

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2003

SAXON, NOCTURNAL RITES, WOLF, EVIDENCE ONE (18/1/2003)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
EVIDENCE ONE (from Germany) had the bad luck to open the show 15 minutes earlier then scheduled. They had to play for a nearly empty place. Their typical style, in the vein of a band like ANGELDUST, was not bad at all but far from original. After half a hour they had to stop. WOLF was the next band to get on stage. For me, as an old 80's headbanger, it was nice to hear a band with RAVEN/IRONMAIDEN influences. Nevertheless they never could get the high level of these bands. NOCTURNAL RITES has always been a nice band with good musicians and a spontaneous frontman with a good voice. They had a much better sound than the 2 openingsbands, but still could play only half a hour. The songs of their latest CD where also nice to hear.
Finally!!! Biff & Co; came, saw & conquered!! SAXON has always been a very good live band (i've seen them 14 times now) and they are never boring. It even strikes me that SAXON is getting better and better during the last years!! Biff is screaming even more than in his "old" days! They played all their "evergreens": Heavy Metal Thunder, Princess of the Night, Wheels of Steel, Dallas 1 P.M, Strong arm of the Law, etc, etc. This was , again, a fabulous show guys!! Hope to see you again soon!!

HAMMERFALL, MASTERPLAN, NOSTRADAMEUS (12/1/2003)
013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Review by Mario van Dooren
NOSTRADAMEUS had the honour to open this metal-package. By the time they began there where only about 200 people present. They had a good sound, good performance and a great singer. Only complain is their musical style: it all sounds good but NOT original.
After about 45 minutes 013 filled up for the next band: MASTERPLAN. This new band with former HELLOWEEN members; Uli Kusch & Roland Grapow and the mighty Jorn Lande (Ex- ARK)
did their second show during this tour. Only a few songs did remind me to the old Helloween-days. Most of the songs where in a total different direction. Maybe i'm a bit prejudiced but i can tell you this: Jorn Lande is one of the best singers in Metal!! Such a POWER!! I didn't hear the album (yet) but i know allready i will like it!!
After about a hour headliner HAMMERFALL jumped on stage. Well, they have never been my favourite band; they're all good musicians but they sound very standard to me. Joachim is a good entertainer but tonight he was the worst singer of the package!! I was also disturbed about the whole show; SPINAL TAP and MANOWAR watch out!!!! HAMMERFALL are rivals these days!! A hydraulic drum stage with 6 !! bassdrums??? Is this necessary??? Please leave this crap to bands like GWAR, just play METAL!!

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