Jump to content
MercurialCannibal

Heavy Metal 9: through Bruce is salvation

Recommended Posts

I have been slowly digging into the new maiden offering. It is pretty solid. The title track is a favorite.

The prospect of a tour thrills me!

Oh, and the guy on the train is wearing the same overkill shirt three days running.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ProgPower USA day 2 report:

 

Evergrey acoustic set to start off the evening. These guys just kill it every time they're on stage and this was certainly no exception. If anything, Tom's vocals sounded even better than Wednesday night's closing set. Once again, this band knows how to please a crowd like no other as evidenced by closing with an unplugged version of WASTED YEARS which prompted a joyous singalong by literally everyone in the building. One of my favorite bands doing a cover of my #1 favorite band is one of those things that will stick with me forever. Just incredible!

 

Next up was Almah, a power metal outfit from Argentina who feature one of Angra's former vocalists. Meh, a couple of good songs but their mix was awful (bass dominated everything else). Interestingly, they played 3 Angra songs and actually performed those with a lot more gusto and skill than their own material. 

 

Then came Dragonland playing their first ever US show, and they blew everyone away. Their albums Astronomy and Under the Grey Banner are both fantastic and they pulled their setlist almost exclusively from those two, which made for yet more raucous singalongs from yours truly. :P   I was very pleased to see their technical proficiency and soaring vocals translate so well to the stage. An amazing set that I'm sure made them a bunch of new fans.

 

Armored Saint went on next and fucking destroyed the building. I knew they'd be good. I knew John Bush would bring his A-game, cause that's the kind of dude he is. What I did not expect was Bush making proper use of a wireless mic by doing a complete circuit of the audience during "Reign of Fire" and stopping by random fans along the way to join in belting out that damned larger-than-life chorus. Dammit he came within 5 rows of me on one of them. So close!

 

Saxon closed out the night as only living legends of metal can do. A 90 minute command performance of some of the sharpest metal known to man. What I love about them too is how they've evolved. They've gone from (in my opinion) a very good hard rock band early on, to a full fledged heavy metal bulldozer today. Lost my voice entirely during this set. So worth it.

 

 

Today is another stupendous lineup and the one I've actually looked forward to the most. Starting out with the true prog metal stylings of Native Construct, moving on to Jeff Scott Soto (not familiar with anything other than what he did with Yngwie, but I hear he puts on a great show), then Voyager, Anathema, and mother fucking FALCONER in their final live performance ever. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ProgPower Day 3:

 

Native Construct started things off in the afternoon. On the surface, a good choice for the festival as they are about as prog as it gets. The downside with these guys is that they are grossly inexperienced on stage - they are quite literally college students who put together a nifty album and only just started touring a couple months ago. Despite the lack of stage presence, they performed their stuff reasonably well. I was already a fan of the album so I thought it was a decent showing, but they weren't a hit with everyone. As one of my pals at the show put it, "there was some cool stuff in there, but they need to learn how to write songs."

 

Next up was Jeff Scott Soto. Sigh. I wish I could say I enjoyed this show as it went on for a whopping 90 minutes. To his credit, JSS tries really hard to be a great showman, and he mostly succeeds. But for me, the music mostly wasn't that interesting. He did close strong though with an Yngwie song (don't recall the title) and a slamming cover of Dio's Stand up and Shout. Plus his backup band was phenomenally talented. So, decent enough on the whole.

 

Voyager played next, working from a setlist picked out by the fans. Just like Wednesday night, they were consistently entertaining in every regard. This is certainly the band at this festival I have gained the most respect for. I've heard most of their studio stuff and even own a couple of albums, but I never thought of them as being much more than a good prog band with a lot of catchy hooks. Live, they are a completely different animal - songs that come off flat in the studio come to life with considerably more punch, gusto and fun on stage. If you have any interest in prog metal and get the chance to see these guys - do it. They're awesome folks too, very engaging with fans.

 

Anathema followed with a 90 minute set of their own, sampling widely from their last 4 or 5 albums. I would call myself a casual fan of this band, but this performance made a big impression. It was a great show and "prog" in every sense. They had all kinds of stuff going on - they went from two drummers, to one of the drummers playing keys, to one of the vocalists banging the shit out of a timpani drum, to some robotic voice synth shit, and somehow it all worked. That's the mark of a band that's got its shit together. And then of course, they did Untouchable parts 1 and 2, which are just fucking incredibly evocative songs. Highly enjoyable.

 

Falconer closed both the night's festivities, and their careers as a live musical act (they do plan to continue making studio albums). Even as a longtime fan of the band, I must admit I had some doubts this show would deliver. It's fairly well known that the band is more or less a hobby for its members, and that vocalist Matthias Blad is not a "metal" guy, at all. Even band leader/guitarist Stefan Weinerhall admitted in an interview that for this final tour they had to go back and relearn virtually all the songs because they hardly ever play together. The band put those misgivings completely at ease with an epic set that focused largely on their phenomenal first two albums Falconer and Chapters From a Vale Forlorn. Musically, they were masterful. Vocally, Matthias nailed everything. The singalongs to songs like this were transcendent. It was a performance and an experience I will never forget. Most of my pictures from last night turned out shit, but I was lucky enough to get this shot of the band's final curtain call

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ProgPower USA Day 4:

 

Argentinian heavy metal band Helker opened the day with a bang. Most of us had never heard of these guys before but they quickly won us over with a tightly played, energetic, heavy-as-fuck selection of their material. The gimmick of this band is vocalist Diego Valdez, an unapologetic Dio sound-alike. That may turn some people off, but shit, he's really good, so I'm fine with it. Pretty neat too that this was the band's first show outside of South America. 

 

The next slot ended up being an encore performance from Dragonland, who filled in for Swedish power outfit Dynazty who had to cancel at the last minute due to a visa fuckup. Just like Thursday night, it was a fine performance but it was also mostly the same set we'd already heard. Fine, but nothing special.

 

Next up was Unleash the Archers, a power/speed metal group from Canada. They were slightly better live than what I've heard of their studio stuff. This band is quickly growing in popularity and seem to have all the elements of something I would like, but their stuff doesn't quite click for me.

 

The only band I was really interested in seeing yesterday was Riverside. This band from Poland is pretty big in prog-head circles but is relatively unknown outside that, which is a shame. They're incredibly talented and infuse their music with a compelling blend of prog styles, borrowing a bit from Pink Floyd, Anathema, Katatonia and Opeth without sounding like any of them. Their live show was outstanding and elicited the strongest crowd reaction I saw at the festival apart from the Falconer and Evergrey shows. Very happy I got to see these guys perform.

 

I ended up skipping on final two acts Royal Hunt and Angra, as I've never been a huge fan of either and frankly I was dog-ass tired from the week.

 

Highlight of the day for me without question was meeting the guys from Falconer in the autograph line. Normally I'm not big on standing in line for 45 minutes for some scribbles and brief conversations, but since these fellows will probably never tour again I felt like an exception was due. They seemed like really nice folks who were a bit overwhelmed by the fan response to their final show.

 

 

Next year's weekend lineup was announced Friday night (the Wednesday and Thursday shows are still TBD right now). Not a slam dunk for me like this year was, but there are still a few interesting acts set to play including Fates Warning (doing Awaken the Guardian in its entirety), The Gentle Storm, Vanishing Point, Haken, Serious Black, and fest closer Devin Townsend Project (!!!). Definitely planning a return trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Godamn you X-ray... I never thought I'd live to see the day I would curse confluence or combination of yourself and alcohol

;)

 

It's because I was drinking Manhattans. Rye makes me mellow. If I was drinking gin it might be a different story.

I'm also loathe to add a bunch of links, because I think we're going to switch to a different database soon, which means we'll lose any posts we made since we migrated to the new software.

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been slowly digging into the new maiden offering. It is pretty solid. The title track is a favorite.

 

The prospect of a tour thrills me!

 

Oh, and the guy on the train is wearing the same overkill shirt three days running.

They've been confirmed for Rockavaria in Munich, Rock im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, and Wacken.  http://www.rockavaria.de/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Great video for the title track of the new slayer album 'repentless.'

 

There is a lot of blood!

Tom's beard is so majestic. Best song on the album as well, in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×