Review by - PATRICK DE SLOOVER
Lay-Out by - STEFAN
Pictures by - TIM TRONCKOE
Metal To Infinity
checked my review of last year to have an idea what where the highlights and
impressions of that day, to give everything an honest and reliable review this
year. Well, let me put this thing straight: Alcatraz evolved in every possible
way! The cozy and nice area before the entrance remained the same, the second
stage (only accessible for a few hundred people) moved into a huge tent aside of
the Brielpoort, the food and drinks were still democratic and of good quality,
so horns up for the organization of Alcatraz Metal Festival !!! What about the
bands ? The original idea to revive the 80’s remained, but with an
extra addition of contemporary talent. When I got informed that Anacrusis was
going to play, a few months before date, I knew that this edition would be
awesome, and before I talk about every band separately, I want to express my
deepest respect for Filip, Koeke, Mario, Rico, and tons of more metalheads that
made this day one of the best of 2011.
Opener of the day was After All from Belgium. They struggled a while when vocalist Piet called it a day, but with their slogan ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’, they found a good replacement in the person of Sammy Peleman, formerly of September Syn. The sound was good, the presentation of the guys outstanding, and thrash metal was present from start till finish. Songs like ‘Frozen Skin’,’Land of Sin’ and ‘Betrayed By The Gods’ entertained the people, although the place wasn’t so crowded at that time of day. After All promised a surprise during their live set, and most of the metalheads knew what was going to happen. Guido Gevels from legendary Cyclone walked the stage and the band played ‘In The Grip Of Evil’! With all my respect to Sammy, but Guido showed why Cyclone was such a legend. He took the stage, grabbed the audience by the throat and gave us all he could. This was one of the best moments of the day, although it was noon. It makes me yearn for a reunion of Cyclone, but it will remain a dream… After All was the perfect preview of what was yet to come!
In the tent, we saw a second Belgian band, called Guilty As Charged. They were totally unknown so far, but that changed since Alcatraz! The four members of the band have their own identity and deserve my respect. What a great band! Truly awesome how they manage to come out of the blue and make such a big impression. The vocals of Jan fit perfect to the music of the band, and I’m sure that he’s a big fan of Metallica (James Hetfield particularly). While the white Flying V howled, the bass parts of ‘hippie’ Hannes De Caluwé drew everybody’s attention. This dude knows how to rock !!!
this gig, I rushed to the merchandising booth to buy their EP ‘Boxed In’ as
they made my day! Impossible to maintain this standard, I got back to the main
stage to see and witness what Anacrusis
is all about anno 2011. Believe it or not, but they were major! Fucking hell
that this band is going to stop after this tour. They bring their metal with
enthusiasm, totally diverse musical influences and bravura! Anacrusis is
enormously difficult, but I guess that you will love them or hate them.
I adore them!
band was Emperors Of
Decay from Belgium.
They were the winning spot of the Band Clash that was organized by Alcatraz.
Their musical influences are Motley Crue, Warrior Soul and Iron Maiden and they
won already several rock competitions. Not exactly my cup of tea, so I had to
skip this gig and have some beers and stew with fries.
band was Helstar
the U.S.A. They supposed to
play a best of their first albums, but when 'Angels Fall To Hell' opened their
gig, the crowd went totally nuts! James
Rivera is a first class performer and he brought the temperature a few degrees
higher. What a show, what a great performance ! ‘Glory Of Chaos’, their
latest album was promoted with a few tracks and we also got songs from their
earlier releases. Helstar conquered Deinze at full speed, including a great
sound all over the place.
After this neckbreaker, we checked Izegrim from Holland in the tent. Needless to say that Marloes draw all attention with her long blonde hair… The band promoted their latest output Code Of Consequences and their aggressive show was great to watch. So far, so good, and it’s almost unbelievable that all bands delivered such a high standard!
main stage was our next goal and although Forbidden
cancelled their whole European tour, they teamed up for just one gig at
Alcatraz. The departure of drummer Mark Hernandez resulted in an unlikely
benefit: Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Fear Factory, Zimmers Hole, Testament,
Strapping Young Lad, +1000) flew over to Belgium to help the guys of Forbidden.
‘Step By Step’, ‘March Into Fire’, ‘Eyes Of Black’, ‘Chalice Of
Blood’ passed the revue and although Russ Anderson gained a lot of weight, his
voice is still remarkable! Another
great gig, all on the same day, which is remarkable!
the U.S.A. to Norway was only a tent away, as we could see Communic,
originally booked as supporting act of Forbidden. Due the cancellation of
Forbidden, Oddleif Stensland took the trip to Belgium to promote their latest
album ‘The Bottom Deep’. Besides
the new songs, they also played their first ever written track ‘Communication
Sublime’, which is still one of my favorites! Remarkable that this trio has
such a full power sound and play their music at very high level. Fans of
Nevermore and Sanctuary need to check this band, as they are 200% metal!
Also great that they wear shirts with their name on! Communic ruled all
the main stage, we check the following band U.D.O.
and I agree that his latest album Rev-Raptor is a masterpiece, which can’t be
said of the gig that day. U.D.O. his
voice is still present, but the German attitude sucks.
He played too many slow songs that drag you forward, while the sing-along
attitude is constantly present. We don’t need this kind of crap, as we aim for
real metal instead of surrogate rock anthems. ‘Balls To The Wall’,
‘Princess of the Dawn’, ‘Metal Heart’ and ‘I’m A Rebel’ were
shouted out loud, but I had idea that it was pre-chewed…
for a little party with Where Angels
Suffer. It’s a shortened version of
WASP, as Blackie Lawless isn’t involved, but they had the charisma and feel
good attitude of the good old days. Guitarplayer Chris Holmes’ mother is a
Hell’s Angel and he gained the rock genes with a good dose.
Chris was the Wild Child in person and the gig was totally ‘out of
control’ in a positive way. Drummer
Stet Howland (ex-Wasp, ex-Blackfoot, ex-Belladonna, ex-Lita Ford), played most
of the time upstanding, and that was a rather odd sight. Chris his underwear was
above the waist and he had a hell of time, just like the crowd. Songs like
‘Crying Eagle’, ‘Eye Of The Storm’, ‘Morning After’ and
‘Hellhound’ were played with so much passion that everybody was dazed and
confused! Ira Black, the guitarplayer and formerly of Lizzy Borden, Vicious
Rumors, Heathen, Metal Church and even Bralalala, did an outstanding performance
and he’s ready for the next step in his career: a major metal band!
can we say about Death Angel.
I saw them 25 ears ago at Leopoldsburg and they made my day until today. This
band is one of the most active live performances, they rule with tons of
enthusiasm and last but not least, they have killer riffs! Mark Osegueda is one
of the best performers in his genre and they know how to party. After the gig,
he presented me a ‘local alcohol bomb’ and the thing did his work… 8-) Let’s say
that Death Angel ‘Killed As One’…
Headliner in the tent was Vicious Rumors. Amazing how these dudes still dwell the world in search of their spot in metal history. Geoff Thorpe is an outstanding performer and he gathered perhaps the best line up in years. New vocalist Brian Allen did a great job, old timer Larry Howe tortured the drum skins and we received a revue of ‘old time favorites’. V.R. is still imminent and deadly, and that's how we like them most!
This year headliner was Helloween from Germany. Okay, I liked their albums a lot in the past, their newest output was outstanding as well, but nothing can be compared with the live presentation. This band has a childish attitude, perhaps typical German, and their gig of 90 minutes could be shortened to 50 minutes. All that gibberish worked on my nerves… In the past, Alcatraz had problems to find a suitable headliner, but Helloween ruined my day. I understand the prizes, the capable headliners, and the factor to have an original festival line up, but Helloween didn’t pass the test at all. All other bands showed how to please the masses and it was great to see the efforts of unknown (Belgian) bands ! Horns up for Alcatraz Fest, and despite of the headliner, it was one of the best days of 2011! Keep the metal flame alive and see you all in 2012 !!
TO MTI INDEX