Review by OFFICER NICE


Metal To Infinity


Will Belgium have their own Keep It True festival or Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival from now on? That might be a possibility because I have to admit a mighty bill was presented for the very first Ages Of Metal festival. The venue took place at the West part of Flanders and was organized by some lads we mostly see at KIT or the Headbangers-Open-Air Festival. These guys, even if they’re much younger than I am, are fond of the Eighties Metal scène and the bands they’ve invited prove me right. What to think about Tokyo Blade, Cloven Hoof and Avenger? Awesome, isn’t it?   

AGES OF METAL organizer BART CALIS and ERWIN SUETENS (guitarist FIREFORCE)

The festival took place in a little town but was ideal located if you would ask me. There were a lot of parking spots nearby, there were possibilities to chill out and drink a coffee in a little café in the same street and there were plenty of possibilities to eat in the neighborhood.  The venue itself was little but pretty modern and comfortable. The festival was sold out and I suppose about three hundred Metal fans were present. The only thing that pissed me of was the way they destroyed my ticket at the entrance… 

It was impossible to be on time so the first band I witnessed was Fireforce. This is a Belgian band that rose out of the ashes from Double Diamond. This band delivered us some very good Heavy Metal and especially singer Flype seemed to be in form. I knew this man owns a good voice and he’s a very good front man. Fireforce adores Eighties Metal and so it is obvious their songs breathe everything from this particular yet mighty Heavy Metal era. The band had their fans today and were pretty successful. Closing song was a Manowar cover… “Battle Hymns”. I’ve read the band is in studio to record an album, it will be something our website will keeps their eyes on! 

It was a pity I missed Gae Bolga but in replace I could see Trenchfoot, another Belgian Thrash Metal band. These guys play sharp riffed Thrash Metal, modern style and therefore they didn’t actually fit this bill. Nevertheless the crowd didn’t care about this statement at all and why should they anyway? Trenchfoot delivered a decent show. 

After a few coffees it was time for Avenger, a NWOBHM band that released several outstanding albums. Nevertheless Avenger could never really break through and I admit it was the first time I saw the band on stage. It wasn’t the first time I saw their singer, Ian Swift. With Tysondog I saw this man at the Headbangers-Open-Air festival a few months ago. It was a good show back then and this man seemed to be able to easily pick up the crowd’s attention. People can see this man makes fun all the time, Heavy Metal is in his blood and with this mentality it is so easy to convince the watcher or listener! Avenger did an outstanding job and the new songs sound terrific. It will be an outstanding album they will release in the near future, I’m sure about it. It was awesome to see Avenger on stage playing some of their classics!   

A band I saw already two times this year was Cloven Hoof. Nevertheless they were a good reason to make this little trip because I really like their music! I suppose, being a US Metal fan, makes it obvious liking this band although Cloven Hoof is a pure NWOBHM band! It is by this kind of bands plenty of US Metal bands were influenced, no doubts about it! Cloven Hoof is a ‘love it or hate it’ band because of the vocals. I realize not everybody is fond of Russ North’s high pitched vocals but to me it is and stays godlike! “Inquisitor”, “Nova Battlestar”, “Reach for the sky” and “Astral rider” were some songs the band played. Afterwards I heard Russ departed and that’s such a pity! In other words we witnessed the last Cloven Hoof show with this man! Cloven Hoof is back again and they proved it once more today but I suppose it will be a hard job finding a new singer. A good concert! 

Another band that is back is Tokyo Blade. I saw the band already last year at the Keep It True Metal festival and to me they were one of the best bands of KIT XI. New singer Chris Gillen seemed to be a good replacer for both previous Tokyo Blade singers and especially the “Long live Rock’n Roll” cover from Rainbow was impressive at that particular gig. The man owns a clear voice but with a bit of a raw timbre, not as clear as both other Tokyo Blade singers. Tokyo Blade released a live album of that Keep It True concert and try to lay your hands on it, it is worth it. Before this concert there was bad news heading our way because the band was forced to play with only one guitarist. The reason was that Andy Boulton couldn’t be present for this little tour. It didn’t miss its effect on stage and Andy was missed without any doubts. Time was too short to find a replacer and so we saw a Tokyo Blade gig with only one guitarist. Nevertheless Tokyo Blade did their best but to be honest they couldn’t compete with the Tokyo Blade I saw last year. This time Tokyo Blade seemed to be a cover band from itself and that’s a pity!  Classic songs “Heaven and hell” and “Night of the blade” didn’t sound as they should be. I don’t blame the band for it and I know what they’re capable of nowadays.  

Metal Of Ages was a good festival and because it was sold out Bart promised another edition next year. I can only hope for some more outstanding NWOBHM bands, I’m hoping even more for some US Metal! Bart is a fan and I’m sure if there are financial possibilities he will try it! Be there next year because the atmosphere, the gigs and the right Metal fans are present to make another awesome Eighties Metal party. We’ll keep you posted. Check http://www.agesofmetal.be 

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