Review by PATRICK DE SLOOVER
METAL TO INFINITY
was the third edition of the Alcatraz Metal Festival, and although the
organization was planning to move to another and bigger location, the results of
the poll decided that the people preferred the same venue, so ‘De Brielpoort’
was the place to be! This is perfect understandable, if you know this place.
There is a lot of accommodation, there are enough parking lots in the nearby
area, there is a huge bar at the side of the hall, and the stage and
adventitious aids are just superb! Deinze is easy reachable from all sides of
the country, so we took the trip that brought us in 30 minutes to Alcatraz Fest!
Last year, we were able to see bands like Testament, Helstar, Agent Steel,
Onslaught and headliner Saxon, while the bill of this year was reduced to lesser
known bands for some. The nowadays
youth isn’t really familiar with acts like Lizzy Borden, Raven, Demonica and
Pretty Maids, but the older headbangers were really glad that they had the
chance to see them all once again! Perhaps,
that’s also the reason why the outcome was a bit disappointing.
At the end of the day, I heard rumors that there have been around 1200
people, but I have serious doubt. Perhaps,
the amount of beer that was served that day would fit for a normal crowd of 1200
people, but headbangers are used to excessive drinking… So, we leave this
issue behind and hope that the organization can look back at a break-even event
few weeks before the festival took place, there was an announcement that the
running order was changed a little. This
resulted that LIZZY
had to open for a few hundred metalheads at noon.
Lizzy Borden’s band begun pretty heavy, and Lizzy walked the stage as
Grim Reaper. His face was covered
and he was wearing a kind of monk’s habit. One thing was pretty clear from the
first minutes: His voice is still outstanding! He has typical vocal chords that
can go high and low, and when he shouted ‘SCREAM’, earwax was popping out of
our ears! His band played really
solid, the sound was a little too loud, but perhaps this was the result of
playing in a place that was packed for only 1/6.
Afterwards, I spoke with one of the guitarplayers, and he told me that
this was only his third show in the Lizzy Borden Band.
Name of the guitarplayer was DC Alexander, and he played in the band
Warrior (‘Fighting For The Earth’) before! This opening act was nice for the
40+ ages, but I guess that the stage act doesn’t entertain nowadays youth.
This was a typical American act with a bit too much of sing along, raise
your hands, and overgrown attitude. For
example, wearing the American flag together with a young blonde in stars and
stripes bikini, swinging with an axe while she’s doing a strip act (including
covered nipples), and put some fake blood on the faces of those that stood on
the first row. It was cool, but it was on the edge of kitsch anno 2010. The
Lizzy Borden set ended with a tribute to ‘the man on the silver mountain:
Ronnie James Dio’, so it was time again to sing along with “Long Live
Rock’n Roll”, in my opinion a great song to end an average concert.
far, the first band on the main stage, but there was more to come!
Only 10 minutes later, the second (and smaller) stage opened on the first
floor for only a limited amount of people. We’ll tell you something about the
second stage at the end, as we personally focused on the main stage, so we could
have a beer and some food in between the bands. The second act was RAVEN
England! This band was formed around 1975 in a place called Newcastle.
Brothers John and Mark Gallaghar teamed up with drummer Rob Hunter, and
created a fuzz in the punk and NWOBHM circuit.
Their first single ‘Don’t Need Your Money, Honey’ got a lot of
spins on a National radio show in Holland (Stampij with Hanneke Kappen)
and the road to success was open! Albums like ‘Rock Until You Drop’,
‘Wiped Out’ and ‘All For One’ can be considered as milestones in the
history of British Heavy Metal. Although
Raven were a NWOBHM band and seen as highly influential to both speed and thrash
metal they commonly referred to themselves as "Athletic Rock”, including
sportswear outfits etc… The band
had to rush to get on time, as they played the Wacken Open Air Festival in
Germany the day before. They
started the Alcatraz gig in a very own Raven style! High pitched vocals, a
guitarplayer that is even more insane as 25 years ago, and the brothers John and
Mark did what we all expected. Unbelievable
how Mark is able to get such a full sound with only one guitarplayer! He’s asking a lot from his instrument, but what he did was
sublime! Together with drummer Joe Hasselvander, the future looks bright for
this band, that left England behind and lives already 26 years in the United
States. Their new album ‘Walk
Through Fire’ was released in Japan and the U.S. last year, but is now
available in Europe, and will entertain every Raven fan! The set from Raven was
mind-blowing, breathtaking and original in every possible way!!
For some, the band DEMONICA might be totally
unknown, but things are about to change.
The members of this band are no rookies at all, because Hank Sherman from
Mercyful Fate, Craig Locicero and Mark Hernandez (both Forbidden), and vocalist
Klaus Hyr (seems to be a very popular person on the National TV in Denmark), are
ready to conquer the world with their Euro/American thrash.
The Alcatraz gig was an exclusive European Festival show, so we wanted to
check this band out, as their debut album ‘Demonstrous’ is an absolute
must-have. Big was our surprise when we saw Hank Sherman walking the stage. He
had the left wing of the stage to show his talent, but it looks like he’s a
recluse and misanthrope person. Wearing
a winter jacket, a tea cosy and sunglasses conveys the impression that he’s
afraid of people. Strange… Anyway,
the set was a real delight, the first crowd surfers appeared and it was really
intense. Songs like ‘Palace Of
Glass’ and ‘Demon Class’ showed no mercy, while the hooks and breaks
attacked at high speed. During the
gig, there were technical problems with the distortion pedal of Hank, so he
tried to repair the bloody thing on stage.
At that moment, Craig Locicero was playing his part of the solo, but
professional as he is, he took the second part with a smile.
This guy really knows how to play, so it was great to see him again, and
we are looking forward to the upcoming gigs of Forbidden, the band that has his
this neck-breaker, it was time for another band from Denmark: The PRETTY
I remember that they played Forest National in Brussels as supporting act
of Rainbow, but again, we have to go back +20 years. I was anxious to see how they stood the test of time,
although there was recently a new album release (‘Pandemonium’).
The commercial power hardrock, Heavy Metal of Pretty Maids was always a
pleasure to listen to, but perhaps they would focus on the new material in stead
of bringing a kind of ‘best of’ set. Well,
it was useless to worry, as they gave 200% of their abilities.
The Pretty Maids were Red, Hot And Heavy during the Alcatraz gig and
believe it or not, I had the idea that they were the best band so far (yes, even
better than Demonica, but again, that’s a personal impression). Anyway, the
crowd was going crazy and enjoyed every song that Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and Ken
Hammer (guitars) shot into the crowd! By the way, so far, every band had a
really great sound and that’s praise worthy for the organization and the man
behind the sound desk. Also the
light show was impressive and striking during the whole day!
the meantime, the place was pretty packed, and a lot of young people prepared
themselves to encounter MOONSPELL
Since their debut album ‘Wolfheart’, until their most recent release
‘Night Eternal’, the band succeeded in bringing great live shows, including
a beamer that adds an extra atmosphere to the music of the band.
Frontman Fernando has a really impressive voice that goes extremely deep,
but it contains a secret power and force that is needed to complete the songs.
The musicians of Moonspell were acting really heavy during the faster
parts, and during the slower parts, they adapt their live presentation to the
music. Really great to see how it
was all worked out! The band had a great time on stage, and thanked all people in
between almost every song. They
mentioned a lot of times ‘Belgium’ and ‘Alcatraz’, which resulted in a
personal approach, and that was cool! Moonspell was a real pleasure to see and
hear and I’m sure that the members enjoyed themselves as much as I did!
some people, this edition of Alcatraz was a deviation of the original idea of
the festival. In stead of focusing on Heavy Metal from years ago and thrash
metal from the 80’s, they added some bands that are pretty new ánd hot
nowadays. EPICA can be considered
as “a stranger in our midst”, as they don’t play H.M. nor Thrash from the
eighties. I understand that a
festival is also busy in broaden their horizons, and I fully agree that this
band was on the bill of this year’s Alcatraz edition.
Why not gather old and new? Why not introducing talented new bands in
between old goats? So, I was really pleased to see Simone Simons for the first
time, and I must say, that she impressed me even more than ever expected.
is so cool, so heavy yet melodic and the stage act of all
members is very eye catching. At
some moments, all members were
banging their head at extreme speed and simultaneous rotating movements. This
was really awesome and again, the sound was so well balanced, that we were able
to hear the fragile voice of Simone in between the skull crushing hooks and
breaks. Not easy if you hear them
for the first time, but one thing is for sure: this band is gonna be hot within
a few years. And I bet that many of
the critics will chant that they want to see Epica on the next edition of
This year’s headliner was less weighty as Saxon last year, but KREATOR might be considered as one of the European Thrash metal pioneers. Mille Petrozza (founding member, guitarplayer and vocals) is still able to play his metal at high speed, but I noticed that he’s not that kind and friendly as he used to be in the days of beginning. Most bands did a meet and greet with the fans, but Kreator decided not to join that club.
talk about their gig and music. The
stage looked really terrifying with a lot of ‘moving heads’ as light show,
and the sound was open, vicious and mean! The
‘Flag Of Hate’ was held high and the band played like they did never before.
I must say that I was impressed about the Kreator show, but at the same
time, I noticed that a lot of people left the hall. Was there a last train to
catch? Was the day too exhausting to stay another 45 minutes?
Fact is, only ‘die hard’ Kreator fans stayed and enjoyed the show,
and we can conclude that we had a fantastic day with a lot of good music and
good company. We do hope that
Alcatraz will continue in the future as they can be considered as trendsetters
in the thrash and heavy metal scene. They prove that they dare to take a risk,
but we only hope that this risk won’t have too many consequences… The
organization, the facilities, the food, the drinks, the sound, the light… in
one word: Respect!
we captured mainly the main stage bands, we squeaked the second stage as well,
so here is a little impression. The
first band that played was POWERSTROKE
They released their debut album ‘Once We Were Kings’ recently, and
the music that they bring is a mix of stoner, punk, hardcore and metal.
The trio can be compared with the likes of Pro-Pain meets Pantera, and
the songs that I heard vague also made me think on Motorhead.
second band EVIL
is also from Belgium, and it’s good that the
organization of Alcatraz pays attention to local bands from our area. Despite
this, I had to deny their gig, although I heard afterwards that this is a very
promising act. Next time better dudes!
NIVA comes from Holland and released a very good album last year (For Moments
Never Done). When I arrived to check their gig, they were playing a cover of
Iron Maiden. I wonder why they do
this. They had 40 minutes to
present them to a huge crowd, so why the hell do you play a song from another
band. Pissed off, I left the second
floor and went for a beer…
band was GUNSLINGER. They seem to be pretty famous in and around Belgium.
I noticed their name on various flyers, and perhaps it’s because of the
female drummer Cat and the living legend Alan Davey that they are so ‘hip’
nowadays. The music of Gunslinger
was a mix between Motorhead (vocals) and Hawkwind (music).
Of what I have heard that day, this must be cool band in a small pub or
bar with dimmed lights and a lot of smoke at the ceiling. . .
on the second stage was EVILE
Their metal, or better Thrash was
breathtaking. Cool riffs, nice
hooks, a good speed and thrash till death!!
Again, I wonder why they had so much to say in between the songs.
‘Hi, we are Evil, do you know us? We played Wacken yesterday! I hope
that you will like our gig and that you will remember us afterwards…blablablabla…)
Come on, what is the meaning of all this crap?? Just play your set, and
don’t waste time with thank you once, twice, three times…
Their time was limited to 50 minutes, would I exaggerate that they played
only 35 minutes because of this jabber and pathetic gibberish.
Anyway, when they played a song, they did it with full force, and I hope
that time will tell if they improve or not…
TO MTI INDEX