Review by PATRICK DE SLOOVER
Metal To Infinity
year after the first edition of this new summer festival, the organization was
proud to present a very promising bill for this years happening.
Alcatraz is a summer festival, but it takes place at an indoor facility
nearby Ghent, Belgium, because we kinda have unstable
weather conditions during July / August, so they decided to opt for a secure
place, whether it’s rainy or not…
Concerning this year, the sun was present the whole day, and although it
was an indoor happening, there was plenty of space to go for a stroll nearby the
grass verges at the borders of the river Leie.
The set up was great!
The demarcation at the main entrance gave the opportunity to eat or drink
a few beers (or whatever you like, there was plenty of choice) on a settee or
stool while the sun was burning.
Once you entered the Brielpoort arena, there was a little metal market
aside of the hall, and although we arrived around noon, there was already a lot
of headbangers waiting for the first musical notes.
festival isn’t looking for the extremes in our musical interest but decided to
choose for the traditional Heavy Metal, and that’s a wise decision.
Although there are plenty of styles nowadays, we may conclude that they all come
of the same bands, they all originate from the Heavy Metal that was so powerful
almost 3 decades ago…
national banner-bearer Killer had the task to open Alcatraz 2009, and they did
it with bravura and dashing.
Especially bass player Spooky deserves a special mention because he
played his strings with so much passion and enthusiasm that it was infectious
for the whole crowd that was enjoying their gig.
Needless to say that Shorty is still one of the best guitar players that
we have in this little country!
What he did with his instrument proofs his skills!
between the acts that appeared on the main stage, there was also a possibility
to go up the stairs to see the upcoming talent on a second stage that focused
mainly on the nowadays underground bands from Belgium and Holland.
The main hall had a capacity of 1800 people while the underground stage
could handle around 400 people.
We decided to let the youth enjoy those bands, while we enjoyed a beer
and the sun…
Afterwards, I spoke to many people and a lot of them were very
enthusiastic about the efforts of The Difference and Spoil Engine.
The second band on the main stage was Onslaught. Hell was breaking loose while these English thrashers were tearing down the roof! They presented their new live album Live Damnation and the people just loved it. My goodness, what a killer riffs, and what an out bursting voice of Sy Keeler! For some the best band of the day! My congratulations to the man behind the mixing table, as all bands had a brilliant sound in the hall!
band with a big name is Agent Steel.
They followed after Onslaught on the main stage, and we have to be fair,
it wasn’t an easy job to get hold on the slaughtered crowd after the Onslaught
Agent Steel their vocalist is totally diverse of a standard heavy metal
act, so I guess that it was a hard nut to crack for the youth that isn’t
familiar with this American legend. Anyway, the musical escapades of Agent Steel
pleased me a lot, Juan Garcia is still a riff monster and it was great to see
them once again on Belgian soil.
was the next big thing on the main stage. Their newest output King Of Hell ended
in my personal top 10 of last year, and James Rivera is the one and only Helstar
He joined many other bands during the last 10-15 years, but those that
saw him live with (e.g.) Vicious Rumors will admit that his voice is destined to
be combined with the music of Helstar. The classic tracks from ‘A Distant
Thunder’, ‘Remnants Of War’ and ‘Burning Star’ were combined with
newer material, and again the crowd was left behind as a sweaty, broken and
writing and playing with Manowar on their classic albums Battle Humns, Into
Glory Ride, Hail To England, Fighting The World, and a few more, Ross The Boss
decided to quite with the metal gods and focus on his own career.
He joined his first love The Dictators again, and now he’s back with a
vengeance named Ross The Boss and his first album New Metal Leader.
For some it was their first acquaintance with ‘The Boss’, and I guess
that some of them will regret that they were looking forward to see this band
play. After quality bands like Helstar, Onslaught and Agent Steel, the noise
that they produced drove me nuts. Especially the vocals were inferior. So,
let’s skip Ross The Boss, and have some meet and greets with old friends that
were present that day as well…
was a wise decision to calm down during the gig of Ross The Boss, because the
best had yet to come.
Testament was the next band on the main stage, and dudes, believe it or
not, but this was breath taking.
What a power, what an extraordinary gig, and what a mosh pit that started
before the eyes of Chuck!
I was thrilled by the drumming of Paul Bostaph who played with Slayer and
Forbidden before. This was, in my personal opinion the best band of the day, and
they really showed us how to thrash!
of this year’s edition was Saxon.
Great that the people behind Alcatraz were able to have such a big name
on their second edition, and that’s praise worthy!
Saxon did what they always do.
Giving the best of themselves, bringing the songs with a lot of passion
and dedication and leaving the crowd behind with a good feeling!
Horns up brothers, they were great!!
conclusion on this year’s edition: the sound of all bands was awesome.
That’s fair for the bands that have to open for a headliner, and
that’s fair for the people who paid money to see all bands.
was also cool that the running order was pretty accurate and that the vibe in
the hall was positive.
Everybody had a great day, and everyone was gathering with each other.
The variety on food was good; the variety on drinks was great as well. If
I have to mention a little point of critic; it would be the price of water….
Paying two Euro for just a plastic cup of water is A LOT OF money!!
I agree that this is a fair price for beer and soda, but water???
one last thing.
When we left Brielpoort, the whole place was covered with trash, plastic
and other waste.
Perhaps Alcatraz should think on this issue for the next year’s edition,
as the cleaning of the area will take lesser time…
Thank you brothers for this great day, and see you all again next year in Deinze!
TO MTI INDEX