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.:Concert Reviews:.

Festival – Velorock (4th September, Ostend, Belgium)

Saturday, 4th September, was already the 8th edition of the Flemish rockfestival Velorock (website). A free festival for national and international bands, for whom it's a great way to promote and make themselves more known. Entrance is free, but you do have to pay for drinks and food. ;-)

Over the past 7 years, there have been big names like DESTRUCTION, AFTER FOREVER and KREATOR, but this year was all about Belgian and 1 Dutch bands: ABSTINENCE, 7 WORKS, DISTORTED, CONGRESS, RED ZEBRA, CRUSADER, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK, KISSTORY.

The 'doors' opened at 13h30, but when I arrived at 14h00, ABSTINENCE (website) was already playing. It's a local hardcore band and that was very clear. Musically it was alright, but the vocals were more about screaming than trying to 'sing' the lyrics, i.o.w. I didn't understand a word of it.

Next band was 7 WORKS (website), also a local hardcore band. While ABSTINENCE vocals were more growling, 7 WORKS was more screaming at a high tone. Both bands are still amateurs (or better said, no professionals ;-)), which was very good to hear. I can't really tell whether they're that special, since I'm more familiar with Power Metal, but I think they're just another hardcore band, not adding anything special to the genre.

After that it was time for some serious stuff: DISTORTED (website). Their influences are bands like Exodus, Testament, Machine Head, Entombed, Pro Pain, etc... No singing, but growling vocals. And you could really understand what Hans was singing. DISTORTED also had the best drummer of the day, in my opinion. Power, speed, midtempo, (fast) double bass in practically every song, switching from toms to snaredrum to cymbals and back.... he could do it all! A very talented musician. Guitarwise there were some great riffs, heavy, slow, fast.. only the solos were a bit less. But with some practising on that part, it will be alright. They ended their performance with a cover version of Sepultura's "War For Territory". Nicely done, with the difference between Hans and Max Cavalera being very small. Best act together with CRUSADER.

3 bands done, time for a break. So I went outside the tent to enjoy the nice weather and talk with someone from the organization committee. During this break, I missed CONGRESS (website), but I did hear some of it. Screaming vocals, heavy guitars, ... Can't say more about it, I'm afraid.

Time for some punkrock then, with RED ZEBRA (website). Some nice heavy guitars, with a few good solos. The crowd went mad, or at least a certain part, forming moshpits, putting people up for crowdsurfing, ... The singer had some artifacts with him to put more fun into the show, like a Flemish flag, a smiley doll, his towl with colourful dots. Seems to be a wellknown band, since a lot of people sang along. Anyhow, not my cup of tea, but the sound was nice.

And then the best band on the list: CRUSADER (website), playing Heavy Metal, as they prefer to call it, having their influences in bands from the '80s. What else can I say but great midtempo and fast songs, with beautiful riffs and a magnificent voice, having that special roughness. The public also found this to be the best band, headbanging and singing along with the epic songs. One small point of criticism: File's guitar was sometimes not that well adjusted, so you couldn't hear Sancho' solos that well. But that was a detail, because they gave a great gig. :-) Cetainly worth checking out their albums.

Some speedrock was next, thanks to PETER PAN SPEEDROCK (website). Screaming through the playlist, with fast riffs, a lot of solos, speedy drums. Honda (singer) tried to get as amny people as possible inside the tent, but there weren't that many who obeyed. Again, moshpits, but this time more harmful for the rest of the public, and some crowdsurfers, who landed in an unpleasant way.

Last in line was KISSTORY (website), a Kiss coverband, playing... suprise: Kiss songs. They were added to the list very late, because BLAZE couldn't come due to line-up changes. I saw the band arriving in a van, all dressed up and carrying make-up. I didn't see them, but I heard them from outside the tent. Nothing special, musically quite ok, but the vocals were bad.

Pictures are avaliable at this location. As said above, I didn't see CONGRESS and KISSTORY, so there aren't any pictures of these bands.





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