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.:Concert Reviews:.

08/05/2009 – ANGELI DI PIETRA (Antwerp, Belgium)

Ok, I confess, it wasn't a gig, but a listening session. I guess that also falls in the category for which one has to leave his/her house. While GWYLLION, that other great female-fronted band, held a release party for their newest album, "The Edge Of All I Know" back in March (see further down the page), playing the entire album, the Antwerp Folk/Power Metal band ANGELI DI PIETRA (official website) decided to go for a listening session and have the party afterwards. Location: Metal Zone in Antwerp. Party: Pand Demonium, not too far from Metal Zone.

ANGELI DI PIETRA has been in existence for little more than six years so far, recorded a few demos and finally got to sign with a label, i.e. CCP Records, for three albums. The first being "Storm Over Scaldis", which was presented this past Friday. The other two are planned for the coming two to four years. The evening itself was nicely divided/planned/organised:

19h30-20h00: acquaintance, chitchat, presentation
20h00-21h00: listening to the new album
21h00-22h00: any questions? interviews?
22h00-....h....: party at Pand Demonium

Upon arrival around 19h30, a small welcoming table was standing near the entrance of the shop, indicating the spot where the registered invited confirmed his arrival. A few colleagues were already enjoying some music, some drinks and some chitchat. About 15 minutes later everyone was present and the show could start properly. First things first and that was the introduction of the band by co-founder/guitarist Quevin Marcsson, who told us in short about who each member was, his/her function, the forming of the band and how they eventually got a deal with the Austrian label CCP Records for three albums. The first being "Storm Over Scaldis", the other two planned over a period of two to four years from now.

ANGELI DI PIETRA
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And then it was time for the main course of the evening: listening to the album and writing down some comments for ourselves. We were all given a bundle with the lyrics, so we could follow along as either Sjoera or Guy sang their respective parts and find out where the music takes a turn, lets a solo come to the front, and so on. Before the CD started, Guy gave a short explanation of the first six songs, what to expect musically and what the lyrical themes were. They range from historic battles between the Saxons and the Romans over Celtic mythology in the form of Manannan Mac Lir to the Belgian river on which the album title is based.

Musically this first half was very diverse, starting with a storm breaking loose, followed by a pounding track ("Ride Into Oblivion"). Another wild song followed and it's clear that having heard the majority of the songs live helps to enjoy the studio version. but that can also be a bad thing, as you already know the song and could therefore be biased when commenting on it. As Power Metal rules, ANGELI DI PIETRA wouldn't do their credo "Powerfolk for the masses!" justice if there weren't elements that accentuated the Folk aspect of the music. ANGELI DI PIETRA play Folk without the use of keyboards, violins, accordions, and so on, but use the guitars to convey that feeling. Sort of like TÝR, for example. But as I was mentioning the violin... you can hear it in "Manannan Mac Lir", where it starts the song and in a way gives it a RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) feel. Still, most of the Folk touches are delivered by the excellent guitarwork by Quevin and Gaël. Unexpectedly the Antwerp Metallers also created an instrumental track called "Storm Over Scaldis". Guitars then obviously play a chief role, even if vocals wouldn't really hurt. But it's nice to give Sjoera and Guy the chance to take a break to sing back at full force, so to speak.

Vocally you get a beauty-and-the-beast kind of singing, with both sharing equal amounts of singing time or have one dominate the other. It's best to say that Sjoera takes the melodic parts for her account, Guy attacks during the heavier ones and that creates a nice contrast.

After the break of about 10 minutes, during which the batteries were being recharged through food and drinks and some chatting with the colleagues and band members, part two of the listening was ready to be unleashed and all of us were ready again, focussing on the bundle with lyrics, pen in our hands to write anything useful. Guy's explanatory words contained stuff about the Vikings (their first raid in the UK, anno 793), the mythological figure of Medusa, a character from Spain's history and even something based on Oberon, the Fantasy setting.

As "Lindisfarne" deals with that particular Viking raid, it's obvious the song must be of epic proportions. Similarities with, for example, TÝR, AMON AMARTH, ARKONA and the likes not only give ANGELI DI PIETRA a different outfit, but also adds to the diversity on the album. My only remark so far was that this song was over all too soon. "Medusa" is a song that contains Eastern influences (through the violin and guitars) and lyrically Guy and Sjoera placed her in the Sahara, even though she was known in other places, too, like Greece and North Africa. Considering Medusa as a female, the band's Medusa is the perfect singer for this role. Guy's grunts take on the more aggressive parts in which Vincent adjusts his drumming, i.e. more ballsy, which is also the case when entering the Spanish timezone in "Torquemada". Variation in terms of rhythm and tempo is a vital ingredient. To give this song the extra touch, you'll hear a Spanish spoken interlude somewhere. One thing that bothered me, although that could change once I've heard the album a couple of times, is that Vincent adds some cymbal accents when all falls silent and crawls towards the end. They don't fit or are too numerous. But I'll try to talk about it in the review. Other than that... everything's still going smoothly and I was still enjoying the evening a lot. Time for another Folk injection then, with "Forlorn", although the lyrical theme is about being alone in the world. No, ANGELI DI PIETRA didn't go Emo. It's about you being the only creature on the planet, no one to talk to, no one to shout at, no love to share, etc... The strange thing is that this theme contrasts extremely with the happy feel of the humpapa-rhythm. The guitarsolo (dual axed) is well executed and adds a THIN LIZZY touch to the music. Last but not least, the Folk element is also present in "Legendary Forest", which is based on the Oberon setting. There's a wild party going on in the woods, but any visitors/intruders aren't that welcome and soon meet their destiny... death. The pace is fast and the typical humpapa-rhythm has been used again, particularly in the chorus. Both vocalists fulfill their roles with splendour once more and overall "Storm Over Scaldis" ends in style.

Oh damn, now I've written much of what I was going to write in the album review, and that was not really intended. But as I wrote a lot during the listening, it felt as if I was already reviewing the album at that time. Having heard several songs live before helps to have certain things in mind. Having seen the band on stage a few times already, I don't need to be convinced of their talent anymore. "Storm Over Scaldis" is just a confirmation of what these guys and girl are capable of and with the right support we'll be hearing a lot more from them, let that be clear. As far as the listening session itself is concerned, it was my first and usually this is done by big(ger) bands, for which one then has to travel to Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, maybe even the USA to experience it. This time it was closer to home, smaller, very comfortable, stressless, ... Same place and time for the following albums? ;-) Aterwards and before everyone hit the road to Pand Demonium to let the beer frow freely, I had an interview with guitarist Quevin, which will be online asap, as well as the album review.

Playlist:

The Tempest - Intro
Ride Into Oblivion
For Us, Fallen Ones
Manannan Mac Lir
Frost
Storm Over Scaldis
- break -
Lindisfarne
Medusa
Torquemada
Forlorn
Legendary Forest

ANGELI DI PIETRA
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21/03/2009 – INFINITE HORIZON / THE CLAYMORE / GWYLLION (Kuurne, Belgium)

Saturday, 21st of March 2009, a day to never forget, as Belgium's no. 1 female-fronted Metal band, GWYLLION, - ok, some exaggeration here, but still... - presents its newest album to the audience, consisting of local and German fans, at least if I paid enough attention. To make the evening extra special, two fellow label bands came over to present their material, but also pave the way for GWYLLION.

The doors opened at 18h30, I arrived about 45 minutes later and got to chat shortly with one of the guitarists and the keyboardist of INFINITE HORIZON, who were to start their set at 19h30. Inside there were already quite some people, yet the place wasn't packed, also because JH Den Tap is located behind the town's hall, hidden to the eyes of mere mortals. I must confess, though, that I had to look a bit, since I've never been there, yet heard a lot about it. Next to INFINITE HORIZON, there was THE CLAYMORE who would further warm up the crowd before our very own GWYLLION would occupy the stage and present their new material. In short, the three bands that offered Kuurne a good evening of Metal:

INFINITE HORIZON (DE) - www.myspace.com/infinitehorizonmusic
THE CLAYMORE (DE) - www.myspace.com/theclaymoremetal
GWYLLION (B) - www.myspace.com/gwyllionmetal


As said, INFINITE HORIZON were to start at 19h30, but due to sound problems this was postponed for at least half an hour. The band has been around for 10 years now, getting positive criticism in several magazines and sharing the stage with acts like ANNIHILATOR, KORPIKLAANI, HATESPHERE and others. Their discography counts three albums and one EP, of which "Soul Reducer" is the latest output (2008).

I've only briefly checked the band's MySpace page, just to have an idea, but to have a better impression you need to check out the albums, which I haven't done so far, also because I wanted to be surprised, if you know what I mean. Gig first, then see which albums to check out and/or buy. The mood was relaxed, and the guys felt at ease, I had the impression. Vocalist Marc M. Lemler even encouraged people to come closer and be more interactive. It worked. The Progressive Power Metal went down without much problems. With eleven songs the Germans presented a well filled 45 minutes, and didn't take much time for binding texts, but didn't remain silent either between the songs.

The musicianship overall was good to very good, even if there's room for improvement and further development of the instrumental skills. On a vocal level I can say that I was positively suprised. Marc M. Lemler sings in a rough manner, one that very much fits with Power Metal, but not heavier (Thrash, Death, ...). Think Zak Stevens or maybe Matt Barlow, not in terms of identical vocals, but in terms of singing. The bassist adding growls in some songs gave them a heavier touch. The music at times reminded me of SAVATAGE, CIRCLE II CIRCLE, some SYMPHONY X and even EVERGREY. There was one, well, two elements that sort of prevented the performance from being killer: 1) not enough fast(er) songs, even if fast doesn't always mean good, but it would have made the setlist a bit more diverse, and 2) the sound: at some point the guitars were suddenly louder, a bit more distorted and the drums had a harder time to get through, especially the cymbals were difficult to hear. You could see Christian Schmidt hit them, but not much sound came out of the speakers. Other than that, I saw a band with potential, one that advised me (indirectly) to check 'em out a bit better.

Playlist:

Return To Babylon
Burning Bridges
28 Days
Hole In The Sky
Daydreamer
Facing Mr. Hyde
Way To Eternity
God Of Lies
Liar
The Reaper
Dark Side Of The Sun

INFINITE HORIZON
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I reckon some 15-20 minutes later, after the 45 minutes or so of INFINITE HORIZON, it was time for the second support band, THE CLAYMORE. They too have a MySpace page I checked earlier this week and they too played material I would gladly check out a little more. This other German band was founded in 2000, but has been a bit less productive in terms of albums: to so far, "Monument" (2005) and "Sygn" (2008). They did record two demos in the beginning and the "The Scarecrow Diaries Promo" in 2007 to promote new material. THE CLAYMORE has so far supported bands like TESTAMENT, PRIMAL FEAR, AXXIS, TANKARD, RAGE, U.D.O. and others.

Their set started, besides the intro, not with a midtempo song, but with speed. Power Metal it clearly was, reminding of GAMMA RAY, HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN, ... The pace was set, you'd think. It was a joy to hear something fast and I can tell you that their drummer Hardy is a beast behind the kit, hitting the skins as if there's an annoying bug that needs to be killed. The guitarwork was also very good and firm. Vocals were clean and sometimes high-pitched. This fit most songs quite well, although there were times that I thought power was lacking, but seriously needed as the music demanded it.

THE CLAYMORE's set consisted of eight songs, plus the intro. The music shifted between Power Metal and at some point more groovier work. Variation was present. As good as the chosen songs were, I do have to say that the fast(er) ones were the better ones. Besides own material, one covers was played: IN FLAMES's "Trigger". When hearing "Trigger", I already thought I knew those riffs and lyrics from somewhere. It was a nice try to turn this song into someting more Power Metal-ish, but sadly it was a rather pale imitation of the original, whether you like that song or not. Like with INFINITE HORIZON there were some sound problems: 1) guitars too loud, 2) cymbals not properly audible and 3) vocals a bit covered by the loud guitars. I would have bought one or more of the band's albums, but I'll have to check 'em out when I have the opportunity in order to make a final decision. THE CLAYMORE is a good live band and a good band in general, although the sound wasn't always as it should have been.

Playlist:

Intro
Angel's Assassination
Slaine
Trigger (IN FLAMES cover)
Ancient Enemy
Sygn
Tolerance Denied
Arborlorn
Soulseeker

THE CLAYMORE
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And then, le moment suprême: GWYLLION! I've already seen them twice, twice it was great. They have released solid material and their newest album quite simply doesn't cease to amaze me. That may sound like sucking up, butt-kissing or whatever, but I am serious and this has little to do with the origins of the band. Well, that does play a role, but in the end it's the music that matters. Since it will be some time before I see GWYLLION live again, I just had to be in Kuurne, also because this was the live debut of the new singer, Ann Van Rooy, who replaced Annelore Vantomme, who can still be heard on the album, "The Edge Of All I Know".

There was absolutely no nervosity or some could hide it very well. Thank the gods of Metal that Wouter's drumkit was still standing, since the other bands made use of it and Wouter was a bit worried something would go wrong. But there was nothing to worry about. As the sound for the other bands wasn't always good enough, it was for GWYLLION. What a surprise! But I hoped it would be better, because the way Wouter plays, you cannot afford to mess with the sound then. Or even when Joris' keyboards interventions have to come to the front... equally important.

This evening was about "The Edge Of All I Know". So the band played the album in its entirety and added three songs off "Awakening The Dream", with Wouter taking out his flute/recorder (look it up on e.g. Wikipedia, since it's not what you might think it is ;-)) for a lesson lots of students have to take in school, to finish the set. After the intro, the music broke loose and I guess the enthusiasm, the adrenaline, the joy, excitement, tension, etc... made it hard for the band, especially Wouter, to play at a normal speed. Instead the music came rolling out the speakers about two gears higher. While this may work to some extent, it can also break or damage the magic of the material as played on CD. And that's how it felt in a way, even if I was having a very good time, with my heart juming of sheer joy and happiness. Instrumentally it was flawless, flawless, I tells ya! The crowd went exstatic. Well, not really, but they did cheer a lot.

We all know how good the album is and how good a singer Annelore Vantomme is. But how would Ann do it, being thrown to the lions, trying to stand her ground in the small arena? Having to learn many songs' lyrics in a period of several weeks isn't easy. Trying to sing them with the right timbre and intonation even less. Or is it the other way around? Either way, hats off for her perseverance and efforts. At first she had to find her way a bit, but little by little her vocal chords came loose, by manner of speech, and she sang each following song better and better, be it "Void", the überfast "Rage" or even the slower "Beyond Goodbye" where high notes were to be reached. Ann passed the test and amazed us all.

In between songs Ann told about how she got in the band and how this and that happened. For "Roots Of Reality" she sincerely showed admiration for Annelore's input on the album and dedicated the song to her. What followed in terms of vocal performance was surprisingly good, very good even. Singing with Metal backing is one thing, having just the piano as support and guidance is another, as the voice is put in the spotlights even more. Here as well, during "Angelheart", I have to give kudos to Ann for her performance. Both these songs, especially them, were brought in a way that made me suppress some tears (this time not exaggerating). Well, I was getting a bit tired due to it having been late all week. Or it was a mix of both the band's performance and fatigue that caused this. Either way, if it was good, it has to be said. I now understand why Wouter was so enthusiastic about Ann's addition, for I don't think anyone comes closer to Annelore's voice than her and that's exactly what GWYLLION needed. Unlike what happened to NIGHTWISH when they added someone with a completely different voice. Ok, lots of talk about the new singer, but that was also the biggest change. It does remain clear that each of the members is a very skilled musician (be it on guitar, keyboards or drums) and at some point I thought bassist Thomas would fit very well in a Jazz formation, seeing how he plays. Oh, did I mention Wouter's drumwork? He kicked ass and showed INFINITE HORIZON and THE CLAYMORE for which band the evening was reserved. GWYLLION a must to hear and see? Hell yes!

Playlist:

Intro
Entwined
Void
Rage
Beyond Goodbye
The Night Awakes
Closure
Thousand Words
Roots Of Eternity
Angelheart
Trinity
Once Upon A Lifetime
Lost In A Dream

GWYLLION
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Three bands that fit in the same category, yet are so different from each other. As good as THE CLAYMORE is on a musical level, I can't deny that Andreas Grundmann needs more roughness in his singing, as it might contrast a bit too often with the music. INFINITE HORIZON surprised me and I'll surely add at least one of their albums to my collection later. But everything revolved around GWYLLION, but you could see that INFINITE HORIZON and THE CLAYMORE were keen on presenting their material and not let the headliner get all the credit. The first gig for GWYLLION with Ann on vocals would be crucial for the next concerts, also because this first gig was the release party of the new album, "The Edge Of All I Know". Luckily all went very smooth and the band can hit the other stages with great confidence. This diamond in the rough is shining brighter and brighter.



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02/02/2009 – ICED EARTH / SAXON (Brussels, Belgium)

Two juggernauts in their own genre, ICED EARTH (website) representing Power Metal, SAXON (website) still waving the flag of good old Heavy Metal. The binding element is the label, SPV, and together the USA and the UK form a tight force to bring Metal to the masses. Each also has a new album out: "The Crucible Of Man" and "Into The Labyrinth", with the latter being available since a couple of weeks.

When I read that both these bands would play on Belgian soil and not too far from where I work, it was determined that I would be there. Two reasons, aside from the location, were the cause of this: SAXON live is always top notch and I finally would have the opportunity to see ICED EARTH do their thing on stage. I prefer venue gigs instead of large festivals, hence the joy that arose at the time of the tour announcement. But as it had snowed that morning, my presence was sort of endangered, since the only way back home was by train. The railway company had taken measures and no problems were reported. Luckily the weather improved in the afternoon, melting away the snow and ice.

ICED EARTH has undergone several line-up changes the past few years, but with Troy Seele (guitar) and Freddie Vidales (bass) it seems the situation has been stabilized for a number of years to come. With Matt Barlow back on vocals the power of before should also be reinstalled, even if the music is still the main element. The last few albums and particularly "Framing Armageddon" and "The Crucible Of Man" were different from those that made the band popular: "Night Of The Stormrider", "Burnt Offerings", "Something Wicked This Way Comes", to name a few. Each has his favourite ICED EARTH release, though, like with any other band. Personally I thought the last two full-lengths were very decent to good, but honesty obliges me to admit that I too prefer real albums instead of concept ones with several short tracks in between the longer ones.

Despite the gig being booked on a Monday and in Brussels, lots of people managed to show up to show their support for both these great bands and it wasn't a surprise to see many ICED EARTH or SAXON t-shirts. Still, the place wasn't sold out and the two upper floors weren't even accessible, which would have meant room for another few hundred people or so. Outside, the merchandise crew sold t-shirts or caps at 15 EUR or something. Inside the venue many emptied their wallets to obtain a t-shirt at the merch stand. And to my surprise there was a boxset of ICED EARTH CDs with a pricetag of 175 EUR. 175! Century Media re-released the back catalogue in a box last year and titled it "Slave To The Dark - The Century Media Years", but you got mostly CDs and not many booklets. While I don't know what was in the boxset of 175 EUR, maybe it was the full back catalogue with every album in its completeness, with CD and booklet. Either way, I have a few ICED EARTH releases, but that price was too high for me to maybe complete my collection.

Once the time for ICED EARTH to occupy the stage neared (19h40), the tension rose and several people couldn't suppress their joy as the lights went out and the intro began. Obviously it was the start of "The Crucible Of Man", or "In Sacred Flames", followed by "Behold The Wicked Child" and two shorter tracks off "Framing Armageddon": "Motivation Of Man" and "Setian Massacre". The setlist lay at a distance, so I couldn't cheat, even if I know most of the tracks that followed. That was also the case with SAXON, as the stage is very large, meaning the band didn't play that close to the audience. The start was good and tight, but served more as a warm-up for what was to come.

As good as the few new songs were brought, it was more than obvious that ICED EARTH shone brighter during the old songs, which pleased the crowd enormously, as you could have guessed. "Burning Times", the heavy crackers like "Vengeance Is Mine", "Pure Evil" and "My Own Savior"... pure highlights of the show and a delight for the ears. Yes, indeed. The sound also played a big role, of course, making sure Jon Schaffer's typical riffing came out very strong.

Troy Seele did a good to very good job, including the solos. Bassist Freddie Vidales formed a powerful duo with drummer Brent Smedley, who played at ease and showed how important he is for ICED EARTH. Matt Barlow showed once more why he cannot be replaced and why he is the perfect vocalist for this American band. Sure, it's a little different without the long hairs, as it takes away some of the magic of the long-haired Matt conquering the minds of the fans, but in the end it's the voice that matters. The old songs were absolutely no problem, the Owens material all the more. Matt forced himself in singing high during "Ten Thousand Strong" and it would have been better if they left it off the setlist and replaced it with - just a thought - "Dante's Inferno". Tim's lines don't fit Matt's singing style at all. Maybe another song off "Framing Armageddon" would have been better. "Declaration Day" went better, also because that material was written with Matt in mind, but it was Tim Owens' voice that was recorded then ("The Glorious Burden" album).

Coming back to the sound. It was powerful and that made the music come out very well, but in the second half or maybe last third of the show, the soundguy played a bit too much with the buttons, increasing Matt's voice volume all of a sudden. I understand that a vocalist must be heard while singing, but at least make it inline with the instruments. It's a detail, but one that shook me awake, so to speak, and made me frown. Everything went well for a good 50 minutes, until this small incident happened. But overall I can say I was very pleased to have seen ICED EARTH at least once, even if they only played 70 minutes. I'm looking forward to the next times, if they'll take place and our agendas can be matched. On a sidenote, there was a camera next to the lighting guy. So either this was just for himself, to check on his work afterwards or the footage will be used for a DVD.

Playlist:

In Sacred Flames
Behold The Wicked Child
Motivation Of Man
Setian Massacre
Burning Times
Declaration Day
Vengeance Is Mine
Violate
Pure Evil
Watching Over Me
Ten Thousand Strong
Dracula
Melancholy
My Own Savior
Iced Earth (bonus)

ICED EARTH
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SAXON was scheduled for 21u15 and would of course play a full set or 90 minutes. Since I had to catch a train in time, I had to leave the venue earlier, but would still have seen the biggest part of their set. At that time it was 22h30 and the band had just finished "Crusader". SAXON have been doing this kind of music for several tens of years, especially blooming in the 1980s and getting another boost around 2000 with "Metalhead" and "Killing Ground". Not too mention that 2004's "Lionheart" increased SAXON's popularity and made their fanbase grow all the more. Anno 2006 "The Inner Sanctum" was released and showed these veteran Metallers sure ain't thinking of retiring as their second or third or fourth youth has been found. The expectations were thus very high when "Into The Labyrinth" was announced last year and released last January.

Since I've seen the band live at Schwung in 2005 they rapidly became one of my favourite Heavy Metal bands and soon enough their albums found a place in my collection. I had already heard some of their songs, but wasn't familiar enough with the entire back catalogue as my taste was focused on Power Metal mostly. But since then I've been on the lookout and had the pleasure to see the band live one or two more times, which was absolutely great, fun, entertaining, splendid and more. And that's what's so good about SAXON: they're a very solid band that can easily transfer their music to the stage. Not every song fits that context, but the large majority does. So, as I mentioned above, regarding ICED EARTH, having the chance to see SAXON again is also something that must be done.

SAXON's stage set was much smaller than the first time I saw them (2005), but thanks to the big space at the back of the stage a large backdrop could be hung up, like a huge "Into The Labyrinth" curtain. The lights would then project the labyrinth in different colours during the band's performance.

SAXON stands for pure quality and as the band makes their first steps onto the stage, the crowd is very enthusiastic. The first notes were those of "Battalions Of Steel", the first song off the new album, "Into The Labyrinth", and an obvious choice to begin with. As good as it sounds on CD, so it does live. Unlike ICED EARTH, Biff and co. spread the new tracks over their setlist, offering old(er) material - from "Metalhead" over "Man and Machine" to "Broken Heroes" - in between so as to not surprise the audience too much and kick enough energy into them to make it a splendid evening. And no, the "Lionheart" and "The Inner Sanctum" albums weren't forgotten either.

Strangely enough there were no songs off albums like "Dogs Of War", "Unleash The Beast", "Rock Of Nations", "Solid Ball Of Rock", ... At least, not when I was still in the venue. Maybe they did add one or more to close the set. My point is - and any SAXON fan will understand - that sometimes these albums should be considered when making one or more setlists for a tour. I agree that not all songs may be super, but each of those releases does contains a good portion of worthy songs. But it's up to the band to decide how many songs and which ones they wish to play. A tour is still a means to promote a new release and of course a certain percentage of the setlist is then already taken. But as far as I'm concerned, I had nothing to complain about, save for one of the new songs, "Hell Cat". This is a firm Rock song and one of the best on "Into The Labyrinth". Live, however, it sounded messy to my ears. It could be due to not having played it enough so far, or because the soundguy(s) played with the buttons, adjusting the settings in a bad way or another reason could be found for this problem. On the other hand, "Valley Of The Kings" and "Demon Sweeny Todd" were some of the pearls that were played and on the album they're also among the best tracks. SAXON still know their Metal and needs no lesson from anyone.

As the ICED EARTH soundguy played a bit too much with the buttons at some point, so did the one responsable for SAXON's sound. And also in the second half of the band's set. What was the matter? During I-can't-remember-which-song guitarist Paul Quinn starts his solo, but it sounds loud and a bit messy. So, volume turned up, the other instruments still audible, but especially Nigel's drumming (kickdrumming) has a hard time coming through. As I know the song, I sort of play the drums in my head, which shouldn't happen if it weren't for that change in volume.

As said before, I had to leave the premises at 22h30 to catch the train of 23h02, taking a route I use every once in a blue moon on foot. So, leaving earlier would prevent from having to run to catch the train.

All things considered I can say SAXON once again delivered the goods, for the largest part. The setlist was pretty varied and regarding the new songs, they're as good live as the other songs, save for "Hell Cat". But I reckon this is something that can be fixed with lots of playing and good communication with the sound engineers. Or maybe this song could be replaced by "Crime Of Passion" or "Slow Lane Blues", for example. Either way, I had a very good time and that's what matters, ultimately.

Playlist:

Battalions Of Steel
Let Me Feel Your Power
Metalhead
Demon Sweeny Todd
Man & Machine
Dallas 1PM
Hell Cat
Broken Heroes
Valley Of The Kings
Heavy Metal Thunder
Power & The Glory
Crusader
Live To Rock (after I left the venue)
Princess Of The Night (after I left the venue)

SAXON
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As different as ICED EARTH and SAXON may be, this package does work and unites both old and young rockers and makes each category acquainted with the other band's work. Plus, Heavy Metal and Power Metal are closely related, which makes the entertainment value for the crowd bigger. I, for one, am glad to have seen ICED EARTH with Matt Barlow at least once now and can honestly add that I hope it won't be the last. SAXON, as said before, is no stranger to me live and they were quite simply solid (save for a few minor issues). To anyone still planning to go see both or one of these bands, I can highly recommend it!



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Concerts 2009

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ANGELI DI PIETRA -
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ICED EARTH/SAXON -
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INFINITE HORIZON/
THE CLAYMORE/
GWYLLION -
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