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.:Festival Reviews:.

08/10/2005 – ROCK TERNAT (Ternat, Belgium)

Rock Ternat (website), a 2-day festival, 2 tents (one for the 'softer' rock and one for the harder bands). The focus lies more on Belgian acts, mixed with a coupe of international 'biggies'. This year, ARCH ENEMY and DIO destroyed the place. :-)

It was my first Rock Ternat, even though it was the 13th edition and I would never have gone if it weren't for some friends telling me about it.

DARK TRANQUILLITY pulled out of ARCH ENEMY's European tour - for whatever reasons - and CKY (CAMP KILL YOURSELF - great name, don't you think? :p) took their place.

This is the schedule of Saturday. The bands marked with an * are the ones we've seen.

Octopus Stage:

15h05 - 15h50 Dearly Deported *
16h20 - 17h10 De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig
17h40 - 18h30 Bettie Serveert
19h00 - 19h50 Janez Detd. *
20h20 - 21h20 Therapy? *
21h50 - 22h50 The Dandy Warhols
23h20 - 00h35 Novastar
00h55 - 03h45 Discobar Galaxie

Killer Whale Stage:

14h50 - 15h30 Izaera
15h55 - 16h35 Cowboys and Aliens *
17h00 - 17h45 Death Before Disco *
18h10 - 19h00 Angel Crew *
19h25 - 20h15 Trivium
20h45 - 21h45 CKY
22h15 - 23h20 Arch Enemy *
23h50 - 01h05 DIO *

When we arrived a little after 15h00, we immediately entered the Octopus tent to see DEARLY DEPORTED at work. I only know the band by its name, but the music is punkrock and can be described as JANEZ DETD meets NAILPIN. One of the bandmembers who really stood out, was the drummer. Great job.

Playlist: strength - different - final solution - forgotten angel - wrong direction - life ainít - may 16 - until the day - again - watching - 10 to 1 - letís talk - dylan

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Since we came for the rock/metal bands, we changed tents as soon as DEARLY DEPORTED had finished and waited for the stonerrockers COWBOYS & ALIENS, who I already had seen in May at Schwung (classic rock festival) in Roeselare. There they played with two guitarists, but apparently since then, there have been some line-up changes. So, a new drummer and one guitarist less. Maybe it's a psychologic issue, but when you expect two guitarist and you only see/hear one, then you tend to think the gig could have been better. Well, in a way yes. To me, they were better in May, but Saturday too they played a very good set.

Playlist : Let me walk u home - Moving target - Language of superstars - Heart body & soul - Waiting at the gates - Pissing me off - Remember my name - Napalm beach - Time Caesar

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Next band was DEATH BEFORE DISCO. Their music has some resemblances with COWBOYS & ALIENS, only with more screaming and wild guitarriffs. The only member that really stood out was the drummer, who implemented some nice changes in his drumming. I'm not saying that the others can't play their instrument, but the songs are too noisy, the vocalist should try to sing instead of screaming/yelling. The best songs came at the end of their set. In between, I went outside for some fresh air and dispose of... well, you know. ;-) Anyhow, DEATH BEFORE DISCO is a band I would like to forget as soon as possible.

Playlist: Blink, brake - Dear escalated - Putting the power to the pause - Pyramids - Like serpico - Kill the dancer - Metal - Moving is easy - The nations divide - Kiss, kill, Lolita

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And then... not just Punk, but heavy hardcore. ANGEL CREW, formed by members from DEVIATE, BACKFIRE!, LENGTH OF TIME and ARKANGEL. Though it's totally not my favourite kind of music, I do have to admit hat these guys are good at what they do. Of course, moshpits and circles were omni-present, though a lot of people in the crowed weren't so pleased with it. Neither was I. I come for the music, not to get kicked and punched. But since there are people who like it/need it... Just one last note: concerts are great, but why do they - in my opinion - always/mostly have to have a negative twitch because of moshing?

Back to ANGEL CREW, who were promoting their latest album "One Life, One Sentence". Like I said, these guys are pretty good. Heavy guitars, uptempo drums, screaming. Overall, very rhythmic. ;-)

Playlist: angel skin - life sentence - strength of one - another day living in hatred - spit it out - break through - dying breed - chapter of violence - steal your crown - bring down the world - shut them down - carry on the war - life of an angel - another king down - what it comes down to - only one truth will last - side by side - dead end sin

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Since JANEZ DETD and THERAPY? are very popular here in Belgium - and we don't care much about TRIVIUM and CKY ;-) - we headed back to the Octopus Stage. JANEZ DETD were already playing and the tent was well filled. It was hard to get to the front, so we stayed a bit at the back. Coming from the heavy ANGEL CREW and hearing the Belgian punkrockers kinda made me laugh. Compared to ANGEL CREW, JANEZ DETD are just kids. :-) But they're quite good, have some good sing-along songs and here too, the drummer kicks ass, eh, drums.

JANEZ DETD played their usual hits and got a lot of applause from the crowd. Since we stood too far from the stage, taking pictures was hard. There's one in the gallery though.

Playlist: killing me - mala vida - raise your fist - alright - class of í92 - in these days - kids today - beaver fever - fires to come - rock on - lisa - killing me - deep - saturday - take on me - anti-anthem

And then, the Irish THERAPY?. Although Andy's voice wasn't so good at times, they too played a very good set and also got cheered on by the audience. I was very pleased wih them playing songs from "Troublegum": "Knives", "Screamager", "Die Laughing" and the wonderful "Nowhere" which is one of my favourite THERAPY? songs. They also played "Diane" ("Infernal Love" album) in a slightly different version. Another song I remember was "Rock You Monkeys", coming off their last album "Never Apologise Never Explain". They played more songs, but in general THERAPY? were of the best that day. I think it was before "Rock You Monkeys" that Andy held a speech about George Bush, about how the (Busch) thinks he can do whatever he wants, that Europe will blindly follow and swallow everything. Andy encouraged everyone to put up the middle finger with "Fuck you, George Bush!". Needless to say, everyone agreed and put the finger up. A great moment. :-)

Playlist: rust - die like a MF - screamager - knives - long distance - rise up - die laughing - neck freak - rock you monkeys - perish the thought - polar bear - potato junkie - innocent - nowhere - diane

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After THERAPY? we had quite some time before the melodic Death Metal masters ARCH ENEMY, so we brought our energy level back to a serious height for the last two acts.

But since ARCH ENEMY are a well-known band, you had to be fast to get a good place in front. The first thing that amazed me were the drums. Damn, what a kit! *drools* The place was getting packed very rapidly and after the bombastic intro, the band started viciusly with the fantastic "Nemesis", which comes off their latest release "Doomsday Machine". Immediately, the crowed started moshing, headbanging and more. The sound was awesome and tight. Angela's growls were flawless.

ARCH ENEMY are promoting "Doomsday Machine" and played also the great uptempo and my favourite "I Am Legend/Out For Blood", "Skeleton Dance" and "My Apocalypse". Other songs included "Ravenous", "Burning Angel", and many more. The great "We Will Rise" wasn't forgotten either.

Throughout the gig the band played flawless, mixing fast riffs with great solos. The new guitarist Fredrik Åkesson also did a wonderful job and played like he's been in ARCH ENEMY since many years. Respect for learning the songs so fast. Also respect for Angela, whose throat is unbelievable. ARCH ENEMY are definitely the masters. A pity though DARK TRANQUILLITY couldn't come along. Then there would have been two great melodic Death Metal bands.

The crowed were exstatic, here too there was a lot of moshing and it was even worse than with ANGEL CREW. Still, if you can, try to see the band live. They kick ass, play very tight and flawless.

Daniel Erlandson also showed us his skills with an awesome drumsolo. He deserves more attention than he's getting, compared with legends like Dave Lombardo, Richard Christy, Bobby Jarzombek, and more.

Playlist: nemesis - dead eyes see no future - my apocalypse - burning angel - diva satanica - i am legend/out for blood - bury me an angel - ravenous - skeleton dance - dead bury their dead - we will rise - fields of desolation

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When the godfather of Metal comes next, you really MUST stay where you are. No need to go and get some fries, a kebab or anything else. There was a projection screen that had been hanging above the stage since the beginning and we were all wondering what it was for... until DIO. On this screen, a DVD played with a dragon flying, spitting fire and you saw the devil himself (the one from the "Holy Diver" and other albums) with the \m/ sign, with both hands. After that, Ronnie James Dio himself appeared and held a speech, after which the band came on stage and started with "Stand Up And Shout". Woohooo!

DIO (the band) played no new songs, but mostly songs from the '80s, including from BLACK SABBATH and RAINBOW: "Holy Diver", "Don't Talk To Strangers", "Straight Through The Heart", "Shame On The Night", "Rainbow In The Dark", "Heaven And Hell", and more.

Craig Goldy (guitar) hurt his arm while touring Russia and has been trying to continue to play the shows on painkillers, but it had become impossible for him to continue. Therefore, Doug Aldrich replaced him and will play the rest of the tour. Doug too amazed me. What a guitarist! Solos too are no problem at all for him. Flawless.

Ronnie James Dio himself is still full of energy and the \m/ sign was shown multiple times, the crwod gladly doing the same. Song after song, Dio sang like hell, not interrupting between songs to say something. He did it one or two times, but it were more 'thank you' words than really 'speeching'. It was great that the band played old songs, which all were a lust for the ear and great to sing-along. But still, I regret that they didn't play anything new ("Master Of The Moon" album). Was it because some reviews weren't positive about that particular album?

Still, Dio's the master and he still reigns. I did notice that the amount of people had decreased a bit, compared with ARCH ENEMY. Tough luck for those who skipped DIO, for the band were killer. :-) And maybe it's because many youngsters don't know DIO or Dio (the man) and therefore can't appreciate his music or they prefer heavier Metal.

I'm really glad to have seen DIO/Dio perform live. The man's a legend, a god (devil? ;-)). Musically everything was more than alright and Dio's voice was perfect as well. Simon Wright also was given some time to perform a drumsolo. He too is one hell of a drummer. I was in Metal heaven Saturday. ;-) Scott Warren also played a little keyboardsolo.

Historic words from Dio about DISCOBAR GALAXIE (dance act), who were playing at the same time, but in the other tent: "Well that's some bad polka". And he's right, as usual. ;-)

Playlist: tarot woman - sign of the southern cross - one night in the city - evil eyes - stand up and shout - holy diver - gipsy - caught in the middle - donít talk to strangers - straight through the heart - invisible - rainbow in the dark - shame on the night - gates of Babylon - heaven and hell

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Rock Ternat was a nice experience for me, mainly because of the bigger names. The accomodations are also well chosen, the tents are very large, the whole festival is well organized. If next year's line-up will be as good as this year, I might consider going again.

More pictures can viewed at this location.

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03/09/2005 – VELOROCK (Ostend, Belgium)

Velorock (website), a local and free (!) one-day Metalfestival giving attention to local and international bands. This year, they managed to get 3 big ones: ORPHANAGE, ATROCITY and DESTRUCTION (headliner). Last year was good as well, as you can read at this location.

This year's line-up consisted of:

* 14h00-14h25: ROADBLOCK - screaming, pounding heavy rock - website
* 14h45-15h05: DRUNK SINCERITY - punkrock - website
* 15h20-15h50: OSTEND POWERS - see KORN, LIMP BIZKIT, DEFTONES - website
* 16h15-16h45: DEDICTED - Thrash/Death - website
* 17h10-18h00: BELGIAN ASOCIALITY - punkrock/hardcore - website
* 18h30-19h20: ORPHANAGE - Gothic Metal - website
* 20h00-21h20: ATROCITY - Death Metal - website
* 22h10-23h40: DESTRUCTION - Thrash Metal - website

Like last year, I arrived a little late and this time I managed to miss the opening band (ROADBLOCK). Mainly because of having taken the wrong direction towards the festival site. But now I know how to get there for the next times. ;-)

Upon arrival, I noticed there were more people present than in 2004, which is good, since that also shows the interest for rock/Metal they have, but I also think it's because bands like DESTRUCTION were scheduled. O yes, the weather was great again, hot the whole afternoon.

While I missed ROADBLOCK, I was ready for the rest of the line-up. DRUNK SINCERITY is a local band, but also one that shows they enjoy playing music and having fun at it. Their enthusiasm is of a high level, even though they still have a lot to learn in terms of musicianship and live performance. But the singer solved the little problems pretty well. The flaws that led to some hilarious moments were mainly because of the drummer, who felt it necessary to call it quits during a particular song. The other members encouraging him to play on since the song hadn't ended at all. Still, despite these little things, the band got some exposure, they're enthusiastic and if they want to, they can get pretty far. But for now, it's just fun music they make. :-)

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Next band to play were OSTEND POWERS and like you read more above, their music sounds like KORN, DEFTONES and the likes. Though I really don't like nu-metal (which isn't Metal), I decided to give these guys a chance. But after some songs that was it for me. Roughly said, they're... boring. I couldn't connect with the music at all. The guitars were groovy, nothing technical or stuff like that.

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So far, one 'good' and one bad band. Fingers crossed for what DEDICTED would bring. And they indeed do a pretty good job, with music that can be described as Thrash/Death. Heavy, fast riffs, screaming vocals (ŗ la Anders Fridèn from IN FLAMES). No solos unfortunately, but they do have great guitarists. If they keep it up, then we've got another great Belgian Metalband. Moshpits here didn't pass unnoticed.

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Before the three 'biggies' can do their thing, there's one Belgian band left: BELGIAN ASOCIALITY. Their music also contains a huge 'fun' factor with lyrics about everyday life: traffic problems, relation problems, life on the farm, booz, ... and can really be nice when played at the right time/situation, but today their performance wasn't so great, at least to me. In certain songs, you hear some reaggae influences, but for the majority of the songs, it all sounds the same and after 5 songs, you know how the rest sounds. A pity, because their music can be fun at times. Here as well, moshpits played a big role.

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With all this energy and hot weather, one get's hungry and thirsty. Food/drinks are important on such events, otherwise you won't be 'fit' enough to last all day. Beer and coke supplies were legio, as were the hamburger and sausages. ;-)

The Netherlands are known for their Gothic bands (AFTER FOREVER, THE GATHERING, EPICA, NEMESEA, ORPHANAGE, ...). AFTER FOREVER performed at Velrock in 2003, ORPHANAGE was asked for this year. I am, sorry.. was, not so familiar with their music, though I had already heard of them. Because of technical problems, their gig was postponed with about 20 minutes. But once everything was alright, the power, the heaviness, the velocity... awesome! This is damn heavy Gothic and of high quality. One of their guitarists, Marcel - at least today - looks/looked a bit like Messiah from Doom Metallers CANDLEMASS. But when you consult the band's website, you'll see that he looks very different.

How George manages to grunt and scream like that, and for a long time, is beyond me. This was really mindblowing, flawless even. Rosan's voice also adds to the experience and great music ORPHANAGE makes. In general, I'm convinced and will check out their albums (in due time, since I'm not swimming in money ;-)). This was the second best performance of today. A great band who deserve all the attention they can get.

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The second big name that was scheduled are German Death Metallers ATROCITY, fronted by Liv Kristine' husband Alexander Krull. ATROCITY's members also form LEAVES' EYES with Liv Kristine. In turn, she does some guest vocals on ATROCITY's last release "Atlantis".

The band played a mix of old and 'new' (= "Atlantis") songs like "Blut", "Enigma", "Gods Of Nations" (where Alexander clearly expressed his dislike for God, Christ and Allah with the words "fuck God, fuck Christ and fuck Allah"), "Shout", and more which I can't remember.

There's only one album I've heard and that's "Atlantis" and it totally didn't convince me. Too much noise, not enough variation, melodies, structures.. The majority is one big pile of heavy guitar riffs and fast drumming. Benefit of the doubt live, but even then they confirmed my thoughts on their last release. Alexander's growls didn't come out much and if they did, you could hardly understand what he was 'saying'. Now and then, Liv would assist him on stage, but to be honest, I don't understand what the fuss is about her. Personally, I don't find her that good at all and when she sings with her high/thin voice, she almost sounds like Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy's wife). Anyhow, ATROCITY was dissapointing, too much fuss, too much noise. On top of that, the noise fell away in the end (drums first, then the guitars when all was played). Maybe a confirmation of the quality of the gig? ;-)

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And then THE moment of truth, the band we were all waiting for, legends of their genre, in the business since 1984: DESTRUCTION. They too started later, but what you got in return was breathtaking, mindblowing, a lesson in Metal, a lesson in Thrash. They are the masters and still kick ass. I had never experienced them in a live environment, but the trip to Ostend was very well worth it.

DESTRUCTION began their performance with the smashing "Curse The Gods", coming off the "Eternal Devastation" album (1986), next was the great "Nailed To The Cross" ("Metal Discharge" album, 2003). Of course, new songs were to be played too, since the band's recently released a new Thrash masterpiece called "Inventor Of Evil" of which you can read the review at this location.

"Soul Collector", a 'ballad' as Schmier describes it ;-) and the opening track of "Inventor Of Evil", is the first and live it even sounds more powerful. After a couple of older tracks, Schmier expressed his malcontent about the posers and everything and how Metal will always be there to counter the mainstream. This speech resulted in one of the best songs on "Inventor Of Evil": "The Defiance Will Remain".

Schmier also noted that there should be more tolerance and comeradship among metalheads and "The Alliance Of Hellhoundz" was the perfect song to play then. The uptempo "Bestial invasion" followed then and this was flawless. DESTRUCTION live is truly a lust for the ear and a pain for the neck, hahaha. ;-)

But all was not well, as there were complaints about the stage speakers, being too loud for the band and Schmier kicked - later asked them to be removed - them off the stage. Furthermore, the man responsable for the sound got a big rebuke and I quote: "As for you, fuck you! Go home! I hope this man doesn't get paid for his work today." The audience agreed fully, cheering the band on. Besides these speaker problems, at one time the soud of Mike's guitar fell away. The band solved it quite nice with a drumsolo from Marc. Here too, great musicianship. With the stage speakers gone, I must admit that everything went smoother and the sound was better, more spread, clearer.

DESTRUCTION ended their second Velorock appearance with "Mad Butcher", as Schmier stated: as song specially written for DESTRUCTION. But because the fans were extatic, we got a bonus song. Logically, you've got "Mad Butcher" and.... "The Butcher Strikes Back", which can be found on the "All Hell Breaks Loose" album.

Overall conclusion: GREAT! MASTERFUL! MUST SEE! DESTRUCTION truly are masters at what they play, even after all those years. They play like hell, don't care about trends, stay true to Metal. Live they're simply amazing and it will be one of the most memorable concerts in my life.


Intro 1

Curse The Gods
Nailed To The Cross
Soul Collector
Eternal Ban
Life Without Sense
The Defiance Will Remain
Invincible Force

Intro 2

Total Desaster
The Alliance Of Hellhoundz
Bestial Invasion
Metal Discharge

Intro 3

Thrash 'till Death
Mad Butcher

Bonus: The Butcher Strikes Back

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DESTRUCTION destroyed the place, ORPHANAGE is a close second. DEDICTED could be third... anyhow, it was again a great day, with the best for last. Security handled things perfectly, no one got hurt, very nice work of the organisaton comittee. Ok, there were some soundproblems, but other than that, a great day.

More pictures can viewed at this location.

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Festivals 2008

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