Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

CD review DOWN "Down IV part 2" EP

Veröffentlicht am 11. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Down, Doom Metal, Stoner Rock, Sludge, CD Review, News

(8/10) As promised Down released part 2 of the announced EP series. Another six anthems from the Louisiana based all-star band. What started many years ago with their highlight "Nola" climaxed in this EP. And Part 2 is a logical continuation for Part 1 which was released two years ago.

But there is also a huge difference. This EP was the first one without six stringer Kurt Windstein. He was replaced by the "Down family friend" Bobby Landgraf. Fortunately this change didn't have a huge impact on the sound and the songs. At least not a bad one. It actually looks like an extra push which was initiated by the new situation. Heavy riffs, a stronger southern blues touch and the incomparable voice from Phil Anselmo are the trademarks of the band and those come back in this release. And it seems that the band had really fun in recording this album. 'Part 2" expresses a lot of dedication for the tunes and the music. 

After I heard the album several times I have the feeling that the songs are a bit faster than on Part 1 and also a bit easier to access. The opener "Steeple" is one of those songs. Eventhough it starts pretty slow it gains pace along the way and ends up in a mean rocking beast. A similar structure comes back in "We know him well". A bit slower than the opener the track feels faster than e.g. the eight minutes long "Conjure". This song is a really slow one with some clear Black Sabbath references, esp. when it comes to the main riff. It's these differences and variations between the tracks which makes the album unique, esp. since Down is capable to have this flexibility within their trademarks. It always sounds like 100% Down. Compared to this real heavy stuff "Sufferer's years" feels almost swinging and light, but of course in the Down framework. It's a cool and grooving anthem which shows again a slightly different side of the band. The second eight minutes highlight is called "Baccanalia" and is the closer on the EP. It is about the pleasures of life and life in itself. The tube is another massive monster which combines the duelling guitars with the heavy punch from the rhythm section. The end of the track is surprising since it is an accoustical one. It sounds almost fragile compared to what you've heard before. It almost feels like a cliffhanger in a TV series which makes you curious on how the next album will sound like.  

"Down IV - part 2" became the expected next highlight in Down's discography. Music that makes your head bang. 

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Steeple
  2. We know him well
  3. Hogsheag / dogshead
  4. Conjure
  5. Sufferer's years
  6. Bacchanalia

 

Label: Roadrunner Records

Genre: Doom Metal, Stoner Rock

 

CD review DOWN  "Down IV part 2" EP
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Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

Veröffentlicht am 10. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Katatonia, Live Review, Anathema, Unplugged, Rock, News, Messenger

After quite a while Swedens dark metal band Katatonia decided to go on tour again. I think it is the first time since 2011 that the band plays a few shows. In the meantime things changed, last but not least even the line-up of the band. In a renewed constellation the five guys had a look into their songs and decided to re-arrange some of them. They made semi-accoustic versions which they present now live on this tour. So you can say that it is a logical continuation of what they have started last year with the fantastic "Dethroned and uncrowned" album.

If I look on Katatonia's development I see parallels with Anathema. Also they started with death metal influenced dark metal, before their sound became more and more relaxed, partly accoustic with a bigger prog rock orientation.

However, the evening in Amstelveen, Holland started with the UK rockers from Messenger. The five guys play a melange out of prog rock, some smaller folk element and some psychedalic influences. Their sound fitted perfect and listening to them was entertaining. Not more and not less.

After a short break the highlight of the evening was ready to go. Katatonia entered the stage for a 15 songs long set with some real highlights. Encased in sphereful blue and red light the band started with "In the white" into the evening. While talking about the light; the stage was done very basic, as it should be for an accoustic show. The focus was on the music, which was good. The only extra from a visual point of view have been the obligatory candles on stage and some light bulbs from the ceiling. That was it. 
These unplugged shows have been very special for the band. Jonas Renske and Anders Nyström mentioned a couple of times that they have been nervous before the show, since it was just the second accoustic gig. But the little stagefright was not recognisable. A bit introvert and reflecting the band created a magic atmosphere of vulnerability and melancholia. It shows the potential of the songs that they can be re-arranged in such a way. 
A look on the setlist also shows that Katatonia played tunes which they haven't played ever live, like "Gone" and "The one you are looking for is not here". Next to these two tracks the guys from Stockholm also added songs to the show which they haven't played live for many years. The last time songs like "Day" and "A darkness coming" have been performed was many years ago. Time was flying and it was far too early when Renske announced the last song. But the fans have been fascinated by the performance and demanded an encore. Katatonia came back for one more song. But after the final note of "The one you are looking for is not here" was played the light went on and the moment of magic was over. 70 minutes was definitely too short for such a show. That was a real downer. You could see this also in the faces of the fans. This time it was quality instead of quantity. Maybe next time it is both.

To sum up. It was a cool and chilling evening with very sphereful music from two good bands. A succesful experiment which can be done more often. But of course Katatonia also should not forget to rock ;o)

Katatonia continues the tour with a few more shows in Germany, Switzerland, France and UK. All concerts will take place at special locations which emphasis the ambience. Check it out.

 

Setlist:

  1. In the white
  2. Ambitious
  3. Teargas
  4. Gone (live premier)
  5. A darkness coming (first performance since 2004)
  6. One year
  7. Racing heart
  8. Tonight's music
  9. Sleeper
  10. Undo you
  11. Lethean
  12. Day (first performance since 1997)
  13. Idle blood
  14. Unfurl
  15. The one you are looking for is not here (live premier)

 

Location: P60, Amsterlveen, The Netherlands

Genre: Rock (semi-unplugged)

Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Live review KATATONIA (unplugged), P60, Amstelveen, The Netherlands
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CD review VALLENFYRE "Splinter"

Veröffentlicht am 9. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Vallenfyre, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Paradise Lost, Triptykon, CD Review, News

(9/10) The foundation of Vallenfyre is a very special one. The initiative was taken by Paradise Lost guitarist Greg Mackintosh. He started Vallenfyre as something to compensate the grief about the death of his father. Greg started to write down things and create songs which transport very much the sadness  and anger of such a situation. He put all this into the funnel and the result was an album called "A fragile king". At that time I didn't know much about the story behind the album. The more exciting thing for me was, that the rawness of the material was more recall to the early days of Paradise Lost. But however, it was really strong debut disc.

The second remarkable things was, that Greg did also the lead vocals. We know him as a brilliant guitar player, but nobody could really say how this experiment would work. Actually it work really well. I think that the secret in this is, that nobdy except him could express things in such a brutal emotional way than he could - based on what he went through.

Now the band released their second album called "Splinter". It is the next step and a further develop of Vallenfyre. They kept the unwillingness to compromise and the straight forward approach of their songwriting. But they also managed to make the songs a bit more complex and ambitious. This combination fits very well. The unwillingness to compromise is actually also the base for the entire atmosphere of the album. Eventhough it's not the grief anymore which mainly drives the emotions on the album it's Mackintosh's disappointment on many things in daily life, which led to the pissed-off and angry vibe on "Splinter".

Already the opener "Scabs" became one of my faves on the album. It is a raw death metal beast which has with its simplicity even a bit of a punk reference. What I like with the vocals here (and on the entire album) is that they are very rough, but not the extreme way of growling like e.g. Six Feet Under does it. In my point of view it adds something to the songs. Also to mention the variety of tracks on the album. Amazing to see how many faces rage and dejection can have. "Instinct slaughter" is e.g. an ultra short and fast tune with grindcore references. Before you're into the song it;s already over. At least that is how it feels. On the other hand there is doomy and almost Celtic Frost based title track which takes you on a six minutes long trip though depression. Next to that there are the tracks with the death metal appearance like "Dragged to Ghenna" which steamrolls everything in it's way. So watch out.

Mackintosh found with Vallenfyre an ideal playground for the more aggressive side of music. This allows him to focus with Paradise Lost more on dark and gothic influenced metal, which fits them as well. "Splinter" is, together with the new Triptykon album, one of the best releases in the genre so far.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Scabs
  2. Bereft
  3. Instinct slaughter
  4. Odious bliss
  5. Savages arise
  6. Aghast
  7. The wolves of sin
  8. Cattle
  9. Dragged to Gehenna
  10. Thrist for extinction
  11. Splinters

 

Label: Century Media

Genre: Death Metal

CD review VALLENFYRE "Splinter"
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Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014

Veröffentlicht am 9. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Helstar, Live Review, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, News

It was a rainy and stormy night in May when Helstar from Texas stopped for a show in Rotterdam. It was the first show of the small tour. Eight more gigs, which will bring Helstar to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain,..., will follow.

According to James Rivera's  speeches between some song, the band had some problems with the flights. It seems that there have been some delays which caused some timing trouble. But the made it and Helstar entered the stage as planned at 21:15.

What happened in the next almost two hours was a firework of power metal anthems. The five guys didn't gave any signal of jetlag or being tierd. Not at all. Helstar was present from the very first moment on and it looked like, that the show and the fans acted as an additional adrenaline shot for them. James voice was in great shape and his performance made clear why he is still one of the best singers in power metal. Next to that it was the screaming guitars from Larry Barragan and Robert Trevino which have been amazing. However, the entire band played together pretty tight. The stood on stage as one unit and they rock.

Remarkable was the really good sound from the beginning on. This is even more special keeping in mind that it was the first show and that the Baroeg is a pretty small venue.

The setlist couldn't have been chosen better. Helstar played of course new songs, since they have their new labum out and want to promote it. In total five new tracks have been played which included my fave "Cursed" - a slow and doomy track build on a heavy riff. Next to the new stuff the five guys went also back in time. Seldom live perfomed songs from 1984 debut of the band have been part of the Rotterdam show. It was towards the end of the gig when six songs from "Burning star" made the audience go wild. Those tunes are still fascinating and haven't lost any power over the last 30 years of Helstar. So, focus on new and old. The rest of the show was a journey though Helstar's discography and was a 'best of' which included all the highlights of the guys from Texas.

Next to the quality of the songs, the fans got also quantity. In the meanwhile a lot of bands don't play longer than 70-80 minutes. Not Helstar. You hardly couldn't get them off the stage. But after almost two hours "Run with the pack" closed a real cool show.

It was a fantastic evening in the Baroeg and a must for each metalhead out there. Everybody who has been there left the show exhausted, but happy. Outside it was still raining and stormy, but who cares about that after such a metal tornado from Texas?

 

Setlist:

  1. Intro/Fall of dominion
  2. Pandemonium
  3. Tormetor
  4. Good day to die
  5. Eternal black
  6. This wicked nest
  7. Evil reign
  8. Cursed
  9. It has risen
  10. The king is dead
  11. Baptized in blood
  12. King of hell
  13. Burning star
  14. Witch's eye
  15. Toward the unkown
  16. Leather and lust
  17. Dracula's castle
  18. Run with the pack

 

Location: Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Date: 08.05.2014

 

 

Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014
Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014
Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014
Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014
Live review HELSTAR, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 08.05.2014
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CD review ELVENKING "The pagan manifesto"

Veröffentlicht am 7. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Elvenking, Power Metal, Folk Metal, Pagan Metal, CD Review, News

(5/10) Elvenking from Italy. What should I say? Since they are in business since more than 15 years they are definitely doing some things right. They released in all these years seven records and number eight is now available at your record shop. The name" "The pagan manifesto". 

And, maybe you expect this already, there is a but. My biggest problem is this whole image about the medieval. If you broach this issue than please like the good old Ronnie James Dio did. Castles, dragons and fortresses are cool, but druids and elfs are not really metal to me and the same goes for druids. The musicians synonyms reflect the same issue. The good thing is, that they have a consistency in this, but as said: not my cup of tea. 

When it comes to the music it looks slightly different. The power metal based songs have some highlights. Tracks like the powerful „Elvenslegion“ and „Pagan revolution“ are OK. Nice melodies and good riffs  characterize these tunes. The real fast „Twilight of magic“ is the best track on the album. Melody, power and energy fits well together. I wish the band would have had more of those songs. But sad enough there are also trivial tunes on the album like „Black roses fort he wicked one“. This is far too sticky and far too simple. „Also „The druid ritual of oak“ sounds unfinished to my ears. And last but not least the production could be also a bit better. It sounds flat and I missthe energy in each song. Where is the pwoer in those power metal tracks?

If you have been a fan of the band so far you will also like this album. When it comes to me Elvenking also couldn't light the fire with this album.

(5/10)


Tracklist:

  1. The manifesto
  2. Kings of the elves
  3. Elvenlegions
  4. The druid ritual of oak
  5. Moonbeam stone circle
  6. The solitaire
  7. Towrads the shores
  8. Pagan revolution
  9. Grandier's funeral pyre
  10. Twilight of magic
  11. Black roses for the wicked one
  12. Witches gather

 


Label:AFM Records
Genre: Folk Metal

CD review ELVENKING "The pagan manifesto"
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CD review IQ "The road of bones"

Veröffentlicht am 7. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in CD Review, IQ, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, News

(7/10) British prog icon IQ have with "The road of bones" a new album ready for release. After quite some changes in the past the band worked on the new record in almost the original line-up.

After 5 years of waiting it was time for some new tunes of the band. They became surprisingly dark and partly sometimes even sad. There is a certain burdensome layer in each of the songs which creates that vibe. This doesn't happen of course by coincidence. This is well planned and find it's starting point already in the cover of the album.

"The road of bones" contains five songs which gives you almost an hour of musical pleasure. The song/length relation shows already that we have long tracks on the album. IQ covers everything between 5 and 19 minutes.

Core of the album is "Without walls" - the longest track on the disc. The guys from Southampton clearly show where they are strong in. The song starts very calm and releaxed. But after a while the tune builds up and riff and keyboard become more dominant. Another feature of „Without walls“ is the extraordinary voice of singer Peter Nicholls. The earlier mentioned dark vibe changes with this song into a more reflecting one. The song lives from its variety even though it is with 19 minutes maybe a little bit too long. Strange for me is, that the songs fades out in the end. 
The title track is the second one I really like. It has a hypnotic rhythm which goes through most of the track before the heaviness comes back towards the end. IQ makes you with help from a xylophone even think, that you can hear the bones on the road in this song. Well done.


But next to all this positive stuff I also have to say that I think, that the album is a bit of one-dimensional from the the general expression. The songs, eventhough being on a high technical level, have a kind of the same vibe and are hard to differentiate. A bit more of an atmospheric roller coaster could have been good.

In total a good prog rock record, which could have been even spiced up a bit more.

(7/10)


Tracklist:

  1. From the outside in
  2. The road bones
  3. Without walls
  4. Ocean
  5. Until the end


Label: Giant Electric Pia
Genre: Prog Rock

CD review IQ "The road of bones"
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CD review CALIFORNIA BRRED "California Breed"

Veröffentlicht am 6. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Glenn Hughes, Hardrock, Blues, California Breed, CD Review, News, Rock

(8/10) After the Black Country Communion found their end a while ago Glenn Hughes had look for a new challenges. Together with BCC drummer Jason Bonham the bass and volcalist legend started California Breed. So, what was need in addition? True, a guitarist. And they found with Andrew Watt a young talent who took the responsibility for the riffs on the album. The trio started immediately to work on songs and the result are 12 cool rockers which found their way on the album. 

So what kind of music do the guys play on "California Breed"? For me it's pure rock music, which has influences from classic rock bands and grunge as well. Not a big surprise considering the history of Hughes and Bohnam, but also the grunge passion from Watt. What makes the album really special is the fact that it has really a live vibe. It sounds like they would have recorded it live in studio. 

The production was done by Dave Cobb who also produced already Rival Sons. He gave the record a cool sound which is on the one hand very warm and organic, but on the other hand heavy and modern. Well done in my point of view.

Songs like "Chemical rain", one of the first ones the band wrote, have a clear Soundgarden parallel. I actually wasn't aware that Hughes and Cornell can scream so similar. I like the tune since it's actually a slower one with really heavy eruptions in the chorus. A bit like "Black hole sun". The first single is called "Sweet tea". This is a 100% rocker. Very rhyhtm based it smells like whiskey, smoke and bar. I could imagine that AC/DC fans will love this song, esp. in the verse. "Midnight oil" is another cool track on the album. It follows a bit of the Stones feeling and the highlight of the tune is for sure the great female backing vocals (who did those?). This makes the "Midnight oil" very special. Also California Breed come with a slower track on the album. The emotional ballad "All falls down" beautify the middle part of "California Breed". The trio put a lot of feelings and blues into this song. I could continue this way, but instead of reading you should listen to the disc.

But I also have to admit, that I had a hard time, when I heard the album for the first time. It wasn't an 'easy-going' album for me from the beginnig. However, I gave it more rounds in the player and it was growing and growing. This album is great music and you should give it a chance. Glenn Hughes at its best.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The way
  2. Sweet tea
  3. Chemical rain
  4. Midnight oil
  5. All falls down
  6. The grey
  7. Days they come
  8. Spit you out
  9. Strong
  10. Invisible
  11. Scars
  12. Breath

 

Label: Frontiers Records

Genre: Hardrock

 

 

CD review CALIFORNIA BRRED "California Breed"
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CD review GOLDEN GRASS "The golden grass"

Veröffentlicht am 6. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in The Golden Grass, Blues, Rock, Classic Rock, Hardrock, CD Review, News

(7/10) The Golden Grass from Brooklyn, NY have a new disc out in the record shops. Since it only has five songs and a bit more than 30 minutes running time you can actually see it as a longer EP or a short full-length record. Anyhow, the songs are cool.

The Golden Grass base their music on influences from the 70's. The trio combines different styles to one melange. A bit of boogie here, a bit of country there and all based on pure rock'n'roll. That's actually a pretty mix and I can hear back the old cactus from time to time.

The heart of the album is the almost 13 minutes long "Wheels". It combines classic rock with psychedelic parts. The band creates a beautiful soundscape, which is sometimes harshly broken by a heavy guitar riff. But those breaks are done by purpose and makes the tune exciting. They are not disturbing the totality. With its long instrumental sections the tune sometimes sound more like a jam session and I would not be surprised if this also was the way they recorded it. 

Also the other 4 song, all between five and six minutes, are cool, but stand back a bit behind "Wheels". One of them I want to mention. "One more time" is a grooving rock track with an hypnotic melody. It's a slow tune with a lot of sense for the right spirit. 70's feeling pure. I just say "....easy rider woman....".

What additionally stands out are the alias names of the trio: Professor Plum Brandy, The Golden Goose and Wild Company. What a sense of humour.

The soundtrack for your chilling Sunday afternoon. 

(7/10)


Tracklist:

  1. Please man
  2. Stuck on a mountain
  3. One more time
  4. Wheels
  5. Sugar n'spice


Label: Svart Records
Genre: Classic Rock / Psychedelic Rock.

CD review GOLDEN GRASS "The golden grass"
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CD review BLACK STONE CHERRY "Magic mountain"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Black Stone Cherry, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Rock, Hardrock, CD Review, News

(8/10) Three years after "Between the devil and the deep blue sea" the next creative output from Black Stone Cherry is available in the record shops.

"Magic mountain" is the name of the disc and it really rocks. It feels like the band used a bit more freedom compared to the last record which made the songs a bit harder and less mainstream.

It was Joe Barresi who took care about the production of "Magic mountain". He worked already with bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and Soundgarden. And I think, that this is audible. Songs like "Peace pipe" have some influences. from the Seattle grunge legend. But just in some parts which gives enough space for own ideas. The title track is a song I want to mention, because it has the right balance between heavy rock and an awesome melody in the chorus. "Me and Mary Jane" was the first single release of the new album and underlines the southern rock spirit of the band. Sometimes I have the feeling that the band sounds like a modern version of Blackfoot combined with some alternative rock element from bands like Alter Bridge. I like that. It gets even more into southern rock with "Hollywood in Kentucky" - a tune which also could come from Kid Rock. That shows two things: the tune is not bad, but it doesn't really fit to the rest of the great tracks. You could see it as variety, but it feels a bit featureless and misplaced too. Of course there needs to be a ballad on the album too. 'No good rock band without ballad' says the stereotype. On "Magic mountain" it's called "Sometimes". It's a good one, but probably one of the weaker songs. "Sometimes" remind me a bit too much to Nickelback. I like it more to hear them rocking. Fortunaltly the start of "Fiesta del fuego" with the bassline and the heavy riff brings the band back to speed. 

Conclusion: Not an revolution but an natural evolution. A good and solid rock album which is perfect for a car ride. 'Easy going' music.

 

(8/10) 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Holding on ... to letting go
  2. Peace pipe
  3. Bad luck & hard love
  4. Me and Mary Jane
  5. Runaway
  6. Magic mountain
  7. Never surrender
  8. Blow my mind
  9. Sometimes
  10. Fiest del fuego
  11. Dance firl
  12. Hollywood in Kentucky
  13. Remember me

 

Label: Roadrunner/Warner

Genre: Alternative Metal

CD review BLACK STONE CHERRY "Magic mountain"
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CD review EPICA "The quantum enigma"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Epica, Symphonic Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) Another symphonic metal release from a Dutch band. After Within Temptation and Delain we have the new album from Epica in the stores. The sixth album got the name "The quantum enigma".

This time the band decided to try out new ways. After working together with Sascha Paeth for the first five records, Epica decided to go for another production this time. They worked together Joost van den Broek. The mix was done by Jacob Hansen, which we know from Volbeat and Hatesphere - Danish dynamite. The result sounds pretty impressive - massive and sophisticated in ones. The right mix between brain and heart.

The songs have from a lyrical perspective one story which they follow. It's about the environment which is influenced by our thoughts. It is not what we see, it is what we want to see and how we interpret it. An interesting story which probabaly can be also tranferred to music.

Listening to the album gives the feeling of having a musical version of a movie. If you take the effort of listining to the album intesively with your earphones you can become almost part of the story. This is mainly due to the fact that Epica creates an atomsphere with their songs which takes you under the spell. In this context it doesn't matter if we talk about the very heavy and riff oriented tunes like "Victims of contigency" which hammers merciless out of the speakers. Very fast with a lot of growls the tune is the heaviest one on the album. But also more harmonic tracks like the balladic "Canvas of life" triggers your mental cinema.

In a very clever way Epica includes an intro and an interlude, "The fifth guardian", in the tracklist, which even emphasis the vibes and the expression of the album. 

The final song on the record is also the real highlight. The title track is with eleven minutes by distance the longest on the entire album. Starting with some soundscapes the tune builds up to a fast and melodic smasher. It shows the massive vocal range of Simone Simmons. In addition to that a dense wall of guitars make the song very heavy. The breaks within the tune make it exciting and the support the cineastic metal which Epica delivers with "The quantum enigma". 

Epica released a appealing new album which I really like. Well done.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Originem
  2. The second stone
  3. The essence of silence
  4. Victims of Contingency
  5. Sense without sanity - The impervious code
  6. Unchain utopia
  7. The fifth guardian - Interlude
  8. Reverence - The living heart
  9. Omen - The ghoulish malady
  10. Canvas of life
  11. Natural corruption
  12. The quantum enigma - Kingdom of heaven part II

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

CD review EPICA "The quantum enigma"
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Live review WITHIN TEMPTATION /DELAIN, 03.05.2014, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam

Veröffentlicht am 4. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Within Temptation, Live Review, Heavy Metal, Rock, Symphonic Metal, News, Delain, Heineken Music Hall

The Netherlands seem to be THE place to be when it is about female-fronted symphonic metal. What started in the early 90's with The Gathering found it's continuation in bands like Within Temptation, Delain and Epica. Even the Finnish Nightwish have with Floor Jansen a Dutch singer and the same goes for German Xandria. A phenomena.

First mentioned two bands have been now togther on tour during the last weeks. Within Temptation started with the first two parts of their headliner tour to promote their new album "Hydra". The support slot got Dutch symphonic metal band Delain.

 

Delain did a real good job as being the opening act. This wasn't a too tricky thing since the guys around Charlotte Wessels have a pretty good new album out in the stores. The band has chosen for a good setlist, which contained songs from "Human contradiction" and older material - a kind of 'best of...'. Compared to the day before (there have been two shows in Amsterdam) Delain changed one song. They played "Tell me, mechanist", a great tune from the new record. The grunts have been done by George Oosthoek from Orphanage. A nice idea which made the show a bit special. Delain finished their energizing set with "We are the others" from the 2012 album with same title. 

The sound what Delain got was really good. For me they have been more a kind of special guest than a pure support slot baring in mind, that Martijn Westerholt was a former member of the headliner. And another remarkable fact is the filled venue during their performance. This shows that also Delain has a high status in the Benelux - with good reason.

A solid and entertaining show, which raises curiosity for Delain's headliner gigs later this spring.

Live review WITHIN TEMPTATION /DELAIN, 03.05.2014, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam

Then it was time for the headliner - Within Temptation. The last time I have seen the band was in Haarlem in 2012, when they had the try-out shows for their big "Elements" concert in Antwerp. The Patronaat in Haarlem is a smaller location and I was curious to see them in a big venue like the Heinken Music Hall. 

It was a few minutes past nine when the band entered the stage. The curtain felt and it was time for almost 2 hours of professional and entertaining rock music. 

As Sharon mentioned already in the interview (see link) Within Temptation had the chance to go for the full stage set-up. It had a bit the expression of the "Metropolis' movie. Keyboard and drumkit have been placed a bit higher, divided by some stairs inbetween. The backdrop shows the to 'Hydra' snakes and which framed a video wall for clips and short films. Looked actually pretty cool.

After the short introduction movie the band started with "Let it burn" from the new album. Supported by pryo effects, stage smoke and a crystal clear sound Within Temptation made a statement on where the journey will go to for this evening. Powerful rock music meets a passionate performance on a highly professional level. The very good thing was that the band managed to bridge the gap between professionalism and improvisation. A small distortion in front of "Whole world watching" was charmingly bridged by Sharon with saying "That's good for the DVD". Those are the moments which makes also a perfect show 'human'. Talking about DVD - the entire show, as well as the show the evening before, has been filmed. Let's see if there will be a DVD of the show in the coming month. Would be a nice thing.

The setlist answered everyones wishes. New material like the opener and "Paradise" have found their place in the set as well as the classics "Mother earth" and the finisher "Ice queen". Duets from the new album like "Dangerous" and "And we run" got support from the video wall - meaning that Howard Jones' and Xzibit's parts came from tape and video. Not disturbing at all and not new, since the band did this already years ago, when Sharon was singing "What have you done" with Keith Caputo (ex- Life Of Agony). It's a good thing which works very well. The most reaction in the audiance has been with these powerful tunes. People have been dancing and jumping during songs like "Dangerous" and "Summertime sadness". But actually all the 21 songs have been appreciated by the fans.

Interesting sidenote is, that Within Temptation played "Sinėad" as an accostical version. Even though I like the plugged-in set-up more I have to admit that the new arrangement sounded pretty OK as well. And the song was already a preview for the theater tour of Within Temptation in 2015, when they will play nineteen shows (all in The Netherlands) in a totally different environment.

All in all it was a great way to spend a Saturday night and you have seen a lot of happy faces during and after the concert. 

Eventhough the Amsterdam shows have been the end of the European tour, the band will play some bigger open airs in Europe during summer and will be on tour in the US in September. I can recommend to go there.

Live review WITHIN TEMPTATION /DELAIN, 03.05.2014, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam

Setlist Delain:

Intro

Go away

Get the devil out of me

Army of dolls

Stardust

Electricity

Sleepwalkers dream

Tell me, mechanist

Not enough

We are the others

 

 

 

Setlist Within Temptation:

Dragon (short movie)

Let us burn

Paradise (What about us?)

Faster

Iron

Edge of the world

In the middle of the night

Our solemn hour

Angels

Dangerous

And we run

Elements (intro)

See who I am

Stand my ground

The cross

Covered by roses

Mother earth

Encore:

What have you done

Silver moonlight

Summertimes sadness

Whole world watching

Sinėad

Ice queen

 

Loaction: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam

Date: 03.05.2014

Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Photos: Markus Wiedenmann

Photos: Markus Wiedenmann

Kommentare

Interview with Sharon Den Adel from WITHIN TEMPTATION about the current tour

Veröffentlicht am 3. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in Within Temptation, Interview, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, News

A few days ago I had the chance to have Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation on the phone. Sharon was in Leipzig, Germany at that time, since there was a Within Temptation show on the agenda for the evening. I had the chance to ask her some questions about the running tour. Enjoy reading:

 

Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hi Sharon, great to have you on the phone. How are you?

Sharon den Adel: Thanks for asking. Busy times but it’s great to be on tour with the band.

 

MHMB: So how is the tour so far? You played already quite some shows?

Sharon: I have to say that this has been amazing. We have a lot of fans coming to our shows. The venues got a bit bigger, but there is still a great ambience together with the audience. Fans are into the new songs from the latest album and there is a lot of interaction between band and audience.

For us it’s exciting to find out which songs work out live and which not. For example „Moonlight silver“ worked perfect on the album, but didn’t get the same reactions during the show. On the other hand there is „Dangerous“ which isn’t the biggest fan-fave on the album but makes people going nuts during the shows. Fans are jumping around and singing along. Those things are the great moment on tour, because things really become alive.

 

MHMB: Surprising to hear the „Dangerous“ wasn’t a big fave of fans on the album. I think it’s one of the best songs.

Sharon: Oh, that’s cool to hear.

 

MHMB: How do you actually do this song live? Of course you can’t take Howard Jones with you on tour just for this song.

Sharon: That’s true. But you know, we did the video together. So we had the video content and that is what we use now live as well. It’s actually the same setup, which we have done a few years ago when I did the duet with Keith Caputo. But if there is a chance to get a real person on stage we would prefer this. We had e.g. an appearance on German TV during a boxing event in Rostock.  There we played „Whole world is watching“, which we did together with Piotr (Rogucki).  Actually we had a lot of fun during this event. We had a very warm welcome there and we even got a short lesson in boxing. So it was a new experience and a lot of fun.

Photo: Patric Ullaeus (Promo)

Photo: Patric Ullaeus (Promo)

MHMB: Talking about the setlist, I have seen that you put „Summertime sadness“ from Lana Del Reye on the list. We have you chosen exactly that number for the live shows?

Sharon: The main reason is that I love the lyrics. It’s senseful and soulful. We have also seen that everybody feels good with the song and even though it has a bittersweet momentum it’s still a quite positive tune. Singing ...baby, you’re the best...“ is a nice way to shows the appreciation for the audience. They are the ones making Within Temptation what it is. Esp. in these times when things get harder in the music industry we are glad with having this fan base, because they make it possible for us to do what we live – and this is making music. We also play „Covered by roses“ which is gives me the chance to say a view words on how we started and that you have to live your dream. This was important for use and maybe we can bring this over the people as well.

 

MHMB: Where have you played shows during this tour already? I think it started more in Eastern Europe.

Sharon: Yes, we started actually in Helsinki before we went into Russia, Belarus and Hungary for some shows. This part of the tour is now more the UK, Germany and France, before we will have the final two shows in Amsterdam (MHMB: Review soon on this blog). So it’s a mix of a lot of countries and you see many different people – fans between 8 and 90 years.

 

MHMB: Talking about the different countries of the tour - you had to cancel the concert in Kiev due to the political situation. I can imagine that this was a tough decision to make.

Sharon: Yes, true. It was very difficult. I actually wanted to go, but of course we have also the responsibility for the crew and everybody who is with us on tour. And of course not to forget he people who are coming to the shows. Next to that we also had to keep in mind to get out of the country again in such a turbulent situation. So we cancelled the show, which was definitely the right decision, and we will come back later this year. But I don’t really think that things will become much better quickly. So I’m hoping that everything is OK again in autumn, esp. for the people living there. 

Photo: Patric Ullaeus (Promo)

Photo: Patric Ullaeus (Promo)

MHMB: And than there will be last two shows of this leg of the tour. They will be in Amsterdam, so home match. Is there something special what we can expect.

Sharon: There aren’t very special plans, but the Heineken Music Hall is of course a big venue, which allows us to use the entire stage setup. We can put up the stage as we have designed it. That means that it will become spectacular shows and as it looks now, we will also record the shows.

 

MHMB: Than I have seen that you have a tour diary on YouTube ... and also a fan activity. So the question is, how important the social media is for you guys?

Sharon: Since we are a band, which doesn’t get a lot of airplay on the radio we have to find other ways to be visible for the fans. Social Media a great tool, which helps to stay in contact with the fans. They e.g. did their own videos, in which they told what they are thinking about our shows. This is of course excellent instant feedback for us. It's an interesting experience to see all the responses. Those are the main reasons for us to use the internet and we still try to stay updated with all the latest developments.

 

MHMB: Sharon, thanks that you could reserve a bit time for us during the intensive tour and have a great show tonight in Leipzig.

Sharon: Thanks for having me and looking forward to the Amsterdam shows.

 

 

Interview by Markus Wiedenmann

Photo: Paul Harries (Promo)

Photo: Paul Harries (Promo)

Kommentare

CD review RPWL "Wanted"

Veröffentlicht am 3. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in RPWL, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, CD Review, News

(9/10) German prog rockers RPWL released already a few days ago their new album called "Wanted". The five guys from Freising, Germany are an established part of the prog scene and they have in the meantime quite some excellent releases in their discography. The last one was in 2012 and was called „Beyond man and time“, which will be followed now by „Wanted“.

The best song from my perspective sits in the end of the album. "A new dawn" is the name of the tune and it's a beautiful piece of music. It's a very slow song, accoustic based with very senseful lyrics. A great closer for a excellent album which reminds a bit to a lullaby.

But let's start from the beginning. To my surprise the album starts with some electro samples. It almost feels like the introduction to the love parade, but only for the first seconds. As soon as the guitar appears the song gets its rocking colour. "Revelation" is the name of the tune, which is purely instrumental and has a strong theme. An awesome beginning of the new album. Dark and gritty we start into the second track. "Sword and guns" is the name of it and the titel gives you already the idea that it's not a love song. Eight minutes long RPWL creates soundscapes which are complex but still easy to listen to. This is generally spoken a big benefit/advantage of the band. The musicians have a big capability and use this to write demanding music by not loosing the focus on the song itself. It's not about the musicians, it's about the song and the totality of sound. I personally also like the title track. The melody which comes with the song is easy but very effective. The song sticks.  The pumping bass part towards the end gives the 'light' song an additional note. The reflecting "Hide and seek" starts accoustically before it builds up just to fall back into fragile accoustic setup. A great composition. 


Conclusion: RPWL strenghten their position as one of the best prog rock bands in Europe. An album you should name your own.

(9/10)

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Revelation
  2. Swords and guns
  3. A clear cut line
  4. Wanted
  5. Hide and seek
  6. Disbelief
  7. Misguided thought
  8. Perfect day
  9. The attack
  10. A new dawn

 

Label: gentle art of music

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review RPWL "Wanted"
Kommentare
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