Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2017 von Markus W. in Arjen Lucassen, Ayreon, News, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Mascot, Paagman, Den Haag, Rock, Rock Opera

AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session

Ayreon's mastermind Arjen Lucassen was on a small signing tour through The Netherlands this weekend. After having had a stop in Venlo, Breda and Bergen op Zoom (all Dutch cities), the guitarist invited for a signing session in Den Haag on Sunday April 30st

Before signing all kinds of Aryeon and Star One items, the guitarist talked openly about the effort of creating the newest album - a 365 days and 24/7 exercise that led to a fantastic result entitled "The Source". Also the planned live shows in September have been part of the talk that took place prior to the signing session. In the beginning it was one show at 013 that stood on the list but was quickly extended to three shows - all sold out within no time. Unfortunately no extra shows can be added. This has mainly to do with the fact of an huge organisational pre-work to safeguard a participation of as many as possible Ayreon guests and friends.

Listening to this extra class musician was a pleasure. It's amazing with how much passion and humbleness Lucassen talked about Ayreon and his dedication for music, all very much appreciated by fans that made it to this extraordinary session.

AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
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CD review TREAT "The Road More or Less Travelled"

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2017 von Markus W. in Treat, Hardrock, Melodic Metal, Melodic Rock, Rock, News, CD Review, Frontiers Music

(8/10) After having published their latest longplayer “Ghost of Graceland” almost a year ago the Swedish powerhouse comes with a well-gone live album that captures a show done at last years Frontiers Rock Festival in Milano.

With 5 songs the focus of this show was on their latest studio output, an album that was released a few days prior to the show. The set on the Frontiers Rock Festival was a perfect moment to bring the new material live on stage, which was a successful endeavour. Even though the new stuff is good and also song from records like “Coup de Grace” belong to the better ones in melodic hardrock it’s the old classics like “World of Promises” which I would have loved to hear more from.  Fortunately the band also goes back to the very early days with playing “Get You on the Run” from the 1985 debut “Scratch and Bite”, a time when melodic metal had its first peak. These two songs from the bands first era create an appetite for an oldschool set that’s build around the first three longplayers. Anyhow, the reality is named “The Road More or Less Travelled” and unites old and new in a good fashion.

This longplayer captures the show of a fully motivated band, performing melodic rock songs that include a lot of drawing power. Treat fans will definitely add this release to their collection as well as it offers a good overview of the bands different phases for people who might not heard of the band before or missed the early days.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Ghost of Graceland
  2. Better the Devil
  3. Nonstop Madness
  4. Ready for the Taking
  5. Papertiger
  6. Do Your Own Stunts
  7. Endangered
  8. Gimme One More Night
  9. We Own the Night
  10. Roar
  11. Get You on the Run
  12. Conspiracy
  13. Skies of Mongolia
  14. World of Promises

 

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Melodic Hardrock

Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017

CD review TREAT "The Road More or Less Travelled"
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CD review ECHOSCHLEIFE "Polaroid" EP

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2017 von Markus W. in Echoschleife, Die Mimmies, CD Review, Rock, Indie Rock, Punkrock, News

(7/10) As being a regular guest on Markus’ Heavy Music Blog you are aware of some releases, getting a review, that might leave the basic frame of rock and metal. German band Echoschleife is one of these bands that might not fit fully into the context metal while still delivering interesting music and songs.

Bremen in Germany is the homebase of this rock outfit that actually has its roots back in German punk music. Echoschleife is the brainchild of Elli Fabian, better known as guitarist of German fun punk band Die Mimmies, a band that was more than pure underground during the 80’s, a time when Abstürzende Brieftauben and Walter Elf had their peak. After having enjoyed the life on the fast lane of rock’n’roll Fabian focussed on family life for some years. But since the spirit of rock music never let loose, the guitarist started to write songs again. Step by step things evolved and after a while a quintet was formed that’s sailing under the flag of Echoschleife.

The band worked on new song, heading more towards rock and sometimes even pop. That doesn’t mean Echoschleife aiming for the mainstream. The tracks are special and it takes a while till they reveal their full potential. 
„Polaroid“, title track and opener in union, is a song that comes with more unusual vocal lines and phrasing, reminding of dark wave from the 80’s. The uptempo „Gehirnwaschgang“ follows, bringing back some of the old punk spirit in a more mature way. „Schlaf auf mir ein“ is a grooving centre piece before „Echoschleife“ made me think of German rock icons Ideal. Things getting more and more to an end with „Montag its OK“ which is the easy-going closer of this EP.

Echoschleife makes music that’s not made for the mainstream and also metalhead will have a hard time with these five tracks. However, if you're more into rock, punkrock and dark wave, you should check out this mini album. „Polaroid“ is positioned in niche that worth to explore.

 

 

(7/10)

 

 

Tracklist:

  1. Polaroid
  2. Gehirnwäsche
  3. Schlaf auf mir ein
  4. Echoschleife
  5. Montag ist OK

 

 

Label: Weser Label

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date EU: May 5th, 2017
CD review ECHOSCHLEIFE "Polaroid" EP
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Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2017 von Markus W. in Civil War, Nightmare, Athanasia, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Live, Live Review, News, AFM, Napalm Records, Gebr. de Nobel

I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that ‚Kings Day’, a bank holiday in Holland that goes along with a big party in orange, was the reason for the smaller of two rooms in Gebr. de Nobel not being really over crowded that night. Could also be due to a vacation time as well. OK, we will not really find this out here and now, but for the ones who made it that night to Leiden things became a pretty good metal night.

Three bands were on the running order that Friday, starting with Athanasia. Honestly, I haven’t heard of the band before and I also didn’t expect too much of these planned 30 minutes. Surprisingly things turned out very well. The trio from California plays a kind of blackened thrash metal mix that got pretty good out of the speakers. The show in Leiden was the band's first one in Europe and even though the trio couldn’t benefit from a very good sound, the potential was obvious. Their show was a good warm-up for fans of solid metal and with each tune played that night, the band gained appreciation from fans. The guys are working at the moment on their first album and therfor I can’t tell you much about the songs played that night but they all raised curiousity for Athansia’s debut.

Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017
Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017

From newcomers to pioneers. Nightmare was next, a band with a history like a rollercoaster. There were so many ups and downs over the last decades that I stopped counting them. However, the metal institution from Grenoble released a new longplayer a few months ago with a renewed line-up. Maggy Luyten joined the French powerhouse and so did Olivier Casula (drums). The fivepiece group played a 60 minutes set, showcasing a band that was hungry for live shows. Luyten is, next to being a good singer, also a real front-woman, being in constant contact with the fans – on stage, as well as surrounded by fans in the middle of the room. Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselberhs provided sharp riffs and it was the only active founding member, Yves Campion, who build a strong grooving foundation.

Nightmare have released ten albums and have a big amount of song they can choose from. However, they didn’t make us of it and based the entire show on the latest release which was almost played in ist entirety. It was only „The Preacher“ from the 2012 album „The Burden of Gods“ that smuggled itself in the setlist which was a bit of an unusual fashion. All in all Nightmare played a solid rock show that lived by its authentic approach and passion of each of the five band members.

Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017
Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017

Last but not least it was time for the main act to enter the stage and make an impression. As with Nightmare also the Falun-based power metal outfit Civil War comes with a new singer. Kelly Sundown Carpenter joined the band this year and the Leiden show was one of the first ones he did together with the band. Covered behind sunglasses the frontman did a good job. His voice fits perfectly with Civil War's music and also his entertainment skills are developed very well. Fully supported by his band mates the quintet performed a set with the biggest chunk of tunes coming from the band’s latest longplayer „The Last Full Measure“. Also „The Killer Angel“ made it with some songs into this set and in addition tunes like „Gods and Generals“ as well as „Bay of pigs“ got out of the gates very well. The latter was the most euphoric celebrated one out of all the tracks played that night, coming right before "Rome is Falling" It was this anthem of Civil War that ended a metal evening that showed that a good metal party doesn't necessarily need a full house.

 

Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017
Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017
Live report CIVIL WAR / NIGHTMARE / ATHANASIA, Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28.04.2017

Setlist Civil War:

  1. USS Monitor
  2. Saint Patrick’s Day
  3. Gettysburg
  4. Sons of Avalon
  5. A Tale That Never Should be Told
  6. Deliverance
  7. Road to Victory
  8. I Will Rule the Universe
  9. Gods and Generals
  10. Tombstone
  11. Bay of Pigs
  12. Rome is Falling

 

Setlist Nightmare:

  1. Infected
  2. Of Sleepless Mind
  3. Tangled in the Roots
  4. The Preacher
  5. Red Marbled and Gold
  6. Indifference
  7. Ikarus
  8. Dead Sun
  9. Inner Sanctum
  10. Serpentine
  11. Eternal Winter
  12. Starry Skies Gone Black

 

Location: Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, The Netherlands

Date: April 29th, 2017

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CD review METAL CHURCH "Classic Live"

Veröffentlicht am 29. April 2017 von Markus W. in Metal Church, Power Metal, Live, News, Heavy Metal, US Metal, Speed Metal, CD Review, Queensryche

(8/10) Power metal veterans Metal Church got a real boost with Mike Howe re-joining the legendary power metal band from the west coast. "XI" was a fantastic studio album that was followed by mind-blowing live shows, presenting a band that's celebrating metal with each note played.

Therefor it was more than a logical consequence to also record some of the shows and delight the Metal Church fanbase with a live album. Here it is. Kurdt Vanderhoof and his gang taped some of the gigs on their 2016 tour of which nine tracks made it on the album. The choice of songs couldn't be much better and each of the numbers is a real classic in powerful metal music. 

Having 'classic' in its title implicates that its a more oldschool tracklist, covering songs from the debut ("Beyond the Black") up to the 1993 release "Hanging in Balance"; and everything in between. "Watch the Children Pray", "Human Factor" and "Start the Fire" are true classics.

A special extra comes at the end of the album. RatPak owner Joe O'Brien had the idea for a duet of Howe and Queensryche's Todd LaTorre, both singing together Metal Church's smasher "Fake Healer". The idea became reality and the result can be heard on this album. Having two of the best metal singers performing a song like "Fake Healer" together in the studio is more than treat for every headbanger. The song itself is already an excellent one but this new version lifts it to a next level (A wish from the writer: Could a package with Metal Church and Queensryche please come over to Europe for a tour?).

To sum up: This disc is an authentic live album with a good sound that presents Metal Church as a rock solid unit, performing songs that belong to the best power metal can offer. It's a great way for older fans to walk down the memory lane while it's an excellent opportunity for new fans to catch up when it comes to the roots of this powerhouse.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Beyond the Black
  2. Date With Poverty
  3. Gods of a Second Chance
  4. In Mourning
  5. Watch the Children Pray
  6. Start the Fire
  7. No Friend of Mine
  8. Badlands
  9. Human Factor
  10. Fake Healer (Duet with Todd La Torre) (Studio)

 

Label: Rat Pak Records

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review METAL CHURCH "Classic Live"

The album is also available as 'Deluxe Edition", including:

  • CD
  • Hand autographed sleeve
  • 16 page photo booklet
  • Limited edition guitar pick
  • Fake-Healer die-cut sticker
  • Metal Church VIP tour laminate
  • Metal Church 4" vinyl sticker
  • Limited print 4x4 insert
CD review METAL CHURCH "Classic Live"
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CD review LONELY ROBOT "The Big Dream"

Veröffentlicht am 29. April 2017 von Markus W. in Lonely Robot, John Mitchell, News, CD Review, InsideOut, Prog Rock, Rock

(8/10) Lonely Robot’s “The Big Dream” is already the second longplayer of multi-instrumentalist John Mitchell. Most of you know Mitchell from prog rocker outfit Arena, contributing to albums like “The Visitor” and “Immortal?”.

Lonely Robot’s debut dates back to 2015. It was an album that came with high standards and excellent songs, something also the new longplayer comes up with. And as with “Please Come Home” also the second album has a general theme that accompanies the listener on this 11 songs journey. Things don’t go that far that the record could be described as a concept album, but songs are more linked to each other than just loose pieces of tune combined on one longplayer.

Mitchell tells to story of  The Astronaut that wakes up in a forest surrounded by people with animal heads. The theme is linked to the debut and according to Mitchell he sees the endeavour as a three album cyclus. So there's one more to come, but let's focus on the here and now for the moment.

The songs on “The Big Dream” are as beautiful as we know it from the first Lonely Robot record. Mitchell, together with drummer Craig Blundell, builds big soundscapes that include a lot of feel. Longer instrumental sections are well balanced with beautiful vocal lines, leading to compositions rather than songs.

One of the best tracks on the album is “Sigma” which is catchy without being mainstream. The guitars are as present in this tune as keyboards, both interacting in perfect harmony. Last but not least there’s the chorus that is catchy while not becoming trivial. Tis song is the highlight on the album and you should check it out.

The most epic moment of this longplayer comes towards the end – the title track. It’s an eight minutes prog rock highlight that combines all the Lonely Robot trademarks.

“The Big Dream” is an album that comes with more than songs only. It’s the soundtrack to a storyboard that builds the foundation for this disc. It might be that there is no ‘real hit’ on this record. This also doesn’t matter since Mitchell creates a perfect symbiosis of story and music. These songs are alive and by closing your eyes you can almost feel with the ‘Lonely Robot’. If music is about transferring emotions, which I think is a fundamental part, than Mitchell succeeded on this mission with a 100%.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Prologue (Deep Sleep)
  2. Awakenings
  3. Sigma
  4. In Floral Green
  5. Everglow
  6. False Lights
  7. Symbolic
  8. The Divine Art Of Being
  9. The Big Dream
  10. Hello World Goodbye
  11. Epilogue (Sea Beams)

 

Label: InsideOut

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review LONELY ROBOT "The Big Dream"
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CD release AYREON "The Source"

Veröffentlicht am 28. April 2017 von Markus W. in Ayreon, Arjen Lucassen, News, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Metal Opera, Mascot, Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal

(10/10) It's maybe a bit of a strange metaphor, but listening to Ayreon's new album feels like an exciting journey through all kinds of different landscapes. Having a look around is a thrilling thing with an endless offer of new impressions. Sometimes it's the smaller differences and other times it's a full change of what reaches your eyes. "The Source" is a musical version of such a journey and/or the perfect soundtrack. It's an album that constantly offers new impressions. This album is more than just a number of songs that end up on the same carrier; it’s a comprehensive work that combines creativity with musical perfection.

Releasing a double CD package is a challenging endeavor since it demands a bigger amount of exciting song. Having listened to "The Source" several times led to one conclusion: the amount of creativity that sits with Arjen Lucassen is amazing. The songs on these two discs are more than just tunes - they are soulful compositions that cover everything between fragile nuances and dark guitar sounds. The glue that keeps all this together is Lucassen's excellent guitar and his musical vision.

As with the earlier Ayreon releases also this time it’s a storyline that connects the different chapters on “The Source”. This album is linked to the 2008 release “01011001” and can be seen as a kind of prequel. The story is about The Alphans and the planet they are living on. The situation gets worse over time which leads to a decision to give all decision power to a computer mainframe. The unforeseen effect hot the Alphans hard since the machines concluding that they themselves are the cause for all trouble and should be eliminated. As with Noah’s ark there’s one ship that can bring some of The Alphans to a new planet – Planet Y. What sounds like a savior includes an element of doom as well. These chosen ones have to leave family and friends behind with the certainty of no moment of reunion. The story continues with the rise and fall on planet Y which you can mainly discover on disc 2. I don't want to spoil too much here.

The songs on “The Source” are beyond any doubt. Lucassen serves a kaleidoscope of compositions that tackle everything a fan could expect from such an album. I don’t want to dissect each and every anthem on this longplayer. These tunes needs to be listened to and not read about. However, the first two songs give a good overview of the cinematic width of this release. Silent notes are interacting with heavy riffs, the latter being something notable since “The Source” is partly heavier than the predecessor. This benefits the album since it creates even more excitement and arcs of suspense.

As with the earlier Ayreon albums the Dutch multi-instrumentalist didn’t do things just on his own. Lucassen has a constant partner in crime when it comes to Ayreon. Dutch drum icon Ed Warby is a constant contributor and also this time it’s him providing the heartbeat for this album. Next to Lucassen himself it’s also Paul Gilbert, Marcel Coenen and Guthrie Govan contributing on guitar while Marillion’s Mark Kelly created bigger soundscapes with his keyboard. The by far biggest group of guests are all the singers that performed on “The Source”. It’s a very long list that would be too much for this review, but while listening to the album you can hear many very family voices.

Ayreon live shows are few and far between which is, based on the included musicians, a more than logical consequence. Up to now there are three dates confirmed. Ayreon will be on at 013 in Tilburg. The three shows will take place mid-September and have been sold out in no time. Ayreon is a class on its own – a project, created by a creative mastermind, that’s unique in rock music.

 

(10/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD1

Chronicle 1: The 'Frame

  1. The Day That the World Breaks Down
  2. Sea Of Machines
  3.  Everybody Dies

Chronicle 2: The Aligning Of the Ten

  1. Star of Sirrah
  2. All That Was
  3. Run! Apocalypse! Run!
  4. Condemned To Live

CD2

Chronicle 3: The Transmigration

  1. Aquatic Race
  2. The Dream Dissolves
  3. Deathcry of a Race
  4. Into the Ocean

Chronicle 4: The Rebirth

  1. Bay Of Dreams
  2. Planet Y Is Alive!
  3. The Source Will Flow
  4. Journey to Forever
  5. The Human Compulsion

 

Label: Music Theories Recordings

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD release AYREON "The Source"
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CD review DIMMU BORGIR "Forces of the Northern Night"

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2017 von Markus W. in Dimmu Borgir, Death Metal, Black Metal, Live, News, Heavy Metal, CD Review, DVD Review, Wacken

(9/10) There were many attempts of combining classic music and metal to something exciting and breath-taking. Sometimes things ended in a failure while rock history also shows some true wins. Fortunately this longplayer belongs to the latter, showcasing Norwegian black metal spearhead Dimmu Borgir together with a classic orchestra. The CD includes such a show as audio while the DVD set brings, in addition, the Wacken 2012 show right into your living room. In this review I can only refer to the Oslo show.

It was in May 2011 when Dimmu Borgir played a concert at Spektrum in Oslo which is also the name-giver for this album. Under the header of “Forces of the Northern Night” the black metal outfit performed a show together with 53 members of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra plus a 30 singer featuring choir from Schola Cantorum.

It’s of course a well-known fact that the Norwegians played this show and that it was broadcasted on NKR (Norwegian Broadcast Corporation) made it accessible for a wider group of fans. However, since this show marked a new milestone moments in black metal it’s great that an official release is available via Nuclear Blast.

Dimmu Borgir’s way of arranging the show and partly re-arranging the songs makes this concert to an unforgettable one. The bombastic blackened metal gets another dimension by adding choir and orchestra. Bringing together these elements can potentially end up in a competition or a clear segmentation of which part becomes more dominant when. Not in the case of “Forces of the Northern Night”. Here it’s more about combining the different musical components what strengthens the power and intensity of each of the 17 songs played that night. This release is the capturing of an impressive work that shows what an open-minded approach can lead to. A smart and respectful combination of different musical backgrounds leads to awesome versions of songs like “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse and “Dimmu Borgir”. But also expressional tunes like “Eradication Instincts Defined” are great moments on this album. Even though the classic is a bit more in the forefront with the last mentioned track, things go perfectly together with the rest of the tunes that have been performed that night. All together comes as a well-fitting puzzle rather than a alien bodies that feel like being on the wrong spot.

All in all the Oslo show marked a cornerstone in black metal. Maybe it made this genre more commercial and maybe the underground touch got lost. But in the end it’s a very well executed creative idea that’s entertaining and impactful – an experiment that ended in impressive 90 minutes of music.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Xibir (orchestra)
  2. Born Treacherous
  3. Gateways
  4. Dimmu Borgir (orchestra)
  5. Dimmu Borgir
  6. Chess With The Abyss
  7. Ritualist
  8. A Jewel Traced Through Coal
  9. Eradication Instincts Defined (orchestra)
  10. Vredesbyrd
  11. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
  12. The Serpentine Offering
  13. Fear And Wonder (orchestra)
  14. Kings Of The Carnival Creation
  15. Puritania
  16. Mourning Palace
  17. Perfection Or Vanity (orchestra)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review DIMMU BORGIR "Forces of the Northern Night"
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Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2017 von Markus W. in Dream Theater, Live Review, Live, Tour, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, 013, Power Metal

Dream Theater belongs to the group of that had and have a major impact on an entire music genre. In their case it's progressive metal that wouldn't be where it is today without the quintet from North America. Starting their journey in the second half of the 80', at that time under the banner of Majesty, the guys gained popularity in the 90's. Grunge, rock and pop music was dominant in those years; a fact that didn't make it easy for a metal band to start off. However, Dream Theater was one of the few bands that took the challenge, being since then a constant factor in metal. "Images and Words" was the band's sophomore album and after starting quite slowly it evolved to a break-through record for the band. That was 25 years ago and what seems more natural than celebrating it with a anniversary tour.

It wasn't a too long time ago that the NY-based progressive metal enthusiasts  played in Tilburg, The Netherland. As being a part of their current "Images, Words & Beyond 25th Anniversary" tour the guys performed a show at 013 in Tilburg on February 8th this year. Another show in Holland was planned for April 25th in Amsterdam which was, based on production reasons, moved to Tilburg. The band took this with humor with James LaBrie saying that the band probably would have got lost on the way to Amsterdam.

Since the first show was sold out this concert gave even more Dream Theater fans the chance to join the band on a musical journey that was mainly built on the earlier mentioned "Images and Words" album from 1992. Following the fantastic debut it was the sophomore album that included James LaBrie as the new singer and frontman of this highly influencing metal band. During the show guitar wizard John Petrucci talked a bit about these days when the band was looking for a new frontman which was a nice anecdote to listen to. Even if the band focussed on the music there were more of these moments when the band talked about the time 25 years ago with travelling in a van, touring through smaller clubs and so on. This short stories spiced-up an evening that was dedicated to music in perfection.

Following the momentary trend of playing iconic records in its entirety, Dream Theater decided to give this longplayer a new stage as being the center piece of this tour and this show. But before the prog metal milestone delighted the fans it was a a kind of 'best of' set with songs taken from the entire Dream Theater back catalogue. On exception though; the outstanding debut "When Dreams and Days Unite" didn't get a song on this nights setlist, which is a bit of a pity since track like "A Fortune in Lies" are pearls of prog metal; tunes that brought the band some first appreciation. Anyhow, songs like "As I Am" and "The Bigger Picture" are great stuff too, creating a scenery for the second act that night.

After having been on stage for more than an hour it was a 20 minutes break for band and fans, time for some refreshment. It almost felt a little bit like Dream Theater being their own support act with the best that was yet to come. "Pull Me Under" is the opener on "Images and Words" and I think it's THE Dream Theater song. It was also the foot in the door for the bands entire career. After the album had a slow start in the beginning, it was "Pull Me Under" that got some airplay on college radio, followed by country radio stations who picked up the song and made it even more popular. Regardless how often you hear this tune, it keeps its excitement and magic. It's the best song the band ever wrote and it was the one that kicked-off this night with an outstanding "Images and Words" performance.

I don't go into detail of each of the songs from the album because you all know them and the performance was as good as all the other tracks played that night. One thing I would like to mention though and that is the drum solo Mike Magnini did. I have to admit that I'm no fan of these solo parts because mostly another song would have been the better option. Not in this case. What Magnini did was very impressive and treat for ears and eyes. Sitting in the spotlight behind a mighty drum kit, the guy included everything in his drum solo - from silent moment in which yu could have heard a needle falling to hard-hitting parts that made you doubt if this man has just two arms and feet. Very well done I must say.

After such an impressive look back in time the encore was not less exciting compared to what fans got served up till now. The band played all seven chapters of "A Change of Seasons", which makes sense. This song comes out of the "Images and Words" session and just didn't get on the longplayer because the label didn't want to take the bold step of releasing a double album. Fortunately the song was newly recorded a few years later and hit the shelves as an exciting EP that also included some well-done covers versions. In these terms it was almost a no-brainer that Dream Theater has chosen this 23 minutes composition as the encore, finishing an evening that underlined why the band belongs to the heavy influencers in modern progressive metal, being a reference for many younger bands.

Dream Theater is still playing in a league of its own. Even though the more recent records couldn't get close to the iconic early albums the band's still a unit that gives individual capabilities, passion and talent a common platform, leading to jaw-dropping moments for fans of excellent rock/metal music.

Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017
Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017
Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017

Setlist:

Act 1:

  1. The Dark Eternal Night
  2. The Bigger Picture
  3. Hell's Kitchen
  4. The Gift of Music
  5. Our New World
  6. Portrait of Tracy
  7. As I Am
  8. Breaking All Illusions

Act 2:

  1. Pull Me Under
  2. Another Day
  3. Take the Time
  4. Surrounded
  5. Metropolis Pt.1: The Miracle and the Sleeper
  6. Under a Glass Moon
  7. Wait for Sleep
  8. Learning to Live

Encore:

  1. A Change of Seasons: I The Crimson Sunrise
  2. A Change of Seasons: II Innocence
  3. A Change of Seasons: III Carpe Diem
  4. A Change of Seasons: IV The Darkest of Winter
  5. A Change of Seasons: V Another World
  6. A Change of Seasons:  VI The Inevitalble Summer
  7. A Change of Seasons:  VII The Crimson Sunset

 

Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Date: 25.04.2017

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CD review WOLFPAKK "Wolves Reign"

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2017 von Markus W. in Wolfpakk, Michael Voss, Mark Sweeny, Melodic Metal, Hardrock, Rock, CD Review, News, Heavy Metal, AFM Records

(7/10) You could get the impression of Mark Sweeny and Michael Voss aiming for a world record. The amount of guest musicians the two Wolfpakk leaders invited to their newest bite is enormous. The list of supporters for the new album “Wolves Reign” is too long to mention everybody’s being involved. 26 guests have contributed to this album, including big shots like Biff Byford (Saxon), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) and many more.

The project has its roots in 2010 with a debut published in 2011. Since then two more longplayers followed with “Wolves Reign” being the newest strike of this series of four. With Wolfpakk it’s a kind of a two-edged sword. On the one hand the band/project doesn’t bring too much new to the table, but what they serve is done pretty good.

It’s not only the involved musicians that brings back a melodic 80’s metal vibe, it’s mainly the songs that reminds of days when Dokken, Bonfire, Mad Max and Co. had the full spotlight and attention. One of these songs with a strong retro vibe is the opener “Falling”; a melodic rocker with great hooks. “Blood Brothers” is another smashing tune on the album, that’s a bit harder and enriched by Byford’s’ unique vocals. That’s the way melodic metal needs to sound and nothing else than that.

Another highlight comes towards the end.  “I’m Onto You” is a hard and heavy piece of music that shows the real power of the wolves. In general I must say that the guys are best when they let the music rock and roll. These tunes have the pepperoni that’s needed for this tasteful melodic metal dish.

.Unfortunately the album also includes a few songs that can’t reach the same high level as the earlier mentioned numbers. The title track is a standard metal song without highs and lows. It’s solid and not more. And it’s “Mother Earth”, a track with an important message that belongs to the weaker ones too. With eight minutes it’s the longest one on the album and I have the feeling that the guys wanted to put too much in it. The more bombastic start is rather OK and the steady beat catches you immediately. What comes next are classic female vocals, a long instrumental section and some neo-classic references which are well-done but also a bit overdone. Two minutes less would have done the job as well.

To sum up: There are quite some songs in which a strong bite by Wolfpakk is included. These are the highlights compared to a few tracks that are more a pinch rather than a strong bite.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Falling
  2. Run All Night
  3. Blood Brothers
  4. Wolves Reign
  5. No Remorse
  6. Inside the Animal Mind
  7. Scream of the Hawk
  8. The 10 Commandments
  9. Mother Earth
  10. Tomorrowland
  11. I’m Onto You

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review WOLFPAKK "Wolves Reign"
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CD review PYRAMAZE "Contingent"

Veröffentlicht am 26. April 2017 von Markus W. in Pyramaze, Power Metal, Melodic Metal, Heavy Metal, News, Prog Metal, CD Review

(8/10) Danish metal outfit Pyramaze started in 200, releasing the debut in 2004, followed by "Legend of the Bone Carver" which saw the light of day in 2006. Pyramaze earned some positive reaction but it was in 2007 when ex-Iced Earth frontman Matt Barlow joined the Danes for "Immortal", something that made the spotlight even shining brighter on Pyramaze. All of a sudden the band's name was on everybody's lips and since "Immortal" became a great record too all the attention was well deserved.

What came next was a tougher period of time since the band had to handle some line-up changes; amongst others it was Barlow who re-joined Iced Earth. In the end it took till 2015 when the metal world could welcome Pyramaze fourth album "Disciples of the Sun". After all these changes the band got back into shallow waters which also means that work on the fifth record could starts. The result of this effort can be listened to end of April.

"Contingent" is the name of the new disc that includes 13 new power metal tracks. Listening to this album was a pleasure. In the meantime "Contingent" had quite some loop on my player. Not, because it is so complex. It's more the melodic power metal that does the job. Songs like "Land of Information" and "Heir Apparent" are catchy tunes, no doubt. But even though the melodies have an important role, none of the tunes is boring or annoying. Each of the tracks has a weaved in complexity while still expressing a certain ease. "Contingent" and Pyramaze don't need any name -dropping again. Their songs are by far good enough to satisfy old fans and gaining new supporters who are interested in powerful melodic metal.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Land of Information
  2. Kingdom of Solace
  3. Star Men
  4. A Worl Divided
  5. Nemesis
  6. Coningent - Part I" The Campaign
  7. 20 Seconds Century
  8. Obsession
  9. Heir Apparent
  10. Coningent - Part II: The Hammer of Remnant
  11. Under Restraint
  12. The Tides That Won't Change
  13. Symphony of Tears

 

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: April 28th, 2017

CD review PYRAMAZE "Contingent"
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CD review FARMER BOYS "You and Me" 7"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2017 von Markus W. in Farmer Boys, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Modern Metal, Modern Rock, Crossover, News, Live, CD Review

(8/10) After some years of absence German alternative metal outfit Farmer Boys is back. Alex Scholpp, Matze Sayer and the rest of the gang have been pretty much in the spotlight during the 90’s. It was a time when the band released the debut “Countrified” which was followed by three more longplayers. “The Other Side”, released in 2004, marked the beginning of the end, or at least the start of a hiatus. The band’s status was always a bit blurry since activities decreased dramatically and with the expectation of a handful of live shows the Stuttgart-based metal powerhouse slowly slipped off the radar.

13 years after having released the latest studio album Farmer Boys are back with a big bang. Next to Scholpp and Sayer also founding member Ralf Botzenhart is back with Farmer Boys; a line-up that’s completed by Richard Due and Timm Schreiner.

The first countable output of this Swabian quintet is a 7” that was released a few days ago. Supported by a video clip it’s “You and Me” that brings Farmer Boys back to business. The title track is a melodic alternative rock song that brings creates a modernized 90’s vibe. It comes with some good hooks and the catchy expression is opening the gate to a wider group of rock music enthusiasts.

The second song, “Revolt”, acts as a kind of counterbalance. This tune is harsher and more metallic and explodes in the chorus. The verse though is more of an ease and pretty melodic. Both songs together are an excellent ones to give people, who missed the band's first era, an understanding of what Farmer Boys and their music is about.

The last song, which is actually number one in the batting order, is “Emperor”. It’s more an intro that starts silent and evolves to a cinematic instrumental.

The band can be also experienced live on stage since they have planned three shows in Germany:

27.04. Hamburg, Hafenklang
28.04. Köln, Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
29.04. Stuttgart, Longhorn

All this are first teasers and the 7" is the precursor for a full-length studio album with a release date planned for later this year. Welcome back Farmer Boys!

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Emperor
  2. You and Me
  3. Revolt

 

Label: Eat The Beat Music

Genre: Alternative Metal

Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017

CD review FARMER BOYS "You and Me" 7"
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CD review THE UNITY "The Unity"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2017 von Markus W. in The Unity, Gamma Ray, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal, News, CD Review, Hardrock, Classic Rock

(8/10) A real interesting new project takes off on May 5th, when The Unity releases their self-titled debut. This powerhouse from Germany bridges hardrock and melodic metal with 12 songs that are highly entertaining.

The Unity is the brainchild of two Gamma Ray member – Henjo Richter (g) and Michael Ehré (d). Not only that both musicians are part of one of the most successful melodic metal bands, the guys also found a very solid common ground when it comes to music and personal level. The seed that planted into this fruitful soil was a high level creativity that even goes beyond Gamma Ray. It was over time when The Unity developed without having had a distinct starting point. The further the two metal passionistas evolved their idea the more important it became to find more partner is crime to complete a line-up for The Unity.

Talented singer Gianba Manenti joined the team. Bassist Jogi Sweers did the same and after also having keyboarder Sascha Onnen plus guitarist Stef E. on board the band was ready to rock.

What ready to rock means is what this six-piece band clearly states on this debut. The ten songs are well-crafted melodic metal anthems that can be seen as ear-treats for fans of band like Gamma Ray and Stratovarius.

“Rise and Fall”, the opener, takes no prisoners, being a strong statement in the beginning of an album that's amazing. Screaming guitars kicks in right from the start of this uptempo song that’s a perfect hybrid of melody and heaviness.

Next to the fast tracks there are moderate paced anthems on the album too, of which “God of Temptation” is one. Also the following “Firesign” comes with a medium-based tempo by being a mighty smasher that includes all the trademarks of The Unity.

Another song that creates excitement is the melodic rocker “The Wishing Well” which reminds of bluesy hardrock a la Whitesnake and also “Redeemer” belongs to the best hardrock can offer, including a chorus that brought Rainbow to my mind.

To conclude, “The Unity” is a very entertaining and powerful melodic metal release that lives by its freshness and dynamic. This album features music that’s build on passion that’s skillfully embedded in ten excellent metal songs.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Rise And Fall
  2. No More Lies
  3. God of Temptation
  4. Firesign
  5. Always Just You
  6. Close To Crazy
  7. The Wishing Well
  8. Edens Fall
  9. Redeemer
  10. Super Distortion
  11. Killer Instinct
  12. Never Forget

 

Label: Steamhammer/SPV

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: May 5th, 2017

 

CD review THE UNITY "The Unity"
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