(*/10) I think it’s impossible to get a better overview of Alter Bridge’s creative achievements than what is captured on this comprehensive 3-CD package. Not only that this release captures the entire live show that band performed in London’s O2 Arena on November 24th, 2016 – it also comes with a third disc that features special goodies. Two previously unreleased songs ("Cruel Sun” and “Solace”), both coming out of the “One Day Remains”-session will bring some new to the table. “Breathe” is a third song taken from those days, having been a bonus for the Best Buy version for “The Last Hero”. Next to these tracks there are some more songs on disc number three, all having been Japan-only releases up-to-date.
The two first CD’s, capturing the London show, provide a pretty good overview of Alter Bridge’s discography. “The Last Hero”, as being the band’s latest and extremely successful studio album, got the biggest part on the setlist. But also earlier songs got enough attention. Five tunes from the great “Blackbird” record have been performed that night as well as another four numbers taken from “Fortress, incl. the excellent “Addicted to Pain”.
If you’re a fan of Alter Bridge you will go for this longplayer anyhow and if you’re a fan of rock music who wants to get an idea of what Alter Bridge is about, you can easily close this presonal gap by listening to this well-done live album.
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Alternative Metal
Release Date EU: September 8th, 2017
(8/10) German mediaeval rockers In Extremo are a quite productive rock outfit with some releases spread out over the last years. The band started their winning streak back in 1995 and belongs to the spearhead of this genre. Twelve longplayers represent an impressive discography with some of them getting in pole position of German longplayer charts.
This year it’s not a new studio album that hits the record stores. The band wants to offer something special to their loyal fan base with a release that covers the entire 22 years of the exciting band history. Under the banner of „40 wahre Lieder“ ('40 real/true songs') In Extremo releases a double-CD that includes songs from the early days as well as it features recent highlights such as „Störtebeker“ and „Sternhagelvoll“. „40 wahre Lieder“ is a comprehensive overview of what In Extremo stands for and it documents a quite unique musical evolvement that began on some mediaeval markets and grew to one of the most influential bands in German rock music.
Next to the CD, the package also includes three DVD’s, providing footage of spectacular live shows. Next to both shows, celebrating the twenty years anniversary at Loreley, Germany, fans can also enjoy an acoustic set that took place on a boat on the Rhine River. In total we’re talking about 59 live songs, all in 5.1-surroundsound. And if this would not be already enough, there are additional extras that come with this package. It’s an exclusive documentary “Verehrt und angespien” from 2016, done by German TV station WDR, that’s providing background information of band and songs, plus there’s a booklet included with many photos that haven’t been published earlier.
“40 wahre Lieder” is a worthy retrospective on 22 years of In Extremo, a release that’s a perfect entry point for new fans as well as it’s a well-done throwback for supporters from the very beginning.
Warmup / Boat show / Thursday, 03.09.2015:
Day 1 / The 1st 10 Years / Friday, 04.09.2015
Day 2 / The last 10 Years / Saturday, 05.09.2015
Label: Vertigo Berlin (Universal Music)
Genre: Mediaeval Rock
Release Date EU: September 15th, 2017
Kansas, America’s legendary progressive rock band, will release their new live album “Leftoverture Live & Beyond” on November 3, 2017. This is the first live album since 2009 for the band that has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and is famous for classic hits such as ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust in the Wind,’ to progressive epics like ‘Miracles Out of Nowhere.’
“Leftoverture Live & Beyond,” produced by Jeff Glixman, features nineteen songs selected from twelve shows recorded during Kansas’s Spring 2017 Leftoverture 40thAnniversary Tour. The set list includes classic hits, deep cuts, new songs from 2016’s studio album “The Prelude Implicit,” and culminates with the band’s sextuple-platinum breakthrough album, “Leftoverture,” performed in its entirety.
Coinciding with the 40th Anniversary of “Leftoverture,” and the release of “The Prelude Implicit,” KANSAS embarked on their biggest headlining tour in decades. The overwhelming success of that tour led the band, along with Inside Out Music, to release selected songs from the tour as a live album.
“When we saw how much our fans enjoyed the Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour shows, we knew we had to record a live album,” said KANSAS drummer, Phil Ehart. “When it came to finding someone to produce it, we thought the best possible person would be the guy that produced ‘Leftoverture’ forty years ago. So, we called Jeff Glixman!”
“I’m really excited with how this live album sounds,” adds producer, Jeff Glixman. “This band is on fire. Producing this live album was truly an undertaking, but I am confident that KANSAS fans will enjoy the end result.”
“Leftoverture Live & Beyond,” will be released on November 3, 2017, on Inside Out Music and is distributed by The Orchard. The album will be available as a double CD digipak, four 180 Gram Vinyl boxed set, and digitally on iTunes and Google Play.
1.) Icarus II
3.) Point of Know Return
5.) Journey from Mariabronn
6.) Lamplight Symphony
7.) Dust in the Wind
8.) Rhythm in the Spirit
9.) The Voyage of Eight Eighteen
10.) Section 60
11.) Carry On Wayward Son
12.) The Wall
13.) What’s on My Mind
14.) Miracles out of Nowhere
15.) Opus Insert
16.) Questions of My Childhood
17.) Cheyenne Anthem
18.) Magnum Opus
19.) Portrait (He Knew)
(7/10) Ektomorf is basically the brainchild of Hungarian metal maniac Zoltán Farkas who started the band in 1993. The guitarist had to go through a rough time in the beginning and it was his willpower that kept him going. Ektomorf released in the meantime 15 records with their fifth album, "Destroy", being a milestone for Farkas and the band. The longplayer, produced by Danish mastermind Tue Madsen at the helm, lead to appreciation of fans and media.
Ektomorf's energetic groove metal combines thrash, metal and punk to a powerful total that reminds of bands like Soulfly. It was in 2016 when the quartet played the unique Wacken festival. The guys made us of the opportunity to record the show and almost 12 months later the CD/DVD hits the shelfs.
The enitre set was build around the latest studio album "Aggressor" and the 2006 output "Outcast", spiced up with up with some older classics. The setlist is a well-balanced mix of old and new with Tue Madsen handling the audio mix for this release.
The DVD comes with a documentary entitled "Live and Life on the Road" which provides an entertaining 60 minutes behind-the-scene glimpse. "Warpath (Live and Life on the Road" is a proper live album, reflecting on almost 15 years of Ektomorf. For sure interesting for fans of the band and grooving thrash metal.
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Groove Metal
Release Date EU: August 25th, 2017
The announcement of a 'Pumpkins United' tour was a sensational news for metal fans all over the place - especially for the ones following Helloween since their very early days. What sounded like almost being too good to be true became reality.
Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske and Markus Grosskopf will embark on a world tour, playing Helloween classics together on one stage. These four guys will also be accompanied by the rest of the current Helloween line-up which means that Andy Deris, Sascha Gerstner and Dani Loeble will be part of this unqiue moment in time as well.
The tour will start on October 19 in Mexico and will include shows in South America, Europe and Japan. This unique package will also perform a gig in The Netherlands. It's the 013 in Tilburg that will host a 'Pumpkins United' show on November 20. Up to date this s the only show in the Benelux and tickets are available HERE.
Being on their way to Wacken Jim Mateos and band decided to add two shows in Holland to this short trip to Europe and if Fates Warning's in town you should grasp the opportunity.
One of the first questions this time was about the opening act. Sixth months ago the support bands were heavily discussed amongst Fates Warning fans. After Fallen Arise and Armored Dawn didn't do anything for the main act in Haarlem and it was this time an Austrian band that got the task to warm up the crowd. Honestly, I haven't heard of Psycho Village before and expectations were low. After having seen the guys I must say that the duo did a good job. Even though their modern metal / alternative rock didn't fit to Fates Warning at all the guys tried their very best to use the momentum. Especially singer/guitarist Daniel Kremsner constantly tried to animate fans in the sparsely filled room. In the end Psycho Village received a pretty good feedback from a crowd that actually came for prog metal with the duo scoring a decent result. However, knowing that Sanctuary played the same night a show in Arnhem raised the question of why both bands didn't perform a shared headliner show. It was really hard for fans to decide where to go to and such a package would have helped also to drive a few more metalheads to Leiden.
After a rather quick scene-change prog metal dinosaurs Fates Warning started their show with "From the Rooftop" and gave fans what they were asking for - more than 90 minutes of finest progressive power metal with not that many changes compared to the January gig in Haarlem.
The setlist was almost similar, with one exception. "One Thousand Fires" was replaced by "SOS" from the band's latest longplayer "Theories of Flight" while the rest of the set stayed the same. Highlights from the earlier days have been played of which songs from "Pleasant Shades of Grey" got a bit more attention. Apart from that, songs like "Point of View" and "The Ivory Gate of Dreams: VII. Acquiescence" are great tunes from the eighties which go hand in hand with newer compositions such as "From the Rooftop". The only song I miss since a while is "Silent Cry".
Seeing and listening to Fates Warning live on stage is always a pleasure. These guys don't have any need to ballyhoo. Fates Warning has excellent songs in their musical repertoire, performed by musicians who share a common vision and passion for metal music. Jim Matheos and colleagues belong to the spearhead of progressive metal and the night in Leiden underlined again their importance and relevance.
Setlist Fates Warning:
Location: Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, The Netherlands
Date: August 3rd, 2017
(*/10) Here comes Graham Bonnet part 2. After having released an album with Ezoo a few weeks ago it’s again Frontiers Music that comes up with another Graham Bonnet release. This time it’s a live album, featuring a show the singer did in 2016 at the Frontiers Music Rock Festival III in Trezzo, Italy.
Bonnet was supported by Beth-Ami Heavenstone (b), Conrado Pesinato (g) and the legendary Marc Zonder on drums. The show, and therefor also the live release, was a trip through Bonnet’s rich musical history. Most of the tunes played that day came from bands he was part of in the past. Alacatrazz, Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group material built the backbone with some own songs and Impellittri’s “Stand in Line” that have been added to the setlist too. Last but not least there’s the Russ Ballard cover “Since You Been Gone” which was already successfully covered by Rainbow. In total “Live…Here Comes the Night” includes 15 songs that feel like a journey through 80’s melodic metal and hardrock. Bonnet’s voice is far better than what we got to hear with Ezoo and since the songs are classics anyhow, things can’t go wrong with this live release.
“Live … Here Comes the Night” is a well-produced live album that comes with classical rock songs which are played, recorded and produced in a good manner. This album is a starting point for taking a trip down the memory lane.
Label: Frontiers Music
Release Date EU: July 7th, 2017
What a prefect day for a metal festival. Overcast, a few sunrays, a nice temperature, some good bands and a lot of metal - perfect conditions for a great day out. However, the first challenge was to get to Eindhoven. This has nothing to do with the DMF. It was more the vacation period that brought many people on the roads that Saturday, which led to some traffic jams and delays.
After a bit of a hassle on the highways I finally made it to Ijssportcentrum, unfortunately a bit to late for White Boy Wasted, a young local band from Eindhoven that got the chance to open this years edition of the DMF.
The first band I could witness was Vuur, the new band of singer Anneke van Giersbergen. The band is working right now on the debut which will be released via InsideOut on October 20th,2017 and after having heard the first single release “Days Go By – London” there was some curiosity when it comes to songs and live performance. Vuur are no rookies. There is a lot of experience in this band and therefore the show was done in a perfect balance between passion for the new and professionalism on the other hand. It was amazing how good the five-piece performed when it comes to tightness and harmony, esp. knowing that they haven’t had too many live shows together to date. Vuur created more appetite for the upcoming album and the long queue during the signing session showed clearly the status of Anneke van Giersbergen and band.
Next to the two Dutch bands at the top of the batting order the DMF 17 was characterized by thrash metal; oldschool thrash metal to be precise. The billing included bands such as Testament, with New York City based Toxik being the first one to enter the stage. The band, that had two great releases at the end of the eighties, is back with full force. Josh Christian and band mates have been the first highlight that day. Going through material of the old days, but also songs from the recent EP "Breaking Class" created some first circle pits and it felt like Holland was intensively waiting for Toxik to return to Eindhoven RockCity. The four-piece band played an excellent show featuring furious guitar solos by main man Josh Christian. These guys are hungry and so are the fans.
Let’s stay for another 50 minutes at the American East Coast. After Toxik created a lot of excitement it was up to New York City-based Prong to take things to a next level - and they did. Tommy Victor and Co. built the setlist around classics with only one new tune from the next album played that day (“Divide and Conquer”). The rest of the setlist was a kind of ‘Best of…', including anthems such as “Beg to Differ” and “Broken Peace”. Prong set down an energetic show that was very well received by the crowd. The wall of sound these guys build as trio continuously astonishes me. Prong on stage is always an experience you shouldn't miss and today was for sure no exception.
What we haven't heard so far was some death metal. Last year it was Swedish At The Gates that brought some growls to Eindhoven and this year it's their compatriots Entombed A.D. that nailed down a harsh and brutal show. After a quite long intro the quintet acted as a sonic wrecking ball. These five guys fired on all cylinders, leading to a lot of movement in the crowd. The beauty with the DMF is the billing. There is always some variety in the billing by still following a certain pattern of metal. Death metal, thrash metal and some more complex metal get together in a perfect manner; all combined to a running order that keeps the thrill alive. Dutch metal fans have enjoyed the ‘Vikings’ and therefore it wasn't very surprising that Entombed A.D. extended their show with a few minutes. Allt brå.
As earlier mentioned, it was thrash metal that got a bit more attention this year. Exodus came to Holland, having a setlist in their bag that lead to pure excitement. Exodus is pure thrash metal without any frills or decoration. These guys don’t take any prisoners; they’re burning down the house. Also the five-piece from the Bay Area kept their set more oldschool with songs like “Piranha” and ”The Toxic Waltz” acting has highly appreciated icons, not to forget “Bonded By Blood”. As quite some other bands also Exodus has a long connection to Eindhoven and the Dynamo with having played their first show in Brabant 29 years ago and over all these years the quintet could keep the spirit alive. These guys are authentic, real, and heavy, being fully charged with metal energy that made Steve Souza already watch the shows of Toxik and Prong. Exodus was the real highlight on this year’s DFM and a true winner.
Time for some more craziness? Of course. Devin Townsend stopped with his Devin Townsend Project at this year's DMF and spiced-up the metal feast at the ‘Ijsbaan’. The Canadian guitar wizard is a great entertainer with excellent guitar skills and a full bag of enthusiasm. The crowd might got a bit tired after already 6 hours of great metal, but Townsend would not be Townsend if he couldn’t gain the fans' attention in a minute. There's no way to escape from the energy that seems to be endless with Townsend. In addition it was a smart move to use the opportunity to also perform quite some songs together with Anneke van Giersbergen. It’s the beauty of a festival that these things can be more easily arranged than normal and metalheads in Eindhoven appreciated these 60 minutes a lot. The Devin Townsend Project music added another flavor to the DMF, leading to a big cheer for the British Columbia-based musician and his hard working band mates.
One of the bands many fans came for was Bay Area thrash legend Testament. The band was already announced during last year’s edition and the fact that they had their first show outside America at the Dynamo festival 30 years ago was a promising fact for a great show. Unfortunately things went slightly different. Changing the scenery on stage normally took between20 to 30 minutes, but after 45 minutes there was still no Testament on stage. In place of the band the stage crew did one microphone check after the other and you could sense already that there’s something going wrong. I think it would have been good, if someone had informed the patiently waiting crowd about what’s the situation. Finally, after one hour waiting time the band entered the stage with “Over the Wall”. In a split second everybody forgot the long wait since an oldschool set seemed to compensate for the late start. However, due to the technical problems the band lost half of their playing time. The planned schedule ruled with Testament finishing their gig after 30 minutes with “Disciples of the Watch”. Based on whatever reason, the show was good, but the missed playing time, a non-appearance at the scheduled signing session and no merchandise left a bit of a sour taste with fans discussing it even on their way home.
After this stroke of fate quite some fans decided to start their way home. They missed though a brilliant show of French metal passionitas Gojira. The quartet could make use of a full light show and what you got to see was impressive. Light, smoke fountains and fire - all part of the show and used as a completion to their great music. This show was treat that for eyes and ears. I have to admit that I haven’t seen the band on stage till yesterday, but what I saw was a jaw-dropping good metal show of a band that had the best sound of the day. The setlist gave a good overview over all phases of the band's creation with a focus on the latest album “Magma”. Gojira is definitely a big player these days and the right headliner for the 2017 DMF. The quartet was the anticipated grand finale, rounding off an exciting metal day with a lot of good stuff and a downer.
This years DMF was the third edition and it was with 10,000 fans the biggest one to date. In general things have been arranged in a good way with some bottlenecks when it comes to the bar and the return of DMF coins. Prices for drinks and food have been fair even though the food offer could be bit wider next year with an also slightly increased quality. The burgers were really poor.
However, there are always things that can be improved and the mentioned will not take away a very positive impression of the DMF with the next year version being in the planning phase already. There’s a first act announced. Canadian metal icon Annihilator will come to Eindhoven and if I could have a wish the DMF team should continue with Canada by also bringing Voivod to Brabant. Let’s hope and see (or address it on the DMF FB site if you think the same).