Archive for October, 2013

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes
Symphonies of the Night
Released 18th November
Symphonic Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Leaves’ Eyes are virtually a household name on the symphonic metal scene. Made up of former Theatre of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine and the gentlemen of Atrocity (excluding Joris), Leaves’ Eyes have made themselves a lasting career built upon their combination of symphonic elements, use of multiple languages, folk influences and finely tuned musicianship. The latest milestone in Leaves’ Eyes‘s longstanding legacy is Symphonies of the Night, the follow up to their 2012 release Meredead.

Hell to The Heavens starts the album with a powerful use of Liv‘s vocals and gentle symphonic passages underlying her distinctive voice before the fierce roar of guitars make themselves heard, alongside Alex‘s snarling voices. The track is heavily tragic, like one of Shakespeare‘s plays put to music. There are softer sections though they are few and between but focus on the strong use of keyboards.

Fading Earth is a complete change of direction, paying more attention to the finer details of the melody, allowing Liv‘s voice to still soar higher than an eagle while Sander‘s and Thorsten‘s paint an image of feeling. Maid Of Lorraine rings with a typical Celtic atmosphere, the kind that any Leaves’ Eyes fan will be familiar with. Again, there is attention paid to the details of the guitars and Alex‘s vocals come booming out like a volley of cannonballs thundering over the battlefield, dripping with vehemence, contrasting with Liv‘s celestial voice that floats ever so majestically above the enchanting symphonic passages.

The hypnotic and poignant medievalesque instrumentation opens up the folktastic track Galswintha, a track based on the daughter of the Visigothic king of Hispania, Athanagild.  Liv‘s vocals adjust perfectly to the change of style in the music, her voice almost jigging alongside the music, while the Celtic and medieval medleys fly overheard like a murder of ravens in the night sky. The title track, Symphony of the Night, has a touch of Edgar Allen Poe-tinted darkness flowing through its proverbial veins, spilling forth waves of tainted keyboards and virulent guitars with a strong flow of somber vocals. Felix‘s use of drumming helps support the growing Plutonian sound of the song, as well as the ghastly atmosphere.

With a name like Saint Cecelia you’d expect the song to be lighter in its sound but you couldn’t be more wrong. Stygian shades of dusk whisper from the symphonic passages and echo form Liv‘s voice throughout the duration of the song, The use of choir vocals adds their own touch of shade to the dusk that surrounds the song. Hymn To the Lone Sands radiantly whispers out a gentle, soothing medley that is very soul filling until the storm of guitars and drums comes blowing a gale, accompanied by the hurricane of Alex‘s and Liv‘s vocals. Angel And The Ghost is the most tender track of the album, even with the heavy strike of guitars – Though it’s not the music that makes it tender, but the lyrical content. The guitars and the drums keep the backbone of the song going strong, with the lyrics and vocals making up the compassionate flesh – Save for the speech that Liv speaks of death and ghosts and leaving a head at someone’s feet.

Éléonore De Provence tells the story of the Queen consort of England, Eleanor, in the uniquely poetic fashion that Leaves’ Eyes have become masters of. The chorus is memorable, epical and lyrical, while the verses ring out with a touch of romanticism. Nightshade is a velvety piece of workings, allows the vocals to gently glide across the calm ocean of symphonies before the waxing and waning storm of Ophelia makes its presence known in a charming and alluring manner of symphonic lines and mountainous riffs, with a bulwark use of drums and silky vocals.

Leaves’ Eyes have again painted a masterpiece of music and lyrics, combining all their strongest elements and sailing their ship into unknown waters to create Symphonies of the Night. Taking female figures from both history and literature, they have portrayed them in a romantic way that will immortalise them and allow their stories to be heard through a diverse pallet of musical colours, whilst allowing the evolution of Leaves’ Eyes‘s sound at the same time. 

5/5

Nico Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://www.leaveseyes.de/
http://www.facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

 

Mastodon to release audio and video versions of “Live at Brixton”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Pieni

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On February 11th last year, Mastodon played a sold-out show at London’s legendary O2 Brixton Academy. Part of the world tour supporting their critically acclaimed album “The Hunter”, also the show had a tremendous response from the audience, from the first minute until the last.

Now, on December 10th, Warner Bros. Records will make this unforgettable concert available in digital format under the name “Mastodon Live At Brixton”. You can either choose the audio version only, or go for the video one, directed by Ryan Mackfall from Crashburn Media. Both cover the 97 minutes of the show, where the following set-list was performed:

1. Dry Bone Valley
2. Black Tongue
3. Crystal Skull
4. I Am Ahab
5. Capillarian Crest
6. Colony of Birchmen
7. Megalodon
8. Thickening
9. Blasteroid
10. Sleeping Giant
11. Ghost of Karelia
12. All The Heavy Lifting
13. Spectrelight
14. Curl of the Burl
15. Bedazzled Fingernails
16. Circle of Cysquatch
17. Aqua Dementia
18. Crack The Skye
19. Where Strides The Behemoth
20. Iron Tusk
21. March of the Fireants
22. Blood and Thunder
23. Creature Lives

Mastodon online:
http://www.mastodonrocks.com
https://www.facebook.com/Mastodon
http://www.cracktheskye.com
http://www.myspace.com/mastodon
http://www.youtube.com/user/mastodonmusic
http://www.twitter.com/mastodonmusic

Sorronia announced as support on Spanish leg of Xandria tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hungarian symphonic metallers Sorronia have been announced as support on the Spanish leg of Xandria‘s Neverworld’s End tour next month. Sorronia will also be introducing their new album Words Of Silence, which was released 28th October via Bakerteam Records, to the live scene, making the Spanish tour the first European shows where songs from the new album can be heard live for the first time.

Sorronia online:

http://www.facebook.com/SorroniaOfficial
http://twitter.com/SorroniaBand

PAGES OF THE PAST: Annihilator – Alice In Hell

Posted in Pages of the Past with tags , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Who would’ve thought Canada could produce one of the best thrash bands on the planet. Annihilator is the brain-child of Jeff Waters, and the band are recognised the world over for two albums in particular, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland.

Alice in Hell is one of the most technical thrash albums of its generation, with dynamic guitar work, intense drumming, groovy bass-lines and banshee like vocals. While the original release of the album featured the nine tracks listed, the 1998 re-release featured three bonus tracks, two of which were demos of songs from this album, and the other being a demo of a song to be heard on Never, Neverland. But that is a tale for another time, let us now visit Alice in Hell.

The opening instrumental, Crystal Ann, is a classical guitarist’s nightmare of intricate passages. Its twin guitar harmony performed by Waters has given many players chills at its technical prowess. It has also opened every Annihilator show since the album’s release. As soon as that intro hits, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand to attention, and salute the metal you are about to graciously receive within the confines of this 38 minutes of thrash metal mastery from Mr Waters and company.

From an amazing classical intro, to the second track, opening with the chilling bass intro, Alison Hell takes you on a musical journey through the torn mind the character of Alison. The guitars weave a tapestry of torment with their harmonies and relentless rhythmic chug. Vocalist Randy Rampage adds a menace to the song with his dark lyrical content, and Water’s piercing shriek and proto-death-grunt of Alison Hell make the title track an aural assault.

Welcome to Your Death takes the technical approach, and reins it in slightly. This is by no means a detriment to the song, it is in fact quite refreshing. The addition of the clean passage allows the listener a short break from pounding rhythms. The harmony part that Waters leads over sounds much more technical than it actually is, and leads into a good old fashioned thrash attack. For these reasons, fans have considered it an anthem, and it has been featured heavily in the set-list for many years.

The same can be said of Wicked Mystic which takes a more straightforward approach to thrash. Rampage’s vocals are the perfect ally for the guitar work. The un-ending battering of this song shows great stamina from all the players, and shows what thrash metal should be made of.

Burns like a Buzzsaw Blade is the real dark horse track on the album, lyrically it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but fits perfectly within the albums track-list. Water’s goes for an all out divebomb attack for his lead, like the whammy bar is going out of fashion, but still sounds good to this day. To cap it all off, the end of the song is heralded by Rampage emulating a Buzzsaw with his scream. I bet his voice burned like a Buzzsaw blade after that one, ey?

The misleading intro to Word Salad is quite dark for a clean passage. It works at distracting you while the main chug theme sneaks up on you to deliver an injection of distortion. The riffs are intricate, and have been a big influence on a lot of guitar player’s song writing styles. Yet another example of a straightforward thrash tune that would fit in with any set-list that comes out of Jeff Water’s brain.

They say that Schizos (Are Never Alone), and to an extent this is true. Is it? Yes it is, now can I please get on with the song review? Oh sorry, yes, please continue. Thank you, now where was I? This song is brutally fast and relentless in its barrage of speed metal riffs. Most thrash bands have fast songs, or fast sections to songs, but these riffs break boundaries between speed and all out thrash. As the song weaves in two parts, it is in its own way schizophrenic, with its slow parts being almost doom-like compared to its faster, more aggressive side.

Ligeia is one of the other darker horse songs on the album, with constant tempo and feeling changes, featuring nods to AC/DC in the riff ideas. The insane fast solo is a brilliant example of Jeff Waters as a young guitarist with a mis-spent childhood, which just proves that practice makes perfect, or very fast guitar solos. You thought I was being rude didn’t you?

In total contrast Human Insecticide shows more thrash potential. Though the riffs are meaty, the speed is the defining factor of how to make a thrash metal album sound completely awesome. The middle section takes a tempo dive and adds a total groove section, with yet another divebomb fest, that returns us to the true thrash speed. As an album closer, it leaves you satisfied, yet wanting tonnes more material.

There are few bands that can write material that stands the test of time as well as this album. The material is ageless, and still manages to scare even the most hardcore guitarists into wanting to improve their abilities, or just give it up altogether, and they would be right in doing so. This is an outstanding piece of thrash history.

4/5

Dan Eastwood

Battlecross announce UK invasion; supporting Killswitch Engage and Trivium

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Blue collar thrash soliders Battlecross have announced that they’ll be invading the UK in February, next year, with Miss May IKillswitch Engage and Trivium. The UK and Ireland invasion will start on 29th January in Dublin, before proceeding to the UK on 1st February. This will be the band’s first UK and Ireland outing and they’re pleased to be playing both countries. Guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala comments:

Battlecross is so stoked to hit the UK with Killswitch Engage, Trivium  & Miss May I as our first overseas tour ever and thank them for having us on this awesome tour! What an honor it is to share our first UK experience with these bands and we’re ready to thrash with you, our new friends!  Thank you all who have been waiting so patiently for Battlecross to come overseas, and we promise that it will be worth the wait!

Expect nothing less than swift hard kick in the arse from our live show and hope you like us enough to have us back very soon. Can’t wait to rage and have a pint or four with our UK fans! Until then, please hit up our website and send us a message with your email address so we can stay in touch and meet up before, during and after the show AND We’ll write you back! Please keep checking the Metal Blade UK page for updates and giveaways until then!!

Tour dates are as follow:

January 2014

29th         DUBLIN – The Academy
30th         BELFAST – The Limelight

February 2013

1st         MANCHESTER – Academy
2nd         LONDON – Brixton O2 Academy
3rd         NEWCASTLE – O2 Academy
4th         GLASGOW – O2 Academy
6th         BIRMINGHAM – O2 Academy
7th         SOUTHAMPTON – Guildhall

Battlecross triumphantly returned as one of the true champions of American Heavy Metal with their devastating release, War of Will. Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios by famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, the sophomore effort from Detroit’s newest soldiers of steel has proved to be one of the most impressive follow-up releases, destined to become a heavy metal classic for fans of all sub-genres.

Battlecross online:

http://www.battlecrossmetal.com
http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
http://twitter.com/battlecross
http://www.youtube.com/battlecrossmetal

Virulent Rapture available for limited edition pre-order

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 28th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Virulent Rpature, the new long awaited album from unsung black metal legends Hecate Enthroned, is now available for pre-order but is limited to 100 hand numbered copies that will include an A3 poster and the Hecate Enthroned flag. Pre-orders can be made at this locationVirulent Rapture will be released on 25th November via Crank Music Group.

Virulent Rapture tracklisting:

Thrones Of Shadow
Unchained
Abyssal March
Plagued By Black Death
Euphoria
Virulent Rapture (feat. Sarah Jezebel Deva)
Life
To Wield The Hand Of Perdition
Of Witchery And The Blood Moon
Immateria
Paths Of Silence

Hecate Enthroned online:

http://facebook.com/HecateEnthroned

 

Valk-Fest line-up changes; Old Corpse Road replace Gone Til Winter as headliner

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Both Gone Til Winter and Shades of Avalon have withdrawn from this year’s Valkyrian Festival. Gone Til Winter withdrew from the festival and postponed their entire UK tour, which was to take place next month, due to ill-health whereas Shades of Avalon withdrew form the line-up due to their recent parting with their drummer. Glaswegian black metal suits Maelstrom have also withdrawn from the line-up due to work commitments.

Old Corpse Road will now replace Gone Til Winter as the headlining band on Saturday 30th November and Leeds metallers Bludger have replaced Maelstrom. This will also be Bludger‘s last UK show before they tour Europe’s holy land of metal: Finland. Tour dates can be found here. Newly formed metal band Bharghest will also be opening up the first night of Valkyrian Festival on Friday 29th November, making it their second show – their debut show will be at Shades Nightclub on Friday 22nd November, supporting Finnish death metal lords Re-Armed. And last but not least, Twilight’s Embrace have been confirmed as main support on the final night of Valkyrian Festival 2013, supporting the co-headliners Severed Heaven and Andraste.

There are still two slots spare on the second day of Valk-Fest. The bands to be booked for these two slots will be picked by public vote. The poll can be found at this location.

The bar will also be open throughout the festival but valid ID will be required for the purchase of alcohol. There will also be a raffle hosted on the second day to help raise funds. Prizes will include a limited edition Valk-Fest 2013 mug, items donated by Victory Records, Napalm Records and Meta

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Shades Nightclub in Bridlington from Friday 29th November through to Sunday 1st December. The festival is in aid of Rape Crisis and weekend tickets are available for £5 from this location.

 

A Tree Of Signs @ Metalpoint, Porto (PT)

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 28th October 2013 by Pieni

A Tree Of Signs
Metalpoint, Porto (PT)
25th October 2013

A Tree Of Signs has been getting some attention around here. Despite being a young band, formed in 2012, its musicians are quite experienced and talented. Plus, in a country where the main focus of the underground is set on death and thrash metal, a doom rock band will stand out. The lack of a guitarist and having a singer whose voice was good enough to make her reach the finals of our version of Idols may also spike your curiosity about this band’s sound.

They also have that 70’s classic heavy metal vibe that cuts a bit of the general deep despair embroidered in doom bands, making it groovier. Although that night they were mourning the passing of a dear friend, Marianne, so the solemn grief was thicker than usual. The show was actually dedicated to her memory.

And then there’s the lyrics, consisting of old alchemical manuscripts – hence their own term “alchemy doom rock” – resulting in a quite interesting formula, who works very well live in cozy places such as Metalpoint. And even though I coughed my lungs out with all the stage smoke, I have to admit it added some mystique and suited the show.

“Whoever thought my first gig in Porto would be with A Tree Of Signs?”, said singer Diana, who joined the band this year, replacing the Swedish V-Kaos. The latter was the one who recorded the EP “Salt”, but Diana performed those songs in perfection. A new single, “Saturn”, was also played, along with some other yet unreleased songs (“Place In Space”, “Phoebus”), in about an hour that ended with “Of The Division Of Chaos”. A must-check if you’re into classy doom full of ‘70s spirit. [5/5]

https://www.facebook.com/ATreeOfSigns

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

 

Nightwish post second trailer for “Showtime, Storytime”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th October 2013 by Pieni

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In anticipation of their upcoming double DVD “Showtime, Storytime”, Nightwish have now posted a second trailer, in the form of an inteview with mastermind Tuomas Holopainen. In it, the keyboard player talks about the line-up changes (read our article about it here) and how both Floor Jansen and Troy Donockley reacted to the invitation.

“Showtime, Storytime” will be out on November 29th (read details here).

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www.nightwish.com
www.facebook.com/nightwish
www.nuclearblast.de/nightwish

Pig Destroyer recruit John Jarvis on bass

Posted in News with tags , , on 27th October 2013 by Pieni

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For the first time in their 16-tear-old career, grindcore masters Pig Destroyer have a bassist in their line-up: John Jarvis, cousin of the band’s drummer Adam Jarvis. According to guitarist and founding member Scott Hull, “For many years we haven’t had a bass player or second guitarist because, as JR once put it; “mo people, mo problems”. But a band is a living organism. Change is good. New blood. New energy.”

As for John, he states “It’s an honor to be a part of Pig Destroyer. I’m looking forward to making new music with the guys, as well as adding some “low end” to the older material live. After being able to see every incarnation of the band live in the past, I can honestly say that the guys are at the top of their game.”

John will make his live debut with Pig Destroyer precisely today, October 27th, at the Housecore Film Festival curated by Phillip Anselmo in Austin, Texas.

Their latest full-length, “Book Burner”, was released last year, but in 2013 they’ve also released an EP titled “Mass & Volume” as part of a charity effort to benefit the family of recently deceased Relapse Records employee Pat Egen. And last month, the single “The Octagonal Stairway” saw the light of day as part of the 2013 Adult Swim Singles Series.

Pig Deatroyer online:
https://www.facebook.com/TheRealPigDestroyer
http://myspace.com/therealpigdestroyer
http://twitter.com/PigDestroyerVA

Manuela Kraller departs from Xandria, new replacement announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 25th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Classic soprano Manuela Kraller has departed from her duties as vocalist for German symphonic metal band Xandria, citing that she will be following her musical path without the band. While she is regretful of her decision she has also been full of gratitude, thanking both Xandria and the fans for the three years she spent fronting the band. Manuela also stated that this is not the end of her career, but a new beginning.

Dutch soprano and vocal coach Dianne van Giersbergen, who is pictured above, has been announced as the replacement vocalist for XandriaDianne is best known for her work with Dutch symphonic metallers Ex Libris, who appeared at The Dames of Darkness Festival in Bilston, near Wolverhampton, earlier this year. Dianne stated in her announcement that she will not be leaving Ex Libris and that fronting Xandria compeltes her as a soprano, frontwoman and vocal coach. Already, Dutch and German symphonic metallers Xandria have hit the studio to record the follow-up album to Neverworld’s End. As such, the new album will feature the talented Dianne van Giersbergen. The new album is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2014. More details to follow.

Xandria online:

http://www.facebook.com/xandriaofficial

 

Behemoth announce co-headlining tour with Cradle of Filth

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

February 2014 will see, Polish metal overlords Behemoth and British extreme gothic act Cradle of Filth, two of the most iconic extreme metal acts of the modern era, unite on a co-headlining tour around Europe. The European crusade will take the two bands to London at the HMV Forum on 10th February for an exclusive UK show. The tour itself will take the two metallic titans through Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France and Luxembourg and a few other locations.

In related news, Behemoth‘s next release The Satanist is scheduled for release via Buclear Blast in early 2014. Frontman Nergal comments:

We are immensely proud to start promotion of The Satanist on the release date of the album in such a noble company. It’s been a while since we toured Europe for the last time… The wolfpack grew stronger and hungrier and with new opus and stage production we have so much more to offer. This European crusade will be the catalyst of 2 years long tour so keep your eyes open!

This reign of darkness will be opened by Oslo based Svarttjern and the rest of the line up is completed by, Swedish heavy metal veterans In Solitude and Colombian black metallers Inquistion.

Behemoth online:

http://behemoth.pl
http://facebook.com/behemoth

Orchid launches video for “Mouths Of Madness”

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 25th October 2013 by Pieni

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Doom rockers Orchid have filmed a video for their track “Mouths Of Madness”:

The Californian band is about to hit Europe supported by Blues Pills and Scorpion Child – see dates here.

Orchid onlline:
http://www.OrchidSF.com
http://orchid.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/orchid_sf
http://www.youtube.com/OrchidSF

Lecherous Nocturne – Behold Almighty Doctrine

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 24th October 2013 by hammersmashedlauren

Lecherous Nocturne
Behold Almighty Doctrine
Released 19th March, 2013
Technical Death Metal
Released via Unique Leaders Records

 

Being, in my opinion, one of the most underrated bands in metal, South Carolina’s Lecherous Nocturne have returned with the release of Behold Almighty Doctrine. It has been five years since the release of their last album, The Age of Miracles Has Passed, and it is clearly evident that the band has progressed in that span of time. The biggest change to me is in the vocals since former vocalist, Jason Hohenstein, was replaced by former member, Chris Lollis. Both vocalists have different styles with Hohenstein have a more raw, old school sound compared to Lollis’ stronger and profound screams. Nonetheless, I found that Lollis’ vocals perfectly complimented the shredding guitar work of Krieshloff Lofgren and Ethan Lane which ultimately puts this album in my top ten releases of this year.

Starting after the intro with Ourboros Chains, my first impression was that I was listening to a different band entirely. I didn’t think Lecherous Nocturne could possibly sound any heavier than they already do, but they proved me wrong by adding extra helpings of heaviness to every song on this album. The band has such a unique playing and writing style, however, which I feel makes them stand out from the rest of the more modern death metal bands today. They basically did a phenomenal job at using other bands as influences rather than trying to carbon copy them, and this is probably the reason why they are so underrated.

One song on this album that stood out to me was Those Having Been Hidden Away only because of the intro. It was one of those intros that really just get you into the song just from starting out so strong, and that feeling continued through the rest of the song until the end when they finish wish a breakdown. An actual breakdown, mind you, and not the typical deathcore breakdowns which are completely unnecessary for the song. I also love the instrument that follow, Prelude #2, which is then followed by Judgments and Curses. I feel the that three instrumental tracks on this album compliment the rest of the tracks, which are all under 4 minutes in length, and keeps the album short, sweet, and to the point.

Again, this is definitely in my top ten metal albums of 2013. Lecherous Nocturne has never disappointed me with their music despite various lineup changes and progression seen throughout the band. Everyone should listen to this album at least once or maybe a thousand times. This band definitely deserves more recognition for their amazing talent and I hope nothing but good things for them in the future.

 

5/5

Lauren Gowdy

Generation Kill release 2nd video about “We’re All Gonna Die”

Posted in News with tags , , , on 24th October 2013 by Pieni

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After posting a first video (see here) where Rob Dukes and Rob Moschetti talked about the making of their upcoming album “We’re All Gonna Die” (to be released on November 18th via Nuclear Blast), Generation Kill have now released the second part of that interview, where the singer and the bass player tell how touring played a big role in the writing process of the album:

Also a lyric video for the track “Prophets Of War” has recently been posted on YouTube:

“I wrote ‘Prophets Of War’ after watching the documentary ‘The world according to Dick Cheney’. He is such a delusional man with absolutely no conscience. Pure fucking evil. I guess I’ve always known they don’t really care about anyone but themselves but this cemented the realisation into my soul that every soldier that dies or is wounded, weighs nothing on this man’s conscience. He takes no responsibility at all, and it’s all about money. Money and power.”, says Dukes.

Generation Kill online:
GENERATIONKILLBAND.com
facebook.com/GENERATIONKILLOFFICIAL

Devil You Know sign with Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 24th October 2013 by Pieni

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When Francesco Artusato (The Francesco Artusato Project and All Shall Perish) and John Sankey (Devolved, ex-Fear Factory, ex-Divine Heresy) got together in order to expand their music creativity, Devil You Know was born. Over a dozen songs were written before they settled for a singer, who would eventually be found in Howard Jones (Blood Has Been Shed, ex-Killswitch Engage). “We were unsure if Howard would be interested,” says Sankey. “Yet, when he received the material, a creative ideal began to solidify.”

Working with Logan Mader (Gojira, Five Finger Death Punch) in what will become the debut album of Devil You Know, the band has a lot to thank the producer for: Logan definitely helped us realize and define our sound. He went from producer, to unsung member, to friend.”

Through Monte Conner, Devil You Know just got a deal with Nuclear Blast Entertainment, that should release the aforementioned album early next year. Also international touring plans and a full touring lineup will be announced soon.

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www.facebook.com/devilyouknowofficial

 

Five Finger Death Punch post 3rd track-by-track video

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 23rd October 2013 by Pieni

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Five Finger Death Punch have just released their 3rd track-by-track video regarding their upcoming “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – vol. 2” (out on November 19th). The track under the spotlight is “The Agony Of Regret”:

See here the links for the other two videos, “The House Of The Rising Sun” and “Weight Beneath My Sin”, and check the official sites of the band for more info:

http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com
https://www.facebook.com/fivefingerdeathpunch
https://twitter.com/ffdp
http://www.youtube.com/user/5fdp
https://myspace.com/ffdp

Interview with Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson and Jón Geir Jóhannsson [Skálmöld]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd October 2013 by vmteam

Shuffling over to the other side of the greenroom, Jon tiptoed in amidst laptops, assorted wires and beer cans to sit next to Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson (pronounced ‘throw-an’), lead guitarist for Skálmöld, and drummer/vocalist Jón Geir Jóhannsson. The majority of Skálmöld are vocalists themselves, and their sound is an atmospheric blend of death metal with traditional Icelandic melodies and time signatures, featuring epic lyrical sagas about the Norse gods and historical wars. For fans of Tyr, Skálmöld is a perfect opener, and throughout the tour this relatively unheard of band has impressed the European masses.

Jon: Have you been to England before? I swear I’ve seen you once before here.

Þráinn: Yes! We played here once before in 2011 on the… Heidenfest tour I think it was. In the HMV Forum. Absolutely awesome- probably one of my favourite shows ever.

Jon: How do you find fans in England, are we crazy?

Jón: Oh yes, they were crazy then!

Þráinn: At that concert they were absolutely amazing, yeah- and the Forum has a lot of history as well. All of the bands play there, so personally we were really excited to get to play there as well. Before the show we got together and just said ‘let’s do this just for us’. Our intro started, and the whole place erupted – we were like ‘What?’ Nobody knew who we were. The crowd was amazing. Probably one of my favourite gigs ever, and I mean that.

Jon: I know a lot of bands say places like Mexico or Japan are awesome, but no one ever says England.

Jón: Well, we’ve never played Mexico or Japan before! We have a fanclub in Mexico, though. But, uh, we can actually tell you that in Italy, Hungary and Romania, the fans are pretty awesome – the bassist from Týr is coming into our interview!

Gunnar: Hi!

Jon: You’ve already said your piece about the new album and now Týr don’t have a singer because of it!

Þráinn: Did you talk about our new album?

Gunnar: Of course we did! You’re so rude!

Þráinn: So as we said, yes in Italy, Hungary and Romania, fans are really crazy – Italy have the greatest fans ever, man. But that particular show back at the Forum was great.

Jon: Now you use Icelandic poetic structure in your songs. Is this hard to stick to or do you prefer to structure your lyrics like that?

Jón: We prefer to use it. Our bass player who writes all the lyrics is a bit of a poetic nerd in a way. In some ways it’s more like mathematical problems, because you have to put certain letters at certain places and have rhymes at certain places, so it’s kinda like a linguistic Rubik cube that you have to solve. So it’s a challenge. And because of those rules, it’s more rhythmical. You say sounds at similar intervals, it’s easier to sing, and for people who don’t speak Icelandic, it’s like listening to an instrument. When we signed to Napalm Records, some people asked ‘are you going to sing in English?’ And we said ‘no way!’ Of course we were going to stick to our native language. In our songs we have an English story which you can follow as you listen to the lyrics.

Jon: Your latest album Börn Loka

Þráinn: Yes, Children of Loki!

Jon: Why did you choose to write about this concept?

Þráinn: Basically we had an idea

Jon: Because he’s cool? [Editor’s note: Loki is not cool – Vidar is though]

Þráinn: Yes but don’t connect this with the Marvel thing! Basically we had three ideas, all the ideas were about two children travelling, and in the end our bass player had the idea of naming them after two of our kids…

Jón: We think the Children of Loki are really cool characters, and they are part of our Icelandic heritage, part of the old Nordic religion – mainly they’re just really cool characters. Especially the three famous ones: Hel, Fenrir and Miðgarðsormur. So, it’s a fictional story but we take parts of the old mythology and sagas and squeeze them in, but with different main characters.

Þráinn: We grew up with this; this is normal stuff when you’re growing up.

Jón: You learn about it in school, in kindergarten. It’s something children are taught as a part of their cultural history – you learn about where you’re from and as part of what your ancestors believed – not, like, ‘you have to believe in Odin’, but as cool stories.

Þráinn: But we didn’t have to make this cool, because ninety percent of everyone back home respects their history and thinks it’s quite cool anyway. We actually have kids wearing our t-shirts with our logos on, singing our songs in kindergartens.

Jon: That’s amazing!

Þráinn: Yeah, but I would have thought that kids in the UK would listen to Iron Maiden songs in kindergarten…

Jon: If only!

Þráinn: I thought you would be singing about Alexander the Great or Invaders or something!

Jon: If only we did! I think that should definitely be on the curriculum. I know you started off as Týr did, using folk music blended in with metal – do you still use that concept now?

Jón: When we started the band, the original idea was to have it a bit more folky than it turned out. In the first rehearsals, Baldur our guitar played flutes and mandolins and stuff, and then it kinda didn’t sound right, so he began to play the electric guitar as well. Today, we’re just playing heavy metal.

Þráinn: We don’t really think that we have to be ‘this type’ of metal, like folk metal. It just happens. For me, we’re just another Iron Maiden cover band!

Jon: I’m really interested in Norse mythology, but I’m really lazy and I don’t read at all. Could you recommend any reading that fans of Nordic metal can pick up to learn more about the history?

Þráinn: You have to read from the Völuspá and the Eddas, the beginning of the universe according to Nordic mythology. And then I think you should go into the old Icelandic sagas and the stories of the settlers. That’s awesome and brutal.

Jón: A bunch of people killing each other all the time.

Þráinn: Everyone who is alive today in the Western world is a pussy compared to the guys who were originally Icelandic settlers.

Jon: One day I promise you I’ll read the Eddas.

Jón: Do it! That’s basically where it all comes from.

Jon: Obviously I was interviewing Týr over there, and I asked them to teach me something in Faroese. Could you teach me something nice in Icelandic? Because Terji taught me some words that I couldn’t really say to anyone.

Þráinn: If you wanted to say something nice, to a beautiful girl or something, then you can say ‘falleg’, which means beautiful. You can also say ‘þú ert falleg’- you are beautiful.

Jon: What’s next for the band? Börn Loka was released last October, so have you started any further work?

Þráinn: We have started to write… It will be the best album ever! Our next task after we finish his tour is to do a couple of gigs with the Icelandic symphonic orchestra- we’re doing both of our albums and three shows that are sold out in a huge auditorium – 1800 seats!

Jón: So that’s going to be a lot of work, and hopefully we’re going to release that as a DVD. Hopefully it will be released just before Christmas; we’re doing the gigs in November.

Þráinn: And then we have theatre work!

Jón: We basically have December, January and February off, and then we’re going to start rehearsing to make our first album into a live theatre production: there’ll be actors and re-enactments on the stage of the stories in between the songs, and hopefully we’ll record an album next summer!

Jon: I love everything you’re doing- so many bands get stuck in a rut of recording an album and then going out on tour, and it seems like you’re really creatively branching out. Thanks – I think that’s everything!

Jón: They better bloody well start teaching Iron Maiden songs in kindergarten!

Skálmöld online:

http://www.skalmold.is
http://facebook.com/skalmold

Interview with Týr

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 23rd October 2013 by vmteam

Perhaps one of the greatest folkish/Nordic/younameit line-ups aside from the European spectacle of Heidenfest graced The Garage this past Saturday evening: behemoths Finntroll were joined by Metal Blade’s Týr, who are touring their latest album, and were supported by Iceland’s Skálmöld for an evening of sweltering debauchery and a raucous good time.

A long time fan of Týr himself, Jon caught up with Týr before the gig as the crowds started to swell up Holloway Road.

Absent for most of Týr’s interview was lyrical mastermind and mythology nerd Heri Joensen, who popped in his head for a few questions before ducking out, but Jon sat down with bassist (and comedian) Gunnar Thomsen, lead guitarist Terji Skibenaes, and new recruit drummer Amon Djurhuus.

Jon: Ok, introductory question: tell us something interesting about yourself!

Gunnar: I’m a plumber?

Jon: Everyone knows you’re a plumber!

Gunnar: And a diver!

Terji: Only perverted things come into my mind… I hate driving cars!

Amon: I can actually play the harmonica! 

Jon: Is the harmonica going to be on any Týr records then?

Amon: No way! Never ever! 

Jon: Gunnar, I saw you wearing a Trollfest t-shirt the other day; they’ve covered Toxic by Britney Spears. Aside from the new covers of Iron Maiden and Pantera on Valkyrja, out of any genre, what would you cover?

Gunnar: I would probably cover a Deep Purple song – I would never go so low as to do Britney Spears!

Terji: Pop song? I thought about it the other day! Chicago, It’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry – it will just be me in a one man show.

Jon: You went for a quite a power metal vibe in Valkyrja; Liv Kristine, singer from Leaves’ Eyes, joined you in ballad Lay of Our Love – have you thought about collaborating with any other musicians?

Terji: No, I don’t think we’re going to do that. 

Jon: I know you don’t align yourself with the folk metal scene, but a lot of bands use unconventional instruments- maybe not harmonicas, but accordions, violins…

Gunnar: Yeah, that’s never gonna happen – an orchestra, maybe… that could be something!

Terji: No violins though… 

Jon: I know Valkyrja has just been released, but have you started doing work on the new album?

Terji: Only demos so far.

Gunnar: They sound amazing, absolutely brilliant! 

Jon: Do you have a concept that it might focus on?

Terji: No, we don’t know yet…

Gunnar: We’ll do a cover track by The Bee Gees maybe… we’ll put a nail in our balls and- (quiet, high-pitched wails) 

Jon: That could be your stage performance next tour… Now – you cover modern issues; for example, your anti-racism song Shadow of the Swastika. Do you think any cultural values from Norse mythology are still relevant today?

Gunnar: That’s what Heri does with lyrics – he takes old situations and compares them to new situations because they’re quite similar. So it kinda draws a line between the two.

Jon: Do you like singing about modern issues or would you prefer to stick to singing only about mythology?

Gunnar: If it was up to me, we’d sing songs about cars and planes!

Terji: Sex, drugs and rock and roll! 

Jon: I think Shadow of the Swastika was a good response to the criticism you faced from people under the misconception you were a right-wing band.

Gunnar: Yeah, that whole thing came totally behind our backs. 

Jon: So from the new album, what’s your personal favourite – you know my favourite is Lady of the Slain, which I believe you wrote, Terji!

Terji: Yes I did! Mine is Another Fallen Brother.

Gunnar: It’s difficult to say, Valkyrja is my favourite- maybe because I wrote that! No, it’s difficult to say. I like the whole album.

Terji: Mare of My Night!

Gunnar: Mare of My Night is my favourite, yeah! 

Jon: That was so embarrassing to listen to… just listening to the lyrics…

Terji: Did you blush?

Jon: I did! Listening to it on my own I thought ‘you can’t say that, Heri!

Gunnar: Good! I think that’s where we should go! Getting brutally honest!

Amon: I think Mare of My Night is my favourite, too. I love playing it live- it’s a pretty cool live song. 

Jon: (Mathias from Finntroll is lounging on the sofa in the background behind Terji) What’s your favourite song, Mathias

Mathias: What favourite? No, I do know the songs! I listen to it every day! Uh, probably Mare of My Night, too.

Jon: Are there any songs you recorded but couldn’t use for Valkyrja?

Gunnar: This was what we had. We never actually record more songs than needed.

Jon: So Amon, have you ever been on tour before?

Amon: Yep, I’ve been on tour with Týr two times before – this is my third – and with Heljareyga (Heri Joensen’s side-project) also. It’s going good.

Gunnar: We bully him a bit – we’ve tried to break him in (whip crack sound)

Terji: Gunnar thinks we bully him, but we actually bully Gunnar!

Gunnar: I’m used to it!

Jon: I know a lot of fans were upset Kári (Streymoy, previous drummer) left, but the fans that have met you have said you’re cool, Amon – you’ve got our support! Can you teach us to say something in Faroese?

Terji: Spina. Spin-hora. Sperm whore. 

Jon: Would that help me to pick up a guy at a bar?

Gunnar: That would probably work on me!

Jon: Wow – next question! I’ve been listening to you since I was fifteen – so five years now. And I have to Admit that when I first started listening to you, I hated you!

Terji: Usually people do!

Jon: And now I run the UK fanpage on Facebook- funny how things change. When did you first realise you were getting noticed? I know Valkyrja is having great success in the charts and with critics alike.

Terji: Probably since after By the Light of the Northern Star was released. 

Jon: I know a lot of places in South America are crazy about anything Nordic-themed, do you find you have a good reception there as well?

Terji: Yeah, a lot! (Gunnar says ‘No’) Gunnar’s never on Facebook; he doesn’t know!

(Heri Joensen wanders over from the corner) 

Jon: Do you want to tell us about any lyrics you’re working on?

Heri: Uh, well Terji and I have talked about some stuff, and that’s all that’s happened so far. I don’t think we should mention it yet…

Terji: No, not yet.

Heri: Turn the microphone off!

Terji: Our manager will kill us…

Gunnar: No, it’s about big elephants in Africa, and the situation with the pelican that flies off and mates with the flamingos. It’s very disturbing.

Jon: I think you’re going to have to write that now! (Heri tries to run away; Jon pull him back) Stay here – there’s another one! I know a lot of my friends are starting to form bands and write lyrics about their English heritage. Do you encourage that, and how can people who are interested in that best go about interacting with, or writing about, something personal to them

Heri: I think that in the Faroes at least we have a very direct connection with our heritage, so when I started to write lyrics I didn’t have to dig very deep to find anything, and there was no artificial angle to it. I can imagine if you grew up in England that

Jon: It would be more about learning what you know from history lessons

Heri: Yeah exactly. You have to be into that sort of thing to know anything about it, but still I would encourage anyone to do it. I like it when music sounds like where it comes from and also has mythological subjects related to a band’s heritage, if you’re into that kind of thing. So when everything isn’t so internationalised.

Jon: I must say though I love the new African animal direction you’re taking, and Terji was also telling me about wanting to cover musical theatre…

Heri: I’m now officially out of the band!

Amon: Elephants in Chicago!

Terji: That’s the new album title!

Jon: Recently, fanclubs have grown amazingly for Týr. After your gig in York, I started the UK fanpage from a computer in my hostel. Now I’ve seen the Italian fanclub, the Polish fanclub, and of course the US fanclub getting lots of likes on their pages… What can fans do to help you guys?

Terji: I think talk to the local promoters… When they see more people asking for us, then it will most likely happen

Gunnar: And spread the word!

Terji: And hello to Týr Fans in the UK! Thank you for everything!

Gunnar: Rock on!

Amon: Thanks – come to our show!

Týr online:

http://www.tyr.fo
http://facebook.com/tyrband

 

Metal Female Voices Festival @ Wieze, BE

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2013 by Freya

Tarja, Lacuna Coil, ReVamp, Delain, Leaves’ Eyes
Oktoberhallen, Wieze
18th-20th October

In Belgium, October stands for falling leaves, rain and a ton of female fronted metal. For the eleventh time the Oktoberhallen in Wieze flooded with fans of this genre to attend the Metal Female Voices Fest or MFVF. This festival has a very loyal fanbase, some of them even travelled a good part of the globe to get there! I had the pleasure to meet some dedicated metalheads from Israel and Argentina, and it’s safe to say that they weren’t the only international visitors.

On Friday, the first day of the festival, the doors opened at 19h00 as there were only two acts. I have no idea if that was also the reason behind the smaller crowd, but it was noticable that there were a lot more attendees on Saturday and Sunday. But that didn’t stop Liv Kristine from giving it her all with her solo project! Liv Kristine by herself, accompanied by a band of course, is a little more indie/rock than Leaves’ Eyes, but that doesn’t take away of the fact that she has an amazing voice. Fans of Leaves’ Eyes were lucky this weekend, because the band attended the festival on Saturday. But for now, back to Liv Kristine. As the crowd continued to grow, she enchanted us with her adorable smile and charisma. Paris Paris and Skintight opened the set, followed by a fragile Fake a Smile. Trapped in Your Labyrinth was definitely one of the highlights of the show, together with ‘Libertine’. With these songs Liv Kristine showcased that a delicate voice can rock just as much as a more solid voice. As a nice surprise, a few Theatre of Tragedy songs made it into the set: Venus and Image. Overall, this was a perfect fresh and joyous opener for what turned out to be an outstanding edition of MFVF. [3.5/5]

After Liv Kristine, the stage was invaded by Eve’s Apple. And I mean invaded! Eve’s Apple isn’t a normal band with about 5 or 6 members, it’s a collective of female singers. Some of the ladies who sung some beautiful covers were: Lisa Middelhauve (ex-Xandria), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Iliana Tsakiraki, Kassandra Gruszkowki, Annamaria Cozza, Zuberoa Aznarez, Aiylin Gimenez (Sirenia), Grace Meridan, Heidi Parviainen, Mary Zimmer, Marcela Bovio (Stream Of Passion), Clémentine Delauney (Serenity), Karolina Pacan (Skeptical Minds), Sabrina Valentine, Laura Vargas, Mariangela Themurtas (Tristania), Lindsay Schoolcraft (Cradle of Filth), Sanna Salou, Angel Wolfblack, VK Lynne and Maxi Nil (Visions Of Atlantis). Some of the biggest hits in rock were brought out for this special occasion, so we had the opportunity to listen to adaptations of Stargazer (Marcela Bovio and Kassandra Novell) and Poison (Clémentine Delauney and VK Lynne). Every now and then the fire underneath the songs died out a bit and made way for a softly glowing ember like Behind Blue Eyes(Mariangela Themurtas, Maxi Nil and Charlotte Wessels). Personally, Show Must Go On (Karolina Pacan and Angel Wolfblack) would have been in the list of amazing duets as well, but technical issues caused some trouble. The vocals drowned in a wall of sound and that’s too bad, because it had a lot of potential. Towards the end all the ladies got together on stage to thank Maxi Nil, and to sing a few songs of course! The two final songs of the evening were quite appropriate: All we Are and Stars. [3/5]

As the final notes of the evening died out the crowd turned to their tent, car or bus, only to return in a few very short hours!

On Saturday the doors opened at 10h00. And even though it was still early, there was a relatively long queue in front of said doors. And what a nice wake-up call we got once we got inside! Our neighbours from the North sent Magion to MFVF, and they were an astonishing discovery! Myrthe van Beest has an enchanting voice, which is a perfect match for compelling songs like Neverending Winter and Shallow Grounds. During Greed the horns went up, and the crowd slowly started shaking off the mists of morning. [4/5]

Azylya should definitely get the award for creepiest intro at MFVF. The Belgian band played a home game and brought two masked dancers and a creepy little girl with them. She fit right in with the eerie music and lighting. The venue was starting to shed a bit of the initial chill, but things definitely got hotter when Jamie-Lee Smit brought out some fire during Darkness Ascending. Electroconvulsive was a vocal mix between a kick in the teeth and a gentle embrace. Overall, Azylya told an enchanting story with a lot of power. The mix of classical elements with metal, and the two contrasting voices were a true delight! [4/5]

Victorians – Aristocrats’ Symphony brought a touch of the past to MFVF, with stunning costumes (I still want to steal the jacket that Utis wore). Songs like Descent of Your Destiny and Prince of Night paint a picture of times long gone, but with a modern twist. After the show they told us they were a bit worried about the quality of the sound, but I don’t think they had anything to worry about. [3.5/5]

Serenity came to MFVF to promote their new album War of Ages. Singers Clémentine Delauney and Georg Neuhauser sound very well-balanced and they compliment each other. Georg ran and jumped around every inch of the stage, never standing in one place more than a few seconds, and you could see he was having a good time. But there was also room for a more intimate song: Fairytales was touching and intense. A nice surprise was the guest appearance from Charlotte Wessels during Serenade of Flames. Serenity knows how to entertain and satisfy an audience. [3.5/5]

Canadian band Kobra and the Lotus brought heavy metal to Wieze, and how! Nayana struck like a poisonous snake and this feisty animal did not lose it’s grip. Kobra Paige has a hypnotic and overwhelming voice and she took the stage with confidence and spirit. And it gets better! She is backed up by an impressive wall of sound consisting of fierce guitars and raging drums. Songs like 50 Shades of Evil or Forever One have potential to become true metal anthems. Dark Passenger was preceded by a drum solo that showcased the sills of the drummer and My Life stood out to me due to its unique guitar riff. Afterwards Kobra Paige shared some words of wisdom with me: love and metal, that’s what it’s all about. I couldn’t agree more. [5/5]

I admit it, at first, I was a bit sceptical about Kontrust. I saw a few of their videos on YouTube and felt like I had no idea what to expect. The intro made me feel like I was at Octoberfest rather than Metal Female Voices Fest so I had the urge to roll my eyes, but I stand corrected! Kontrust knows how to get a party started. They were a lot of fun and the crowd clearly enjoyed their lighthearted songs like Hey DJ, U Say What and Bomba. Sock and Doll was another example of what makes Kontrust unique: I’ve never seen a band use sock puppets before… But it worked! The horns went up and I saw a lot of smiles around me. [4/5]

After Kontrust it was time for the headlining acts of the day: Leaves’ Eyes, Delain and Lacuna Coil.

Liv Kristine took the stage once more this weekend, this time as part of Leaves’ Eyes. Since Leaves’ Eyes is practically a synonym for symphonic metal, that’s exactly what we got: riveting melodies and an angelic voice with a heavier counterpartner. Their new album Symphonies of the Night will be released in November so at MFVF we had the privilege to hear a few new songs such as Galswintha, Fading Earth, Symphonies of the Night, Maid of Lorraine and Hell to the Heavens. And I can tell you, these songs are something to look forward to! The crowd clearly enjoyed the new material, but most hands, horns and fists were raised during songs as My Destiny, Elegy and Take the Devil in Me. (And Alexander Krull still has the most awesome hair!) [4/5]

Delain opened their set with Mother Machine, a song taken from their album We are the Others. Charlotte Wessels appeared on stage dressed in white and she swept the crowd right off their feet. The entire show she continued to encourage the audience to sing, scream or clap along. Go Away and Virtue and Vice from the album April Rain were played next, accompanied by sparks and an audience on fire. Charlotte reached the higher notes with ease and before we knew it they were halfway through the set. We were in for another great surprise though, because during No Compliance, Charlotte was joined by none other than Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) for a special duet. Sharon didn’t leave after one song though, much to the delight of the audience. She sang Restless, a song by her own band Within Temptation, accompanied by Martijn Westerholt (former keyboardist of Within Temptation) on the piano. Sharon wasn’t the only guest appearance of the set though. Georg Neuhauser of Serenity joined Charlotte on stage for Control the Storm. They clearly enjoyed this duet, which was another cherry on this scrumptious Delain-cake. During the encore Charlotte had the crowd jumping once again with The Gathering. Delain said their goodbyes with We are the Others, together with the crowd who was singing along with an amazing amount of spirit after an already long day. [4.5/5]

Day two wasn’t over yet though! Lacuna Coil was the final act of the day, and they had something special planned for MFVF. They played the entire Karmacode album. It truly was a trip to the past since Karmacode came out in 2006. The band took place on stage wearing the masks they used during the Karmacode tour, but unfortunately we could only see Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. The lighting was horrible! It was really difficult to see any of the musicians during the entire set, which was disappointing. But back to the music! Karmacode is an album filled with hits like Fragile, Enjoy the Silence and Our Truth. Lacuna Coil definitely took a risk here, because not every song on the album is a hit. Because of that, at times it felt like an unusual show. The entire show was very interesting and I hope that this concept will inspire other bands to do the same. After a short intermezzo Cristina and Andrea returned in a their latest uniforms to end things with a bang! They gave the crowd a small but oh so sweet taste of absolute hits such as Heaven’s A Lie and Spellbound. To top it of they sang two songs of their latest album Dark Adrenaline: the haunting Trip the Darkness and a very energetic Kill the Light. [4/5]

So far, MFVF XI was a great success, but the third day was filled with bands who were ready to blast day 1 and 2 out of the water.

On Sunday the doors opened an hour later, which was a blessing after two long days. At noon, Hell City was present to defend the Belgian honour. And they did a great job! Hell City was fierce and on fire. Michelle Nivelle gave the crowd no excuse to be sleepy-eyed for another minute. With songs like This Mortal Loss and Demons to Rest we were showered with Grade A metal. The final song of their set was the new single Ice Cold Rage, which can be downloaded on their website. [3.5/5]

After this little Belgian treat it was time for a more exotic band: Hungarian folk metal band Dalriada made it very difficult to stand still, with energetic and up-tempo songs such as Napom, Fényes Napom and A Dudás. Unfortunately, where I stood, the crowd only clapped along (major props to a friend of mine though, who taught us all a lesson in headbanging). Maybe it was still a bit early, or the audience was saving their energy for the headliners of the day. Too bad, because it could’ve been an awesome party. [3.5/5]

After Dalriada I skipped a few bands myself, but I was back just in time to see Crimfall. The members of the band looked like they fought their way over to Wieze (blood, blood everywhere!), but they still had a ton of energy left! Helena Haaparanta and Mikko Häkkinen were accompanied by a group of merry huntsmen, who seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. Songs like Wildfire Season paint an epic picture in the mind of the listener. Another example of their story-like songs is Silver and Bones about a son repeating his father’s mistakes. Even though Crimfall had a few technical difficulties, it was a truly wonderful journey. [4/5]

A little sidenote: it turned out that MFVF was one of the last shows with Helena: Crimfall is looking for a new singer. I wish them all the best!

Onward to the two big names of MFVF XI! The past year the buzz around Floor Jansen has been immense, so it feels like she doesn’t need an introduction anymore. The new leading lady of Nightwish proved to us all that we shouldn’t fear for the future of ReVamp. On the contrary, their new album Wild Card explores new musical territories, and sounds quite heavy. I must add that I found the new album a bit chaotic at times, but live it clicked together like clockwork. Precise, strong and compelling. The audience started clapping the second the lights went out, and was treated with a part one of The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown trilogy from Wild Card: On the Sideline. Part two (The Limbic System) and three (Neurasthenia) were played later on in the set. From the get-go, Floor amazed us all with her impressive voice. She has a range from operatic and angelic all the way to grunts, and she makes it sound so easy. To name just one example seems foolish, but Precibus perfectly highlighted her vocal range. And if that’s not enough, she’s an awe-inspiring presence on stage. Dressed in red, she truly was on fire. She kept on interacting with the crowd, and they responded within a heartbeat. From the first album, Head Up High was the first song to be played, followed later on by both In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain and Disgraced. In the end ReVamp said their goodbyes with Wolf and Dog, but according to all the horns, applause and requests for an encore, the crowd would have loved a few extra songs. [4/5]

So far the entire weekend was a weekend for the history books, but MFVF XI presented us with one more name, which made it impossible to forget: Tarja. After a theatrical intro she appeared on stage and launched into In for a Kill. It always stikes me how blissful Tarja looks on stage. She was born to sing, to give her heart and soul to the audience. This positive energy radiated throughout the venue and the crowd was happy to reciprocate with applause, singing, and raised hands. 500 Letters was greeted with cheers as though it was a classic hit, but it is in fact a song from her new album Colours In The Dark. Sing for Me and ‘I Walk Alone’ were the first ballads in the set, and they gave me goose bumps! Tarja proves time and time again that she has an incredible voice. Time to linger on this fact wasn’t part of the deal though. Falling Awake and Anteroom of Death shook us all awake.

People who have seen Tarja live before, know she usually doesn’t stick to one outfit, so Never Enough ended with an formidable band solo by cellist Max Lilja, Christian Kretschmar playing the keyboard, guitarist Alex Scholpp, bassist Anna Portalupi and Mike Terrana behind his impresssive drum kit. And indeed, at the beginning of Mystique Voyage, Tarja appeared in her second outfit of the evening (with matching microphone!) and she picked up the pace! Die Alive and Until my Last Breath had the crowd jumping in no time, as they should! Neverlight and Medusa were the final song before a short intermezzo and the intro for Victim of Ritual by Mike Terrana. He is a true magician with drumsticks! And things got memorable after this song. Tarja sang Wish I Had An Angel with passion and flair, and slowly reminded everyone of the fact that she promised us something a few weeks before MFVF. She didn’t have to ask us twice if we were ready, we were! For the final song of the festival, she invited Floor Jansen on stage for a duet. Together they sang Over the Hills and Far Away. Not only did their voices sound like all kinds of heaven, they were genuinely having a blast. They hugged, were dancing, and shared some words of wisdom with us: we have to keep the love going! [5/5]

After this epic duet, the time had come to say goodbye to MFVF XI. And on the way home I’m sure everybody was looking back on a wonderful edition to bring some warmth into the very cold night. Time to start looking forward to MFVF XII perhaps?

Freya Cherlet

Photography by Freya Cherlet.