Archive for Netherlands

Powerwolf live at Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 6th December 2019 by mickbirchy

Artist: Powerwolf

Support Act: Gloryhammer

Venue: Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

10 November 2019

It’s weird that I had never done a gig in the Netherlands until now. I have always wanted to go there for a metal gig as it seems that the metal scene is far more vibrant and fertile there than it is here in the UK. Well, I got my chance as I was going to the Netherlands on holiday and it just so happens that while I was over there, Powerwolf were playing Tilburg. So I got my ticket and got myself to the venue. It was a weird feeling in the queue, in the UK Powerwolf don’t play venues that are even half of this size. I had a feeling that this was going to be a very special night. The crowd was packed, the drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement.

Opening up the proceedings was the commanding and ever-entertaining sci-fi, fantasy metallers Gloryhammer. This is my fifth time watching them live and they never fail to impress. I love their music and their on-stage antics. They are just the best mixture of power, intensity, comedy and power all in one great package. They came on stage to a ravenous ovation from the crowd and they went straight into a set of power metal goodness. Their set was filled with a decent mix of their new and old material giving newcomers a good taste of what the band is all about and gives the fans exactly what they were looking form. I have to admit that I love that they come on stage to Tom Jones’ “Delilah”. The crowd sang it so loud and it was a good way to warm up the crowd before getting on stage. The live production was excellent from where I was standing, the instrumentation was excellent with Thomas Winkler’s vocals shining. Their stage antics are goofy and fun, it’s all to get the crowd involved and it worked. The audience was having a right old time with them and Gloryhammer more than did their job in getting people ready for the main event.

After a brief intermission, it was time for the mighty Powerwolf to take the stage. A massive banner cloaked the stage as the tension built to the start of the show. Once that banner came down it was time for the show to begin. And what a show it was. Pyro and heavy metal have always been a great combination. The stage was ablaze with fire for the songs “Fire and Forgive” & “Amen and Attack” and the crowd was ravenous for the music. Screaming the lyrics back to the band and just screaming in general. The music was so well performed by the band and the stage presentation was simply breathtaking. As the show progressed and the band hit their stride more and more, the crowd just got louder. The setlist comprised mostly of the newer material from the album Sacrament of Sin and it was so nice to hear these songs effortlessly blend into the rest of their material. Giving the whole set a real timeless feel and also a really nice flow to the evening. If there is one thing that is for certain, it that Falk Maria Schlegel & Attila Dorn are two of the best showmen in the industry. Their charisma and stage presence was second to none. They engaged the crowd at every opportunity and took the audience for a ride, all the way through the night.

A chorus of cheers echoed through the venue as Powerwolf was welcomed back on stage one more time for the encore. They were just as energetic at the end of the night as they were at the start. They close out the show with “Sanctified With Dynamite”, “Coleus Sanctus” & “Werewolves of Armenia”. A loud and rawkus way to end the energetic night. This was simply fantastic. An excellent night all around. The support act was awesome and a fantastic headliner to boot. I have to say not a bad night for my first gig in the Netherlands. 

Mick Birchall

 

Epica announce one-off UK show as part of European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metallers Epica are set to embark on the first leg of their European tour in Winter this year, in support of their upcoming album, The Quantum Enigma which is set for release on 5th May 2014. The new album will be released via Nuclear Blast. Frontwoman Simone Simons comments:

After a little break from touring, we can’t wait to be on stage again and perform the new songs along with the old. Europe here we come!

As part of the European tour, the band will be hitting The Forum in London for a one-off UK show this year! Tickets are available from this location. Dagoba are the support act on the European tour.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/EPICA
http://twitter.com/EPICA
http://YouTube.com/EPICA
http://instagram.com/EPICAOFFICIAL

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Stream Of Passion premiere video for A War Of Our Own

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 15th April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch-Mexican symphonic metallers, Stream Of Passion have recently premiered the video for their latest single A War Of Our Own, which can be viewed below. The song is taken from the band’s upcoming album of the same name, which will be released 18th April 2014.

Stream Of Passion will also be headlining the Dames of Darkness Festival on 10th May 2014 in Bilston at The Robin 2.

Stream Of Passion online:

http://www.facebook.com/StreamOfPassion

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Epica release first single from The Quantum Enigma

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica have released the first single, The Essence Of Slience, from their upcoming album The Quantum Enigma which is set for release through Nuclear Blast in May this year. The album is set to be a turning point for Epica, beginning a new decade of symphonic metal and a new modern sound for the band.

The new single, The Essence Of Silence, can be ordered from this location or over at iTunes. The single is also available on other online platforms such as Spotify and Deezer. The new single can also be heard below.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

 

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Epica release second part of The Quantum Enigma documentary online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 7th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica have released the second part of their documentary online, which shows the behind the scenes aspects of the recording process for their new album The Quantum Enigma. Like the first part, the video includes music from the new album, allowing fans to have a sneak peek of the album ahead of its release in May. The trailer can be viewed down below.

The Quantum Enigma will be the turning point in a new decade for Epica, taking on a new sound: One that is modern, heavier and without compromises and will show why Epica are one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal genre. Keyboardist Coen Janssen comments:

We believe that The Quantum Enigma is the album that will take us to the next level! The reactions from the fans on the first part of this documentary strengthens this belief even more!

Epica recorded The Quantum Enigma with producer Joost van den Broek (ReVamp, After Forever) at the Sandlane Recording Facilities in The Netherlands. The album has been mixed by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Hatesphere) and features artwork by longtime collaborator Stephan Heilemann.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica
http://twitter.com/_epica

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Nothing confirm European debut at Roadburn Festival

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Continuing on from the release of their debut album, Guilty Of Everything, earlier this week, Philadelphia four piece Nothing have confirmed their debut European performance at the legendary Roadburn Festival in Holland. The festival will be hosted in Tilburg, Holland next month.

Guilty of Everything has been gaining recognition and acclaim in both the US and Europe, with OOR magazine in the Netherlands hailing the record as “…the album My Bloody Valentine should have written,” whilst Rock-A-Rolla in the UK describe it as “a remarkably dense and heavy yet gentle and elegant shoegazey dream pop opus“. Roadburn.com said that the album was “a winning mix of ethereal, aurorean shoegaze coupled with infectious riffs and hooks” – making the festival the ideal platform for their European debut.

Nothing will be joining an eclectic mix of artists at Roadburn, ranging from Candlemass through to Loop. They will be playing alongside fellow Relapse Records artists; -(16)-, ASG, Indian, Inter Arma, Locrian, Lord Dying, Windhand, and True Widow. Nothing will perform on Thursday 10th April at Het Patronaat. Roadburn Festival takes place 10th – 13th April at the 013 venue and Patronaat in Tilburg, Netherlands. The festival is sold out, however tickets to the Afterburner event on 13th April are still available. More information can be found at this location.

Nothing online:

http://bandofnothing.com
http://facebook.com/BANDOFNOTHING
http://twitter.com/BandofNOTHING
http://instagram.com/bandofnothing
http://wearenothing.bandcamp.com

 

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Epica launch studio documentary, first episode online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 3rd March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica, who are fronted by the stunningly talented Simone Simons, have launched the first episode of their studio documentary online. The documentary gives a behind the scenes look at the recording process for the band’s sixth studio album The Quantum Enigma. It also gives fans a preview of the album ahead of its release. The first episode can be viewed down below.

The band recorded The Quantum Enigma together with upcoming producer Joost van den Broek at the Sandlane Recording Facilities in the Netherlands. The album has been mixed by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Hatesphere).

Whereas the 2013 Retrospect performance reflected on a decade of Epica as one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal scene, the upcoming sixth studio album The Quantum Enigma marks the beginning of a new Epica: modern, heavy and without compromises. Guitar player Isaac Delahaye commented:

The whole process of writing and recording TQE was extremely refreshing for us. Instead of preparing the album in our home studios separately, we rehearsed the songs together in the studio. Just like any other band, you could say, but as Epica is located in 3 different countries this is a little more complicated for us. The direct interaction between us has certainly lifted up the quality of the songs, as no detail was left unspoken. Definitely worth taking some time off from touring! As far as songwriting goes, the main focus was groove and melody.

The Quantum Enigma will be released on 2nd May (Europe), 5th May (UK) and 13th May (USA) through Nuclear Blast.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

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Azylya announce first ever Holland show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 5th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Belgium’s up-and-coming heavy hitters of the symphonic metal scene Azylya have announced their first ever show in The Netherlands. The event will take place place on 22nd February 2014 at Popcentrale in Dordrecht, Holland. The band will be supporting Dutch opera metallers Ex Libris, who they played with at this year’s Dames of Darkness Festival in Bilston near Wolverhampton.

In related news, Azylya have also been announced for an exclusive UK headline show at the Valkyrian Festival in Selby on 22nd November 2014. Tickets for Valkyrian Festival are available at this location for £20 (excluding P&P costs).

Azylya online:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AZYLYA/108712706476?fref=ts

 

Epica announces Dutch album release show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 12th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica will be returning to the stage on 30th April next year at 013 in Tilburg, Holland for what can only be described as an intense album release show. After taking a break from the live circuit following the pregnancy of frontwoman Simone Simons, the publication of the band’s upcoming live DVD Retrospect in November via Nuclear Blast and writing and recording the new upcoming album, the Dutch sextet will come back will full momentum and full power; so fans can expect Epica at their best and to put on a memorable show to feature old and new tracks alike.

the band are currently finishing off the pre-production stage of the follow-up to 2012’s Requiem For The Indifferent and shall begin recording in October with former After Forever and current Aryeon keyboardist Joost van den Broek (Stream Of PassionReVamp) as producer.

To make the release show at their native even more special, fans will not only be able to purchase regular tickets, but there will be two exclusive bundles available for this event. The first bundle contains a signed version of the upcoming album and the second larger bundle will consist of a goodie bag, containing a signed copy of the upcoming album, an exclusive T-shirt, Flag, Lanyard, VIP Laminate and a limited edition Poster.

Tickets and bundles will be available for sale this coming Saturday (14th September) at 10am CET (9am GMT) from this location.

There will be a special ‘early bird’ tickets available at reduced price. This offer is valid until 28th September 2013.

On the 8th November Nuclear Blast will release Retrospect as a deluxe hardcover book with 48 pages. Both as a 2DVD/3CD and 2Blu-ray/3CD version.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

 

Epica’s Retrospect cinema premieres announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dutch symphonic metal titans Epica have announced the the first two cinema premieres for their upcoming Retrospect DVD release. The first premiere will take place at Mathäser Multiplex Kino in Munich, Germany on 6th November and the second will take place in Eindhoven, The Netherlands at Service Bioscoop Zien on 7th November.

Tickets for the Dutch premier are available from this location. More info to follow shortly.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/epica

 

ReVamp announce release dates for second album

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 8th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dutch metal band ReVamp – who are fronted by Floor Jansen, who recently accompanied Nightwish on their world tour – have announced the release dates for their second album, which is to be released via Nuclear Blast. The album will hit mainland Europe first on 6th September, followed by the UK on 9th September, Japan on 12th September and finally the US on 17th September. Vocalist Floor comments:

Never before in my career I faced a situation like the one we were in with this album. It was a huge challenge because of several reasons. My sickness caused a major break between the first album and tours plus the writing of the first ideas for the second album and the actual finalization of those songs and the album. And right at the moment we started to pick everything back up after I was sick I joined Nightwish. Like a winter and a summer storm, they bring unexpected things, some nasty ones and some amazingly wonderful!

Also the recording of this album was unlike any I did before because I was on tour with Nightwish most of the time. Guided by Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever, songwriter first for the ReVamp album) the talented musicians of ReVamp recorded all the instruments and when I came back to The Netherlands I stepped into the studio to find a rough diamond. A shiny dark crystal: ready for my vocals. That was magical! The singing went smoother than ever before. The lyrics are like a roadmap through our storms and through my personal detours and horrors.

The result of this trial will be released on album in September 2013. With pride we can announce our partner in crime from the first album will again join forces with us! Metal and rock giant Nuclear Blast will again make sure ReVamp’s new album reaches YOUR music collection wherever you are on this metal loving planet!

ReVamp online:

www.revampmusic.com
http://www.facebook.com/ReVamp
https://twitter.com/ReVampOfficial
http://www.nuclearblast.com/revamp

Delain announced as support on Within Temptation 2014 tour

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

Dutch symphonic metallers Delain, who have become one of the biggest sensations on the symphonic scene, have been announced as the support act on Within Temptation’s 2014 world tour. Delain will open up for Within Temptation at their shows in France, Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Tour dates are as follow:

January
16 – Lyon, France – Radiant
17 – Paris, France – Zenith
20 – Toulouse, France – Bikini
21 – Nantes, France – Zenith
22 – Lille, France – L’Aéronef
24 – Birmingham, UK – Academy
25 – London, UK – Wembley Arena
27 – Manchester, UK – Apollo
28 – Glasgow, Scotland – Academy
29 – Newcastle, UK – Academy

February
1 – Berlin, Germany – Columbiahalle
2 – Hamburg, Germany – Sporthalle
3 – Köln, Germany – Palladium
5 – Ludwigsburg, Germany – Arena
6 – Frankfurt, Germany – Jahrhunderthalle
7 – München, Germany – Tonhalle
11 – Antwerp, Belgium – Lotto Arena
14 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Heineken Music Hall

Delain online:

http://delain.nl
https://www.facebook.com/delainmusic

Within Temptation online:

http://www.within-temptation.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wtofficial

Delain will also be headlining the Dames of Darkness Festival next month in Bilston, near Wolverhampton. Further details can be found here. Delain’s next album, Interlude, featuring remixes of classic Delain tracks as well as new and exclusive tracks and DVD footage will be released through Napalm Records next month and can be pre-ordered here.

 

Thanatos ink world wide deal with Century Media

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 24th April 2013 by Nico Davidson

Century Media have proudly announced the signing of the Dutch death metal dominators, Thanatos.

Thanatos is not only the name of the Greek God of Death, but one of the oldest (if not the oldest) and longest running extreme metal bands from the Netherlands. Founded in 1984, Thanatos have released numerous highly acclaimed albums during their career. Be it their infamous debut album Emerging From The Netherworlds, the equally great second output Realm Of Ecstasy (both of which were re-released on Century Media Records on CD and LP in 2012) or the band’s last studio work Justified Genocide, Thanatos have always managed to deliver high-class death metal laced with a lethal dose of thrash.

Already being in close connection with Thanatos’ long time guitarist Paul Baayens due to his involvement in Asphyx, Century Media got in touch with Thanatos in early 2012. Philipp Schulte, A&R and product manager at Century Media, comments:

I remember talking with Stephan of Thanatos about the band’s back catalogue. Back then we simply wanted to work with the band on their previous albums, not really knowing they intended to record a new studio album. When Stephan and Paul visited the CM headquarters in Dortmund in autumn last year, they told us about their plans to record a new album which they’d like to release in 2014, the year of Thanatos’ 30th anniversary. Of course we wanted them to release it on Century Media. Thanatos is without a doubt of the most legendary bands from the heydays of the death metal scene and we strongly believe their sixth studio album will bolt you down with pure withering death/thrash metal violence.

When asked about the signing of the deal, Thanatos’ vocalist and guitarist Stephan Gebédi answered:

Even after being in ‘the business’ for so many years, we’re really excited to become part of the Century Media family, which is without any doubt one of the best and most important labels for metal today. We can’t wait to start working on new material and it’s our intention to record anabsolute death/thrash metal monster to coincide with our 30th anniversary in 2014! We come from an era when there was no strict boundaries between thrash and death metal which resulted in masterpieces like Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends and Possessed’s Seven Churches and it’s our mission to transport the legacy of those albums to 2014 and beyond…

So await with fear the coming of the God of Death as 2014 marks the return of Thanatos!

Thanatos online:
www.thanatos.info
www.facebook.com/thanatos333
www.myspace.com/thanatos666

Jorvik Festival 2013: Let’s get Pillaged

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 20th January 2013 by underthenorthernstar

This February, the annual Jorvik Viking festival will be underway, and those of us who were there last year will be getting very excited indeed around this time. Why? Well, the lovely people at Asgard Promotions brought us a stunning show in the form of the mighty Tyr last year, and they plan to pull it off again; this year, they’ve managed to secure folk metal heavyweights Heidevolk for us, not to mention the devastatingly good Irish black metallers Celtachor and stunning Yorkshire symphonic-y folk-y metal outfit Cryptic Age. Aren’t they brilliant? Go and buy tickets and/or some of their excellent selection of Viking/Celtic jewellery HERE. Tickets are only 15 quid, and we can assure you, VM was there last year; this event is phenomenal.

Celtachor have just released their debut album, Nine Waves from the Shore, which you can purchase/listen to HERE, as did Cryptic Age with the recent Sounds of Infinity. Get it HERE.

Also, Heidevolk just released a new music video; Here is Als De Dood Weer Naar Ons Lacht!



Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

Epica – Storm The Sorrow [Single]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 23rd January 2012 by Nico Davidson

Band: Epica
Single: Storm The Sorrow
Release date: 20th January 2012
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast


I was first introduced to Epica’s music, by my brother, shortly after the release of their album “The Divine Conspiracy” but that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the stuff they released before that album. “Design Your Universe” felt like a let down compared to their previous albums, so obviously I’m hoping that the next album “Requiem for the Indifferent” [due for release early March] will be an improvement. Just a few short days ago, Epica released “Storm The Sorrow” as a single from the aforementioned album.

Straight away, the song begins with an overpowering symphonically beautiful tragic sound that pave the way for Simone’s vocals (which are on top form). Mark’s and Isaac’s guitar workings are well structured, carrying the use of symphonic melodies and choir vocals well throughout the song while the rhythm sections [drums and bass] offered up do much to keep the track sounding solid. Mark’s vocals make an appearance quite unexpectedly, with Simone’s vocals (At least I think her vocals – I could be wrong). the piano-vocal section that follows creates an oddly soothing aura within the music. “Storm The Sorrow” ends in a similar fashion to its beginning – staunch and symphonic.

Epica have proven themselves to be one of the finest symphonic metal acts on the European – and possibly the international – scene. If “Storm The Sorrow” is anything to go by then “Requiem for the Indifferent” might be the greatest Epica release to date. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m certainly looking forward to it now after hearing “Storm The Sorrow”.

Nico Davidson

Interview: Alex Brandsen [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Nico sits down with the “Dutch Drumming Machine” Alex Brandsen, talking about Cryptic Age’s tour and other things.

Nico: Good evening, Alex. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. You’re a drummer in two bands, Ravenage and Cryptic Age, how do you find it drumming for two bands? Is it something that’s naturally easy for you or have you, at times, struggled with it?

Alex: I really enjoy being in two bands, because even though Ravenage and Cryptic Age are relatively similar, I can express different styles and a different overall feeling in the two bands, with Ravenage being more straight, aggressive and fun drumming and Cryptic Age being more subtle, symphonic and ‘intelligent’ if you will. I generally don’t have any problems with drumming in two bands, although I did accidentally started drumming a Cryptic Age riff at a Ravenage rehearsal once…

N: That must have being embarrassing. Speaking of Ravenage, you’re due to tour with them [and Cryptic Age] later this year on the “Warhorns over Aengland” tour. Are you excited about it or are you feeling nervous?

A: Very excited! Really looking forward to touring with Nothgard, and doing some gigs outside of Yorkshire. Not nervous about it really, the nerves usually only kick in 10 minutes before a gig!

N: That’s usually the worse time for the nerves to kick. You recently played Metieval Requiem with both Cryptic Age and Ravenage while sharing the stage with Hecate Enthroned and Skyclad. How was it for you personally to share the stage with two big name bands in the underground metal scene like them?

A: It’s of course a great honour to play with big bands like them, especially Skyclad, as they practically invented folk metal.

N: Speaking of folk metal, Cryptic Age are unique within the folk metal scene due to having a female vocalist. Since the scene is more male-orientated, do you feel that this might be help Cryptic Age become more known?

A: Well there are a couple of folk metal bands that have female vocalists (e.g. Arkona), but the thing that makes Cryptic Age special in my opinion is that Jenny’s got a very wide vocal range, and sings entirely clean. We don’t use any harsh vocals, and that is quite unique I think. I definitely think this is something that works in our advantage, and may well get us some more fans along the road.

N: Cryptic Age recently released the “Homeland” EP. Is there any sort of concept or theme running through the entire EP?

A: Well there isn’t an overall theme or concept to the album, but most of our songs are based on either fantasy and/or mythology, especially Manx mythology and folklore.

N: Is there any reason for the influence from Manx mythology and folklore or is it just something that occurred naturally?

A: It definitely came naturally, although the main reason for the Manx influence is that Jenny is from the Isle of Man. We didn’t really have any influences or themes to go on before writing the songs on the EP. The first part of Homeland (sung in Manx Gaelic) was originally going to be a 1-min intro to the EP, and by then the lyrics of Homeland hadn’t been written yet. Then we put it at the beginning of the track and when we did that the rest of the lyrics about Jenny missing her homeland fell into place. We’ve sort of kept the mythology thing going ever since. Also, instead of writing songs about Norse mythology like most folk metal bands, Celtic mythology comes more naturally to us because it’s closer to our origins, and gives the songs a unique twist I think.

N: Well, Celtic and Manx influences certainly are refreshing for some who are bored of the whole Viking based form of folk metal. Just a few more questions now. Before joining Cryptic Age and Ravenage, did you play in any other bands?

A: I was in a mathcore band for a couple of years when I was still living in the Netherlands, but had to quit that band because I moved to York for my degree back in 2009. I didn’t play in a band for a year, but when I finished my masters in the summer of 2010 I wanted to play live again, and started looking for a band. I found Cryptic Age on gumtree, and soon joined Ravenage as well via Tom, who just joined as their new bassist.

N: You certainly don’t look like a mathcore drummer. Regarding Cryptic Age, are there any events you’re looking forward to partaking in with the band? Aside from the EP release show.

A: We’ve got the Metal 2 The Masses final coming up on the 24th, quite excited about being able to play in front of the Bloodstock judges, and really hoping to win it of course. And then there’s a gig with Old Corpse Road in September, which I’m really looking forward to, as OCR are one of the best local black metal acts out there in my opinion.

N: Sounds like it’s going to be a great year for you and the rest of Cryptic Age then. Final question, are there any bands from both the UK and Dutch underground metal scenes that you’d recommend that our readers check out? Or at least keep an eye out for? Also, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us today, Alex.

A: Except for Old Corpse Road mentioned before, I’d recommend giving Onheil a listen, a blackened metal band from the Netherlands. For a band in the local underground scene, I’d recommend Lost Effect, a melodic metal band from York, who will be supporting us on our EP release gig this Friday.

Cryptic Age will be performing at Stereo in York tomorrow night [15th July] with support from Windrider and Lost Effect. £5 OTD. Doors open at 7.30pm

MaYaN – Quarterpast [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3rd June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: MaYaN
Album: Quarterpast
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Death Metal/Progressive Metal

Dutch symphonic death metal sextet is the latest project by Epica guitarist Mark Jansen.  Their debut album is “Quarterpast” which features some well known names from the European Metal scene including Simone Simons [Epica], Floor Jansen [ReVamp, ex-After Forever] and Henning Basse [Sons of Seasons]. The subtitle for the album is “Symphonic Death Metal Opera” which promises a brilliant story behind the songs.

The album begins with “Symphony Of Aggression” which already hints at pure death metal styled brutality. The intro riff pulls no punches, bringing a heavy barrage of double bass drum and distorted, skull-crushing guitars. The introduction of Mark’s grunts completes the track. The symphonic sections add a certain calm to the storm that is “Symphony Of Aggression” whilst the whispered section brings a touch of eeriness to the track. The most shocking thing about this track is the use of Simone’s vocals soon into the album, however, it doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the musicianship or composition of the track. “Symphony Of Aggression” is perhaps one of the best opening tracks ever to have been written and recorded.

The second track, “Mainstray Of Society – In The Eyes Of The Law Corruption”, begins where the previous track finished, bringing melodic riffs to the album rather than beasty riffs. Mark’s grunts work well with the symphonic and guitar sections. The highlight of this track would definitely have to be the drums and vocals. The album soon takes a turn into a more gentle track which takes its name from the album title “Quarterpast”. The track is a Gothic-sounding orchestral track, which unfortunately doesn’t last too long.

“Course Of Life” bombards its way on to the album next, starting with a heavy and aggressive yet melodic and beautiful guitar riff mixed with some intelligent drum work. Henning’s vocals are the first ones to be heard on this track and they are as strong as ever, bringing a whole new sound to the album. Mark’s grunts and Simone’s and Floor’s vocals work well as backing vocals on this track, though the track could have been better with some more vocals from Mark. The symphonic sections, like the first two tracks, work well with the guitars and drums, adding a tragic sound to the track. The track finishes with a very tense and dramatic symphonic outro. “The Savage Massacre – In The Eyes Of Law Pizzo” is the fifth track. Its intro is composed of ear-splitting riffs, melancholy symphonic sections and heavy drums. Mark’s grunts seem to have become more aggressive and angry-sounding for this track. The guitars also seem to have become more heavy, whilst some of the symphonic sections sound repetitive of the previous tracks. The soft section half way through, composed of people talking with strong operatic vocals singing over them adds mystique to the track before the heavy onslaught of riffs, drums and grunts returns.

“Essenza Di Te” is one of the more softer tracks on the album,  featuring vocals from up-and-coming opera star Laura Macri. This track is beautiful composed, featuring a lot of classical-styled music mixed with very strong vocals which bring a very touching essence to the album. “Essenza Di Te” leads into the aggressive and melodic intro of “Bite The Bullet”. This track has more of a power metal sound to it, in terms of the music and the vocals of Henning add to the power metal sound. Mark’s grunts can be heard a fair bit on this track as well, which brings that needed death metal element. The guitar solo on this track is the best one on the album. The next track is “Drown The Demon”, which is more of a ballad-styled song. It begins with a dark symphonic intro which brings about a very tense musical atmosphere. The guitars soon follow, while not as heavy as previous tracks, they still pack a punch combined with the drums and bass. The combination of Mark’s grunts and Floor’s vocals are reminiscent of After Forever, however this track is far from been an After Forever track. The guitars work beautifully with the symphonic sections. In fact, the guitar riffs are almost hypnotically catchy. The guitar solo is epic and the voice over just after it brings a whole new level to the track.

“Celibate Aphrodite” brings the aggression back to the album with a thrash-sounding intro riff. The piano sections that follow the intro add a very Gothic touch to the track, which works brilliantly with Mark’s grunts and the guitars. The voice over, followed by the female vocals is an astounding touch to the album, especially as it’s followed by a short but expertly played solo. A longer solo comes after another section of female vocals, adding a very aggressive sound to the track. This track is one of the best ones on the album. The orchestrated intro of “War On Terror – In The Eyes Of The Law Pentagon Papers” comes next, with a very Romanian gypsy sound before the brutal assault of guitars, drums and bass begins. This track seems more fast paced compared to the previous ones and Mark sounds as if he’s struggling to keep up with the music in some sections, which is the only flaw with this track. The symphonic sections would have to be the most impressive thing about this track, followed by the guitar riffs. “Tithe” is next, been composed of a piano medley which sounds a tad like the Harry Potter theme to begin with. This track is the last soft track of the album, bringing it with an eerie sound. The bonus track, “Sinner’s Last Retreat – Deed Of Awakening” comes blasting next, with a heavy intro combined with strong vocals. The orchestration seems to have become heavier, virtually matching the guitars and drums in brutality and aggression.

“Quarterpast” has proven itself to be a most impressive debut album. Mark Jansen has outdone himself with this album. Each track leaves the listener wanting more and with an array of big names from the European metal scene, it’s no wonder that this is a brilliant album. For those who are worried that this is going to be an “Epica-sounding album”, you need not worry. This album has more bite and aggression, a true jewel in today’s death metal scene.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson