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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Live review: Dream Theater at Sony Center, Toronto, ON, Canada, November 12th, 2017

To rock, perchance to dream….

This would be my first time seeing Dream Theater and this was no less than an emotional, visual and senses assault on me and everyone in the packed house at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto, ON Canada. A massive elegant stadium with sweeping arches and perfect, sloped everyone-can-see seating, it was a perfect venue to see an equally classy band of this stature.

The pre-concert recorded jive was a hilarious mish mash of progressive humour and when the lights exploded, everyone was on their feet…until the end of the near 3 hour spectacle before us.

Killer tracks such as The Dark Eternal Night, The Bigger Picture and To Live Forever, As I Am (with a Metallica snippet of Enter Sandman) were greeted with thunderous cheers and I was greeted with a secondary act of apparently Dream Theater’s #1 fan beside me, screaming every word, of every song every minute every second. Somewhere in the utterly clean flowing music my ear caught a bit piece of Rush’s Xanadu! The Jaco Pastorius bass cover of Portrait of Tracy by bassist technico John Myung was superb.

Lead vocalist supremo, James Labrie’s audience banter was great, punctuated with roaring appreciation when he mentioned his Canadian heritage and raucous laughter when a front row fan threw an item onstage and Labrie cut his talk with a jokingly well placed, “don’t throw things on stage , I’ll hit you man...” Once he saw it was a Canadian flag, he showed an appreciation and then placed it on batterie extraordinaire Mike Mangini’s kit, where he was met with a hilarious "don’t put that on here man.”

The show continued for at least 1 hour 10 minutes until Intermission.

“Act 2” was Images and Words in its entirety, my favourite album (besides Octavarium) plus some of the most stunning imagery and lighting I have ever seen. I was with people who do not listen to or have ever been to Dream Theater and they were constantly amazed at the energy, power and heart in every ounce of their performance. During more audience banter, remarking on their earlier days and being in New Orleans once for…FIVE people, someone told them that "if you guys were paid by the note, you’d be millionaires.” Huge audience applause here; I believe it; I don’t know how they keep all that straight.

Take the Time with guitarist eccelente John Petrucci’s extended solo, Metropolis Pt. 1 The Miracle, The Sleeper with technical percussion proficiency par excellence and probably, not a mistake made, with Mike Mangini, the keyboard solo intro at Wait for Sleep by super-super ivory-ticker Jordan Rudess rousted continual applause every time. And what WAS that portable keyboard? Outstanding!

Not sparing us at all or themselves came an encore of another entire album, A Change of Seasons. My colleagues were weary, some of the audience was barely conscious, fewer hands in the air now, some people leaving…. It was an incredible ears-ringing-after-2-days experience; no one can ever say you do not get your money’s worth here both in quantity and quality.

50/10 Just…because.

Written by Alessandro

Dream Theater Official Website
Dream Theater Facebook
Dream Theater Twitter

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Live review: Damn Pigeon, A Rebel Few at Back Alley Bar, St. Thomas, ON, Canada, November 11th, 2017

Homey with great food (parmesan-pepper wings! Yea) and a pleasant backwoods atmosphere describe the Back Alley Bar in St, Thomas ON – Canada; it was perfect. It reminded me of my small town roots and working the bars and the rock n roll was just as awesome as it was back in the day.

A Rebel Few

Cool sounding band name, good metal look, loud n proud and a desire to have fun onstage is the best way to describe Raposo-vocals/guitar, Barry Martin-guitar, Chris Spiers-drums and Adam Shortreed-bass. Self-proclaimed D.I.R.T bags -DB4L, (Driven by Integrity Respect Trust) is a great take on that outlived negative moniker and will hopefully take them far.

Expert players all, they rocked the house with a pounding crisp sound, despite several technical issues which, in their fun-loving way, played through them, made jokes and engaged us with a rousing bout of HELLYAS! Some kick ass music here and a great stage presence.

I WAS looking forward to the completed cover version of Bryan Adams It’s Only Love via your FB teaser trailer, but alas it’s a work in progress! Nice one lads, a great cut!

Their EP, As The Crow Flies available on cdbaby and on their FB page, consisting of the killer tracks, bangers all, Born Again, Rebel Few, Empires Fall, Dyin Breed, Said n Done, Serious, Who Knows, Bitter Man and Revolution were sonically and powerfully given to the small but active crowd and got us severely ramped up for the headliner…

Damn Pigeon

The utter kindness and sincerity from each of the band coming over to chat briefly before their set and sign my freebie cd’s of their latest album Whiskey Sinners and an incredible bonus of their 2014 release Re-Coop (haha!.. Pigeon, chicken coop, birds? Get it?), and a signature Damn Pigeon shot glass, currently unavailable on their website, was a testament to Canadian Kindness. Hand on heart for this generosity lads, but you can’t keep giving this stuff away!

Already spoiled by their YouTube videos from their latest record Whiskey Sinners, Haunted and Killswitch I was immediately roused with a pounding version of Rammstein’s Du Hast, ok, now we’re cooking with fire. Unreal! The lovely metal chords of Starlight, an awesome tune with the coolest chorus infused with emotion laden harmonies and screaming guitar solos.

The band was pro all the way, acting as a total team: Musicians Extraordinaire: Doug Weir (lead vox and guitars), Joe Edmiston (guitars and vocals), Steve Proctor (guitars), Steve Proud (Proudy) (bass guitars), Jason Latimer (drums), we were treated to an eclectic mix of definite power metal and rock, interspersed with vestiges of Alan Parsons Project (I heard it in there, don’t care what anyone says), Thin Lizzy, 70’s rock, 80’s anthem metal, all pulled together by their superb originality and writing.

I was particularly hit by the appearance of all four guitars out front during several songs with excellent light and smoke show, reminding me of one of my favourite concerts, Blue Oyster Cult, when all members came out with guitars, including the drummer. A truly moving moment for me; I don’t know why, it’s one of those that hits you at a concert, y’know?

Doug is an outstanding front man, hurling praise to A Rebel Few, getting everyone metal-motivated and some great humour thrown in when he thanked “Mr. Happy Face”, a loose, smiley beach ball, batted around with various ferocities depending on the song, and of course a heartfelt shout out to all veterans on today’s Remembrance Day.

The thundering, lightning strike speed of Jason’s drum solo Was. So. Cool. It felt like a Peart solo in under a minute. Fast. Really fast. Accurate. Sniper accurate.

Then suddenly a Kiss cover tune (Rock n Roll All Night) and a Cars cover (can’t recall which), strategically placed near closing and people suddenly poured onto the spacious dance floor and were giving their all. Some small town 50 year old teenage power drinkers were there (not me!) obstructing my perfect view from stage left, doing the Wobbly-Knee Tango and refreshingly annoying, again bringing me back to my old days working the taverns, but all having a good time.

This live set was amazing, punctuated with the ‘infectious’, laugh a minute Stripper Crotch. Guys, what the hell...laffin all the way to those cool riffin beats! This promises to be more ‘catchy’ than a Top 40, any day!

10/10 easy! Must see live! Must See Live!

Written by Alessandro

Damn Pigeon Official Website
Damn Pigeon Facebook
Damn Pigeon Twitter
A Rebel Few Official Website
A Rebel Few Facebook
A Rebel Few Twitter

Monday, November 20, 2017

Live review: Seita, Apophys at Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 9th, 2017

Today Amsterdam based death/thrash metal band Seita released their new, second full-length album called Maledictus Mundi. They celebrated this release with a Maledictus Mundi releaseparty in the upstairs venue of the Melkweg, in their hometown.

When arriving at the Melkweg I saw two big crowds of people waiting outside of the venue, but both weren’t looking like metalheads. It turned out one of those was waiting for Princess Nokia (according to the Melkweg website some hiphop/r&b), and the other crowd being there for a Finnish rockband called Sunrise Avenue. After a while I saw some metalheads waiting for Seita.

When arriving at Melkweg's upstairs venue it seems like it’s some sort of movie theater venue, even with some higher placed seats in the back. The stage was very low, only a bit higher than the audience.

First it was time for the support act Apophys to warm up the crowd. The venue, which was really small, wasn’t very full yet. However Apophys started their set at full speed. With their intense music, combined with a very intense, hectic light show, they really played a very heavy show. Drummer Michiel van der Plicht and bassist Sid van Kastel are definitely the very solid backbone for Apophys. They literally made the ground shake with their bass tunes. Vocalist Kevin Quilligan has a very brutal voice and with his movements like some kind of evil maniac he really delivered a very good show. Besides some little issues with one of the guitars in one track, Apophys played a great show!

After a short break, it was time for Seita to enter the stage. While this break only lasted for around 15 minutes or so, the venue was quickly getting packed with people who wanted to see these Amsterdam metallers. When Seita started with their first notes it was immediately clear that Seita fans are very dedicated. Having seen this Seita show I now completely understand why. They deliver such an intense, extreme, chaotic (in a good way) show! This is something which punches your body so hard, it is impossible not feeling it. The band shows a lot of energy and succeeds in bringing this onto the audience. Especially bassist Diego Gomez shows a very high level of energy. What a show!

I think this releaseparty for Seita’s new full-length album Maledictus Mundi was a great success and I would highly recommend seeing Seita and Apophys live. Great, heavy, intense shows and you won’t regret it.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen, photos by John van der Zee

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Seita, among others, here.

Seita Official Website
Seita Facebook
Seita Twitter
Apophys Official Website
Apophys Facebook
Apophys Twitter

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Live review: Delain, Serenity, Cellar Darling at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 31th, 2017

It is October 31, the Dutch day of the Danse Macabre tour with special guest Marco Hietala of Nightwish. The expectations were high if you ask me. I have seen Delain earlier during the Moonbathers tour and also many times before, so I knew what they were capable of. Now, with such a special guest as Marco Hietala it had to be a kick ass show!

First on the stage there was Cellar Darling. To them the humble task was given to open the show and warm up the audience. And oh boy they did a hell of a job! Despite the fact that the band doesn’t have any really complex songs, they did manage to hold my attention and keep things interesting. Simply by being minimalistic. Apart from a few lightning effects, they don’t need many things to distract the audience. They are just good at what they do. This is mostly due to the strong and clear vocals by singer Anna Murphy. From the first moment she gets on stage it is clear that she can front the band. From little quiet songs to heavy melodic guitar songs, this band has it all. There are even some folk influences thanks to the addition of the hurdy-gurdy. This means that there is a lot of variation in the songs. But what I remember the most about seeing this band play on stage, is the incredible stage presence of this young lady. Without being too much in the picture she knows exactly what to do. And that’s a great accomplishment for an opening act.

Especially if you know that after that symphonic power metallers Serenity come on stage. This band stands in great contrast with its predecessor. Where Cellar Darling most of time is very modest and straightforward, Serenity is everything but that. This enthusiastic band does have very fanatical and loyal fans. You could also hear that in the audience this night. That these people didn’t come all the way for Delain only, became clear very fast. From the first moment Serenity got on stage the fans were ecstatic! This of course, had everything to do with singer Georg Neuhauser. His endless energy and enthusiastic performance often seem a little slik. It is all very well thought off and it seems that from the beginning you are watching some kind of Shakespearean play. That doesn’t mean that this is a bad thing however, it simply fits well with this kind of music. The band plays extremely well, especially the guitarists who enjoy enough freedom on stage to do their thing. After three songs singer Natascha Koch enters the stage. Directly visible is the fact that these two vocalists work exceptionally well together. They complement each other and turn Serenity into a well-oiled machine. The audience got what they came for. The fact that Serenity isn’t really my kind of music doesn’t degrade the quality of this good show.

Then it is finally time for Delain. The set list immediately starts great with the now standardized intro The Monarch followed by the first song Hands Of Gold. This is a great starter because for the grunts in this song George Oosthoek was called on stage. His incredible grunts give this song what it deserves. We Are The Others is next. With this song I always feel a lot of familiarity. Not to tell you any details, but I also know what it’s like to be treated differently. Like many other people in this world. This song is about that and speaks to all these people, it’s okay to be different.

The Glory And The Scum, Get The Devil Out Of Me, Sucker Punch and Danse Macabre form a heavier section of this set list. Scarlet is the next song. I haven’t really spoken about Charlotte’s vocals yet. I think this mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve been to so many Delain shows, that it is normal for me to hear her sing exceptionally well. But during the song Scarlet you can really hear how great she is. Scarlet had Elianne Anemaat on cello. Of course, in the heavier songs you can also hear that Charlotte can sing, but with a beautiful quiet ballad it is a little easier. It was also a perfect time for me to determine how versatile Charlotte really is. She has grown a lot over the years as a performer. Her interaction with the audience is sincere and very spontaneous. This is also the case for the other band members. If we for example pick Merel Bechtold, this woman has been a great addition to the band for some time now and her interaction with front–woman Charlotte is a sight for sore eyes! The only thing that bothers me a bit is that Merel never plays any guitar solos. I don’t know if this is by choice, I mean I can’t imagine she can’t play a complex solo. However, Merel doesn’t look like she is unhappy in the band at all! And speaking of the guitar solos of Timo, of course they are phenomenal. In this genre of metal not many classic guitar solos are played, so I always like it when I hear a great solo.

Here Come The Vultures and Fire With Fire are performed very powerful by Charlotte and the band. After that it is time for Marco Hietala to steal the show. He is doing this a little half-baked. He starts off amazing in Your Body Is A Battleground. In this first duet with Charlotte, Marco shows what he came for. I directly noticed that Marco has a very free role tonight as opposed to being in Nightwish. Nightwish shows are being directed very tight and everybody got their own roles but when you are acting as a guest singer in a Delain show then you can do whatever you want, and that is precisely what Marco does. He is all over the place and makes contact with members of Delain, however, this is not always good for his singing voice because where he is singing well enough in the first song I mentioned, the same cannot be said for the next two songs Nothing Left and Control The Storm. In the song after that, Sing To Me, he recovers a bit. What follows are some heavy Delain songs without Marco Hietala where the band shows how much they have grown as a band. Delain has become a well-oiled machine on stage. When it was time for Scandal, the cover of rock legends Queen, Marco Hietala returned to the stage. At first, I was afraid that he would screw up this difficult song based on his performance of the last few songs. However, I couldn’t be more wrong, Marco hits every note and the band produces a great version of this wonderful song! Charlotte’s vocals are absolutely phenomenal and this is not for the first time.

Then there is only one song left that needs to be played with Marco Hietala. At The Gathering everybody jumps up and down and a confetti cannon goes off. Having Marco for this song is great, but choosing The Gathering as a closing song couldn’t have been better! It was a fantastic show that, if you ask me, could have easily been just as good without Marco Hietala. Delain is capable of much more than that. But the fact that Marco was there satisfied a lot of fans and made the evening even more special than it already was!

It was a night to remember! Thank you Delain!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden, photo by Tim van Velthuysen

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Delain here and our review of Delain's Moonbathers album here. Go here for our interview with Delain's Martijn Westerholt and here for the one with Charlotte Wessels in which we spoke with her about Phantasma.

Delain Official Website
Delain Facebook
Delain Twitter
Serenity Official Website
Serenity Facebook
Serenity Twitter
Cellar Darling Official Website
Cellar Darling Facebook
Cellar Darling Twitter

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Live review: Skálmöld, Omnium Gatherum, Stam1na at Backstage, Munchen, Germany, November 12th, 2017

On 12th of November, the Arctic Circle Alliance stopped by for an evening at Backstage club in Munich, Germany. The frosty name of the alliance is hinting towards the countries of origin of the groups: up high from the north, Finnish bands Stam1na and Omnium Gatherum are touring together with Skálmöld from Iceland.

This epic evening kicked off with the guys from Stam1na, who not only entertained with their Finnish-speaking songs, but also with their profound knowledge of the German language (“Mein Arschloch ist kaputt!” (a.k.a. my asshole is broken!)). Time flew by way too fast, especially for me as this was the first time I’ve seen the guys live, but surely not for the last time!

Omnium Gatherum then took over after a quick tag break. The sextet obviously had a lot of fun during their show, and entertained the crowd by constant interaction and with a broad selection of old and new songs. Amongst others, they played Formidable, The Pit, Skyline and the crowd-favorite, Frontiers. In addition, they also performed their newest track, Blade Reflection, already wetting the appetite for the follow-up longplayer to Grey Heavens.

Lastly, Skálmöld climbed the stage, and with them came the more folky part of the evening. With texts only in Icelandic and dealing with Norse mythology, the audience was drawn into the wild past of the sextet’s home country. Also here a wide variety between old and new songs guaranteed a very diverse show, from Gleipnir and Kvadning all the way to tracks taken from their latest release, such as Nidavellir, the dark Muspell and the mid-tempo Niflheimur. The audience rewarded Skálmöld’s enthusiasm with circle pits and imitations of rowing Viking ships, and really had a blast. All in all, the Arctic Circle Alliance delivered an epic evening and hopefully will come back to Munich soon!

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read our review of Skálmöld's Vögguvísur Yggdrasils here, as well as two live reviews including Omnium Gatherum here and here.

Skálmöld Official Website
Skálmöld Facebook
Skálmöld Twitter
Omnium Gatherum Official Website
Omnium Gatherum Facebook
Omnium Gatherum Twitter
Stam1na Official Website
Stam1na Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview: Dvne

In July, Scottish metallers Dvne released their debut full-length Asheran. At their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen during their tour with French metallers Crackhouse, DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart, drummer Dudley Tait and vocalist/guitarist Dan Barter.

For people not knowing you (yet), can you tell us something about Dvne's history?

Victor: Yeah, I am French, I moved to the UK eight years ago. There I started the band with the drummer, then the rest joined in. The first show we played was with EyeHateGod in Glasgow, which was really cool. Dan joined us when we already wrote some songs for the first EP. So from that moment we were a proper band with vocals. Before that we didn't have any vocals. Then we wrote another EP, Aurora Majesty, and toured with Fange, a band from France. They are really good, heavy, kind of noise/sludge/d-beat. After that we toured with Trudger, which are really like us, but a bit less melodic, in Europe, which was also really cool. Then we wrote Asheran, which is our last one and our first full-length album. We actually start singing, it's more composed music.

The homeland of Dvne is Scotland right?

Victor: Yeah, it is. We started the band in Edinburgh and are still based there. I am moving to London soon, but the band will stay as it is. Edinburgh is a great city and Scotland has been great to us. Our label is from Scotland as well, they pretty much released everything we did so far. We've done a music video recently for Thirst, which was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. It's a beautiful country, sometimes bleak but also really beautiful with great landscapes. When we went to do the music video, we thought like our music is expansive, aggressive, we felt that it was a great way as a tribute to the kind of landscapes we have around us. I would highly recommend Scotland.

How is the Scottish metalscene?

Victor: It's great, there are a lot of bands doing some very interesting stuff at the moment. A really good band I would highly recommend is Sapien. Another band is Barshasketh, who play black metal, one of them is from New Zealand, but I think the others are from Scotland. I know some of them, actually. You've got Haar, a great black metal band. Haar means fog in Scottish. In Glasgow there's a great scene, but I know more about the Edinburgh scene. You've got King Witch as well, which we are good friends with. They are doing pretty great and just signed with Listenable Records. There are quite good venues. Glasgow is also great, the underground scene there isn't what it used to be, but they still have some great bands, for example The Cosmic Death, it's some kind of acid prog. They played Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, they are really topnotch.

You already played some shows with Crackhouse, including tonight, how is it going so far?

Victor: Amazing. Funny enough, some shows were in basements or houses. Those small places tend to be packed and when we play bigger venues, as tonight, fewer people come. However it doesn't really matter, because I think the reception is pretty much all very good. We are not used to it, since Asheran came out, people show more interest to the band. So we are going to gigs and see people knowing the music. People are much more engaged to our music then before. It's makes the show more interesting for us as well, we put more effort in it.

Dudley: If you don't know the music you can enjoy, but if you know the music, there's more. Because we released the album, it feels like people are getting a bit of experience. It makes a big difference for us.

Victor: The same story with Crackhouse, people are really engaged with their music as well.

Both bands play very intense music.

Victor: Yeah, of course. The shows are meant to be. What works for both of us and why we toured together is that both bands have a melodic edge. They are probably more into the doom/post-metal scene, we are probably more into the sludge/progressive. You can name it however you want, I don't really believe in labels these days, it's just what you play. We both have melodic moments in common. We want something melodic and not be heavy and relentless all the time. Both bands don't want to do so, but want to go through movements and change.

What is it that makes Dvne Dvne?

Dudley: It starts with the fact that we are all good friends, we can really get to the fine parts of music by communicating the way we want. Things just happen because we know each other. We know what we are trying to go for. It always brings out the best in us.

Victor: We are a band who will release a new album when we feel like we have something. What we are trying to do is make something that we generally enjoy which is melodic and heavy at the same time, with a lot of impact. To have a lot of impact we go through quiet sections and after those the energy is there. When we wrote this album, we really enjoyed jamming and writing it.

Dudley: It was fun, but not really hard. The songs flowed in.

Victor: When we had a period where we kept changing bassists, we were playing a lot of tragedy and heavy stuff.

Dudley: We even played some black metal.

Victor: We wrote two tracks on the back of the previous EP and they were heavy, old school tragedy kind of stuff.

Dudley: When we started exploring how we felt, the music came. Rather than trying to vent somewhere outside. Victor found himself and the music came. We all were in the zone.

In July you released Asheran. When you compare Asheran to the first two EP's (Progenitor (2013) and Aurora Majesty (2014)), what is it you notice?

Dudley: They were the way we were feeling at that time.

Victor: For me, the EP's were things we wanted to do like other bands. Asheran feels like it's really us.

Dudley: The EP's were us venting ourselves.

Victor: What we have done on this album is what we like to listen to. I don't listen to our own music.

Dudley: I like it, also the EP's. I have some evenings when I have a good beer, put one of my own songs on and I get goosebumps. It's a weird feeling. It took a long time for me to listen to my own songs without listening to the drums or another specific part. Just trying to forget it. One night, I will never forget, I smoked a big joint, zoned out and heard the music from listeners point of view, rather than from the person who contributed to it. That was very exciting.

Asheran is your first release with Allan Paterson on bass.

Yeah, but he left the band because he had two kids. He is a great bassist and a great friend, we had great times together, but with his kids it's impossible to tour for him. There were no issues for his replacement, but now Anderson Fry is our bassist.

What's the story behind Asheran?

Victor: Actually Dan, our gitarist, can answer that question the best.

Dudley: We came up with an idea, Dan took the idea and turned it into his own story, really cool.

Victor: We write the music first, then we get to the story.

Dan: It has influences from a lot of things, for example sci-fi and Studio Ghibli films. It's like an ark, from two perspectives, so you have people coming back that left a few thousand years ago. I like to leave things a bit open for interpretation. They come back and then it's basically a story about how they interact with the nature that has regrouped since they left.

Dudley: The earth got damaged because of what people have done to it, so they left. When they came back there were still some very small civilizations that could live with nature and life, they way it should be.

Victor: The story is much more from the nature itself, nature taken the world back and humans coming back.

Dudley: When they came back the planet had grown back to life the way the planet would. When the people came back, they did so because they lost with what they tried to do in space. The simplest way to say it is that they not learned about their mistakes.

Dan: It's a very tragic story.

Dudley: They came back and are going to do the same thing again that caused the problem.

Victor: Dan is vegan as well.

Dan: I like the planet.

Victor: We are all kind of green ecologists. Gojira also talks about that a lot. We really find inspiration in nature. We are all conscious about it, that was a point we had in common for this album.

Dudley: And we like Princess Mononoke.

Victor: Yeah, it's amazing, a very good story.

On Edenfall you have a guest vocalist, Jenni Sneddon. How did you met her and how was working with her?

Dan: I work with her outside the band and she's also in a band with my girlfriend. She came in quite late on, because there was someone else but couldn't do it. Then she stepped in, which was very cool, because she had a very short notice.

Victor: We had something in mind, so we knew how we wanted it. Guests is something we might look for in the future as well. It's interesting stuff to do. On our releaseshow we had Allan (our previous bassist) playing extra guitar and Jenni played keys and did backing vocals. So Dvne is a four-piece for now but it might change. I am big fan of bands like Magma, Ulver, they don't care about that. They want to do something and when they need more people on stage, they just do it.

Dudley: They know what sound they want and they bring in whoever they need to get that sound. The sound is top priority. It's better than taking samples or something.

Victor: I would never do that.

Dudley: It has to be naturally and honest.

Victor: Honesty is a big thing for us.

The artwork of Asheran is created by Eli Quinn, what made him the right person for this job?

Victor: I have seen his artworks. He did the cover for a release from Droid and it was fantastic. What we were after was something intricated. Eli did the artwork and Dan kind of build on that. Eli is great, we felt like the cover has everything we wanted and he is very Princess Mononoke/Studio Ghibli-inspired.

Dudley: He was happy to work with us.

Your music combines a lot of different music styles, what are your musical influences?

Victor: Isis, Tool, Mastodon, Neurosis, Inter Arma, classic rock, Led Zeppelin, we all listen to different music styles. Dan was in a band, Dudley in a rock band, I came from a classical musical background.

Dudley: That's why the music is us.

Victor: A next album probably has elements from Asheran, but it also will be different as well. I am very interested in having a keyboardplayer, maybe a bit of folk, some violin. If we can do it, we will do it. We try to not limit ourselves.

Last month you were announced as the first band for ProgPower Europe next year, looking forward to it?

Victor: It's going to be great! We will try to make things a bit special for it. It will be a Dutch exclusive, we will probably make a tour out of it. We will be on some festivals the week before and after, but I can't talk about that yet. There is another Scottish band just announced for it, Ramage Inc. . We are friends with some of them.

Do you already have plans for new material?

Dudley: We have started for some riffs and drums.

Victor: We wrote two tracks for Asheran which aren't on it. Every band does it, but our tracks are a bit long, so it's a lot of work. After this tour we will probably start really writing some new stuff.

Dudley: We are doing great, quality shows and after that we spend our spare time writing stuff. Asheran wasn't rushed, we will do take our time again.

Victor: We won't do the same thing over and over again, no Asheran 2 or something. We want to do something different.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Dudley: Look forward to the next stuff, because it will be kickass. We try to stay in control of our music. When it's the right time, the next stuff will be there.

Dan: See you at ProgPower.

Dvne Facebook
Dvne Twitter

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I

When it comes to Kobra And The Lotus, I am relatively new to the band. Even though the band already has three full-length albums under their belt. Prevail I is this third album. The first song on the album has a really familiar name, it is called Gotham, named after the city where Batman lives. If you listen clearly, you can even hear the Batman tune, although the guitars are a lot heavier in this one! When the vocals start immediately after that, it becomes inescapably clear to me what an extraordinary lead woman Kobra Paige is. At first glance, her vocals aren’t really that special, you might say, yeah, I’ve heard this before, but these vocals are so incredibly powerful that you immediately know what this band stands for. Because that’s what goes through my head when listening to this. You can’t compare the vocals with anything else I have heard in this genre. They are unique, granted, at times they are somewhat simplistic like many of the catchy choruses on the album. Now, I don’t mean simplistic as in not well thought off, no I just mean catchy. The choruses remain in your head, so that if you go to a live show, you can easily sing along with them.

The second song TriggerPulse starts with some heavy guitars. Again, just like the first song the chorus is catchy, almost a little pop like. But the song is accompanied by a really strong rhythm section and a very powerful guitar riff, which makes it a full-blown metal song. When listening to the next song on the album You Don’t Know you can hear that it was meant to be the first single. This song was also my first acquaintance with Kobra And The Lotus and one an acquaintance that has been! If you, upon hearing that song for the first time, only pay attention to the drums than you might think you are listening to Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 but when those heavy guitars come into play, you can clearly hear that it’s Kobra And The Lotus. Despite that it is not a typical Kobra And The Lotus song. The next song Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber) is a very heavy song with tight guitar riffs and outstanding drums, this song is easily one of the best songs on this album. Kobra Paige is a force to be reckoned with, with her threatening and powerful vocals. Less prominent is the ballad Light Me Up. But the song does exactly what it needs to do, it breaks the heaviness of the album by being a beautiful intermezzo.

The next song, Manifest Destiny, is with some distance the best track on the album if you ask me. Vocally, lead singer Kobra Paige shifts into a higher gear! In the chorus she uses all her vocal capabilities and opens all of her registers. What amazing vocals this woman has. The song Victim is about being responsible for your own actions, I only agree to this to some extent, but I am not here to advocate life lessons, but to review a good album. Anyway, this song is heavy and transfers the message very well. Check The Phyrg is kind of an different song. Why? Well, the song is completely instrumental and it has a lot of guitar violence! It is pointless to me to try and describe everything that is happening in this song, because there is so much going on and it’s truly epic. Despite the catchy chorus again from the next song Hell On Earth this song is the most lugubrious song on the album. The song has a lot of threatening vocals and a very threatening tone overall. Again, there are these very tight guitar riffs and outstanding vocals. The variations in the vocals fit this song very well. While Hell On Earth is very dark, the title track Prevail is really positive and patriotic. It’s a nice positive closing song on this nice album.

If I have to describe Kobra And The Lotus, then I would say it’s accessible metal for people that don’t listen to metal very often, but also for true metalheads. It’s a wonderful band that deserves the attention it gets, because if their live shows are as good as their studio material, then people are in for a very good time!!!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

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