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Metal Female Voices Fest VIII – first day with Arch Enemy, ReVamp, Tristania and more.

tekst: Silviapd
photo: Moon In Virgo

Metal Female Voices Fest VIII
Saturday 23th October 2010
Arch Enemy, Revamp, Krypteria, Tristania, Dylath-Leen, Visions Of Atlantis, Skeptical Minds and more .

Over the years Metal Female Voices Fest (MFVF) is grown into a very professional and unique brand with a simple format. Every band with female vocals and a passion for metal can deserve a place on the line-up of the Belgium festival.

This year there is for the first time a ‘ MFVF Roadshow’, in combination with Dokkem’ Open Air. MFVF is such an important factor in keeping gothic metal alive. Unfortunately Dejafuse had to cancel their openings act on he Sunday, but with Ram-zet, Leaves’ Eyes and a special ‘ Phantom Agony’ show of Epica there is a lot to discover. What follows is a special festival report from the Saturday.

Skeptical Minds is one of the bands on the warm up tour and a familiar face on stage. With their new album ‘Skepticalized’ released on this festival day, three years of hard work has reached its goal. A mature album with many familiar songs, also with a surprising twist (cello’s are involved).

Unfortunately logistical problems are the cause of my arrival at the end of their set. Just in time to see the energy boost from vocalist Karolina Pacan. In December they return to Belgium with an own show. They have a special sound and potential, so it is worth to check that out!

The festival changed more and more into a multi-media project with video screens on the side of the stage, and the entourage is also bigger than before. For the first time the merchandise is moved to the back of the hall. Also on the left side there is a corner with tables and chairs to sit down for a while. Finally after years there is a chance to sit down, because it is a long day for sure.

Near the backstage area there is a corner for the autograph sessions, organized by Rock Tribune, and that is a pretty crowded place the whole day. It is a big success, especially because Doro Pesch came over to say hello to the fans.

MFVF is an international meeting point for metal fans all over the world, and it is an important element of the atmosphere that day. Everyone is excited and when the Austrian Visions Of Atlantis enters the stage, I have a nice reunion with friends over the border; from Belgium, France, Canada and Germany they are all gathered for this same event. That makes it also very special and hart warming to be here.

The line-up is drastically changed and new female vocalist Maxi Nil is a real talent. She has expressive Greek blood, and that makes her movements exotic. I have the feeling she has more potential to grow into a dynamic performance, but she needs some time to get moreexperience on that level.

Her voice is very clear and high, but also has a lot of power in the low layers, personally I like that combination a lot. It makes her different and it gives the crowd something more than soprano songs.

Also the duet with he male singer Mario Plank, is a trademark. The sound changed from power metal into a more symphonic sound, with heavy guitars and more drums.  Like on ‘ Though My Eyes’ and ‘The Secret’ with melodic piano.

A very convincing show, that rises above my expectations. It is a real energy boost for a band that struggled for three years with line-up changes. The band made a strong entrance and won the crowd during the set. New album is in the making.

Then there is Dylath-Leen, also a band from the Roadshow concerts and I know they are capable to blow you away with their strong technical metal music. A refreshing sound with groovy guitars and a female grunter on stage.

Personally I like them more than the headliner of today, because they show a lot of energy and even the bands backstage are totally surprised by their sound. When even colleagues are curious, then there is not only potential to grow, but then there is a real talent awoken. On the new song ’ Forever Still’ Kathy Coupez shows a lot of power, suddenly she switches to a fragile clean voice and a well-deserved feedback from the crowd is the result of an intense show.

Norwegian band Tristania returns in a different shape in compare of 2006, with a new line-up and album. It is the last show from their Rubicon tour and a real highlight of the day. Not only because the members are very charming and kind, also the feedback from the crowd is really surprising and heart warming after all those years.

For the first time the whole venue is packed and excited. The setlist contains many new songs, with a glance role for Mariangela Demutras in duet with Kjetil Nordhus, the new male vocalist well known from Green Carnation.

Opener ’ Year Of The Rat’ is a catchy song and gets a good response from the audience, during the set the energy grows more and more. Also ‘Protection’ shows a strong convincing band, with participation from all the members.

People start to scream when ‘Tender Trip On Earth’ sets in and it feels like Tristania is back stronger, filled with passion like it always belonged this way. It is hard to describe how natural and mature the show is, and an important element is the natural charisma of Mariangela; a real eye-catcher and a singer with a wide spectrum of voice techniques.

On the older songs she shows her bombastic side, what perfectly fits to the original melodies. On the new songs she dares to be more powerful, like on the encore ‘Exile.’ She transforms it all in a very interesting adventure, and with very capable musicians on her side it is an adrenaline growing experience.

Kjetil Nordhus suffers from a flue, and his voice is softer to spare the energy till his glance role on ‘ Shadowman.’  With his calm, deep and very melodic voice he is an important element of Tristania and he grabs the attention well deserved.

Also the combination of his acoustic guitars together with grunter and guitarist Anders is a dynamic interaction. In the back, more hidden behind the drum kit, there is Tarald Junior exploding in energy; every song he is given two hundred percent and from the side of the stage it really awakes a dynamic vibe. The ensemble of voices from all the Norwegian members makes you shiver like on ‘Amnesia.’

Even the cynical gothic fans have to admit is a beautiful composition,  representing everything what makes this band so unique. The classical roots, bombastic voices and very catchy melodies it is all there and the crowd loves it.

On every level Tristania proves today that they are back and still have a lot of fans appreciating what they do. A new audience had the chance to get enchanted by the beautiful harmony of voices, and with old and news songs the band is back on top level of this scene. That is a more than convincing outcome of this tour.

Krypteria is a rising star, and frankly I never understood the special element besides the bombastic performance. This time no wedding dress or rosebuds, but a natural performance from the front lady Ji-In Cho. Their rock songs are very catchy like ’ Shoot Me’ and you hardly can call it metal, besides the wall of guitars.

The bass sound is very loud; now and then you can’t hear the clean high parts. A fragile side of Cho on ‘ The Promise’ where she demands a lot from herself. For the real fans an interesting set with many new songs. It is better to hear them on a club tour when they have more time to warm up.

ReVamp is the first headliner of the evening and for 75 minutes a lot of power is blowing away the audience, a diva is showing her strength again.

Last year she announced her comeback and today Floor Jansen is back where she belongs: on top of the gothic metal scene.

Step by step the formation around her is growing and the tour with Epica is a step stone for further success.  ‘Kill Me With Silence’ is a perfect mixture between Eastern elements, catchy guitars and the recognizable strong voice of the longest lady in the room.

The roots from After Forever aren’t forgotten and for some fans is it a disappointment that Floor didn’t choose to discover new roads, because she is capable of doing everything she wants. On the other hand the real metal fans can be very satisfied, every song is filled with power and technical challenges created by Floor Jansen.

The debut album  ‘Revamp’ is well produced, but on stage the diva adds an extra element to enchant you. Again the sound is too loud, what makes the guitars and bass a bit raw and too much all the time.It disturbs the perfect performance from Floor and honestly, she is the real eye-catcher of the show.

Simone Simons makes her entrance on ‘Sweet Curse‘ and in combination with Floor, it brings the show to a grand experience. And it continues on the piano version of ‘ I Lost Myself ’ a peaceful moment after the powerful vibe, with a respectful silence from the audience. It reached a beautiful peak during the aria from

Puccini‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ dedicated to the Italian fans in the crowd. This is Floor in her best environment and it doesn’t reach the level of Maria Callas, but she is close in her interpretation.

She immediately switches to a powerful song with heavy grunts and uprising guitars, the contrast is strong but brings back the energy. ‘ Energize Me’ is an other surprise and it after that everyone knows who the real headliner of today will be.

Arch Enemy makes a heavy entrée as always, after a long changeover and break for the audience. It is a real puzzle why Angela Gossow takes her time, but that is probably a part of the schedule. Maybe it is because many fans are tired of this long day. When the intro sets in, the energy is back and people start to scream: they are ready for the heaviest show of today.

My Immortal’ and ‘ Taking Back My Soul’ are filled with Swedish metal, catchy and dark at the same time. If you like it or not, Arch Enemy knows how to present their format of rising grunts and uptempo guitars.

It is a real new approach of female metal, the melody is more complex and not always easy to follow. For the real fans in the front it is a show with many highlights. The hit ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’ are a nice wink to the black stripes under Angela’s eyes.

She looks fragile with her blond hair, but she screams her longs out. A little break for her during the excellent guitar solo from Michael Amott. He is a bit distant on stage, but totally focussed on the good timing and finger fast parts. ‘ We Will Rise’ and ‘ Fields Of Desolation’ are creating a dynamical second half of the set, then it is finally over.

Metal Female Voices 2010 is again a day with many highlights, new discovered bands and a social happening in the front and the back of the stage. The social aspect is as important as the excellent performances today. Nice memories are formed and already new bands are announced for the new edition, write it down on your calendar because you can’t miss this spectacle!

There is special  discount if you order your 2011-ticket in December: http://www.metalfemalevoicesfest.be/

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Tristania – back on top with passionated show in Hengelo

tekst: Silviapd
photo: Henk-Jan Graven
It is a night to remember this Saturday evening in the Metropool, Hengelo on the east side of the country. Clichés are made for a good reason and this is the rare occasion when you can use it. A high respected Norwegian band is coming back to European ground in a totally new formation. That is enough reason to get nervous and wonder how the evening will end.

When Unsun enters the stage, there is no sign of stress yet. No sweaty hands, no adrenalin rush or trembling legs. There is enough time to discover the new venue and find a comfortable position in the front.

It is crowded with more than 150 tickets sold. A sign that the metal is still alive on this side of the country, having a vivid underground metal scene.

The Polish band around the duo musicians Stefanowicz has its first tour in Europe, and performs for the first time songs from their second new album ‘Clinic For Dolls.’

Female singer Aya has long blond hair, and dressed-up in gothic style with red tights. She is shy or a bit nerves in the beginning, because her voice sounds a bit hysterical. She has a high fragile sound and the sound mix isn’t that well to dominate it above the drums, after a while it is getting better.

The strength from Unsun is their talent to write good songs, with heavy guitars and high female vocals. On stage unfortunately the drums are dominating the mix and that makes it a bit flat to listen it from time to time. Aya makes contact with the audience, and needs a bit more experience how to entertain the audience.

Although it is hard for her, because not so many people now them or sing along. Nevertheless it is a good first impression. She introduces ‘Single Touch’ as the song about love and it is indeed sweet with high parts and catchy guitars from husband Maus, well known as ex-guitarist from Vader.

Shame that the piano comes from the tape, because it makes the show more static. Unsun definitely has potential, but need a bit more experience to convince the crowd.

Asrai is a Dutch band on this package and has a real own label in the gothic scene. With their typical sound, not easy to describe and you need some time to switch over from dark melancholic Unsun to an overwhelming performance from these musicians.

From the beginning till the end they give two hundred percent and easily warm up the crowd. Again the sound is a bit too loud, maybe the sound guy didn’t realise the venue wasn’t totally packed and the balance was gone for a while. For a band like Asrai the little details on arrangements, vocals and piano are very important and it needs a lot of attention to change levels all the time.

Front woman Magriet Mol has a strong voice, a bit raw now and then. It is definitely worth a compliment that she grows more and more into the set after some songs and shows a lot of power. ‘Pale Light’ is a very dynamic song with fast drums from twin sister Karin Mol and it awakes the energy for sure! It is great that she has some spotlights on her, because hidden behind the drum kit she shows a lot of energy with a big smile on her face.

Manon van der Hidde on keyboards, also responsible for the heavy backing vocals, adds an extra dimension to the live show. Together with the groovy guitars and bass, a dark and intense sound is also translated in the performance of all members.

Especially Magriet is a real eye-catcher. ‘Stay With Me’ has a uprising beat, dark and doomy with on top a fragile Magriet, showing that is capable of so much more. Excellent first impression!

Especially when you know that Asrai doesn’t perform so much live on stage, a shame because they prove to be a very vivid and interesting band. Gothic is one of the Netherlands best export product with a good reason.

After three years of line-up changes and finding new ways, Norwegian mother of gothic-metal bands Tristania is back on European ground. Something what I couldn’t foresee a few years ago; when not only the band, but the whole scene was changing.

The band is ready to present them, and fight back their position on the top level of this scene and with a good reason. Their new album ‘Rubicon‘ is a promise of good songs from powerful artists.

When electronically voices in the dark are claim your attention, you feel the excitement in the air. Many people are curious and it is time for the sweaty hands, tensed muscles and get ready for this new journey.

When Mariangela Demutras enters the stage during ‘Year Of The Rat’ a feeling of relief changes it all. From that moment on she gets the sympathy of the crowd. Kjetil Nordhus from Green Carnation is the newest member in the band and immediately proves that he is a golden talent for Tristania.

There is no man as dark and melodic as he is. With his warm, hypnological voice he wins the audience in no time. Guitarist and founder of the band Anders Hoyvik Hilde is a bit shy in the corner, totally focussed on his guitar.

The performance is very organic and vivid. With six members there is enough space to fill in. Tristania convinces with their passion, talent and most of it the excellent combination of musicians. Every second they enjoy it to the fullest.

When ‘Tender Trip On Earth’ sets in the magic is back, with Kjetil on acoustic guitar and Mariangela giving her own interpretation, still translating the fragile emotions of the song.

The grunts from Anders are a changing point in the song; the ensemble of voices is overwhelming. Also bass player Ole Vistness has a very dark voice and suits very well in the bombastic format. The feedback from the crowd is blowing away the last tones.

When violin player Pete Johansen enters the stage, it is such a rare moment. ‘Beyond The Veil’ is one of the most famous songs from Tristania and it is a real highlight in the show, a perfect timing halfway the set when the whole crowd is screaming for more.

The a capella intro from Mariangela and Kjetil makes you shiver, when bombastically the drums from Tarald Lie.Jr are the sign to let the energy explode with a excellent performance from all members and lots of interaction from the audience. All the attention goes to Pete who brings the song alive, a present for all the fans.

Also a new song like ‘Amnesia’ is received with much enthusiasm and the violin fluently mixes with Mariangela and Kjetil voices, a more mid tempo song and less guitar orientated.

It has the typical Tristania touch, especially live on stage. There is no doubt that these Norwegians are standing strong and developed a more mature sound, unique and totally not comparable with other bands.

Second guitarist Gyri Smordal Losnegaard is modest on the left side of the stage, and it would be nice when she gets a more prominent guitar solo, because she deserves more attention during the show.

Shadowman’ is one of Kjetil favourite songs, and he is giving his last bit of energy whats left during this dark and intense song.

Mariangela is leaving the stage, so there is more space for Ole and Anders to show their poses and growling voices. A nice intermezzo with very technical and aggressive drums from Tarald in combination with the long tones both guitarists.

Tristania is good in telling stories filled with emotions and all these songs are showing a different and very divers side of this band.

When finally the band leaves the stage dark and empty, the crowd is screaming for more and it is no surprise the band is back within a minute.

Kjetil Nordhus shows his excellent pronouncement of the eastern dialect to ‘thank the crowd in Hengelooooo for showing up tonight! The new song ‘Exile’ is an excellent choice to confirm once again that Tristania is back full force.

Mariangela reveals that it is the first song she wrote for this band, and you feel it immediately: fluently, dragged in emotions she guides you trough the song and the duet with Kjetil is simply beautiful. No words can capture this unique experience.

A night to remember, an unforgettable impression and it is more than good news that Tristania still awakes many emotions and guarantee high quality over the years. It is a promise for the future, because there is more potential and development possible. There is one thing sure, they always will give two hundred percent and more!

Thankword to: Tristania and management

Categories: Concerts Tags: , ,

Tristania, Asrai en Unsun – underworld, London

tekst: Sabrina Smit
foto: copyright http://www.deadbysunrise.co.uk
8 oktober – Underworld, London.

London has a special kick-off, the first show from the European tour from a high qualitated package in the Underworld, an atmospherical venue in London,Great- Brittain. While touring, headliner Tristina is promoting their new and awesome album Rubicon to all fans of gothic-metal. In their slipstream Tristania is accompanied by two incredible support acts: Asrai and Unsun.

Unsun is a Polish band, with ex guitarist Mauser from death metal band Vader, and his wife Aya as front woman. They know how to make a lasting impression to the audience with their growling guitars, double base drums and their extraordinary lead singer Aya, dreamy and really out of this world. There second album Clinic For Dolls is just released, and it is the first tour with new songs like Time, Not Enough and Home on the setlist.

The whole performance of Unsun is full of atmosphere and the music is played with huge dedication. All songs are easy recognisable, each one clearly marked at the head and tail. I really enjoyed the whole show and it is just a starter for the next course. I just want to say to all of you: please visit the bands page on Myspace for much more music of Unsun and discover what you’ve missed. I just can’t get enough.  http://www.myspace.com/unsun

 

With a totally unique sound, Dutch band Asrai is high respected among gothic fans. The band treated us to nine songs of their albums Touch In The Dark and Pearls In Dirt. The acoustics of the hall is excellent and the female lead singer Magriet has a  clear voice and also a lot of energy, easily convincing the crowd.The band enjoys themselves very much in performing on stage. Most striking is the wide variety of songs, each with very different composition and chanting like Your Hands So Cold, Pale Light and In Front Of Me for example.

Stay, Awaken, Restless, Hollow, Sour Ground and Shadows is the second part of the set, where the energy grows. The band members are real veterans, which shows by the incredible virtuoso performance and their ability to entertain the audience at the same time. Margriet addresses her songs not only to the fans in front of her, but she also knows how to reach the people in the back of the hall.

At the opening of their performance the English crowd initially is very quite in anticipation of all things to come. Heads are turning around in growing astonishment. Asrais performance is an exciting experience. It felt like a thriller and one by one the crowd gets under the spell of this music. In no time people are headbanging like a madman and go through of the experiece of the overwhelming power of Asrai. I know that the band can be really proud of their high quality performance, and this is only the first night of the tour. Check out their tour report and pictures on: http://www.asrai.net.

Tristania, is a Norwegian band existing for more than twelve years. Despite this fact, their new album Rubicon sounds as fresh as ever! Besides new songs, many old ones are played. Each one with the same intensity like they are brand new!

It is the new lead singer Mariangela who is able to resurrect these golden oldies, each garnished with a new and different kind of flavour. The more pompous songs are still recognisable, but with a slight twist. Its amazing that this small lady knows how to produce such a huge sound.

The singing simultaneously with the male backing vocals from Anders and Ole works exquisitely well. The crowd is really hysterical and you see that the band is very pleased with this great opportunity to start their European tour (outside Norway) in the Underworld in London. The concert concludes with a couple of encores. Afterwards there is a very personal meet and greet with this gothic band from Norwegia.

There is a lot of energy tonight and that makes it all very exciting evening in London, with the dark winter outside, the atmosphere inside it warm and cosy. Those Norwegians know how to create a special mood.

Looking back on one of the more memorable gothic-concerts this year, I can only say, that Tristania with their new line-up of musicians is very convincing .This band invented the gothic-metal and they are still standing strong. it is such a pleasure to have them back on stage again, full of energy and passion! I can only recommend you to listen to much more on their Myspace website, where you can listen to new samples from their recent album!

Categories: Concerts Tags: ,