We all know why we gathered on 6th September in the lovely Quantic Pub, on a warm autumn evening. To witness the expression of art in its best progressive form. To forget about everything that upsets us and enjoy the beauty of three amazing bands. To remember that even if the summer is gone, we still have places to be and people to see. As some would say, just a regular night with Leprous, Agent Fresco and 22. The show started according to schedule, with a modest audience. I knew nothing about 22 before the show. I actually found out they are going to play one day before. A prog-rock band from Norway which turned out to be a big influence in both Leprous and Agent Fresco’s careers. They define their own music style as an eclectic, energetic and stadium-appealing progressive rock outfit, which I can’t really speak against. Unfortunately, they only played for half an hour or so, but they killed it! So much energy, so many positive vibes and such a good and clean sound. It’s easy to tell the similarities between these three bands, as 22 made a perfect introduction to what was there to come. As a personal opinion, I think they got less audience than they deserved. I did come with some expectations regarding Agent Fresco. I discovered this band by accident while listening to some Leprous and immediately fell in love with them. Their music is both complex, being a mix of many genres, and cinematic with a hint of soul and many „math moments”. On stage, everything sounded even better. Arnor’s voice is just impressive and clean. The atmosphere was surreal, as their music is straight genius. We all got to enjoy both famous songs as Dark Waters and Pyre and other less know, like See Hell and The Eyes of a Cloud Catcher. As the songs kept coming, the volume of the people inside the venue increased. There is something about Agent Fresco, almost magical, that sends good vibes and makes you feel confident, but not like moving a mountain confident, just „life is short, enjoy it” confident. It is definitely a band I am eager to see again and if you don’t know about them, listen to them and buy their work cause its worth it. Leprous is a band that doesn’t need any introduction anymore. A band that grew in a few years more than others did in decades, and became, easily, one of the most influential progressive metal bands. Their approach of the genre is one of a kind, psychedelic, with heavy drums, both distortion and clean sounds on guitars, melodic piano parts, and Einar’s incredible voice. On 6th September, they came, they saw and they conquered our hearts. As I said many times before, one just can’t have enough of this band or their music. Every show is a journey, every song is a rollercoaster of emotions, states of mind, thoughts, and feelings. This journey started with a beautiful cello intro, followed by „Bonneville”, the first track from „Malina”. It’s a bit funny but still impressive to see how the audience reacts to Leprous concerts. It the beginning, everyone has a „hit me with your best show” face and they slowly grow to be speechless, gazing with big eyes, singing every word, pouring love and respect, as the band goes through many stages and songs. On stage, things stay the same, as the guys are chill and quiet in the first moments, then they lose their minds and everything turns into a live piece of art. One hour and a half passed like five minutes for me. The transitions from the older songs like „The Flood” to “From the Flame” shows us the band’s ability to pass from heavier metal sound to a song with more of a sensitive note, making the whole show flow like a wave. You know it’s gonna disappear but you always hope it will come back. I think the best you can achieve, as a band, is when your music goes deeper than the hearing. When you feel it in your bones when Einar’s voice is sending chills down your spine when Simen’s bass rhythm vibrates through your whole body and Baard’s drums follow the heart beats. You can clearly see how every member of the band gives 101% up there, enjoying and working at the same time. Because we were such a good audience and the first SOLD OUT show from the tour, the band spoiled us with “Angel”, a Massive Attack song. As everything comes to an end, so does their journey, when the sound gets more serein but still imposing and everyone gets sad because they know it’s coming. Besides the great music, we got to see some very cool video projections and a nice „light-show” that completed the concert, along the way. The guys played both songs from their latest material and some old songs, for the old Leprous fans. It was a show to remember and definitely one to repeat. For everyone out there that is a Leprous fan and did not get the chance to see them, wait no minute longer! It’s a must! As a gift for us, after the show, all the bands came for a small talk, some pictures, some autographs, and many smiles. Big congrats to the sound team, because they did a great job, as always. Another thing that made me happy was the merchandise area which had various goodies and many clients. I really enjoyed the organizing part, as the concert had a very friendly vibe with no golden circle pits, no excessive rules and so on.
E-an-na este una dintre formațiile tinere care ne arată că se poate. Ne arată că se poate ca o formație românească să crească și să se dezvolte, când muncesc pentru asta. Ne arată că se poate să aibă un show live de excepție. Ne mai arată că pot câștiga locul al II-lea la Wacken Metal Battle (2017). Iar acum ne arată noul single, „Viu”, la aproape un an de la ultimul lor single.
Teen Art Out: Felicitări pentru noul Single, “Viu”. Ce v-a inspirat pentru aceasta melodie, un Carpe Diem muzical?
Andrei Oltean: Salutare şi mulţumim frumos! Întocmai. De-a lungul anilor am fost de nenumărate ori în situaţia de a nu putea duce la bun sfârşit o anumită idee la care chiar ţin, şi de exponenţial de multe ori i-am văzut şi pe alţii trecând prind asta. Ba că nu-s bune circumstanţele, ba că nu e momentul, că parcă ţi-a pierit cheful printre atâtea măgării ale vieţii… Întotdeuana o să se găsească ceva. Trebuie să nu uiţi să duci la bun sfârşit lucrurile în care chiar crezi.
Teen Art Out: Ca prim single, putem spune că reprezinta albumul mai bine?
AO: Întrucâtva. Nu e tocmai un prim single, fiindcă vom include şi „Epitaf“ pe noul album. Dar niciuna din ele nu sunt un oracol complet a ceea ce urmează. Va exista o suită de elemente cu siguranţă neaşteptate.
Ban Ovidiu: La fel ca și “Epitaf” reprezintă partea din album prin care spunem că nu vom rămâne la structuri / părți standard de folk metal.
Teen Art Out: Ce ne puteți spune despre urmatorul album? Aveți deja o dată de lansare?
AO: Nu avem nimic, în afară de piese gata compuse şi înregistrate într-o variantă rudimentară, de preproducţie. Lucrăm la finisarea detaliilor muzicale, dar şi la nişte elemente grafice. Versurile sunt şi ele gata, dar drumul se lungeşte parcă la infinit. Aşa că nu vrem să facem nici o promisiune în acest sens. Nu până nu ştim clar că e totul gata. Răbdăm împreună, ce să facem?
BO: E altfel și din punctul meu de vedere arată o evoluție clară. Durează destul de mult, dar nu vrem nici să ne grăbim și să lansăm ceva inferior.
Teen Art Out: Care a fost procesul pentru acest nou album? De unde a venit inspirația și cum au ajuns melodiile în forma în care sunt?
AO: Din toate părţile. Greu de determinat de unde vine muzica în general. Sigur că încercăm, ca muzicieni, să ne fabricăm o poveste, o orginie a ideilor, dar adevărul e că nu cred că avem habar, sau că putem determina o sursă. Sunt idei care te iau la trântă pe nepregătite. Pe unele le-am respins, pe altele le-am modificat după propria voinţă, iar pe unele chiar le-am acceptat în forma în care mi s-au arătat. Stilul compoziţional al cuiva e marcat de amprentele artiştilor pe care această persoană îi ascultă: cu cât mai mulţi & diferiţi aceşti idoli, cu atât mai departe va fi noul stil de o posibilă similaritate cu un anume artist. Încerc să nu mă plafonez în ceea ce am mai făcut, şi cred că acest lucru se va vedea în noul album.
BO: A fost diferit deoarece n-am mai pornit de la anumite teme populare sau doar de la un anumit schelet de la Andrei, sunt și piesele care au pornit din idei de la mine, sau le-am făcut de la 0, dar împreună, astfel au un complet alt sound asupra căruia Andrei ulterior și-a pus amprenta. Mai sunt și piese pentru care Andrei cred că și-a vândut sufletul, fiind incredibil de bune și diferite.
Teen Art Out: Anul acesta este mult prea discutatul Centenar. Veți marca in vreun fel acest moment?
AO: Nu. Dacă ne putem bucura de viaţă, sau de existenţa unui concept drag, doar la intervale fixe înseamnă că ne autoimpunem acea bucurie. Simţi când ai chef, când vine spontan, nu când ţi-ai programat să simţi. Nu zic centenarul e un lucru rău. Doar că nu are legătură cu abordarea noastră asupra artei.
Teen Art Out: Ați lansat de curând un episod din NANANA TV. Vă doriți să continuați partea de vlogging, sau a fost ceva de moment?
AO: E cam mult spus vlogging. Videoclipurile din NananaTV nu sunt nici profesionale, nici nu apar în mod regulat, momentan. Când se mai adună idei şi ni se par haioase le împărtăşim şi cu alţii. Da, noi am vrea să le facem în continuare, în măsura în care timpul ne permite. Când apucăm, cum apucăm. Din nou, nimic de promis.
BO: Încercăm, dar este foarte greu, fiind cumva al n-lea lucru de făcut după multe altele mult mai prioritare.
Teen Art Out: Ce a însemnat pentru voi experiența Wacken și ce puteți spune că ați învățat din ea?
AO: Am învăţat să dorm în maşină. Wacken a fost un punct important în scurta noastră istorie, mai ales ajungând acolo ca o trupă nouă, abia atinsă de câteva zeci de concerte. Am învăţat foarte multe lucruri, în special despre principii. Cred că pilonul principiilor are cea mai mare nevoie de oblojire la noi, fiindcă ele asigură un curs al evenimentelor pe termen mediu şi lung, or noi suntem destul de angrenaţi în imediat, în “termenul scurt”. Am văzut ce înseamnă prietenia sinceră şi ne-oportunistă, spre exemplu. Între trupe, între organizatori, între toată lumea prezentă prin zonele de backstage. Fain sentiment. Creşte încetuc şi la noi, şi sper să eclozeze frumos într-o bună zi.
Şi am mai aflat un lucru, şi anume faptul că suntem în stare să ne prezentăm muzica şi în faţa a mii de străini, cu un efect la fel de profund şi plăcut precum se întâmplă acasă. Nu contează că n-au înţeles o iotă din versuri.
BO: Am văzut că avem o șanșă destul de puternică și afară. Lumea a simțit muzica și fără să fim nevoiți să cântăm intr-o engleză la mâna a doua.
Teen Art Out: Cum v-a venit idea sa cantați Dansul Pinguinului?
AO: Aoleu. Cred că ne prosteam la sală. Tot aşa, spontaneitate. Am zis că fie ne urăsc toţi, fie o să iasă foarte bine. Muzica noastră evită tendinţa de a face totul amuzant (tendinţă relativ dominantă în vremurile noastre), dar câte-un râset din când în când n-a omorât pe nimeni.
BO: Am zis să facem ceva mai extrem și neașteptat. Ulterior a apărut și ideea de dinozaur prin care voiam să aratăm că e un moment mai puțin serios muzical, dar totuși memorabil și prin care să facem lumea să se simtă bine.
Teen Art Out: Care au fost cele mai “nebune” momente din turneele voastre?
AO: Sunt multe moduri de a defini nebunia. A fost treaba cu pinguinu’ & Ovidiu deghizat în dinozaur, au fost stage dive-uri, au fost oameni care ne cântau versurile şi se auzeau la fel de tare ca noi… au fost nopţi în care am refuzat cazări în zone dubioase fiindcă era clar că vom rămâne fără remorcă dacă poposim acolo, nopţi în care fugeam unii după alţii cu sticle de apă desfăcute, chefuri şi liniştiri. E faină viaţa asta, chit că are puţine momente. Am tot spus că trăim în două lumi: în bulele astea de nebunie & dedublaţi în vieţile noastre de birou. Cea mai mare nebunie mi se pare hotarul dintre ele.
BO: De la pierderea temporară a unui membru cu telefonul inchis, la urcatul pe scenă la nici 3 minute după ce am ajuns in locul respectiv, la momente prin care mai lăsăm puțin seriozitatea după concerte, sau la idei spontane pe scenă. Am avut un concert în care am decis să incercăm să cântăm o piesă fiecare la alt instrument. A ieșit un haos, dar pentru noi a fost o experiență plăcută și cumva comică. Nu e tocmai ușor să fii atât de mult pe drumuri și pe langă oboseală fizică, se văd și semnele de oboseală psihică, incercăm totuși să mai lăsăm puțin din maturitate și să ne bucurăm de călătorie.
Teen Art Out: Care sunt câteva lucruri pe care publicul nu le ințelege despre ce înseamna industria muzicală?
AO: Sunt atâtea lucruri pe care nu le înţelegem nici noi. Nu ştiu cât trebuie să înţeleagă publicul ca să meargă totul mai bine. Încerc să mă leg de ce e relevant oarecum şi pentru ascultătorul care nu are treabă cu industria în sine. Până la urmă dacă simţi & rezonezi cu o muzică, vii la concert, o asculţi de-acasă, îţi iei un tricou, mă rog. Fiecare după posibilităţi şi dispoziţie. Sunt nenumărate aspecte de luat în calcul şi când lansezi muzică, şi când faci un concert. La noi în ograda mioritică e un mediu destul de imprevizibil, aşa că adesea nu iese totul plănuit ca la carte. Ce aş vrea e să fie înţeles lucrul ăsta şi să nu mai fim cu toţii părerologi “că e vina lui X sau a lui Y”. Nu-ţi convine, nu te mai duci, nu mai susţii. Problemele recurente sigur te vor descuraja, dar câte o gafă ocazională nu e întotdeauna din vina celui care a încercat să facă ceva din pasiune.
BO: Că trupele au ajuns “undeva” și de acolo e doar lapte și miere. Nu există așa ceva. Sincer să fim, muncim mult mai mult decât la inceputul trupei, pe multiple planuri și asta chiar implică un sacrificiu al oricărui “timp liber”.
Eu consider că trupele în general in România sunt aruncate într-un colţ în favoarea trupelor de afară, dat fiind că acelea vin cu o anumită productie (aproape imposibil de conceput pentru o trupă din Romania). Observ că oamenii au inceput să fie mai reci către industria noastră, să fie mai puțin dornici de a vorbi despre trupe, sau să-i ajute chiar prin social media. E imposibil să existe o creștere astfel și n-o să apară vreodată vreo trupă romănească să se compare cu “titanii” de afară, oricat de mare le este interesul și dedicatia. Fără susținătorii tăi nu poti face absolut nimic.
De altfel, observ că toată lumea îşi imaginează că trupele pot scoate piese pe bandă rulantă, dar cumva cu o calitate mai mare și o evoluție constantă. Oricât de mult lucrează o trupă, contează mult și interesul celor care-i susțin. Dacă mergi sa-i vezi la concerte, dacă spui activ pe net că vrei sa-i vezi in unele festivaluri, vorbești despre ei și ii susții prin merch, o să vezi cum toate vin mai ușor.
Teen Art Out: Care au fost, în schimb, niște lucruri pe care voi nu le-ați înțeles despre scena muzicală, și cu care v-ati izbit dupa ce ați „intrat în pâine”?
AO: Legalitatea. Caracatiţa monstruoasă a birocraţiei. E de parcă statul face tot ce îi stă în putinţă ca să îţi taie elanul atunci când încerci să joci după regulile create tot de acesta. În alte ţări rezolvi aproapte totul online, într-un timp decent de scurt. Noi încă aşteptăm răspuns în termen de 30 de zile după fiecare aviz.
BO: Că o să se treacă peste acest super război al genului, sau competiții muzicale. Indiferent de orice gen de muzică cântă o trupă, dacă ne abordează, incercăm să-i ajutăm. Din punctul meu de vedere, nu există vreo SUPER TRUPĂ unică în România, care să fie UNICĂ în lume dpdv muzical care să-și permite să fie un super judecător față de alte trupe.
Teen Art Out: Cât de important este pentru voi să puteți să vă implicați în toate zonele muzicii, de la înregistrare, mixare, la promovare, management, etc? Este un artist complet când are cunosținte din toate domeniile, sau trebuie fiecare lăsat să facă ce știe?
AO: Eu m-aş simţi minunat să fac doar muzică, să nu mă “murdăresc” cu concepte de marketing, de sporire a vizibilităţi, etc. Dar e necesar să fim multitasking, şi cred că o să încărunţim mult mai repede decât am face-o dacă am cânta doar în casele noastre, fără să încercăm să aducem muzica şi altora. Totuşi, muzica merită toate sacrificiile astea.
Dar nu. Un artist nu e neapărat complet dacă ştie management, sau să mixeze, sau alte activităţi conexe. Un artist e complet când îşi mânuieşte cu dibăcie arta, şi poate exprima corect ceea ce ia naştere la nivel sinaptic. E cel care poate cataliza emoţie.
BO: Inregistratul și un mixing la nivel de incepător te ajută foarte mult să-ti auzi ideile altcumva, nu printr-o filmare absolut oribilă dintr-o sală de repetitie, deci este cam necesar de la un anumit nivel.
Fiind 2178937219831 de trupe care bombardează cu informații internetul, trebuie să ai un plan de promovare foarte bun pentru a putea fi văzut.
Totuși, sunt de acord cu Andrei, pentru a putea realiza partea artistică cel mai bine, nu ar trebui să fii implicat in toate zonele. E pur si simplu prea mult.
Teen Art Out: Dacă ați avea o baghetă magică, care ar fi trei lucruri pe care le-ați face?
AO: I-aş face pe toţi mai relaxaţi şi mai puţin concentraţi pe partea necăjită a vieţii. Aş vrea ca toată lumea să-şi poată trăi visul, cât timp acest nu implică a face rău altcuiva, şi să ducă o viaţă decentă în acelaşi timp. Aş fi putut spune să am eu destui bani de instrumente, studiouri, cărţi & adăposturi pentru animale, şi pentru o mie de alte lucruri. Dar cred că primele 2 ar face să nu mai fie necesar. Aşa că din a treia dorinţă aş pune un fel de exception handling în caz că am modificat prea grav structura universului cu primele două. Să nu fie naibii vreun efect secundar grav şi neprevăzut.
BO: De acord cu ce a zis Andrei, chiar nu e altceva necesar. Bine, poate incă 2-3…zeci de chitări pentru colecția personală.
You have started playing and touring at a very early age. How do you now look back to that time?
I was very lucky to have parents that were very supportive and a father that understood the business and guided me into the direction to get me where I am today. It’s really crazy to look back and to think I was only 14 years old when I toured for 3 months opening for Motley Crue; but I got my feet wet with touring very early that it has allowed me to walk into many gig and touring situations without having to audition.
You have attended music classes at Berklee College of Music. How do you see the need for formal education in the music industry?
I am a Music Business major and I feel that it is extremely to have the proper education in an industry that is as fast paced as the music industry. In the age of DIY musicians try to compete with each other, the artists that are making money are artists that have industry professionals behind their career knowing the ins and outs of the whole machine that is the music industry. So learning the real tricks of the trade helps me build my career in other aspects of the industry.
How scary a moment was to decide to become a full-time musician? Were there people around you discouraging you?
I started messing around on my dad’s drums when I was about 6 months old; once I was about 3 years old, I really began to play the full kit and jamming with musician friends of my dad’s. By the time I was 5 years old, I began to play professionally around Detroit doing cover gigs and really found a love for the instrument. I really began touring North America around the age of 12, its funny because I have been playing music my whole life, so I never really even thought about it as a job; I really didn’t even realize that this was my career until I had been doing it professionally for a long time hahahaha.
What are some of the best drum songs out there?
Hmmmm That’s a hard one, each song created has such a different vibe and groove that it is very hard to pick the best parts.
Being a session musician, you have been involved in a lot of diverse projects. Is there still some style you would love to experiment with but haven’t had the chance?
I am always listening and working on different styles that what happens is I get really into a certain style for a while and try to learn as much about that style as possible, and then move on to something different. After a while I end up revisiting a style and work on that more. So its always about getting better and learning new stuff.
You are also a managing partner of Prudential Music Group. Can music and business coexist, or do they take parts from each other?
Prudential Music Group is a music conglomerate that houses 2 record labels and a publishing company. We are very happy to be distributed through Sony RED/Orchard for many years. As a musician and as a business executive, it really helps allow me to look at the industry from both sides and really allows me to be as ethical as possible when working out deals between my company and artists because I understand the value of artists work. I have always been a fan of the commercial aspect of the industry and figuring out what music and product would appeal to the consumer because if there is no consumer appeal, there is no business.
With Rouge Records, you are re-releasing vinyls. In an industry many claim to be dying, why go into record and vinyl sales?
Well the vinyl industry has been growing each year; vinyl sales were up 19% the first and second quarter in 2018, so the consumer want is increasing. Vinyl is really the only physical format that is really selling these days and I believe it is a combo of people from 40-60 years old that want to relive the joys of rebuilding their vinyl collection, plus the millennial generation wanting have a more kinesthetic experience listening to music. Plus, in the age of streaming, we are able to generate revenue quite easily due to the prices that vinyl is at these days, however the downside is manufacturing costs are very high. The big plus doing in the vinyl industry, we are headquartered in Detroit, MI, which Jack White just opened Third Man Pressing in the heart of downtown, so we partnered with them to press all of our vinyl.
If we look at big rock festivals, particularly in Europe, the headliners are the same as 10 or 20 years ago. It would seem that there are not that many younger bands able to „rival” the greats. What do you personally make of that?
The biggest issue that I see these days is the oversaturation of the number of bands; plus, the amount of DIY bands that think that they are „make it” by putting their music on iTunes. It is very strange because I have been having this same discussion with a lot of colleagues lately. As you pointed out, when you take a look at the bands headlining festivals, arenas, theatres, stadiums and amphitheatres, most of those bands were headlining in the 70s and 80s; other than a few newer country and pop artists. Looking ahead 10-15 years, most of those 70s and 80s bands will be retired, so the real interesting questions are, „who will be filling 2,500+ cap rooms in 2030?” „Will there be enough artists that can keep some of these venues open?”. It will be a very interesting topic that will become more relevant as soon as more artists retire.
You have also been involved in educational videos and school programs. What would you say makes a good teacher, particularly a good music teacher?
A great music teacher exposes students to different musicians, different styles and different music. I approach my teaching to really teach the student work ethic; I don’t hold hands and will call a student out as soon as they play something wrong. It might sound harsh, but really a job as a teacher is to give them the info, let them give the info a try, and then tell them when the info is wrong. This very much how my teacher of many years, George Dunn, taught me. It teaches musicians to think on their own, and when you hold hands in a lesson, the student doesn’t get to fail and learn from their mistakes.
When you step outside the studio or concert hall, what are your favourite things to do?
I am a huge hockey nut. So, I am always at Detroit Red Wings’ games when I am home from the road.
On February 4th 2017, a piece of history was written in the dark book of Portuguese gothic metal act Moonspell. Lisboa Under The Spell was recorded that day at their show in Campo Pequeno Arena and it was released as a live DVD not so long ago, on August 17th via Napalm Records.
Here is Moonspell’s statement: „We are thrilled to announce the release of our brand new live DVD/Blu-ray/3CD live album, entitled ‘Lisboa Under The Spell’! It was recorded live on our breathtaking capitol city of Lisbon and it’s nothing short of an epic trek of more than three action-packed hours! We have played ‘Wolfheart’, ‘Irreligious’ plus ‘Extinct’ in full, invited a bunch of guests, summoned our biggest strength to be up to the task, and it feels awesome to unleash a long-awaited live release from MOONSPELL. This edition will be full packed with amazing material, bonus CDs from the shows, a in depth documentary about the band, top sound, dramatic flair and a human picture of thousands of Portuguese witches and wolves under the spell. A great document of what we are on and off stage. Don’t miss out and visit Lisbon through the eyes of MOONSPELL fans and the genius work of director Victor Castro.”
Before diving into the actual details, I must say that, in my humble opinion, the title of this DVD sums it up pretty nicely. I have seen Moonspell in a live concert twice and it felt indeed like being under a spell. From my point of view, frontman Fernando Ribeiro is one of the most charismatic figures in the metal scene. He is simply a mountain of passion on stage, always knowing how to connect with his audience. He never leaves blank spaces during their performance and he manages to make you feel like being a part of the show. You would think that after 25 years of performing on stages all over the world, one might get tired of doing the same thing over and over again, but not these guys. The force of connecting with everyone, the feelings driven by their music, the passion for performing are still there and they are doing a hell of a great job, hopefully for many years to come.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to videography, but Victor Castro managed to direct and create a very interesting and detailed documentary and he also managed to feature the lives of these five artists outside their comfort zones, meaning the stage, showing us a glimpse of their everyday lives, since we sometimes forget that the people we usually cheer for during shows, are also… regular human beings. The lightshow and the color scheme are well-chosen, the sound is accurate and pleasing, decors change accordingly and the audience is explosive. I do believe those 4000 fans were very lucky to be there.
And thus the show begins with the first act, Wolfheart, their debut album from 1995, played in its entirety. I am pretty sure this was a treat for fans of early Moonspell and also a delight for those who couldn’t be present at past tours. I don’t want to give away too much, but I have to mention the Vampiria moment. This whole album is a work of art, but Vampiria seems to be one of those performances that can put one in a trance and Fernando’s voice… oh boy. From this act, Napalm Records released a video of Alma Mater, one of the songs that can shake you to the core and I can only imagine how special it is for the Portuguese audience.
Act II follows with another favorite of Moonspell fans all over the world and that is Irreligious, their 2nd album released in 1996. Raven Claws brings the lovely Mariangela Demurtas on stage, singer of Tristania and also wife of Moonspell guitarist, Ricardo Amorim. I really loved the way Fernando presented her: “born Italian, but the owner of a Portuguese heart”. Who says these guys can’t be romantic? But enough with the cutesy things, since the following tracks are some of the forte points of this whole show: Mephisto, Herr Spiegelmann and, of course, Fullmoon Madness. A mix of fire, strength, mystery and the most delightful madness, will take over you while enjoying this part of the concert. Napalm Records also released a video for this act, featuring Herr Spiegelmann, with a very special moment as you can see below. This song was inspired by the book The Perfume, written by Patrick Suskind.
Act III is represented by Extinct, their tenth full-length album released in 2015. The pace is changing, shifting into a more modern Moonspell sound, but nonetheless, a very catchy and intriguing chapter of this band’s history. I remember there were a lot of upset fans back in 2015, who disagreed with the adopted changes in style, but I am pretty sure this album grew on them in the meantime. I was hooked on it since the first listening session and I believe this album was a successful musical exercise, proving that Moonspell is capable of bending the rules, adding new elements to their music, while still remaining on the same track that gained them notoriety throughout the years. Being capable of such changes only proves a great deal of growing up as an artist. Moving on, there are a few surprises featured on this act as well, but I will let you discover them on your own.
All in all, this DVD is very enjoyable to watch and if you are a Moonspell fan, you will surely treasure it. To be performing for 25 years is really not something to be ignored, especially in this difficult metal scene. Moonspell managed to gift us a show to be remembered. It all ends with Fernando voicing some of his thoughts after the show has ended, but you will have to check it out by yourself. Having said this, I am looking forward to their journey and hopefully to another concert since they have released their concept album 1755, on November 3rd 2017. Fingers crossed!
DVD & Blu-Ray:
I ROCKUMENTARY – band documentary by Victor Castro
II WOLFHEART SHOW – full album played live
- Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade)
- Love Crimes
- Of Dream And Drama
- Lua D’inverno
- An Erotic Alchemy
- Alma Mater
III IRRELIGIOUS SHOW – full album played live
- Perverse Almost Religious
- For A Taste Of Eternity
- Ruin & Misery
- A Poisoned Gift
- Raven Claws (Feat. Mariangela Demurtas)
- Herr Spiegelmann
- Fullmoon Madness
IV EXTINCT SHOW – full album played live
- All Gone From The Wild (Intro)
- Breathe (Until We Are No More)
- Extinct (Feat. Carolina Torres)
- The Last Of Us
- Funeral Bloom
- A Dying Breed
- The Future Is Dark
V MAKING OF – show day
VI GALLERY – live and backstage pics
Get your copy here:
Review by Cristina Țurlea
Two years have passed since their last release, but time has come once again for German symphonic metal act Beyond The Black to dive straight into the Heart Of The Hurricane! No, not literally, don’t worry. Heart Of The Hurricane is the name of their new album, that will be released very soon on the 31st of August via Napalm Records.
Here is a statement from the band regarding their new material: “Can you feel the thunder? After a turbulent phase in the short history of BtB, we can say that we came out stronger than ever! Witness to that is our first single “Heart of the Hurricane”, which takes you through a sonic thunderstorm to be reckoned with! We absolutely cannot wait to unleash this storm upon old and new fans alike, as we are sure that this new chapter will take us on a beautiful journey through dark and light!”
And indeed I can totally agree that it has been a journey through darkness and light, as they said. This album is very energetic, even though it possesses a gloomy atmosphere that resounds through the lyrics, contrasting with the overall heavy sound of the songs, that will just not let you stay still.
From my point of view, I would divide the album in two parts: the first part would be represented by some more catchy tracks with fresh elements added to the sounds that we were accustomed to and the second part is the one that stays true to what we have heard on previous albums. Is this bad? Is this good? Nonsense. I believe this is the right recipe for a varied, dynamic album that will surely please both old and new fans of the band.
Hysteria opens the album with a burst of energy, setting the course for what will follow next and that is Heart Of The Hurricane, the first single released for this album. Somehow this one gives me the feeling of a run towards a dangerous adventure, from where one will get out as a different, stronger person. Wisely chosen as a first single, it has the catchyness that I was mentioning early.
Through The Mirror has a more mellow start, gentle piano notes accompanied by Jennifer’s low vocals, creating an empowering contrast that will surely give you goosebumps. I noticed that the Mirror seems to represent a theme for this album, as we will see in the video for the next song and maybe even towards the end of the album. I don’t know, it might be just a coincidence, but it fits perfectly, metaphorically speaking.
Million Lightyears is next and it made me extremely happy to hear the lovely, clean voice of Chris Hermsdörfer on this one, since he is not only a very talented guitarist, but the man can also sing wonderfully! I just love how their voices entwine.
Song For The Godless has such a kick-ass, mighty sounding, somewhat medieval intro and it immediately made me think of In The Shadows. You will be listening to a madly awesome guitar solo on this one. I just need to say that the whole atmosphere of this track is simply uplifting. The first slow track makes an appearance, Escape From The Earth, featuring a very gentle Jennifer, in an emotional scenery, that reveals a burdensome transition from the previous tune. What will follow, is a return to the roots for sure! I was actually curious if/when this will happen during my listening session. Beneath A Blackened Sky has some serious symphonic vibes mixed with majestic choirs. Headbanging incoming during the chorus, be warned. The mentioned vibes continue in the next one, Fairytale Of Doom, a track that made me think of Amberian Dawn. It’s a powerful song for the broken-hearted, with a well-chosen name and a favorite of mine. Much potential in this one I see! Nerd alert. Moving on, Chris makes a vocal appearance again on My God Is Dead, but with some cool growls this time, sending shivers down the spine. I feel that Jennifer’s voice could shatter one’s heart during the chorus, being so expressive, pouring all of her being into the song. Dear Death and Freedom are two pieces with fast riffs and beats, making one feel like on a rollercoaster. As far as concerning Scream For Me, I do believe this one would be a favourite for the public, if performed live: slow start followed by a bombastic chorus. And it’s time for the ballad, Breeze, piano and choir driven, lead by the gentle, but powerful Jennifer, who is simply amazing when it comes to ballads, managing to reach straight into your soul with her singing style. I declare Echo From The Past another favorite of mine. I find it hard to explain, but it’s just one of those songs that sticks to you and you love it from start to end, with no questions asked. It clicked with me probably because it has all the ingredients needed for an awesome tune: impact, balance, a lovely, subtle orchestration in the background, sustaining all the instruments together with the vocals in a neat equilibrium. The album ends with Parade, a fit conclusion after the journey made through the spectrum of feelings that were pinpointed by the previous tracks, encouraging one to be true to his/her self, no matter what.
Do listen to this album with an open mind and I guarantee you will fall in love with it. It clearly shows that teamwork, precision in the details, a lot of passion and perseverence will set you on the right course. Beyond The Black managed to deliver an album showing a great deal of variety, worthy of one’s collection.
- Heart Of The Hurricane
- Through The Mirror
- Million Lightyears
- Song For The Godless
- Escape From The Earth
- Beneath A Blackened Sky
- Fairytale Of Doom
- My God Is Dead
- Dear Death
- Scream For Me
- Echo From The Past
More info about the band:
Pre-order Heart Of The Hurricane:
Review by Cristina Țurlea
For two days (18-19 August), Varna Mega Rock attracted thousands and thousands of people with an unbeatable line-up of Kamelot, Glenn Hughes, Apocalyptica, and the big headliners, Nightwish. The festival is a very special one, so close to the beach, which was enjoyed by fans and bands alike. The weather was good, with a nice breeze blowing.
The first night was very exciting, starting with local acts Krossfire (who brought Romanian singer Aura on stage for a special song) and Kikimora. Then it was time for Kamelot, who absolutely killed it. They didn’t have to go so hard, and yet they did that!! They made sure the public was not standing still for a single moment. There were times I thought they were over-doing it with the Hey! Hey!, but they gave it their all and got the same from the public. Their setlist was as inspired as always, mixing the old classics with songs off their new album. Very special mention for „Here’s to the fall”, a very emotional ballad where the public joins in with their cell phone lights.
Many people were left wondering how Kamelot was not headlining the day. But they soon got the answer when Glenn Hughes got on stage. Best known for his bass and vocal work with Deep Purple, he is a legend of music and it felt like an honor to be able to see him. In a very purple hippie outfit, he impressed us all with his voice and moves, with energy, with dedication. Unlike Kamelot, he did not have to try to rile up the crowd. You just knew he came to do his thing and his many years in the music were showing, having the public eat out of his hand. He was humble and friendly in a way that made you forget just how big he was. He kept saying that it wasn’t the public who came to see him, but him who came to see the public. Of course, Smoke on The Water was the highlight of the performance.
All in all, a very strong day, great music, impeccable organisation. The latter was only true, however, for the first day. On the second day the gates were supposed to open at 4:30 and at almost 6, the stage wasn’t set up yet. The Nightwish screens and pyro were still being set up. I was allowed in the venue and got to see what was happening, but unfortunately, the hundreds and hundreds of people waiting had no idea why they were left outside for two further hours. Delays are bound to happen in the music business (not that I understand how the truck didn’t get there a good two days after their previous concert, which was 4 hours away). However, the way organizers deal with it is problem. I feel like they could have done a better job communicating with the people, both online and offline. Moreover, it would have been nice to distribute some water to the people waiting for hours outside the gates, ready to run and wait some more hours in the front of the stage.
Because of this huge delay, the first 2 bands had to be cancelled. I felt sorry for them, because they were there, dressed, prepared, ready to hit the stage, and they couldn’t. They had made plans and relied on the idea that they would share the stage with Apocalyptica and the mighty Nightwish.
However, the day started with Apocalyptica, who blew my mind. I have no idea how I hadn’t seen them before. Absolutely incredible and slightly insane show of energy for cello players. This time they were playing Metallica by Four Cellos, a fully instrumental show, but one where the public came in to fill the lyrics of the most famous Metallica songs. Huge show by them, definitely worth seeing again.
Finally, the Nightwish intro! We are doing this! What a show that was! Celebrating 20 years of activity, Nightwish are coming with Decades, a compilation album showcasing their most essential songs. While Greatest Show on Earth or Ghost Love Score were sure to be in the setlist, I loved hearing Dead Boy’s Poem, Come Cover Me, Elvenpath. Their show was a masterpiece of vocal and instrumental prowess, energy, joy, great music, and, of course, FIRE! I appreciated that the stage was high and far enough for the first row not to feel extra scared of being burned alive, even though giant flames were going on in front of them, giving off tremendous heat.
Other highlights of the show were I Want My Tears Back – a song where the public is always invited to dance and jump – or Slaying the Dreamer, which is just pure insanity. Song after song, we were show why they are the greatest. Compared to the previous Nightwish concert, I felt the Varna crowd a bit … quiet, especially when the band „left the stage” before the encore and they were mostly followed by silence. But with Ghost Love Score as an encore, the public revived to scream and dance and marvel at how amazing Floor’s vocals are.
All in all, I am very happy with the fest, but it is also so because I did not wait for hours in the sun. They had a decent selection of food and drinks and the queues were not bad. The line-up was absolutely incredible, so I am sure that all fans will only remember the great feelings, that they got to see Kamelot, Glenn Hughes, Apocalyptica and NIGHTWISH!
Let me know when the next edition of Varna Mega Rock is, because I am coming!
Cea de-a șaptea ediție a Rockstadt Extreme Fest, unul din cele mai importante evenimente metal din Europa de Sud Est si cel mai faimos festival de metal din Romania, va avea loc între 1 – 4 august 2019, la poalele Cetății Râșnov (terenul de Biatlon de la baza cetății).
Abonamentele pentru ediția 2019 s-au pus deja în vânzare în rețeaua iaBilet și pe website-ul oficial al festivalului, http://www.rockstadtextremefest.ro:
- Pre-sale 1: primele 1.000 de abonamente vor avea un preț special de 190 lei/ buc., valabil până la epuizarea lor, dar nu mai târziu de 16 septembrie 2018;
- Pre-sale 2: va include 1.000 de abonamente cu prețul de 230 lei/ buc., valabil până la epuizarea acestora, dar nu mai târziu de 21 octombrie 2018;
- Pre-sale 3: va include 1.000 de abonamente cu prețul de 270 lei/ buc., valabil până la epuizarea stocului, dar nu mai târziu de 13 ianuarie 2019;
- Pre-sale 4: va include 1.000 de abonamente cu prețul de 310 lei/ buc., valabil până la epuizare, dar nu mai târziu de 17 martie 2019;
- Pre-sale 5: va include 1.000 de abonamente cu prețul de 350 lei/ buc., valabil până la epuizare, dar nu mai târziu de 16 iunie 2019;
- După data de 16 iunie 2019 și pe perioada festivalului abonamentele vor costa 390 lei/ buc.
Ca noutate, vor fi disponibile și bilete pentru fiecare zi de festival care vor fi puse în vânzare aproximativ cu 1 lună înainte de începerea festivalului la pretul de 220 lei. Mai multe detalii despre acestea vor putea fi oferite în momentul punerii lor în vânzare.
Primul nume deja confirmat la Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2019 este Paradise Lost, pionierii gothic/doom metalului alegând să includă cunoscutul festival de la Râșnov pe harta concertelor susținute în contextul aniversării celor 30 de ani de existență.
Cu 15 albume la activ, Paradise Lost este un nume consacrat pe scena gothic/doom metal internațională. Înființată în 1988 în Halifax, Marea Britanie, trupa e considerată fondatoare a stilului Gothic Metal, datorită albumului omonim lansat în 1991, ce a avut o influență majoră asupra mișcării metal din întreaga lume. În timp, sound-ul trupei a evoluat, încorporând diferite influențe, cum este cazul instrumentațiilor electronice pe care trupa le-a inclus în piesele de pe albumul „One Second” (1997). În anul următor, prin „Symbol of Life”, Paradise Lost a diminuat din nou prezența elementelor electronice în favoarea revenirii la stilul orientat pe chitară. Cel de-al 15-lea album, „Medusa” (2017), a adus la rândul său o schimbare de tonalitate, membri trupei declarând că este cel mai doom dintre toate pe care le-au făcut până în prezent.
Facebook event Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2019: http://bit.ly/RockstadtExtremeFest2019_FacebookEvent
After four days and four nights of extreme metals and some not so extreme but still around, I finally found my words. I wish I could but I have nothing bad to say about Rockstadt Extreme Fest. I truly believe that it is one of the best metal festivals, if not the best, we have in Romania. Everything was flawless, from my point of view.
The info point was much appreciated and also that liitle flyer with the map and the schedule made things a lot easier for many of us.
The location of the festival is just stunning, surrounded by mountains, close to the beautiful city of Rasnov, but at same isolated. Being at the base of the citadel, it allowed us to take short trips, to visit the surroundins, the cave, the city, and, of course, Râșnov citadel. One thing that was difficult to take was the temperature difference. During the day, you could’ve gotten a nice tan by only walking around the are, while during the night, if you were not drunk enough, you needed a long sleeve, a hoodie and a jacket.
About the pricing system, there was some waiting, but most of it was at the entrance. It’s hard to let hundreds of people in through only three checkpoints, while there were others trying to get out. Other than that, I understand the food bar was a bit crowded, and that is pretty much all. Personally, I never stood more than five minutes for a beer or anything to drink. For tokens, tho, the line was always busy. The food was very good and eveyone appreciated the longdrinks, shots and the others alcooholic drinks the bar served.
I didn’t sleep in the camping areas but I think there some things worth metion. First, in spite of the all complaints, I think the price was really cheap, for what you get. Both camping areas were clean, organised, had security, so only the people with those special bracelets could get inside and some of the nicest bathrooms I saw, regarding the live show. First, there were separate spaces for women and men, and both areas had showers (in containers, with sinks and mirrors) and very clean toilets (from what I’ve heard, there was someone who came once in a while to clean them). I am sure everyone appreciated that, especially the girls. Still, the one thing that kept the campings from perfection was the lack of shade. Of course, the area was surrounded by forests so there was plenty outside the campnig.
Also, two bands were not able to perform but the organizers dealt with the problems in such way it was not even noticeable and everything went on schedule.
Every night had an after-party where people had lots of fun. It was interesting and satisfying at the same time to see hundreds of metalheads dancing on metal/rock/pop, dubstep and many others genres. I think that says a lot about the maturity of the audience, being able to have fun no matter the music. Last night had a special edition of ’90 tunes, which was a real blast, with people dancing on the stage, everyone jumping around on songs like Captaion Joe (and actually doing the dance), la isla bonita and so on. It was quite an end after four days of extreme metals.
I think that other things that people appreciated were the concrete sidewalks, the ”charging area” for those who slept in tents and had little access to a power source for their phones, and the organizers attetion for preventing the „mud”, the classical mud we’re used to at this event. Fortunately, the weather was on our side and we received four full days of sun. There was also a pretty generous merchandise area, with a wide range of t-shirts and CD-s.
About the concerts, I think every band brought something different and unique on the stage. Though I appreciated every person that got up on the stage, I didn’t got to see all of bands (but I’ve heard most of them). Regarding the show, the sound was almost flawless, with small exceptions, but overall better than what I got from a festival so far.
Because it would take many pages and much time for you to read them, I will stick to what I think were the best live actions. I will also be a bit cliche, but most of the headliners slayed the stage. WASP came with so much energy and power, it shocked everyone, and I am so grateful I got to see a piece of music history along with some other thousands of people. Powerwolf put on one hell of a show, even without all their fire toys, kept the audience alive with energy and enthusiams, while singing about werewolves and vampires in their homeland. Some people complained about the sound not being high enough. I think it was more than decent. Amorphis was impressive in a… different way. Their music has lots of soul and feeling, so it was more emotional, to say so, with songs like Silver Bride and House of Sleep. One great thing about Amorphis. Their live performance is so close to the recoreded version, it hurts. Obituary is not my cup of tea but people described the show with some big words.
In the last night, InFlames ended the festival with a show to remember. With a full Wacken stage set, with lights, led screens, projections, light pillars and fireworks, everything was insane. It was late, after four days of boiling during the day and freezing during the night and everyone enjoyed every second of the show. There was a great communication with the audience, the guys smiled all the time and were obviously excited to be there.
I will also mention Septicflesh here because they had a show that impressed me beyond any expectation and I think they deserve to be close to the headliners. Their music is more than fascinating and seing them live really brings everything to a whole new level. You can’t help but feel their music.
Other bands I really enojoyed from the main stage were Dirty Shirt (which I saw before but never get tired of), Brujeria, which were totally crazy, with their mexican vibes and funny attitude combined with the hard guitar riffs and drums. GoatWhore had an interesting sound and Belphegor made a really nice show.
Fleshgod Apocalypse finally managed to get on the romanian shores, after being robbed and having to cancel their concerts, including the one from the Indoor Rockstadt. Man, they killed that stage. First, their costumes, make up, attitude were basically yelling that was going to be good. Their mix of classical, renaissance sound combined with extreme drums and guitars, alongside the beautiful opera voice of Veronica and the deep powerful vocals of the leadsinger just takes you to a very interesting trip through „space and time”.
About the second stage, first band that got my attention was W3 4R3 NUM83R5, which was also the first band I got to see from all the festival. I knew some songs from them but never got the chance to see them performing live. Pleasant surprise. The sound was very good, some nice djent, lots of energy, great communication with the public. Also, Sur Astru was a very interesting experience and I think these guys are going places. Impure Vilhelmina and The Thirteenth Sun had pretty good shows but I would enjoy more to see them in separate shows, as I think they could do even better. Gutalax was at least fuuny to watch, and they had show people kept talking about. As for the main stage, the sound was nice and clean and every band played according to schedule, no events, just more crowded by the day, which was a good thing.
As I said before, I wish there was something even remotely bad about this festival, but it isn’t. I talked to people that never missed an edition of REF and they said this festival is just getting better and better, more and more professional. I asked some that came this year for the first time and they were surprised. As for me, I shall never miss a year of Rockstadt Extreme Fest. Congrats to everyone who puts tons of effort, every year, into making this, the best metal festival from Romania.
Kamelot! Kamelot! Kamelot! – Can you tell it was a great show already? August 16th, Quantic Open Air, Kamelot brought their latest album, The Shadow Theory, to Romania. Photo Gallery here
The day started with Crossing Eternity with a short set, but that definitely got them many new fans. The singer said „Bună seara” and I was so impressed by his Romanian only to have him speaking Romanian afterwards because … he is Romanian. A Romanian – Swedish- German band, they worked amazing together. They only have one album out, but it’s worth checking out. Good energy on stage, worked the crowd, got them to cheer. They didn’t have an easy task, but they delivered. Hopefully we’ll get to see them many more times in Romania.
Before Kamelot we were kind of worried because there weren’t that many people and the Golden Circle space was a bit too large, and by that I mean it was 70% empty. Luckily, by the time Kamelot came on stage, more people had joined and people got up from the tables so it didn’t look suspiciously empty.
I was happy to see just how many people came with Kamelot T-shirts. Glad to see so many fans. Kamelot are a band with such a long and complex history, it’s hard to define them exactly. I have friends who are huge fans of Kamelot because it was what they were listening to in high school. I have friends who have only come aboard the Kam train after the last album(s). That is, though, what makes the band so special. They know who their fans are and they do an amazing job of mixing the old with the new. After all, they have gone forward and forward for years (since 1991), put out 12 albums, and yet they are fresher and more exciting than ever.
The show started with a single from the new album, Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire). They gave us more new songs (Ravenlight, Amnesiac) and some throwbacks that just cannot be left out of their setlist (Rule The World, The Great Pandemonium, When The Lights are Down, Karma). I personally think they have even better songs on The Shadow Theory that they are not playing, but this is just me being picky and wanting to hear them live.
For this show, Kamelot were joined by Lauren Hart of Once Human, who came in and out to feature on different songs. She has such an incredible and versatile voice, going from clean vocals to growl. When she gets the chance to shine, she fills the stage.
Song after song, the crowd was going wild. A very special moment was during Here’s To The Fall, a very emotional ballad Tommy dedicated to his late grandfather. The song is so beautiful and showcases more of what he can do vocally, and the crowd had a part in it raising up their lights.
Towards the end, we got to hear Forever, one of my favourites. It is always a great moment in the setlist because the band stops the song for the crowd to chant different versions of oooOOOOoooO with them. Tommy Karevik on stage is electric and has a magnetism few people can ever dream to achieve. He can command a crowd with just a look. He told us what to do and we did it. Definitely not as well as he did it, but we cannot all be world-class singers.
The band had such a great energy. When talking to other fans, Thomas was referred to as „the one making atmosphere on stage” and everyone loved seeing Sean and his signature braids being extra energetic. Both Thomas and Tommy were constantly coming off stage to be closer to the fans, raising thunderous roars from the crow. Oliver was, as always, the master of the keyboards (because he’s worth it). Any band that has a keyboard solo wins my heart forever. Last but not least, a very special shout-out to Alex Landenburg, who stepped behind the drums while Johan is recovering and is doing an amazing job.
All in all, a great show! I did lose my voice at the end of it, so you know I screamed. It wasn’t just me! The crowd, though not huge, was very loud and very supportive. We all cannot wait to do this all again!