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General => Album and artist reviews => Topic started by: i_am_fabio on October 11, 2007, 12:00:40 am

Title: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 11, 2007, 12:00:40 am
Just thought i would share the great experience of PP8 with my ERR friends.  ;D So here's a short review of the four day weekend from my perspective.....Day One....

Had to be at the airport at 6am pacific time on Wednesday. I didn't get off work until 4am. I was a little stressed. Wondering if i could get home, get my shit together and make it in time for my flight. But after making it with plenty of time to spare it was time to relax and try to enjoy my rare four day weekend. Me and my brother were very excited to get to experience this great festival for the second year in a row. Couldn't wait to get there.

Arrived in Atlanta around 3pm, checked into our crappy cheap motel, ordered and ate a pizza, and then it was time to head on down to the venue. Which was about a ten to fifteen minute walk.

The first night (Wednesday), was a special set, held in the bar next to the big venue. It was Jon Oliva with very intimate acoustic set (only 200 tickets sold). You may know Jon Oliva for his latest solo project, Jon Oliva's Pain (on ERR), he was one of the original members and the co-founder of the classic metal band Savatage (on ERR - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SknePa_CuSk&mode=related&search=Savatage%20Oliva%20Jon%20Criss%20Oliva%27s%20Pain%20Hard%20Rock%20Heavy%20Metal). You may also know him for his huge contributions as one of the main songwriters for the Trans Siberian Orchestra (should be on ERR). Although i am not familiar with alot of his stuff. I knew it was going to be a very special set. I saw him perform with his newest band JOP at Bay Area Rock Fest many months back and he put on one hell of a show. He is a great entertainer, not to mention plays some kickass music and the guitarist Matt is unreal....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKaq_8b8Am8. I can't wait to see JOP perform again. The acoustic set was very cool, playing stuff from just about every era of his music career, including many cover tunes of John Lennon and Paul McCartny (two of his favorite songwriters of all time). He was also joined onstage by long time friend and kickass vocalist Zak Stevens (ex-Savatage, Circle II Circle) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KUEkZyollU. They did a few songs together and it was very awesome. The set was very cool. Here was one of the highlights..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8NWfPwWB4E (you can see the passion and heart he gives in his perfomance, check out about the three minute mark....great stuff. After the set, we headed back to the hotel. Having not slept in over 36 hours....i was done.

Woke up the next morning in great anticipation for the Thursday. Day Two Recap just one Post Away....... 8)

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 11, 2007, 12:52:14 am
Thursday...wake up around noon. Had to get plenty of rest to get ready for the upcoming days of kickass metal. First thing when we woke up we went and got ourselves some beer. We immediatly started drinking and played a little poker while waiting for the show to start that afternoon.

It was time. The lineup for Thursday night was supposed to be as follows.....

Krucible----->Cellador-------->Freak Kitchen--------->Vanden Plas!!!

I guess there was a problem with Vanden Plas and their Visa's at the Detroit Airport. They were sent back to Germany and couldn't perfom.  >:( They were the main reason i was looking forward to the showcase. Oh well. What can you do i guess.

So the line up ended up with a new opener, a local band called Halcyon Wayhttp://www.myspace.com/halcyonway. We missed about the first half of their set because we thought that the show started a little later then it did. With that said....what we caught was pretty solid. Check out the link that i provided and you can check out some tunes. To fill in on such short notice (12 hours), was pretty admirable and kickass. They got the crowd going and put on a great set, from what little i saw. Kudos to them.  8)

Krucible followed. I didn't know what to expect from these guys because i was pretty much going in blind. I was pleasently surprised. For those of you who don't know this band is the new home of ex-Pyramaze vocalist and owner of Nightmare Records Lance King. He sounded great along with the band. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves and so did the audience. They played a bunch of stuff from their yet to be released debut album. Like i said, i was surprised. It was pretty awesome stuff. You can check it out here...http://www.myspace.com/krucible. I remember the song 'Reborn' vividly. Great, Great stuff. They also played a Queensryche cover 'The Eyes of a Stranger'. It was amazing. Lance even called out the reinforcements for this one, bringing out Zero Hour Vocalist Chris Salinas to sing backup. He sounded great as well. Just another cool thing that you only get at PP. Bands not even involved in the festival just hanging out as fans of metal. Rock on Chris.  8)

Next up was Cellador. I was pretty excited about their set. Have their debut "Enter Deception" and love it. Also very much looking forward to their new disc, so i was looking forward to see if they would play any upcoming stuff....which they did. It sounded great. They were having alot of technical difficulties throughout their set though.  :( Also they weren't as clean as i would have hoped. At times it all just sounded like mumbled noise (i guess that's bound to happen at times when you play at the speed of light). But they did have many great moments. And as i said they played a couple new songs which sounded great. They also did a Helloween cover of 'Eagle Fly Free' which was awesome.....in addition to their own super metal rendition of 'The Eye of The Tiger'. Overall i think that they were pretty good. Each member was great in their own respects. The new bassist looked awesome and the drummer was nothing short of amazing. I hope to check them out again in the future. http://www.myspace.com/cellador.

Lastly Freak Kitchen came on to save the day. Played over two hours i think. I wasn't expecting to like them too much because i had seen them a year earlier and wasn't too impressed. Boy was i off. They kicked ass!!! It's amazing how much your musical taste buds can grow in a year. They kicked some major ass! I remember thinking last year..."how can anyone like these guys?".....and now i'm thinking "how did i not like these guys?". Amazing Musicians, even better performers. Heavy as all Hell. Their serious yet comical approach makes them a great live band. I look forward to seeing them again. A great live band. And to top it all off. During their set i stood (and headbanged) next to Aragorn!!!!! That's right, the KING of Middle Earth. Viggo Mortenson. He was there all weekend just enjoying the show. Awesome stuff! You gotta love PP USA. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=164428096

Two more days still to share.......

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: amir on October 11, 2007, 04:59:48 am
Wow, awesome man, I'm really enjoying your writings about the fest, keep it coming.

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: Creed on October 11, 2007, 08:20:16 pm
Dude... rockin' out with Viggo...  that's seriously %$%# metal right there!   :D


Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 13, 2007, 11:58:57 pm
Okay...I'm back. Have been busy these past few days but i planned on finishing my review for Progpower VIII. Glad your enjoying it Amir. And yes......rockin' with Viggo is pretty awesome. Oh Yeah!!!

Day Three......

Woke up and got some lunch. The real festival began this day. While the Jon Oliva set and the Showcase thursday definitely were a great time, this was the day when the band most anticipated (PAGAN'S MIND) were set to play. We get to the venue a bit early, very excited for the upcoming evening of shows. We get in line a bit early just because we want to make sure not to miss a note.
As we stand in line there is a band walking around handing out a free CD of their own band Shock Opera. Honestly i haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but regardless, it is pretty cool to get free stuff, and i look forward to giving it a listen sometime soon. Going in, everyone is given a bag with some goodies in it. The bag included some bumper stickers, the annual PP program and the three disc sampler CD (features a ton of bands from the genre who want to get their music in the hands of some great fans). The program includes some killer interviews with a member from each band. And...in the bag was a Nightmare Records disc, featuring 15 tracks. I also picked up a sample disc from a band featured on ERR called Torman Maxt. I look forward to checking out this disc along with the Shock Opera and the sampler discs.

Let me tell you a little bit about the venue if i may.....you walk in through the first door and before you walk in the official door to the venue, there is a bar to the left.....i would say it was about 2000 square feet. It had a bar serving alcohol and food and also had about seven seperate online vendors (for example...The End Records, and CD Inzane had their own tables...also Nightmare Records and several others) with a huge variety of CD's and other merchendise to choose from. It's like shopping at whatever online vendor you shop at in person. Sooooo much to choose from. Once you get inside the actual venue there are multiple bars along with a huge lobby area in which you can hang out and socialize. Many band members just hang out in there and shoot the breeze with the fans. Once inside the theater you'll find a floor area surrounded by a sea of theater seats in a half circle going about twenty to thirty rows high. Check this video out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MwrAf83FDg) and you can see the stage and venue throughout. But especially pay attention at the 00:28 mark and you can get a look at the stage......and after that from about the 00:30 to 00:36 mark you will get a good look at the venue floor and will get a good idea of what the seating looks like. Let me just say that there really isn't a bad seat in the venue. That is another great part of this festival, if you choose to sit down for a couple bands......you still have fantastic views. The place only holds about a thousand people so it is a pretty intimate experience whether you choose to stand on the floor or take a seat for a while.

We got in fairly early and got ourselves some good seats. Probably about forty or so feet from the stage. We were pumped up and had a pretty solid buzz going due to the fact that we had been pounding beers in our hotel room before arrival (while we both were happy to shell out the dough for the trip......we are not about to spend five dollars per beer).

Raintime was first to play on this beautiful Friday. I have their debut album "Tales From Sadness" (which is also on ERR). I like it alot and thought that they would be a perfect band to get the party started. I figurered their aggressive style would surely get the crowd going. And boy was i right.  ;) They absolutely tore the place apart. I remember about one song into their set just looking over at my brother smiling and nodding my head as if to say..."these guys are gonna be AWESOME!!!". They all had great enegy and put on one hell of a set. Playing mostly songs from their latest release "Flies and Lies". Also including two tracks from their debut. The only complaint i have is the Keyboard kept cutting in and out and you couldn't hear him play some of the solo's. But other than that it was one of my favorite sets. They had the crowd going nuts. And i think overall they had to be pretty satisfied with this as their US debut. They absolutely slayed and surprised a ton of people. After that i saw alot of people wearing their newly acquired Raintime T-Shirts....which is always a great sign. For those who want to check them out a little.....go here and watch their video for their last single 'Rolling Chances',  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfS46BjqYFc. That song kicks some ass, and i look forward to picking up their newer disc. Especially now after that set...they deserve the support. Also we chatted with their guitarist a bit and he seemed like a great guy. He told us to keep studying our music and to practice a ton and we could do it too. He had a great attitude. And that's always a huge plus to us as fans. I definitely will look forward to seeing them again in the future...hopefully sooner than later. They kicked our asses!!! http://www.myspace.com/raintime

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 14, 2007, 01:08:13 am
Day Three continued......

Next band to play was Communic.  They were another band that i was looking forward to. Having both of their full length releases (on ERR) and loving both of them. For those that are unfamiliar they are a three piece band out of Norway. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Plh3ElldNQ ; http://www.myspace.com/communic. We caught them in the lobby before their set and got their autograph on a CD and in the program. They seemed very nice and seemed sincere despite their limited english vocabulary. We told them to kick some ass.......and that they did. I personally loved them. I think that the crowd dropped off a bit in enthusiasm, but not due to lack of enjoyment. I think they just have a much different style of music. It's not a constant ass kicking as Raintimes' set was. But more music that you feel. This doesn't mean that i didn't enjoy it as much. They definitely put on a great set and kudos to their friend who filled in on the bass because their original bassist was unable to make the trip. He was great. Their drummer was fantastic. He was one of the most emotional drummers i have seen in my time. The guy was going nuts, feeling the music and having a great time. And of course...their guitarist/vocalist was spot on. He's not the greatest "singer" ever...but he definitely does the job well. And overall i thought they put on a great set. Can't wait for another release from these guys.

Next up.....Virgin Steele. http://www.myspace.com/virginsteele Now this is a band that i had heard alot of great stuff from. All the studio stuff i had heard from them sounded great and as epic as any. They were actually one of the bands i thought would put on the best show. Let's just say i was a little dissapointed. My first and biggest complaint was their lack of keyboards. The keys/piano is one of the best parts of this band. If you get a chance to listen to some good VS stuff....you will notice the killer piano work throughout. They had the keys plugged in and playing in the background along with the bass guitar.....that's right you heard me. They had no bassist either. It was crazy. You could barely hear either of them if at all. As for the rest....it was okay. You'll never hear this complaint out of me on a regular basis, but they were too loud. The sound for their set doubled in volume. This caused tthe vocalist to pierce my ears with alot of his high notes. The volume was just so damn high. Overall they put on a so-so set. They played some of my favorite tunes. And at one point David (vocalist) brought out a sword that was on fire.....and that was pretty damn awesome. Overall i will have to say that they dissapointed me. But to be fair, i was expecting a ton.

The next band to play was Redemption We hadn't really eaten since noon so this is when we decided to slip out and grab something to eat (we had to be fully prepared for PAGAN'S MIND). I had already seen Redemption a few months back and thought they were a great band but i didn't care for their vocalist. Many tell me that Ray Alder (Redemption vocalist, ex-Fates Warning), is a legend. "You have to like him", they say. Well i don't. Caught the end of their set and was dissapointed again. It's too bad to because they have some of the most kickass tunes. I actually have one Redemtion disc and i think he sounds good on it. It's just live i don't care for his vocals. They have some killer progressive tunes though. Check them out here....http://www.myspace.com/thebandredemption.

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 14, 2007, 01:17:19 am
Finally.......PAGAN'S MIND!!!! Pretty much the reason i chose to attend PP this year. If they hadn't been on the line up i would still have wanted to go.....but i don't know if i would have pulled the trigger. They are one of my favorite bands and i just had to jump on the oppurtunity to see them live. Having the all star lineup that they have....i expected nothing less than greatness.....and got nothing less. They were brilliant!!! Everything was perfect. I could go on and talk greatly about each individual member, but instead let me just say that i will remember that performance for as long as i live. They absolutely slayed the PP crowd. Playing three songs from their upcoming release "God's Equation" (to be released Nov. 9th). Those songs were fuckin' AWESOME!!! I can't wait for the disc. My only complaint was that they weren't given long enough to play. They didn't even get to play one song from their debut disc. Opening with the totally unexpected 'New World Order' was a totally killer surprise. Love that tune. Closing with the infamous 'Osiris' Eyes' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKQpcVYcCcY). Nils blew the roof off hitting those high notes. AMAZING!!! I remember it vividly. I was dead center, about ten feet from the stage (about 4 to 5 heads). Singing along to all the songs (hittin' all those notes right with Nils  ;)). Having one of the best times ever. I couldn't stop smiling. It was such a powerful thing. That 1.25 hour set, those 5 guys up there jammin' those brilliant ever inspiring songs like there's no tomorrow, pouring their heart and soul into the crowd.....that....is what METAL is all about. 

PAGAN'S MIND!!!! I wish you guys could have felt the power that was Pagan's Mind. Hopefully oneday you will get to. Until then...just get yourself Infinity Divine", "Celestial Entrance", "Enigmatic Calling" or soon "God's Equation"  and turn that bitch UP!!!    LOUDER!!!

http://www.myspace.com/pagansmind, you can hear a new tune here titled 'United Alliance'. It is said to be the most radio friendly from the album. I can't wait!!!

Still to come.....the low down on friday nights headliner SONATA ARCTICA!!! And the last day of the fest featuring Firewind, Threshold, Primal Fear, and After Forever. Not to forget the All Star Jam and my thoughts on next years roster. Also find out what little i brought home from my trip.  :( Stay tuned.....time for some sleep. Rock On ERR!!!  8)

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: Kailef on October 14, 2007, 09:08:34 am
*drool*  Awesome.  That's all I can say.  Just... awesome.

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: amir on October 15, 2007, 12:20:41 am
WOHAHOOW, very exciting fest you had man  :o, you made me thinking to go to one of these huge fests next year ;D , they make big ones in germany so I have to think of a small trip there ;D

pretty awesome and thanks for sharing

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 15, 2007, 05:12:17 pm
Amir.....you should definitely go to one. Hopefully one day i will get to go to Wacken Open Air. Every year as they announce band after band that i would love to check out. I have heard there is nothing like it. They say the experience is unmatched.  8)

Okay time to finish up my review.....

Sonata Arctica was set to come on after Pagan's Mind.....but how??? Pagan's Mind was soooo awesome!!! I didn't see how anything could follow their set. But obviously i was wrong. Sonata Arctica put on a killer set. They played four songs from "Unia" (including 'In Black and White', 'Paid in Full', 'It Won't Fade', and my personal favorite 'Caleb'), which was awesome.....i love that album. They also didn't fail to include all of the usual favorites. I wish they would have pulled something special out of the hat for the fest but from what i read they played the exact playlist as all their other US tour dates. I was hoping for something awesome like 'White Pearl Black Oceans...'. Oh well. Kakko sounded the best i have ever heard him sound. He was going for and hitting some of those tough notes i have seen him shy away from in a live setting in the past. The new guitarist is top notch. Altogether they were pretty much flawless, i couldn't have asked for a much better Friday evening of bands.

Day Four......

On Saturday we finally found a Wendy's.  :D Before that we had been eating alot of pizza. We ate pretty terribly for those four days. It was time to go. We went to the venue and walked in just as Firewind began their set. I was exctited. I own their two latest discs and think they both kick ass!!! For personal reasons Firewind's usual frontman Apollo was unable to attend the festival and was replaced by Henning Basse (Metalium vocalist). Man.....he was AWESOME!!! He was a great replacement. Also we welcomed Stephen Frederick (Firewind vocalist featured on their first two albums "Burning Earth" and "Between Hevan and Hell") for a few songs. He lives in Atlanta so it was arranged for him to make a special appearence for this one show. He joined his old band for about three songs.....he was fantastic as well. As for the band....GREAT!!! They absolutely destroyed the place. The crowd was going nuts. Their style was perfect to get the venue going and get everyone pumped up for the upcoming evening of music. Their guitarist Gus G was ridiculous. He was doing some serious shredding. Another great set by a band i look forward to seeing again.

After Firewind's set we decided to go shopping for some merchandise. I picked up a PPVIII shirt. We spent about forty five minutes to an hour in the vendors room looking for a couple discs to buy. On a pretty tight budget, i somehow got out of there with only two new discs. I picked up the debut from Darkwater titled "Calling the Earth to Witness". Holy Crap!!! I haven't been able to give it a break. I absolutely love it. I would describe them as Melodic Progressive Metal. You should all definitely check them out. http://www.myspace.com/darkwaterofficial. Also i picked up another progressive metal disc, a band named Cea Serin. The disc is titled "...where memories combine...". I have to listened to some songs online and knew that i wanted to get it. I saw it for a mere $9. So i picked it up. Haven't gotten a chance to listen to it due to the fact that i can't bring myself to take the Darkwater disc out of the player. I will comment more on it after i get a good listen in. My brother picked up the new Vision Divine "The 25th Hour", which i have listened to once and it sounded pretty awesome. We also got the Nightwish DVD "The End of an Era" for my little sister, and the Rhapsody DVD for our viewing pleasures. Here's a peek at it....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBGVCvcWy64, 'Emerald Sword'! Or 'Holy Thunderforce' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h0GWD_MIOo

So since we spent so much time in the vendors room we missed a little bit of Thresholds set. Threshold is a progressive band that has been around for over fifteen years. They had their old singer Damien Wilson fronting at the fest, due to the recent fallout of their latest frontman Mac. He was awesome. They played some awesome stuff. This was one of the bands i was least familiar with going in. I have one disc, 'Hypothetical'....and i like it alot. So i was a little sad that i missed the beginning of their set. What i saw was great. They had the crowd mesmerised. Their drummer was a real showman. A fantastic band that played a ton of great tunes. I could see myself picking up some more material from Threshold in the future.....assuming i fall into some money sometime soon.

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 15, 2007, 06:00:38 pm
Third up on Saturday night was Primal Fear. This band was my most unfamiliar band. I knew that they were more straight forward power metal with a Judas Priest like vocalist. I had no idea that he could wail like he did. Man he was powerful. They played one kickass set. I would have bought a disc of theirs but again the money issue came into play. http://www.myspace.com/primalfearmetal I think that they are featured here on ERR.  8)

The last band of Saturday night was After Forever. Honestly i was a little skeptical about them headlining the festival. I didn't know if they would be able to pull it off. WOW!!! They pulled it off alright. Let me just say that Floor Jansen is the best singer i have EVER seen. She absolutely blew me away. She has range like no one else. She can switch from operatic to non without any trouble. The power that her voice just pierced my heart. She was the reason that they were headliner caliber. Without Floor i think After Forever would be nothing. I enjoyed their set a TON. They were heavy, as expected. And i just can't get the performance of Floor out of my mind. Very beautiful as well. I can't wait until i get to see her again. Great, Great performer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhyTr9xKx04

After all of these great bands were done....there was still more. Pretty much super kareokee with the Pagan's Mind band members playing the tunes. Jorn Viggo = God

Allstar Jam
1) Final Countdown / EUROPE / Floor Jansen(After Forever)
2) Strutter / KISS / Zak Stevens
3) Symphony of Destruction / MEGADETH / Oddleif Stensland(Communic)
4) Welcome Home / KING DIAMOND / Nils Rue(Pagan's Mind)
5) You'll Never Remember, I'll Never Forget / YNGWIE / Henning Basse(Firewind)
6) Youth Gone WIld / SKID ROW / Raintime Singer
7) Back On the Streets / GARY MOORE / Ralf Scheepers & Mat Sinner(Primal Fear)
8) Lady Of Winter / CRIMSON GLORY / Nils Rue(Pagan's Mind)
9) Highway to Hell / AC/DC / Christer Ortefors(Freak Kitchen)
10) Back In Black / AC/DC / Christer Ortefors(Freak Kitchen)
11) Flight of Icarus / MAIDEN / PP crew
12) Alone / HEART / Floor Jansen(After Forever)
13) Who wants to live forever ! / QUEEN / Floor Jansen & Ralf Scheeepers
14) Desperado / EAGLES / Zak Stevens
15) Hard to Handle / BLACK CROWES / Damian Wilson(Threshold)
16) The Real Thing / FAITH NO MORE / Ray Alder(Redemption)
17) I Want Out / HELLOWEEN / Michael Gremio(Cellador)
18) Take Hold of the Flame / QUEENSRYCHE / Nils Rue (Pagan's Mind)
19) Children of the Sea / BLACK SABBATH / Zak Stevens
20) Metal Gods / JUDAS PRIEST / Ralf Scheepers(Primal Fear)
21) Balls To the Wall / ACCEPT / Lance King(Krucible)

Alot of these were very cool. Definitely some great vocalists doing some great versions of some classics.  8)

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 15, 2007, 06:19:31 pm
After all this.....there was this announcement...http://www.progpowerusa.com/...go to the link and watch the video that i watched after the show. It announces the bands for next year with clips of their songs so you can get a feel for those you are unfamiliar with.

I implore you to check it out. Pretty cool way to announce the lineup. Can't wait for the headliners to be announced.  8)

Check out the video!!!!

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: Kailef on October 15, 2007, 08:31:02 pm
Um... dude.
13) Who wants to live forever ! / QUEEN / Floor Jansen & Ralf Scheeepers
I *so* wish I could have heard that.  Seriously.

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: i_am_fabio on October 15, 2007, 08:52:10 pm
You may just be in luck.  ;) I have heard rumors from the festival promoter that he is going to try and release the All Star Jam as a DVD. That of course assuming he can clear all the legal hurdles that i'm sure are gonna be in the way. It was a pretty cool thing. I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.  8)

Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: amir on October 15, 2007, 11:37:56 pm
Well, After Forever is one of my favoriates, and yes man, Floor has quite of an exceptional talent non-matched by female voices of metal scene.



Title: Re: Progpower VIII
Post by: Sun_dance on October 17, 2007, 08:45:42 am
Thanks for sharing Fabio. It's good to know that only 4 songs from Unia made it to the setlist of SA's gig. That leaves plenty of room for the true SA  ;D