Friday, 10th of May 2019, was marked as a day of (almost unbearable) anticipation, since Enslaved, for the very first time in their career, would perform (at last!) in our humble city. Indeed, 28 years were too much, especially for us, the older fans, who watched how their music evolved drastically over time, defying normality and embracing paradox reality. As one may conclude, expectations were extremely high, concerning both their on-stage performance and the setlist, since all of their 14 albums (many of which are considered as masterpieces) are almost impossible to be included in one concert. Let’s see what happened that historic night.

by Alex Nikolaidis

The Norwegians were supported by Lucifer’s Child, a promising Greek black metal band, formed 6 years ago by George Emmanuel (ex-Rotting Christ) and Stathis Ridis (Nightfall). Starting their act on time, in front of a few people though, they showed from the very first moments that they have worked a lot in the rehearsal studio, performing confidently their songs, mainly from their second album (“The Order”). Their music, influenced by the Swedish black metal, and bearing some technical patterns that surely draw interest, was performed precisely and in the right mood. Lucifer’s Child are a new band, with few live shows only, but the experience of Marios Dupont (a well-known vocalist due to his excellent work with Karma Violens) and George (after 7 years on the road with Rotting Christ) was the catalyst for an intense, crushing show. However, despite their admittedly good efforts (especially by Marios), the reaction of the audience was not what the band would expect. The gripping “Haraya” and the hellish, addictive “The Order” were absolute highlights, in a performance that was the appropriate “appetizer” of what was meant to follow, no matter the audience’s rather cold reactions.

 

Setlist:

Intro (Black Heart)

Haraya

Fall of the Rebel Angels

Through Fire We Burn

He, Who Punishes and Slays

El Dragon

The Order

Viva Morte

 

A few moments later, and contrary to my initial fears, the attendance became quite satisfying. Without significant delay, one of the strongest desires of the Greek audience appeared in front of our eyes and then the time stopped, revealing an alternate reality of Norwegian black metal and prog/space psychedelia. The first riffs of “Ethica Odini”, greeted by everyone’s screams, filled the air and signaled the start of a journey that would last for almost two hours. The opus “Roots of the Mountain” was performed with all its magnificence and intensity, while “Ruun” and “Ground”, taken from their middle period, revealed the band’s expertise in playing like a well-tuned clock all their complex patterns with high precision and ease.

Soon, the late prog era was succeeded by a deep dive into the early roots of Enslaved. The cold, crystal-like intro of “Frost” led to three consecutive songs from that brilliant album: “Loke”, “Fenris” and “Isöders Dronning” caused awe, shivering, excitement, violence and -above all- admiration for a band that is able to change at will musical skins like a chameleon. These opuses were performed as the Norwegian black metal of the 90s commands. They were Cold. Sharp. Raw. Remorseless. Like then, when everything started in that Nordic country.

After that freezing hell, the band rose to the surface again, visiting “Below the Lights”, an album that became a turning point in its long discography. “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth” and “Havenless” transferred us to an alternate dimension, without disrupting the coherence of the concert. The latter was ritualistic, majestic, invocatory, something we will always refer to. “Storm Son” and “Sacred Horse” followed from their last highly appraised album, filling the air with their elegant parts.

The encore led us to the addictive riffing of “Isa”, while the end was a huge leap to the very first era; “Allfǫðr Oðinn” from the monumental “Hordanes Land” was the perfect, dark, frozen closure of a concert that will remain as a brilliant example of excellence in the years to come.

It was evident that the Norwegians came to compensate us fully for their absence all these years and they fulfilled their mission. Their performance, either in aggressive or progressive and more technically demanding songs reached high levels, revealing expertise beyond any doubt. Grutle remained communicative, kind and humorous throughout the whole concert; Ice Dale was perfect in his guitar work and Håkon colored vividly the songs with his touching, clean voice. As for Ivar, he was the benign, gracious Viking giant who controls everything. Enslaved honored us with a 2-hour show, paying respect to their early and later era and satisfying all fans alike.

 

Setlist:

Ethica Odini

Roots of the Mountain

Ruun

Ground

Frost (intro)

Loke

Fenris

Isöders Dronning

As Fire Swept Clean the Earth

Havenless                                

Storm Son

Sacred Horse

Encore:

Drum solo

Isa

Allfǫðr Oðinn

It has been a long time, since we saw Uriah Heep live for the last time in Greece. I thought I had enough with Uriah Heep of the last years, so I would not be frank, if I told you that I was excited to see the band in concert again.

The news that the tickets were sold out made me arrive at the venue a bit early, and that ensured two things - a pretty good view to the stage and the experience of watching the support band (Chrysilia) live. Chrysilia is a female fronted band, which released its symphonic/melodic metal debut album in 2017 and won a lot of fans, promising a bright future. They entered the stage furiously and played their bombastic stuff impressively. And although Chrysilia are a lot heavier than Uriah Heep, the crowd, which filled the hall, seemed to like their songs.

But Uriah Heep's time had come. The legendary British band didn't leave the audience waiting for long. As the band appeared on stage, the fans went crazy, screaming and shaking. It was obvious that Mick Box and company were determined to play loud and heavy, in their unique classic, 70's style. The sound was perfect, the melodies were strong and warm, the feeling was incomparable. To our dislike, Uriah Heep decided to play many songs from their latest album and from the Bernie Shaw era - that doesn`t mean that there were any weak moments in the live show, since all the songs that the band played were great, in excellent performances. During the whole show, the audience was excited, but, of course, the classic 70’s Uriah Heep tracks, like “Return to Fantasy”, “Easy Livin”, “July Morning”, “Gypsy” etc., were the undeniable highlights of a fantastic show. Either you have been present to a lot Uriah Heep shows or you were a first-timer, this concert was outstanding! Long live the magician!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

 

There are many bands that include our country in their tour schedules. But few of them have developed a deep connection with the Greek audience, a kind of mystique affair, an inner bond, established somewhere in the past and maintained throughout all these years. While Heaven Wept, being among this closed group of bands, came to our town for a farewell show, after almost 30 years of existence. That would be the last chance for us to experience the poetry, melancholy and heaviness of their music, before their definite end.

On Sunday, 11th November, not only Heaven, but weather also wept. A gloomy, rainy late afternoon was the perfect condition for the show of a band that was always interwoven with feelings like sorrow, despair and loss. In their final act in Athens, the Americans were supported by two Greek bands with female vocals.

Unluckily, I arrived late at Temple, therefore I didn’t have the chance to watch Upon Revival’s act. Concerning Enemy of Reality, they are a relatively new band of symphonic metal from Athens, fronted by Iliana (ex-Meden Agan), a well-known soprano of the Greek scene. Their live show was solid and professional, indicating that they have worked countless hours in the studio. Iliana showcased once more her impressive vocal abilities, being the heart of the band. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy their music to full extent, despite their excellent performance, due to the awful sound conditions. I hope to see them again under better circumstances.

After around 20 minutes, While Heaven Wept were in front of our eyes. Their long-awaited act started with the first four parts of their last album, “Suspended at Aphelion”, exhibiting their more progressive side. However, the more emotional moments came later, when we travelled to an unknown, wild ocean. The instrumental “Vast Οceans Lachrymose”, followed by “The Furthest Shore” and “To Wander Τhe Void” was a not-to-be-missed trinity, sending electric signals to our spines. Great response by anyone, sing-alongs during the refrains and stunning performance by Irving and Phillips; that was an experience that will always be remembered.

The journey towards the past continued with the absolute album of their discography; honestly, there aren’t proper words able to describe the divinity of these compositions. Perfectly executed by all band members, the grandiose “Of Empires Forlorn”, the silky and desperate “Soulsadness” and the heavy “The Drowning Years” sent us to another level of existence. As for the unforgettable “Voice Ιn Τhe Wind”, I don’t think that there was even one person in the venue not singing its lyrics.  

The last part of the act comprised (what else?) “Vessel”, a classic song that we always have a distinct preference for, and the 15-minute opus “Thus With Α Kiss I Die” from their debut; 15 minutes of doom, crushing heaviness and poetic sorrow to end something that was more a well-kept, rare experience than just a show of any kind.

It was evident that the band was well prepared for these final acts. Rain, supported discreetly by Michelle where necessary, gave an infallible, breathtaking performance, while they all contributed in transmitting to the audience Tom’s doom, epic, delicate and progressive compositions.

Surely, that was a show that left everyone satisfied and we’ll all refer to in the future. Never was melancholy so promising and sorrow so heart-lifting than on that rainy, November night. Farewell to this great band.

Alex Nikolaidis

On my way to Gagarin 205, I was wondering how many people would attend this Magnum show. On the one hand, it was Magnum's first visit to Greece, but on the other hand, firstly, I don't think that there are so many pomp/melodic hard rock fans in Greece and secondly, Magnum is an underrated band. It was a big surprise for me to see that many rock/metal fans had come to enjoy the live set of this historic band. We took our seat in the venue and waited eagerly for the British melodic rockers. The band which would open for the headliners was Gypsy Rose. The Canadians, who started their career back in the late ‘80s, were the perfect appetizer and managed to warm up the audience, with their melodic hard rock songs. The band showed us that they are still in good shape and that they can rock. I didn't know Gypsy Rose before this live show and I can surely say that they gained a lot of new fans in Athens that night! But the time for Magnum had come. And they didn't leave us waiting for long. Indeed the band entered the stage and the audience went crazy, as the band was playing its first music notes. Yes, Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin stood there for us, singing and playing the guitar respectively, and that was enough: we don't have every day the chance to enjoy such musical personalities! Magnum played with passion, delivering some of their best songs, with emotion and technique. The setlist consisted of older and more recent tracks, but the most sensational moments of the show – for both the fans and the audience – were “How Far Jerusalem”, “Vigilante” and “The Spirit”. It was a magical live show, a confession of the musicians' heart and mind, a dream comes true for every Greek Magnum fan. Catley's voice condition wasn't excellent but the distinguished singer's performance was beautiful, passionate and theatrical. In general, Magnum gave all their potential to please us and that was understood by the fans, who left Gagarin 205 satisfied and excited!

When I heard about the collaboration of Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, Iced Earth etc.), Harry Conklin (Jag Panzer) and Sean Peck (The Cage etc.), I was excited. And imagine how amazed I was, when I was informed that the trio would visit Athens for a live show! Although I hadn’t listened to the Three Tremors album, I was sure that the live show would be incredible. The Three Tremors visited Athens on September 28th, 2018, a date when their debut album hadn’t been released and that was a disadvantage for the show, since, firstly, the audience wasn’t familiar with the band’s songs, and secondly, that fact affected the attendance of the public. Nevertheless, we were there to enjoy three of the most skilled vocalists in the heavy metal scene – and there is no need for an introduction of Owens, Conklin and Peck, who have showcased their quality with their past and present bands. The band that opened the whole event was Murder Angels from Larissa, Greece. The Greeks are playing in a speed/thrash metal style and managed to warm the fans, who had already come to the venue. They performed with might and conviction, their songs sounded good, their stage appearance was interesting and they won the applause of the fans. It was the first time I listened to Murder Angel’s music and I am now looking forward to their next album release. It’s obvious that the guys have talent! Murder Angels left the stage and the fans were eagerly waiting for The Three Tremors. The three vocal masters were punctual to their rendezvous with the Greek audience. Indeed approximately at 21:00 o’clock the three vocalists and their backing band entered the stage furiously and began singing without mercy! It was a blast to listen to the three of them singing with their exceptional voice, we were all impressed and excited. But there are some facts that should be mentioned. First of all, their voice couldn’t be heard with clarity and the sound engineer failed to combine the three microphones. There were obviously sound problems and that’s a big disadvantage – we could hardly hear Sean Peck’s voice! What is more, the whole gig seemed like a screaming contest! Of course, Owens/Conklin/Peck can reach amazing high notes, but they overdid it. So, I can say that from a certain point I was tired of these high-pitched vocals!  In addition to this, I didn’t like the way the three voices were combined. We all know that it isn’t easy to organize three voices (and three egos), however, there could be a combination of a lead voice and backing vocals – instead of that, you could hear three lead voices and no backing vocals. What a mess! Despite these, it was a nice live show that satisfied the fans, a great, singular moment for every metalhead that came that night at Kittaro. Come on, Owens/Conklin/Peck were there in front of us, singing like there is no tomorrow! The Three Tremors sang almost all their debut album songs plus: Judas Priest’s “Burn in Hell”, “The Sentinel” and “Painkiller”, Jag Panzer’s “Black” and “Hell Destroyer” of The Cage. Especially in the Judas Priest covers, the fans got crazy! To sum up, The Three Tremors live show was a wonderful heavy metal experience – it is so sad that not many metalheads came to see and hear these distinguished vocalists. Let’s hope that there will be another live show of The Three Tremors in Greece.

Dimitris Zacharopoulos