For all Greek metal fans, the 17th of June, 2023, would become a night to remember. Release Athens Festival brought to the capital of Greece some remarkable metal bands and of course, the kings of European power metal, the mighty, united Helloween! Here we will try to describe the incredible things we witnessed that night!
The whole event would begin with a Greek metal band and that band was Silent Winter. This choice of the festival organizers for the opening act was 100% right, since Silent Winter is a band, which serves the euro-power metal with quality and pride. Their latest album, “Empire of Sins” was a work of pure metal perfection, so I wanted to see the band live for the first time. They entered the stage of Plateia Nerou with force, playing furiously their melodic power metal, having of course a great vocalist on the front – Mike Livas! They selected to perform some of their best songs, with the majority of them coming from their aforementioned latest release. However, although they managed to warm up the audience, Silent Winter brought … winter with them, as during their whole show it rained heavily! Yes, we got soaking wet, but that didn’t bring us down! We had a fantastic time with Silent Winter, they gave an awesome live show and we were ready for the rest of the bands.
According to the program of the festival, Beyond The Black would follow. So they did, and we are thankful to them! The symphonic/melodic heavy metal band from Mannheim, Germany, rocked really good and kicked our asses with their catchy songs. Their show was excellent and they proved why there’s all this buzz around them. Jennifer Haben was an amazing frontwoman, mesmerizing us all with her velvet voice, and the other guys gave her the best support. Beyond The Black is a band, which knows how to write good songs and perform them live. We listened songs from their homonymous latest album, and some other selections from their back catalogue. You could see by the way they reacted that all the fans liked Beyond The Black, who that evening gained some new fans from Greece. Congratulations, guys and girl!
The time had passed though, and it was time to see the next act. Jinjer hit the stage with enormous passion and the aura of the big, professional band! We had seen again Jinjer in Release Athens Festival 2022, so I wasn’t so anxious to see them live – their set was more than perfect though, and the band from Ukraine showed us that they deserve our respect. Jinjer, with the help of their crystal, loud sound, bombed everything that night and showed that they are in their zenith of power – yet, they made it clear, that they are capable for even better things, in studio and on stage. The quartet performed some of its nicest songs, Tetiana Shmailyuk was unbelievably good behind the microphone and the storming result blew our minds away. The Ukrainian band won our warm applause and I think that after this second time, I will surely catch their interesting discography! Jinjer belong to the future of metal, their metalcore is a solution in many issues of today’s heavy music and their presence in Release Athens Festival 2023 was a blast!
After an hour of Jinjer metal, we all waited for the great headlining band – Helloween! Plateia Nerou was packed, and we counted the seconds, until we listen to the intro of Helloween’s show! And yes, they finally came on stage – you could see the united Helloween there in front of you! We all were witnessing a historic metal moment, as we saw for the very first time Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske with Helloween again! I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked and I was thanking God that we had the privilege to experience these magical moments. Three guitars, three vocalists, a killer setlist, with most of the classic Helloween songs plus some from their latest, homonymous album, and tons of energy and good vibes! Michel Kiske, Andi Deris and Kai Hansen sang together harmonically, the guitars of Michael Weikath, Kai Hansen and Sascha Gerstner combined wonderfully and the rhythm section sounded more than bombastic. The audience was in another, dreamy dimension, living this show to the fullest, headbanging, shaking up and down, singing, screaming! It was one of the most touching and soulful metal concerts of the last years, a metal feast for the Helloween family in Greece, a journey in power metal history and time! We bowed down to the euro power heroes, as they taught how melodic metal is played live. Someone could say that Michael Kiske got tired after a certain point and that some songs could have been added to the setlist (for example “Halloween”, “If I Could Fly” etc.), but nothing can spoil the greatness of this night. Everything is obvious – Helloween is back, alive and kicking! And we are here to love them!