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

 

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!

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

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

 

      

Regardless of how many gigs someone attends and how often he is able to do it, you realize on the spot how much you have missed certain things. Sunday, October 7th has been one of those nights and for very simple reasons.

The weekend was an easy going and relaxing one, not may things happened before Sunday night, due to the tough schedule of the coming week, so that was another reason why this gig was really anticipated. We arrived on time for the first band, Debaser Strand was not so crowded, but as the time went by, more and more people started to gather up. Vojd, a recently formed band (with members from Black Trip, Enforcer among others), kicked off the night with their electrifying, Thin Lizzy-bred sound, playing like there was not another day left. These guys show some real guts on stage, playing with tons of energy, passion and leaving no doubt about their performance. Peter Stjärnvind (guitar) and Joseph Tholl (bass and lead vocals) impressed us more, and especially Peter, whom I have never before witnessed live, and, although I already knew pretty well his awesome drumming skills (while playing for Entombed, Krux, etc), he gave everything on that live and proved to be a kick-ass guitar player! The band delivered well-crafted melodies, edgy riffs, catchy choruses and all this under the influences of blues rock, heavy metal and that distinctive sound influence from the greats Thin Lizzy. I really look forward to catch them next time soon hopefully!

Following a 20 minute break, the mighty Lucifer took over the gig duties in such an emphatic way. Speaking about what I have missed so much, I have to admit, that even though that was the first time I witnessed Nicke Andersson behind his drum kit live, for me that was the night’s highlight. The way he played drums during the whole gig, with a frenzy, powerful and emphatic way, left me no room for misunderstandings and second thoughts. It was so much pleasant to see him kicking his drums, on every beat, on every kick… Absolutely massive! And of course, when we refer to Lucifer, the soul and main driver of this band can be no other than Johanna, especially on stage, ding her magic moves, seducing the audience and praising Demon. She is so charismatic, not only vocal-wise, but also the way she moves within the other band players during the songs, the way she speaks and communicates with the audience, during or before/after the songs, the way she overall performs. She is the main attraction of the band, the heart and soul. But, this band has two guitar and one bass players, devoted members of ‘Lucifer’ who play with passion and, consist along with Nicke on the drums, a solid and fully compact ensemble. An ensemble playing with raging fury at times, with fast riffing and drumming, but also delivering sweet, vintage or psychedelic melodies, perfectly fitted under Johanna’s vocals. The doomy parts were my favorite though, as these provide the perfect mingle of all influences of the band. Personally, watching them live, I felt like having memory spots from Cathedral, Witchcraft, Entombed and Blood Ceremony.

That was a fantastic gig and probably the best way to kick off their european tour, and what better place than Stockholm to host their first gig?

Till next time! Raise your beer/wine glasses and pray for Lucifer!

Antonis Mantzavinos