Supporting the big, famous metal bands is very important, however, supporting the younger, local metal bands is even more important. The only way to secure the future of this music is to help the new bands, who are trying hard to make a name and become more popular. So, when the news about the Next Gen Blood Festival broke, Myth of Rock was excited, as two upcoming bands of the Greek metal scene would play live together – the promising Lazy Man’s Load and the mighty Project Renegade. Right below you can read our impressions from that night …

This first Next Gen Blood Festival would take place in Piraeus Club Academy, a small and cozy venue. I was there on time to enjoy the first band, Lazy Man’s Load. I was not familiar with them, however, they managed to win the crowd, who had already filled the venue, including me. The band from Athens, Greece, plays in a heavy rock/stoner style and soon as they played the first notes, everyone present understood that Lazy Man’s Load is a silent force! Yes, they performed their heavy rock music with conviction and dignity, persuading us that they have the talent and the balls to continue the heavy rock traditions. Very confident, very comfortable and simple, the five members of the band showcased their massive riffs, their catchy refrains, their passionate rhythms. I became a fan of Lazy Man’s Load, without a doubt this band rocks big time and the future belongs to them. For 75-80 minutes we tasted true and heartfelt heavy rock by a band, who sounds already mature and capable of big things! Congratulations to this fiery quintet!

 

After the loud and proud performance of Lazy Man’s Load, it was time to enjoy the unique, the phenomenal Project Renegade. I had seen this band live a lot of times in the past and they always were fantastic. So, I knew what I would see. Well, this time the band was even better! Project Renegade hit the stage triumphantly and catapulted their fine blend of modern metal, where Lacuna Coil meets Slipknot and Korn. A full venue welcomed the Athenian band and what we witnessed was colossal. Project Renegade works as an accomplished, mature professional act, which has certain goals and knows the way to achieve them: they give everything they have, they play like there is no tomorrow, they really communicate with their fans. Marianna (vocals) was superb in her vocal and stage performance, so did the other guys of the band, who furiously tear down everything. The playlist was wisely chosen and included songs from the past, the present and the future of the band – my personal favorite moments of the set were “The Fix Is In” and “Bloodwitch”, which drove crazy all the fans in the club! Almost one hour and a half with Project Renegade was pure pleasure for both sides, and the band left the stage in ecstasy! It was a blast!

We took our way home, with a big smile on our faces, as we had a great time with two amazing Greek bands  – Lazy Man’s Load, who took us by storm, and Project Renegade, who proved they are a well-established, distinguished band … it is the blood of the next generation!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Geoff Tate’s visit to Athens, Greece, is enough in itself for all the good music lovers in Greece: we all knew where we would go that night, all the roads of Athens led to the Gagarin 205 venue, where Queensrÿche’s original singer would perform live. And the news, that Tate would play the “Rage For Order” and “Empire” albums in their entirety, made everyone enthusiastic for this great live show.

The venue was packed with the crazy fans, as soon as the doors opened. Although it was not announced, the evening had a support band – it was Emerald Sun, who would open for Geoff Tate, a traditional epic heavy/power metal band from Thessaloniki. I arrived at the venue some minutes after the beginning of the show, and seeing them on stage was a true surprise for me. The Greeks performed with conviction and passion, they had a nice, tight sound and their material is first class. They chose songs, spanning from their early years until their most recent album (“Kingdom of Gods”, 2022, out via El Puerto Records), and I liked very much their wonderful guitar work and their catchy vocal lines. The fans all had a fun time with Emerald Sun and time went by quickly.

It was time to enjoy Mr. Tate! Yes, Emerald Sun had left and everything was ready. Firstly, the members of Tate’s touring band came in front of us and we were already screaming! In seconds, Geoff Tate, the legendary singer from Tacoma, Washington, appeared on stage, smiling and performing in his unique style. The first verse of “Walk in the Shadows” was a bomb, which “exploded” on our hands – we all were singing together Tate. Three meters before us, Tate was unfolding his art, and we all stood there, breathless, don’t believing our ears and eyes! Geoff Tate was in a perfect shape, having recovered from his health issues, acting like a teenager. That was amazing!

Geoff Tate’s show included two parts – the first part was “Rage for Order” and the second one was “Empire”… as you can surely understand, it was Queensrÿche fans happy hour! Yes, we enjoyed these classic progressive metal albums in all their majesty, in all their beauty and charm! We lived singular moments of progressive metal art, we experienced the perfect sound of Queensrÿche with Tate’s vocals! It was a miracle, almost two hours of music perfection, a dream that came true for so many fans, who were punctual in their rendezvous with history and art!

The live show ended with an encore of two songs – “Last Time In Paris”, “Take Hold of The Flame” and “Queen of the Reich” … it was the best way to end for this compelling live show, with the fans singing along like lunatics! Geoff Tate thanked us and we thanked him for changing again our life! A phenomenal concert by a phenomenal artist!

 

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

 

What a fantastic way to close the Gröna Lund summer of live shows! Europe gave a brilliant show to their hometown fanbase (well, they come from Upplands Väsby, but, yes, Stockholm can be considered their hometown), with a very interesting playlist, including hits like “Heart of Stone” or “Wasted Times”, which honestly, sounded much better played live in 2022 rather than recorded on the album in mid-80s (hyperbole for some, but the truth for me, especially how I experienced them from the audience) ... “Walk the Earth” opened the gig, a song from their latest self-titled album, and a theme so contemporary and hot, like never before. The band kicked off not with the best guitar sound on the first couple of tracks (the second was “Rock The Night” – an unusual choice so early on the show, we liked it though), but from the third song onwards (“Scream of Anger”) Norum’s Les Paul, Flying V and Stratocaster all sounded really heavy and awesome till the end. Joey Tempest performs like there has not passed any day at all and he looks fresh and with a very convincing voice. Mic Michaeli, doing his improvisations on keyboards, provides the best ‘keys support’ to the sound. John Levén has always been the calm and peaceful power behind the band and always keeps the dynamics and the balance all the way. Ian Haugland played like there is no tomorrow, with his signature playing style, doing backing vocals and, as always, playing with authority and character. John Norum, a guitar hero, the man who can play anything, in any technique, with any sound and with a tremendously characteristic tone on leads and solos, was simply amazing. A special night for him as well, as his son Jake celebrated his birthday and Joey Tempest wished him on stage, with the fans also cheering up loud. A special night as well for David Coverdale of Whitesnake, as it was his birthday too, and Joey sung a bit of “Here I Go Again”, as a connection with “Superstitious” towards the end of the gig, a very nice moment, enjoyed by everyone. And of course, as it has happened for the last almost 35 years, the show ended with a frantic version of “The Final Countdown”, a trademark song, for the band, for a whole era and with a special feeling for many many fans.

Europe don’t need to prove anything at all. Every time they play live, you feel that they are not ‘veterans’. They are some friends, who love playing hard rock and make people happy with their songs, their energy, their connection with the audience and their fans, who are lucky to see them live. Their fans were also luckier this time, as they witnessed a prize-giving to their favorite band, winning the award of multi-million views of their videos on YouTube, first band coming from Sweden, which reaches this milestone. A special moment in their hometown. In any case, every time they play on stage not only confirms their status as a global music success, but is promising on what is about to follow, regarding their next studio album. I think it’s about time for the next one, don’t you think?

Antonis Mantzavinos

On a rainy, doomy and gloomy Saturday afternoon, we headed a bit north of Stockholm (2 hours drive) to the city of Gävle, to see the Rock Out Festival. On our way, we sadly discovered that the headlining band of the night, H.E.A.T. would not play due to a sudden situation of illness among the band members, which was announced a bit earlier on the same day on the band’s Facebook profile. Of course this is not the best way to head to a rock (or any) gig, however, we continued our way, playing a lot of Treat and Eclipse songs (both old and new) in the car stereo, which helped us to cheer up and get a bit ‘warmed up’. We arrived at the venue, named ‘Gasklockorna’, which is part of a bigger industrial area, right in the outskirts of the city and by the water. A lot of gigs have taken place there, historically speaking, and it is also the home of the ‘Gefle Metal Festival’, with extreme metal bands, on a yearly basis.

To be honest, I knew about Treat and listened to their songs, but it was long time since I have been really into their albums and material. BIG mistake! The band plays fantastic all their songs and never really leaves any single piece of doubt on what they are capable for. And trust me, they KICK ASS! Of course, they are no strangers among them, as they have played many many years together; we are talking about a band, which started its career back in the ‘80s, with a pure hard rock sound and feeling, full of heavy riffs (Anders is such a capable guitarist with a lot of aces under his sleeves: solos, leads, rhythm guitars, you name it and he will do it!), solid and massive rhythm section, much convincing vocals (even though the years have passed, Robert Ernlund can absolutely deliver) and an overall really nice feeling of a very well balanced band. The venue was not completely packed, but a lot of people travelled from nearby cities to see them play, and TREAT did not disappoint them at all. To the contrary, they played a great gig and of course,  the setlist included songs like ‘Conspiracy’, ‘World of Promises’, ‘Freudian Slip’, ‘Get you on the Run’, ‘Home of the Brave’ and others. This was the first time I saw Treat, and it will definitely be NOT the last.

Following one of the finest hard rock bands out there, it was time for another finest to play. Eclipse has ‘slipped out of my fingers’ a few times, so this time it was definitely about time for me to enjoy them from close in a perfect setting for a gig. The band opened up with ‘Roses on Your Grave’ and the audience was already frantic, cheering up. One song after another, the band was getting warmer and warmer, communicating with the audience, keeping close contact, being energetic and giving back the love they received from the audience. Erik is a fantastic performer by all means (I knew that he has been an excellent writer, guitar player, singer, etc. through all his work with Eclipse, W.E.T. and Nordic Union), but this time he proved why he is sooo good on what he is doing with his band. Brothers Philip and Victor Crusner were absolutely amazing, so energetic and passionate throughout the whole playlist of 21 (!!) songs, playing like there is no tomorrow, so professionally and enjoying every single moment of it. And, what can I say about Magnus Henriksson … one of the most capable guitarists around, he plays the guitar so really well! Since he has started playing with the band, he has marked the Eclipse sound with his trademark solos and leads, which I could experience live on the gig. Pure delight!

Playlist-wise, there was no one left unhappy or not satisfied: all the band’s hits, all the successful and significant songs from their discography were there! Emphasis, of course, was placed on their latest album ‘Wired’; however they played all my favorite tracks from their albums, at least since ‘Bleed and Scream’. It was definitely a night to remember, as they also gave it all they had and thanked the fans many times for making it there to see them (there were also some fans travelling from Japan who came as well!). Personal favorite moments were: “Bite the Bullet”, “Black Rain” “Bleed & Scream” and “Battlegrounds” (acoustic version).

Thank you Gävle, that was awesome!

Antonis Mantzavinos

The pandemic is now over and that enabled Judas Priest to resume their tour, in celebration of their fifty years. The Priest visited again Athens, Greece, in the frames of Release Athens 2022 Festival and all the metal maniacs joined this metal feast. The 15th of July, 2022, was a heavy metal day and … all hell broke loose!

One day before Iron Maiden played live at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, we had the opportunity to experience another heavy metal marathon, which began that Friday, early in the afternoon, with Black Soul Horde. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the set of this Greek heavy metal act– and that was a pity, since I like very much their discography (especially their “Land of Demise” album).

But I was right on time for the live show of The Dead Daisies. Like many other people, I am familiar with this supergroup, I am very fond of their latest album, “Holy Ground”, and for sure, Doug Aldrich and Glenn Hughes guarantee for a great live concert! Yes, the supergroup entered the stage and played its material with much passion and great pleasure – The Dead Daisies’ heartfelt performance was exactly what we needed that time, a brave dose of heavy rock music, an immediate lightning of hard rock by the old ones! And of course, the true protagonist was Glenn Hughes, the Voice of Rock, who was doing whatever he wanted with his incredible voice! The audience was excited and The Dead Daisies gifted us with a tremendous version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” and “Burn”.

Next on stage was Cradle of Filth. There is no doubt that Cradle of Filth musically has no common with the headliners, however, the English black metal armada gave a fantastic metal show! Ideal for extreme metal fans and pretty interesting for all the other metalheads, Cradle of Filth’s compositions sounded freakingly beautiful, just as the dark night was about to prevail. I really liked the band’s energetic, powerful and professional presence, especially Dani Filth was unique in every way – it was so nice to see him standing in the middle of the stage, singing with his peculiar voice some of the best songs of Cradle of Filth’s back catalogue, proving that the band is still in good shape after all these years. To be precise, Cradle of Filth were as good as they were, when I saw them live twenty years ago! Cradle of Filth is still here, alive and kicking!

Yet, the time for the Metal Gods had come! The legendary heavy metal band chose “War Pigs” as an introduction to their set and soοn Priest were there right in front of us, playing “One Shot At Gory”! What a feeling, how majestic, how awesome! With a setlist full with classics and live favorites, Judas Priest brought “chaos and destruction” and everyone went crazy, asking for more from the Brummies! And they delivered the goods, in their own masterful, wise and extravagant way. The sound was divine, the performance unrivaled, the feeling shocking. We have to admit that Rob Halford wasn’t flawless and there were certain points that he couldn’t sing like the past years, however, he showcased why he is unique, one of the few great personalities of heavy metal music, a true icon. The stage show was impressive and the whole set encompassed the elements of an original Judas Priest concert – it was an amazing heavy metal anniversary, dedicated to the Greek fans, who showed again their devotion to Priest. The encore of “Electric Eye”, “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” was the final touch to a thrilling, monumental gig. With this kind of live shows Judas Priest will be forever in our heart. Heavy Metal is the fucking law!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos