Watching Candlemass live has always been a great experience, especially while Johan Längqvist (vocals) is back for good, following a really good studio album. The legendary band had announced that they would play two special live shows in Södra Teatern at Mosebacke in Södermalm, which is in their hometown Stockholm, one evening with “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” in its entirety and a second evening with “Nightfall” in its entirety. For different reasons, we were able to attend only the first live show, unfortunately. So, I must admit that this is one of the most special gigs ever for me, precisely because watching a heavy metal band inside a theater makes things more classic, more prestigious and overall majestic. And also, because the band itself surpassed itself in the performance, the sound, the overall feeling. It was really awesome to see Leif Edling back in such good mood and form, playing and communicating with everyone! “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” was absolutely fantastic, the sound was so heavy, crunchy and around 250 people enjoyed the classics from this heavy metal masterpiece. The highlight of the night was the cover to Trouble’s “The Tempter”, a very special moment, which the band dedicated to Jörgen Sandström (Entombed, Krux, Grave, Death Breath, The Project Hate), an old friend of the band, who has also played live with the band a few years, was present at the theater and had his birthday on the same day of the gig. He received a birthday cake while Leif Edling prologued ‘The Tempter’ as a tribute to Eric Wagner, who passed away a couple of months ago. This night (and the next one for “Nightfall”, of course) was a very special one for the band and their fans, who were able to attend this gig. Especially for the ones, like myself, that went to a live gig after almost two years. Long Live Candlemass and Leif Edling!

Antonis Mantzavinos

Styx is probably the greatest pomp rock group of all times, and sure enough, one of my favourite bands of the 70s. It has always been a dream of mine to see Styx live on stage, and this November my dream came true. Of course, I couldn't wait to see them in Greece, but I had the chance to catch them in their home country, when I was in USA. Thank god, the timing was perfect!

The live show would take place in Westbury, New York, at the NYCB Theater, we were staying at a hotel in Chinatown, New York City, so we had a long way to the theater. It was cold outside, we weren't sure if we were taking the right Subway train, and fortunately, we arrived at Westbury and the theater. Did I just say that we arrived? Yes, we arrived … at the wrong theater!! We were at the Westbury Theater, not at the Theater of Westbury, where Styx would play!!! We were lucky enough though, since the theater manager called us a cab. Finally we arrived at the right theater this time – you could tell by the T-shirts the people at the queue were wearing. The doors opened one hour before the beginning of the show and the American fans of Styx had already gathered. We stood at the merchandise kiosk, and took our seats at the theater.

It was a perfect place for live concerts – amphitheatric, with the stage in the center of the circle of the seats. In this theater the seats are numbered, very close to the artists, who perform at a rotating stage. Comparisons with the venues we have in Greece were inevitable…

Very few minutes after the scheduled opening time, Styx entered the stage. It was a unique experience to see some meters away from you these distinguished musicians! James Young, Tommy Shaw and Chuck Panozzo were there, together with Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass). Unfortunately, Dennis De Young wasn't there, since his 1999 split with the band, Gowan was trying to fill his gap in vain, however, the band sounded fresh, powerful and in a very good shape.

The show was divided in two parts, the first one was dedicated to the band's latest release (“The Mission”) and the second one included the band's classic songs and hits. The latest studio album of Styx is a killer one, having all the incredients of the band's own sound, some great melodies and a fantastic work on guitars and keyboards. But the moments all of us were waiting finally came; the second part with the songs that made Styx popular all over the world. The Americans played almost all the songs from their masterpiece, “The Grand Illusion”, with “Come Sail Away” being the most touching and impressive moment. Styx performed also other classics such as “Lady”, “Best of Times”, “Too Much Time On My Hands”, “Blue Collar Man”, “Renegade”, etc.

In a nutshell, Styx performed perfectly, with a flawless sound, which helped the musicians express their musicianship and all their passion. James Young, tall, dressed in black and a smile on his face, was, without a doubt, the leader, next to him stood Tommy Shaw, who played the guitar and sang like an angel, and Lawrence Gowan was the charismatic frontman, who played his piano, sang and was in constant motion, like he was performing in a Broadway musical.

The show lasted almost two hours and ended triumphantly, with a standing ovation by the fans, who really enjoyed this majestic spectacle. We felt so nice, so warm, it was a singular experience we will never forget. It will always be in our heart, on our mind. Forever.

Dimitris Zacharopoulos



Bullet doesn’t need any introductions. They have released six studio albums plus one live album and are well-known in the worldwide hard n’ heavy scene. They were in the Nuclear Blast roster, they are now in Steamhammer/SPV and nothing seems difficult enough to stop them. Apart from their inspiration and musicianship, they are incredibly good in their live performances – they sound tight, solid and mature. The Greek fans had the chance to enjoy Bullet on stage, since the band visited for the first time Athens, Greece, on October 18, 2019. It was a blast!

The live show took place in The Crow Club, a nice, little metal club/live stage – its capacity isn’t big, but it is a warm, cozy place, where the fans are close to the performing band. However, the club didn’t get full and not too many fans came to the show. That’s a pity, if you take into account that it was the first gig of Bullet in Greece, the first gig of a band, which is very successful abroad. Nevertheless, what matters is that all the fans, who came that night to The Crow Club were very passionate and demonstrative.

The first band to hit the stage was 666 Packs. The Greek band played for about 30 minutes and their show was excellent. Their Accept-like heavy metal songs were performed beautifully, both the fans and the musicians had a lot of fun and I am so curious to listen to their future studio recordings. 666 Packs was a wise choice as an opening band for Bullet.

After that strong and dynamic act, we welcomed Silver Risk on stage. This band has a long history in the Greek hard n’ heavy scene, as they started their career at the end of the eighties. Now, 25 years later, Silver Risk is back again and they proved that with a powerful, impressive show. Their songs sounds like a more hard rocking version of Iron Maiden, full of melodies and technical parts. The crowd liked very much their set, but all were anxious for Bullet.

The Swedes took their place on stage and everyone was yelling and shouting; the group, which has made a huge worldwide sensation with albums like “Bite the Bullet”, “Highway Pirates” and “Storm of Blades”, was standing in front us, playing loud, roaring, hot and dirty heavy metal. They owe so much to bands like AC/DC, Accept, Saxon and Iron Maiden, but there is also an obvious influence from the heavy metal sound of the seventies. Their sound was crystal, and helped Bullet to display their skills and impress all of us. It was a great pleasure to see and listen to the furious quintet play its killer songs, to witness these lads giving everything they had like heavy metal hippies, like rock n’ roll rebels, like vintage gods of the hard n’ heavy pantheon. Bullet’s show was a sonic attack with screaming vocals (Hell Hofer is an icon!), rough, bleeding guitar phrases and a heavy, crawling rhythm section. The songs were played perfectly, the passion was flowing like a river, the headless head-banging was the only possible reaction for us.

Bullet took a shot and hit the target. Next time all head-bangers should be there to … bite the bullet! There is no excuse!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


When Athens Rocks Festival was announced, with Slayer as headliners, we all knew that it would be a great moment in the concert history of Greece. Slayer had revealed some months ago that this world tour would be their final, and it was a blessing that the thrash metal legends decided to include Athens in their tour schedule. Everybody who had seen Slayer on stage before already had an idea of what would happen on the 13th of July, 2019.

Of course, we would have the chance to enjoy some other live acts that night: Suicidal Angels, the fresh blood of Greek thrash metal, would open the festival, Leprous, the prog metal weirdos, would continue, and Rotting Christ, the triumphant black metallers from Greece, would be the last bite, before the massacre. But let’s see what took place!

 The festival was hosted in the OAKA Basketball Stadium, after the late change of the place decided by the organizers. Many fans posted their angry opposition to this change on the social media, arguably because they thought that the temperature and the general physical conditions of the festival in a not open air stadium would be unbearable and dangerous for the attendants and the musicians – especially if we consider that the Greek fans often use fumigants at concerts! Well, everybody had the same worries, which were discarded with the arrival at the concert hall; the place was nicely air-conditioned, with aeration, and everybody who wished to sit down, there were the tiers of the stadium. So, this time we must give our congratulations to the organizers!

The first band who entered the stage was Suicidal Angels. Almost every thrash metal fan knows this killer band, who its few albums have demonstrated how thrash metal should be played! And yes, Suicidal Angels gave a fantastic show – their sound was loud and tight and their bombastic thrash metal hymns warmed up the fans. The head banging started pretty soon (at five o’ clock), since Suicidal Angels have the potential, the compositions and the experience to metal everybody’s ass! We also had the good fortune to listen a couple new songs, from the band’s newest album, “ … “ – if all songs sound like that, we will have another great reason to praise Suicidal Angels. Bow to the Greek thrash metal angels!

And then there were Leprous on stage. Leprous’ atmospheric, Tool-ish prog metal which reminds of Muse and Anathema wasn’t a good choice for this festival. Suicidal Angels play thrash metal, Rotting Christ black metal and Slayer are US thrash metal. So, why did they choose a prog metal band as an opening act for Slayer? Surely not wise! Although Leprous differed from the other bands of Athens Rocks, there were many people in the audience who enjoyed Leprous’ complex and proggy music. And the band managed to win everybody’ s applause, since they played with passion, and gave us the gift of excellent intelligent music! Most of all I liked Einar Solberg’s vocals and the diversity of the compositions, which usually have some very pompous outbursts. I knew that Leprous is an interesting band, yet this concert was my first serious contact with their music. Don’t be afraid, my friends, it isn’t a risk for our musical health to come closer to Leprous music – on the contrary, it is a healthy way to broaden our music taste!

After the Norwegians, it was time to obey the rules of Greek black metal. Because Rotting Christ was and still is the synonyme of the greek sound of black metal. I hadn’t seen Rotting Christ live for years, so I waited their show with anxiety. Of course, I don’t have to describe to you what happened at the band’s performance. Sakis Tolis and company taught us what black metal stands for! Their might, their passion, their artistry combined with dignity, experience and conviction resulted into a live black metal manifesto! Rotting Christ gave us hell, burned our minds, showed no mercy. The Greeks pleased everyone in the audience and shaked us with both older and newer black anthems. The live performances of “King of a Stellar War” and “Non Serviam” were historic moments and will never be forgotten. It was obvious that Rotting Christ are in good shape, and what happened in Patras has made them even more furious. The fans enjoyed every second of the impressive Rotting Christ show, but the time of the butcher had come!!

Almost on time, Slayer came on stage with full force and devastated everything! It would be their last time in Greece, so they were confident, determined to present us what Slayer can do! Conquer the stage, conquer us, conquer everything! The thrash metal veterans unleashed the thrash metal beast within, which ran at the highest speed and preyed on us! With Tom Araya and Kerry King at the helm, Slayer’s vehicle mad the ultimate thrash metal attack, which devoured our flesh and bones. That was a thrash metal crescendo, with all the classic Slayer tunes – the selist was wisely chosen, and the sound was so crystal, so heavy, so loud! You can easily understand what happened, when Slayer performed songs like “South of Heaven”, “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death”! Chaos!!! Hell on earth!!! All the fans – thousands of fans were there to pray to their gods, and witness the final live Slayer experience. It was a very sentimental show, for both the band and its fans, we almost banged our heads with tears in our eyes. There is no need to say that all the hall was a gigantic mosh pit.

After the last song of the show, Araya stood on stage alone and was gazing at the audience. The frontman of the legendary band said to us “goodbye, we will miss you” in Greek – that was the emotional peak of this thrash metal concert. It is the first time I experienced such a moment in a music show – a touching scene, a crying contact, a warm encounter. Maybe it is the last time we saw Araya on stage … no goodbyes, only a big, endless thank you to Mr. Araya. You will always be there in our hearts and mind. Thank you so much. And Kerry, and Paul, and Gary, and Jeff, of course.

Priceless. Fuckin’ Slayer forever!!!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

This summer, Release Athens turns out to be the main music festival in Athens, Greece. The experience of seeing Manowar live at Plateia Nerou is still fresh – Joey DeMaio and company offered the heavy metal fans a marvelous night, in a place that’s perfect for concerts. Apart from being located close to the centre of the Greek capital, Release Athens is a musical happening that fulfills the requirements of a modern, well-organized event: you can easily and comfortably enjoy the live performances, with the ability to buy your favourite T-Shirt, to drink your beer, eat something with your friends and hang out with your mates. As you may understand, these fine conditions are something new for the Greek music fans, who previously attended music festivals like Rockwave.

After Manowar, it was the turn of Anthrax and Disturbed to rock the night.

Anthrax need no recommendations. The legendary US band was and still is one of the main thrash metal attractions, a living myth of heavy metal music, a group that released so many classic metal albums and influenced tons of artists. We are honored that they decided to visit Athens.

Disturbed is a big name of modern metal, since they started their career in 2001 and gained great success with fantastic albums like “The Sickness”, “Believe” and “Ten Thousand Fists”. Their amalgam of nu-metal and classic rock/metal makes them unique.

The billing included also three Greek metal bands, Breath After Coma, Need and SiXforNinE. Personally, I had seen live on stage only Need, in the recent past, so I was very curious to see Breath After Coma and SiXforNinE for the first time. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the support bands began their performance early in the afternoon (17:30), I wasn’t able to catch them on stage – the hot sun and the high temperature prevented me from getting to Plateia Nerou on time. I understand that the support bands and every musician has spent so many hours and so much money for rehearsals and await for the fans’ support, but I also understand health problems. So, under these circumstances I missed the first two opening bands, but was lucky enough to see SiXforNinE on stage.

SiXforNinE presented some of their (old and new) songs to the fans that had already come to the fest. Fotis Benardo led the extreme metal attack of the band, which managed to win the crowd’s applause. Their nice blend of extreme metal ingredients was uplifting, a pretty good appetizer! I knew that SiXforNinE is a listen-worthy band, now I have witnessed their storming live energy and I am really curious for their upcoming album.

As it was announced, Anthrax hit the stage at 21:00. From the first moment they appeared to the last second of their show, Anthrax played like there is no tomorrow! They performed their beloved thrash metal anthems with mania and drove us crazy. A heavy metal thunder crashed the stage, an anvil fell on our head and a band of metal thrashing mads brought hell on earth! The wisely-chosen setlist satisfied all the fans, who didn’t stop banging their heads, yelling and screaming. With a perfect sound, Anthrax knocked everything down and showed how metal music should be played – loud and solid. It was a fantastic experience to see Joey Belladona (a true metal maniac!), Scott Ian (respect!) and Charlie Benante (what a drummer!) on stage – three famous and distinguished personalities, a guarantee for an ideal metal concert. Anthrax played for almost 90 minutes of adrenaline, artistry and awe, and pleased everyone at Plateia Nerou. A concert to remember!

Anthrax said goodbye and all Disturbed fans were looking forward to seeing the American quartet. Around 23:00 an official video of Disturbed was projected on the video walls – David Draiman and his mates would soon appear on the stage of the festival. And yes, the first notes of “Are You Ready” were heard and the fans were paralysed. The modern metal icons were now in front of us and as they were playing their stuff, for the first time in Greece, we were so happy that this moment had come! I listen to Disturbed since the “Believe” album and this concert was a dream comes true for me – this wasn’t a dreamy concert though.

First of all, Disturbed seemed tired and not so fresh, everyone could understand that. But the band is on the road for a very long time, their numerous shows of course have their effect on them, both physically and mentally. They gave their best to amuse us, they gave all their energy and soul, especially on the acoustic ballads and the “Sound of Silence” cover, they were more than professionals.

Apart from that, their sound wasn’t satisfactory. The overall volume wasn’t so high - the sound of the bass guitar was prominent and the guitar and the drums should have been louder, especially in the first songs of the setlist. I wasn’t the only one who was a bit disappointed. To be frank, I wish that we had seen Disturbed on their own concert – I mean, not in a festival. Then we should judge them for their sound.

What is more, I didn’t like the vocals of Draiman. His vocal performance wasn’t so impressive as in the studio albums, sometimes I couldn’t hear what he was singing and generally, we didn’t take what we were expecting from him vocally. Another thing I would like to mention is that maybe the vocal result would be better if the band used more backing vocals.

These positive things surpassed the negative issues. And that happened, because Disturbed performed with soul, feeling, passion! The setlist was almost perfect, the band’s energy hit us between the eyes, the music and the lyrics mesmerized us. Disturbed rocked big time, besides that, they sent messages of love and peace and paid tribute to the musicians who didn’t manage to fight addiction and depression – “A Reason To Fight” and “Hold On to Memories” were sentimental moments, which touched everybody and encouraged us to fight and never give up/give in. And the cover of the “Sound of Silence” was wonderful.

To sum up, Disturbed and Anthrax performed excellently – all hell broke loose! There is no way that the sound problems could blacken the aforementioned unforgettable moments. We left the festival with a smile and a … reason to fight!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos