United World Rebellion tour @ The Underworld, 2014/10/28

I waited 21 years to see SKID ROW live for the first time. And now, a little less than one year later, I saw them again. Life’s funny…

soldoutTHELASTVEGASFirst band on stage was THE LAST VEGAS. If spirited rock’n’roll is your thing, there’s nothing not to love about these Chicago boys. I’m really bummed that I haven’t paid them attention before, even if they had the approval seal of Nikki Sixx, but this seems to be the story of my life in the past few years – unless I’m sent the album to review or I happen to catch the band on tour with some other that I like, I’ll miss it, no matter how good they are.

I was supposed to have seen them last year, in the co-headlining tour of HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and BUCKCHERRY, but they pulled out of it and I never knew why. But apparently it was written in the stars that I would see them and here I was, also in London, having a great time to the sound of songs such as “Come With Me”, “Devil In You” or “I’m Bad”. Chad Cherry‘s fluid movements will make you want to move along with him (although the music would already have that effect). He’s clearly a natural born rockstar and I’ll make my best to see him/them again, preferably in a bigger stage and playing a longer setlist – after all, “Sweet Salvation”, their latest album, is already their 6th; they surely deserve something bigger. :)

thelastvegas.com

sisterldnSISTER is another awesome band that I only became a fan of after a show with CRASHDÏET last year (read here). Too bad they didn’t get the warmest welcome from London as they did from Madrid – there was even an asshole screaming “you suck!” after every song – but that was the only thumbs-down about the show.

Their second album “Disguised Vultures”, released early this year, is much heavier than the “Hated” debut, which translated in an equally heavier performance. I admit I prefer the sleazier approach of “Hated”, but “Disguised Vultures” is no disappointment. The show was obviously focused on it, kicking off with “My Enemy” – with Jamie wearing one of those long, pointy nose Venetian masks, like he does in the video – only going back to “Hated” for the last song, “Too Bad For You”. That’s also when the boys in THE LAST VEGAS stormed the stage, one of them disguised as a banana (I think…), to sing/party along. London was the last show of the tour for both supporting bands, so a trick was mandatory. :D

www.sisterofficial.com

Even though the gig last year was my first (read here), in a better lit venue where I got a better spot and wasn’t as much crammed (despite being sold out as well), there was something about this one that made me like it a bit more. The setlist was practically the same, just replacing a couple of songs by new ones (“Give It The Gun” and “We Are The Damned“, the latter a really cool song, with a powerful chorus) and adding QUEEN‘s “We Will Rock You” (which I agree that works better live than the “Sheer Heart Attack” bonus track that’s featured in their latest “Rise Of The Damnation Army – United World Rebellion: Chapter Two”).

SKIDROW2014

The thank-you-for-the-eternal-support speech was slighty different – but just as heartfelt – since their self-titled debut album was celebrating 25 years since its release, and so Dave “The Snake” Sabo said something about the amazement that was seeing a full house still singing those tunes after so much time. Also the encouragement to help the opening acts was less dramatic, as this time Snake didn’t say the bands hadn’t eaten for about a week in order to have money to be on the road. No, this time was simply “we’ve seen the cars they drive”:XD:

RB2014

SKID ROW… They may not be physically young anymore, but the thrill of their shows is still wild.

skidrow.com

Posted in Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOTTHARD @ La Riviera, 2014/10/25

gotthardmadridI’ve always liked GOTTHARD even though I didn’t follow their career closely. Let’s just say that I loved their big hits and that the two gigs I’d seen had been amazing – 99% due Steve Lee‘s voice and charisma. So yes, I shed a few tears when he died, already four years ago. But that wasn’t the reason why I hadn’t listened to Nic Maeder until this show; Steve was unique, true, but that didn’t mean Nic couldn’t be unique too. It just never happened. So it really made me happy that HARDCORE SUPERSTAR were touring with them, giving me the chance to finally check GOTTHARD post-Steve. And damn, are they doing well! I found myself rocking away even to the songs that I didn’t know. For two hours!

They started and finished the way their latest album does (without the bonus tracks, that is) – the intro “Let Me In Katie” plus the title-track “Bang!”, and “Thank You”, which was suitable as a message, but not as powerful as a song like the previous “Anytime, Anywhere” was. That’s probably my favorite GOTTHARD song, although there are a few ballads that touch me deep inside. “Heaven”, for instance, that brought a big wave of emotion over me that night, or “One Life, One Soul”, that Leo Leoni dedicated to those loved ones who aren’t among us anymore…

They invited to the stage a bunch of boys and girls (although at first the security guys were allowing just girls – go figure…) to sing the choruses of “Starlight”, but also the Spanish singer Carmen María Fraile showed up there, making a duet with Nic.

I confess I wasn’t expecting such an amazing show. Along with the equally amazing performances of RECKLESS LOVE and HARDCORE SUPERSTAR (quoting a friend of mine, “someone should warn them that support bands are supposed to warm up things, not melt them down!”), it was definitely a rock’n’roll night to remember.

www.gotthard.com

gtthrdmd2014

For Steve:heart:
forsteve

Posted in Concerts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

HARDCORE SUPERSTAR @ La Riviera, 2014/10/25

HCSSMad14HARDCORE SUPERSTAR was the main reason I was there that night – even though they weren’t headlining, a HCSS is always worth the journey. ;)

The intro was “This Worm’s For Ennio”, but instead of linking it to “Beg For It”, like in the album with the same title, they continued with “Moonshine”. And all hell broke loose from that moment on. :D Things only calmed down for a few minutes on the first song of the encore, the ballad “Run To Your Mama”.

As usual, they skipped the two albums that don’t match their current sound (“Thank You (For Letting Us Be Ourselve)” and “No Regrets”) and picked one from “Bad Sneakers And A Piña Colada” – my all-time favorite “Liberation”. And also as usual, “We Don’t Celebrate Sundays” ended the show, right after they introduced their new song “Glue”, which had been released just a few days before (and yet, people already knew how to sing along the chorus. Cool!).

Their power is undescribable and apparently endless – five gigs I’ve seen so far and every single time I feel like I was in the middle of a hurricane. I love their entire discography (yes, even those two I mentioned before), but if one day that changes (unlikely, but you never know), as long as HCSS keep sending these jolts of energy whenever they play live, you can be sure I’ll be there, at the front row. :)

www.hardcoresuperstar.com

HCSS2014

We love you too, Jocke.
HCSSluvu

Posted in Concerts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

RECKLESS LOVE @ La Riviera, 2014/10/25

RECKLESSLOVE2014I don’t like RECKLESS LOVE. True, I wrote highly about “Spirit” (read review here), but only because I was able to stand on their fans’ shoes, meaning I knew that album was what they would expect and appreciate. And even though I like glam & sleaze bands, RECKLESS LOVE have always sounded… too cheesy for me. So the fact that I absolutely loved their show was a shocking surprise.

They’re still promoting the aforementioned “Spirit”, so I recognized most of the songs… and found myself swinging to their rhythm! You know how some bands are meant for the stage, not the studio? Wasn’t expecting that from a glam band, but that’s what happened – the songs sounded so more alive! As soon as I got home I listened to the CD again and no, I wasn’t wrong the first time. There was still something missing in there – something that was oh so present in the show.

And Olli Herman is quite an entertainer, knowing exactly how to draw you in. I’d seen him with CRASHDÏET in 2008 and he’d already hinted it back then, but he’s using that skill much better now. The same with his vocal chords! I still remembered, 6 years later, how his uncontrolled high pitch had pierced my ears (“taste the falling rAAAAAAAAAin”). But now he’s right on it.

Kicking off with “I Love Heavy Metal” and wrapping it up with “Hot”, in-between we heard (and sang) songs such “So Happy I Could Die”, “Bad Lovin'”, the beautiful ballad “Edge Of Our Dreams” (dedicated to us, since it’s a song about being on the road and we are the ones who make it possible), “Back To Paradise”, “Sex, Drugs & Reckless Love”, “Born To Break Your Heart”… and almost every one was introduced by having its title included in a matter-of-fact sentence. On “Dance”, Olli also started to shake his ass in a very seductive way, and closer to the he just told us to feel the groove of Maxx‘s tribal drums, “tribal” giving immediately away that the song would be “Night On Fire”.

So I still won’t listen to their work on my stereo (except for “Edge Of Our Dreams”, which I’ve been doing since the first time I’ve heard it anyway – I’m a sucker for a good ballad) but if I have the chance to see RECKLESS LOVE live again, I’m there!

www.recklesslove.com

RECKLESSLOVEMADRID14

Smile for the camera, Madrid!
smileforthecameramadrid

Posted in Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SPARZANZA’s “Circle”

Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.

circle

SPARZANZA are back. Well, have been back since March, when this 7thalbum of theirs, “Circle”, was released in the Northern countries. Now the stores in the rest of the world will have the pleasure of delivering it as well.

They’ve been gradually hardening their sound in the last albums, so seeing them pushing the envelope and releasing their heaviest album so far, that wasn’t a real surprise to me. Yet “Circle” has SPARZANZA’s typical dark groove embroidered all over it.

Right from the start you get that impression with the opening track “Pine Barrens”. Heavier riffs, sharper beats, faster rhythm, rougher vocals… and then the chorus comes out in such a dark melody – not melancholic but rather ominous, menacing. After all, they’re singing about the “devil being back every century”

With all that but featuring a more easy-going melody comes the next track “Underneath My Skin”, which was the rightful choice for first single, precisely due to the melodic part – it gives a more accurate idea of the album as a whole, which I believe is the main goal of a promotional single. “Black” would have been great for that purpose as well, its stronger bass making it somewhat heavier and the “church choir” hinting some spiritual sense to the melody.

As for speedy songs, I must mention “Death Don’t Spare No Lives”. A very lively but groovy song, meaning the rhythm will hit your eardrums and embrace it at the same time.

“Breathe” could have been featured in the soundtrack of a thriller, as the words I find to describe it are the same – exciting and suspenseful. And taking “suspenseful” as cue, let me tell you about the second single “Into The Unknown”. Now this is quite a piece of melancholic darkness! The double tracking of Fredrik Weileby voice, in a grave pitch and a higher one, is one of my favorite details, giving such richness to the sound. Especially when it’s not a through and through event, it only happens in some carefully chosen parts, enhancing the beauty of this song.

The sadness in “As I Go Away” is a lot stronger, though, the piano and strings making sure to produce a melody as heartbroken as Weileby’s voice. Powerful ballad, this one.

“A circle is not something that has one specific meaning – it has several, so let the interpretation of this be in the eyes of the beholder”, say SPARZANZA regarding the title of this album. Well I choose the meaning of “completion” as this is what “Circle” is – a successful achievement by this great band.

Label: Spinefarm Records / Black Cult Records

Producer: SPARZANZA and Rikard Löfgren

Track list:

  1. Pine Barrens
  2. Underneath My Skin
  3. Breathe
  4. Into The Unknown
  5. The Contract
  6. Enemy Of My Enemy
  7. As I Go Away
  8. Black
  9. Death Don’t Spare No Lives
  10. Do What Thou Wilt

www.facebook.com/sparzanza

Posted in cd reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

IN FLAMES’ “Siren Charms”

Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.

1000x1000

A smile lit up on my face when I heard that IN FLAMES would release a new album. That smile still glowed when the first single “Rusted Nail” was available. Not a spectacular track but good enough – the guitar licks in the intro flow pretty easily through your ears; Fridén’s vocal tone – mainly clean but harsher here and there and backed by occasional screams – sounds quite pleasant; an exquisite bridge preceding the first chorus, and the catchy melody of the latter…  There’s something standard in the riffing, though, hence the “not a spectacular track”.

Then the aforementioned smile got wider with the release of “Through Oblivion”, a melancholic song, almost depressive, that stirred something in the darkest side of me.

But then I listened to the whole album and the smile faded, almost completely. We already knew the “melodic” was growing stronger and the “death” was dimming, so it isn’t a big surprise that “Everything’s Gone” is the only true heavy song in “Siren Charms”. What disappoints me is that it’s not a very good song. The heaviness of “When The World Explodes” is better, but the softer parts are weak, not because they’re, well, soft and slow, but because they don’t seem to have any spirit in them. This one features soprano Emilia Feldt, who has a beautiful voice but doesn’t help this track at all. Weren’t sirens supposed to have an enthralling vivid chant? Feldt uses a very languid tone here.

Also “Paralyzed” and “Dead Eyes” make justice to their titles, being quite dull tracks. “With Eyes Wide Open” is a nice ballad, though, and “Filtered Truth” has a rock-ish vibe, a lively sound that’s refreshing to hear in the end.

The production is amazing, but something’s missing in “the whole musical picture”. And it’s not the more melodic approach that bothers me. It’s its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark.

Label: Epic Records / Sony Music

Producers: Daniel Bergstrand, Roberto Laghi and IN FLAMES

Track list:

  1. In Plain View
  2. Everything’s Gone
  3. Paralyzed
  4. Through Oblivion
  5. With Eyes Wide Open
  6. Siren Charms
  7. When The World Explodes
  8. Rusted Nail
  9. Dead Eyes
  10. Monsters In The Ballroom
  11. Filtered

12. Become The Sky (deluxe edition)

12. The Chase (iTunes edition)

http://inflames.com/

Posted in cd reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

GOJIRA @ Vagos Open Air, 2014/08/10

Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.

gojira2014

However, this was GOJIRA’s night. I believe the Portuguese fans have been asking for the French band since the very first Vagos edition. As for them, they claimed they’d been expecting to play in Portugal for 18 years – meaning since they first were founded, still as GODZILLA. Yeah, yeah, I know they all say nice things about the countries/cities they’re visiting for the first time, or haven’t visited in a long while, but in this case I believe, as the Duplantier brothers have Portuguese roots (grandmother) and they’ve visited the country many times before, as tourists. Now that they made it as a band and had such a thunderous reception, I’m pretty sure they’ll do their best to return soon.

The security guys had their hands full – literally – from the very first seconds (yeah, seconds) of “Explosia” to the last ones of “Where Dragons Dwell”. A high-five to all of them for the excellent job they did, not only at helping the kids on the “landing” but also in guiding them into the best path of hands and heads.

Peak moments? All of them! But I can’t stop mentioning the inflatable dolphin that bounced back and forth over the crowd on “Flying Whales”. Cute!

It was hard to accept the gig had come to an end. Joe said what must have been all the pleasantries he knew in Portuguese while everybody screamed“GOJIRA, GOJIRA!” at the top of their lungs. But it was over. And unforgettable.

Gojira official Facebook

GOJIRAVOA14

Posted in Concerts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments