The “AM” album was a big hit in the world of contemporary rock. Arctic Monkeys succeeded in releasing a furious rock n’ roll disc, full of riffs, melodic hooks and energy. The “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino” album was a surprise for every Arctic Monkeys fan. Having formed a “progressive lounge jazz-pop/rock” sound, the English band shocked its fans but also managed to offer an artistic masterpiece - inspired, imaginative, and sophisticated. So the news that Arctic Monkeys would visit Greece, participating in Rockwave Festival, was a nice call for every music enthusiast.

We arrived at Terravibe some minutes after five o’ clock and missed the chance to see the live show of Core the Band and Get Well Soon. I am sure that the Greeks and the Germans gave their best to deliver a great show.

Miles Kane and his band entered the stage and satisfied the audience with their fantastic, high octane alternative rock. I knew Kane from his Last Shadow Puppets project with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, but couldn’t expect such a cataclysmic rock show. His old-fashioned, hippie looks fitted the passionate, orgasmic rock n’ roll sound of his band and his guitar playing was really mind-blowing. The guitar solos were more than welcome and the melodic refrains sounded so warm and heartfelt. I don’t know Kane’s songs, so it was an amazing experience to listen to his alt-rock tunes. Next time we will be there again to give him a loud applause.

According to the festival program, the time of Alt-J had come. Don’t ask me about this band, I don’t know a thing about their story and discography - there’s only one thing that I know; they were awesome! Indeed, they managed to capture all the people in the audience with their clever, ear-catching songs. With the benefit of a perfect sound, Alt-J presented us a wonderful set of strange alt-pop/rock music, a set of music tracks which feature many odd ingredients spanning from ethnic and electronic to progressive elements. Yes, that’s music art! After this show, I am so curious and willing to explore Alt-J’s discography. Their magical sound and especially their charming vocal melodies have haunted my mind - that was a brilliant live show, a gig to be remembered!

Half past ten and we couldn’t help waiting for Arctic Monkeys’ turn. Within seconds Alex Turner and co. jumped on the stage of Rockwave Festival. Our enthusiasm and excitement were ideal for the band’s entrance. However, it was obvious that Arctic Monkey’s live sound quality was rather poor. Let’s take things from the beginning. When you attend the live show of a big name like Arctic Monkeys, you expect top quality. On the contrary, the Brits sound wasn’t loud and clear. You couldn't distinguish the instruments, the guitars were absent, and in general, that was the sound of a newcomer band … I don’t think that there were sound problems - I got the impression that, after the band’s artistic progress, both the musicians and their sound engineers are lost and don’t know which is their musical character; is it the heavy rock style of “AM” or the acoustic style of “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino”? The whole band and its crew are in confusion and that could be easily heard. On the other hand, all the musicians were energetic and technically perfect - it was great to listen to Turner’s voice and of course, the songs the band played were wisely picked. Generally, the impressions were bad though. I personally didn’t enjoy the songs, because, apart from the sound, I witnessed a narcissistic Alex Turner, who was in his own world. I didn’t expect to see the band’s leader making a striptease, I didn’t expect to see him moving his hips like a latin dancer, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t speak to the fans almost at all… That was a disappointment, unfortunately. Arctic Monkey’s fame has grown large, and after this live performance, I personally think that the band can’t support this fame. Now that I am listening to their songs I try to forget that night and their first live show in Greece. Of course, when Arctic Monkeys visit us again, I will be there, but my expectations will be higher. We must be strict with our beloved bands.

We left the Festival with mixed feelings. We experienced things that will stay in our mind for months; Miles Kane was a blast, Alt-J were sensational and Arctic Monkeys not satisfactory.

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

 

 

Gröna Lund is a beautiful amusement park on the island of Djurgården, in Stockholm Sweden. But it is also one of the best live open-air places not only in Sweden, but in many countries as well. And a really famous one. Lots of fathers and mothers attended the full gig, carrying their young or very young children on their shoulders or baby carriages, showing the way to the next generation. Something which was very positively commented by - the barefoot - Jay Buchanan as well, recalling his childhood/youth years, when his parents organized music parties/gatherings with friends at home and thus influencing his own pathway towards music.

Having the opportunity to go at Gröna Lund for the first time and see live the Rival Sons, I realized how much I have missed watching a REALLY good band live in an open space. And Rival Sons were really worth it! The intro of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” was the perfect starting point for a gig I will remember for a loooong period. The Long Beach California rockers blew us away with their electrifying setlist, covering the whole span of their discography, I would say a very representative set lit, highlighting their best moments so far. The whole band enjoyed the live show so much, and it has actually been only a few months since they visited Stockholm for the last time (August 2017, last gig before they ended that tour to get focused on writing their next record). Jay specifically mentioned how much he likes it (and the whole band of course) in Sweden and really impressed the audience all the way with his absolutely entertaining performance and contact with the fans. The whole band gave it all, however, I must highlight the high energy and overwhelming moments of the drummer, the keyboard and guitar players (Mike Miley, Scott Holiday and Todd Ögren-Brooks respectively). Their groove, vintage rhythm n’ blues style and avid way to deliver the songs is quite remarkable and actually, this solid bonding is a huge part of the success of this band, on the road as well, apart from their studio great records. Scott Holiday is an exceptional guitar player with a magic touch on his 6string Firebird style guitars. Amazing...! (And, always a Sharp Dressed Man with an impeccable style!)

Till next time fellas! Stockholm loves you back!

Antonis Mantzavinos

Last Friday was a day of high temperatures during the early hours and extremities during the night. Three significant bands of our scene (two of them are active more than a decade and the third one is a new promising entry) performed at An Club, where the main attraction was Karma Violens’ release show for “Serpent God”, their new, highly appraised opus. However, a few hours before the event, the band informed us that their second guitarist, Costas, would not participate due to an unexpected health issue; hence, my expectations for the proper performance of the new songs were rather low.

by Alex Nikolaidis

After a delay of half an hour, Aetherian, a new band from Athens, started their show. Until the day of the event, I was totally unaware of their music. However, I will surely make up for my mistake, as I was surprised pleasantly by their compositions. The band plays melodic death metal, apparently influenced by the Scandinavian scene, combining melodies and acoustic sections that bring forward thoughts of long distance travels, or melancholy, with appealing rhythmic parts. They played really tight, performing accurately and giving us their energy and positive mood, making the few people of the audience shake their heads rhythmically. Aetherian excelled in their lengthy songs, which feature multiple, different sections; in this respect, “Black Sails”, coming out of their first album “The Untamed Wilderness”, was the most sentimental and ass-kicking part of their show, causing a burst of applause by everyone in the venue.

Regarding Mortal Torment, any reference for them is unnecessary. This band combines two seemingly opposite concepts, “brutality” and “fun”, bonding them in a unique, loving box of amusement. This time, the guys showed us their summer mood, bringing on stage towels, a lifebelt and inflatable, plastic sea balls that they threw to the audience (the gigantic watermelon was absolutely cute). It was really funny hearing their extremely brutal death metal and seeing their fans throwing the balls to each other, during moshing or stage diving. Their performance left no neck intact; crushing drumming, hellish riffing and –above all- the deep growling Nakos’ voice got the place into a mess. I always have fun watching the band’s frontman spitting his guts out and never stop moving, going constantly from one point to another and making sarcastic comments between songs. Unfortunately, serious technical damage occurred that interrupted the show for about twenty minutes. However, when the equipment was restored, the band started again in the same manner, without seeming annoyed or out of rhythm. We look forward to more surprises –and brutality as well- in the imminent future.

Karma Violens, the last act of the event, stayed on stage for 70 minutes, focusing on “Serpent God”. The band, due to its numerous concerts throughout all these years, either as headliners or as supporting act, has developed an undoubted confidence, which was evident from the very first moment. Despite the absence of one guitarist, even at a special event for them, like the release of a new album, they performed without the slightest glimpse of constraint or uncertainty, being absolutely professionals, tight and extreme as usual. Each one of the four remaining members did his best, contributing to our amusement; as for Marios, his vocal abilities are obvious and well-known for everyone who has seen the band on stage (I have already commented on his abilities on my recent review). Of course, the new songs (especially “Dark Morel”) lost some of their diversity and atmosphere without the solos; however, I am sure that they would sound absolutely stunning with a full line-up. “Serpent God” was the ideal opening for the show, casting its darkness and heaviness on the venue, while “Blood Aurora” was the ideal ending, with Marios screaming desperately. In total, the band performed 6 songs of the last album, proving that they are willing to rely on their new material, without omitting their first two releases.

We all had a great time seeing these bands; however, low attendance was the negative aspect of the event. I had the impression that Karma Violens would attract many fans to the venue, since “Serpent God” received positive appraisals until now. On the contrary, only 100-130 people were present. Where were the others? If we want to have great Greek bands in our city, let’s support them.

Karma Violens setlist 

  1. Serpent God
  2. Sons of Destruction
  3. Si Vis Vitam Para Mortem
  4. Floating in Sadness
  5. Bloodbath
  6. Animal
  7. Dark Morel
  8. Christian Lovers Made Me Do It
  9. Full Dose of Hate
  10. The Constractors
  11. Headstrong vs Progress
  12. Raining Blood (Slayer cover)
  13. The Sun I Never Had
  14. Blood Aurora

 

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 18:00, the Philippos Nakas Conservatory, located in the center of Athens, held the Guitar Clinic Seminar of our beloved Gus G, founder and mastermind of the amazing Greek power metallers Firewind.

People began to gather early in the really beautiful amphitheater of the Conservatory. If I had calculated correctly, we should have been at least 200 people, most of them being students and teachers of the conservatory, fans of Gus G and Firewind, as well as families with very young children. It is worth noting that the entrance to the event was free, offered by the Conservatory Philippos Nakas in collaboration with Jackson Guitars Official.

People welcomed Gus with a loud prolonged applause, several yells and cheers, and he responded with a very warm smile saying jokingly that he felt like he was in a concert. I was once again impressed by this great artist who, above all, showed he was a gentle and simple man. He was accessible, friendly and available to answer all of our questions, many of which concerned technical issues related to the equipment he used, ways of learning and studying the guitar, secrets that could help a new guitarist, but also more personal questions about his life, Ozzy and Firewind.

At this point I would like to mention that Gus was accompanied by his friend and collaborator at Firewind, Bob Katsionis, who was involved several times in the chat. I want to emphasize that both showed great respect to the audience, without a trace of obstinacy, friendly enough. I really wish that they continue with their musical journey and give us several creative moments in the future.

Apart from the chat, however, there was also the music that everyone enjoyed -Gus played songs by Firewind and his personal career, in his unique way, raising people off their seats. Reference was made to Jackson's new guitars, which were really gorgeous and especially to the Custom Model specifically designed for him.

But all the good things, unfortunately, end and Gus G said goodbye to us all, one to one, signing autographs and taking pictures, tireless, smiling, just incredible. We thank him and all those who have contributed to this, I hope in the future to see again such other events.

Nikos Arvanitis

 

We arrived at The Temple with high expectations, since Enemy of Reality is a band known for its quality music and live shows. Yet, the night proved to be more than interesting. But let’s explain things.

The special guests of the event were Fortis Ventus, a female fronted metal band that released its first EP last year. Fortis Ventus entered the stage at 21.45 and played a show of forty-five minutes. I was introduced to the band with this gig and I admit that they gave me the best impressions. They played some of their own songs plus some covers, which was enough for them to conquer the audience and win its applause. Their songs sounded beautiful, with some catchy melodies and riffs, which were topped by the awesome female operatic vocals. In my opinion, they should tighten more their rhythm section, but overall, they give promises for a bright future. Can’t wait to hear their debut album!

As said before, I expected a nice show from Enemy of Reality and that’s what exactly they offered us. A fantastic live show, which lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. Their sound was loud and strong, the guitar sound was wonderfully mixed with the drums and bass, and Iliana Tsakiraki performed excellently. Her operatic vocals can be compared only with the vocals of the distinguished foreign frontwomen, her theatrical way leaves you speechless, her persona is something extraordinary that is lacking from many other bands. And how powerful and pompous their songs are! Apart from the breath-taking vocals, the guitar riffs and solos added a lot to the final sonic attack of Enemy of Reality. Frankly, I believe that this band will get bigger and bigger during the next years. They have the all the advantages to continue and make the world of melodic and symphonic power/speed metal their own.

We left the venue with a huge smile, having seen two top female fronted metal bands, which know how to rock. A stunning live show that won’t be easily forgotten!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

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