Manowar took us to Valhalla to rise our hammers high along with Odin’s Sons…. Honestly now… When you have in front of you the mega beasts, the Kings of Metal, what more do you need? A mesmerizing show? Vocals, which give you the chills all over your body? Fire, thunder and steel?  Well, their Release Athens Festival concert had them … ALL!

But first things first.  The band, which opened the event, was Battleroar, one of the most known Greek metal bands. The guys were perfect, and, in my humble opinion, it was a great choice as the local support band! With the amazing Yiannis Papanikolaou (Diviner, ex- Inner Wish) in vocals and their energy and enthusiasm, they managed to make people say … “too bad they didn’t play longer”! This band definitely needs more recognition.

Next band was Imperia, an atmospheric metal band formed by Helena Iren Michaelsen, the first singer of Epica (formerly known as Sahara Dust). I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t even know their existence before they were announced as a support band. Now, even though I love atmospheric metal, I really don’t think that Imperia was a good choice as a support band for Manowar. I can think at least ten bands in the category of atmospheric metal, which could had been chosen to play instead! Their performance wasn’t terrible but not good either. I think the right word is mundane ... Helena’s appearance will stay in our minds for her cute/psycho dancing part on stage. The songs were really mediocre and they definitely weren’t worth playing on the same stage with a band like Manowar. People didn’t even pay attention to them, which makes sense, since Imperia became even more boring and tiring, as the minutes were passing by.

Last before hell were Rhapsody of Fire, a band with which almost everybody is familiar. They prepared us with some of their familiar fantasy sounds, with the vocals of Giacomo Voli making us want to fly with the dragons! His vocal technique was amazing, and he was really communicative with the crowd. Excellent performance in everything, great chemistry among the band members on stage, the guys seemed to enjoy the whole thing.  Unfortunately, and maybe this was the only negative thing in the whole festival, their sound was poor. I’m not an expert, but the microphones’ volume was low and in Rhapsody’s case, sometimes you felt the one instrument was higher than the other. The band made us want to raise our “Emerald Sword” with their epic performance, as they finished to make room on the stage for the beasts.

And now the time for us to fight hell on earth had come (I was in the center front, so believe me, I know what I’m saying)! Our Metal Kings are here! They proved that their Guinness record as the "loudest band in the world" is TRUE! Joey De Maio’s bass was so loud we thought our hearts were about to jump from our chests! E.V Martel on the guitar was great and he absolutely stood up to the occasion! Great technique, amazing on stage, he seemed like a worthy member of the band, even if he is a member of Manowar only for a while. As a special guest on stage, the band introduced for the first time their keyboardist Joe Rozler, who has been present in all the studio recordings of the band since 2002. Manowar were just EPIC! They had so much energy that they could easily pick up their swords any time to call us to arms! The setlist was bloody strong and mighty! With a huge surprise for their Greek fans, the Kings played also for the first time ever "Hector's Final Hour”, from the "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy Ιn Eight Parts" opus - brilliant way to honor their Greek fans! Adams was impressive with his chilling voice, as he was going all over the stage … Honestly, we all wondered how the hell he still has this killer voice. The show included fireworks, lava, a huge video wall with terrific special effects, fighters from all over history, and fire! It was an once in a lifetime experience! Totally worth all the bruises, the pain, the waiting … Joey was as always incredible at EVERYTHING!!! At the end, he broke his bass strings like he was in a sacred ceremony to the Gods of War!

The show lasted one hour and forty-five minutes, minutes that will never be forgotten. I can’t say anything bad for their appearance – surely there were negative things, however, I headbanged my ass out, so I just didn’t notice them, or better, I didn’t care to notice them. This live experience will stay forever not only in my mind, but also in every Manowarrior’ s mind. We were truly honored to witness this show. Thank you Manowar!

Sylvia Argie Crystal

 

 

So yesterday I went to see Beth Hart for the first time, at the Melina Mercouri Open Air Theatre, and I had really high expectations from her.

I can honestly say that they were all absolutely fulfilled.

What the whole audience experienced there, is something that words aren’t enough to describe, as Beth Hart came hard as a rock and soft as a wave and simply “made love” with the Greek audience. 

But let’s start from the beginning. The opening act was the Greek blues rock duo, The Big Nose Attack, who filled the stage with its energy and passion and warmed us up for more blues to come.

When the Greeks finished, Beth Hart began her performance singing her heart out with the “Sinner’s Prayer” – a classic song, which immediately shook us and got us all up from the chairs dancing and prepared us for what was about to come.

Is there any other singer/composer with more communicative skills than her? I really don’t think so, as I have been present in many concerts so far and I have never seen an artist thanking the audience so many times during the whole show. I haven’t ever seen any artist sharing on stage his/hers most private moments with the crowd, showing courage and humanity, like she did, - she actually admitted that, when she was in her late 20s, she experienced serious addiction to drugs and alcohol and that she hated herself so much and her self-esteem was so low, that she ended up cutting herself in order to feel alive. I haven’t ever seen any artist performing a song especially for his/her husband/wife – which, in Hart’s case, was the super romantic “My California”. And thanking him in public for marrying her, claiming to be really lucky with her marriage. After that song, Hart’s husband, who had been behind the stage, jumped out from the shadows hugging her and kissing her passionately on stage.

Beth Hart came in Athens with one goal - to sing violently her most popular songs like the rhythmic “Jazz Man”, the sexy “Close to my Fire”, the touching and inspired “Leave the Lights On”. Of course, the songs “Your Heart is as Black as Night” and “I’ll Take Care of You” weren’t missing from the setlist. She also introduced us to less known to the public songs, like the “Lullaby of the Leaves”- an old jazz song, which lifted our spirit high among the stars, between the rocks that were standing all around us in the Theatre, and moved everyone in the audience. She came determined to give everything with her performance, her growling, her screams, her crawling on the floor, after having poured on her head an entire bottle of water (she did that more than once). One of the top moments of the concert was, when she came down from the stage and walked among the crowd (like Moses), while singing. Hart said that the Greeks were the best audience she ever had and that she would be really lucky if she could visit Greece more than once every year! And she claimed that Greece makes her feel so, so sexy, something she proved to us, by swaying her body with passion in almost every song - the stage almost caught fire and we all were burnt by her flames!

To sum up, the power of her voice and her personality is something to be remembered- I feel bad for those who didn’t come to the show, to enjoy this unique artist and honest person, who isn’t afraid of being judged and is 100% true, who doesn’t mind getting “dirty” as she said, laying down, singing with her whole heart and soul.

Truly remarkable.

Iro Kalligeri

We don’t have the chance to see many legendary classic rock bands here in Greece, so arranging small trips abroad is the last resort. But this time, a great band of the seventies included Athens in its tour program – Jethro Tull are celebrating their 50-year anniversary and they visited Athens on June 15th 2019. It was an alert for every Greek rock aficionado, and thousands of people heeded the call.

Ian Anderson and his bandmates had a rendezvous with us in the beautiful Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The ancient Greek theatre wasn’t full though. I also noticed that many non-rock listeners attended the event, so it was clear that many rock fans didn’t buy a ticket. Anyway, the concert started some minutes after 9 pm – with the entrance of Ian Anderson, the audience started to applaud and yell. The singer with the flute was in front of us, and the flashback began. The journey started with the “This Was” album and included some of the band’s greatest tunes, from albums like “Thick as a Brick”, “Stand Up” and “Songs from the Wood”. It was a singular experience, to enjoy these monumental songs, to have this big band playing only for us, to see Anderson playing his flute like god Pan. Magical!

On the other hand, it wasn’t nice to realise that Ian Anderson couldn’t sing comfortably, obviously he has problems with his voice, it is something natural after so many years though, and nothing could spoil our joy.

We left the ancient Greek theatre satisfied and excited. Of course, the best moments of the show were the amazing performance of “Aqualung” and “Locomotive Breathe”. In general we experienced a classic rock celebration, a blast from the past of Jethro Tull, a look in the achievements of this gigantic band! An awe-inspiring concert!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Friday, 10th of May 2019, was marked as a day of (almost unbearable) anticipation, since Enslaved, for the very first time in their career, would perform (at last!) in our humble city. Indeed, 28 years were too much, especially for us, the older fans, who watched how their music evolved drastically over time, defying normality and embracing paradox reality. As one may conclude, expectations were extremely high, concerning both their on-stage performance and the setlist, since all of their 14 albums (many of which are considered as masterpieces) are almost impossible to be included in one concert. Let’s see what happened that historic night.

by Alex Nikolaidis

The Norwegians were supported by Lucifer’s Child, a promising Greek black metal band, formed 6 years ago by George Emmanuel (ex-Rotting Christ) and Stathis Ridis (Nightfall). Starting their act on time, in front of a few people though, they showed from the very first moments that they have worked a lot in the rehearsal studio, performing confidently their songs, mainly from their second album (“The Order”). Their music, influenced by the Swedish black metal, and bearing some technical patterns that surely draw interest, was performed precisely and in the right mood. Lucifer’s Child are a new band, with few live shows only, but the experience of Marios Dupont (a well-known vocalist due to his excellent work with Karma Violens) and George (after 7 years on the road with Rotting Christ) was the catalyst for an intense, crushing show. However, despite their admittedly good efforts (especially by Marios), the reaction of the audience was not what the band would expect. The gripping “Haraya” and the hellish, addictive “The Order” were absolute highlights, in a performance that was the appropriate “appetizer” of what was meant to follow, no matter the audience’s rather cold reactions.

 

Setlist:

Intro (Black Heart)

Haraya

Fall of the Rebel Angels

Through Fire We Burn

He, Who Punishes and Slays

El Dragon

The Order

Viva Morte

 

A few moments later, and contrary to my initial fears, the attendance became quite satisfying. Without significant delay, one of the strongest desires of the Greek audience appeared in front of our eyes and then the time stopped, revealing an alternate reality of Norwegian black metal and prog/space psychedelia. The first riffs of “Ethica Odini”, greeted by everyone’s screams, filled the air and signaled the start of a journey that would last for almost two hours. The opus “Roots of the Mountain” was performed with all its magnificence and intensity, while “Ruun” and “Ground”, taken from their middle period, revealed the band’s expertise in playing like a well-tuned clock all their complex patterns with high precision and ease.

Soon, the late prog era was succeeded by a deep dive into the early roots of Enslaved. The cold, crystal-like intro of “Frost” led to three consecutive songs from that brilliant album: “Loke”, “Fenris” and “Isöders Dronning” caused awe, shivering, excitement, violence and -above all- admiration for a band that is able to change at will musical skins like a chameleon. These opuses were performed as the Norwegian black metal of the 90s commands. They were Cold. Sharp. Raw. Remorseless. Like then, when everything started in that Nordic country.

After that freezing hell, the band rose to the surface again, visiting “Below the Lights”, an album that became a turning point in its long discography. “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth” and “Havenless” transferred us to an alternate dimension, without disrupting the coherence of the concert. The latter was ritualistic, majestic, invocatory, something we will always refer to. “Storm Son” and “Sacred Horse” followed from their last highly appraised album, filling the air with their elegant parts.

The encore led us to the addictive riffing of “Isa”, while the end was a huge leap to the very first era; “Allfǫðr Oðinn” from the monumental “Hordanes Land” was the perfect, dark, frozen closure of a concert that will remain as a brilliant example of excellence in the years to come.

It was evident that the Norwegians came to compensate us fully for their absence all these years and they fulfilled their mission. Their performance, either in aggressive or progressive and more technically demanding songs reached high levels, revealing expertise beyond any doubt. Grutle remained communicative, kind and humorous throughout the whole concert; Ice Dale was perfect in his guitar work and Håkon colored vividly the songs with his touching, clean voice. As for Ivar, he was the benign, gracious Viking giant who controls everything. Enslaved honored us with a 2-hour show, paying respect to their early and later era and satisfying all fans alike.

 

Setlist:

Ethica Odini

Roots of the Mountain

Ruun

Ground

Frost (intro)

Loke

Fenris

Isöders Dronning

As Fire Swept Clean the Earth

Havenless                                

Storm Son

Sacred Horse

Encore:

Drum solo

Isa

Allfǫðr Oðinn

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