KAMELOT, DELAIN, BATTLE BEAST In Silver Spring, MD [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

 

The North American Tour by American power metal band Kamelot came to the Washington DC/Baltimore area recently. This is a tour I really wanted to cover as I am a big symphonic metal fan, and I had not seen  opening act Delain as of yet. On top of that one of the supporting bands was Battle Beast, who I had covered last year when they were supporting Sabaton. The recent album released by Kamelot, ‘The Shadow Theory’, has been very well received by fans and critics alike. Check out our recent review of the album (read here). Let me dive in to the review now, you can check out the photographs at the bottom of the page.

Battle Beast was the first band of the night. If you recall, Battle Beast first captured worldwide attention as the winner of Wacken Metal Battle some years back. They have made big strides over the years since, with the last release ‘Bringer of Pain’ being quite a success. As soon as the lights went out, a drum solo by Pyry Vikki started then proceedings with the lead singer Noora Louhimo bursting in to “Straight to the Heart” followed by “Bringer of Pain”. The lack of a local opening act meant that Battle Beast had a relatively longer setlist including eight songs, and I am not complaining about it at all, bring on more Battle Beast! However, if I recall correctly it was the exact same set list they played last year, and in the same order as well. I would have really liked to see some changes. On the other hand, this was a superior performance compared to the last one, a clear sign of the progress the band has made. The band is a joy to photograph, their energy on stage is simply phenomenal. An energetic performance by Noora Louhimo, with powerful yet melodic vocals, was well backed by the other band members. A fantastic start to the night, and Battle Beast left the stage to a resounding applause from the crowd. We have heard that the band is working on the upcoming album which will be released next year. Well, we can’t wait for that!

Dutch symphonic metal band Delain delivered a set that lasted close to an hour. This would be my first time seeing Delain. The set started with a drum solo, and soon after Charlotte Wessels wasted no time in setting the mood with “Hands of Gold” and “Suckerpunch”. Meren Bechtold was amazing on the guitar. The crowd enthusiastically sang with Charlotte Wessels pretty much throughout the set, and her stage persona lends very well to the kind of music the band plays. Delain wrapped up their set “We Are The Others”, one of my favorite songs by the band. They are in the process of writing a new album, which will be released sometime next year. Charlotte Wessels mentioned that they have been trying to do a US tour every year for the last few years. We will be eagerly waiting for the album and the tour next year.

Kamelot took the stage after a half hour long break after Delain’s set. They started their performance with “Phantom Divine”, the opening track from ‘The Shadow Theory’. The lighting, stage setup and the music generated quite a mood enhancing environment, a stark contrast to that of Battle Beat and Delain. Tommy Karevik took command of the stage and belted out the lyrics amidst his energetic antics on stage. Thomas Youngblood initially stayed near the sides of the stage, letting the other band members take control of the stage. Once the set progressed, he took center stage and blasted out some riffs. Lauren Hart, the vocalist of the death metal band Once Human, provided vocal support with some amazing screams and growls. Kamelot closed their set with “Liar Liar”, possibly their most popular song. The crowd was a happy bunch. I highly recommend this show. The stark differences between the styles of music played by the bands, yet bonded by the melody in the music, lends very well to this show being a resounding success. I have always been a huge fan of tours with bands that herald distinct styles, and this was one of the prime examples of that. Tons of dates are still left, so check out when they are heading your way.

State Of The Art: GREYLOTUS [EP + Video Stream]

*This is a part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state.*

This month’s state is Maryland!


Welcome to the final installment of this months SOTA! I thought I would end this one with an artist that I believe will quite literally blow your mind. This is songwriting at its highest conceivable level, but what is most remarkable, is the fact that it is solely the work of one man! From Baltimore, Maryland, let me welcome the technical/blackened deathcore project Greylotus. January saw the release of the explosive debut EP ‘Savior’ which in my opinion is undoubtedly one of the most exciting releases of this year (up there with the likes of Inferi and Slugdge who have both dropped AOTY contenders) and forms the first part of a total 3 installments. Collectively the 3 EPs will form Greylotus’ debut full-length album, with work already underway on the second installement ‘Dawnfall’.  Continue reading

JINJER & UNCURED Bring Heaviness To Baltimore After CRADLE OF FILTH Cancels [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

Last Friday evening I found myself traveling to Baltimore to cover Cradle of Filth’s Cryptorania World Tour, supported by Jinjer and Uncured. The doors opened a little late, and then at the very last minute Cradle of Filth cancelled their performance as Dani Filth had to be admitted to a local hospital due to some health issues. Chaos reigned supreme as soon as the news broke out. The disappointment of much of the crowd was palpable and many left the entry line to get into the immediately to head down to the nearest waterfront bars to douse their grief and sorrows of a ruined Friday evening. Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay is a superlative piece of work, IMHO one of the best metal releases from last year, so nonetheless it was really dissappointing that I wouldn’t be able to experience Cradle Of Filth live on stage on this night. However, Jinjer and Uncured with little time to prepare decided to play extended sets in an effort to entertain the crowd and thus the night wouldn’t be a total waste.

 

Uncured, a progressive death metal quartet from New York City, was the first band of the night. I was very happy to hear them play a slightly longer set. Last year I had covered the very first show these young lads played as a band, when they had opened for Katatonia in the iconic 9:30 Club in Washington DC. (See that review here) On that occasion, the band was a largely an unknown entity to the crowd, having released their EP ‘Medusa’ only days before the show in DC. Well, much has changed since that show. These guys have been constantly on tour supporting bigger bands like Children of Bodom and Soulfly since that show, and have seen a remarkable growth in their fan base. The growing confidence clearly shows in their stage presence and interactions with the crowd. The Cox brothers delivered the harsh vocals and riffs with aplomb, and bassist Jon Kita kept the energy on the stage without the ebb. Their show is always a welcomes site to see and hear, their intrinsic riffage and heavy groove is always a great kick start to any show. They have been working as a supporting band, but with their talents increasing I could see this band headlining shows in the near future. I spoke with the band’s bassist Jon Kita after the show and he made mention about some upcoming releases in the near future. Additionally, they are set to play in some large festivals in Europe this summer, no mean feat given how young the band and it’s members are. Keep up the good work guys, we can’t wait for some new stuff!

Jinjer, a metalcore band from Ukraine, played an extended set consisting of thirteen songs. Jinjer’s style is a cornucopia of metalcore, progressive metal and nu metal. The main attraction of the set was the performance of vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk who screamed and growled through the set. The stage presence of Tatiana was impeccable, with the rest of the band playing second fiddle to her relentless energy.  I had no familiarity with Jinjer’s music prior to this show and have listened to ‘Cloud Factory’ and ‘King of Everything’ a few times since then. Their sound is unique and implements a ton of groove which bodes well with Tatiana’s complex vocal range which goes from incredible low harsh tones to a beautiful and melodic singing. The crowd had tons of Jinjer fans, and they made those die hard fans very happy with their performance.

It sure was disappointing not to be able to see Cradle Of Filth. I am sure cancelling a show is a last resort for them, and we certainly wish Dani Filth to get well soon. As per the supporting bands, the tour vehicle of Cradle Of Filth broke down the night before on the way to Baltimore from Pennsylvania and the band had to move everything to Baltimore by hiring a U-Haul truck. One can’t blame anyone for this unforeseen sequence of events. The rest of the lineup did their best to make up for it. While Jinjer had the better stage presence with Tatiana’s remarkable talents on vocals and her limitless energy on stage, Uncured delivered the more intense set.  Cradle Of Filth is back on the road, with plenty of shows still left. Catch them if and when you get a chance. Signing off now, until the next review!

 

SABATON, KREATOR & CYHRA Dominate Silver Spring, MD [Review & Photo Gallery]

Kreator

Sabaton, Kreator and Cyhra recently kicked off their North American tour and finally it reached the Washington DC/Baltimore area last Wednesday night.  This show in Silver Spring was one of the last ones of the North American tour, the wait was grueling. This is a tour I have been waiting to cover for a while, firstly because I am a huge fan of both bands, and secondly Sabaton is a great band to photograph.  I haven’t attended any show since Trans Siberian Orchestra in November, so I was extremely excited to be surrounded by metal heads. Let me dive into the review now, you can check out the photo gallery at the bottom of the page. 

Continue reading

TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Make Christmas Rock In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Christmas came to Baltimore a little early this year. The rock extravaganza slash opera Trans Siberian Orchestra played to a nearly full house at the Royal Farms arena and displayed a dazzling performance. I have never concert lighting like Trans Siberian Orchestra’s, this is quite possibly the best display in the rock world. This was the first time I have had an opportunity to see Trans Siberian Orchestra. And we were offered some fabulous seats very close to the front. Trans Siberian Orchestra have had a sorrowful year, with the deaths of founder Paul O’Neill and the bassist David Z., Russell Allen was seriously injured in the accident that took the life of David Z., and it was great to see him back on stage. Many were skeptical if and how they were going to do without their visionary founder. The packed venues on this tour has been a sign that the band will carry on as strong as ever. Russell Allen mentioned during the show that on multiple dates on this tour they are playing two shows, a sign of the popularity of the band.

Trans Siberian Orchestra

 

The music of Trans Siberian Orchestra is loud, I could hear it pounding all around the arena even with my giant ear plugs in. The show lasting over two and a half hours, Trans Siberian Orchestra delivered what they are known for, pounding rock amalgamated with orchestra amidst breathtaking lighting and moving pieces of stages. The first half of the show was dubbed The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, with the second being a potpourri of the best songs by Trans Siberian Orchestra. The intermittent narration of the Ghosts of Christmas Eve added to the overall mood of the show. The musicianship blends seamlessly with the narration and the clips on those massive projection screens. The over the top projection beats that of even Iron Maiden! The exemplary guitar & violin play with over a dozen (honestly I lost count) vocalists is perfect. The well timed keyboard strokes set the tone for everything else. I love bands where the bass is loud and clear without and it was delivered in plenty. Russel Allen’s dance moves were, to be fair, a comedic addition to the show. Trans Siberian Orchestra closed the show with Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24), which they played earlier as well, and left to a wide applause from the crowd. This is a show I would love to cover next year when they will be on tour again. There was some very entertaining pyrotechnics, however they didn’t occur during the first three songs that we were able to capture. If you are a Christmas and rock lover in the Washington D.C. Metro area head out to the Capital One Arena on Dec 16th, Trans Siberian Orchestra will be there putting on yet another spectacle you need to witness. You owe yourself a ticket to this show if you have never seen them before. The show is family friendly as well, a sight to see for all ages. They have about 90 dates left on this current tour, so you will in all likelihood get a chance to see them. Let us know what you think after you see them grace the stage. Signing off now, until my next review.

Set List

1. Time and Distance (The Dash)
2. Winter Palace
3. The Lost Christmas Eve

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
4. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night
5. Good King Joy
6. Christmas Dreams
7. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Savatage cover)
8. Christmas Canon Rock
9. What Child Is This?                                                                                                                                                                        10. Music Box Blues
11. First Snow
12. Promises to Keep
13. This Christmas Day

The Best of TSO
14. Siberian Sleigh Ride
15. An Angel’s Share
16. Christmas Nights in Blue
17. A Mad Russian’s Christmas
18. For the Sake of Our Brother
19. Wizards in Winter
20. Madness of Men
21. Beethoven
22. Carmina Burana
23. The Safest Way Into Tomorrow
24. The Night Conceives
25. The Mountain
26. Find Our Way Home
27. Requiem (The Fifth)
28. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (Reprise)

 

 

EPICA, LACUNA COIL, INSOMNIUM & ELANTRIS In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

Epica & Cristina Scabbia

The Ultimate Principle tour featuring Epica, Lacuna Coil, Insomnium and Elantris reached Baltimore last Wednesday. This was one of the last dates of the tour and hence I wanted to thoroughly mull over the performance before I put pen to paper. This is hands down the most melodic tour of the year in North America. Rarely do we see a tour with two powerhouse mezzo soprano vocalists in heavy metal. The excitement in the Facebook groups devoted to symphonic and gothic metal has been palpable for months. As I grow older I have slowly gravitated towards the symphonic aspect of heavy metal, and not attending a lineup of genre defining bands was never a question! Continue reading

EXODUS, OBITUARY Slay The Stage In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

Exodus

Here is a scenario, Baltimore city lay amidst ruins engulfed by flames and black smoke. As a raven flies over the city towards the inner harbor, it watches the fires and flames gradually intensify. The exact epicenter being 124 Market Place, the street address of Baltimore Soundstage. Surely this must have happened in one of the infinite alternate universes that exist. The cause behind this mayhem are two bands, Exodus and Obituary. On a balmy Saturday night, the two bands blew the lid off Baltimore Soundstage with the heaviest performance I have seen in a very long time. The tour titled “Battle of The Bays” is possibly the heaviest tour of the Fall, and I was not going to miss it. Continue reading

DEAD CROSS & SECRET CHIEFS 3 In Baltimore [Photo Gallery]

Dead Cross

 

Last Friday night I was in Baltimore to experience DEAD CROSS, a super group consisting of past and present members of the bands Suicidal Tendencies, The Misfits, Slayer, Faith No More, Tomahawk etc. I had been approved for this show months ahead of the show date, and as a fan of Slayer I was excited to see Dave Lombardo on drums. DEAD CROSS released their eponymous album, the first one of the band, which has received excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. While I am not a huge fan of hardcore, I totally get why the fans have been so excited about this tour. Continue reading

THE DEAD DAISIES, THE DIVES, THRILLKILLER @ Rams Head Live [Photo Gallery]

The Dead Daisies

Last Friday night I headed back to Ram’s Head Live after four months to cover The Dead Daisies, a super group consisting of members who had played in bands like Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and various other well known bands. I had listened to their recent album ‘Make Some Noise’ and checked out snippets of their live performances. The Washington DC-Baltimore metropolitan had been hit by a major storm system in the late afternoons and those who made it to the venue on time really had to endure the horrendous traffic of the region in very hard driving conditions. I was extremely annoyed to see the show start earlier than the scheduled time, which in my opinion is criminal, especially as it was a major “weather alert” day. Continue reading

Blaze Bayley Live In Baltimore! [Photo Gallery]

Blaze Bayley

 

Last night I had my second consecutive fantastic Sunday night in Baltimore. I covered Blaze Bayley, a singer who was the former front man of the iconic metal legends Iron Maiden, one of the greatest metal bands the universe has ever seen. This is a tour many may not have paid the attention it well and truly deserves! Iron Maiden is my favorite heavy metal band, bar none. Well, I am one of those people who think his album ‘The X Factor’ with Iron Maiden is fantastic, albeit different from the Dickinson era Maiden. This is an album that had kept me company during my troubled and volatile years while riding down remote mountainous roads in India on my motorcycle. And not once during those days did I imagine Blaze Bayley shoving the microphone right in my face to sing “The Man on The Edge” with him, the way he did last night. Personally, the whole show was sort of a trip down memory lane. Fish Head Cantina, located in Baltimore, is the venue where I photographed my very first heavy metal show, the band on that occasion being the mighty influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head. And to cover another legend in Blaze Bayley was the fitting way to go back to where it all began as a concert photographer. Continue reading