Nevermore, Symphony X, Psychotic Waltz

Event: The Power Of Metal Tour
Written by: Darkside Momo
Published: 11.03.2011

Galleries:

Power Of Metal, Toulouse, France, 01/03/2011 by Moocher (29)
Have you seen this bill, seriously? Any self-respecting metalhead should have been there. But well, here in Toulouse, the 'laziness of the south' is not a legend, far from it, so only about 600 people came to the Phare this evening.

But, wait, oh shit, Le Phare? Damn, this venue has an horrendous sound. Really. I still remember the time Symphony X first came here in 2007, the sound was quite horrible to say the least (true story). And well, as you'll see by reading further, the sound was not that bad for the three headliners, but far from awesome either…



Thaurorod

I was warned beforehand, Thaurorod are a Sonata Arctica clone. It proved true, and without Tomi Kakko's arrogance and pink (or green) trousers - which is always a bonus. Plus, their guitar player knows damn well how to shred.

All in all, it wasn't original in the slightest, but the band played with energy and conviction, so fans of the genre (and others) definitely enjoyed it.




Mercenary

I didn't know the band beforehand, but I couldn't make anything of it. Why? The sound was absolutely disastrous, easily the worst of the evening: they pulled another Cynic on us! Yeah that means the guitars were nowhere to be heard (read more here about Cynic's disastrous sound in the Phare)… In these conditions, try to have an opinion about a band! Surely The Phare is not the only culprit here, I guess the band's sound engineer (if they have one) should learn his job…

Anyway, what I could make off the music was quite thrashy, but some vocals seemed out of place at times (yeah, seemed, it's difficult to be sure). And no, I wouldn't have guessed that they had some really melodic moments, and a Gothenburg edge to their music, with keyboards included… I was so disgusted, I went chatting outside during the rest of their set.




Psychotic Waltz

The cult band reunited, with the full original line-up? Quite awesome, isn't it? Sure it is, at least for the few and far between fans of this weird band. Yes, their musical universe is so special and unique, melodic yet dissonant, progressive, dark and yet thrashy at times, that many many people didn't 'understand it' (quoting a real, overheard discussion) not got into the show. Those who did, however, had a blast. I needed two songs to really get into it, but then it was pure wonder. And, thank (insert here whomever you want, God, Satan, you name it) the sound wasn't horrible, all could be heard. Not clear as crystal, but well…

Their playing was tight as the proverbial duck's ass (© Collin), all the instrumental complexity of their songs was perfect, I couldn't hear a lapse. Ah, these solos… That said I do have a complaint: why the fuck did Devon "Buddy Lackey" Grave feel the need to go backstage each time he wasn't singing? That was pretty irritating.

As far as the setlist is concerned, I don't remember it exactly; I can only say they played songs from all their albums, and "Spiral Tower", "Ashes", "Morbid", "Halo Of Thorns", "I Of The Storm" were played this evening.

One last information of note: a new album will be forthcoming - don't be in a hurry thought, they'll take the time it needs.




Nevermore

During most of the evening, the question was: "Will Nevermore make it to the Phare in time?" See, they were planned for a signing session this very afternoon in Toulouse, which got canceled because they weren't there. During Mercenary's set, they still hadn't arrived. And finally, before their last song, Psychotic Waltz's Devon Grave told us that "Nevermore is finally in the place." At last!

And so they were able to play at the scheduled time. They were happy to be there, as was plain to see, but their enthusiasm was doused quite quickly when they saw the apathetic, non-reactive crowd. There was no moshing at all (come on, the show started with "Inside Four Walls", for fuck's sake, and "Born" sure deserved some good friendly violent fun too), and only yours truly and a few select others did sing along - Warrel was disappointed by how few people did actually know the lyrics.

Warrel himself was a bit ill for sure (as he coughed and spit quite a few times), and so his singing was not always in place, but he made for it with his conviction; this guy sure believes in what he sings. The others? Well, Jim Sheppard obviously wasn't here but she played well enough (and was more good-looking, at least from a guy's point of view); and Jeff Loomis was, well, awesome as usual.

And, hey, they played "This Godless Endeavor". After that, there's nothing more to say.




Symphony X

The last band to play, they had a one-hour slot, just like Nevermore. And well, they too would have deserved a better sound (which was infinitely better than the one they got in 2007). And, they too would have deserved a better audience. But well… On they played.

OK, the audience was warmer, but still obviously not über-reactive either. Even when Russell Allen did some pranks - one gotta love how this guy, apart from being one of the best metal singers around, is also a smiling, funny prankster. Anyway, the band delivered, and all members played once again flawlessly - something extraordinary given the complexity of their songs, yet not out of the ordinary, as that's how they always are… Perfect.

The setlist was mostly centered on their latest opus Paradise Lost, and they also played two new songs, from their forthcoming Iconoclast album. These two confirm the heavy direction the band takes - on the second ("Iconoclast") the guitars were almost thrash in their aggression. Apart from that, they're Symphony X material 'as usual': great guitars and keyboards, fantastic singing, it's funny how we can get used so fast to good stuff…




Conclusion

Pure blast of an evening indeed. Shame it didn't happen 10km away (at the Bikini)… But well, I criticize (rightfully) the Phare for its awful sound, but I'll still be there for any future metal show. Hey, at least they do have some, right?

Back on topic for a few seconds: this tour was awesome. Two headliners, three fantastic bands. I want MOAR indeed.

All pics by Moocher

Many thanks to Roger for the accreditation, and to Laurent and Miki (you know why )


 



Written on 11.03.2011 by
Darkside Momo
Used to be your regular Hellfest reporter, now almost retired . I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.
More articles by Darkside Momo ››




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wrathchild - 11.03.2011 at 17:04  
Having seen the same gig in Paris, I gotta say that from a guitarist point of view, this was a quite of a sweeping fest! All the guitarists that played on that night were great and skilled, but truth be told, Romeo slayed'em all. Even Loomis.
Even though I was a bit disappointed by SX' setlist. As you wrote, too much material from Paradise Lost, and the two new songs were the worst IMO.
Also Thaurorod was really enjoyable, especially for me since I reviewed two of their demos... Alas, they no longer play with the same singer and the new one sucks... while the former had that touch of majesty that made the band sound quite unique, the new guy is just your average power metal singer, and moreover his Italian accent shows in his pronunciation.
Marcel Hubregtse - 11.03.2011 at 17:54  
5 bands at a midweek show? Way too many imo. Just restrict it to the three (sx, nm, ps) That's more than enough.
Valentin B - 11.03.2011 at 19:08  
I'm a bit sad i couldn't get to one of these shows, although i'm not too proud of Nevermore's last album. Symphony X is an excellent band.
Ag Fox - 11.03.2011 at 20:04  
I'm jealous!

>on the second ("Iconoclast") the guitars were almost thrash in their aggression
sounds cool
wrathchild - 11.03.2011 at 21:10  
Written by Ag Fox on 11.03.2011 at 20:04

>on the second ("Iconoclast") the guitars were almost thrash in their aggression
sounds cool


Nope, doesn't...sounded awfully uninspired to me, especially this second new song called "Dehumanized". I didn't like "End of Innoncence" that much either but from what I remember it was better.
corrupt - 11.03.2011 at 22:05  
I'm about to see this show next thursday. Luckily in a venue where the sound is good and Nevermore have been welcomed on more than one occasion. But my ticket says it's a Nevermore headliner show and the others support. I don't care for the others, my two high points of that night will be Mercenary once more and Nevermore. I'm really looking forward to Mercenary once again. The new album isn't quite what I expected but René is awesome on stage and I really hope they don't just play new stuff. I would have asked you about it but as you don't know the band (which is, ... I mean, come on man!) I guess I'll have to find out myself. Nevermore seem to play the same set (with one or two variations since they started the tour. I've seen three of those shows yet and it was the same setlist on two of them. But hey, hellooo! It's Nevermore

I'm sorry your show didn't go too well. Bad sound is more than a downer on a concert. It's the very element that makes the scale go down on the 'bad' end. No matter how enthusiastic the musicians are.
wrathchild - 11.03.2011 at 22:45  
Written by corrupt on 11.03.2011 at 22:05
my two high points of that night will be Mercenary once more and Nevermore. I'm really looking forward to Mercenary once again. The new album isn't quite what I expected but René is awesome on stage and I really hope they don't just play new stuff. I would have asked you about it but as you don't know the band (which is, ... I mean, come on man!)


I think I remember them announcing new and old songs as well. In Paris, the sound was good, the band was quite good, the music was... definitely not as good as the other bands on that night. I know it's a matter of taste so I'll just ask you for pointers as to which Mercenary songs I should listen to.
Also, the bassist/singer was bassless for half of a song, and I just couldn't hear any real difference - but at least the guy knows what to do when this happens, and he's got certain qualities as a frontman.
corrupt - 11.03.2011 at 23:48  
Written by wrathchild on 11.03.2011 at 22:45

Written by corrupt on 11.03.2011 at 22:05
my two high points of that night will be Mercenary once more and Nevermore. I'm really looking forward to Mercenary once again. The new album isn't quite what I expected but René is awesome on stage and I really hope they don't just play new stuff. I would have asked you about it but as you don't know the band (which is, ... I mean, come on man!)


I think I remember them announcing new and old songs as well. In Paris, the sound was good, the band was quite good, the music was... definitely not as good as the other bands on that night. I know it's a matter of taste so I'll just ask you for pointers as to which Mercenary songs I should listen to.
Also, the bassist/singer was bassless for half of a song, and I just couldn't hear any real difference - but at least the guy knows what to do when this happens, and he's got certain qualities as a frontman.

That remark about having to know Mercenary was more of a joke. I don't think I would be into them if it wasn't for my history with them. They had one (actually two) really good album, 11 Dreams. The title song and Firesoul are still their most requested songs today. After that, the key member, bassist and background singer, Kral left and their sound started to, well, develop. He was replaced on bass duties by René, who's the only singer left now, after the old one, the keyboarder and the drummer left last year. A friend of mine and I bought special tickets to a show in 2006 (I think), where the band invited two fans to stay with them for the day before the concert. We had quite a time that day and from that time on, they recognized us on shows, snuck us backstage on occasion and got us free drinks on other shows. So we've been in good contact since then and followed them around to shows we could reach easily. I remember this one show just behind the Danish border where they recognized us in the crowd and made an annoucement that some special friends were there and so they'd change their setlist to include one of our favorite songs. That was a really special night. And one of the last times we've seen them in the old lineup. So I'm really looking forward to the show on thursday. But for old times' sake at least as much as for the music. Their recent stuff isn't bad, but it first became gothenburg and now leans towards hardcore. Not exactly my taste. But if you want to take a peek, try Everblack and 11 Dreams. Both are pretty high-quality albums. I guess you would call the style melodic death, but not the kind you scare die-hard death fans to death with (haha).
Darkside Momo - 12.03.2011 at 01:35  
Whoa, thanks for the comments!

@ Wrath: I liked the two new songs, actually

@ Corrupt: during the whole tour, I think both Nevermore and Symphony X are co-headliners, with a one-hour set each. As for the sound, well, it thankfully improved from Psychotic Waltz onwards, but given the existence of a venue with a perfect sound about 10 kilometers away, one can be pretty picky
Bad English - 12.03.2011 at 15:05  
Mercenary denish one hug I would like see Isreali one
Psychotic Waltz how ppl cant not like it? This shood be headliner, Nevermore and Wyphony X never be in such level, other prog bands never will reach such level, if there wont be Psychotic Waltz, I wont like prog metal(who's pretty boring genraly)
I have quaseten did thay play ''I REMEMBER*' if yes how it was, IMO song what stands out from other band songs,

EDDIT: There shood be more pics whit female bassist
Vitriolic Hate - 12.03.2011 at 16:38  
Good line-up for a midweek show indeed!
Bad English - 13.03.2011 at 02:57  
Written by Vitriolic Hate on 12.03.2011 at 16:38

Good line-up for a midweek show indeed!


midweek, bands has shedue to follw, if all gigs be in weekend thanm Guns n Fucking Roses illusion 2 years tour would end maybe now
Vitriolic Hate - 13.03.2011 at 14:34  
Written by Bad English on 13.03.2011 at 02:57

Written by Vitriolic Hate on 12.03.2011 at 16:38

Good line-up for a midweek show indeed!


midweek, bands has shedue to follw, if all gigs be in weekend thanm Guns n Fucking Roses illusion 2 years tour would end maybe now

haha, good comparison.
corrupt - 13.03.2011 at 15:38  
Written by Darkside Momo on 12.03.2011 at 01:35
@ Corrupt: during the whole tour, I think both Nevermore and Symphony X are co-headliners, with a one-hour set each.

I wasn't aware of that. So just another Nevermore one-hour show. The last two times I've seen them were festival shows and I was so looking forward to a real headliner show once again. I've only seen two of those in my life, all the other times were either festivals or opener shows. Ah well, still looking forward to it
Promonex - 17.03.2011 at 03:06  
Just returned from this show in Frankfurt. Nevermore and the Waltz were AMAAAAZING! Third time I've seen Nevermore and I thought I'd know what to expect, but they were just WOW this time around! And Psychotic Waltz were celebrated like headliners by the audience! I never thought they were particularly well known around this place, but people were actually singing along! And their show was truly mindblowing! Just a pity Symphony X had such a crappy sound.

Written by corrupt on 11.03.2011 at 23:48
They had one (actually two) really good album, 11 Dreams. The title song and Firesoul are still their most requested songs today.

Unfortunately they only played one of those two songs. And unfortunately it had been the one I like less. Mercenary overall failed to impress me.

Thaurorod were some decent yet harmless fun. Quite okay for an opener.
corrupt - 17.03.2011 at 10:13  
Written by Promonex on 17.03.2011 at 03:06

Just returned from this show in Frankfurt. Nevermore and the Waltz were AMAAAAZING! Third time I've seen Nevermore and I thought I'd know what to expect, but they were just WOW this time around! And Psychotic Waltz were celebrated like headliners by the audience! I never thought they were particularly well known around this place, but people were actually singing along! And their show was truly mindblowing! Just a pity Symphony X had such a crappy sound.

Written by corrupt on 11.03.2011 at 23:48
They had one (actually two) really good album, 11 Dreams. The title song and Firesoul are still their most requested songs today.

Unfortunately they only played one of those two songs. And unfortunately it had been the one I like less. Mercenary overall failed to impress me.

Thaurorod were some decent yet harmless fun. Quite okay for an opener.

I guess you can't blame them. They've had three albums after 11 Dreams now. When have Nevermore played The Sanity Assassin the last time (ok, last year. But that only proves my point). I guess Mercenary had 30-45 minutes playtime and six albums to pick from.
I'm still looking forward to tonight. Even after three of you guys saying they disappointed. If not for the show itself, then for old times' sake. Can't be too bad, plus Nevermore and Mercenary are the only bands I know in this lineup anyway.
Promonex - 17.03.2011 at 14:51  
Written by corrupt on 17.03.2011 at 10:13

Written by Promonex on 17.03.2011 at 03:06

Written by corrupt on 11.03.2011 at 23:48
They had one (actually two) really good album, 11 Dreams. The title song and Firesoul are still their most requested songs today.

Unfortunately they only played one of those two songs. And unfortunately it had been the one I like less. Mercenary overall failed to impress me.

I guess you can't blame them. They've had three albums after 11 Dreams now. When have Nevermore played The Sanity Assassin the last time (ok, last year. But that only proves my point). I guess Mercenary had 30-45 minutes playtime and six albums to pick from.
I'm still looking forward to tonight. Even after three of you guys saying they disappointed. If not for the show itself, then for old times' sake. Can't be too bad, plus Nevermore and Mercenary are the only bands I know in this lineup anyway.

You don't know Symphony X? I mean, come on man!

Well, I'm not blaming them for not playing the one song I wanted them to play. Neither am I blaming Nevermore for not playing "The Sanity Assassin", "Poison Godmachine" or "A Future Uncertain". I'm blaming them for not making much of an impression at all. Their frontman is quite good, he has a way of connecting with people, a lot more so than the dude they had 2 1/2 years ago, but the music just didn't do anything for me.

You should however stick around for Psychotic Waltz. I'm not overly familiar with their stuff either, I only know their debut album and haven't really gone crazy about it, but live they were what I'd call "bewusstseinserweiternd" in German (the English term "mind-blowing" comes close).
corrupt - 18.03.2011 at 03:59  
Written by Promonex on 17.03.2011 at 14:51

You don't know Symphony X? I mean, come on man!

Well, I'm not blaming them for not playing the one song I wanted them to play. Neither am I blaming Nevermore for not playing "The Sanity Assassin", "Poison Godmachine" or "A Future Uncertain". I'm blaming them for not making much of an impression at all. Their frontman is quite good, he has a way of connecting with people, a lot more so than the dude they had 2 1/2 years ago, but the music just didn't do anything for me.

You should however stick around for Psychotic Waltz. I'm not overly familiar with their stuff either, I only know their debut album and haven't really gone crazy about it, but live they were what I'd call "bewusstseinserweiternd" in German (the English term "mind-blowing" comes close).

Of course I know Symphony X. But the few songs I have listened to weren't my thing and so I didn't get into them. That counts as not knowing a band when it comes to concerts. I don't know the songs, I can't sing along, I don't know the band.

But anyway. I've just returned from the very show and I had a really awesome night. Thaurorod were, as Promonex said, quite fun and, without reading that comment there, I did stick around for Psychotic Waltz. But first Mercenary. I think I can see what you guys mean when you say there's not much in it. They definitely delivered, but I also realize that my view is biased there seeing how many of their shows I've attended and that, by now, I actually know the guys a bit. They're pretty much my homeband. I did enjoy the show. I haven't seen them opening with Into The Sea Of Dark Desires/World Hate Center for at least four years and playing Firesoul always makes me happy. But the recent material shows constant degradation of quality and the loss of Mikkel and Morten lies heavily on their stage appearance. Four men is just not the Mercenary I used to love, plus, the setlist was way too long on Metamorphosis. Still the show was full of energy and emotion. So when Psychotic Waltz entered the stage we were really disappointed. After the massive energy Mercenary conveyed, Psychotiv Waltz seemed to drain that energy back at first. Slow songs, emotionless band, you name it. But about two songs in, the sheer awesomeness of what we witnessed started to unfold. The ease in which the singer can change pitch by several octaves and how he can use his voice as more of an instrument than many a guitar player his. The emotion in their guitar works and the atmosphere in their soundscapes. Most likely no stuff I'd listen to on CD, but a great live experience.
Symphony X we skipped. Instead we went outside to talk to the guys of Mercenary. Much to my surprise, instead of Jacob and René, I found the Sandager brothers as part of an impressive group of Danish people who came to see the band (mostly old friends who came to Hamburg for a surprise visit). We had a good talk about their reasons for leaving/being kicked out of the band and the development since 11 Dreams. It was very enlightening and the guys were polite as usual and ready to answer every of my questions in detail.
Back in for Nevermore we experienced the high point of our night. These guys just never disappoint. Seven times I've seen them now, seven times I went home thinking 'AWESOME!'. Today, even Jeff Loomis seemed to have fun playing (which is not to be taken for granted given his usual business-like attitude towards live shows) and Attila once more played with his face just as much as with his guitar. They could definitely have picked a better setlist though. Not that there's a Nevermore song I wouldn't like to see live, but diversity is the key to a really good set and diversity is what this one lacked. As they mostly do, the furthest they went back was to Dead Heard In A Dead World and Enemies Of Reality was barely touched. It is awesome to see This Godless Endeavor live but there's just so much more stuff they could have played. Nevermore definitely need to start playing two-hour sets. They have way too much material and as far as this tour goes, I'd just have left Symphony X out of the bill and made serious room for all of it.
Darkside Momo - 18.03.2011 at 15:27  
Written by corrupt on 18.03.2011 at 03:59

Nevermore definitely need to start playing two-hour sets.

That.
corrupt - 18.03.2011 at 16:06  
And did I mention that I caught one of Van Williams' drum sticks?
Marcel Hubregtse - 20.03.2011 at 23:53  
Written by Promonex on 17.03.2011 at 03:06

Just returned from this show in Frankfurt. Nevermore and the Waltz were AMAAAAZING! Third time I've seen Nevermore and I thought I'd know what to expect, but they were just WOW this time around! And Psychotic Waltz were celebrated like headliners by the audience! I never thought they were particularly well known around this place, but people were actually singing along!


Psychotic Waltz were quite big back in the day in only three countries. Namely, the Netherlands, Belgium and..... GERMANY So no suroprise there for me at all that there was singing along to them.
Also here in Amsterdam they were clebrated like headliners, and rightly so. Nevermore live is way too much like a standard groove metal band only Loomis solos were a redeeming fact and Dane's vocals.

To whoever said Psychotic Waltz are emotionless. WTF? If there was one band with emotion on stage in this tour it was PW. Quite psychedelic at times but full of emotion and energy. Not the jumping energy but the energy form within.
Promonex - 21.03.2011 at 01:31  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 20.03.2011 at 23:53

Written by Promonex on 17.03.2011 at 03:06

Just returned from this show in Frankfurt. Nevermore and the Waltz were AMAAAAZING! Third time I've seen Nevermore and I thought I'd know what to expect, but they were just WOW this time around! And Psychotic Waltz were celebrated like headliners by the audience! I never thought they were particularly well known around this place, but people were actually singing along!


Psychotic Waltz were quite big back in the day in only three countries. Namely, the Netherlands, Belgium and..... GERMANY So no suroprise there for me at all that there was singing along to them.

Perhaps, but the people who had been singing along were mostly in their twens, so they were 5-15 in PW's heyday.
corrupt - 22.03.2011 at 17:09  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 20.03.2011 at 23:53

To whoever said Psychotic Waltz are emotionless. WTF? If there was one band with emotion on stage in this tour it was PW. Quite psychedelic at times but full of emotion and energy. Not the jumping energy but the energy form within.

Well if that wasn't me. I only said they came through rather dull after the inferno that was Mercenary and I said that, once we got into the groove, they were quite enjoyable. So whatcha talkin'bout willis?

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