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The annoying question on what to do on New Year´s Eve was answered this time by Z7 in Pratteln, right after the Metal Dayz. Back then club owner Norbert decided to organize the End Of Dayz festival, for the first time in Z7 history. Three days of Metal-New Year-countdown with 34 different bands, a heated tent with stage plus the usual concert hall.
Friday 29. 12. 2006 Great what they did with the area. There are several small heated tents with seats before entering the big tent with stage, merchandise stand, mixer and signing session area. After that a smaller tent with food stand and the hall entrance. All tents are connected and attached to the main hall, a perfect solution.
SOULSTRIP It seems that not all fans have arrived yet, perhaps because there are still people who have to work between holidays, or the long trip to the location. But what sticks out at once in the tent are those quite young Metalheads gathering here, and some are no longer sober. This is why the Swiss band have to fight to move their audience with their sound. Not one stands before stage, all prefer a two meter distance. That looks strange, like Zombies waiting for their next victim passing by. What a pity for SOULSTRIP who play a quite good set and, unbelievably, gain some applause.
In the hall the Swiss Thrash-Death Metal band SHORTS AND CHURCHBELLS continues. There is always a 15 minute break to switch places, and then also signing sessions take place.
THE VISION BLEAK The German duo Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and Allen B. Konstanz prefer the dark side of Death Metal. And in their lyrics incredible stories about death, unbearable horror and total devastation. Their sound features dark hard riffs, the drum beats mercilessly heavy. There is a certain recurring sequence that reminds me of the “Riders On The Storm” song on the Blues Brothers soundtrack. Great, also the vocals are varied, and you can even understand, and feel, the lyrics of every single song. Horrifying beautiful and wonderfully scary. In the meantime more fans arrived, and the spirit is much higher.
THE ORDER This Swiss band is quite young, founded two years ago by Spring (git), Andrej (b), Tschibu (dr) and Gianni (voc). They play first class Hardrock/Heavy Metal, mixing classic Hardrock with modern Metal in a great way. And those vocals, Gianni´s voice (also singer of Pure Inc.) just kicks in. It´s so full of life and very appealing. Just like the singer himself. A great proper guy who will always say hello, no matter where or who hangs with him. Even those Zombies awoke to new life because of this band.
CHARON Finally, finally the Finns have managed to come back to Switzerland, and I insist on absorbing their concert in the front row. CHARON with Antti Karihtala (git), Teemu Hautamäki (b), Pasi Siplä (dr), Lauri Touhimaa (git) and Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto (voc). Those guys play Gothic Metal/Dark Rock, Melody-Death-Metal or whatever you like, simply great dark melancholic Metal. I like this kind of music and they play like little devils, torture their instruments, and it´s fun to listen. And Juha-Pekka´s vocals adds to that, of course. During my faves „Colder“ and „Little Angel“ I cannot hold back any longer, I sing along on top of my lungs – a great concert.
After the bands COMMUNIC and GRAVEWORM the last act for this day enters the stage.
DESTRUCTION This German Metalband is quite well-known and in business for quite a while. And I don´t know, is there really somebody who doesn´t know Schmier? The trio Mike (git), Marc (dr) and Schmier (voc/b) provide a great show, like always. Well they have learned it from the scratch. The fans go for it, and the charismatic singer knows how to heat up the crowd. It´s over way too soon, the fans had preferred to hear more, far more.
This evening was quite good despite the slow start. During signing sessions some bands didn´t have much to do, and others encountered female fans who wanted much more than just a signiture. Hopefully those musicians had enough self respect to use condoms. Therefore we had Gomorrha already. Let´s see if SODOM can top that closing the festival.
Saturday 30. 12. 2006 The festival started at 12 h with CRYPTIC VOICE, MORTAL FACTOR, AKA PROFOUND, SYBREED, LYZANXIA. The next act, what a nice surprise, features a well-known frontman.
DOMAIN (Ex-Firewind) singer Chitral Chity Somapala, a small fragile whirlwind, but huge in terms of vocals. I like his voice and his style, powerful but still with a lot of feeling. Perfectly fitting to their melodic Metal. Basically the guys play their first show together, because only Ritt Axel „Ironfinger“ (git) and Erdmann Lange „Erdi“ (keys) are left from the old line-up. New are Chity (voc), Steven Wussow (b) and Stefan Köllner (dr). Those guys really know their job in every detail. The fans are excited, and I think this premiere was successful.
In the hall MENDEED play later but without me, because something big is coming, something that produces a radiance in the eyes of many Metalheads and conjures up memories.
PAUL DI ANNO Born as Paul Andrews in 1958 his parents probably never expected him to be frontman of one of the world´s top Heavy Metal acts. With 19 he became singer of Iron Maiden and stayed from 1977 until the end of 1981. Despite of his very good performance on the first two Maiden albums, his Solo career didn´t really take off. He had a lot of success with his band Battlezone in the US, but they just released three albums. Nevermind, he is here tonight and I can say he has not lost his talent. With his equally talented band buddies he plays a great set, and the audience cheers and bangs their heads off, you can hardly watch it without getting dizzy. Here in Z7 he seems to have a lot of fans, you could see that at the signing session. Paul almost got sore fingers signing all those Iron Maiden albums. Even Rockhard-editor Götz didn´t mind to travel down here from Germany just to see PAUL DI ANNO and hang out with him.
LUNATICA A band from our country playing symphonic Metal/Gothic Metal with high female vocals. A rather soft and smooth sound, not so hard. It is difficult to describe their music, which isn´t the fault of the musicians. They handle their instruments and their performance well. It´s the singer Andrea, not a bad voice and she sings fine but I miss emotions in her live performance. It´s not enough to vary the register and put words together without adding some emotion, as if „I hate you“ and „I love you“ were expressed exactly the same way. Sorry, but this is my impression. Otherwise the show is OK and people seem to enjoy it.
MYSTIC CIRCLE Hold on tight, the devil is coming with Beelzebub (voc/b), Ezpharess (git) and Necrodemon (d) who enter stage and mercilessly enchant all those dark souls with their Dark Satanic Metal. Beelzebub (unfortunately without horns, hoof and tail) expresses his dark emotions with brutal Death Growls and extremely high screams. Real heavy guitars.
UNREST Just like in summer this band is in top shame and presents their Powermetal with such delight and passion, it truly rocks. Singer Sönke has a powerful voice, and his musicians play tight, give their best. The audience cheers and rocks, spirits are high. Yes, this band knows how to appeal.
BRAINSTORM Like a storm those guys take over stage and audience with their Powermetal and also the great voice of fronter Andy (also with Symphcore) appeals to the fans. No wonder that the audience goes nuts, dances, bangs and cheers. Spirits are high, the band gives their best until the end, and everybody seems happy. Super performance.
At last it´s something for the extremely heavy, for Black Metal Fans who like Growls from hell, and who invented it – the Swiss.
SAMAEL What I associate with that name is a title for a demon in the Jewish Talmud who attempted to harm people in whatever possible way. Let´s hope to make it through this concert. Other names for Samael are e. g. Beelzebub, Satan, Lucifer or simply the devil in several stories. The band was founded 1987 and I heard that they founded also the roots for the later Black Metal generation. Rough sound with hard growls, and in the audience the growling background choire. This is what I call a great wrap up at about two o´clock in the morning.
Sunday 31. 12. 2006 The program started this day with AMNESIA, GREY MONDAY, ABGRUND, EXCELSIS, DAYDREAMER und SAIDIAN, and when I enter the hall Folk Metal rules.
ELUVEITIE Wow, what a big band, eight people on stage, usually they are nine but Anna (lyra, vocals) is ill. I have never heard of this band although they are from Switzerland. When they start I am surprised because this is not simply Folk Metal. No, it´s Pagan Metal, mixing traditional celtic folk music with modern „Gothenburg“ melodic Death Metal. Espescially the violin, the Tin & Low Whistles and the Irish Flute stick out. The singer somehow reminds me of a character from the movie Waterworld who tried to sell paper for sex. And there are those male twins who remind me of the probably best flutist from Jethro Tull. This band seems to have a huge following already, not only the front rows, no the complete audience freaks out. Folk Metal seems to be very popular.
ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET Those guys from Sweden play real heavy Death Metal with cool riffs, powerful bass and drumbeats that pierce you. Great vocals by Johan Lindstrand, and he cannot deny to be inspired by Elvis. Johann founded this band in summer 2004 after leaving his old band The Crown to start a solo project. Just in case you don´t know this band, listen to their debut album „21st Century Killing Machine“. Their second album „Error In Evolution“ will soon be out and surely find a place in my CD stack.
BENEDICTUM Veronica Freeman has such a powerful expressive Heavy Metal voice, it´s unbelievable. Every single tone hits the mark, and I knew it, those ladies who can compete with male Metal singers still exist. And her stage show is fiery, full of temperament and hot. Just like good old Tina Turner. I am simply blown away, for me it´s one of the best female Metal singers I heard in recent years. Naturally all her musicians are top and their sound appeals to all who like it a bit harder. Hats off for this cool lady. But perhaps the first thing men would notice - her huge breasts (typically American). Even I did...
PERZONAL WAR The last band on this stage, and the Germans smash their Power/Thrash Metal straight into our faces, and this is what we expect from them. The guys play just fine, and their singer is a very charismatic young man (who would be loved by many mother-in-laws) with a super cool voice. I enjoy every time they play in Z7.
In the hall LEGION OF THE DAMNED make the climate even hotter.
FINNTROLL Spirits are really high in the hall, and the audience cheers to Finntroll who start off like hell. Their „Trollish Metal“ is a mixture of Black, Death and Viking Metal and Humppa-Elements. Very melodic, cheerful and with a great performance. The Metalfans go off, even start a Metal Bolognese with little steps. Guitarist „Skrymer“ seems to have looked too intensely into a beer can because he has troubles putting his foot on the box. For the first time in Switzerland is their new singer Mathias „Vreth“, still a fresh new cuddly trolly who is visibly nervous. Yet there is no reason because his Black Metal oriented vocals, combined with the world´s oldest vocal style, the Joik of Finnish Sami people, sounds really powerful, dominating, aggressive. And you believe his Swedish lyrics that describe war or the fate of the priests „Amund“ and „Kettil“, various troll kings and tribes. The fans freak out, and I think the only danger for him are those groupies who would like to play some dirty troll games with him. A great show, please continue, I could still troll around for hours. But at 23.45 it´s over, the guys leave stage.
Most people walk outside to watch New Year fireworks, inside Dane from Z7, Götz from Rockhard Magazine and Schmier from Destruction enter stage, a short speech and it´s a new year. One band was still to play: SODOM. They should finish off the rest of the crowd.
Finally: Three real great days with many good bands, something for every taste of those 1000 Metalfans. And very good organised but still friendly family atmosphere. The next festival is already planned, the legendary Metal Dayz 4. - 6. August.