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Somehow it is a pity that so many good concerts take place at Pratteln only during the week, because otherwise they would draw many more people. Still on this very Wednesday a surprisingly big crowd gathered at Z7 for Out of the Dark Festival which is touring Europe now. This festival is focused on the sirens of Metalbiz, every band features at least one lady on vocals and who hoped or still hope to follow early Nightwish´s footsteps. The question remains if people still want to hear that music style nowadays? But let´s check out those ladies first.
Amberian Dawn It starts already at 18.30 h with the Finns Amberian Dawn. The band is shaken by mishap a bit, because even three of the usual band members had to be replaced for the whole or a part of the tour. Guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen cannot play guitar at all because of an injury, Emil Pohjalainen fills the gap who played in Amberian Dawn before but is now the guitarist of Thaurorod. Drummer Heikki Saari cancelled due to family reasons and is replaced by ex -Drummer Joonas Pykälä-Aho. Bassist Jukka Koskinen is engaged with his other band Wintersun on Heidenfest Tour and returns to this tour on October 11. Until then Aapo Lindberg fills his place who is otherwise – just like Drummer Joonas – playing with Dotma. Nevertheless the gig goes well, singer Heidi Parviainen – displaying brown hair nowadays – cannot really get the crowd going, and also her and Bandleader Tuomas Seppälä´s announcements could be improved. But perhaps 30min playtime are simply not enough, although all those replacement musicians did a good job. (www.amberiandawn.com)
Xandria Last time I heard Xandria with their former singer Lisa Middelhauve who handled her voice flawlessly, no matter if in low or high registers. Perhaps I might be a bit biased towards the new singer Manuela Kraller who has worked before with Haggard and the Swiss band „Nagor Mar“ , but she simply does not have Lisa´s variability and vocal range. There are many dissonances when she sings old Xandria songs like „Now and Forever“ and „Ravenheart“. A big part of the crowd prefers to stay outside and isn´t too interested in those Germans. It is a pity but perhaps Manuela still need some time to fit in – or she should try to sing those songs in her own voice and stop trying to copy somebody else. (www.xandria.de)
Serenity The Austrians got the slot at Out of the Dark Tour when the Dutch Band Revamp dropped out. Singer Floor Jansen, former After Forever, suffers from a burn-out. Perhaps not such a bad thing here, plainly from a listener´s view, because Georg Neuhauser takes on the major part of Serenity vocals, occasionally accompanied by Clementine Delauney. Although Serenity songs sound a bit too much alike, for my taste at least, this male voice offers some variety.(www.serenity-band.com)
Van Canto should have been the headliners, but Sly had to cancel due to a sore throat, therefore Van Canto appear on stage with only 4 singers and play a shortened set. For those who do not know Van Canto – they play heavy metal using only five voices and drums, which means a capella, and that´s not quite my cup of tea. Inga, Ike, Stef and Ross have good voices, but without crazy drummer Bastian and the entertaining antics of Ross the show would be totally boring. And their covers of Nightwish’s „Wishmaster“ or Iron Maiden’s „Fear of the Dark“ are simply bad because Inga´s voice isn´t strong enough for that. (www.vancanto.de)
Tristania I appreciate that Tristania are the headliners here, because their last gig at Pratteln was simply great. This time the Norwegians plus Italian singer Mariangela have to struggle to keep the slightly tired audience interested. The initial euphoria vanishes soon after the first half of their show. Mariangela seems to have a bad day, a bit withdrawn and tired. Her outfit is also not quite as refreshing and daring in comparison with the early days – still the best one of all the ladies of this evening. She hardly ever smiles tonight, and her vocal performance is not quite in top form. But the male singers Kjetil and Anders give it all during their parts, and the calm and pleasing Kjetil also mentions several times much they enjoy to be back in Pratteln. Therefore hopefully Mariangela just had a bad day and not a row with the band. The previous Tristania concert in Pratteln had been so much better. (www.tristania.com)
Summary: A nice evening altogether, the question remains, however, if people aren´t fed up already with those high-pitched Nightwish-imitations, e.g. Amberian Dawn and Xandria. One thing cannot be denied, those ladies can hardly be distinguished vocally, and who knows Tarja also knows that it takes a bit more to reach her level. And it does not matter if they hit every note perfectly or not – it is the versatility that counts, and not the fact that a singer sounds the same at every song.
Check out the live-photos in the gallery, go to the link in the header section!