Gig review: POWERWOLF – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, 28 October 2018

POWERWOLF – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, 28 October 2018

It is immensely gratifying to have a band, whose career you have been closely following since day one, reach such great levels of success – case in point here being the German Heavy/Power Metallers Powerwolf.

Not many people were supportive of the bass-less quintet when their debut release ‘Return In Bloodred’ first saw the light of day back in 2005, but thirteen years (and six studio albums) later, that is hardly the case anymore. Want proof? How about the fact that, on the early evening of the 28th of October, I had to stand on a queue that was two construction blocks long in order to attend their sold-out show in one of Brussels’ most iconic venues – the beautifully arranged, Ancienne Belgique?

Visibly excited at the prospect of watching their heroes on stage, hordes of predominantly young Metal fans filled every inch of the venue the moment the doors opened and soon, even the most menial of activities, such as buying a tour shirt from the merchandise stand or enjoy a glass of Belgian ale at the venue’s spacious bar, became a task almost  impossible to handle.

Actually, I consider myself really lucky to have found a spot near the main console, one I literally had to fight for, from where to watch the show. This was exactly where I was standing when the German/Swiss Glam Metal quintet Kissin’ Dynamite kicked off their set with ‘I’ve Got The Fire’ – a melody driven hard rock piece whose music caught me completely by surprise!

Never in a million years did I expect to become so captivated by a band of such musical orientation but the quality of the compositions on offer and the energy and passion with which the eight songs on offer were executed shook me to my very core.

With Johannes (Hannes) Braun in great mood and even greater vocal form, the band offered a short but fairly enjoyable set whose highlight was the catchy, riff-based opus ‘I Will Be King’ – a splendid composition which won Kissin’ Dynamite a massive round of applause from what can only be described as a truly enthusiastic audience.

Having performed a human-pyramid trick reminiscent of those by mid-80s era Scorpions, the members of the band took their last bows and promised to soon return for a headlining show in support of their latest studio album ‘Ecstasy’.

It only took a few minutes and a ten-man-strong road crew to prepare the stage for the second opening act of the show, the melodic metal sextet Amaranthe, and the moment the band stepped on stage, you knew that it had the support of a great number of loyal fans behind it.

Even though the young Swedes were professional in their attitude, well-rehearsed and perfectly choreographed for the demands of the show, I found them to seriously lack in terms of both the passion and conviction required to make a real impact on the night.

Both Elize Ryd’s vocals and Olof Mörck’s guitars were pretty low on the mix and that undermined the power and directness that normally characterizes their brand of Metal.

Melody-driven, sing-along compositions such as ‘Digital World’ and ’1,000,000 Lightyears’ went down very well with the fans, but as far as I was personally concerned, any interest that I had towards this band had evaporated half way through the eleven-track set, only exception being the emotional introduction of ‘Amaranthine’ – a composition which a visibly distressed Ryd dedicated to a loyal fan of the band who had sadly passed away.

Preparing the stage for Powerwolf could only be compared to a top-level military exercise! Looking at the band’s numerous roadies slaving away only lasted for a moment, however, as a massive curtain featuring Powerwolf’s logo suddenly separated the stage from the main floor.

As time went by, the fans began feeling restless, to the point that when the pre-recorded intro ‘Lupus Daemonis’ was finally aired , it was almost completely obliterated by their powerful young screams.

This tour is promoting the band’s latest studio album so what better way to start the show than with the massively anthemic ‘Fire And Forgive’? Placed on an elevated platform, keyboardist Falk Maria Schlegel, the ban’s unofficial co-front man, was in his usual jovial mood, constantly throwing shapes and demanding the audiences’ participation while singer Attila Dorn captivated the band’s enthusiastic crowd with both his powerful vocals pipes and his impressive theatrical attire.

Enjoying a massive sound and supported by a light show of the highest possible standards enabled the members of Powerwolf to add an extra dimension to composition such as ‘Army Of The Night’, ‘Incense And Iron’ and ‘Amen And Attack’ – the rhythmical riff of the latter working the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

Each of the eighteen compositions performed on the night were preceded by a short speed by Attila, thanking the Belgian crowd for its truly amazing support, and you simply couldn’t miss the Greywolf brothers staring at their fans in sheer amazement in between songs.

‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’, ‘Killers With The Cross’, ‘Resurrection By Erection’ …any of these wonderful anthems could easily win the title of the highlight of the show and by the time the last few notes of atmospheric opus ‘Lupus Dei’ were performed, you knew that on the night of the 28th of October you had experienced a truly special event.

The fans’ demand for an encore was satisfied by ‘Sanctified By Dynamite’, ‘Coleus Sanctus’ and the Amon Amarth sounding ‘Werewolves Of Armenia’ – an unbelievably catchy piece which drained the last ounces of energy out of a clearly tired but visibly content crowd.

Powerwolf’s profile has massively increased since Charles and Matthew Greywolf first put this band together back in 2003, and that is a well-deserved state of affairs as it is both the result of great artistic vision and sheer hard work.

The band’s ability of providing a show comparable to that of the biggest bands of the genre most certainly manifested itself on Belgian soil on the night of the 28th of October; those of us who were lucky enough to attend will cherish those memories for a very, very long time indeed!

Review by Ioannis (John) Stefanis

 

Kissin’ Dynamite Set List:
1.  I’ve Got The Fire   2.   Somebody’s Gotta Do It   3.   Highlight Zone  4.   Love Me, Hate Me    5.   Waging War   6.   You’re Not Alone    7.   I Will Be King  8.   Flying Colours

Amaranthe Set List:
1.   Maximize    2.   Digital World  3.   365    4.   1.000.000 Lightyears    5.   Hunger    6.     Amaranthine (dedicated to a fan who passed away)   7.   GG6   8.   Dream    9.  Drop Dead Cynical  10.  Call Out My Name  11.  The Nexus

Powerwolf Set List:
1. Lupus Daemonis (Intro)  2.   Fire And Forgive  3.   Army Of The Night  4.   Incense & Iron    5.   Amen & Attack  6.   Let There Be Night   7.   Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend    8.  Killers With The Cross  9.  Armata Strigoi  10.  Blessed & Possessed  11.  Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone  12.  Resurrection By Erection  13.  Stossgebet  14.  All We Need Is Blood  15. We Drink Your Blood  16.  Lupus Dei
Encore:   17.  Agnus Dei (Intro)  18.  Sanctified By Dynamite    19.  Coleus Sanctus    20.  Werewolves Of Armenia    21.  Wolves Against The World (Outro)


Throughout September 2018 Get Ready to ROCK! Radio celebrated the station’s 10th anniversary and a two-hour special reflected a decade of broadcasting. “10 years in the making” features archive interviews with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Todd Rundgren, Graham Bonnet, David Coverdale, John Wetton and Bob Catley.

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Power Plays w/c 12 November 2018

STEPHEN PEARCY U Only Live Twice Frontiers)
NORTHWARD Timebomb (Nuclear Blast)
MASON HILL Hold On (indie)
RAINLIGHT Field Of Souls (indie)
EDEN’S CURSE Forever (AFM Records)

Featured Albums w/c 12 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TEN Illuminati (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 NORDIC UNION Second Coming (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 LARKIN POE Venom & Faith (Proper Music)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 MAGGIE REILLY Heaven Sent (2013)



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