QUEENSRŸCHE / ARCHER NATION / METHODICA
I was excited when QUEENSRŸCHE was announced to play at Fryshuset which a few years ago was definitely one of my favorite places to hang out for shows. Good size of the place and good sound. The lights look ok watching a show but they are not the best for photography. But hey, one can’t have it all, right?
Last time QUEENSRŸCHE visited Sweden, it was for rather a sparse audience. Ok, they played a whole bunch of gigs at that time and now Stockholm was the sole date here. And it didn’t look too good as Italian Prog-Metal outfit METHODICA hit the stage. A couple of people were hanging around the walls and at the fence but apart from that, they played in front of a virtually empty venue. And that’s a shame really. Musically, everything was very well played, clean and neat but still powerful. The issue I have with this type of music is that it can be very mathematical and stiff on occasion. With lots of layers and backing tracks and not so much Rock ’n’ Roll, but that belongs to the style and I respect that. It should be strict and very tight. METHODICA sure were and what I really liked with their songs was the changes in dynamics and emotion. Also, Massimo Piubelli’s vocal efforts stood out. But it’s not all that beneficial to be on the opening slot with this type of music. Normally photos are allowed for the first three songs and since Prog-Metal tracks tend to be long, I think I saw one song from the floor, and the rest from the photo-pit. A privilege of course but it doesn’t give an optimal view and full picture of the sound. And that was a significant difference with the last song. When the whole band was coming together it all sounded much more powerful compared to the rather biased sound from the photo-pit.
Anyway, as a first encounter METHODICA did a good impression to me, so they’re definitely worth checking out, if you’re a fan of the genre.
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ARCHER NATION was another new encounter for me and also was more for my taste. They were quite hard to place from a musical perspective. At first, bands like SKID ROW and ARMORED SAINT came to mind, the little more brutal part of the late '80s MTV bands. They had the catchy songs and rather groovy riffs. But here and there, ARCHER NATION’s style leaned more towards Thrash than Heavy Metal. This is of course the parameters of Modern Heavy / Thrash Metal and it is as simple as that. It’s speedy and catchy Metal with some classic Hard Rock influences.
And it’s very easy to enjoy these bands on stage. ARCHER NATION’s energy was frantic, even if this was only a trio they filled the stage in a fantastic way. Dylan Rosenberg handled both the guitar and vocal duties with grace and I liked the little squeaky tone in his voice. His partner in crime on the front-live, bassist Dave De Silva, did a great job too filling his flank of the stage creating the fury this band is on stage. It always takes more to create a full sound when you’re a trio to make a full sound but ARCHER NATION sure sounded very powerful and heavy so kudos for that. It’s perhaps a new power trio to be reckoned with.
Also, that they pulled off MEGADETH’s monster of a track “Tornado Of Souls” with grace, as a trio sets the rank high in my world. Ok, it started off in a really crazy speed and I wondered how they would pull it off. I mean, there are a lot of riffs in that songs and a massive amount of lyrics. After the intro the tempo in the track was taken down to normal pace. So, ARCHER NATION delivered a very good cover among their very good songs.
By now, the place had filled up in a rather good way and looking around, people were nodding in an approving way towards the stage. The place was definitely heated up by now and looking around, it was bound to be a hot night.
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I was really happy to see the place packed when clock reached gig-time for QUEENSRŸCHE. I really love the releases with Todd La Torre on vocals. I gladly admit I’ve had problems with Geoff Tate (fantastic vocalist for sure, but still...) even if I liked QUEENSRŸCHE’s music over the years. But since Todd’s entry, I consider myself a big fan of the band. So, it was with great anticipation I was looking forward to this show. Also, the fact that they sounded amazing last time, boosted my mood for this show.
And it started damn good with fantastic “Guardian” from the latest release “Condition Human”, one of my favorite albums from last year. And the crowd knew no limits when “Operation: Mindcrime” followed and then “Best I Can”. Compared to last time, Todd’s voice sounded a little strained here and there. All the highest notes didn’t pass with the same ease as last time. But this was nothing disturbing at all. In fact, the roughness dressed the songs really well and added some Rock ’n’ Roll factor to it all. QUEENSRŸCHE have the groove and the vibrancy in their performance of course but this added a little filth to it also and it sounded fantastic.
“The Mission” was another highlight I think; the beat in the track is damn good and worked perfect live. But there was no challenge really for which track got the biggest cheer and loudest sing-along. “Silent Lucidity”, the MTV hit, was received with a big cheer and the shouting in the chorus was really spine-chilling. It’s always fantastic to experience reactions like this from a crowd, even if there was no neat singing as response to Todd’s magnificent voice. It was of course not only Todd that contributed to the show. The rest of the band was on fire too. Michael Wilton still seems a little uncomfortable being the guitar hero in the band these days. His playing in combination with Parker Lundgren sounds amazing. To have a match between two guitarists, to get the dynamics right is important for the whole sound and I must say that this is as close to perfection as it gets. It sounds good and is fun to watch.
The only other track from the Todd-era releases was another from “Condition Human” in “Eye9”, a good choice if you’d ask me. Then, the remainder of the show was a massive hit-parade. “Queen Of The Reich”, followed by “Jet City Woman” can’t fail for a crowd there to see the band perform. And main set closer “Take Hold Of The Flame” is one of my favorites and again it all sounded fantastic. I was a bit surprised that this was the end of the main set though. Including the encores, the show was just over 70-something minutes and it felt really short. I was also very surprised that the last release, self-titled “Queensrÿche”, was completely left out of the set. So if you'd ask me, I would have added a few more from the two Todd-records to the set and left the rest as it was. Then, it would have been perfect in my opinion.
But it is a petty to complain about a performance like this one. QUEENSRŸCHE sounded amazing and they finally got the support they deserve to have also. So again, a fantastic performance from QUEENSRŸCHE and I sure hope they come back next time and then maybe add a date or two because just seeing them once, didn’t really feel enough.
02. “Operation: Mindcrime”
03. “Best I Can”
05. “The Killing Words”
06. “The Mission”
07. “Silent Lucidity”
10. “Queen Of The Reich”
11. “Jet City Woman”
12. “Take Hold Of The Flame”
13. “Screaming In Digital”
14. “Eyes Of A Stranger”
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