'Nordic Noise Rock Festival 2018' - Day One
SCORPIONS tribute / BLITZKRIEG / IRON ANGEL / MANTICORA / TAINTED LADY / ANNONIMUS
Often there are a different take on things in Denmark as compared to Sweden. On the other hand, I don't think it's legal to sell alcohol the way the V.I.P tickets for ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ are pushed out, ticket, T-Shirt, dinner, 10 beer and 10 shots... It's a good deal for sure and it is a very cozy event. I really like the H9, or fully named Halmtorvet 9 venue too. It's conveniently close to the city but still feels jovial and most of the big city stress is shut out. That beer garden really boosted the party, it was so nice to get out in the sun again after a set of music inside the venue. Of course it is the bands that create the event and the line-up for the 2018 edition of the festival was fantastic, though somewhat slimmed down compared to the year before.
I've said it so many times but still, there sure are a lot of interesting things going on in the Danish scene. Bands I'm not familiar with keep popping up and impress me. ANNOMINUS is another example of this. The suggestive drone groove gave the whole thing a mellow start but it surely sounded good, everything from Peter Sandvig guitars to Jacob Zinn expressive performance and soulful voice. That was definitely a contributing factor to why ANNOMINUS went down as well as they did as I normally isn't turned on by this style of music. But when performed the right way it works and that sure goes for ANNOMINUS and it was easy to get lost in their music, that gnawing groove was hypnotic so all good with that. ‘Nordic Noise Festival’showed quality directly from start and it wasn’t just me getting into the groove. The longer in ANOMINUS got in their set the more people gathered to see them. I really like this in Denmark that fans and fellow musicians really support each other, show up at the gigs and actually pay attention to the performance. So it all really sat a good mood for the day.
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That TAINTED LADY would deliver there was no doubt about. They’ve impressed me the times I’ve seen them and their debut album “How The Mighty Have Fallen” surely is a fantastic piece of music. I love their organic old school sound and the fact that they’ve listed guitar left and right on the album just adds on to that true 70’s sound. And that actually goes without being a copy of a retro style of music.
“Song Of Reckoning”, which opened TAINTED LADY’s set sounded great, as did “Open Minded”, both from that fantastic debut. There was though a dense feel over this performance, some inertness to it that I haven’t felt before. And I realized that the sound was extremely dry in “The Best Of Days”, the mellow ballad is very smooth on record, which it was here too but the dry sound killed the sustain in both guitars and vocals which was a little unfortunate as the song didn’t hold that fantastic nerve here as it does on record.
But it’s a petty thing really, taking this very unforgiving sound in consideration. TAINTED LADY sounded amazing, they have such a great vibe to their performances and it’s a true joy to see them play. Their playfulness when doing a medley of Rock classics also is something special, everything flows so smooth it’s almost hard to hear when they change songs. Also set-closer “Ampburner” sounded great but I was really waiting for what was next which took a little away from the else great TAINTED LADY show.
TAINTED LADY Setlist:
01. “Song Of Reckoning”
02. “Open Minded”
03. “On The Loose”
04. “Fever Dreams”
05. “The Best Days”
06. “Seven Billion Souls”
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It was indeed MANTICORA I was waiting for. It’s gone in periods with this band, I listened a lot when I first got into them around “Hyperion”, and then again for “The Black Circus” but then, they kind of fell off my radar until some (time flies right?) years ago, I guess it was with the release of “Safe”, that time it was to stay. A couple of weeks prior to ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ I decided to give the entire catalogue a spin and all of a sudden nothing else cut it but MANTICORA. So to say I was boosted for this show is an understatement.
The frenzy was there from start with “The Black Circus” which was followed by “A Long Farwell”. Lars F. Larsen’s energy on stage is fantastic, he just lures the crowd into the show but what actually struck me the most was the fantastic delivery by Kristian H. Larsen and Stefan Johansson. There’s some extreme riffing in MANTICORA’s music and the precision and how damn tight everything was sounded just outstanding.
Fantastic “Playing God” was an absolute highlight of the show; its dynamics are great and musically that came through although the pre-recorded choirs took over a bit in the mellow passages. And there’s no denying that “Enigma”, that one from “8 Deadly Sins” as well as its predecessor in the set, was another highlight; the melodies and emotion, desperation in the music really appeals to me and getting it straight in my face on a massive volume is just the best.
The curiosity that was built up for “Echoes of a Silent Scream” from coming “To Kill To Live To Kill” was definitely satisfied and did not leave me disappointed. That is a risk when the expectations had been boosted the way they were for this show. But MANTOCIRA delivered over expectations and that new track blew me away. The extremely dark and vile riffs topped off wih Lars’s trademark melodies couldn’t have hit better. A great ending of the MANTICORA set which sure was the highlight of ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ this year for me.
01. “The Black Circus”
02. “A Long Farewell”
03. “Keeper Of Time - Eternal Champion”
04. “Playing God”
06. “Echoes Of A Silent Scream”
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But there were still more to come; IRON ANGEL always delivered the times I’ve seen them. And it all sounded very good this night too. They have that raw German sound that is irresistible and is just great fun to see them live. Dirk Schröder is also one hell of a character who has done a lot for the IRON ANGEL shows I’ve seen. They all seemed to be struggling with the monitors this night though. The vocals didn’t come through and part of Dirk’s fantastic character was lost due to this.
After “Heavy Metal Soldiers” and “Sinner 666” from the great “Hellish Crossfire” debut came the first new track. “Hellbound” is a solid piece of Metal and the track “Ministry Of Metal” is a favorite from that one. It shows that IRON ANGEL can still deliver true German steel these days too, even though more than 30 years has passed since that first record saw the light of day. Later the set also featured “Writing's On The Wall” as well as the title track “Hellbound”, both great songs and it was a pleasure to hear them live.
The usual high standards of ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ were kept this time too but since IRON ANGEL usually holds an extremely high standard this felt, in comparison as it lacked some energy. But it still was a good one and the crowd seemed to enjoy IRON ANGEL very much. Both “Stronger Than Steel” and “Rush Of Power” which marked the ending of the IRON ANGEL set sounded great and wrapped up the show in a very good way.
IRON ANGEL Setlist:
01. “Heavy Metal Soldiers”
02. “Sinner 666”
03. “Ministry Of Metal”
04. “Blood And Leather”
05. “The Metallian”
06. “Flight For Your Life”
07. “Writing's On The Wall”
08. “Legions Of Evil”
10. “Stronger Than Steel”
11. “Rush Of Power”
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BLITZKRIEG took on the stage to wrap up the night. Well, not really since the afterparty hosted a SCORPIONS tribute band as well. But they closed the main schedule at least. The thing that I really don’t like with BLITZKRIEG is that they start with “Armageddon”. I love that song but I’m always occupied with the camera at the start of the show so I never really get the opportunity to enjoy it. Ok, ‘Nordic Noise Festival’ doesn’t have that strict rules when it comes to shooting but some of the best opportunities are still at the very beginning of the show.
There were plenty of time to enjoy the BLITZKRIEG set though; they have many more great songs, not only that set opener. “A Time Of Changes” is another favorite so it’s not the case that I spent the set being grumpy because that opening song is the only thing I want to hear. Other favorites from the night come from BLITZKRIEG’s last album, “Judge Not!” which was released just a few days before the festival. The downside is that most people didn’t know these songs but both “Angels Or Demons” and “All Hell’s Breaking Loose” sounded awesome. The band delivered on top. On the other band, the master, Mr. Brian Ross don’t have to do much to rule the stage. I love his attitude, even if the H9 stage is small he felt unreachable on it. Like the old school Rock star type of giant and he sounds the part too.
Another real highlight from the night came from the 2013 release, “Back From Hell”, shortly titled “V”. Everything sounded great and the band delivered the goods. If they struggled with the sound on stage they certainly didn’t show it. As usual the hit got the biggest response and everyone present sang gladly along to “Blitzkrieg” which of course deserve the response. It is a great song but I think the whole set was really strong, BLITZKRIEG delivered the goods and ended my night in a great way.
02. “Angels or Demons”
03. “A Time of Changes”
04. “All Hell's Breaking Loose”
06. “Reign of Fire”
07. “Nocturnal Vision”
08. “Loud and Proud”
10. “Call for the Priest”
12. “Buried Alive”
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