A double bill by two rather new and young progressive bands from the Netherlands in a fairly small but cozy venue just north of Amsterdam, in Alkmaar.
The show by Illumion, the five piece band led by conservatory graduate Eveline van Kampen (guitar, compositions) had been advertised as a 'cd presentation'.
Unfortunately the band hadn't been able to complete all the recordings in time, foremost because all of them have regular jobs and the music is their 'side project'.
The successor to the critically acclaimed debut Hunting For Significance is to be named The Waves and singer Esther Ladiges proudly informed the audience
that in spite of the new album not being finished, the band would be performing five new songs.
In fact the first two songs Illumion performed will be on new album: Tale of Kings and Elegy of Treason.
Both songs in the same vein as the songs from the debut album, characterized by odd meters, changes in tempo and the absence of grunts,
double bass drums and heavy guitar riffs.
The sound is more gentle and more jazzy than most progressive or female fronted prog-metal bands.
The last time I saw Illumion S.O.T.E. band-member Gerton Leijdekker had to learn all the music in a very short period of time and virtually had to learn to play keyboards,
being an accomplished guitarist.
It was a joy to see him moving on stage with a lot of confidence, playing his keyboard parts with ease and playing some exquisite guitar too.
Leijdekker masters the MIDI technique and demonstrated this throughout the show.
I always find unusual to see someone plucking a guitar and hearing sounds you recognized as being produced by keyboards!
The interaction with Gerton's bandmate in S.O.T.E., Peter H. Boer, was really nice too.
Boer changed from bass to his self-made stick and sometimes implemented his newly acquired Moog Taurus bass pedals.
A very nice addition indeed! Using the e-bow Boer proved to be a very versatile musician on stage, as well as in the studio I might add.
Drummer Tom Rutgers (whose name Esther Ladiges couldn't reproduce when she introduced the different members of the band!)
played his parts impeccably but from where I stood, I hardly saw any contact with the audience.
Singer Ladiges lost a few pounds and looked very confident and cheerful.
Her somewhat jazzy voice matches the 'not for everyday' music by van Kampen in an excellent way and especially her range,
her variety in the sound of her voice and her overall performance scored an A+ as far as I'm concerned.
Eveline van Kampen is a gorgeous woman and looks lovely on stage; she surely knows how to play her guitar but she is still somewhat shy,
and being the modest person she is, it's hard to catch her with her face looking at her fans.
The sound was quite good actually so the music, both new and old, came across very convincingly.
The compositions of van Kampen mesmerize and keep ones attention focused and the show of this band made it very clear it's all about the music.
Combining influences from classical music with jazz, oriental and progressive music results in a most peculiar kind of 'prog' which is kind of unique.
It's a pity there were so few people in Alkmaar to witness this performance because Illumion deserves more in my opinion.
I'll be looking forward to hear the new album, because based on the five songs I heard this night it's going to be a killer-album!
Tale of kings
Elegy of treason
Into the Labyrinth
Under the Harrow
With the other band, a five piece hailing from the western part of the Netherlands, the number of people watching the show wasn't much better.
I already saw the youngsters in Baarlo where they played on the prestigious Progpower festival, just over one month ago.
In Baarlo I was surprised to see the energy and originality of the performance of the brothers Kuhlmann, Ruben (drums, vocals) and Remo (lead vocals, lead guitar),
Thom Lich (lead guitar, vocals), Daan Bovendal (keys) and Guus van Oosterom (bass, vocals).
Schizoid Lloyd played about the same set as in Baarlo and the more melodic progressive songs went down very well;
one can hear the guys got talent and the multi layer vocals are quite surprising.
The more heavy (parts of the) songs appealed less to me but the energy and the emotional cargo came across really well.
The music is a extraordinary mixture of rock, metal, doom, classical, progressive and folk music and the band combines all influences seemingly very easy.
The songs from their debut EP Virus were more in the progressive vein, while most of the new material -all of them with 'working titles'-
seemed to be a bit more aggressive and metal influenced.
The sometimes most strange transitions within a song remind me of another highly talented Dutch band: Sky Architect.
I do hope the lads will find the right balance in their music when they will release their upcoming full length album next year.
A very pleasant evening in Alkmaar but too bad so few people showed up to see "Holland's got "prog" talent!
Setlist Schizoid Lloyd
Plorft/ 2e helft-eighties