Day 1: Carthago, Loch Vostok, Zero Hour, Freak Kitchen
April 4th 2003, P60, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
increasing success of the splendid Within Temptation and
After Forever, there seems to be no shortage of operatic Goth
Metal bands springing up in the land of daffodils. Opening for bands
like Fates Warning, Omen and Vicious Rumors, Carthago, have
been around for a while. Musically there's enough high-pitched
vocals to keep fans happy. However Carthago takes a slightly unusual
twist, with heavy progressive influences and not just one, but two
female vocalists. The problem I have with Operatic Metal is that the
vocals all get a bit samey after a while. But with Margreet van
Duyvenbode and Stella de Ruiter competing for attention, there's
plenty of variety both visually and musically. Their 40-minute set
did keep me interested, especially with some good harmonies but the
songs didn't really linger in my memory.
Progressive Death Metal doesn't generally sound that appealing to
me, but by the end of this set my opinion had been firmly changed.
Formed from the ashes of melodic metallers Mayadome, Loch
Vostok had driven for 20 hours to get here and from the off, it was
clear these Swedes were damn well gonna enjoy their slot.
The focal point of the band is former drummer Alvaro Torres, who
has now taken over the guitar and vocals. Constantly changing from
growly death to melodic hard rock style, he is a great big
personality at the front of the stage. Behind him, the band pumps
out some top-notch, Prog-tinged metal. It was a lot to take onboard
in one listen, but imagine the combined power of Metallica, the
melodic death of In Flames and the Prog of say Fates
Warning and it certainly seemed to get a good response.
Named after an underground lake in Antarctica, I would say that
Loch Vostok is a band that certainly don't deserve to remain
underground for too long.
great to see so many people here tonight,' said vocalist Erik
Rosvold. 'You get more people at a barbecue than a metal gig in
the States.' Well on the strength of this performance, all I can
say, is that America's loss, is Europe's gain. FREAK KITCHEN
The music of Zero Hour is made up of dark, brooding melody;
aggressive, staccato riffing, and an urgent, emotional intensity.
Combining the complexity of say Watchtower and Spiral
Architect, with the melodic appeal of Fates Warning or
early-day Queensryche, Zero Hour produce pure Progressive
Metal of massive proportions. Signed to The Lasers Edge label
they're currently recording album number three.
I hadn't heard more than a few samples from this bunch before but
I must say that the intensity of the performance and the quality of
the musicianship on show was truly spellbinding. Drummer Mike Guy in
particular was awesome, while Rosveld - with a very unique,
emotional delivery - is a vocalist from the top drawer. The set
consisted of Stratagem, The Subterranean and all 15
minutes of Demise and Vestige from their recent Towers
of Avarice album. We also had Awaken from their
self-titled debut, plus three new songs yet to find a name - but
which, on a first listen, more than did the business.
If, after seeing a band live, you want to go out and buy their
album, then they've done their job. As I write this, my copy of
Towers.. is happily spinning on my hi-fi. A job well done!
Rome do what the Romans do'. So of course when Freak Kitchen are
in Amsterdam what better way to serve up the crowd participation
bit, than to get people to sign along to a belt of vibrators
playing the guitar!!! I kid you not - but more of that later.
These Swedes are one of my favourite bands at present. No
surprise therefore, that chance to see them play live was the main
reason for my journey from the UK. Thankfully, this splendid trio
did not disappoint in anyway. In a set just short of two hours, head
chef in the Freak Kitchen Mattias IA Eklundh dished up dish after
dish of tasty musical morsels.
If you haven't come across this band yet (shame on you) then FK
sway from power pop to thrash metal with everything in between.
Metal? Certainly. Progressive? Not in the pure sense of the word.
But managing to combine so many different styles in a high energy,
high impact melodic feast, should appeal to anyone who appreciates
music that stretches the boundaries.
However the main selling point for me is the way that Freak
Kitchen rock out with a sublime sense of melody. The opening trio
tonight of Porno Daddy, Silence, and the awesome
Nobody's Laughing should get any rock fan dribbling at the
mouth. By the time we reached the closing threesome of
Propaganda Pie, Vaseline Biznizand the intense
Everything's Out Of Control, my appetite had been fully
In terms of performance you couldn't fault the high energy
assault, especially that imposed by eye-catching, bare-chested
bassist Christer Ortefers .... compete with a hat for every song and
taped over nipples! The between-song banter of Eklundh meanwhile
added true personality to the live show - with, of course, a heavy
spoonful of humour. For the encore he strolled on stage with a belt
full of silver vibrators strapped to his chest. When held next to
his guitar each slender tube made a different sound which the crowd
were obliged to sing along to in response. Surely a new trick to
impress friends at a party - only if you have the necessary
equipment of course.
Anyway, you go to a live gig to be damn well entertained and
Freak Kitchen damn well entertained me tonight. Freakin Brilliant!
All photos by Andy Read for DPRP © 2003.