Persephone's Dream, Cea Serin and Magistral,
Thursday 14th November 2002
The Riveria Club, Atlanta, USA

By Charlie Farrell


Pre-party event for the ProgPower II (USA) Festival

As a precursor to the ProgPower event proper, a ‘pre-party’ event had been organised as an opportunity for the bands and event staff to relax and socialise a little with the fans, since there was not likely to be very much chance to do this during the actual festival itself. The venue chosen was the Riveria club, a few blocks from the Progpower venue (The Earthlink Live) and a number of the hotels chosen by the attendees. It turned out to be a very cool place with plenty of space to sit, drink and watch the entertainment on offer, while meeting people who one only knew via the means of the Internet. A number of the Progpower artists – Angra, Edguy etc. were also present and were happy to meet the fans and to share a beer or two. Special mention must go to Devin Townsend who was extremely relaxed and had no problem in signing the tons of CD booklets which were placed before him by a steady stream of fans throughout the evening.

Magistral

The first band on offer was a Chilean Power Metal band Magistral who had a few problems with a constantly disintegrating drumkit, which disrupted the flow of their set somewhat and meant that in the end a technician had to lie down and hold the bass drum in place with his bare hands. Now based in the USA, the band was certainly composed of highly competent musicians, but the majority of their own compositions lacked a certain ‘something’. The components were there, but the sum of the parts wasn’t all that great. They closed their set with a cover of Forever Free by Stratovarius to the delight of the audience. It was the best song of the set.

The following band, this time from South Carolina, was Cea Serin. I understood them to be a ‘Progressive Metal band’, yet with elements of Black/Death metal, so I did not expect to enjoy their set. The flow of their set was not helped at all by the long pauses between numbers, the purpose of which was certainly not apparent to myself or to much of the audience, but when they played, they certainly demonstrated that the musicians had the ‘chops’. There was a bit of Rush, Dream Theater or again Fates Warning which appeared from time to time in their music and which appealed to me, but there was far too much screaming and grunting from the vocalist and this meant that overall, it was a less than enjoyable experience.

Karin Nicely of Persephone's Dream

Finally, with the clock edging towards midnight on came the act I was really there to see - Persephone's Dream. They began with a string of songs from their second album Moonspell, which I was unfamiliar with. The music was slightly shocking and harder edged than I had anticipated, while singer Karen Nicely’s head to foot stage outfit seemed bizarre to say the least. However once they began to play Tenth Moon from their 2nd album Opposition, which I do own, then I was enthralled, both by the great music and by the fantastic theatre laid out before me.

Before the show, I had no idea of just how important the visual aspect of the band's show was and it was a real delight to be watching a band which for whom the stage presentation and theatrics were equally as important as the music. Moving on to music from their 2nd album Opposition they began to play Tenth Moon aided by innovative lighting, then Agents of Chaos featuring some excellent percussion from John Tallent. Two further numbers from Opposition followed before Karin made her way off the side of the stage and into the audience, where she took charge of a large TV set on a trolley and proceeded to move this around amongst the audience while all the time singing TV Talk Show. Very strange indeed, but very effective all the same.

Kim and Rowen of Persephone's Dream

Returning to the stage Karin introduced a new song, entitled Android Dreams, from the band’s upcoming and yet to be recorded album. Beginning with a sample from the speech given by the actor Rutger Hauer as the android he plays dies in the movie Blade Runner, the band conjured up the dark mood of the movie, in a way only they can. If the remainder of the album is this good, its going to be brilliant. The set closed with two of my favourite tracks from Opposition, the gentle ballad Endymion and Stormchaser which gave all of the musicians the opportunity to display their talents, though once again the percussion of John Talent caught my ear.

The band regrouped on stage, thanked the audience and their crew, including theatrical director and lighting engineer, bowed to the audience and left the stage. Thoroughly impressed by the performance, many of the audience gathered around the band’s merchandise stall to purchase CDs and exchange words with the band members all of whom were charming, helpful and clearly appreciative of the attention. I guess that the highlights for me were Puppetmaster and Endymion as well as the new tune Android Dreams. It is a long time since a band performing live has grabbed my attention as much as Persephone’s Dream did on this occasion. Definitely a band for fans on the East Coast of the USA to look out for in future and if you are at all a fan of progressive rock with a theatrical bent then check this band out at their official website.

Setlists: Magistral:

Cea Serin:

Persephone's Dream:
Perigee
Euphoria
Alternate Reality
Altar of Desire
Tenth Moon (Opposition)
Agent of Chaos
Kindred Soil
Puppetmaster
Dreamcatcher
TV Talk Show
Android Dreams
Endymion
Stormchaser

 

ProgPower USA 2002 Day One

ProgPower USA 2002 Day Two

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