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SYMPHORCE tourreport - Cede Dupont telling about life on the road



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WEBCounter by GOWEB    


Bengtsfors (S)
May 21st-22nd 2004

2000 Decibel © Cora Gonser So once again it was time for me to fly to Sweden. Not that I want to complain about that though, I can't be there enough I think :) This time I combined the trip to the 2000 Decibel festival with some well-deserved vacation before (hiking in Sweden) and after (brief visit in Oslo/Norway) the festival. For the actual festival action in a park called Valhall in the small town Bengtsfors I was joined by Silkie, so this time I was not alonely lost among all the Swedes ;) So much for the personal stuff...
Just like last year there were three stages in total, the two main stages called "heavy" and "metal" as well as the stage "hårdrock" which was for yet unsigned acts only. Valhall © Cora GonserThe main difference was that the festival lasted for two days instead of just only one.
As you will recognize by reading the report below we obviously didn't manage to cover each band that played the festival, mainly because while we were there we just wanted to grab the chance and spend some time with a few people we don't get to see that often. Huge thanks and hails go out to the entire Bollnäs clan of Tad Morose and Lefay for everything, also Marcus and Andreas of Naglfar as well as Vintersorg (sorry for the invasion after the show! ;)) (Cora)

Death/thrash band MERCILESS rocked the heavy stage. It's good to see the band is still alive. After a long break they have returned and this was finally my first time seeing them live. The line-up Roger Pettersson (v), Erik Wallin (g), Frederik Karlén (b) and Peter Stjärnvind (d) (he was replaced for this performance due to personal reasons though) is a bunch of cool guys. In anticipation of 2000 Decibel we have been watching their DVD which I can wholeheartedly recommend to get. Just to name a few songs I remember that were part of the setlist: "Unearthly Salvation", "Cleansed By Fire", "In Your Blood" and "The Awakening", which was the last song. (Silkie)

Draconian © Silkie Gerold DRACONIAN with their heavy melodic dark music were the openers on the metal stage. With their romantic gothic doom metal, in the classic style of clear female and extreme male vocals, they did a very good show and had a great response from the audience. For sure I'll keep an eye on this band as they seemed to be very promising. After several demos and promos, the band has released their debut "Where Lovers Mourn" last year on Napalm Records. I was impressed that even Cora liked them, as she usually does not dig these kind of bands with female vocals. (Silkie)

Lefay © Silkie Gerold Quite a special treat for me was to see LEFAY again. It's been about 10 years that I have witnessed their legendary gig in Cologne during the PopKomm and also a few years since the last time I have seen them. After they have disbanded the band is now seemingly getting slowly back on track with a live gig here and there (mostly in the area of their hometown) and they are currently also writing new material, so we can be curious what will happen with this band in the future. But on with the present. This was the first time I got to see their newest addition, Lubbe on bass. He as well as the two guitarists Peter and Tony were providing backup shouting for some more power. Vocalist Chulle also invited the crowd to join the singing every once in a while - generally always welcome at any gig I think :) Apart from some well-known hits the band also presented a brand new song called "Hollow", as if to prove they are still standing strong. That song starts off and ends rather mellow but right in the middle it's quite a heavy track which is highly catchy at the same time. All in all, it was definitely very nice having seen them again on stageLefay © Silkie Gerold but I somehow know they can do much better than they did there. (Cora)

Setlist Lefay:
End Of Living
Source Of Pain
The Boon He Gives
When Gargoyles Fly
Master Of The Masquerade
The Court Of The Crimson King

ABLAZE MY SORROW were next on the metal stage. Melodic death with black metal influence, reminded me quite a bit of In Flames and old Dark Tranquillity somehow. Forgot to write down the setlist and the only song I still have in my head is "Suicide" from the album "The Plague". (Silkie)

Pain Of Salvation © Silkie Gerold I never really bothered to get into PAIN OF SALVATION (shame on me, I know) but what I saw of their performance there showed that all the praise that I've heard about them is being said for a reason. They really sounded good. Experimental. I haven't really a clue about their songs, I think the opening track was a song called "Used" though and I think they played some unreleased material, too. During one of songs drummer Johan and frontman Daniel changed their positions - too bad that I don't know whether they regularly do it or if this was something special for this festival. After they had gotten back to their "regular" positions and Daniel had got rid of his guitar duties he really gave an ecstatic vocal performance. "Nightmist" was announced as an old song too but as I said, I don't really know the band and so I have no idea about the other material they played. (Cora)

Time for old school death? Yeah well, GOD AMONG INSECTS entered the metal stage and hell, they blew me away musically with tuned down guitars and tons of doublebass. Unfortunately Emperor Magus Caligula's brutal vocals weren't my pint of beer at first and it took a few songs until I got used to it. Anyway, they did a hell of a good show and caught my attention. /mp/\.jpgm/ (Silkie)

Vintersorg © Silkie Gerold Then it was time for my highly anticipated favourites VINTERSORG. I liked the show much better than the one last year at this festival, one of the reasons probably being the better sound which made everything a lot more enjoyable. Before the band had even entered the stage the crowd shouted "sommarfröjd" (Swedish for "summer joy" - being the opposite of Vintersorg - "winter sorrow" - at least that's what I understood, hehe) and then Vintersorg started the show with "Curtains". Surprisingly. Or maybe not that surprising. Note: Vintersorg is not afraid to play even the "weirdest" tracks live (last year it was "ESP Mirage"). Well, let's say it's a bit difficult to reproduce that complex song live properly, especially vocal-wise with only one singer. But it cannot get much better live with five people playing that material I guess. Speaking of five people: The three musicians helping out mr V and Mattias were again drummer Benny Hägglund and the two new guys Johan Lindgren on bass and Marcus Sundquist on keyboard who all did their job well but inconspicious.
Almost during the whole set people were shouting "Till Fjälls" and I really felt a little sorry for the guys. As if Vintersorg is just about that one single song and since they are playing it anyway, I didn't really see the point of shouting for that song from beginning to end. But as you can probably imagine the fans totally freaked out when it was actually really time for "Till Fjälls". mr V himself once again didn't babble much in between the songs - whether you like that or not. In the end, I was a little surprised that only two songs from the latest album "The Focusing Blur" (check it out if you haven't already!) found their way on the setlist - Vintersorg © Silkie Geroldwhatever the reasons have been. Still, thanks V! (Cora)

Setlist Vintersorg:
Dialogue With The Stars
Metaphysical Drama
Ars Memorativa
För Kung Och Fosterland
Vem Styr Symmetrin?
Ödemarkens Son
Universums Dunkla Alfabet
A Sphere In A Sphere
Till Fjälls

People were trying to wake up to WOLF on the second festival day on the heavy stage. Don't really know whether they succeeded or not with their 80s style metal (musically as well as visually), most people just sat there on the benches and clapped politely after each song. I must mention that they had a very dedicated and enthusiastic first row though :) (Cora)

I was recommended to check out NOTRE DAME with their kind of horror show and if I remember correctly, they rarely play live. Their theatrical comedy show was a bit amusing, but somehow there was that little something missing which makes you euphoric! The only song that I remember is an Abba cover, "Money, Money, Money". (Silkie)

Persuader © Cora Gonser I don't know too much about PERSUADER and the only record I have is a split cd with Freternia which I believe was released in 2000. Not overwhelmingly great stuff from what I remembered and I have not heard any of their newer stuff - but I wanted to check them out live anyway. Persuader started the show with "Strike Down" and they kicked some serious ass! They have a pretty good balance between heaviness and melodic catchiness in their songs, and the back-up shouts really made the choruses deserve to be called hooks. Not entirely my thing, but pretty cool nonetheless. Their bassist wasn't too happy about some technical problem at some point. Among the songs they played were also "Raise Hell", "Passion/Pain" and "Godfather" (sorry that these are the only titles I caught). Everybody into earlier Blind Guardian must check them out! (Cora)

Naglfar © Cora Gonser According to the festival magazine NAGLFAR was the first ever black metal band to play the festival. I guess having booked Naglfar can be viewed as a success because a nice crowd gathered early in the afternoon to see them and some enthusiastic fans kept screaming "Naaaaaglfaaaarrrr" in between all their songs, too. The crowd grew even bigger when it started to rain right in the middle of Naglfar's show and people were seeking for a dry place. I have seen Naglfar live quite a bit within the last year, they have been playing a lot in support of their album "Sheol" and I have a hard time writing something new about them. I just like how Jens transforms into the evil frontman and I still think that his stageacting looks awesome /mp/\.jpgm/ Bassist Kris seemed more quiet this time compared to how I remembered him from previous gigs, Naglfar © Silkie Geroldno idea what was up with him. But all in all, you cannot really go wrong watching these guys. Quality performance guaranteed. (Cora)

Setlist Naglfar:
- opening track to be added soon
As Twighlight Gave Birth To The Light
I Am Vengeance
Emerging From Her Weepings
Wrath Of The Fallen
The Brimstone Gate
Of Gorgons Spawned Through Witchcraft
Horncrowned Majesty
Black God Aftermath

ASTRAL DOORS are the gates to the rock heaven, brought the 80's back alive without any poser look. I already enjoyed the debut album very much and was really looking forward to see this band live. They often are compared to Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio and Deep Purple and they can't deny that these bands are a big influence. Singer Nils Patrik Johansson seems to be the new Tony Martin. His vocals have very strong characters and are very dominating. For sure a band we get to see more often live. (Silkie)

Tad Morose © Cora Gonser Much I was looking forward to see TAD MOROSE again. These guys certainly are not given enough opportunites to play tours. In something like 10 years I managed to only see them twice over here in Germany - and for this third time I even had to go to Sweden. Why, I wonder, why aren't these guys given some more support??? They are releasing one quality album after another, they are a bunch of great people too - so let them play damnit! Anyway, Tad Morose came and conquered :) Their former keyboardist Fredrik (now in Morifade) introduced them and made a little warm-up with the audience by making them clap their hands, hehe. As soon as Tad Morose started playing the opener "Anubis" people went totally nuts - and were also shouting "Tad Morose, Tad Morose" in between some songs. That made me happy :) During "Take On The World" bassist Anders jumped into the pit and soon afterwards also singer Urban found his way there. Really, these guys kicked butt. It was damn hard to take some pics because they were constantly running around and never standing still at one place. For "Matters Of The Dark" my wish came true and Chulle from LefayTad Morose © Cora Gonser joined Urban on vocals - awesome! They totally freaked out now and so did the fans. Thanks guys! (Cora)

Setlist Tad Morose:
No Mercy
Take On The World
Servant Of The Bones
Another Time Around
Sun Never Shines
Matters Of The Dark
In The Shadows
Corporate Masters

Hypocrisy © Silkie Gerold HYPOCRISY was surely one of the highlights of this festival. No matter what and how Peter Tägtgren does something, in my opinion he does it perfectly. The band knows how to put up a live show and since they were having a good light show and sound, it seemed that nearly every visitor of the festival came to see the band.
Mikael Hedlund and Andreas Holma often changed the sides of the stage and did a kind of synchronous head banging. I would say that I enjoyed "Slaves To The Parasite" and of course the classic "Roswell 47" the most of the setlist which I can't recall completely. Instead of writing the songs down I basically just headbanged along and enjoyed the whole show. For sure there will be different opinions about which song was best. /mp/\.jpgm/ (Silkie)

Dark Tranquillity © Cora Gonser Although I was better prepared than last year I was once again freezing a lot the second night and thus stayed away from the festival ground for a while. But I made sure to return to the heavy stage in time to see DARK TRANQUILLITY. I always enjoy seeing them live because I think they are a pretty good live band and frontman Mikael is definitely a very charismatic one. Not much really special going on though, "only" another quality live performance. Too bad they encountered quite a lot of sound problems though. The setlist pretty much contained all the songs you could expect them to play (or that they have been playing on recent gigs) with one exception: The band presented a new song called "One Thought" which is a quite fast and aggressive track. Nice one! (from what I can tell after hearing it only once) (Cora)

Setlist Dark Tranquillity:
Dark Tranquillity © Cora Gonser The Sun Fired Blanks
The Treason Wall
White Noise/Black Silence
Punish My Heaven
Monochromatic Stains
Single Part Of Two
Damage Done
The Wonders At Your Feet
Hours Passed In Exile
Indifferent Suns
One Thought
Zodijackyl Light
Final Resistance

And that was already the end of this year's festival. It has been fun and I think I can speak for most visitors that there were a lot of bands worth seeing. 2000 Decibel somehow underlines the status Swedish metal has in the metal world today and thus it was a little surprising (disappointing even) that there have not been more visitors (also fans from abroad). I actually heard rumours that the festival organisation thinks about putting 2000 Decibel to rest and I can only hope that it only is a rumour. So I'm positive for a change and already looking forward to next year's edition. (Cora)

submitted by Cora 13.06.2004









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