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   GRAVE DIGGER - WIZARD - SYMPHORCE
Grave Digger © Nico Wobben Zeche - Bochum (D)
January 12th 2004

http://www.grave-digger.de
http://www.legion-of-doom.de
http://www.symphorce.net

For the Morrigan's Pit crew the metal year 2004 started with a gig featuring Grave Digger, Wizard and Symphorce, the latter not really fitting into this all-traditional package if you ask me...but then again: why not!? ;)

I was told a couple of weeks before the tour started that SYMPHORCE were the band to open in Bochum (they alternate with Wizard each night) but Marlies, Nico and I didn't really think about it and were still somewhere in the back when the intro started. It was only when we suddenly recognized drummer Sascha behind his kit that we realized Symphorce were about to play. First song was "Fallen" which also happens to be the opening track of their new album "Twice Second". As usual, in the beginning the sound was quite bad but luckily it got much better already during that first song. Unfortunately, the guys didn't exactly have much space to move around on stage and were more or less
Symphorce © Nico Wobben (ph)forced to stay on one spot. Maybe this was one of the reasons for singer Andy to leave the stage once in a while during a solo, to allow Cede to do at least one step in another direction ;) So, on one side of the drumkit (that was standing almost on the edge of the stage) we had Andy and Cede - Andy and Cede were joking from time to time which resulted in both of them breaking out in laughter occasionally ;) The performances may vary but I have yet to see a bad performance of Andy, who certainly is one of the best frontmen out there. He managed to encourage the crowd to move and clap their hands, even though this was probably not always the easiest task considering that half of the set consisted of new songs that were still unknown to the majority of people there (see setlist). On the other side of the drumkit, guitarist Markus was moving and headbanging as much as possible under the given circumstances with bassist Dennis standing next to him. Dennis provided us with some groovy basslines (very prominent on the new tracks) and he did some pretty cool backing vocals as well. Too bad I could not hear him as well as Cede, which might be because I was standing on the other side of the stage or simply because his vocals were not loud enough in the mix. (I wish one day someone would take the time to try to explain some of these sound-related mysteries to me, hehe). The playing wasn't totally flawless, Sascha as well as Cede encountered some technical problems which - thanks to the fun the band had on stage and the energy coming from there - weren't much of a problem though. Also the highly anticipated screams during the Powermad cover "Nice Dreams" didn't turn out as great as Marlies Symphorce © Nico Wobbenand I had hoped for (we simply cannot forget WOA 2003 I believe). "Slow Down" from the previous album (pff.....slow down? We are just ready for another hour of the Phorce! /mp/\.jpgm/) marked the end of their set. (Cora)

Fallen
Unbroken
Tears
Touched & Infected
Two Seconds To Live
Nice Dreams
Cause Of Laughter
Slow Down

I was looking forward to finally seeing WIZARD live. I don't have all their albums, but their pure metal in the vein of Manowar plus their enthusiasm for the music made me curious years ago. Well it was even better than I hoped for, because like the band and the rest of the audience, I had a lot of fun! The set started pretty fast with "Hammer, Bow, Axe and Sword" of "Bound By Metal" and it brought the crowd right in the sing-a-long mood. After "Iron War" they played "Hall Of Odin" from the latest release, "Odin". It's a slower, very epic song with a beautiful solo, during which singer Sven D'Anna thought he'd make guitarist Maassi's job more difficult by trying to grab him by the balls hehe. But seriously, even though I liked the guitarwork, it's kinda empty when solo-ing if you have only one Wizard © Nico Wobbenguitarist on stage. Still, I liked this song best of all, the audience was singing along pretty loud and Sven can scream like Eric Adams himself ;) "Betrayer" is also from "Odin" but it's speedy and almost "happy". Despite that I still had to sing along hehe. Sven and bassist Volker Leson were the ones keeping the crowd going, Maassi didn't contribute much to the stage-acting and Snoppi a bit, as far as it's possible being behind a drumkit. Even when the kit was so close to the edge of the stage, that the others could hardly go from one side to another. That wasn't helping the stage-acting either of course, but Sven and Volker did their job well nevertheless. After another great song from "Odin" (geez, should I go buy that one maybe??;)), "The March Of The Einheriers" (with a climax with very cool drumming!) and "Dark Wings" of "Bound By Metal" Volker asked us if we all saw the Lord Of The Rings movie "The Return Of The King" and wondered if instead of "hey, hey" we could shout "ooh, ooh" in good Uruk-Hai tradition. I can tell you it sounds very cool to hear the biggest part of the Zeche go "ooh-ooh", haha! "We want man-flesh! Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!" Volker said, clearly satisfied with the crowd's response :) The show ended with the hymn "Defenders Of Metal" of "Head Of The Deceiver" and for this last song the people again sang along and in the meantime showing the band Wizard © Nico Wobbenthe metal horns /mp/\.jpgm/ Even though Symphorce was my favorite of the night, Wizard was really entertaining and Grave Digger couldn't have asked for better support-acts! Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! (Marlies)

Hammer, Bow, Axe and Sword
Iron War
Hall Of Odin
Betrayer
The March Of The Einheriers
Dark Wings
Defenders Of Metal

So yeah, on to the headliner, the cult-gods for many German metalfans: GRAVE DIGGER. It was obvious most people were there for them, the audience was getting really loud now! I like some songs but I'm not a big fan and I don't want to hear them for a whole gig (or a whole CD for that matter). For me a reason not to stick around too long, besides, Cora and I had a date with the five wonderful guys of Symphorce for an interview ;) But back to Grave Digger and the part of the show we did see. During the intro the Reaper first came on stage, slowly walking around in blue light. Then the band entered the stage and the crowd went nuts. Chris Boltendahl isn't really a good singer technically, but he has a very typical voice and knows his limits. His voice does fit the songs well, since they often are pretty straight-forward. As a frontman he's never lacking energy and youth, a little child captured in a 42-year old hehe! It's always good to see aGrave Digger © Nico Wobben metalhead as fanatic and true as he is. Opener was "Rheingold" of the latest album with the same title. They continued with an older one, "The Dark Of The Sun" of "Tunes Of War" and immediately a moshpit started. The audience gave me goosebumps, the atmosphere in the Zeche was great. It was time for us to leave for our date though, so we went to the bar upstairs for the interview (see our interview section). Every now and then we were distracted because of the cheers of the audience, you could hear they were having a blast! Afterward the interview and some chatting, during one of the encores, "Rebellion" of "Tunes Of War" - the ultimate Grave Digger song I believe - we headed out to the parking lot to start our way back home and said goodbye to the Symphorce guys after a great night. (Marlies)

submitted by Cora 14.01.2004

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