Notodden, Norway, Friday, August 17, 2007

Review by Carl Engstrøm


Swedish Doomsters Candlemass were the first band enjoyed on this Friday night -– and enjoyed they were too. Although the sound, especially in the drums department, was not all that good, the band delivered a peak performance from the very beginning. Messiah Marcolin was not missed one single second as Robert Lowe (of Solitude Aeturnus fame) made songs like “Under The Oak,” “Devil Seed,” “Mirror Mirror,” and “Black Dwarf” entirely his own. Guitarist Mats Björkman made for the humoristic aspect of the show as he wandered around handing out hugs to the band members up for such a treat, and although it is not known if it was the physical or the musical bit that made the crowd so much into the performance, they were in any case helping to make this a very memorable gig, with “Samarithan” as the perfect set closer.


Udo Dirkschneider and his fellow barksters were next, of course under the well-known U.D.O. moniker, which has been a guarantee for kickass, straight-ahead Heavy Metal for the last 20 years or so. The title track from the band’s latest offering, Mastercutor, set the standard for what was to come, and the set offered no surprises –- neither positive nor negative, that is. Besides the compulsory “Metal Heart” and extended version of “Balls To The Wall,” “Wrong Side Of Midnight,” and “We Do – For You,” were honorable mentions from a set list practically identical to that of the band’s gig at Sweden Rock Festival. Although the poses were all there, and Dirkschneider gnarled his way into the night with usual humor and confidence, it is hard to ignore the impression that the band did turn on autopilot this time, at least to some extent.


The second day of the festival was rounded off by yet a bunch of the Brotherland’s finest, and Therion had to live with a certain pressure following their latest amazing album Gothic Kabbalah. Although this album showed the band from a more straight ahead angle, their music is still complex and orchestral enough to satisfy most out there, and especially the lineup with a total of 4 singers may come out a bit over the top in a live setting. This was, unfortunately, also the case this time around, and although Thomas Vikström (formerly in Candlemass, having replaced Mats Levén in Therion earlier this year), Snowy Shaw, Katarina Lilja, and Lori Lewis all performed well vocally (maybe except for a few out-of-tune episodes, they did seem to compete a bit for the reasonably large crowd’s attention.

The sound quality was not top notch, and this, together with the chaotic impression of the stage performance, very much ruined the overall impression of their performance. This is sad, because the band has some mighty fantastic numbers on their resume, but this night was not Therion’s night – and the three-hour bus ride home all of a sudden seemed like a much more sensible thing to do.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.