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ProgPower IV Review
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General Zod



Joined: 24 Jan 2001
Posts: 2519
Location: Krypton

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:42 am    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

The Thursday pre-party was much better than in years past. The three bands, Katagory V, Stride and Prymary were all very, very good. However, Stride stole the show. They are simply brilliant musicians, who execute their material seamlessly. For those unfamiliar with them (as I’m sure most are), they sound like Liquid Tension Experiment with excellent vocals and superb melodies. Unfortunately, they are unsigned. It amazes me, with all the crap bands out there with record contracts, both in the Metal genre and outside it, that a phenomenal band like Stride remains unsigned.

Friday:

Redemption was the worst act of the weekend. Their sound was fairly cluttered and their stage performance fairly dull. Most of which can probably be attributed to the fact that this line-up has rarely performed together (at least to the best of my knowledge). Even Corey Brown's fantastic voice couldn't save them. With the exception of Ray Adler's stunning delivery of "Desperation (Part II)", Redemption wasn't worth watching.

Mercenary - what they lacked in polish, they made up for with pure heart. Clearly many ProgPower attendees weren't into Mercenary's style of Metal, but I thought they kicked ass. Their two vocalist format worked really well in a live setting. The highlight of this show was clearly "Seize the Night".

Vanden Plas - holy shit! These guys, are without a doubt, one the top acts in Metal. Their performance was as good as any I've ever witnessed. They were tight as hell, energetic, and delivered exactly what the crowd wanted. Front man Andy Kuntz is as good as any in the business and guitarist Stephan Lill is extremely underrated . If you have a chance to see Vanden Plas, do so. They are quite simply, a fantastic live act.

Nightwish - let me just say, with the exception of "She is my Sin", I don't like Nightwish’s music. They do nothing for me. Tarja's voice, quite frankly, annoys me. That being said, the crowd loved them. They're delivery was dead on. Their performance of the aforementioned "She is my Sin", was executed perfectly. I thought the fact that Tarja left the stage to catch a breather, leaving the band to perform a hideous rendition of Ozzy's "Crazy Train", was a tad odd.

Symphony X - suffice it to say, they were Symphony X-like. Any band who is forced to share a stage with them, should be nervous. Romeo doesn't miss a note, nor does Pinnella. Rullo is one of the finest drummer's in Metal and Lepond is sensational. Nothing can be said, that hasn't already been said, about Sir Russell's stunning voice. Russ, by the way, was as good as I've ever heard him. As a whole, these guys are a machine. They closed with the longest encore in the history of Metal, as they performed "The Odyssey" for the first time in a live setting.

Saturday:

Pagan’s Mind – they opened with “Approaching” and “Through Osiris' Eyes” (tracks one and two from the brilliant (Celestial Entrance”). These two songs, were delivered as well as any two live songs I’ve ever heard. There were two elements of Pagan’s Minds’ live performance that really struck me:

1 – all of those weird vocal effects that you hear on “Celestial Mind”, aren’t actually vocal effects. Nils Rue actually does all of those same sounds live. The guy, is quite simply, a brilliant vocalist.
2 – Jorn Lofstad is one of the best kept guitar secrets in Metal. He flat out wails.

Pagan’s Mind is a band, that if they keep their shit together, will most likely grow into one of Metal’s preeminent acts.

Secret Sphere – although I absolutely love “A Time Never Come”, these guys are not a good live act. I spent the better part of their act CD shopping.

Circle II Circle – OK… first comment, these guys were so friggin loud, that my friends and I actually retreated to the last row of the venue (though we did return to the floor when Mr. Oliva came to the stage). You know the saying, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”? Sometimes, age is irrelevant, it’s just too loud. Had Joey DeMaio been there, he surely would have commented, “This level of volume is just plain excessive.” All that aside, Zack was brilliant. He has one of the best voices in Metal. The Circle II Circle material was nice, but the highlights of the show were the five Savatage songs. The last two songs of the evening; “Edge of Thorns” (with Jon Oliva on keys) and “Gutter Ballet (with Zack and Jon splitting the vocal duties) were quite possibly the highlight of the festival.

Evergrey – this is Evergrey’s show. They are the proverbial “fan favorite”. Their sound was flawlessly mixed, their stage presence as energetic as ever, and their execution was terrific. They played a solid mixture of songs from all of their discs, including the nine minute “Trilogy of the Damned”, which featured Tom’s vocals accompanied only by keyboards. Evergrey was clearly the band of the evening.

Rage – plain and simple, Rage was not an ideal choice to close this festival. They just aren’t all that popular here in the U.S. More people were interested in the Evergrey autograph session taking place in the club’s restaurant, than were in hearing Rage’s live show. I only stayed for the first three songs, and then headed out to party. By all accounts, they were excellent. They even got a mosh pit going, to the surprise of everyone, including the band. All that aside, I’m not sorry I split, as they’re just not my cup of tea.

All in all, a great festival. Glenn deserves every accolade thrown his way, as he is truly one of the reasons Metal is beginning to grow in the states.

GZ
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Jake



Joined: 02 Mar 1999
Posts: 4963

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 2:25 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

Nice review.

What were the other 3 Savatage songs that Circle II Circle played?
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woosta



Joined: 12 Mar 1999
Posts: 780
Location: PA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:12 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

Now maybe next year we'll get a substantial lineup. Aside from Rage and Nightwish there wasn't jack shit for me to see there this year.

I think the ironic thing is that I was told from a source around the event that there would not be any Running Wild because all of their fans are in europe and no Pretty Maids PERIOD because there was no interest. Yet, this year we see Mercenary, Redemption and more that the larger part of metal fans notice very little. You're telling me that there is no following for 20 year vets Pretty Maids but there IS for Mercenary or Redemption? C'mon man, I was born at night but it wasn't last night.

Maybe some Sonata Arctica next year? Aside from Nightwish, all of these bands would have been "openers" compared to the last few years.
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Metal1



Joined: 27 May 2000
Posts: 1253
Location: South of Hell

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:39 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

Woosta, I agree on the Sonata Artica thing.

I would have given a thousand bucks (ok, maybe not, I'm poor!) to see SyX and Circle II Circle! As far as C2C being too loud, I would have fought to see it through. I saw the Zak-Era Savagate at the Birch Hill here in Holmdel for years...I would love to hear them above the bass-thumping in the next room!!!

BTW, nice Joey DeMaio reference Zod...I still blame him for my tinitus! I say them at the Birch Hill back in '96. Loud as all hell. I almost got thrown on stage...at least I got a Scott Columbus stick as a souvenier!
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General Zod



Joined: 24 Jan 2001
Posts: 2519
Location: Krypton

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:17 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

quote:
Originally posted by woosta:
I think the ironic thing is that I was told from a source around the event that there would not be any Running Wild because all of their fans are in europe and no Pretty Maids PERIOD because there was no interest. Yet, this year we see Mercenary, Redemption and more that the larger part of metal fans notice very little. You're telling me that there is no following for 20 year vets Pretty Maids but there IS for Mercenary or Redemption? C'mon man, I was born at night but it wasn't last night.

Woosta,

Keep in mind the slots and the dollar figures that go along with those slots. Redemption was an opener and Mercenary got a #2 slot. Glenn probably paid almost nothing but air fare and hotel fare for these two acts. Well established acts would probably want more money, which would require them to draw more people. I don't think that many people in the U.S. want to see Running Wild or Pretty Maids. I know I don't. When Rage finished their act, by most accounts, the place was more than half empty.

GZ
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woosta



Joined: 12 Mar 1999
Posts: 780
Location: PA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 4:13 am    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

I think everyone underestimates the drawing power of metal legends like Running Wild and Pretty Maids. I know Rage would be hit/miss so that doesn't surprise me; like I said, they'd have been an opener at the past shows.

I know it's a $$$ thing, but the 2 acts that I mentioned hadn't been investigated at the time. Running Wild was on a "secondary" list. Just don't tell me that it's based on interest level and then bring in Redemption, Mercenary, Vanden Plas and acts like that because Prog doesn't even sell in Europe let alone the USA. I think people want to see those bands that headline Euro festivals and RW/PM are those bands.

In any case, I guess it's a moot point because he still sold out the tix! For that, I'm glad. For the bands this year I was EXTREMELY disappointed.
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General Zod



Joined: 24 Jan 2001
Posts: 2519
Location: Krypton

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 8:57 am    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

I guess it all comes down to personal tastes. I was very disappointed in the PPIII line up. There was just too much Power Metal. I know bands like Gamma Ray have a lot of fans (relatively speaking), but I think they're fairly uninteresting. For my money, the best band at PPIII was Zero Hour... and by a wide margin.

GZ
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Jake



Joined: 02 Mar 1999
Posts: 4963

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 3:41 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

Running Wild! Now we're talking a good show. But I still probably wouldn't be able to make it to the show.
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tattooedsean_777



Joined: 17 Jul 2003
Posts: 13
Location: Chandler, arizona

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:40 pm    Post subject: ProgPower IV Review Reply with quote

I only notice noise levels by the clarity I hear the band thru my earplugs. None of the bands really bothered me thus.

Rage doing guitar solos and drum solos slowed it down too much for me near the end of a long 2 days. I really loved my first progpower.
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