review  by dalia di giacomo 

- all photos by Stefan Vogelaar

The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited without written permission




A day at the Border 2003: a kind of solemn aperitif for the Gods of Metal: very interesting bill, tormented story. Border and Gods were planned to take place in Monza at the Brianteo Stadio, but the presence of Marilyn Manson made trigger in Monza (yes Monza the town of the motor racing circuit and of the Longobard Iron Crown) a kind of censorship that caused the transfer of both festivals to the near metropolis Milan. Milan is a town which has its wide parks but it's not a real "green" town, nevertheless in short time Milan has been able to organize all solutions in order to guest the festivals in the better way possible, combining the best characteristics of an indoor show with those of an open air. The Border is guested in a big modern structure called Mazda Palace (the ex well known Palavobis) , a typical building suitable for meetings, conferences, concerts and sport matches, it seems a big building for basketball with the smart touch of a modern cinema and showroom. it can contain thousands of persons and, concerning our festival A Day at the Border, it offers a lot of seats, a huge area in front of the stage, ventilation, toilets, shelter from the hot temperature of these days, a nocturnal indoor atmosphere that is always welcomed for enjoying the music of the bands, but, above all, a modern wide stage that is kicking ass, superb sound, freedom of movement for the bands, technical plants, giant sail -shaped boxes, mega crane for video recording, a very careful security team. and outside? one can find a good number of stands: from water to beer, sausages, cola, porchetta, sandwiches whatever, alternate with the stands of the sponsors and supporters: among them we can mention VolareWeb (a new aerea company in full expansion ), Metal Hammer, Metallus .it, and the king of the Milanese and Italian metal scene Transilvania Club. At the Transilvania stand, we can see a corner for video interviews and signing session together with an interesting merchandise table, so typical for Transilvania with its skulls, coffins and shirts. all around a lot of small stands where to buy a lot of articles. there is no meadow, only asphalt , like around a football stadium, but no one cares. of course green Monza would have been better and everyone here adores a green area, but italians are not so mud freaks in case of rain, so even if the sunny sun shines over the Po Valley this arrangement is accepted. a wide wooden floor-structure has been prepared at the side of the Transilvania , Metal Hammer and Metallus stands, just in front of the main entrances of the Mazda Palace, there people can walk in the shadow of a big tent, can sit, can relax can liedown without capturing clorophyill spots, and moreover the Palace is offering tons of sits.
Let's go to music now : first quality bands will play today, from Soilwork, to Dark Tranquillity, from Ministry to Hypocrisy , from Paradise Lost to Children of Bodom. But one icon , one presence thrones upon the festival : the shadow of Marilyn Manson. Told openly, a big quantity of people here are Manson fans, they are dressed like him, they are devoted, they have come here from every parts of Italy, many of them are here after a long journey, they are full of hope, they are turning the Border into a small sensual M'era Luna, they are united and immediately recognizable, they are one soul with Manson, many of them are occupying the first rows since doors opened. The news that Manson cancelled his show today due to a throat inflammation has dropped a certain discouragement and bitter disappointment on the festival . And if it's true that the show has been shifted to 22 June and tickets are still valid, on the other hand i don't know how many will be able to come back again to Milan from the South or East Italy.

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Fortunately i am here for the Border in itself, for having the possibility to see bands like Dark Tranquillity and Ministry and above all for Paradise Lost,that i hope to interview . Time to see together with me what's happening in the Palace and at the Transilvania stand concerning the signing session, are you ready?


Stefan and me enter the Mazda Palace when Soilwork are already on stage, during the middle of their show, so it's not possible to shoot fotos (iron rule: usually only the first 3 songs of each band's gig admit photographs in action). Anyway Soilwork must have done a good concert till now from the moment that the crowd is shouting "Soil-work Soil-work Soil-work!" with enthusiasm. The song Light the Torch from the new album Figure number Five is announced right now and is interpreted with good determination, though in a bit rough way in my opinion. I notice the videocamera crane in action, indeed a DVD about the Border will be released, and i find a place near the gate that defines its operative area: i can see the stage very well , i practically am in the first line though my position is very angular. Directly under the stage every centimetre is occupied since early this morning. Applauses for Soilwork that go on with Follow the Hollow. The band shows a good experience on the stage, strong vocals, good mobility; all in all it seems to me it is a good performance though i get the impression that the singer is not excessively good mooded: the Palace is still not completely crowded but the approval for Soilwork is very underlined and the band greets and thanks Milan leaving the stage among the applauses. We have no pics of the gigs but many from the Transilvania stand where they give an interview and a signing session, short after the show. All soilworkers will enjoy i presume.
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CARPATHIAN  FOREST  signing session  
Carpathian Forest played after Soilwork and we wait for them at the Transilvania stand


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Dark Tranquillity are not only one of my fav bands but one of the best bands that walk the metal scene. DT are on a higher sphere imo, and i think there cannot exist objections to it. Fully revitalized with Damage Done i appreciated them since Projector and Haven. I personally think that nothing concerning Dark Tranquillity is overrated and they should at least co - headline the whole train today and, if it were up to me, surely not together HIM or Manson. I am more than happy to have the occasion to report them live and it's with joy that i dive into the stomach of the Mazda Palace again. I am there after the beginning of the show, while Stefan is already in the foto pit: and the first words i hear from singer Mikael are "Everytime i come to Italy is amazing!!" and it sounds f*cking true , not the usual greetings from the film script. Anyway the audience was already warmed up and and the announcement of one new song "Monochromatic Stains" is rising enthusiasm and approvals. My gosh, i remain with my eyes wide open starring the band whose singer, with his angelic look, shows such an energy and a self- confidence rarely seen. The blond slim build contrasts so much with the biting and rasping death vocals but is a contrast that you can only like , without conflict, and that livens up the show. Cool singing , jumping, moving, creating an authentic interface between crowd and band. One word: a frontman in the true meaning of the word. The brilliant sound supports the biting melodic death. Applauses and applauses and applauses! "You guys are fucking awsome!" so speaks Mikael presenting then the song Damage Done. "this song is called DAMAGE....?" "DONE!!" replies the audience , well prepared about DT-ology, "DAMAGE...? "DONE!!!" "Damage...." " DOOOOONE UHH !!!!" in a nice escalation. let's go! Roaring guitars and death rhythm mix together merciless structure with sensibility. Some songs come out a bit rough or but this is no weak point. And indeed is the sensibility of this band that jumps out, inspite of the metal heaviness, cool the solos and rasping guitar riffs. With "The wonder at your feet" from album Haven that all the magic of DT bursts out, valuable piano notes and involving riffs in a monument to melodic death. 
deeper shades of red descending
smear our names, the stains unending
turn forgiveness,
these are the wonders at your feet"
if it were not for Paradise Lost i could even go now , what do you want to listen more than this , told openly. The crowd support the band in a great way clapping hands during the bridge , going in rapture during the lead solo. And afterwards, from the Mind's I album here it is: Zodijackyl Light. And again Mikael says "Thank you so much , it's amazing!". And now Final resistance is announced. What more than this?. Warm applauses! "I hope to see you soon!", then Mikael goes down into the foto pit in front of the gates sorrounded by the security and takes his time to shake a lot of hands.


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I join very gladly the gig of Ministry around 16:30 even because it's time to think to gain a kind of pole position for the following Paradise Lost, the room is full so i choose again the rather free places near the crane, hoping in an opportune feline sprint during the turnover. Ministry with their typical anti autoritharian- autoritharian attitude throne over a crowd in trance, supported by the mighty potentialities of the stage: they unleash hyperreverbering and repetitive loops , which span from industrial-disco impulses to angry and harsh uptempos. In the background a screen is showing videos socio-political-psycho- oriented. One can fall in a narcotic metallic catalepsy and the time seems never to pass away, the tracks seem long and, on the whole, the gig seems to have a lot of parts on tape. They hypnotize more than to persuade. The audience likes Dead Guy, Hero and the absolutely monolithic and monumental Psalm 69, applaudes, but doesn't go crazy. During the turnover well, let's forget any feline sprint, the first rows at the other side of the crane area are firmly hold . 


It's late afternoon, due to the fact that the showtimes have been subjected to a big dely , the stage is prepared now for Paradise Lost , Lee's drumkit appears while after some minutes afterwards Ministry's screen is taken away. It follows the sound check for drums , guitars and microphone. The temperature is warm and Ministry have stunned enough. Almost all seats of both sides are occupied while in the central area there is a turnover of audience but soon the room is more crowded again. There is to wait till everything is ok on the stage and finally, preceded by an atmospheric intro and cold lights, Paradise Lost take the stage welcomed by applauses. The videocamera, that during the intervallo has widely recorded many people in the crowd flying over their heads, now is fixing its attention on the central microphone.PL start off with Isolate powered by echo effects- isolate-late -late-late , guitarists Mackintosh and Aedy throw themselves immediately in the music with energy, 100% involved, simply impressive. But the most outstanding characteristic that is emerging is that Nick's vocals are stronger than usual. Ok let's wait, you never know... Applauses and it's the turn of Mouth, enthralling and catchy and from now on the aim of Paradise Lost is clear, finally supported by a dign super sound-plant, they want to sound incredibly heavy, even heavier than on the Symbol of Life album. The more Mouth goes on the more Steve gets involved while Lee's drums are less emphasized from the moment that the instruments are well balanced . To tell the truth the first verse of Mouth seems a bit out of tunebut on the whole the song has worked well. Now Nicks announces the classic Hallowed Land, where Nick gives a good amount of versatility to his voice. The audience is very interested but one can see at once that there is no big group of fans , unlike it happened during their tour only few ones sing along, but the attention of this Manson-HIM oriented crowd is captured anyway. After Hallowed Land Nicks tests the reaction of the crowd to see whether it is warm enough in order to introduce "So - much - is -losttt!" with decadent laconic timbre.. so...just to slow down any enthusiasm... So much is lost is played as much heavy as possible. And then Perfect Mask! great! sounds really good so heavy! It follows Mystify where Nick modulates the tone and timbre from bass notes to higher ones, from low voice till screaming, with a final "world" hold long . Symbol of Life starts under a ghostly red and yellow light with heavy final mighty underlined. Erased..is launched during the very beginning with a double "go!" while people clap their hands. The voice of another Manson, the killer Charles, opens the cult Forever Failure. And then we go from doom notes to a bit uptempo with Say just Words and we remain high with the more modern Self Obsessed followed by another classic cult "As I die". Small Town Boy remains what it is : a pop song, in spite of the great PL ability. "thank you all!!" Applauses . One second. The band greets and goes after a good show from the technical point of view, maybe less enthralling from the emotional one . if i should summarize this gig with one only word i would use the term "heavy". The first comments i've heard from some connoisseurs were "in shape", the band is in shape, something has anyway sounded cold , distant, but ,after Ministry, even the boiling water can be mistaken for ice imo ....
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Many thanks  to:
Live in Italy , Northern Music management, Mr Lee Morris,  The Transilvania team , and the many nice guys we met, you know who you are!

Dalia and Lee - interview

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