Live reportage





9/19/07 @ 4th St Station in Saint Paul Minnesota – US




by Matthew "Newbreed99" Haumschild___       


           Friends, I would first like to apologize for my photography. I am not the best at taking photos, but here they are, from the best view I could come up with.


            I had been looking forward to this concert for a while now mainly because it was Melissa Ferlaak’s first show in Minnesota in such a long time. This is the first show she has played in Minnesota with Visions of Atlantis, a band she had joined a few years ago. I had also heard good things about Firewind, Scott Erelt from the band SiOP raves about them every time I talk to him. And Epica, I have one of their CD’s, Consign to Oblivion. I admit though, that the music is good, but a little boring from time to time, Epica is not a band I can work out to, the songs are simply too long for me, like Dream Theater, maybe they are different this time.




Firewind: Would i see them again? Absolutely!

            I came in during the middle of Firewind’s set. Surprisingly the show started really early, I was expecting to see a local band first. However, when I strolled into 4th Street Station at 6:00pm (or around there) Firewind was on. They sounded pretty good too. Gus G.’s guitar playing was phenomenal, he was the best guitar player of the night. Firewind was basically a power-metal band. With all the elements as such, guitar solos, high-pitched singing, or rather powerful singing that wasn’t growling. Probably the fun part was about their set on how interactive the band was with the small crowd. There might have been 30 or 35 people in there at the time Firewind was on. But we were all banging our heads and our fist chanting “Hey, hey, hey!” during virtually every song. My favourite part of their set was the singing duel between the singer and the crowd, at the end it came down to the singer, one other person in the crowd and I! It was great! Would I buy one of their CD’s? Yeah, I would. Would I see them again? Absolutely! About the only thing I didn’t like about their set was the sound quality, granted, I had my earplugs in, but it was REALLY bassy, almost too bassy. The drumming was all right, I thought, it was typical of Power-metal music, but I am not a fan of that drumming style where the drummer is constantly pounding on the kick drums in every song. Those are my only complaints, other than that, great stuff!  





Visions of Atlantis: The stage presence was spectacular to say the least

            The band I came to see was coming on next. I was a little surprised that no one in the crowd that I could see knew who they were. Obviously, I could pick out those who came, strictly to see Melissa by looking at the people I’ve never seen at a metal show, but I didn’t see anyone that was there for Visions of Atlantis. Technically I was there for both. Because I had reviewed their CD, Trinity, and I rather liked it. They opened the show with, “Nothing Left.” The funny part about their intro was the lack there of. The CD player at the venue wasn’t working, or the sample machine wasn’t working for some reason, so the band just jumped in to the song. To my utter surprise, the guitar player for Epicurean, a local metal band signed to Metal Blade records, was acting as their bass player because their primary bass player had his business to attend to back in Austria, and their keyboard player was missing in action because of health complications before arriving at the airport. Mario, their main male singer was shorter than I thought! I had a chuckle at that because the one video I saw him in, he looked like my height, and I am 6’1”.  I was banging my head throughout their set, I had my earplugs out for them, and the mix was well balanced. I could hear every drums, every guitar and bass part flawlessly. Although, I do not know the order they played, “The Poem,” “The Secret,” “My Dark Side Home,” “Wing-shaped Heart,” “Flow This Desert,” “Seven Seas,” “At the Back of Beyond,” and “Lost.” All the tracks that I could remember from the night before are from Trinity with the exception of, “Lost.” I had heard that song once before on a Napalm Records sampler and it had VOA’s previous singer, and I remember the song, and I felt that Ferlaak gave it justice. I thought she made that song sound great! Towards the middle of their set, I looked back, and I wasn’t the only one singing along, there were a few that were singing along with me. VOA owned the crowd during their set. The stage presence by the band was spectacular to say the least. Everyone but the drummer had long hair and was able to head-bang as a metal band should. Wolfgang Koch’s guitar sound was heavier than hell and I really like the sound quality of his set up, although I think he was playing with borrowed equipment, it sounded the same as it did on the CD. Mario along with Melissa sounded perfect. The whole band was dead on, I would recommend this band to all, so go see em’ when they are coming through.    






Epica: It felt like I was at a theater show rather than a concert  

            I almost didn’t stay for Epica. Because I had one of their CD’s and I wasn’t too thrilled about it. I like the classical singing along with the melodic-death growl but I just couldn’t get over the overall song structure the band clung to with Consign To Oblivion. But, I decided to stay because…I wanted to write this review! So, admittedly, I do not know any of their music but I was willing to give them a second chance. The first thing I noticed was the singer was sitting. She explained later that she had broken her leg…or something to that effect and couldn’t stand. She had surgery that day and her doctors told her she shouldn’t move too much. So, she sat on a barstool the whole set looking bored as she was singing. I took into account that she was probably pissed off about not being able to move around. But, something else told me that she had just seemed uninterested in even playing the show. The rest of the band was different. That was the other funny thing, I had no idea Epica had 6 members! I can only think of two other bands that have 6 members, Rammstein and Soilwork. I just thought it was funny seeing 6 band members on such a small stage. Overall, my original opinion of the band is somewhat different now that I have seen them live, but not by much. The songs are too long, but they sound good. It felt like I was at a theater show rather than a concert. Or rather, I was watching an orchestra or a classical show listening to every part of every movement. Epica wasn’t the typical metal band in that respect. There were several parts to all of their songs and they were all heavy...however I realized that this type of music isn’t meant for people with short attention spans. Nearing the end of their set I felt like going home. I felt their set was too long, but they were the headliners so they were going to play for 90 minutes, had they played a 60 minute set, it would have been fine but Epica was a sensory overload and I left before their final song. Would I see Epica again? Not as headliners no. If they played a 45-60 minute set, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. Maybe I am getting simpler as I am getting older, but for me, if I can’t work out to it, or drive to it, I am not going to like it as much and unfortunately for Epica, their music doesn’t make want to do either. It doesn’t suck or anything, actually the songs, their compositions are great! They’re dynamic, they’re heavy…just too dynamic at parts and just too long.



            Overall, I had fun! If I ran into someone on the street wearing a Kamelot, Dragon Force, Jag Panzer, or some other power-metal or symphonic-metal band t-shirt and they asked me who puts on a good show, I would recommend all these bands. I had fun and I know 75% of metal heads would have fun too.


review by Matthew Haumschild  - photos © by Matthew Haumschild



Written permission  is needed for the public use of these photos



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