August 25th 2006 

Star Central in Columbia Heights Minnesota


photos © by Matthew Haumschild

reviews by Matthew Haumschild 


The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited 

without written permission



Seven Witches (New York)

Omen (Texas)

Steel Attack (Sweden)

Gaia Epicas (Norway)

Imagika (California)

Division (Virginia)

Cold Colours (Minnesota)





I havenít been to a festival for a long time. The last festival I remember going to I wasnít even old enough to drink yet! I didnít know quite what to expect. I was hoping there would be a lot of people here, but unfortunately there wasnít. It wasnít a total loss, about 150-200 showed up. But I think the high ticket prices scared people away. Tickets at the door were $25, which is reasonable if the show contained groups that more people knew about like Nevermore, Children of Bodom, or Dragonforce. Usually, Cold Colours alone brings in around 100 people but when they were on, I counted 20 people in the front and another 20 or so hanging out at the bar or near the soundboard.


            I could understand the ticket prices. Steel Attack and Gaia Epicas flew in from their prospective countries to play this show. Division drove all the way from Virginia over night to play the show as did the other bands. I thought it was so cool that they did that, but I wish more people would have showed up.




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The odd band of the festival was Minneapolisís Cold Colours. Cold Colours is a band that has been influenced by To/Die/For, Anathema, and Sentenced. So to see this kind of a band open up for power metal acts is a little unusual. The band does have a decent following for a local band. This was there first show that Iíve seen where they didnít have their keyboard player with them. I didnít know quite what to expect, to my surprise they sounded very solid. They seemed better put together than ever before. I would also like to point out that their sound has changed since the last time I saw them. They featured a few new songs at this show that sounded more like Sentenced than they had before. They went from this slower gothic rock sound to songs that were a little faster and contained a little bit more attitude and it worked. Even when the band played some of their older stuff and it sounded better than ever. A funny part of the show happened at the end of the third song, the drummer lost one of his sticks and he didnít have another handy and played the rest of the song with one stick. What I didnít like so much was the backing vocals. I didnít feel that it blended well with the music, I felt that the bass playerís singing was too high compared to the lead singers and it didnít sound quite right. Other than that, the band was great. Iíve seen them several times and Iíll see them again more sooner than later. Cold Colours are hands down one of the best local bands in town.


The boys of Division were extremely cool on and off stage. I talked to the band before and after their show. I could not have met a nicer group. The bands sound was pretty unique. They had a combination of a power-metal blended in with blues. The band was full of energy! I couldnít get the bass player to stand still to take a photo! The stage presence was deffinatly their but I had a problem with their overall sound. I donít know whether to blame the band or blame the sound guy. The guitars had way too much gain in the upper midrange and it didnít sound pleasant at all. I couldnít tell what the guitar players were doing. It sounded messy until there was a solo and that sounded great, but I couldnít take the sound quality. I do feel that if the guitars and bass were cleaned up considerably and there was a larger crowd, the band would have rocked the joint down to its foundation. The songs themselves were good, the backing vocals blended perfectly with the lead vocals giving way to some great harmonies. I was talking to the singer before the show and he told me that the band recently bought their way out of their record contract, which is no easy feat, I like this band and I think they deserve a closer look. Check them out at http://www.division-usa.com .


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Imagika, hands down, were the heaviest band of the night and most deffinatly the loudest band too. This band sounds more like a cross between Nevermore and Testament blended with power metal. I say that some of the guitar playing is a cross between Testament and a typical power metal band and the singer has the low end growl of Chuck Billy of Testament and the high end squeal of Rob Halford. One part of the band Iíd like to point out is their bass player. They had a female bass player, this is unique to me since I can only think of three bands in the history metal that have had female bass players: Drain STH, White Zombie, and Kittie. She had attitude to boot! She didnít take any crap from any of the guys and she played as if there werenít any distinction. The crowd seemed to like the band, I had to run and get new batteries for my camera during their set so I didnít get to see more then three or four songs. However, what I had seen sounded pretty good, worth downloading a few mp3ís.


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The surprise band of the night from my perspective and from the crowd perspective has got to be Gaia Epicas. That band flew in directly from Norway to play this show. The band opened up with this fast as hell song blowing me away! The singer was singing some cheesy high-pitched lyrics but seemed to go real well with the music. The band was really solid; some of the best drumming of the night came from this band. Gaia had a lot of stage presence and the crowd could tell too, everyone was getting into them. After the first song, one of the guitar players was having problems with is guitar, I couldnít tell what the problem was, but I think he had problems tuning it. Him and the other guitar player (who was also singing) went off stage for what seemed like five minutes, and during that five minutes, we got to listen a bass solo. Their bass player was amazing!  After he was done, the band just rocked the house. Playing extremely fast and sounding very professional. This is a band to watch out for. Iíd put these guys in the same category as Jag Panzer, Stratovarious, and Sonata Arctica. Gaia Epicas is a brilliant band, check them out asap!




I think Gaia Epicas would have been a hard act to follow by most bands so when Steel Attack came on, they would have had to really impress me. Unfortunately they were the disappointment of the night. Visibly they were harsher in tone, but their guitar sound was just awful. They encountered the same problem Division did only much worse. It was just noise and for the first time all night the drums sounded like shit. One thing that hadnít changed throughout the night was the drum kit so there would be no reason why the drums sounded the way they did. The singing was a bit out of control, it was higher pitched than normal and I didnít understand a word he was saying. The one thing they did have going for them were the backing vocals, they blended perfectly with the lead vocals. As their set went on, they got slightly better but they didnít excite me. After they were done, many of the people where raving over how good they were, but I didnít think so, bands like this make me wish I brought earplugs.


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I was amused when the singer for Omen ran on the stage. This old, flabby and very white male ran on stage with his band which looked really horrible! But luckily for us, the fans, the band didn't sound too bad! Omen reminds me of a Motorhead version of a power metal band. The singer had a rasp to his voice that is reminiscent of Brian Johnson of AC/DC only with vibrato. The drumming was really fast and the solos were really long but it worked because the Omen were the most popular band of the night. After the first song, people were chanting their name. Omen had lots of energy and it rubbed off on the crowd because the crowd was really getting into it. The bass was very clear for I could hear every note as were the guitars and drums, the band was perfectly mixed. I would say Omen is above average for bands. Theyíve been together for a long time and are considered legends in the power metal field. Throughout their set, fans kept shouting out song names. My final thought about the band is that they werenít very exciting to me but they werenít boring by any means and if theyíd play a shorter set, I might go see them again.




Before the show, I was talking with Jack Frost, who is the guitar player for Seven Witches. He also has several of his own projects however, I would like to note him for playing in Savatage and Bronx Casket Company (see my review). And he was a very nice person, very approachable not to mention very knowledgeable on guitar. He had mentioned to me that sometime next year, BCC will try to get to Europe and tour. Seven Witches fucking rocked. Itís a shame because after Omen was done, half the place left. Itís a shame because Seven Witches played extremely well. Frostís guitar sounded completely different from the other bands, it sound absolutely perfect. It sounded like a guitar that I would hear from Soilwork or In Flames. The band sounded like a power metal version of In Flames. Solos galore filled with melody with commanding vocals and vicious drumming. I left during half the set because my legs were killing me. From what I saw I was most impressed. Since writing this review, Iíve ordered a Seven Witches CD via the internet.


            I had fun at this event, although I do wish there would have been more variety instead of all power metal, it would have been nice to have a melodic death metal band there or an industrial band, or something that would kill the monotony. Sure, power metal doesnít get enough recognition, but still. Best surprise of the night was Gaia Epicas best stage presence went to Division, best sounding guitar goes to Seven Witches, and best singing goes to Cold Colours. I suggest listening to all these bands; anyone is bound to like one of them. And remember, this is the new underground music in America, horns up and show support!

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