* October 25, 2008 *

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Manifesto, Hoorn, The Netherlands

When the Heavy Metal Maniacs come together on their annual festival, a good metalparty canít be far behind. The metalheads, dressed in patched jackets, come to Hoorn from all corners of Europe for a serious headbang evening. Itís a big reunion of people who really have one thing in common, thatís the passion for heavy metalmusic.

The Heavy Metal Manics are around for ten years now and the festival was held for the ninth time. In the past, the festival gained the tradition with a diversity of reunions of Dutch bands. This year too the tradition stood with the reunions of GILGAMESJ and the Rotterdam-based EARDANGER. At three oíclock in the afternoon, the parking lot starts to fill up and the party mood becomes evident when the trunks open and the alcoholic drinks start to appear to great each other in the proper way. The family is reunited to start the party. EARDANGER kicks off in the afternoon with a fairly good filled venue. Despite the fact, that the band exists for over 25 years, so far the big break-through never came. In Hoorn the band goes for second rounds and they do surprisingly well. Especially axe lady Karina Wolf, who was extremely nervous, slowly turns into a tough rockchick on stage. She knows where she stands. Itís really amazing to see her standing there.

ROADKILL belongs to the establishment for a while. The tour with VENGEANCE, which they are doing at this time, is very successful and itís no surprise that the audience loves also them tonight. From the opener "10,000 Volts", it is clear that playing is in their blood. Highlights of the gig for me are the songs "King Of Swords" and the last song "Mayday".

The audience is already warmed up, when PORTRAIT from Sweden comes up. The sound of the band reminds you immediately of MERCYFUL FATE in their starting days. Especially the sound of Philip Svennefeltís voice comes close to the primitive shouts of KING DIAMOND. But also the long instrumental passages in the songs will sound familiar to the Fate fans. The band, which has ex-members of HELVETETS PORT and DEVIL LEE ROT, is more convincing than a year ago on Keep It True. Singer Philip is back-up singer tonight, because he left the band, but will sing, until they find a good replacement for him.

GILGAMESJ steals the heart of all maniacs. With a good set, with songs of ZIXTH ZENSE (the musical follow-up of GILGAMESJ) and more than enough boomers of the GILGAMESJ-era, they wrap the audience around their fingers. They start with the HUGHES/THRALL-song "Muscle And Blood", and I get the goosebumps on both arms right away. The GAMMA-classic "Voyager" was also played tonight. The energy is bursting on the podium. The sting is, as always, in the tail. As soon as the songs like "Daybreak", "Oppression", "Ticket To Heaven" and "Revolution" pass along, my highlight of the evening is already set. GILGAMESJ gives a lesson of metalhistory, that is engraved in my memory for a long time. A world-class gig!

The German band WIZARD has known harder times, but after this great performance theyíve got a hard time. When the drumkit falls over, the disaster seems to be complete. But the warriors of WIZARD arenít that easily impressed and songs like "Children Of The Night", "Iron War" and "Hall Of Odin" are embraced by the wild audience in front of the podium. When singer Sven DíAna starts to spit fire, the audience falls for them. Highlight for me was the song "Sign Of The Wizard".

CLOVEN HOOF came to Holland for the closing ritual. Their new guitarist Christian Horton has his first gig tonight. He freshly left the band DARK FORREST, which in April was support act of CLOVEN HOOF on the British Steel III Festival in London. The knifes are sharpened and they start with "Inquisitor". CLOVEN HOOF goes to war with a real dream set, songs like "Nova Battlestar", "Gates Of Gehennah", "Kiss Of Evil", "Notre Dame" and "Road Of Eagles" off their first demo are being played. But itís their new song "Mutilator", that hits me the hardest. Halfway through the set dozens of headbanging maniacs overtake the podium, to stand next to their heroes during these hard times. When the audience reaches the boiling point, itís time for the Ďwe want moreí.. "Highlander" and "Laying Down The Law" are being released on the wild audience. And to thank the people for their euphoric reactions, the people, who still have the energy, are invited again to join them on the stage to spill the last drop of sweat. And so ends a wonderful evening in a wonderful way, where we saw GILGAMESJ rocking the crap out of the audience and CLOVEN HOOF giving the well-known death stab to the hungry audience.

I missed the afterparty, but you can count on me standing in front next year again. Again compliments to the organization f or a wonderful evening. And also compliments to DJ Knarf, who gave metal violence during the breaks. Because when you hear "Frost And Fire" of CIRITH UNGOL in a break, your evening canít be ruined anymore.

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/November 2008
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/www.metalmaidens.com

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