* October 26 & 27, 2012 *

Saturday, October 26th, 2012

Manifesto, Hoorn, The Netherlands

It’s been too long, until we could celebrate another annual Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. I remember, when the announcement came in a while ago, that MOURNBLADE would reunite one more time, exclusively for our festival. The reunion of FINAL HEIRESS would also take place on this edition, whereas things went wrong last year because of the illness of Jan Palenstijn, who would hopefully be ready for the job this weekend. The bill took shape very quickly and it would be a two days event this time. Looking at the names of the bands, I was really looking forward to this weekend more and more. The reunion of SAD IRON would be a possible highlight and for those, who didn’t attend the Keep It True festival in Germany, there would be a second chance to see bands such as WITCH CROSS and OSTROGOTH. When the names of headliners JAMESON RAID, HALLOWEEN and THE MENTORS were being announced, it was clear to me, that we would be in for something special again. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and I have to say, that the final result is another great bill. The festival is a gathering of diehard rock and metal fans from all over the world and a two days metal party this time, so what more would your metal heart desire? The following review is my own personal vision on what happened on those two days in Rocktober. This is the 13th edition of the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival at the Manifesto in Hoorn.
At the beginning of the year, I always have to plan my days off, a year ahead. That’s the way the story goes sometimes. Usually, the Maniacs festival takes place on a Saturday only, so that’s not a problem. This year would be different though and the festival would already start off on Friday. So I planned an additional day off to go to Hoorn. The opening act would be ACT OF STATE, a very promising metal band from Groningen, which I experienced at Meesterlijk Metaal in Almere this year. A back injury of one of the guitarists destroyed their plans and the organization had to find another band to open on Friday at very short notice. That’s where our Spanish friends of AGRESIVA came into the picture and pretty soon they were being announced as their replacement. But first we wanted to check out the local Chinese restaurant in Hoorn, after a short stroll through the city. Just before we arrived at the restaurant, we bumped into Paul van Rijswijk, who was with Marc, the drummer of THE MENTORS. It was nice to have a short chat with these guys, who were ready to rock and roll all night and party every day. Marc was just on the phone with his girlfriend. Then it was time for diner. ‘Chinese food is always good’ is our slogan and after a good meal, we were ready to rumble.

AGRESIVA did have the fine task to warm up the Maniacs festival and they did this quite convincing. You hear a touch of PRIEST and MAIDEN in their sound and the melody lines of bands like LEATHERWOLF and VICIOUS RUMORS, when they opened with “Glorious Revolution” and “The End Of The Game”. Power metal to the max with many METALLICA influences is what you get, when these Spanish rockers hit the lights…….eh…. I mean the stage. “Pale Horse” and “Hell Town” follow quickly after one another and there’s also room for a cover. “Only Live Twice” may not be a very well-known track, if you’re not a huge VICIOUS RUMORS fan. They played a very good version though and it certainly added something special to the set. After “Betrayed”, Eggo gives a sign, that that they still have one more song to go. The Spanish metal heads, who always come over for the festival, did have their moment of fame and I think, AGRESIVA was really convincing for an opening act. They also introduced the band and after “Sent To War”, they saluted their Dutch fans and thanked everybody for making it possible to play here tonight. Okay, one down and three more to go. For me, it’s time to take a break and meet up with some familiar faces. Well, actually there are more than a few. Like I mentioned before, like at Meesterlijk Metaal, it’s always nice to meet a lot of fellow metal heads.

The interval between the bands is very short and before you know it, FINAL HEIRESS hits the stage. When we met Paul earlier this year, he told us very honestly, that there was still a long way to go for the band, but the guys were very driven and anxious to make something special out of this appearance. FINAL HEIRESS only released one single back in the days and they sounded more hard rock than heavy metal. Before the band became FINAL HEIRESS, vocalist Jan was already on stage with bands such as AVALANCHE and HIGH PRIEST. They open with “You’re In My Heart” from the aforementioned single . Not in an ordinary way though. Instead there’s a long acoustic intro, that gets the song going. Maybe it’s kind of strange to start your gig acoustic, but one way or another I really like it, when a band does something that is totally out of the box. “Mystery” is on next and tonight we would hear a couple of other songs, that no one has ever heard before, unless you have seen the band play live in the eighties. I can’t remember that I have ever seen them, so these songs are all new to me, besides the single. “Watchful Parasites” is another new tune and it shows that the melodic rock side of the band sounds quite pleasant, like many bands of this calibre in the eighties. “Cry From The Undertow” received a special treatment. Jan handed out sparkles and lighters to light them, so the people in the audience could think of the people they’d lost over the years during that song. A very attractive moment and showing a lot of togetherness, which matched the song very well. Many sparkles were lit and I think that the idea was just splendid. “Twisted By Rules”, the second song from their single, was on next and it rocked the house again. Jan Palenstijn did have the time of his life, which he stated during the speeches in between the songs. “Look Around” and “Flags” were also unknown to me, until tonight. The best was saved for last. At least, in my opinion. The band cranked out a version of the old AVALANCHE track ‘The Omen’, which comes very close to heavy metal and it’s the perfect closer of tonight’s set. I am glad, that I’ve finally seen this band in a live setting. Paul van Rijswijk being the driving force behind FINAL HEIRESS tonight, especially when you take a good look at the set list of the band, on which the guitar parts were written, so nothing could go wrong. Jan Palenstijn was of course the hero of tonight. He won the tough struggle of this disease and I think that he was proud as hell, that he played here tonight. A personal victory for a very enthusiastic singer and a nice band, that showed how emotions can be translated into music.

Another short break before the NWOBHM band JAMESON RAID would hit the stage. Well, to be honest with you, two band members came from England, one was speaking Dutch very well and the two other band members happened to be German. Terry Dark, the sympathetic frontman of the band, lives in Limburg for a long time now. Neudi, the four-legged drummer, who also plays in ROXXCALIBUR and MANILLA ROAD hails from Germany, and so does his rhythm sparring partner Kalli on bass. Pete Green is the guitarist of the band, who looks very similar to Mr. Glenn Hughes, the voice of rock and bass player of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION in his younger days. Well, now we know the band, so let the party begin. “Titanic” is the opener tonight and obviously, the band wants to profile themselves by playing a lot of new material. “Race To The Beacon” is the start of this and “Waiting For You I Am Not” is another new track, that sounds highly enjoyable and is getting a lot of great response. I think, it’s the way that Terry sings these songs that is very heart warming. Neudi sounds like a mix between Mike Portnoy and Neil Peart and he is really bashing out like a madman on his drum kit. I’ve seen him play at Keep It True many times and tonight he was really playing like a wild animal. “9 Reasons” is another song, that shows the strength of a front man like Terry. He doesn’t only sing it, but he performs it and turns it into a mini play each time. What a great performance! Kalli thinks it’s enough after that and asks the light engineer for the spotlights in a bass solo. You can’t do that on stage anymore, I hear you think, but he really gives two hundred percent and he gets a standing ovation before the band joins him in “Hard Lines”. For “Crazy I Am Not”, Terry puts on a hat and turns himself into an old man, who is definitely not crazy. This is a real highlight to me. “The Raid” and “Catcher In The Rye” are two oldies and “7 Days Of Splendour” is another definite highlight. This song could be seen as the ultimate JAMESON RAID tune and it’s like a point of recognition to their fans. For set closer “Clones ‘R Us”, the band uses futuristic looking goggles. JAMESON RAID has always been one of my favorite bands, but they really stole my heart on stage tonight. The pleasure, this band plays their music reflects to the audience and to me they are the winners on Friday, by a knock out at least. After their show I had a nice talk with one of their friends/roadies/light engineers about the English festivals in the early eighties and the shows we attended, when we were kids…….a long time ago. Time well spent, because it’s always nice to talk about the good old days.

I don’t want to say, that THE MENTORS are not my cup of tea - oh no, on the contrary! Their music is catchy and their humorous lyrics are sometimes over the top, but at least they say what they think and they don’t beat around the bush. Should I go into details here or shall we let the music do the talking? I think, that some true metal heads were a bit disappointed that ANGEL WITCH or RAVEN were not headlining here tonight, but THE MENTORS are something special and Dr. Heathen Scum is of course a cult person in the American shock rock scene. The stories, that you may have heard about the band are really over the top and some of the videos, that you can find on the internet are hilarious and so are the lyrics and the titles of their songs. The most interesting story, that I want to share with you here is the rumor that former front man El Duce (who died in 1997, after he was hit by a train) was mentioned as the killer of Kurt Cobain, after he had been paid $50,000 by Courtney Love. In an interview however he names Allen Wrench as the killer of Cobain. Two days later El Duce dies and his band mates mourn about the loss of their singer, drummer. Let’s make a hundred percent sure, that I only write down what I’ve read and what I’ve heard. I have no opinion about this whole story. All I know is, that El Duce was a man who is not afraid to say what he thinks and it’s sad that he isn’t able to play here live tonight. There is also a Dutch link, that makes this band a bit more special to Holland and the Dutch metal fans. Just look at your record collection to see if you can find a copy of the “Mentorhawk” CD, where THE MENTORS team up together with HAMMERHAWK for a musical cooperation. This was after El Duce died, by the way. Mad Dog Marc Duce replaced the flamboyant drummer and he also took over the vocal parts on his account, when the band kicks off with “Sandwich”, “Donkey Dick” and “On The Rag”. Somehow I get the feeling, that I know the guitar player of THE MENTORS. But my eyes are getting weak and it’s late already. I guess, I must have been dreaming. It was a left-handed guitar player, that looked a bit like the guitar player that I saw perform earlier that evening with FINAL HEIRESS. Silly me, it simply couldn’t be the same man playing in two so different bands on one night? I think, I was a bit out of control, especially when I saw a beautiful female dancer climb on stage in a pink fluorescent outfit during “Free Fix” and “Woman From Sodom”. It gets crowded in front of the stage and the crowd gets wild from excitement. The band is in perfect shape and Dr. Heathen Scum wears a shining bright white stage outfit and the caps make the guys unrecognizable. I guess, it’s easier to sing lyrics like “Get Up And Die” or “When You’re Horny You’re Horny”, when no one recognizes you. Otherwise they might hunt you down for being a pervert. “Golden Showers” is one of the most well-known songs of this evening, while “Sleep Bandits” is a bit more unknown to me. I must confess, that I am not really familiar with their new stuff, but your need for hard to get MENTORS stuff can easily be satisfied tonight, because the band has brought a lot of CDs, which are for sale at their merchandise stand. I’d been hoping to find some other DVD stuff, because I only have the one, that was available here in Holland. Anyway, back to the music, my friends. “Peeping Tom” is another musical highlight and I must say, that the band plays pretty tight indeed tonight. My personal favourite MENTORS song is “Secretary Hump”, which is on next. Then the more well-known songs are being played, like “S.F.C.C.” which stands for “South Florida Community College”, but not this time, I’m afraid. This time it stands for the true needs of a woman to become a good woman and wife when you’ve married her, according to these rape rockers and that is that she can Suck, Fuck, Cook and Clean. “Rape Rock” is on next and “Heterosexuals Have The Right To Rock” slowly brings this performance to an ending. But not before the female dancers have done their thing one more time. “Going Through Your Purse” and “Rock ‘Um Sock ‘Um” gives them room enough to poke up the heat just a little bit more. The sexy party stops with the ultimate MENTORS classic for most of the people, being “4F Club”. (Find her, feel her, fuck her, forget her). Which is also the moment, where the audience, that is still alive and kicking, sings along to the song from the beginning until the very end. THE MENTORS may not be the ultimate wet dream for every metal fan around the country, but they sure gave me a hell of a good time and not only because of the beautiful ladies dancing on stage. They made my heart beat twice as fast from excitement, that’s for sure. Tomorrow we will be able to enjoy more metal mayhem on the second day of this festival, that had a very nice start in my opinion.

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Manifesto, Hoorn, The Netherlands

Today we will travel to Hoorn again, but this time our good friends from Nazareth, Belgium, Eddy and Christine, will join us. We have made an appointment with Martin Motörhead for coffee with a glazed cake (‘tompouce’ in Dutch). However, Dutch road workers destroyed this appointment rudely and a traffic jam of eight kilometers delayed our trip with almost one hour and a half. When we finally arrived at the Manifesto, ATTIC’s intro tape had just started to run. Our first walk was to Martin though to apologize for our rude behavior. They kindly accepted and we rescheduled after the show of ATTIC. The second step was to get into the hall, that was really crowded for the first metal attack of today.

ATTIC provided a show, that throws you back to the very early eighties. You get the feeling to be in Ulicoten at a club, called the Cattle Trade or any other small joint, that you might have visited in your youth to see the first show of MERCYFUL FATE. But now the band is called ATTIC and we are at the Manifesto in Hoorn and this is thirty-one years later. The feeling is nearly the same though. ATTIC hails from Germany and they know the drill very well. Two guitar players, a few stage props like black candles and some skulls, corpse paint and a metal sound that is very similar to the likes of MERCYFUL FATE or if you like (for the rockers of today) a band like PORTRAIT, TRIAL, a heavy version of GHOST or IN SOLITUDE. This is the stuff for Erik van der Poll, I guess, who’s in front of the stage firing up the band to play it louder, wilder and nastier than they ever did before. He conducts the band and seems to have a good time doing that. To hell with the softies! It’s metal, that counts here! And with “Funeral In The Woods”, “Sinless” and “Join The Coven”, they do just that what the crowd expects them to do. I agree with some older rockers like Big Al, that this is nowhere from original at all, if you look real closely, but it’s done very well and I’m loving every single second of it. There are two intervals, where the band plays a tape between the songs. The first tape is a short part from a ‘Black Mass’, followed by “Satan’s Bride” and “Edlyn’ (the ATTIC version of “Melissa” by MERCYFUL FATE in my opinion). After “Devourer Of Souls”, another intro tape starts, which is the tape about the ‘Witchfinder General’ and I could be mistaken, but it’s not the version, that CATHEDRAL uses during their live shows. Anyway, it’s the introduction of “On The Belfry’. Their set of today closes with “The Invocation” and “The Headless Horsemen”. Eggo appears on stage to make sure, that the band has got to stop and therefore we miss out on the old PENTAGRAM cover “Dying World”, that was written on their setlist. What a shame! I don’t mourn about it too long though. I’ve had my share of ATTIC and I thought it was really nice what these young German metal heads showed us. I am definitely going to buy their new album “The Invocation”, which will be out soon. Next year we’ll see them at Keep It True 16 and I am already looking forward to that.

Then it’s up to the glazed cakes, before someone else eats them all. It’s always nice to have a good chat with people, who like the same music and that are good friends of yours for a very long time already. After about fifteen minutes I’ve also found myself a good copy of the TOGETHER EP and I’m ready for WITCH CROSS. We’ve seen the band at the Keep it True in Germany this year and we thought, that they were really smashing back there. This was a great follow up gig, where they opened with the instrumental “Axedance”, followed by “Killerdog”. I have to mention the bass player, who was not only playing the bass lines on his bass, but also with his tongue. He somehow played along to the rhythm by moving his tongue in and out of his mouth. Many people were talking about it (even long after the show!) and it was the talk of the evening, because it looked very funny. I tried to focus on the music, that proceeded with “Fight The Fire” and “No Angel”. During “Rocking The Night Away”, there was room for some singing along and with “Pandora” we even got to hear a new song of the band. After that, there was only time for some well-known tracks from the album “Fit For Fight”. Classics like “Light Of A Torch”, “Face Of A Clown”, “Night Flight To Tokyo” and “Are You There”. WITCH CROSS’s performance might not have been as sparkling as the one at Keep It True, but maybe this was because I’ve seen the show a couple of months ago and therefore the surprise was gone. The band closes their set with “Demon In The Mirror” and afterwards they signed my copy of the four LP set “All That’s Fit For Fighting”, which is an amazing collection of musical goodies by this awesome Danish metal band, that started their career as BLOOD EAGLE.

The time has come to welcome SAD IRON in their hometown. A much talked about reunion gig, that I was looking forward to see for a long time already. This show has been announced several times before and every time something has come in between. This time it was different. Things were about to happen and the expectations are very high. When the band kicks off with “Demon’s Night”, it’s clear that they have a good clear sound and they win the battle already halfway, because of that. Bernard seems a bit nervous because he wants to keep everything under control. This show is very important to him. Not only is he playing in his hometown Hoorn, but he knows that all faces are pointing at him right now and SAD IRON has got a name, a reputation and a legacy, that he has got to defend and hold up high tonight. “Prisoners” and “We Play To Kill” follow next and with Marc van den Bos behind the microphone, they have settled a golden deal. And play to kill is what they did. I’m not easily impressed anymore, I’m afraid to say, but tonight was something else. Bernard made me forget everything that was on stage here for the past two nights. This is the real deal. He even reminded me of that other cult thrash / speed metal guitar hero from Holland and I am talking about the legendary Henkie Bakker here. He may take that as a big compliment, because Henkie is one of a kind in my book. Bernard is precise, he is ultra-fast and when you think that he can’t go any faster, he pulls it out even a notch further and slowly my mouth drops open……..very wide. Think about John Ricci of EXCITER or Jeff Waters of ANNIHILATOR (they have the same hairdo too – lol!). During “You’re Obsessed” and “Total Damnation”, I’m focused on another wild animal, who is more in the back of the stage. Jacques van Oevelen, the drummer of SAD IRON, is a real metal octopus. He is not only fast, but he is a technical and innovative drummer as well, who is not only keeping the pace but he is also filling in every possible gap, that might appear. He is constant in action and he playing with a lot of power. I don’t know, if Cozy Powel (R.I.P.) is a big influence on the man, but he sure reminded me of this late skin beater. Splinters of his drum sticks are still in my ear, three weeks after the gig. What stroke me and that’s maybe the nerd in me, is that he was wearing a JOURNEY shirt, when he was not on stage. And I remember after a short talk with him at a record fair in Amsterdam, that Frankie Woodhouse, the former drummer of LADY, FRANK WOODHOUSE and JEWEL (to name a few), was also a big JOURNEY admirer and he even played in the Dutch JOURNEY tribute band ANOTHER JOURNEY. What is that with Dutch drummers and their fascination for JOURNEY? Possibly we will never find out, but I know for sure that Jacques can easily cope with the likes of a Steve ‘Machinegun’ Smith, if you’d ask my opinion. Deen Castronovo, who played with WILD DOGS and DR. MASTERMIND, is more his caliber, I would say. Ainsley Dunbar is a too different kind of a drummer though, to compare these two easily. But I feel like I’m drifting away from this review a bit. “You’re Obsessed” and “Total Damnation” are on next and the euphoria is noticeable in the hall. This is beyond all human comprehension, what happens here on stage. At the end of “Total Damnation”, I get eye contact with the Rive and I put both thumbs up, which brings a smile on his face. But the best is yet to come. After “Where Warwinds Blow” there is a special surprise announced. Herke van der Poel slowly walks on stage, greeting the maniacs and Bernard introduces himself to his old band mate. Tears in my eyes, so much is true. When the band delivers “SM” and “The Devil” with their original singer, you can talk about magic. It never happens, but it happens here on stage in Hoorn. It was a supernatural state of mind in which I found myself, just because this was so overwhelming and great. “The Devil” (or as Herke should say “We All Praise The Devil”) is the next song, that he would sing. It’s the heartwarming feeling, that this original singer gives off, that made this show so special I guess. And this is not only my personal view. Standing at the right side of the stage, I saw the same expression on the faces of long term metalheads like Martin Motörhead and Kim Hendrix. This was more than we all three together could have ever expected. All the more reason to shout it out loud during this song. When “Living Like A Rat” is being played, Herke leaves the stage and Marc takes over again. This song was included on the Heavy Metal Maniacs compilation CD, the first part, and is one of the highlights on that album for me. Until now I’ve forgotten to mention Charles Heijnen, the bass player of the band. He needs to be mentioned as well, simply because he does what a bass player needs to do. He keeps together the solid rhythm, together with his tandem mate Jacques and he is very focused too and destined to make this night a special one. Which they sure did, as they blew everybody away! When they finish the set with “Powerthrash”, I know that I’d just seen a very memorable concert, from which I know people will talk about a lot in the near future. “Total Damnation” is what happened to Hoorn and it’s still a shame, that “The Antichrist” never saw the light of day. Maybe this will change after this successful performance? The band will play this show at the Greek ‘Up The Hammers’ festival in March 2013. They better get ready for something really special, when these five giants destroy their hall in Athens! SAD IRON gave me goose bumps all over, even on places, that I never expected them to be. Thanks guys for a wonderful comeback show, Holland can be proud of you all!

This amazing show made me very hungry, so I made my way to the snack car outside the Manifesto. I will state it again here, that I have the deepest respect for these people, who are serving us with snacks for two days out in the freezing cold. They have a friendly word for everybody and I’ve never heard a bad word from one of them. This is one of the main reasons why these people deserve everybody’s respect. Which can’t be said enough here, so that’s what I want to be printed black on white, so everyone can read it. MOURNBLADE is of a completely different category. I think, that almost nobody has ever heard of the band, until Bozzy came with his fascination about a reunion of one of his favorite bands here in Hoorn. Things changed rapidly then and now the band would reform for a one off gig after twenty-four long years. Not knowing what to expect, I was receptive to the things to come. The band members looked like they had just finished a gig with another band. Four of a kind would not apply to them as a matter of speaking. What did happen was, that the band really knows how to impress the audience. They have a good sound a crazy but nice show and they have a certain rock and roll sound, that you simply can’t turn down that easily. It rocks with a capitol R. From opener “Can’t Be Good”, things went pretty smoothly. Vocalist ‘Dunken’ F. Mullet looked like a vagabond and although he was very busy on stage, he knew how to sing the words without too much trouble. There was also enough space for wigs, hats and other stage props, that were needed during songs like “Desdemona” and “The Nearer The Bone” (The Sweeter The Meat). Bass player Blacken looked like Lemmy with his cool sun glasses and army hat. He surely is Mr. Cool in the band, whereas Steve Talkens lets his guitar do the talking. With his solos he knows to impress all the maniacs and it’s mighty fine to see that this reunion turns into a huge success. There are a few short fragments of the well-known “Summertime Blues” popping up in one of the songs and sometimes Dunken gives the gig a some kind of a punky atmosphere, instead of making it sound like rock and roll. If he’s not okay with singing standing next to the microphone, he lets himself fall to the ground and continues from there. No problem at all for this genius weirdo. It’s fine with the fans and a lot of people are enjoying this wonderful show. I’ve heard that this reunion gig is also the basis of a documentary that’s in the making about the band. They have found themselves a proper occasion to do so, because one of their biggest fans Bozzy made it possible to profile themselves one more time to a big audience. The greatest surprise however comes, when the band explodes into MOTORHEAD’s “Bomber” at the end of the show. I think, that it was a huge success. Not only for the fans, but also for the band. They looked pretty happy about it. Dunken will have a very satisfied feeling, when he steps into his plane back to New Zealand. I wouldn’t be very surprised when this gig would be the point where the band decides to do some more reunion gigs in the near future. But none of these gigs can be so special as the one they did here tonight. MOURNBLADE is in the hearts of every Heavy Metal Maniac from now on and this won’t change for a long time, I guess. Thanks for the (re)introduction, Bozzy!

After this show, that we all had been looking forward to for a long time, we got the opportunity to meet the guys of HALLOWEEN for a short time, thanks to Mark van Oosterwijk. It was good to see Brian and George again in person. It has been eight years, since we saw each other for the last time in Germany at the Keep It True. The surprise was very big, when we showed Brian a copy of a recently obtained bootleg of HALLOWEEN, recorded at Harpo’s, Detroit in 1985. Have you ever seen someone’s eyes falling out his eye sockets?!? I guess not, but it almost happened with Brian here in Hoorn. It was good to see, that the Detroit rockers were doing fine and they were ready to rock Hoorn tonight. We were introduced to Don Guerrier, former guitar player of NIGHT CREATURES, another band from Detroit. It was only a very short meeting, just to show our appreciation and to let the band know how neat it is to finally welcome them to Holland.
When we returned downstairs OSTROGOTH had just finished their opening song “Heroes Museum”. What applies to WITCH CROSS, also goes for OSTROGOTH. We have seen the band at this year’s Keep It True festival and they were one of the highlights for me. The band shows, that they are ready to do the trick again with stunning versions of “Scream Out” and “Too Hot”. Whiteshark has fully recovered after he was severely wounded at his hand. Because of this, they had to cancel their show at Keep It True 201 and they got a chance to redo this show in 2012. I’m glad, that he is fully recovered, because he can be seen as the driving force behind this Belgian cult metal band. “Lords Of Thunder”, “New Generation” and “Do It Right’ follow next and the show shows a lot of resemblance to the one in Germany. Although I must confess, that this show was maybe even a bit better. The hall is smaller and there is better eye-contact with the crowd because of that. “Paris By Night” and “Queen Of Desire” are both highlights of the set for me. All the more reason to sing along to these song pretty loudly, hoping that no one would hear me (lol). “The Hunter” is a song, that they didn’t play in Germany. After “Shoot Back”, we were in for the piece of resistance for this band and they would close this set in Hoorn firmly. “Gardens Of Marakesh” and “Samourai” are both only just the beginning of some fabulous last chords. The knock-out punch comes from “Full Moon Eyes”, that turns the Manifesto upside down. Whiteshark’s flashing solos, the interaction with the crowd, the solid and well-experienced rhythm section and a set filled with well-known classics from the beginning until the end makes OSTROGOTH a true winner. A great performance and an excellent warming up for the final band of tonight, HALLOWEEN!!!

HALLOWEEN and the van Poorten family have a long history together. We’ve already met our good friends George and Brian and our history goes way back in time, when I did an interview with them for Snakepit and a few years later for Headache. Even before that time I was in touch with their manager to see if it wasn’t possible for us to start up their European fan club over here in Holland. I’m afraid though, that these plans actually never reached the band and they sticked to the desk of the manager on his huge pile of so-called ‘to do things’. Their mix of good US metal and a horror show is the ultimate metal experience for me. Bands, that create a special show out of their performance are always more appreciated than a band that knows how to play their songs perfectly well and stand on stage without moving. Bands like HALLOWEEN, DEATH SS, RIPPER, ALICE COOPER, KISS, IRON MAIDEN, they all have stage props and therefore are very well respected by yours truly. The Detroit Heavy Metal Horror Show was in Holland for the very first time, but just like their performance in Germany in 2004, it will not turn out to be the showcase, that they do when playing at Harpo’s in their hometown Detroit. It’s almost impossible to ship this whole show over to Holland and build it up for a festival setting. You must give them a headline show, without support act and put up the whole show one or two days, before it gets started. Then you can do a show like in America. The fact alone, that HALLOWEEN played in Holland at our very own Heavy Metal Maniacs festival is something to be damn proud of. For the whole day I was beaming light and I felt like shouting from the rooftop, that magic would happen today when HALLOWEEN would hit the stage tonight in Hoorn. But I’m afraid, that men in white suits would come and pick me up for a ride to the nearest mental hospital, so the joy was very intense on the inside today, instead of shouting things out! And when Bozzy said to me that the next band was for me, I must admit that I felt very proud that he said this. Anyway, no horror show without a horror scenario, because there were some problems with the pedal effects of Don. 220 Volt in Holland and 110 volt in America can be a serious problem. But very soon, the green light went on (no, no red lights, we’re not in Amsterdam!) and we were ready for some action. “Traipsing Through The Blood” is the opener and this song comes from their new album ‘Terrortory’. We already mentioned to Brian, that we still have to get used to the new album, because it sounds as dark as the night. After a few spins, it gets better and better, but it didn’t grab me by the balls right away. Brian is dressed in his first horror outfit and it simply looks amazing to me. In a live setting, the new songs sound a bit heavier and when the band continues with “Trick Or Treat”, I’m all ready and set to let it all out. This song has been my first introduction to the band HALLOWEEN and it’s a very catchy tune as well. Check out the amazing video clip for this on the internet. It’s so hilarious and if you are talking about cult metal classic videos, than this is in the top position, dear readers. “Victims Of The Night” is the title track of the album, that is now released on LP. “The Crush” is also a newer track from the “Horror Fire” album, released in 2006. While “No One Gets Out” is a real classic and one of my personal faves. Every now and then, Brian changes his mask or outfit. He conducts the band and the audience and makes sure that the stage props are fine and he controls the whole stage appearance constantly. “Nightmares”, “Her Ghost Comes Out To Play”, “Scare You”, “The Seer” and “Terrortory” are what HALLOWEEN is all about, which is a good short horror tale supported by some incredible US (heavy) metal. The songs are all short tales on their own and each song could be a personal video clip, if you would visualize the story inside your head and have a look at it while listening to the lyrics, inside your mind. But then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the show in an optimal way and they’re not playing here every week, I’m afraid. Don Guerrier unfolds himself to a great guitar player. I must admit, that I’ve been hoping to see Rick Graig play with the band in our country one more time, but he’s a member of SLEEPY HOLLOW now, the band fronted by former ATTACKER shouter Bob Mitchell. I don’t see it come to a long term reunion in such a short while. But Don convinced big time and he played an amazing set. We’re slowly approaching the time now, that the place starts to melt and the band starts to crank out their horror hit jukebox, which actually starts with “What A Nice Place”. “Tales From The Crypt” and “Don’t Metal With Evil” get me into a musical heaven and the band clearly enjoys themselves on stage. George Neal is Mr. Cool this time. He’s a huge guy moving slowly from one side of the stage to the other one, while torturing his bass guitar and constantly watching what’s happening in the audience in front of him. His tandem mate is Bob Brug, who is a real loud basher and a long term HALLOWEEN member, too. “Black Skies” is taken from the very rare “A Number Of Things…….From Halloween” compilation, which is packed with demo songs and different takes from different line -ups of HALLOWEEN. A must have for the real collectors of the band, but of course it’s also on the well-known “Vicious” demo. Brian jokes about the next song, that is written about his ex-wife. Well, maybe he wasn’t joking at all I can’t tell, but the song is called “The Wicked Witch”. When “Nobody’s Home” continues, we have come to an end of this great performance. And I guess that nobody was home, because they were all hanging out in front of the stage or better said on stage, because the maniacs also invaded the stage tonight. However, all good things come to an end. The only classic tune, that I missed here tonight is “Busted”, but I can do without it, because I really had a blast! Not only seeing HALLOWEEN again, but this whole weekend has been such an amazing experience. What more would you desire than two days of metal mayhem, hanging out with yours friends and nothing else on your mind except good music and a friendly atmosphere?

My final conclusion?!? It was another good festival, bringing all Maniacs a bit closer to each other. There were some great bands on stage and there were no bands that I didn’t like. Biggest winner is SAD IRON and hopefully, they will continue this reunion for a long time coming. That would be a dream come true right now. My wishes for the festival edition of 2013 are plenty, I guess. It would be nice to give RAVEN, ANGEL WICH or CULPRIT another chance, but I’d go for any lesser Gods in the eyes of the average metal freak. Since I know, that there aren’t any average metal freaks among the maniacs, it’s easier to name them here. My personal favorites would be THE RODS, MILITIA, RIPPER or THE GREAT KAT. I wouldn’t mind seeing VANDALE on stage, now they are back together again or BLACK KNIGHT, who have just released a triple DVD set. And who knows what about any impossible reunions like RAPID TEARS, CIRITH UNGOL, FRANK WOODHOUSE, VARDIS or WITCHFINDER GENERAL?!? You’re never too old to wish or to dream and I’ve seen stranger things happen in Hoorn. After all, we all have our own personal faves and as long as the atmosphere is right, there will be plenty of joy next year as well. More is less in my opinion and I would rather go for five great bands instead of ten bands of which six are good and four are ‘fillers’. Finally, I was wondering where former Maniacs main man and founder Stefan was, when SAD IRON hit the stage?? For me, the fun is over, but not before we had a long ‘goodbye chat’ with George Neal, in which he told us numerous of hilarious stories from the old days. We return from metalland to the real world again and I had to scratch the ice from my car window. It was the first night that it was really freezing, but because the winter time would start pretty soon, we could sleep for an extra hour. It’s also time to start the countdown again. See you all in about fifty-two weeks at the 14th edition of the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival in 2013.

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/December 2012
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/www.metalmaidens.com

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