Last year, we saw JACKAL performing on the early evening of the Heavy Metal Maniacs festival. We had to miss the second day, because of our holidays in the Harz (Germany) at the same time. This year there’s a CD presentation of JACKAL’s new album “God Of War” at the P60 in Amstelveen. The day after, we have to get up very early in the morning, because of our trip to Denmark. This just can’t be true and I feel an enormous déjà vu coming up. It’s also the reason why we attended the show but unfortunately had to skip the headliners, the British SAVAGE. It’s a crying shame of course and a very hard thing to do, because we like the band a lot. I am very sorry guys and I deeply apologize for that. Sometimes you have to make choices, that you might regret later on, but at least you know why. I’m sure, that SAVAGE raised the roof that very night. You can bet on that. What remains is the CD presentation of JACKAL and the openers of this evening, BLACK KNIGHT, the long lasting heavy metal outfit of drummer Rudo Plooy, the sympathetic godfather of the Knights. He also celebrates his twenty-third wedding anniversary today. So once again happy anniversary, Rudo! The night starts off with loads of rain pouring down from the sky in Amstelveen, but the venue is slowly stuffed with music fans, who have come to watch this CD presentation show. Like I mentioned earlier, BLACK KNIGHT are the openers of tonight. Rudo is the sole survivor of the old line-up, but after seeing today’s performance, I must say that BLACK KNIGHT can last for a long time in this formation, hopefully. There was a certain unity that made their performance stronger than ever, in my opinion and the band rocks more than ever before. They open with “Story Of The Day”, which is among one of my favorites. The two guitar players are getting equal shares of the solos and Rudo is holding on tight to the rhythm with his tandem mate Ron Heikens on bass. Behind the mike is singer David Marcelis, who you may know from LORD VULTURE, where he is also the vulture behind the mike. His moves and voice will probably remind you a bit of former BLACK KNIGHT singer Pieter Bas Borger, but I bet that Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST) and Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR) belong to his main influences. The change of vocalists isn’t that huge maybe. The change of guitar players is something different. In the past few times that I saw the band, I mostly noticed guitar players, who were an absolute king in playing riffs. The band however returned to its roots as a real heavy metal band with two guitarists that play better solos. Proof is given in songs such as “Beware Of The Blind”, “Legend” and “Warrior”. Long term BLACK KNIGHT adepts will notice right away that all the songs so far have been taken from their debut album “Tales From The Darkside” from 1998 (with the exception of “Legend”). A killer album for every devoted headbanger out there, that you can’t do without. The sound is loud and clear and David knows his Rob Halford-alike poses well, which he proves in the JUDAS PRIEST cover “Electric Eye”, that is on next. This song is dedicated to Roy de Wilde, a long term BLACK KNIGHT fan, who recently passed away. An emotional tribute, where Rudo beats the shit out of them very loud drum kit in a way to honor Roy. I bet, Roy would have enjoyed this very much, while watching the band from high up above! Another highlight is coming up with the song “Rival”, before the Knights finish their show with a new track, called “Primal Power”. I really don’t know, when this new album will actually see the light of day, but I’m really looking forward to it very much. What a great show this has been and I think, that Rudo and his mates can be very proud of BLACK KNIGHT, that are holding the spirit alive for so many years. In closing, I have to thank ‘Two Beers Ben’ for helping me out with the songs of tonight, because I came to the show unprepared. It was a choice between either preparing to this or having my suitcase packed and having clean underwear or not (lol).
JACKAL has never let me down. It’s always good to see these guys live in action and this show will definitely not change that. There’s a small gap between recording the new album and this release show, but I’ve heard that they’re on to something special tonight, including some guest appearances. Well, I’m ready for it. Before the show actually starts, we already get to meet some friends, like Henky Backer and Paul van Rijswijk and we have a short chat with vocalist Erwin, before BLACK KNIGHT hits the stage. After a short break and the curtains are being closed, you can feel the tension rising. Everybody is curious about the show of JACKAL. Like I mentioned earlier, they have never disappointed me and I feel quite flabbergasted, when the curtains open and you can see the sight of the stage. Like on the CD sleeve, the circle with a mirror (remember the “Look At Yourself” album by URIAH HEEP?) has been put in the middle of the stage right in front of the drum kit of Rick. In the back you’ll see the God Anubis pictured on the left and the right of the drums, which is covered in blood red splatters. The stage looks amazing and the band is eager to start their show. The artwork of the CD is shown on John Bouman’s guitar, which is a well thought-out detail. Well, let’s focus on the music now. The first thing I noticed is that Budnyy has changed a lot, since I saw him last time. He looks much prettier now. Fact is that Budnyy left the band after the CD recording and he’s being replaced by this cool looking, red haired lady, called Maxime de Koning, who seems to be ready for some serious action tonight. It might be an obvious choice, that tonight the main focus will be on the God Anubis (half man, half JACKAL) and no wonder that the band started with “Anubis” to get the party going. The set of tonight contains mainly material from the new album, which is the purpose of a CD presentation. Some classic songs and two covers are being added to make the set complete. "Pain In The Ass” is on next, which is one of the classics from JACKAL. After title track “God Of War”, which is received very well, the first cover song is a fact: an awesome version of JUDAS PRIEST’s “Hell Bent For Leather”, in which the audience gets a chance to check out their vocal abilities. Many people yell with a hoarse voice on that one. I’m afraid, that I followed swiftly, because this is just a song to scream out loud! “Necromancer” has been in the live set of JACKAL for a long time, but now you can also hear it on the new CD. “Bring It On” is next and I think that the new songs mix very well with the older material. Then it is time for the first guest appearance. “Night Watch” follows and Paul van Rijswijk (EMERALD, HAMMERHAWK, FLYING EMBRYO’S, FINAL HEIRESS and about a zillion other bands and I think he is also stepping in with THE MENTORS at times) is ready to attack his guitar in this song. It sounds like the cream on top of the cake. The band is playing at full speed now and we’re only halfway through. Perhaps you would call “The Law” the ballad of the band by mistake, but only the intro will put you on the wrong foot. This is a first class ballbreaker and it’s certainly one of their best songs, as far as I’m concerned. “Fear” is on next and “Into The Night” is another new song. Then it’s time to introduce the second guest star of the show: JEWEL guitar maestro Henky Backer, who will fight a guitar duel with John in “Gladiator”. Henky is armed to the teeth, but John is a very strong opponent. Let’s call it a draw, but it was a tough game and Henky went on his knees several times. I’m sure that both guitarist won’t hurt each other for real. If that isn’t enough, both guests have been invited one more time in the song “Deranged”. Lady Maxime is standing proud between these guys and it looks like she’s having the time of her life on stage. She’s a real killing machine and later on in the set, she really proves her place in the band. Heads on, lady! The show is slowly getting to a climax, when the band cranks out another cover of IRON MAIDEN’s “Wratchild”. This is the final song of tonight and the band wants to explode one more time to stop with a big bang. I think, that everybody has had a great time and the songs sounded really fresh in a live setting. The band welcomes some fans on stage and one more guest star Nico Perreijn (Nicoooooooooooo) of JEWEL shows his vocal skills. They really lift off the roof here. After the last notes have faded away, one fan takes off his shirt, grabs the microphone and asks for RIOT’s “Swords & Tequila”, but he receives a negative response to his request. The band wants to hang out with their fans and have a drink. The party is over and the stage is being cleared for SAVAGE. Thank you guys and bass lady for a great CD release show. I bet, we’ll be seeing you around in Holland again soon. And Anubis nodded his head to confirm it was fine. It’s a pity nobody else has noticed this or was it just my imagination?? Denmark, here we come.