* December 14, 2013 *

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

De Meester, Almere, The Netherlands

Jeroen Kroon, Rick Bouwman and Hans Pendavingh, you’d better remember these names very well. They put together a magnificent bill for the fifth anniversary of Meesterlijk Metaal. We’ve seen quite some editions of this marvelous festival, which mainly focuses on the Dutch metal scene. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of this festival, they called in the help of MARTYR guitar player Rick Bouwman to organize a Meesterlijk Metaal XXXL with six cheesehead metal bands on stage. For every devoted metal head, this is truly a must be and our agenda was marked with big neon letters and we counted the days for this jaw breaking event. OVERRULED, GLORIA VICTIS, GILGAMESJ, JURASSIC PARK, MARTYR and PICTURE are on the bill and these names really make my mouth water! Here’s what happened in Almere during this great Dutch metal event…

OVERRULED are quite new to me. I’d heard their name, but I’ve never seen these young guys play live before. However, this would change today and I felt quite excited after hearing the first notes of “Graceless”. This was old school speed metal with a nod to true metal. Just take a look at the shirts of these guys. I see logos of MARTYR, OVERRULED, HAMMERHAWK and FRANKENSTEIN. That sums up almost the entire Dutch heavy metal history! “Ready To Kill” is on next and until now I must admit that I really like what I see here. OVERRULED hails from the eastern part of our country and they have just released their self-titled debut album. “She-Devil” is not on that album, but hell yeah what great riffs!!! This sounds really amazing and I’m totally flabbergasted by this fantastic fast speed devil. It’s definitely one of the highlights of their set tonight. What an immense power! The band grabs back to their EP now with “Run For Your Life” and “Heavy Metal”. This last track is a tribute to this way of life and the reason why we are all together here: to celebrate the joy of heavy metal. “Evil Minds” is on next and with “The Unknown” we hear some more Dutch thrash and speed metal explosions. However, the best is saved for last. The fact, that you are playing a cover song is a wise decision. It’s a point of recognition for those, who don’t know the band that well. Playing a cover of MEGADETH is a good choice, because MEGADETH sums up a huge part of the musical direction, that OVERRULED follows. Sometimes I even had the feeling that I was listening to the good old days of MEGADETH and METALLICA, when the band played “The Mechanix”. This certainly shouts for great respect from my side. Respect for the old school true metal feeling, that this band displays on stage and for the amazing enthusiasm they’ve been playing this Mustaine classic tonight. It’s the early version of “The Four Horsemen” from the amazing “No Life ‘Till Leather” demo from 1982. Deep respect, gentlemen! And it ain’t over, until the fat lady sings, because they also slay down every single man or woman still standing with the speed metal teeth kicker “Faster, Harder, Louder”. High quality speed and thrash metal starts with OVERRULED! Obviously, I took a straight line walk to their merchandise booth afterwards, because I simply had to buy the EP of these openers of tonight’s Meesterlijk Metaal. Both thumbs up for OVERRULED and three, if I had one more (which unfortunately isn’t, in case you wandered).

GLORIA VICTIS is something else. Stefan ‘Bozzy’ Bosland is the front man of this old school heavy metal band. A long instrumental intro leads Stefan on stage for “Saviour”. He’s dressed in a three piece black suit, including some mirror glazed sunglasses. That’s quite an outfit and some entrance. Stefan is moving wild and seems to have a good time on stage. I remember, “Mary Bell” being one of my favorite songs during the last show, that we witnessed of GLORIA VICTIS. Now this song came very early in the set and once again, it was a real highlight. After “The Bet”, there’s another long instrumental part to give Bozzy some time to change his outfit for “Dresden”, which is a song about the war. (quote: don’t mention the war, I mentioned it once now, but I hope I’m getting away with it!”). He’s dressed in an army uniform now. Maybe a bit overdone, but it really adds some show element to the songs, that they crank out tonight. “Blood & Sand” and “No Prophet” continue the set, in which Stefan shows his influences of Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST / HALFORD), David Bower (HELL) and of course Dunken Francis (MOURNBLADE). Another highlight this evening goes to “Confusion” - a song with a deeper meaning I found out later on. His wife manages the OVERRULED merchandise booth, while Stefan was entertaining the audience with GLORIA VICTIS. This must have been damn confusing for this Dutch screamer. They close their set tonight with “IED 9” and “Deimos & Phobos”. A very nice show, but I was still a bit flabbergasted after the OVERRULED gig, I must confess.

GILGAMESJ are about to play live with their new drummer, the maestro himself Mr. Jacques van Oevelen, who will take place behind the kit tonight. I’m glad, that I could have a short chat with him before he attacks the stage. To me, this is what the Dutch rock and metal scene is all about and I hope, that they will prove that I am right again. The set list of tonight will bring you to some new material and a lot of old stuff, too. And of course they will play a few good covers as well to show their skills. When the band opens with “Muscle And Blood” (HUGHES // THRALL), I know that everything is going to be alright. I’m in front of the stage, together with my tandem air guitar player and fellow headbanger Marcel Veldman, so nothing can go wrong anymore. “Lightning Strikes” is on next and I think, that the audience likes what they see. The reactions are good and many people start to move around to the sound of the music. “No Contact” is a newer track, but the reactions are the same, which is very positive. I hope, that this new album will be out soon, because the new songs already start to sound familiar to me, which is a very good sign. “Voyager” has always been one of my personal faves. It’s a cover of GAMMA (dat zeg ik: Gamma!) and it contains some mind- blowing guitar parts by Gerrie den Hartog. The man has truly been influenced by the late Ronnie Montrose and he plays with the same passion and dedication. “Right Here, Right Now” is already a crowd pleaser and a nice moment to sing along with the band. Bass player René Sterk steps forward to the front of the stage to poke up the heat in a way, that reminded me of Glen Hughes of DEEP PURPLE. Not strange when you know that he also plays the four string instrument with the DEEP PURPLE tribute band STORMBRINGER, next to GILGAMESJ. The next track “Oppression” really makes my flesh creep for the first time. The loud and ultra-heavy drum work of Jacques give this song a true metal touch, that it needs in a live setting. What an amazing and smashing sound do they create here. They let off some steam and it’s a miracle, that Jacques’ drumkit still stands after this violent attack. The band slows down a little bit to let the crowd catch their breath with “Tales Of No Tomorrow”. On the new album, there will be a reworked version of “Daybreak”, which was on the “Take One” EP already. What a beauty! Singer Frank van Stijn makes the shivers run down my spine. “Lost Horizon” is a new one and this time it’s Sylvester van Leeuwen and Chris van Hoogdalem, who earn some credit for standing in the musical spotlight. Much too soon, the show is running towards an end, but not before they go back to the days of “Metal Clogs” with “Ticket To Heaven”. What a great performance! The band wants to leave the stage, but the crowd makes so much noise, that organizer Hans simply won’t let them. The encore, that is planned as knock-out punch is called “Lost In Paradise”. You may know the song from the time that the band recorded it under the name of ZIXTH ZENSE, but it was a GILGAMESJ song way before that. The crowd goes crazy one more time and the old folks can return to the old men’s house with a satisfied feeling. Can’t wait until the next time, because this is what music is all about. No gimmick, no nonsense, no rock and roll image – just pure rock music from A to Z – All in all, this has been another terrific show! Leerdam can be proud of these rockers. And both thumbs up for newcomer Jacques van Oevelen.

JURASSIC PARK is a resort for dinosaurs. Rock dinosaurs that is, because the band consists of two former FRANKENSTEIN members that just want one thing: to rock it out loud! Berthus Westerhuis and bass player Roelof Kloeze once were in this awesome Dutch metal band. Marshall stacks are brought on stage and that is a good thing. Not as many as in Veeningen at the reunion gig of FRANKENSTEIN, but this venue is a lot smaller. The musical war starts off with “Ready To Rock”, when bombs explode and the crowd goes insane. (Oops, I said the word ‘war’ again - I’m not supposed to do that, but I did it again, I’m afraid!). The Marshalls are put on max and no one can stop these rock and roll animals anymore. “Stay Clean” is taken from the FRANKENSTEIN days. They mix old stuff with new and add some covers to it, just like GILGAMESJ did. These guys know to entertain their fans for many years now and this is just the way to do it, when you’re that long in business like they’ve been. “Rock And Roll Machine” is on next and their own-penned material blends very well to the older stuff. “I Don’t Need No Doctor” is the first cover in their set, originally made famous by HUMBLE PIE, but I think that most people will also know the WASP or GREAT WHITE version of this classic tune. John Scholing is the perfect front man, who simply steals your heart away from the beginning. He’s constantly joking around and playing with his CO2-pistol. “Road Fever” is next and before you know it guitar wizard Berthus ‘Frankenstein’ Westerhuis kick starts MONTROSE’s “Bad Motor Scooter” on a neon lighted guitar, that has got the looks of a lit Christmas tree. Man, what power! The old school rockers in the front row really freak out now. It’s a shame, that the band removed ‘Storm’ from their set list. I guess, that stood for one of my personal FRANKENSTEIN faves “Storm Over Holland”. But BLACK SABBATH’s “Symptom of The Universe” isn’t a punishment as well. “Solid As A Rock” and “Back On the Street” are on next and slowly, their show starts to look like one big party. The CO2-ampul is emptied and the band closes their set with “Good Rocking Tonight”, another MONTROSE classic, that sums up the feeling of tonight in four minutes. Nice to know, that RONNIE MONTROSE is remembered so well by some of the bands tonight, because both JURASSIC PARK and GILGAMESJ take back to the fantastic songs of this awesome guitar player, who died much too young. JURASSIC PARK takes care of business really well and for the second time tonight one of the bands introduces their new drummer to the public. They have just recruited Hans ‘Dead Head’ Spijker, who really knows to hit the nail on the head tonight. FRANKENSTEIN was also featured on the “Metal Clogs” sampler and I hope, that they had much fun backstage with GILGAMESJ, who were on the same sampler by Rave On Records, led by Jack Hustinx.

If my print-out schedule is right, MARTYR will be the next band of tonight. The intro tape sounds scary and horror-like, but nobody will be surprised if I tell you that a splendid party unfolds itself right after this very intro with “D.I.” and the wonderful “Afterlife”. The crowd goes insane and then it’s time for vocalist Rop van Haren to take a shower. He does this on stage, which is pretty convenient. Rop is the biggest eye-catcher of the band, but of course it’s the power of the two guitarists Rick and Marcel, that made this band so well-known worldwide. “Snow & Fire” is taken from the box of golden oldies. The old and new songs blend very well together and “The Uninvited” is from their recent album “Circle Of 8”. The newer songs have one thing in common. They have a super heavy groove and contain some nice blood soaked horror-like stories. When Rop sings them, you’d almost forget that they’re so bloody and creepy sometimes. By far the best new MARTYR song is the doom metal related “All Warriors Blood”. Its vibe, rhythm, groove and gradual tempo sounds really amazing! Bands like CANDLEMASS, TROUBLE, PENTAGRAM and ST. VITUS are famous for making songs like that, but MARTYR proves, that they are able to crank out such a doomy horror classic like that as well. What a roof lifter!! “Insensible Scream” is on next and after that, MARTYR takes us back to the earlier days of the band with “Black Sun” / “English Forces”. Not knowing that the Heavy Metal Maniac forces would be attacking the stage in no time during “Speed Of Samurai”. The limited space was not a problem for these musicians, who had the times of their lives with their air guitar playing friends on stage. Without being able to see each other anymore, they worked themselves through this classic song and the fanatic mess on stage was a fact very soon. However, Rop didn’t have enough and jumped off the stage to find a cozy place between the fans, where he found Bozzy of GLORIA VICTIS, who took over the singing parts at once. What an awesome show! How would it ever be possible to turn this into a normal situation again? Well, pretty easily the maniacs leave the stage after this song and the band gets back to their normal positions for “Scene Of Hell”. Right before “Circle Of 8”, Rop is ready for another shower and the show gets another adrenaline boost. The man is here, there and everywhere. And everywhere he goes, he carries that big smile on his face with him. In no time, we are “Eaten Alive” and I can only say, that I had a real blast with MARTYR again! When the “Outtro” bounches through the hall, we know that we are the lucky ones to have survived this violent ear attack. All that remains are headliners PICTURE and a huge smile on my face after this great show, that turned de Meester into one big party. This time, it’s the bass player that has been introduced to the audience. His name is Jeffrey Bryan Rijnsburger, who replaced Toine van der Linden, who was at the back of the hall and nodded that it was good. He is now the bass animal for REBELSTAR and came to see the show of his old band mates for old times sake. This is how things are sometimes. Band members come and go, but many times the old members stay on speaking terms with each other. Jacques van Oevelen also played with PICTURE in the past, and I’m almost certain, that these guys caught up with one another backstage as well.

Talking about PICTURE. They are the last band of the evening. I have seen PICTURE a couple of months ago at the Blokhut Live party, where they kicked ass. I don’t know, if it’s the fans, the venue or the atmosphere, but this time around it all sounded even better. They start off with a long instrumental intro, where everyone in the band is taking their positions. I found myself a nice place in the corner, where the other headbangers and air guitarists have settled themselves. After the intro, Pete Lovell goes on stage with a huge mike standard that has a big meathook at the downside of it. You don’t want to end up there. When everyone is settled, the game is on and PICTURE starts their tour de force with “Griffons Guard The Gold”. “Message From Hell” is on next and the crowd starts to move to the sound of the masters of metal. The old songs are definitely favourite and this one has always been very special. “Make You Burn” continues the flow of the old school rockers. A sound of thunder and lightning introduce us to “Lady Lightning”. The band members are being introduced during this song and then we can prepare ourselves to PICTURE’s biggest claim to fame. If newcomers HAMMERFALL covers one of your songs, it must be a good one. “Eternal Dark” gets everybody moving now. The guys search for the ladies and vice versa and a sensual fight between the two sexes starts right here, while the band cranks out their loud and evil metal sound. After all this fierce violence, it’s time for a ballad. “You’re Touching Me” has a very sensitive touch and is a nice choice. Then there’s some room to introduce their wonderful new album a bit closer to the audience. I am glad that they’ve played so many songs from it, because it’s really a killer release. They start off with “My Kinda Woman”, “Shadow Of The Damned” and title track “War Horse”. One by one this sounds like top notch material to my ears. Some more “Warhorse” anthems will follow later on, but first we get to hear “You’re All Alone” and “Heavy Metal Ears”, where PICTURE grabs back to their rich back catalogue. During newie “Rejected” I decided to change places to the right side of the venue. I noticed that many people had left de Meester already, because they wanted to catch the last train home. “Unemployed” has always been one of my fave PICTURE tunes and today is no exception. The atmosphere is great and the audience will be heated up pretty easily this way. “Battle Plan” is another new song and it’s one of my favorite tunes off the new album. After “Diamond Dreamer”, there’s a pleasant surprise coming up. The band is playing “The King Is Losing His Crown”, which they haven’t played live yet. The band really gave it all and it was really awesome to hear this track in a live setting tonight. This is what happens on a night like this. There is magic in the air. Beware though, because down comes “The Blade” after this. It’s one of the heaviest tracks of PICTURE. Any diamond dreamer here tonight? Here’s a diamond in the rough in the best possible way. If the blade didn’t catch you, they still keep another war machine to destroy the last man standing. For the final ear attack, they call in the “Bombers”. It’s the ultimate of the ultimate PICTURE experience. At the end of the song, there is this little, recognizable bass part. To get the attention of the audience, Rien gets in the pit for ‘the bass riff’, that makes this song complete. All the rest is history. PICTURE still rules the Dutch heavy metal scene and when they want to leave the arena after this, the venue is almost empty. But we are true survivors and although we can’t shout it out loud anymore, we still want more. The knock-out punch comes from “Tell No Lies”, which is also a nice surprise. I must admit, that I was hoping for “Battle For The Universe”, but right now any song will do. I tell you no lies. The event is over and out, but it will be in my head for a long time, I guess.

Dutch heavy metal history has been written here tonight with six memorable shows. I write down Februari 15, 2014 in my agenda for the next edition of Meesterlijk Metaal with COVERED IN BLACK, JACKAL and REBELSTAR to be announced soon. Don’t miss it, because this is where they celebrate the Dutch heavy metal music. Our thanks go out to the organization for making this such a great event.

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/Dec. 2013
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/

Into - Graceless
Ready To Kill
Run For Your Life
Heavy Metal
Evil Minds
The Unknown
The Mechanix (MEGADETH cover)
Faster Harder Louder

Mary Bell
The Bet
Blood & Sand
No Prophet
Deimos & Phobos

Muscle And Blood (HUGHES // THRALL cover)
No Contact
Right Here Right Now
Tales Of No Tomorrow
Lost Horizon
Ticket To Heaven
Lost In Paradise

Ready To Rock
Rock 'n Roll Machine
I Don't Need No Doctor (HUMBLE PIE cover)
Road Fever
Bad Motor Scooter (MONTROSE cover)
Sympton Of The Universe (BLACK SABBATH cover)
Solid As A Rock
Back On The Street
Good Rockin' Tonight (MONTROSE cover)

Setlist MARTYR:
Intro - D.I.
Snow & Fire
The Uninvited
Intro - All Warriors Blood
Insensible Scream
Black Sun / English Forces
Speed Of Samurai
Scene Of Hell
Circle Of 8
Eaten Alive

Setlist PICTURE:
Griffons Guard The Gold
Message From Hell
Make You Burn
Lady Lightning
Eternal Dark
You're Touching Me
My Kind Of Woman
Shadow Of The Damned
War Horse
You're Alone
Heavy Metal Ears
Diamond Dreamer
The King Is Losing His Crown
The Blade
Tell No Lies

Back to Main Page