MYTHRA @ Negasonic, Aalst, Belgium 09-04-2019
It's always fun spending an evening at the Negasonic, the heavy metal club of Guido Gevels of CYCLONE. Especially when there is a NWOBHM band, the man feels like a fish in the water. The last time we saw MYTHRA here was about two years ago. In the meantime, Vince High, the previous vocalist of the band, has stepped back from the music scene and the band has welcomed Kev McGuire as their new front man. Some line-up changes are unforeseen and Kev has some giant shoes to fill but I'm quite confident that he will be alright. We meet with the band in Aalst with our good friends Eddy and Christine, right before the gig. Dinner has just been served and the band also did the last sound check for tonight. It's always good to see these lads. I think we've never met such friendly guys in our whole life. They take the time for a chat and after the show they don't lock themselves up in the backstage area (if there is one). Instead, right after the show they take the time to socialize with their fans, have a drink (or two) and they are the last ones to be kicked out of the club. It's just before Easter and we treated the guys to some Easter surprises, which is nice for their way back to England. We heard that some of them saved something for their wives as well. They can count themselves lucky this time. However, we're not only there for a friendly chat and to hear the thousands of stories that these guys have to tell. We also came to rock and rock is what we got. The venue is filled up quite well, despite the fact that other bands are playing tonight in this area as well, like for example TANK. To be quite honest, I think that MYTHRA will attract more visitors. After all, they are still being considered as a real cult band for that matter and I'm glad that I had the privilege to do an interview in 2001 with John Roach about MYTHRA and FIST for Snakepit magazine. I'm still very proud and honored about it.
Well, people, it's show time and the small stage is jam-packed. Drummer Phil has settled himself in the back of the venue. If the band would follow his speed, they would be ready in about half an hour or we would hear the full set twice in a row at the same amount of time. He's a real beast on the drums and a very powerful drummer. "Still Burning" is a good opener for tonight. It's the title track of their latest release from 2017. The band will play six songs from that magnificent album. "Best Is Yet To Come" continues next and it's a message that there's so much more to come after that. It's one out of four bonus tracks, that got on the anthology album "Warriors Of Time". They will play two other bonus tracks here tonight. The four songs from the well-known masterpiece "Death And Destiny" are on strategic places in the set tonight. Two are in the beginning and the other two are being used as a knock-out punch. The first one is to warm up your vocal chords. "UFO" will ask you to shout out "U - F - O" and that as loud as you freaking can. Well, I must admit that the shouters gave their best shot tonight. Kev is a good singer. It's a bit strange that Vince is not behind the mike, but Kev knows what he's doing. He's not that new in the scene. And the fans see that he can handle the songs. They just want to have a good time tonight and for sure, the band is going to take care of that. In this killer track John takes the lead and gives his solo just that special bit of power that it needs. It's funny to see how the cafe is divided in different areas tonight. The band playing in the back, then two rows of people who are taking pictures or filming the gig and then there are the people that have come to see the band in action - say the real fans - and then there are the people hanging around the bar and still chatting with each other, no matter what. Anyway, what will happen on stage here is something really special. At least it is to me, because tonight MYTHRA will present four songs from their upcoming new album. And I can assure you that when you listen to these songs for the first time, you will think that they have always belonged here. The first song is called "Stabbed In The Back", which has some great fiery guitar work. It's new, but like I already mentioned before, it sounds so familiar and could very well have been on any of their previous records. Before they launch the second newie, it's time for the next song, taken from that world famous four tracker, which is "Killer". The title says it all. This is a killer song and a real old school headbanger. After that, the second new song appears, which is called "Wild And Free". It's easy on the ear and there's a lot happening. Then it's time for some songs from that most recent album "Still Burning" with "We Belong", which is directly followed by "Sands Of Time". "Vertigo" is the third new track that the band are presenting here tonight. We have been spoiled so much with the new material and after so many songs we can safely say, that Kev's voice is remarkably strong. He fits very well in his role and MYTHRA sounds fresh and very strong tonight. The guitar players don't have much room to strike a pose, but their solos sound amazing and they try to give each other an equal share. There is no room for egos in this band and Alex and John don't argue or fight to be in the spotlight all the time. MYTHRA is about friendship and good music. One wink of an eye between the two of them can say more than ten words. When the band plays "Ride The Storm", it's great to see how the two guitarists can laugh about something small. During their guitar parts, Alex and John made the same moves at the same time, which created a very funny situation. It also shows that the band is still having a great time, when playing live. This particular song is a true metal anthem in my book and surely one of the highlights of tonight and not only because of that short, funny and remarkable moment. After "Silence The Sirens" there is room for one more new song, which is called "Prophecy". It will soon become another highlight on the new album. Well, after hearing these four hew tracks, I think we are in for a real treat and I can't wait to hear the new album. The very last regular song for tonight is "You" which has that very catchy hook. The band also introduces the band to the crowd, here at the Negasonic. MYTHRA worked very hard to please each and every one and they succeeded with that very well. They were in great shape tonight and although it's not over and done yet, I think this has been a very memorable gig. The encore "Call To All" is meant to sing along and everybody will give it their best shot. The venue is cooking and when the band is playing a furious and wild version of "Overlord", the audience lifts off the roof. MYTHRA is thanking their fans and then the band will leave the stage. Is there more? Well, of course there is and "Death And Destiny" is the only correct answer to this question. I think that if they hadn't written this classic song, they wouldn't have been on this stage tonight. Of course there are so many other songs that this band presented over the years, but I also believe that this one is the most true classic MYTHRA anthem. After that, it's really over and the guys would enjoy a well-deserved Belgian beer, while hanging out with their fans. The backdrop was too big to put it behind the drum kit and that's why they put it on the right wall of the venue. It became an excellent spot for a photo shoot and many fans had their photo taken with the band in front of the big backdrop, that has their name on it. Many stories have been told and the night is still young. Please come back soon, guys because this has been another amazing gig. You rocked the Negasonic again and we were there! \m/
Text by Toine van Poorten & photos by Rita van Poorten
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