* October 09, 2010 *

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Het Front, Vroomshoop, The Netherlands

Itís a shame, that not too many people showed up at the Front in Vroomshoop to visit the third edition of the Taken By Force Festival. Again the festival was very well taken care of and the fact that Leerdam rock veterans Gilgamesj are on the bill, is all the more reason for us to be there in the front rows. Despite the long traffic jams on the Dutch freeway (whatís new?!), that made our travel twice the normal amount of time, it was a day that weíd been looking forward to for a long time already.

Olí Deezer is ready to kick off today. According to the time schedule, they start much too late, but that doesnít make them less enthusiastic though. Itís like my whole youth passes by, when they open their rock and metal juke box, which is filled with well-known covers like "Cold Sweat", "Rock And Roll Damnation", "Holy Diver", "Victim Of Changes", "Long Live Rock And Roll", "Balls To The Wall", "Seek & Destroy", 'Children Of The Damned" and "Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)". During "Princess Of The Night", the vocalist gets the supervision over his daughter on stage, his own little Ďprincess of the nightí, so to speak. And with this action, he proves that big mouth metalheads can be tender also and they are very nice with children. And so, father and daughter perform together on stage during the last song ĎNice Boysí.

Right thereafter, we decide to grab a bite during the Italian thrash band Neurasthenia, who would be next on the bill and werenít exactly our cup of tea. I donít have dinner every day with three very charming ladies, so I wanted to take as much time as possible for this nice opportunity. When we got back, Neurasthenia had just entered the stage. What happened?!? Apparently, they had swapped places with the German band Strongholde. What a shame! Anyway, the most important bands for us were the last three acts and this was just bad luck. Neurasthenia plays some heavy thrash metal. The band looks wild and raunchy and theyíre really like a Ďthirteen in a dození thrash bands. However, their enthusiasm is far above average, which counts too. Think of bands like Exodus and Slayer and youíll get close to their sound. But no matter how hard they try, somehow they are not able to knock me off my feet. Although the majority of the crowd seems to receive their evil sound and thatís the most important thing.

The next band will surely change it all, because everybody was taken by surprise after hearing the first notes of Vanderbuyst. They enter the hall with a very powerful, energetic sound and without any hesitation, they play a more than fantastic version of UFOís "Rock Bottom". You wonít be able do this, when youíre not convinced of your own skills. The power of the bass sound could be felt in your stomach, even some hours later. When they also added a short drum solo in this fantastic opener, theyíve already won the battle, as far as Iím concerned. Guitar player Willem Verbuyst plays his instrument in every thinkable position. And they take the audience by surprise with their powerful rock attack. Itís a shame, that the new cd is not out yet, but what we hear this evening is simply breathtaking! Seventies hard rock with some touches of the early eighties, nothing more and nothing less. They donít reach out to the sound of today, because Vanderbuyst doesnít give a damn. They came out to rock and they did exactly that. When they play their second cover, the temperature reaches to a height. This time itís Thin Lizzyís "Donít Believe A Word", that we will hear. Another blast from the past. You canít do wrong with a song like that, especially when you rock out as loud as possible. Holland can be proud of these new talents, that gave two hundred percent tonight. And we can add another well-talented hard rock and heavy metal band to our list. Remember their name, because they will be huge before youíll know it and they surely deserve it. Donít say, we didnít warn you!

Ten minutes before Gilgamesj will start their show, singer Frank van Stijn arrives at Vroomshoop. A deadly accident on the A28 has been causing this terrible delay. But it didnít prevent these Leerdam rockers from making their appearance in Vroomshoop on time. After a short sound check, the band bursts into the Hughes // Thrall cover "Muscle And Blood". Iíd been looking forward to this for a long time to happen. The band will now continue their musical career under the name Gilgamesj, after playing under the monnicker of Zixth Zense for several years. They will always be one of the most important bands in the Dutch heavy metal scene for me. The waiting has been fully rewarded with another great show by these veterans. "Right Here, Right Now" has got a very catchy vibe and with "No Contact" and "Down The Road" we even get treated to two new songs tonight. Both songs will definitely appeal to the die hard metal fans. The first song has got a sensitive tone, while the second one is a bit more uptempo. "Lost In Paradise" is the highlight in the set of tonight for me. Not only because of the hilarious Ďblind man actí by vocalist Frank, but mainly because itís so very catchy. Once youíll hear this song, it stays in your mind for the rest of the evening, whether you like it or not. The Michael Schenker cover "Into The Arena" is a welcome surprise, too. Especially when the song gets spiced up with a special guitar part of vocalist Frank. After this, itís time for "Daybreak" and "Oppression", both taken from the mini album ĎTake Oneí. After the two oldies, weíre in for another cover. This time theyíve chosen for a classic song of Gamma, called "Voyager". Surely, another highlight in the set, at least for me. "Ticket To Heaven" is dedicated to the bandís late bass player Jan Vos, who died exactly one year ago. Maybe thatís why they played this version ultra loud, for old timeís sake. For a moment, I feel like Iím in heaven, too. However, the deception enters soon, when the band has got to cancel their last track "Revolution", because of time problems. Gilgamesj is still very high on my list of Dutch hard rock and heavy metal bands and they definitely lived up to their high standards tonight. This is also the very first gig with drummer Walter Beijen, by the way. And this man is really a great addition to the bandís line-up. The road to a long and fruitful future is still wide open for these sympathetic hard working musicians. They are responsible for the many goosebumps on my body this evening and I really want to thank them for that in this review.

Headliners of tonight are Blitzkrieg. Before their show, I already had a good chat about the NWOBHM scene with Jess Cox, who was selling cdís in a small hall at the back of the Front (are you still with me!?!?). He really told me so many interesting stories, that are all stored away on my hard disc (read: brains). "The Phantom" may not be such a perfect opener, but Blitzkrieg makes up for that with "Hell Express". Without too many trouble, the fans in Vroomshoop get the axe one by one and for a full hour long the British hell express passes by. Later on in the set, the past of former Satan frontman Brian Ross is celebrated with great, powerful versions of "Pull The Trigger" and "Blades Of Steel". The blade comes down for the final strike during "Blitzkrieg", that even knocks the strongest metalhead of its feet. And again the band has to skip their encore "Hell Bent For Leather", because of lack of time. This is really a shame for a band, that wants to give it all. And in my opinion, the late commencement of the opening band has started all these difficulties in the first place. And in the end, they became the big winners, because they could play a full set, whereas the headliners had to cut their set short.

Anyway, Taken By Force 3 has turned out to be another great edition and I really had a blast! One small detail, that I need to mention here. Apparently, after the show of Gilgamesj, Berthus Westerhuis of Jurassic Park (and formerly the guitarist of Frankenstein) had a small conversation with Frank van Stijn of Gilgamesj. Both bands were featured on the "Metal Clogs" compilation from Rave On Records in the early eighties, together with Impact and Crossfire from Belgium. A nice get together of Frank van Stijn and Frankenstein. Now isnít that cool?! These small details really made my day complete. Iíve already put the date for next yearís Taken By Force in my calendar, because they do know how to rock out loud over there in Vroomshoop!!

*Written by: Toine van Poorten/December 2010
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten [www.metalmaidens.com]

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