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Concerts & Shows Music Travel & Adventure

Stream of Passion live in Duycker

By Clayton

Date: February 5, 2016

We started the next day off by grabbing lunch at this Turkish restaurant where I had a good “kapsalon” after a long time. There wasn’t much we did besides just wander around the city.

Later that evening I had to be in Hoofddorp for a Stream of Passion concert.

This was my second SOP concert, but also my last, because later that year it was announced that the band was about to disband. That was not known at the time, but it was a great show.

Not too crowded, which made it better for the band to engage with the crowd. I also saw a lot of my Dutch concert and Facebook friends at the show and it was also nice to meet the band after the show again. I have to of the members on my Facebook, so I think the recognized my face.

Farid and Ryan weren’t at the show, but they picked me up and dropped me off before and after the show.

    

 

 

Music

Universal Search Squad

By Clayton

As soon as the “The Holographic Principle” album was available for pre-order I knew I had to get the Earbook version of it. I had also purchased that earbook version of the previous album “The Quantum Enigma” and I think these are a must-have for all die-hard fans. In case you do not know what an Earbook is, it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a book, with lyrics and pictures and the CD’s in it.

epica-the-holographic-principle-earbook-mit-labelprintsThe print is amazing and it has exclusive pictures. Okay, I think in the normal version of the CD you can find all these in the booklet, but bigger it looks better.

I thought I would wait till the end of the month to order the earbook, but what I didn’t realize was that unlike my country, the rest of the world is not dealing with a financial crisis. So by the time I was ready to order the earbook…. It was sold out. 🙁

I first had a minor panic attack, then quickly went to search for it on the Nuclear Blast webshop and it was also sold out. I almost broke down and immediately was filled with sadness and regret. After some intense searching I found the earbook still available on the UK webshop of Nuclear Blast. I immediately sent Patrick an email and he was able to order me a copy. I was utterly relieved and could finally relax when he sent me the order confirmation mail.

I only had to wait a few more minutes for another friend to fly the earbook over from Amsterdam to Paramaribo and now it is finally hear. I was just flipping through the pages and I could just feel the music come to live. It’s truly a piece of artwork.

Thanks to everyone for helping me get my hands on this 🙂

Music My thoughts on...

Epica – The Holographic Principle

By Clayton

It’s been exactly a month since Epica released their seventh album “The Holographic Principle”. I decided not to write anything about it until I have listened to it for a while. Usually I go “OMG this is the best album EVER” right after one week, but I can be bias and go into ultra-fan-mode.

Having said that… The Holographic Principle IS one of Epica’s best records!

The-Holographic-PrincipleEach record I wonder how they can even top themselves. Especially after the previous recode, The Quantum Enigma, which is really-really good, but this one is just as good AND maybe even better. You really can tell that Epica has grown over the years. The music quality keeps getting better and better. I am not even going into the lyrics and sound just yet, but just the hard work and commitment is very noticeable.

And now moving on to the content of the record.

The previous record was all about the mind and the mystery around it. This album is a concept that we could be living in one big giant hologram. It’s a very interesting concept. Let me do this track by track as each track is different, but each one is just as strong as the previous and the next. Mark Jansen said that this time they wanted to make songs that all could work live and I think they have succeeded.

The album is much heavier than ever before and ALL the typical Epica elements can be heard, but multiplied by ten. The album sounds enormous and it is almost like one big Epic soundtrack that you will not easily forget. I did not go into the lyrics, because I have not had the time to pay much attention to them yet. I am waiting for the earbook of this album to study the lyrics.

(more…)

Music My thoughts on...

Epica – Universal Death Squad

By Clayton

So it has been 3 days that Epica has released a new single to promote their upcoming album “The Holographic Principe” and I have not written a thing about it yet? What sorcery is this?
Calm down. Let me explain!

Universal-Death-SquadThe very first time I heard the song I did not like it. (What?)
Musically it sounded great. Just the quality of the MP3 that I have heard was a bit too low for my taste and also I think that Simone’s voice sounds almost unrecognizable. However after a few times listening the first day and not listening to the for an entire day, song started to play itself in my head the day after that. I then had to listen again and started to feel the connection to the music. I finally could appreciate the song. I finally recognized “Epica” and also Simone’s voice. This took a lot longer than usual, but I expected this. Epica’s music is kind of complex and you basically like it or you don’t. I do. But it with new music it takes a few times listening.

I think the grunting part of Mark are the best of the entire song. After the amounts of listening now, I can almost sing the song out of my head and I am sure I will love it even more once I heard the entire album in HQ. I still need to place my order. It has been two years of listening to The Quantum Enigma and it is still a great album, but more music is always welcome and the time is here.

The-Holographic-Principle

For more information please visit Epica.nl

Movies & TV Music

Kamelot – Haven

By Clayton

Kamelot has recently released yet another masterpiece of an album, called HAVEN and once again… I am in love with this piece of musical art. Kamelot’s music needs no convincing in my book; their music is just amazing. So far I have loved all albums. The only exception would maybe be Poetry for the Poisoned.

But back to HAVEN.

Kamelot - Haven

This is the second album with Tommy Karevik as the band’s vocalist and once again Tommy has proven to be a great successor to the previous singer. Such a powerful voice that will make your tingle when he pours out those strong notes and he will make you go all emotional with the lower sensitive notes. That guy can probably sing the phone book and it will sound great.

I have been listening to HAVEN constantly since the release and the songs are also starting to linger in my head when I am not listening to it. After having listened to the album for a couple of times I am also able to sing-a-long to most songs. I have also pick out my favorite tracks (so far).

  • Fallen Star
  • Insomnia
  • Veil of Elysium
  • Under Grey Skies
  • My Therapy
  • End of Innocence
  • Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)
  • Revolution

These are the songs that I constantly keep putting on repeat.

The album can be described as a mixture of the previous albums Silverthorn and Ghost Opera. Probably should have been named “Ghost Thorn” or “Silver Opera”, but I guess HAVEN was a much better fit. 😉

Looking at the band’s Facebook page, it seems that they album is also doing great on the music charts, which is well deserved. Congratulations KamNation \m/

Kamelot - Haven Billboard

Concerts & Shows Travel & Adventure

Epica live in TivoliVredenburg

By Clayton

IMG_20141207_151028YES!!! *pinches self* no, I’m not dreaming!!! Finally!! I did it again!! 😀
Saw EPICA live…. AGAIN!! For the fifth time already now… and once again it was one amazing, spectacular and EPIC show!!! Seriously!

I arrived in Utrecht quite a few hours before the doors would be open. The train station of Utrecht is quite big and confusing. It has a shopping center build in so it took me a while to actually find how to exit the building and head towards the venue.

The venue was literally about 5-10 minutes away from the train station. Another good thing was, that the venue had an entrance hall that we were allowed to wait in, because it was a rainy day and standing inside is quite a lot more comfortable. Also access to a bathroom and wall sockets was a nice added bonus.

IMG_20141207_173903Once again it was nice to see some familiar faces and have a chit chat until the (first) door opened, where we had to wait yet again before going up the stairs towards the hall where the show would take place. As we waited I could see Rob van der Loo walking around. The venue is a gigantic, beautiful building. Really one of the nicest venues I’ve been too so far.

After a while we were allowed to go up the stairs, get our tickets scanned and run towards another waiting point. After some more waiting and mild frustration arousing amongst the crowd we were “released” and of course the crowd stormed towards the hall to get a good standing spot.

As usual I stood dead center of the podium on the second row for a better view. It took a while for the opening act Dragonforce to begin playing. The night before I tried listening to Dragonforce’s music, but it was not my cup of tea. Not even when the band came on stage and started playing have I been able to get into the groove and enjoy one single song. I tried and tried, but just couldn’t so I eventually gave up and just stood there. After checking my Facebook newsfeed I found out that I clearly was not the only one whom shared this opinion about the opening act.

IMG_20141207_204535After a while it was over and it was time for EPICA. After the stage was rebuild with the band’s instruments and the “The Quantum Enigma” stage decorations, it wasn’t long before the lights were dimmed and the first notes of Originem started playing. Of course, the crowd went wild.

The band gave a spectacular true-Epica-show full of fire and explosions. The band was full of energy as always and Simone looked and sounded amazing. Mark Jansen even made sure that he recognized me in the crowd, which is always fun.

We were all surprised by the amazing varied set list from old to new tracks. The biggest surprise was Façade of Reality, which they haven’t played in years and even claimed a few weeks ago that they forgot how to even play it. Façade of Reality of is one of my all-time favorite Epica tracks and I was super excited to finally hear it live. Another surprise was also The Last Crusade, which also hasn’t been played in a while, and also the first time that I heard it live.

IMG_20141207_210944 IMG_20141207_225941 IMG_20141208_030503
IMG_20141209_192950 IMG_20141209_193018 IMG_20141209_193037

You can see the entire set list here:
Epica Setlist at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands

I also found a recording of the entire show here on YouTube.

IMG_20141208_031033After the show it was time for the usual back pain and sore throat, but surely worth it of course. But besides that it was also time to greet some more friends and of course Mark and Ariën were there to meet the fans. It was nice to chat as always.

I took the last train back to Amsterdam, where I oddly enough had an interesting chat with this guy that was piss drunk and returning from Germany. lol

Music My thoughts on...

Xandria – Sacrificium

By Clayton

Xandria-Sacrificium

Symphonic metal band Xandria has released a new album called Sarcificum. And this time they have (yet again) a new vocalist: Dianne van Giersbergen. As the name may hint out, she is Dutch. I have heard the name around in the symphonic metal world, but had never heard music with her previous band. So I didn’t know what to expect when first hearing the new songs. I was very pleased with what I heard. Dianne is an amazing singer and Xandria once again delivered an amazing album. Musically it sounds very Xandria-ish, but with the added strong operatic vocals it’s perfection.

I have seen Xandria live in 2012 and I remember whispering in Manuela Kraller’s ear, the previous singer, that she was the best the band has had so far. Now I am not so sure anymore. Dianne fills Manuela’s shoes perfectly.

The album opens with the title track Sacrificium, a 10-minute long epic masterpiece. Trust me, you won’t get bored and will not be able to sit still. This song makes you want to get up and headbang with all your energy.

Next jumps in the fast paced single Nightfall. This song has Xandria written all over it. But it’s okay. It has all the trademark elements that makes this German band so successful. Catchy choir parts, heavy instrumental parts and piercing high vocal notes. I can totally understand why this song was picked as a single song. Another song that will make your headbang senses tingle.

The rest of the album is also filled with the same elements, all recognizable as Xandria, but still very interesting and new.

My other favorite tracks above the 2 mentioned above are:

  • Stardust
  • The Undiscovered Land
  • Betrayer
  • Little Red Relish
  • Our Neverworld
  • Sweet Atonement

This album will keep you enthralled from the very first note until the last if you are a big fan of symphonic metal as I am.

Great work Xandria!! Hope to see you guys one day perform live again!

——————-

Below you can see the official music video for Nightfall.

Music My thoughts on...

The Quantum Enigma is released!!!

By Clayton

I am very proud of my favorite Dutch band Epica. There new record The Quantum Enigma has been officially released today and it sounds AMAZING!!! Just when I thought that Mark Jansen and his band members would have hard time to top themselves after 5 successful albums and a great show like Retrospect: they did!

The Quantum Enigma

I have already been listening to it for 2 days now and it is constantly on repeat. And when it’s not playing it still goes on inside my head.

I admit, the first listen to this album didn’t do it for me. I thought “meh”. But having been a fan of this great band for years now, I know that the trick is to just keep on listening. After the 3rd listen of this album I couldn’t stop and I start liking a new track with each listen.

So far my favorite tracks on the album are: The Essence of Silence, Sense without Sanity, Unchain Utopia, Chemical Insomnia, Canvas of Life, Natural Corruption and the title track The Quantum Enigma.

I am not nearly done listening to this album and I am sure that very soon I will love even more tracks.

The album sounds different, but still very Epica. On the first listen you might not recognize the old elements immediately, but keep on listening and you will recognize it. All the elements are there: choirs, catchy chorus, Mark’s awesome grunts, Simone’s outstanding vocals, Coen’s great piano skills, Ariën drumming like a madman and the great guitar riffs. But aside from the old elements there are also so many new things to enjoy.

Last night I watched the videos of the album release show on Wednesday in Tilburg and I totally missed out. I really wish I could have made it, but I am watching for the Dutch tour dates later this year.

Epica-TQE-album-release

I received an email that my copy of the 3-disc earbook is already being shipped, so it should be waiting for me in Amsterdam, the next time I fly over. I can’t wait. Go buy it! It’s amazing!!

Music My thoughts on...

Delain – The Human Contradiction

By Clayton

Delain - The Human ContradictionDutch female fronted metal band Delain has recently released a new album called The Human Contradiction and I have to say it KICKS ASS!! 😀

I am totally in love it and have been listening to it constantly ever since I’ve heard the album. I have to say that this Delain’s best work to date. Much heavier that before, but still easy to listen to. The only downside is that the album only contains 9 tracks. Seriously?!

Okay, there is an extra disc containing 2 more tracks and a few live tracks from the show in Haarlem (which I had attended last November), but officially The Human Contradiction only has 9 tracks, which is quite a bummer. Maybe we should see the 2 other new tracks on the mini-CD “Interlude” as tracks that were supposed to be on this album?

Anyways… back to the album now.

I love almost everything about this album. Delain has really stepped up their game with this record. They have 3 guest singers Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot), George Oosthoek (Orphanage) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist, Kamelot, Arch Enemy). And funny enough my most favorite tracks on the album ARE the one WITH the guest vocalist. Hmm… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but let’s not over-analyze that right now.

Or maybe I should… I think that Delain should use more grunts in their music. Those tracks seem to turn out the best and when they performed here in Suriname last year, those were the tracks that stood out the most.

My most favorite tracks on the record are:

  • Here come the vultures
  • My masquerade
  • Tell me, machinist,
  • Sing to me
  • The tragedy of the commons

If I have to pick one, it would have to be the last one – The Tragedy of the Commons. Charlotte Wessels has really started showing us since the previous record “We Are The Others” that she can sing high. And on this album and especially on that track she lets us hear it again. And since I’m such a major opera geek this musically turns me on very much 🙂

To sum all of the above up, go buy this album, it’s awesome! 🙂

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