Welcome to the "Dawn Of Battle"


Greetings to everyone,

"In a society that I hate deeply and scars my soul daily, the foundations and rules of which I deny, being likeable would mean that I am starting to look like it..."

This is the quote that I live by the last few years but come to think of it, I could as well be living by that particular quote all my life, without even knowing it.

The purpose of this blog is to gather all my thoughts in one place, nothing fancy, just a piece of me. The articles that I write are a blend of my experiences and thoughts.

I hope some of you enjoy what you read here and Ι welcome you all to walk down that road together.

9/25/12

Grand Magus, Battleroar, Live @ Kyttaro Club 22-09-2012, Athens, Greece



Grand Magus, Battleroar, Live @ Kyttaro Club 22-09-2012, Athens, Greece



I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. One of the good things that makes going to a concert such a big deal for me, is catching up with friends. The ones you see mostly at concerts. And every time a local band like Battleroar plays, it’s really just a big gathering of friends. Tonight’s gig was Grand Magus – Battleroar, two great bands, each one in it’s own field, armed and ready to unleash a good dose of metal upon us.

Battleroar had been through a lot of lineup changes lately. I’ve followed them through all those changes and saw them live a couple of times during the last two years. I can say that I didn’t enjoy those shows as much as I enjoyed the bands shows in the past. That was mostly due to sound problems and the fact that the band was between member changes. For this show they’ve recruited the veteran Gerrit P. Mutz, known from his excellent work with Sacred Steel and Dawn of Winter. The band came on stage and started it’s furious metallic assault. They really were full of energy that night and you could just feel it… the atmosphere was extraordinary! Gerrit, despite having only 2,5 rehearsals with the band, he gave his best self and even a little more. It was like he was the singer of Battleroar for 20 years or something. The guy is a total machine. A great addition to the whole atmosphere was the violin sound from Alex Papadiamantis, the bands violinist, who indeed put his heart and soul into his music that night. As we slowly get closer to the end of the show, one hymn after another keep us in a constant headbanging delirium. There couldn’t be a better epilogue of course, than one of the best Heavy Metal hymns ever written, Wargods Of Metal, a superb cover to Gerrit’s band, Sacred Steel.

Battleroar setlist:

Hyrkanian Blades
Siegecraft
The Wrathforge
Dragonhelm
The Poisoned Well
Victorious Path
Finis Mundi
Battleroar
Wargods Of Metal (Sacred Steel cover)

After a short break Grand Magus started to gather up, under the epic intro of the first Conan movie! What better way to start your gig. Most of the crowd was still in shock after the devastating performance of Battleroar, but still had a lot to give. After all, Grand Magus are one of the greatest bands in their genre and we all had great expectations from them. Sadly, despite the high standards, we were about to be proved wrong. The band, despite our first impression that they were full of energy, was already starting to get ready to finish the set. And so it happened, after 10-11 songs, they went off stage, came back for two more songs and said goodnight. I’m not sure if they had a particular small set ready for festivals, or if they were just tired that night, but this isn’t at all professional when you’re playing as a headliner. After a few minutes the band came down to meet the fans but most of them had already left the venue with a bittersweet smile carved. I can say for sure, that many of them will never come again to a Grand Magus gig and the main reason for that of course, is none other than the small duration of the set. I surely hope that this gets better in the future. Despite their obvious energy, Grand Magus still have a lot of things to work on before they become a major headline act.

Grand Magus setlist:

Anvil of Crom (Intro)
Storm King
Kingslayer
Like The Oar Strikes The Water
Ravens Guide Our Way
Sword of the Ocean
Nine
I, The Jury
The Shadow Knows
Silver Into Steel
The Hunt
Hammer Of The North

Encore:
Valhalla Rising

9/17/12

Y&T, Spitfire, Live @ Kyttaro Club 15-09-2012, Athens, Greece



Y&T, Spitfire, Live @ Kyttaro Club 15-09-2012, Athens, Greece



Finally! I don’t wanna know how or why it happened, but the announcement of the mighty Y & T in Greece was more than enough for me to look forward to a concert of epic proportions! Dave Meniketti and the rest of the gang were Armed and Dangerous and ready for one helluva night. The historical Greek Heavy Metal band Spitfire were also on the bill, with a brand new lineup and a tons of energy!

I arrived a little later than usual due to heavy traffic (Saturday night), but just in time to see more than half of the Spitfire set. The new lineup was very tight and all the songs were played perfectly. The new keyboard player also boosts certain songs a lot and their new singer seemed very relaxed with the Spitfire stuff and on stage. I believe that he is a very good replacement for Alex Balakakis, their previous singer, and his on stage performance left no doubt about it. The set was getting better and better and the band ended the show with probably the best version of “Explosion” that I’ve ever seen. The bad thing with Spitfire is that I’ve seen them sometimes with very bad sound and I didn’t enjoy the gig very much. But this one was definitely among the best, perfect sound and a band full of energy. What more can you ask?

Spitfire setlist:

Streetfighter
Gates Of Fire
King Of The Mountain
Taste the Fire
Evil Thoughts Around
Die Fighting
Ready to Attack
Lead Me On
Guilty Dreams
Explosion

Almost 20 minutes after 22:00 and after a few beers and chatting with the gig-buddies (buddies you only see at gigs) it was time for a journey from Yesterday until Today. Dave and the gang were on stage and most of the crowd could hardly believe it. I can say a lot about Dave Meniketti and his story, but I’ll stick to this. The guy is like good old wine, he only gets better. Sometimes you do have a certain amount of caution when you see a classic rock band on stage, but this was not the case here.
During their performance you could only see people hugging each other, bowing, screaming, even crying… I really can’t explain it with words; it’s one of those magic things that you have to see it to believe it. Dave Meniketti is living rock n’ roll history and the rest of the band played like wild maniacs as well. I’m still somewhere between the crazy poses of the drummer and the bass player, completing each other, in a tribal dance which took the whole show into a new level. This definitely was an once in a lifetime experience and I’m very glad that I had the chance to witness such great performance. Y & T played stuff from most their discography plus Summertime Girls, a song which wasn’t normally on the setlist. The highlight of the gig was without a doubt, the epic performance of Midnight In Tokyo, one of the most classic songs of the band, which instantly turned most grown men into babies. Dave also mentioned his long-time friend and music companion, the late Phil Kennemore, and dedicated I Believe In You, to his memory. The show ended with a superb version of Forever and Rescue Me.
The band was more than willing to talk to the fans, sign stuff and take photos. Still carrying the magic in our eyes and in our smiles, we slowly started to leave the club, leaving part of that magic in the atmosphere… if I wanted to describe the Y & T performance with a single word I’d say: Monumental.

Y & T setlist:

Black Tiger
Hard Times
Dirty Girl
Rock & Roll's Gonna Save the World
Mean Streak
Rhythm or Not
Midnight in Tokyo
Shine On
Blind Patriot
Winds of Change
Don't Bring Me Down
I'm Coming Home
Summertime Girls
I'll Cry for You
25 Hours a Day
Hurricane
Drum Solo
Eyes of a Stranger
I Believe in You
Squeeze

Encore:
Forever

9/11/12

Marduk, Immolation, Noctem, Forsaken World, Heaving Earth, Live @ Kyttaro Club 08-09-2012, Athens, Greece



Marduk, Immolation, Noctem, Forsaken World, Heaving Earth, Live @ Kyttaro Club 08-09-2012, Athens, Greece




It’s been a long time since I last saw a decent extreme metal live and I really couldn’t wait for that one. Another reason was of course that one of my favourite death metal bands, Immolation was on the bill. It was gonna be a hell of a night!

I arrived just in time to see the second band on the bill, Heaving Earth from the Czech Republic, but I missed almost the whole set of Forsaken World from France. From the few minutes that I heard from Forsaken World, I could tell that they weren’t my style at all. A weird blend of every extreme style you could imagine made it very hard for me to enjoy their show. The crowd was between 200-300 people and the atmosphere was excellent. One of the first things I noticed was that the club had a second sound engineer close to the stage. The results were more than obvious; Heaving Earth had a crystal clear sound throughout the whole gig like the rest of the bands. It was the first time that I saw them play but you could tell that the band has been working a lot on their on stage appearance. An appearance which, combined with tons of killer rifing, made us warm-up our necks really good. They’re a very fresh band but I believe we’ll be hearing a lot from them in the future. The only thing I didn’t like much about them was probably the vocals, which weren’t bad, but weren’t very special either. The next band on the bill was Noctem from Valencia, a band that left me with mixed emotions after their show. Although they do have a very good on-stage presence I believe that they’re a little “too much” on certain aspects, whatever that means. However, their music is very good and that’s what matters here. Probably a little “cheesier” than I’ve used to, but their style is also a blend of extreme metal styles, so I believe that a little extra cheese always comes along. This isn’t always bad of course.

It was time for the war machine name Immolation to take the stage by storm. And so they did, in every way possible. I really don’t remember much from the beginning of their show until the end of it, because I wasn’t even there mentally. They unleashed their music upon us and it really blew our minds of. Ross Dolan seemed extremelly happy with the constant positive response that he got from the crowd –which by the way has doubled until then- every time he yelled “Atheeeeeeeeeensss”, pushing the bands show into new limits. Robert Vigna is a league of his own, an everflowing death metal machine full of energy. You could easily say that he alone can erase from the map many new wannabe-deathmetallers who only know how to pose and look evil and stuff. I really could believe that I was witnessing such hatred unleashed upon us (yeah, I said hatred, sorry but Immolation are not hippie music!). Actually Robert and Ross seem like they haven't aged a day during the last 20 years. They still got they same fire and passion, and that goes for the rest of the band of course. Words are poor to describe their hellish performance of that night, a performance that is now carved in everyone’s mind forever. I definitely didn’t want this superb show to end, but Marduk had to hit the stage soon enough. After their show which lasted a little more than an hour was finished, I was really considering of going home (sorry Marduk!) because I wanted to keep the memory of their performance. Immolation are probably the best death metal band I’ve ever seen on stage, along with Cannibal Corpse. U.S.A for the win!

Immolation Setlist:

Close To a World Below
Swarm of Terror
Passion Kill
What they bring
Majesty and Decay
Under the Supreme
Father You're not a Father
I Feel Nothing
Den of Thieves
Into Everlasting Fire
No Jesus No Beast
Dawn of Possession

After a long break Marduk were finally on the stage. Most of the crowd was still in shock after the Immolation gig, but we had to pull ourselves together once more. Sadly, Marduk was the only band which didn’t have such a good sound like all the other bands and that was a big minus in their performance. The other minus was that due to the time of their appearance, a lot of people started leaving to catch the last train or bus, something that you constantly see in a lot of gigs here. Too bad for them. Marduk started filling the atmosphere with their dark souls from the moment they came on stage until the time they left, which was a little more that an hour. They played some stuff from their new very good album “Serpent Sermon”, their 12th album, along with many their old classics. They played stuff from most of their discography, along with songs that they rarely play live. Their on stage presence is perfect, as it should be for a band who is on the top of the global black metal scene for 2 decades now. However, I wanted them to play a little longer… at least Mortuus made up for it, he is definitely one of the best black metal frontmen out there.

I don't have a particular epilogue to say for that day, except the fact that we went back home torn to pieces. It surely was an one-of-a-kind show that blew our brains out like never before and no one can disagree.

Marduk Setlist:

Serpent Sermon
Nowhere, No-One, Nothing
The Levelling Dust
The Black Tormentor of Satan
On Darkened Wings
Slay the Nazarene
Temple of Decay
Throne of Rats
Deme Quaden Thyrane
Within the Abyss
Baptism by Fire
Panzer Division Marduk
Souls for Belial

Encore:
With Satan and Victorious Weapons

9/4/12

Michael Clarke Duncan (1957 – 2012) Goodbye Big Guy…




Michael Clarke Duncan (1957 – 2012)

Goodbye Big Guy…


It's one of those times when you're in loss for words regarding a person. I know that many people think of muscle-bound actors as another needless dumb addition to some low budget action/comedy movie nowadays, but that is definitely not the case here. I've seen my share of this kind and I can't say that I’m very much into it. What matters now is that the Big Bear is gone. I've met him through such roles as "Bear" in Armageddon or as a bouncer in A Night at the Roxbury. But he always seemed like a guy who had so much more to give. And the time was very near.

I can't say that I'm a big fan of movies based in Stephen King’s novels but there always are certain exceptions and "The Green Mile" was such an exception. He played John Coffey, a man who is the actual portrait of the good Christian in a human being (although I'm not religious myself), a man who is willing to "turn the other cheek", to give everything he has while taking nothing in return and to take the sins of the world upon his shoulders. I don't believe that many actors could accomplish such a breathtaking performance as he did. He knows that he must live a life when he will always be stumbled upon while being soft with others and holding his virtues high, something that we rarely see in any man. I really don't want to talk much about this movie, it's indeed of the best movies ever and a great adaptation of the novel, thousands of people love it and it has surely fulfilled its goal.

Sadly most of his roles that followed where the same type, bouncer, security, cop, etc with the exception of the role of Wilson Fisk AKA The Kingpin in another one of my favourite movies, the Daredevil, with his co-star in Armageddon, Ben Affleck. Not really a big surprise for a man who worked as a bodyguard for such celebs as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and Notorious B.I.G. among others. I guess Hollywood has a way for this kind of bulky guys. What can I say; I guess someone must play the bodyguard while talking instead of the regular dumb muscular guy who never says anything.

Growing up in the tough streets of Chicago and in a single-parent family, either kills you, or gets you the need to survive. After many jobs as a bouncer or security guy, he managed to get jobs as a bodyguard for several VIPs. He also got his first roles in TV commercials. He dumped this kind of work when Notorious B.I.G. was killed. It was Bruce Willis who spotted him in Armageddon and helped him get a role in The Green Mile and The Whole Nine Yards. After that he started in numerous TV shows while his voice gained him many voice-overs in several other films.

The things about him that made him stand out were his attitude and his deep voice. Side roles in movies like Planet of the Apes and The Scorpion King were good, but not too good to gain him another big role. A role that sadly never came again, after the one in The Green Mile. For the last 10 years he’s been doing voice-overs in animation films among others. He did got eventually some bigger roles like the one in Redemption Road and in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, but those movies didn’t make a big impact.

Michael suffered a heart attack on July 13th, 2012, ending in his admittance to the hospital, where he passed away on September 3rd, 2012.

He should have gotten a lot more recognition that’s for sure. But I guess everyone has his own road to follow, big or small, and that's just the way it goes. Too bad that it can't be a little longer for some people who definitely have a lot more to give to the rest of us.

I'm already missing his strong presence, his steady look, his smile and his distinctive voice.
I'll miss you Gentle Giant...
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