Epica announces European tour for end of 2017

Symphonic metal band Epica announced that they will be playing in Europe (Germany, France and Poland) in November and December 2017 for the Ultimate Principle Tour.

Epica scheduled half a dozen dates in France including Metz, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille or Lille. But they will also be in Cracov (Poland), Berlin or Munich (Germany).

Supporting bands will be Anneke van Giersbergen’s VUUR and Myrath.

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Headbang party at metal concert in Sens

“Warm up your neck because it will be put under strain that night,” the Facebook page of the event teased. Not for some kind of gym workout event, but a metal concert. Three bands played at La Fabrique, a music venue in Sens, Burgundy, France, on Saturday, April 8.

Necks were indeed solicited for the practice of headbanging, a kind of dance often associated with metal genres. It consists of tossing your hair (the longer, the better) from side to side, usually when the music gets heavier or more… metal. Thus, the possibility of having neck pains the day after if done too hard or for too long.

The line-up for the night included Slave One (Progressive Death Metal), Visceral Dissection (Brutal Death) and Dunkelnacht (Black / Death Metal). In addition to band merchandising booths, sculpting artist Kernelyd displayed carved and engraved horns, of Celtic and Viking inspiration.

Guest band Myrmecia, from Sens, started the concert with their doom metal and French-language lyrics. A very nicely done set and some brilliant musicians.

Slave One, Visceral Dissection and Dunkelnacht then offered kick-ass performances. The three bands were delighted to play for such a very lively crowd. The venue was not at full capacity, less than 100 people had shown up for the event. That did not stop them from truly appreciating the show, handbanging and moshing. Even the quieter members were displaying signs of appreciation.

“Musicians usually prefer to play for completely crazy fifteen people rather than for a huge crowd that does not move,” said one of the organizers. It surely helped that this staff member also promised a slice of apple pie to those in the crowd who showed the most enthusiasm.

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Sans titre
Visceral Dissection Vocalist Vincent Depasse posted this on the event’s Facebook page: “Thank you everybody (Louve Asso, the bands, the audience…). We had an amazing time! La Fabrique is an awesome venue!”

 

Shoutout to the Louve association for putting together a nice event and inviting these talented bands. Slave One came from Montargis, Visceral Dissection from Troyes, while Dunkelnacht are from Lille (France) and Alkmaar (Netherlands). Dunkelnacht, founded in 2005, is a black metal band recognized for the quality of its music despite featuring controversial lyrics about religion at times.

 

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Concert review: Nemesis, The Shatters & AqME (Sens, Burgundy, France)

Even short of two bands, last Saturday’s metal and rock concert in Sens provided quality performances to the hundreds of audience members. 

It was a highly expected concert for many metal fans throughout the region. For one main reason, I would guess – AqME, a famous French alternative metal band. They came to Auxerre, the county’s capital city, in 2015 but their presence in Sens was a rare feat. They played at a little treasure of a venue: La Fabrique, a concert room situated inside the House for the Youth and Culture, also known as “La MJC” in French.

The original line-up included no less than four other starting bands: Dive Your Head, Synapses, Nemesis and the Shatters. The first two withdrew the week before due to miscellaneous reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the line-up was still very teasing.

This concert, officially named Dive Your Fest #4, took place in unusual circumstances. La MJC is an association offering dozens and dozens of sports, art and music classes to the Sens residents. Considered as an institution amidst the relatively weak cultural offer in Sens, it is somewhat comparable to a foundation such as Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA. The association’s premises – rented from the city – are however in danger of being taken over by the municipality. The city has already withdrawn considerable financial support. This issue brought national attention because it is perceived by many as an unfair attempt to strip a popular association of its existence. A dancer, who began and found his passion at La MJC, wrote a fervent declaration of support in French newspaper L’Obs.

Concerts in support of the MJC have been organized throughout March and Saturday’s metal concert joined the movement indirectly, despite announced in July 2016. Hosted by La MJC, it was organized by the association Badaboum.

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Holy Nemesis!

A family atmosphere characterizes La MJC, each time I go there. “It’s more of a gathering than a concert,” said one of my friends. Well, friends can be found there, of course. But I came here for music!

Nemesis is a five-member deathcore band, from Montpellier, South of France. They were amazingly loud, I literally felt the bass vibrating in my ribs. Their stage presence was stunning thanks to often coordinated movements. The singer had a beautiful and clear-cut growl.

They had a lot of stamina and did all they could to stimulate the audience. I was disappointed that it all remained relatively quiet. The audience looked appreciative but not that excited. I would learn later that the listeners simply kept their energy for AqME. One feature of La Fabrique is that this venue has a low stage, allowing musicians to step down into the crowd if they want to. The singer of Nemesis took this opportunity to take his energy down to the audience level a few times.

I thought of one word to describe their performance: decadence. In its less common meaning, such as decline, but with a positive connotation. There was something disturbingly delightful in their music.

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The Shatters strengthened the mood

No growl here, but definitely some rock. These four folks are local, they come from the Yonne county in Burgundy. The Shatters performed a nice set full of energy despite sound issues and even though it seemed like the audience was still warming up.

The Shatters have good songs with a heavy sound and clean high-pitched vocals. I appreciated their performance considering they have interesting music, even though I am not a big fan of the singing style. Their lyrics being written in English, the members may need to work more on their English accent but the effort has to be saluted.

Check out their song ‘We Are Still Standing’:

 

 

AqME, climax, apogee… Call it what you want. 

AqME dropped a little bombshell when they announced before the concert on social media that they would officially start their “Sombres Efforts Tour 2017,” a tribute tour 15 years after the release of their first album, with their Sens date. An amazing honor for all the fans!

AqME came to Auxerre in 2015. Check out my review.

The crowd? Oh man, they all surprised me. After a few seconds, I saw real shouts of excitement, mosh pits, people slamming, jumping up and down or simply moving their heads. The place was turned into a hellish sauna and it felt really good. Deep down, I was reassured. Sens would not disappoint AqME.

Vincent, the singer, brings so much energy on stage, I still wonder how he does it. He runs from one end of the stage to the other and constantly interacts with the audience.

At the end of the gig, the band members took their time to thank their fans, the crowd, La MJC and their partners, with emphasis. “Thank you for coming here tonight and not watching TV!”

We sure could do that!

 

Watch AqME’s video for their flagship track on their latest album, Dévisager Dieu.

The wild poetry of the Harts Industry

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“Bass lines as heavy as an old woman’s thigh in a jacuzzi,” an inspired radio host once wrote about their music. I present, the Harts Industry. This Burgundy-based emerging stoner rock band sounds like smoke-filled air and ash-stained clothes. Infused with heavy bass and guitar, mindblowing drums and rugged high-pitched vocals, the Harts Industry play honestly but still are on a quest for identity.

The members may have played together on and off for years, the band itself is still young. Formally started in late 2014, it is made up of four musicians. Marien is the lead singer and guitarist, Pascal is the second guitarist, Kevin the bassist and Sullivan the drummer. All in their mid-twenties except for the 19-year-old drummer, they have known each other for a long time. Some of them are childhood friends. They have grown up in the same region, in Burgundy but not too far from Paris. They spend their evenings together smoking, playing music, attending concerts, smoking again.

What they do may seem pretty obvious if you listen to their flagship track, the Mountain: they are a stoner rock band. This genre, born in the 1990s and pioneered by bands such as Kyuss and Sleep, is characterized by strong and heavy bass lines and melodic vocals that usually create a hypnotic atmosphere. The Harts Industry say they have been influenced by Queens of the Stone Age – definitely one of the champions of stoner rock – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Royal Blood.

Truth is, their music has evolved a lot over the past few years. In early 2015, the four musicians released their first EP, “4:08 am.” Six dynamic tracks of rock and stoner influences. They took part in a nationwide contest called “Les Inouïs du Printemps de Bourges” and were selected among hundreds for the regional finals.

The Harts Industry have been touring the country for more than a year. It showed to many that the Harts Industry radiate a very distinctive and contagious energy on stage. Toulouse, Paris, Compiègne, or closer to home in Dijon. In between gigs, they took the time to rest, and write new music. 25-year-old videographer Irwin Barbé created the video clip for their song The Mountain (see below) with a rural scenery but a poetically directed video. Along the way, the Harts Industry might have started to figure out what makes them so unique.

From there, the Harts have a pretty good idea of what the next step will be. They are bracing for the release of a new EP, supposed to come out in early April. The few next months will be decisive but with every step they take, they are writing a new line on their progress sheet throughout the music scene. Rugged, honest, hypnotic. In the end, even devoid of logo, label, or gig, The Harts Industry will not stop resonating with dark and savage sounds, mired in mesmerizing melancholy.

Simone Simons from Epica talks about life as a woman and mother

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Simon Simons is the female vocalist in the heavy metal band Epica. Their latest album, The Quantum Enigma, was released in May 2014. (Photo: Nuclear Blast, found on Loudwire.com)

Epica, the symphonic metal band from the Netherlands, toured Australia from March 18 to March 20, 2016. On their road, the Huffington Post Australia caught them and interviewed Simone Simons, the female front singer, in a video.

She talks about being a woman in a heavy metal band composed of five men, but she also comes back on her pregnancy and life as a mother. Simone gave birth to a son in October 2013. In the video, she explains how she combines being a mother and touring the world with the band Epica.

 

Hellfest page exposes French far-right candidate’s strong dislike of metal festival

Débat télévisé avant le 1er Tour des élections régionales
Pascal Gannat during a debate on television before the first round of the French regional elections. 12-02-2015 ©PHOTOPQR/OUEST FRANCE ;  PHOTO : EDDY LEMAISTRE [Photo via MaxPPP]
The official Facebook page of the Hellfest Open Air Festival, the most successful French metal festival, published far-right politician Pascal Gannat’s words about the festival on December 10. Mr. Ganat, a candidate in the upcoming regional elections, has expressed a strong dislike of the event and has questioned the regional funding were he to become the chair of the region Pays de la Loire.

Mr. Gannat is running in the regional elections as the National Front candidate in the western region of Pays de la Loire . He arrived second with 21.35% in the first ballot on December 6. He expressed his views on the metal festival on November 2 in response to a citizen’s online question about regional funding the festival. He put them forward once again on December 4 according to the Hellfest’s Facebook post translated below.

On December 4, at 8 p.m., Mr. Pascal GANNAT, National Front chief candidate in the region Pays de la Loire, expressed his view on the festival, already detailed in a letter published on the festival opponents’ blog.

Here are some excerpts: “The festival’s name itself – Hellfest, meaning the feast of hell – is unacceptable to us and should be changed even before considering funding it again. We acknowledge that France’s roots are celtic, greco-latin, but they essentially are historically christian. Therefore, we will make sure that the suggested line-ups do not make past errors and that rock bands clearly apologizing christanophobia are not invited.”

In these troubled times, we think there are more important topics to deal with than the existence of a festival such as the Hellfest. We are not playing politics; our job is to entertain you – and it seems like we do it well, considering the 2014 and 2015 Festival awards’ results.

 

Mr. Gannat’s letter also states that the region might stop funding the festival for these reasons, despite its obvious success, both nationally and internationally.

The Hellfest Facebook update, shared thousands of time within minutes of its post, caused outrage among fans of the festival, from France or from abroad.

The Hellfest festival celebrated its 10 years of existence in 2015. It has grown into one of the most popular events of the year for metal and rock fans in France and Europe. Ben Barbaud, the festival’s director and founder, said that 150 000 festival goers participated this year.

Watch: 2014 Hellfest Festival official after movie

Nightwish gears up for French shows

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Nightwish will kick off the French part of its tour on Monday, November 23, in Lyon, Halle Tony Garnier at 8 pm. Supporting bands are Arch Enemy from Sweden and Amorphis from Finland.

The symphonic metal band will also play in Paris, Bercy Arena, on November 25, and in Toulouse, Zénith, on November 26.

Despite the Paris attacks on November 13, Nightwish has decided not to cancel its French dates nor the rest of its tour, contrary to other bands such as the Foo Fighters, who announced the cancellation of their tour on November, 14.

The security measures have been stepped up in France since the attacks, especially in Parisian concert halls.

Below is the post Nightwish put on their Facebook page on November 15, to announce they will continue touring:

“The first show of our European Tour was a magical evening filled with the universal language of music, goodwill and love. Those things will never be silenced – despite the deeply shocking events in Paris.
So, in solidarity with France, Europe, and the rest of the good, sane people of our world, we have no intention of cancelling our shows in France or anywhere else for that matter.
Defiance is vital in the face of such darkness.”

Yours as ever,

Nightwish