Thursday, April 24, 2014

Iced Earth / Sabaton / Revamp/ A Sound of Thunder @ Empire 4/21/2014

John, Kate, and I went to see ICED EARTH (with others) at Empire ($27). There were a ton of people there- Scott, Milla, Brittany, DanPaytas, Amberley, Ethan, Paul n Christine, Neil and Michelle, Brian B, Ciara, Sean, Jason, Dave, Nathan with a J, Ariel, James, otherSteve, Bobbie, Sako and Greg,  Greekgirl, Miss SketchyLindsey, Marie, Avi, Nina, Josh, Jesse, Chris, Renae, Ray, Tony Dio, Mike AG, Joe H, Mari and Bridget, Steve Miller, Chris Crazy-Wolf, Daniel G and Nick, and maybe one or 2 more??? whew!  I was super pumped for this show because I'm a huge Iced Earth and Sabaton fan. oh and ASOT is one of my top local bands and I was curious about the ReVamps.

We knew it was gonna be crowded when there was a line out the door (not too long a one tho), and that there were people packed int the entry way and the Alchemy room because they hadn't opened the main room doors yet (after 6pm)! I think ASOT had a whole page of presales (at least 50 or so?), and then people at the door and Amped & Alive ticketing- there were like 400+ people there. AMAZING for a Monday night, but not un called for, with this great lineup!

Merch- All bands had a bunch of stuff- Revamp had both CDs ($15), shirts ($20), patches ($5), stickers and wild card ($1), cute merch girl, beanie ($15).  Iced Earth had several lame shirts ($25), a hoodie, boxed latest album, ball cap, LP, live DVD, and...sweatpants ($25)? Sabaton had some OK shirts (6) ($25), some CDs ($25, 15), a patch ($15? that doesn't sound right), and a flag.

A Sound of Thunder took the stage to a pretty full floor already. This is a great opportunity for them, exposure to a lot of new potential fans, given their true/power bend on metal goes nicely with... the true/power metal of tonight.  When they started, I immediately noticed that the drums were WAY too loud. This kind of ruined "Queen..." for me. They played mostly new songs, only 1 old one ("ASOT"), and a surprise- a new new song ("Udoroth")!  Usually they mix it up a bit more, but hey I don't make the setlists (it was similar to the last time I saw them, in November at the sketchy Rock Harvest II). I think the middle kind of dragged for me where my not favourite "...Break" and the needs a little more umph but I still like the gang vocals but they should have been louder "...Play" lulled a bit. Then it picked up for the last 2 songs. The crowd seemed decently into it (tho I didn't see how mobbed the merch booth was after their set, but I imagine they must have done some brisk business. Hell, I got my Ashes of Ares ticket ($10) from them at the booth.  I also must note that the phrase "Sound of Applause" was used. I thought apart from the drums being too loud, vocalist Nina Osegueda led the band to a pretty decently strong set.  

I was wondering how Floor Jansen's ReVamp was going to be-I loved her in Nightwish and Star One (backing vocals), but in After Forever I was not really a fan.  I listened to most of their set, which the crowd seemed to love more, but the songs were not moving me. Floor's got an amazing voice, but to me it was like Yngwie Malmsteen syndrome- amazing talent- but not so hot writing/songs (for the most part, Yngwie had a few great albums in him).  I got bored about half way thru their set, I think I really was expecting more from them.  The crowd seemed to enjoy them, but I was not convinced. Worst band of the night for me, unfortunately.

As we heard the "March to War" getting piped in, I enlisted Sean and Nathan to to the middle to get ready for "Ghost Division." Swedish Power Metal giants Sabaton stormed onto the stage and I rapidly needed to rehydrate after their first song.  The crowd was ridiculous and was jumping, moshing, fist pumping, and shouting along. I was legitimately fearing that Iced Earth was going to get blown off the stage. Following this much energy and bombastic songs is really difficult to say the least. Sabaton had a long set, about 1 hr, compared to Iced Earth's 1 hr, 20 minute set. It was nearly a co-headline tour.  There was a 'choice' between "Attero.." and some song in Swedish. I don't understand Swedish so that choice was a no brainer for me.  John and I would have rather heard "Screaming Eagles." OH WELL. Still, we got the new song "To Hell..." and some other songs I'd not heard live before ("Gott...", "To Hell...", "Poltova") along with the 'standard' hits. Not a bad, but looking at the last time I saw Sabaton in 2012, they actually played all of these songs (minus the 3 I mentioned) then. Would be nice to hear different songs too!

The mighty Iron Maiden Jr... oh I mean Iced Earth thundered on to the riff of "Plagues..," which was a great opener.  My fears of them being overshadowed were quickly remedied as the crowd was really into Iced Earth!  Maybe I just really love Iced Earth and am biased, but they sounded amazing. I didn't think there were any sound issues with them- Stu Block's screams were loud, the Gypsy/Roma looking Jon Schaffer was crunchy, and Troy Steele's leads were overshadowed by Stu and Jon :( . It was kind of odd, cause I was watching Stu and Jon the whole time, whereas Troy is shredding those leads, and people are not even looking at him, off to the corner. The bass and drummer were fine- I didn't hear any problems, they held the line and I didn't really notice them.  The sound was pretty amazing for Empire, and the energy from all the people somehow not dead from Sabaton certainly helped.  Stu's frontman effectiveness is pretty amazing, getting the crowd to clap, sing, and otherwise react in a pretty effortless manner.  That signature crunchy Iced Earth sound with Maiden-esque bass was pretty sweet, filling the main room at Empire, with screams and shouts in between.

Setlist wise, it was actually a decent mix. Last time, in 2012, they had a drastically different set (only 5 overlaps).  I would have loved to hear some songs off of Horror Show or more from Glorious Burden, but I do know they are trying to push a new album... and they pulled out several Spawn era- Dark Saga classics.  I think my surprise favourite is the rather odd "Red Baron/Blue Max," with "Burning Times" being a close second.  I saw on one of my friend's setlists that "Blessed Are You" was cut (but they played it at a PA date, wtf). I would have liked to hear that- and they had been allotted until midnight to play, and they certainly could have thrown in another song or 2. "A Question of Heaven " was also sway inducing, one of the several slow songs that actually worked pretty well live. 

Overall, this was a fantastic show- #1 of 2014 so far. A lot of friends, great bands (for the most part), an extremely well selling show (for a Monday even!), and so much energy!  I don't know how Paganfest AND M3 (both this weekend) will treat me... let's pray for justice.

Next show: Paganfest 2014 (Korpiklaani, Turisas, etc.) at Empire, then M3 Fest

Sabaton crowd JUMPIN a lot


A Sound of Thunder (6:55- 7:28)
  • Queen of Hell 
  • Time's Arrow 
  • I Will not Break 
  • Power Play 
  • Udoroth  (new!)
  • A Sound of Thunder 

Revamp (7:50- 8:25)
  • Wild Card 
  • The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System 
  • Head Up High 
  • The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: On the Sideline 
  • The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia 
  • In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain 
  • Wolf and Dog 

Sabaton (8:45- 9:43)
  • Intro (March to War)
  • Ghost Division 
  • Gott Mit Uns 
  • Carolus Rex 
  • Uprising 
  • Swedish Pagans 
  • To Hell and Back 
  • Attero Dominatus  (choice of this or something in Swedish)
  • 40:1 
  • The Art of War 
  • Primo Victoria 
  • Poltava 
  • Metal Crüe 

Iced Earth  (10:22 - 11:43)
  • Plagues of Babylon 
  • Democide 
  • If I Could See You 
  • The Hunter (not the Dokken song)
  • Burning Times 
  • Red Baron/Blue Max 
  • Vengeance Is Mine 
  • Cthulhu 
  • My Own Savior 
  • A Question of Heaven 

  • Dystopia 
  • Watching Over Me 
  • Iced Earth 
want another opinion?

updated: AmberlEy's name, yubtub video