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Matrix, Bochum, Germany
8th March 2009
Sonic Syndicate, Deathstars, Phoenix Cry

I obviously completely underestimated the popularity of the bands playing at the Matrix this time around. A huge queue of people was waiting still standing outside when I arrived and after we entered the venue we saw that at least the same amount of people was already waiting in front of the stage and had occupied the best places in the first row of course.

Phoenix Cry

The Dortmund-based band PHOENIX CRY already exists since 2006 and they’re calling their style “Popcore”. The guys are known for their energetic live shows with which they’ve gathered quite some fans ever since. PHOENIX CRY is Christian Grieb (vocals), Michael Stapel (guitar), Robin S. (guitar), Manuel Skotarek (bass) and Christian Schröder (drums / backing vocals). /

Music & Performance
We just stood there for a few minutes in the already packed venue as the first band of the evening already came on stage so the audience would be already warm when the DEATHSTARS would appear later on. And they really floored the gas pedal right from the start and rocked the house. Action on stage from the first minute and also in the crowd you could see various people moving. That would become more in the further course even it wouldn’t reach such dimensions as later. The music was, how can I call that, in your face!!! High-octane metal with extreme growls and such illustrious title names as i.e. ‘Der Frosch wohnt jetzt auf dem Campingplatz!’ or less surprising like ‘Geisterbahn’ and after the last song faded it rained some “Encore” shouts and as there’s still some minutes left according to the administration we received another full blast.

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 7 / 10


The DEATHSTARS founded in 2000 by band members from DISSECTION, SWORDMASTER, and OPHTALAMIA. In 2002, they debuted with ‘Synthetic Generation’ which sold very well in Sweden first, but later also in the rest of Europe. During the recordings to their second album ‘Termination Bliss’ released in January 2006 eventually, heir former bassist left the band and “Cat Casino” who’s only played live until then became a full member of the band. In October 2007, the band started with the recordings for the next album. In spring 2008, they supported KORN and FLYLEAF on their mutual tour and finally in January 2009 ‘Night Electric Night’ sees the lights of day. DEATHSTARS are Andreas "Whiplasher Bernadotte" Bergh (vocals), Eric "Cat Casino" Bäckman (guitar), Emil "Nightmare Industries" Nödtveidt (guitars and keyboards), Jonas "Skinny Disco" Kangur (bass and backing vocals) and Ole "Bone W. Machine" Öhman (drums) /

Music & Performance
Now it was time for the band a lot of the girls in the room seem to have anxiously waiting for: the DEATHSTARS from Sweden! Already with the first song ‘Night Electric Night’ from their latest album that starts with pompous string section to build into a straight fast axe afterwards, the hips were shaking, the heads banged and additionally also the hands flew into the air. ‘Motherzone’ continued the roundelay. Not as fast as its successor but still with a full doze of energy. As energetic as it was in front of the stage it also was on stage, where the members of the DEATHSTARS never stood still either, where they dashed back and forth, head banged and just had fun to their music. In-between we got lots of little announcement, partly for the purpose of hyping up everybody even more than they already were. But the actual song announcements by Capt Whiplasher Bernadotte were a little too slathered for me. Might be their way of doing it but it’s not my cup of tea. But the fans did actually and visibly like it.

And with the rest of the songs giving a good cross-section through the entire discography from ‘Semi- Automatic’ and ‘New Dead Nation’ from ‘Synthetic Generation’ over breakers like ‘Blitzkrieg’ from ‘Termination Bliss’ to other tracks from the newest work like ‘Cyanide’ that ended the main set, the fans could be more than pleased with what was showcased an as they didn’t have enough after the last song they got blessed with a short encore in the form of ‘Death Dies Hard’.

01. Night Electric Night
02. Motherzone
03. Semi-Automatic
04. Mark of the Gun
05. Tongues
06. Last Ammunition
07. Fuel Ignites
08. Mew Dead Nation
09. Trinity Fields
10. Chertograd
11. Blitzkireg
12. Blood Stains Blondes
13. Cyanide
14. Death Dies Hard

Music: 6
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 6.7 / 10

Sonic Syndicate

Swedish SONIC SYNDICATE started their career under the alias FALLEN ANGELS in 2002 playing more traditional Heavy Metal influenced by IRON MAIDN etc. The band recorded three demos within one year starting in 2003 and subsequently played various concerts all over Scandinavia. After signing a record deal with the US label Pivotal Records, the band changed their name to SONIC SYNDICATE. The band entered the studio in spring 2005 and recorded the debut ‘Eden Fire’ which was released in September of the same year. One year later the band participated in a newcomer’s contest organized by renowned Nuclear Blast label and won.

As reward they’re signed by the label. The new album ‘Only Inhuman’ then came out in May 2007. In 2008, the band played i.e. at Rock am Ring/Rock im Park and the Summer Breeze Festival. Their newest album goes by the name of ‘Love and other Disasters’ and hit the record shops in September 2008. SONIC SYNDICATE is Richard Sjunnesson (growl vocals), Roland Johansson (clean vocals & growl vocals), Roger Sjunnesson (lead guitar), Robin Sjunnesson (rhythm guitar), Karin Axelsson (bass), and John Bengtsson (drums). /

Music & Performance
During the rebuilding break the audience changed a bit and the amount of male attendees in front of the stage increased visibly... likely because of the SONIC SYNDICATE bass player Karin Axelsson. ;-) No, just kidding. Back to the topic: I couldn’t recall hearing the name of the band anywhere before but the performance this troop delivered that evening should contribute to me not forgetting the name SONIC SYNDICATE so soon. They’re just spewing out the energy into the venue after they had entered the stage to an industrial-esque introduction and started with the first, extremely fast song which got the crowd into action right away. Maybe not that fast but there was enough pressure in it to make the walls crack. Luckily they didn’t. The contradicting vocals provided an exciting interplay of clean singing (with a very good voice btw) and deep, aggressive Death Metal growls.

For ‘Fallout’, the opener of their second album ‘Only Inhuman’ a circle pit formed in the middle of the crowd where the action concentrated then. But the six-piece also had a quite calm song (by their standards) up their sleeves for the craving and sweating crowd in front of the stage, named ‘Contradiction’ during which Roland Johansson’s vocal talents came to light even more. To pay fair tribute to ‘Psychic Suicide’ the audience was asked to form the notorious “Wall of Death” but not without the request of being cautious so no one would get hurt in the course of it. Very welcome!!! Many more bands should do that. No one was hurt in the end but everybody in the middle seemingly enjoyed it. Such a show called for an encore even if it was just one named ‘Blue Eyed Fiend’ with a little crowd surfing insertion as bonus people still wanted more but their prayers weren’t heard and so people slowly made their way towards the exit (like us) or decided to stay and drink something. This evening’s conclusion: It was an amazing show!!!

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8.2 / 10

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