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lakaien2Leipzig, Germany
9th to 13th June 2011
Wave Gotik Treffen Day 2: Sarah Jezebel Deva, Chthonic, Bilocate, Vreid, Tristania, Covenant, Anathema & Deine Lakaien.

After the opening night, the officially first day of WGT started quite relaxed with breakfast, some drinks at Sixtina Absintherie and a walk across the shopping mall at Agra. Then it was already time for the first concert taking place at the old exhibition ground.


Sarah Jezebel Deva - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

After spending 14 years in CRADLE OF FILTH as a backing singer, singing on all of their albums apart from the first and the latest one, female singer SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA also spent 6 years in THERION and MORTIIS. In 2005, she joined forces with Chris Rehn (Ex Evergrey / Abyssos) and created ANGTORIA in which she took centre vocals. The band recorded the album ‘God Has A Plan For Us All’ under Listenable Records. In 2008, Sarah decided it was time to walk away from CRADLE OF FILTH and follow her heart and released ‘A Sign Of Sublime’, followed by ‘The Corruption Of Mercy’ which she wrote together with Dan Abela (owner of Escape Route Studios/guitar). The latter record was released on June 20th 2011. http://www.myspace.com/jezebeldeva / http://www.sarahjezebeldeva.co.uk

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Music & Performance
SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA was the first band of that day to see for the WGT visitors that made their way to the newly acquired Halle 15 on the former exhibition grounds of the city. Since the Kohlrabizirkus had been closed at the end of 2010 and currently sold, no events are going down at this location at the moment. That of course includes the usual first two days of metal of the WGT, which the planners re-disposed to the nearby abovementioned site. After an epic intro came down onto the audience, the band stepped onto the stage and into comparatively broad daylight. As the name implies, the band SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA is centred around their main vocalist, so let’s get started with that. After the first few minutes of being sceptical because of its restrained manner, the vocal performance turned out to be one the best female live performances I experienced so far and showed Sarah’s overall routine in her profession. She shone the best when the other musicians supported her solemn way of singing by giving her room for the melodies. In between, the guitarists often tried to work in kind of thrashy and rhythmic parts which also worked well, but left me wondering if they secretly might wanted to play their own music.

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Mostly the guitarists played the same structures (not to mention the same guitar model) that could probably be written to one guitar for most parts (if it wasn’t for the sound), especially since the rare solo playing was barely audible because of the lack of any boosting. However, the sound by itself was very okay, as well as the played titles - with one exception. In the middle of their set SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA played the title track of their upcoming album ‘The Corruption Of Mercy’, which had an almost black metal-ish approach to the music with a lot of fast picking going on in cooperation with some aggressive drumming. It did not succeed to convince at all because of the great gap between the musical and vocal styles. I hope they stick with their usual style for the rest of the record and they’ll be fine. As for the first band playing, there were of course technical difficulties going on as well, as it took some minutes to replace a failed microphone for the vocalist. Beside these flaws it was an entertaining first performance for the audience and the band equally, since this was their first gig in Germany and they showed that they had some fun on stage.

Setlist
01. No Paragons Of Virtue
02. I’m Calling
03. Noise
04. A Matter of Convenience
05. Do You See Me Now
06. God Has A Plan For Us All
07. The Corruption Of Mercy
08. The World Won’t Hold Your Hand

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7 (and daylight)
Total: 7.3 / 10

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Chthonic - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

CHTHONIC (pronounced “Thonic”) is a Taiwanese melodic black metal band, formed in 1995 in Taipei. Their music employs elements of traditional Taiwanese music (including the use of the hena / erhu, an Asian instrument similar to the Western violin) and has frequently lore from the band’s nation’s history incorporated into its lyrics. In 2003, they won the Best Band Award at the Taiwan Golden Melodies Award Ceremony. The band is banned in parts of China for their political views, since they are extreme supporters of Taiwan independence and Democratic Progressive Party. They were exposed to a wide audience when they received praises by the New York Times as one of the best bands performing at the Ozzfest in 2007 and features in many journals worldwide. Their 6th studio album ‘Takasago Army’ will be released on July 6th 2011. http://www.myspace.com/chthonictw / http://www.chthonic.tw

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Music & Performance
For the second band to play that day the audience of Halle 15 doubled. The reason for that was the appearance of the Taiwanese band CHTHONIC. Also introduced by epic orchestrations, you already were able to hear the original varieties by the incorporation of oriental music in form of pan flute-like tunes. The musicians entered the stage in their typical ghost paint (the band’s alteration of the Norwegian corpse paint) and matching stage outfits ready to rock the hall what the people in it appreciated and enjoyed. The Taiwanese played their rendition of black metal with a lot of enthusiasm and expertise, but the sound was not exactly on their side that day. Except for the low, rhythmic parts, beyond the third row the single guitar became very thin and susurrant, especially when a lot was going on involving crash, hi-hat and snare - and even more so when the keyboarder, which nearly disappeared behind his instrument (maybe intentionally because his mask was resembling a kind of ninja), was going for melody segments.

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Hence the versatile guitar parts couldn’t live up to their full potential. Vocalist Freddy’s performance varied between harsh black metal shouting and deathcore like screams and was nicely backed up by backing screams of Jesse (guitar) and more often by chants by Doris (bass). Besides the music the band also was a feast for the eyes for the girls, because Freddy exposed his muscular upper body halfway through, as well as for the boys, who could admire bassist Doris. Sadly the traditional Chinese Instrument erhu was called into action only once, leaving the other parts to the keyboard samples. Before the set surprisingly ended 15 minutes before schedule with their current single ‘Takao’, Freddy took a photograph of the audience, promising to submit it to the Taiwanese president, as well as coming back to Germany soon. Everyone who was enjoying their performance at the WGT can reprise that experience on the upcoming ARCH ENEMY tour in December.

Rating
Music: 8.5
Performance: 10
Sound: 6.5
Light: 8 (and daylight)
Total: 8.3/ 10

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Bilocate - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

BILOCATE is a Dark Oriental metal band from Amman, Jordan, founded in 2002 by Brothers Ramzi and Waseem Esayed and their friend Hani Al Abadi. The band's style combines doom metal and black metal with Oriental elements. Their first full-length album, ‘Dysphoria’, was released in the winter of 2005, and received significant airplay on the local governmental radio station Jordan FM, with a 5-hour show being dedicated to the band and the album on October 27. They released a music video for ‘2nd War in Heaven’ and ‘Days of Joy’. In July 2008 their second full-length album ‘Sudden Death Syndrome’ was released, mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Bloodbath, Katatonia). The album received positive reviews from magazines and websites as Blabbermouth.net. The album has led to extensive coverage for the band in the West in the heavy metal media online as well as in print, such as interviews with Terrorizer and Metal Hammer; the latter praised their "rich, doomy sound" and called ‘Sudden Death Syndrome’ a "stunning, heartfelt metal album". The newspaper The National reported in October 2008 that a BILOCATE concert in Jordan was cancelled by authorities, “citing unspecified 'security reasons”. http://www.myspace.com/Bilocate / http://www.bilocate.net

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Music & Performance
The third act for metal fans to enjoy on that very international day was the Jordanian Doom Metal band BILOCATE. From the first moment they stepped onto the stage, you knew that they don’t give a crap about fancy outfits and looks; they were there to play metal. If there is any Jordan Metal scene (according to the Metal Archives there are only 15 active bands around) you can get an idea of it by watching BILOCATE. Their musical style varies from doom metal over gothic (‘The Dead Sea’), and melodic death metal to death metal influences, which they integrate very well into their music. The main instruments on stage were the guitars which provided a rich, kind of old school dry sound. The keyboards mostly were subtle enough to support, but not to dominate them (with the exception of some piano parts), but there were also clean guitar parts in which they worked very well as a leading instrument.

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Just like the last band, BILOCATE incorporates their heritage music wise, especially in ‘The Tragedy Within’ via keyboard and guitar patterns. In this song you knew that the band tried to deliver a message to the audience, since vocalist Ramzi dramatically wrapped a scarf around his neck and head. Besides from their own song material the band played a cover version of PARADISE LOST’s ‘Dead Emotion’ which they worthily interpreted. Sadly with BILOCATE it was the first show in which I noticed that the drum kit’s overhead section, which means nearly every crash cymbal was put out rather quietly which grew more or less to an annoying circumstance during this and the following day for me. However, BILOCATE played a very good concert and I think no one regretted having seen them. Anytime again!

Setlist
01. Inoculate
02. 2nd War in Heaven
03. Beyond inner sleep
04. The Dead Sea
05. The Tragedy Within
06. A Desire to Leave
07. Dead Emotion

Rating
Music: 8.5
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: 8 (and daylight)
Total: 8 / 10

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Vreid - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

VREID (Norwegian for “wrath”) is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 2004 after the break up of WINDIR following the death of lead singer and founder Valfar. The remaining members Hváll (bass), Steingrim (drums), Sture (vocals/guitar) along with new guitarist Ese formed VREID. After releasing ‘Kraft’ and ‘Pitch Black Brigade’ in 2007, they took a major step forward with the album ‘I Krig’, which is based on a poetry collection by a Norwegian resistance fighter during WW2 named Gunnar-Reiss Andersen. Musically, VREID expanded their sound by incorporating a lot of elements from Norwegian folk music, and classic rock from the 70s like Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath & Motörhead, but still very much keeping their Norwegian metal roots. On February 7, 2011, the band released their fifth album entitled ‘V’. http://www.myspace.com/thepitchblackbrigade / http://www.vreid.no

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Music & Performance
How do I judge a band that I like very much objectively? I would say, by their music and their performance, which were, to forestall, indeed absolutely great! Over the years VREID perfected their shared stylistic niche continually, as well as their live experience. That showed the professionalism of the first minutes, in which the bass guitar caused some inconvenience by not working properly, but the stage intro was already playing. The band just bridged the gap by encouraging the viewers, but when they concluded that it takes some more time to fix the issue, they just started with the first song, which set the direction: Black ‘n’ Roll, completed with some distorted bass sound and soloing, once it came back to life. The main focus of the set apparently was their latest release ‘V’. Besides that, VREID just know how to write good songs, cleverly combining clean guitar parts with harsh attacks along with double bass and blast beats, screamed and sung vocals, aggressiveness and WINDIR-like melodies.

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The only reproach I have is that they are almost too sympathetic for a black metal band whose nearly whole lyrics’ content is war related. The people disagreed and showed them their respect by cheering and head banging a lot. Especially during the last and the band’s most famous track ‘Pitch Black’ the entire first four rows consisted of flying hair. The sound overall was quite good, except the clean vocals could have come out a little louder, but I understand the difficulties of that dynamic and mixing wise. Thank you VREID once more for that great gig!

Setlist
01. Arche
02. Fire on the Mountain
03. Raped by Light
04. Speak Goddamnit!
05. The Sound of the River
06. Wolverine Bastards
07. The Others and the Look
08. Pitch Black

Rating
Music: 9.5
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 7 (and daylight)
Total: 8.5 / 10


Tristania - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

TRISTANIA is a band from Norway, formed in 1996 in Stavanger by Einar Moen (keyboards), Morten Veland (vocals/guitar), and Kenneth Olsson (drums). Their music is usually classified as symphonic gothic metal with doom/death metal influences. TRISTANIA's first full length album, ‘Widow's Weeds’, was released early 1998. TRISTANIA got to do their first shows outside of Norway as support act for LACRIMOSA in Belgium and at the Mind over Matter festival in Austria in August 1998. Later the same year TRISTANIA went on their first European tour. Shortly after the release of the album ‘Illumination’ in 2007, Vibeke Stene suddenly decided to quit her musical career in order to focus on family and work. In October 2007, the band proudly announced their newly recruited singer, hailing from Sardinia, Mariangela Demurtas. Their 6th full-length studio album titled ‘Rubicon’ was released in late August 2010. http://www.tristania.com / http://www.myspace.com/tristania

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Music & Performance
If I had left the venue that evening after the first song TRISTANIA performed, there would be not a single point given for the sound below. After the intro the band started out with way too much gain at least in the guitar section, so the whole musical performance was awful to listen to, although the band gave a good one on the stage visually. Eventually the issue was fixed and I tried to erase the last 5 minutes from my mind to start over again. The greatest issue fans of the band don’t seem to overcome is the fact that, with the departure of Vibeke Stene and the replacement with Mariangela, the vocal style changed very much. But the change did happen even earlier to me, being a fan of the early albums ‘Widow’s Weeds’ and ‘Beyond the Veil’. After them, they lost my interest somehow with the follow up recordings - until they were confirmed for the WGT 2011. In preparation for that I listened to the latest output ‘Rubicon’ and I found myself liking it - but it would have never come to my mind that this is the band TRISTANIA I just listened to if I hadn’t known.

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And I also liked their overall performance very much, since it was the first time seeing them for me. The stage was instantly crowded due to the two vocalists standing in the front row beside the usual guitar section. Since the problems were gone, the sound was very decent and every instrument was audible, in spite of the fact that the keyboards, which weren’t played live, dominated - which was okay due to the genre.  There was a great harmony between the two vocalists Kjetil and Mariangela, which performed their songs very intensively. The Songs also benefited from an occasionally played acoustic guitar by Kjetil and the always solid harsh vocals by Anders Hidle. In the second half of the show not only Mariangela came onto stage in a new outfit, but session violinist Pete Johansen, who reunited with the band for their latest output, showed up and played a few songs with them. At the end the people of the “Wave Gotik” (without “Treffen”) were invited to befriend them on Facebook, before they left an assumingly satisfied audience. Even I have to say, that they are still able to write good songs, maybe even better ones than 10 years ago for the genre they are playing by now. TRISTANIA’s got me back.

Setlist
01. Year of the Rat
02. The Wretched 
03. Protection
04. Tender Trip on Earth
05. Shadowman
06. The Passing
07. Beyond the Veil
08. Amnesia
09. Exile

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 6
Light: 8.5
Total: 8 / 10


Covenant - Agra [Anne Kuhfuß]

Our Electro-heroes COVENANT are in 2011 Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius (studio only), Daniel Jonasson (live only), and Daniel Myer. That COVENANT are one of the absolute favourites of the Reflections Of Darkness crew is probably no big secret. Started in 1986 by Simonsson, Montelius and founding member Clas Nachmanson, COVENANT rose up in 1990s with club hits like 'Figurehead' or 'Stalker' to become critically highly acclaimed stars of the electronic underground in the new millennium with albums like 'United States Of Mind' and 'Northern Light'. Their latest full-length release, 'Modern Ruin', received somewhat mixed reactions by fans and critics but is in fact another great manifesto of COVENANT's electronic “pop music with an edge”. It's just an album which needs more time and which is a bit less in-your-face than some previous efforts - probably not exactly what some people expected after a five-year hiatus of releasing albums but still a excellent work. And by the way the first album with Daniel Myer (DESTROID, HAUJOBB and others) on board, who replaced Clas Nachmanson after the 'Skyshaper' tour in 2006/2007. After their release of ‘Modern Ruin’ this year, they were back at the WGT to present their new stuff and play old classics. http://www.covenant.se / http://www.myspace.com/covenant

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Music & Performance
Being about 15 minutes late, Covenant finally entered the stage and immediately had everyone’s attention with their unique electro sound. Not only cyber Goths were attracted by that but also people you would have never thought to see in the Agra during that time like Lolitas and steam punks. Of course, they played a couple of pieces from their new CD ‘Modern Ruin’ like ‘Judge of my domain’ or ‘Lightbringer’ featuring Daniel Myer on main vocals, but also older tracks such as ‘We stand alone’, ‘Ritual Noise’ and ‘Bullet’ made the Setlist this evening. Eskil Simonsson (vocals) was jumping around stage and sometimes I stood there and thought “How does he manage do dance like that to a song that is so slow?” Well, somehow he pulled it off. And also the other members did not just simply stand behind their electronics. The sound being quite good contributed to the fact that the band was in a real good shape and delivered a great mood to the dancing and singing audience.

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After playing for quite some time, the first seconds of ‘Call the ships to port’ started and everyone was going crazy. The song being one of their most-known tracks the audience’s excitement did not surprise me. In fact, I immediately started singing along as well. The set ended after one encore which was given with ‘Dead Stars’. All in all, there is nothing else to say than: great show, good sound, good lighting and great performance by all of the members. I was really glad to be part of the show. Keep up the good work!

Setlist
01. Modern Ruin Intro
02. Stalker
03. Bullet
04. 20hz pgr
05. Judge of my Domain
06. Nomansland 2011
07. Kairos
08. The Beauty and the Grace
09. We stand alone
10. Ritual Noise
11. Drum improvisation
12. Leiermann
13. Lightbringer (dm rmx)
14. Call the Ships to port
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15. Dead Stars (dm rmx)

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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Anathema - Alte Messe Halle 15 [Florian Schürmann]

ANATHEMA formed in 1990 as a doom metal band, initially under the name PAGAN ANGEL. In November of that year, the band recorded their first demo, which caught the attention of several bands from the English metal scene, allowing ANATHEMA to play gigs with bands like BOLT THROWER and PARADISE LOST. At the beginning of 1991, the band adopted its current name. In May 1995, vocalist Darren White parted with the band, the band decided that guitarist Vincent Cavanagh should assume White's role. The release of Eternity came in 1996, relying more on atmospheric sounds, and starting the transition to clean vocals. ‘Alternative 4’ was released in 1998. During this time the band underwent many line-up changes. In June 1999, the album ‘Judgment’ was released, marking ANATHEMA’s complete shift from the doom metal genre, focusing instead on slower and more experimental songs. Their 8th album ‘We're Here Because We're Here’ was released on May 31, 2010 on the Kscope label. http://www.anathema.ws / http://www.myspace.com/weareanathema

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Music & Performance
As opposed to the question I asked myself with VREID above, with ANATHEMA I have to question how I can judge a band which exists over 20 years and I barely have listened to before, especially when I only had the chance to experience 3 songs of the set? Long-time fans may now skip this section, because it has nothing to offer but an unprejudiced opinion on the ANATHEMA gig that evening, or may not - because it might be more refreshing than repetitive flatteries. From what I’ve seen I can’t even imagine that nearly the same band on stage once used to be a doom metal act with death metal influences, since the musical tone altogether can be rather described as somehow whiny. Don’t get me wrong, I like whiny singers, and Vincent Cavanagh is clearly the centre of attention, since the other musicians are placed so far at the edges of the stage, so that he practically has your whole attention. He delivers a solid performance while playing the guitar and meandering from sung to nearly chanted vocals, masked by thick effects.

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The guitar work I heard was quite sparse, but overall fitting to the songs they delivered - which were rather calm, soothing, prog rock tracks allowing the people in front of the stage to dream, especially during Les Smith’s piano play. In addition to that the tracks were beautifully underlined by the vocal performance of Lee Douglas. As mentioned above I had to leave after the third song was finished to catch the tram for the next concert, complimented by Vincent, who mentioned that the audience of the WGT is the “best looking audience” he ever played for. The second song they performed gave me a clue what the band could be like playing faster songs, but if they did I will never know. As far as I can tell from the records I listened to afterwards I enjoy their music very much and if I have the chance to see them ever again, I will be prepared better.

Setlist
01. Thin Air
02. Summernight Horizon
03. Dreaming Light
04. Everything
05. Closer
06. A Natural Disaster
07. Angels Walk Among Us
08. Deep
09. A Simple Mistake
10. Universal
11. Flying
12. Fragile Dreams

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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Deine Lakaien - Agra [Anne Kuhfuß]

DEINE LAKAEIN consisting of Ernst Horn (composition, arrangements) and Alexander Veljanov (lyrics, vocals) bless us with their compositions between electronic and classic avant-garde beyond all borders for over 25 years now. It all started out with a newspaper ad from Ernst Horn in a city magazine that pretty much sounded like this: “Looking for open-minded singer”. Alexander Veljanov reacted on the ad and met Ernst. During this encounter they found out that they shared a common spirit and musical preferences. Their shimmering discography, created in all those years bred evergreens such as ‘Mindmachine’’ and ‘Dark Star’ on albums of matchless creativity and artistic merit. Following a phase of recollection and pursuing other projects after the release of ‘April Skies’, Veljanov for example released another solo album in the meantime, their paths crossed again and gave life to the newest album ‘Indicator’. http://www.deine-lakaien.com / www.myspace.com/deinelakaien

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Music & Performance
COVENANT being a dance-along band, DEINE LAKAEIN as the midnight-special were a big change that night. Soft and sometimes rather slow songs entertained a full Agra. Besides Ernst Horn and Veljanov, a violin and a cello joined in, as always when performed live on stage. Unfortunately, due to the lighting, Ernst Horn couldn’t really be seen playing the different kind of instruments. However, the songs knew to persuade the audience and set them in a kind of trance. Veljanov’s unique voice was a pleasure to our ears and it was great just to relax, close your eyes and listen to the great music. Songs like ‘Gone’, ‘Return’, ‘Love me to the end’, ‘Fighting the green’ and ‘Over and done’ showed a great range of their releases. I am sure, the setlist had something in it for everybody in the audience. DEINE LAKAEIN is a band a lot of people in the gothic scene know and maybe, quite a lot of people even entered the scene with the band. Therefore, it was a great choice to put them up on stage as a special at the 20th Wave Gotik Treffen.

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A great variety of people could also be found when looking in the audience. People from all kind of scenes could be seen like cyber Goths, metal fans and “80’s Goths”. The performance that night was probably not only for me a unique experience but also for a hundreds of others in the Agra. What a great ending to a long but yet nice day!

Setlist
01. On your Stage again
02. Into my Arms
03. Who'll save your World
04. Over and done
05. Where you are
06. Gone
07. Europe
08. Forest
09. Six o'clock
10. One Night
11. Blue Heart
12. Return
13. Colourize
14. Fighting the green
15. Reincarnation
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16. Love me to the End

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 6
Total: 8 / 10

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Pictures by Daniela Vorndran (Anathema, Deine Lakaien - http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / www.facebook.com/blackcatnet), Anne Kuhfuß (Sarah Jezebel Deva, Chthonic, Bilocate, Vreid, Covenant) and Florian Schürmann (Tristania)

Written by Anne Kuhfuß & Florian Schürmann


Comments   

0 #1 Drozla 2011-06-28 20:55
Nice reviews. Vreid I personally found a bit too loud and the sound not good enough but that might be more due to the crap accoustics in such a venue.
Anathema, I've seen them several times, this has to be one of their worst performances for me, and I still enjoyed it loads.
I recommend you to see them in a venue with good accoustics, and on their own, when they can play a 2h + set, you will not be dissapointed.
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