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Channel ZeroFortarock 2011 028Park Brakkenstein, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2nd July 2011
Fortarock Festival Part II: Parkway Drive, Ghost, Dark Tranquility, Triptykon, Channel Zero

After two previous successful editions, the third Fortarock festival was taking place at Park Brakkenstein in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. As every year, I’m surprised (and very pleased!) to see how the organisation managed to create a line-up of well-known names, both old and new. Fortarock treats its audience to a lot of different flavours in the big pool of metal and hard rock. All there was left to wish for was a day without rain and some quick feet to keep up with the tight schedule. Fortarock is a one-day festival with two stages, 14 bands (KVELERTAK – VALIENT THORR – GOD DETHRONED - AGNOSTIC FRONT – GOJIRA – PARKWAY DRIVE – GHOST – DARK TRANQUILITY - TRIPTYKON – CHANNEL ZERO – PARADISE LOST – SACRED REICH – IMMORTAL – ARCH ENEMY) and no break in between.

Parkway Drive

PARKWAY DRIVE is an Australian metalcore band that started in a garage in 2002. Their name originates from this place, called the Parkway House on Parkway Dr - the street’s name. By 2011, PARKWAY DRIVE has released three full-length albums, a DVD, an EP and two split albums. Their first album was recorded in 2005 with metal producer Adam Dutkiewicz from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. In June 2006, the band was signed with Epitaph Records, releasing their album ‘Killing with a Smile’ in the United States during August of that same year. By 2011, PARKWAY DRIVE has toured several continents with big international acts such as HATEBREED, IN FLAMES and CHIMAIRA and has gathered a wide fan base. Their latest album ‘Deep Blue’ was released in 2010 and can be considered their best one so far. /

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Music & Performance
Although there’s no need to dress to impress, the tattooed suntanned boys from down under seemed to have thought differently. PARKWAY DRIVE’s appearance on stage has something comical to it at first. Guitarist Luke rolls onto the stage in a wheelchair (he has a broken leg) wearing goggles and a blue helmet while the other guitar player is into the pirate-look. In spite of their funny looks, PWD kicks off their show like pros with a big wave of energy. The audience is treated to some new songs from their latest album ‘Deep Blue’ as well as some oldies like ‘Romance is Dead’ from their first album ‘Killing with a Smile’. Other classics like ‘Boneyards’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ are also brought with a blast of energy followed by some nice breakdowns before another wall of sound hits the audience. This is typical for PARKWAY DRIVE. Although the Fortarock audience seems to really appreciate their show as well, it doesn’t beat their gig I attended in November 2010 in 013, Tilburg which ended with massive mosh pits and crowd surfing in inflatable boats. Finishing their show with the song ‘Carrion’, I think we can conclude that PWD is on their game, playing a loud, technical and tight set with some very proper grunts by front man McCall.

Setlist (source:
01. Samsara
02. Unrest
03. Boneyards
04. Idols And Anchors
05. Sleepwalker
06. Karma
07. Home Is For The Heartless
08. Romance Is Dead
09. Deliver Me
10. Carrion

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

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GHOST is an occult heavy metal band from Sweden, formed in 2008. They gained notoriety quite fast by their eccentric and secretive appearance on stage. Their demo was released in 2010 followed by the single ‘Elizabeth’, and eventually their debut full length album ‘Opus Eponymous’. The album has received mostly positive reviews and ever since increased their popularity significantly. Several famous musicians have shown their appreciation for this band of ‘nameless ghouls’ as they call themselves. For example, James Hetfield of METALLICA hailed the band by wearing a GHOST t-shirt while playing with “the big four” in Gothenburg, Sweden. The music of GHOST can be identified as occult sinister but catchy 70s hard rock influenced by bands like BLACK SABBATH and URIAH HEEP. /

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Music & Performance
Already near the end of PARKWAY DRIVE’s set, I see people hurry their asses towards the other stage for GHOST. While enjoying the fading tunes of ‘Carrion’, I also get myself over there to make sure don’t miss the grand entrance. GHOST’s stage appearance is almost an act in itself and as I brace myself for some heavy satanic metal, GHOST’s members, wearing dark hooded robes and a cardinal outfit, start making this catchy, light, almost happy rock music and I’m confused… but in a nice way. Definitely the most surprising act of Fortarock this year, GHOST treats the audience to a mysterious pleasant intermezzo in contrast to all the grunts and guitar violence of other bands. GHOST’s singer, wearing skull makeup and a cardinal outfit, has a great voice and makes their songs about Lucifer and Satan sound like a lullaby. Even the Sinterklaas (the Dutch Santa Claus) doll that was thrown onto stage doesn’t seem to break his concentration, but was treasured by him like a true relic for the rest of the show.

Setlist (source:
01. Con Clavi Con Dio
02. Elizabeth
03. Death Knell
04. Satan Prayer
05. Prime Mover
06. Genesis
07. Ritual

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

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Dark Tranquillity

DARK TRANQUILITY is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are one of the longest-standing bands from the original Gothenburg metal scene, and a big influence on the melodic death metal genre of music. DARK TRANQUILITY was formed in 1989 by vocalist and guitarist Mikael Stanne & guitarist Niklas Sundin. After the release of their debut album ‘Skydancer’, main vocalist Anders Fridén, left the band in 1993 (and later joined IN FLAMES). Co-founder, guitarist, and back-up vocalist Mikael then became the lead vocalist, and Fredrik Johansson was recruited to take over rhythm guitar duties. Throughout their 20 years DARK TRANQUILITY have had only three line-up changes, and four of the original members are still in the band today: vocalist Stanne, guitarist Sundin, guitarist-bassist Henriksson and drummer Jivarp. In 2009, DARK TRANQUILITY finished their latest and 9th studio album ‘We Are the Void’ which was released in March 2010 in Europe and the USA. /

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Music & Performance
After more than 20 years, the Swedish guys of DARK TRANQUILITY sure know what melodic death metal is all about and they give the audience a piece of it. It doesn’t take long before the clean vocals and grunts of front man Mikael, supplemented with strong guitar work of both guitar players and some electronic support, get the audiences heads banging and the pit going. Although DARK TRANQUILITY plays songs from their earlier work as well as from more recent albums, I can’t really note much difference. The stage dynamics of these musicians keeps me around for a bit longer to take some more photos, but then I’ve had my dose of melodic death metal and decide to go for some lunch before the next band starts.

Setlist (source:
01. At the Point of Ignition
02. The Fatalist
03. The Lesser Faith
04. Misery's Crown
05. Monochromatic Stains
06. Iridium
07. Lost To Apathy
08. There In
09. Final Resistance
10. Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)

Music: 7
Performance: 7.5
Sound: 7
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 7.2 / 10

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TRIPTYKON is a musical project of Thomas Gabriel Fischer, aka Tom G Warrior, founding member of the pioneering heavy metal bands HELLHAMMER and APOLLYON SUN, but probably best know from his membership of CELTIC FROST. Fischer announced his departure from CELTIC FROST in 2008 and shortly afterwards revealed his new project TRIPTYKON which would sound “as close to CELTIC FROST as is humanly possible”, according to Fisher. In 2010, their first album ‘Eparistera Daimones’ was released by Prowling Death Records Ltd. / Century Media Records. The album was very well reviewed as dark, nihilistic and loud. As promised, as well the sound as the distinct voice of singer Tom remains recognizable from his CELTIC FROST period in the work of TRIPTYKON. /

Music & Performance
The characteristic “extra black” doom sound of TRIPTYKON takes off as expected with noise and the crisping voice of Tom G warrior. After a song or two, it becomes clear that apparently TRIPTYKON’s sound is what distinguishes them from other doom metal bands, and it’s not working out very well here. Problems with especially the bass sound (we see female bass player Vanja going nuts on her bass, but hardly hear anything) weaken TRIPTYKON’s performance. Tom’s guitar work can hardly be distinguished from the overall noise. The combination of this bad sound, and basically the absence of any stage dynamics, make TRIPTYKON’s gig like an everlasting elegy. It will be no surprise that the announcement of their last song suitably called ‘The Prolonging’ makes me run off into the sun for another beer.

Setlist (source:
01. Crucifixus
02. Procreation (of the Wicked) (Celtic Frost cover)
03. Goetia
04. Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover)
05. Babylon Fell (Celtic Frost cover)
06. The Prolonging

Music: 6
Performance: 5
Sound: 5
Light: 5
Total: 5.3 / 10

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Channel Zero

CHANNEL ZERO is a heavy metal band formed in 1990 in Brussels, Belgium. They are considered one of the best known heavy metal bands from Belgium and have also been referred to as "the Belgian Metallica”. Their debut album ‘Channel Zero’ was released in 1992, followed by ‘Stigmatized For Life’ (mixed by Vinnie Paul of PANTERA) in 1993, and ‘Unsafe’ in 1994. Their last studio album ‘Black Fuel’ dates from 1996. After several albums and touring with international giants in the metal scene like BIOHAZARD, NAPALM DEATH, OBITUARY and LIFE OF AGONY, CHANNEL ZERO disbanded in 1997. In 2009 however, the band announced a series of reunion gigs in Belgium which were sold out in the blink of an eye. A new single ‘Black Flowers’ was released January 2010, suggesting a definitive come back of the band. In 2010, CHANNEL ZERO was added to the line-up of some big Belgian festivals like Graspop Metal meeting and Rock Werchter. Their new album entitled ‘Feed em’ with a brick’ was released this year and their show at Fortarock 2011 will be the first one in the Netherlands since 15 years. /

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Music & Performance
Although according to some, CHANNEL ZERO is the best Belgium has created in the field of metal, 15 years is a long time and the Dutch audience presents its typical let’s-wait-and-see-attitude. Just when they seem to loosen up for the powerful sound and rough but pleasant voice of front man Franky, problems with the bass sound cause a (too) long break and the audience is getting impatient. Singer Franky tries to entertain Fortarock with some obvious jokes about the non-existing Belgian government and some a-capella cover songs with varying success. After the problems were fixed, CHANNEL ZERO continued their nineties metal show. However, the audience’s concentration seems broken and most of them are disinterestedly sipping on their beers. Too bad, because CHANNEL ZERO puts up a proper show with dynamic drums, guitars and lighting and some pleasant vocals.

Setlist (source:
01. Suck My Energy
02. Unsafe
03. Freedom
04. Angels Blood
05. Ammunition
06. Hot Summer
07. Electric Showdown
08. Sidelines
09. Guns Of Navarone
10. Black Fuel

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: - (daylight)
Total: 6.7 / 10

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All pics by Ruth Mampuys (

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