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fotn1Xpo, Kortrijk, Belgium
22nd to 24th July 2011
Shadowplay Fest Day 1: Fields Of The Nephilim, Suicide Commando, Diary of Dreams, The March Violets, Krystal System

Previously known as Gothic Festival and taking place in Belgium Waregem, the festival changed its name into Shadowplay Festival and also moved location to the expo in Belgium Kortrijk, just a few kilometres away from the old venue. The first festival day was also shortened a bit, so it was planned to start at 6pm and offering all in all five bands during the evening.

Krystal System (Daniela Vorndran)

A few years ago on a rainy day, the project KRYSTAL SYSTEM was founded in France. The debut album got released a while later in 2009. With the record they roused great attention and peaked at #4 of the German Alternative Chart. A 7-trakcs EP called ‘VooDoo Nights’ followed in 2010. The most recent body of work released of them is the album ‘Nuclear’ that came out this year. KRYSTAL SYSTEM is Bonnie Valdor (lead guitar, vocals) and Seven (bass, keyboards, vocals). /


Music & Performance
When KRYSTAL SYSTEM finally started as first band of the festival, we already had a delay of more than 45 minutes. There were several problems in the beginning of the festival with the new location, different sound company etc. I must admit that this first band did not really impress me much with their French-English spoken mix of electronic music and metal. Even though they spiced up the two-men-show with some video projections, it was rather boring. They presented a mix of songs from both released fulltime albums and at the very end a cover version of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Master & Servant’ which is released on a Alfa Matrix tribute compilation.

01. Intro
02. New World
03. Automatic Ideology
04. Instar
05. Fiction
06. Elektrostal
07. Nuclear Winter
09. I love my Chains
10. Demain n’existe pas
11. Idols
12. Requiem
13. The Day I died
14. Master & Servant (Depeche Mode Cover)

Music: 6
Performance: 5
Sound: 6
Light: 5
Total: 5.5 / 10


The March Violets (Hemi Malkki)

The inception of THE MARCH VIOLETS goes way back to the early 1980s where the founding members met at a university. Their first release was ‘Religious as Hell’ single on Adrew Eldritch’s label Merciful Release in 1982, followed up a year later by ‘Grooving in Green’, expressing a more matured production. With the next single ‘Snake Dance’ they were reaching their peak before growing accusations of selling out and eventual disbandment in 1993, by which time they had released 3 albums: ‘Natural History’(1984), ‘Electric Shades’ (1985), and ‘Botanic Verses’ (1993). In 2007, first signs of a reunion surfaced and in December of that year the band played a successful one-off gig. In 2010, THE MARCH VIOLETS started to tour again actively, and the band is also back to studio again: EP ‘Love will Kill You’ was released in June 2011 and is to be followed by a full-length album ‘Made Glorious’ later this year.


Music & Performance
A small but enthusiastic crowd had already gathered in front of the stage to wait for THE MARCH VIOLETS when I arrived to the venue after experiencing the inevitable train delays that appear to accompany my each and every trip to Belgium. All that was quickly forgotten when the band entered the stage, fronted by Rosie Garland wearing one of her cabaret costumes and Simon Denbigh, fully covered in black trench coat and a hat. THE MARCH VIOLETS has not perhaps released as many albums as most of the other bands appearing that night on the festival; however, they definitely have no lack of good material to play. Bassist Joanna Moy, who was actually the only one on the stage who was not in the original line-up of the band, gave perhaps the most solid performance of the four. As usual, Rosie Garland was carrying the show as histrionic as ever, but the experience suffered from serious sound problems: virtually nothing could be heard of Simon Denbigh’s vocals and Tom Ashton was experiencing notable difficulties with his guitar.


Possibly due to these problems, I felt that the band was not giving its fullest performance tonight, and after hearing several enthusiastic reviews after the band’s appearance in Wave-Gotik-Treffen, I could not help feeling slightly disappointed, so I hope to have a chance to see the band soon again with their new material.

01. Crowbaby
02. Children On Stun
03. Radiant Boys
04. Grooving In Green
05. Dress For You
06. It's Hot
07. Undertow
08. A Little Punk Thing
09. Steam
10. Road Of Bones
11. Strangehead
12. Slow Drip Lizard
13. 1 2 I Love You
14. Walk Into The Sun
15. Dandelion King
16. Snake Dance

Music: 9
Performance: 7
Sound: 5
Light: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10


Diary of Dreams (Hemi Malkki & Daniela Vorndran)

Since 1989, DIARY OF DREAMS enchants a still growing fan base all over the world with beautiful and at times fragile tunes. Already 1.5 years after ‘Nekrolog 43’, the latest album ‘(if)’ was released on 13th March 2009. In October 2009, the ‘King of Nowhere’ MCD including a brand new video clip has been released. In early 2010, the band was supporting UNHEILIG on their "Große Freiheit" tour. As a vanguard to the upcoming new album ‘Ego:X’ the track ‘Echo in Me’ was released digitally with the fans being able to choose what they’d like to pay for the download. ‘Ego:X’ is going to be released at the end of August 2011. DIARY OF DREAMS is Adrian Hates (vocals), Gaun:a (guitar), Flex (guitar) and Dejan (drums) supported this time on keyboards by Mauri of STONED AGE. /


Music & Performance
Already the first notes by DIARY OF DREAMS were welcomed by a cheering crowd. The band started with ‘The Wedding’ from the last album followed already by a new song to be released on ‘Ego:X’ in August, ‘Undividable’, a very danceable and catchy tune. While the sound was somewhat better than during the previous performances, especially the beginning of the show was not entirely devoid of problems. The band, however, skilfully manoeuvred their way through the set, animating the audience even further with their richly orchestrated, impeccably catchy melodies and confident performance. At times, I had to wonder if they indeed were the headliner for many among the audience, as they really made the crowd alive. Friends of melodrama were in for a real treat tonight. Besides several fan favourites, such as ‘MenschFeind’ or ‘Chemicals’, the band presented two more songs to be out on ‘Ego:X’: ‘Echo in me’, which was already available as download, and ‘Splinter’, a more aggressive tune when Gaun:a was screaming all in rage. With ‘Kindrom’, the set already ended without any encore, even though the audience was screaming for it.


01. The Wedding
02. Undividable
03. King Of Nowhere
04. MenschFeind
05. Echo In Me
06. Unwanted
07. Nekrolog 43
08. Odyssey Asylum
09. Splinter
10. The Plague
11. Chemicals
12. Kindrom

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


Suicide Commando (Hemi Malkki)

SUICIDE COMMANDO belongs to one of the veterans in the electronic music scene. Twenty-five years have passed since Belgian native Johan van Roy founded it as a mere studio project in 1986 - an accomplishment a few bands in the scene can celebrate. Three years later, he released his first tape under that moniker and made an appearance on the vinyl compilation, ‘Electronic’. Following years brought more self-released tapes and compilation appearances until the first SUICIDE COMMANDO CD ‘Critical Stage’ got released on now defunct German label Off Beat in 1994, followed by ‘Stored Images’ shortly thereafter in 1995. Those two included two of the project’s biggest club hits ‘Where do we go from here’ and even more ‘See you in Hell’, but it was only the beginning of a steady flow of other dance-floor fillers in the years to come as van Roy continuously unleashed new material on an ever-growing fan base all over the world. In May 2009, Van Roy signed to Out Of Line to release his most recent album, ‘Implements of Hell’, the following year. Often copied, this sole creation of van Roy’s has certainly been inspiration to a whole generation of Aggrotech projects. SUICIDE COMMANDO live today was Johan van Roy (vocals), Torben Schmidt (keyboards) and Mario Vaerewijck (drums). /


Music & Performance
Johan van Roy has always enjoyed using controversial and disturbing lyrics and illustrations on his albums, and the visual sets during his shows tend to continue along the same lines. This time was no exception, and the back projections walked the fine line between thought-provoking and simply over-the-top, at times falling on either side: for instance, the images of starving people that backed twisted gospel ‘God is in the rain’ reminded me of the situation in Southern Somalia in a positively disturbing way, while the unimaginative suicide visions and teenage angst on ‘Cause of Death: Suicide’ definitely fell on the wrong side. That aside, van Roy clearly enjoys playing live, and his energy was contagious enough to make the crowd join him. Live drummer Mario, while at times appeared slightly confused, definitely helped in adding some structure and aggression to the show.


While the emphasis of the set was mostly on the newer albums, SUICIDE COMMANDO also treated long-term fans with excerpts from the earlier years, such as ‘See You In Hell’ and ‘Time’. Nevertheless, it was the newer hits such as ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’ that really made the crowd move. Unlike shows by some other veteran bands playing at Shadowplay this year, SUICIDE COMMANDO gig was definitely not just a nostalgia trip.

01. Severed head
02. Hate me
03. Death Cures All Pain
04. Mein Herz Dein Gier
05. God Is In The Rain
06. Cause Of Death: Suicide
07. Time
08. The Perils Of Indifference
09. Love Breeds Suicide
10. Die Motherfucker Die
11. Bind, Torture, Kill
12. Kill
13. See You In Hell

Music: 7
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 7.7 / 10


Fields of the Nephilim (Hemi Malkki)

This name is bound to the traditional Gothic Rock, praised as a legend by the press and the fans alike. The FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM have been founded by Carl McCoy in 1984; the original line-up consisted of vocalist Carl McCoy, saxophonist Gary Whisker, Tony Pettitt on bass, guitarist Paul Wright and drummer Andrew "Nod" Wright. Subsequent to the release of the first EP ‘Burning the Fields’ the first line-up change took place and Whisker was replaced by Peter Yates; already in 1986 they switched record companies to release the debut ‘Dawnrazor’. The following ‘Blue Water’ was the first FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM single to reach the UK charts. The year 1990 brought the release of the second album ‘Elizium’ and in 1991 Carl McCoy left the band after paying the rest of the band's members for the rights to the NEFILIM name and the remaining members formed other projects. Eventually in 2005, a new album was released by the title of ‘Mourning Sun’. FOTN today is Carl McCoy, Snake, Tom Edwards, Gav King and Lee Newell. /


Music & Performance
At this stage, the program was already running very late, so it was nearly 1AM by the time when THE FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM appeared on the stage in their characteristic hats and sunglasses. Despite the band having a reputation of being nearly covered in smoke during their shows, this time one could also in fact see them on stage, albeit against a heavy backlight. After the first couple of songs, the sound was also quite good. The band went on performing along their usual set of songs - very confidently, perhaps even routinely - with little contact with the audience. Personally, I would have hoped for a little more intense performance from such experienced artists, but there was not much to complain, either - except that the show was cut short: only a little after one hour the band left the stage not to return again. For many, this clearly was not enough and I myself would have liked to hear more as well, despite the event running overtime.


01. Shroud
02. Straight To The Light
03. Preacher Man
04. Love Under Will
05. Penetration
06. Dawnrazor
07. From The Fire
08. New Gold Dawn
09. The Watchman
10. Moonchild

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 7
Total: 8


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / / /

Written by Hemi Malkki, Daniela Vorndran and Sebastian Huhn (all band intros)

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