On a dark and chilly Halloween, Orden Ogan, Rhapsody of Fire and Unleash the Archers came to Vosselaar for a killer party stacked with playful ditties and exuberant anthems. Biebob was practically sold out, flavoursome beverages were flowing, so pretty quickly, a warm and light-hearted atmosphere descended upon the place.
First, it was time to Unleash the Archers (***). These Canadians recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with the release of Apex, an ambitious concept album. Equipped with a clean build-up, furious verses and a fabulous chorus, that record’s title track makes for an ideal show opener. Quite naturally, Unleash the Archers chose this song to dazzle the Vosselaar crowd. Other highlights in their set were the pugilistic “The Matriarch” and the rabble-rousing “Tonight we Ride”. While the band’s performance ran to usual gamut of head-banging and fist-pumping moments, a special mention goes to the idiosyncratic moves of new bassist Nikko Whitwort. Like a genuine fakir, he seemed completely immersed in his own playing.
Next up were Rhapsody of Fire (***). Since I was too busy arranging an interview with Unleash the Archers, I only heard their show with half an ear. Apparently, this was the Italians’ first Belgian performance with new singer Giacomo Voli. While the latter is no Fabio Lione, he’s certainly not devoid of talent. If his higher tones sounded a bit shrill at the beginning, they greatly improved towards the end of the set. Another plus was the presence of veteran keyboardist Alex Staropoli. As long as he remains in the band, they have every right to keep on playing glorious classics like “Dawn of Victory”, “Holy Thunderforce” and “The Emerald Sword”.
After some anticipation, Orden Ogan (****) took the stage. Twenty years into their career, these Germans are finally headlining their own tours. In my opinion, two factors explain their current success. One is the confident approach of frontman Seeb Levermann. The man just know how to write a good song. His vocal range is nothing special, but he sings his lines with such ease and conviction. In addition, Orden Ogan is graced with excellent drum and bass dynamics. Taken apart, the approach of Niels Löffler and Dirk Meyer-Berhorn sounds rather simple. But together, they are capable of whipping up a storm. In a genre that thrives constant rhythms, this is a powerful asset.
The band unleashed a whole barrage of songs on the ecstatic Vosselaar crowd. Most were taken from their more recent Ravenhead and Gunman albums. Of those tracks, I especially liked the performances of “F.E.V.E.R.”, “Gunman” and “Sorrow Is Your Tale”. Following the tones of “One Last Chance”, Seeb and his crew took a short break. When they returned, the irresistible singalong of “To the End” was enough to set the club on fire.
a thousand years we’ll be alive…be alive!
let us take it to the end!
straight to the end!
On this millenarian note, I decided I had quite my fill. Time was running late, so I quietly slipped into the night.