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HYPOCRISY - No Mercy Festival 4/16/2004 Berlin, Germany

As every year, the NO MERCY festival hits the European roads during April with a plenty of bands. Hypocrisy are on the billing this year, presenting their new album “The Arrival”.

For those of you, who are going to see the band in near future, be prepared! Their show is absolutely crushing and devastating. Besides playing songs from their new album, Hypocrisy also played some old stuff like “Necronomicon”, and “Turn the page” from the album “Catch 22” (my favorite song, thanks guys!) or “Roswell 47” which Peter Tägtgren called “Berlin 47” because the concert took place in Berlin.

He seemed to be in a good mood, joking all the time, especially about his German skills. Thanks to their new line-up, including Horgh on the drums, Hypocrisy seems to have found new energy. This was definitely the best Hypocrisy show I have seen so far. As I already said, be prepared.

Thanks To Natalie, from (all rights reserved)

Eight Band Photos From This Show-

CD release party / graduation project
April 17th, 2004 Tilburg, 013 club

So off we go! Check out one of the rising bands in the gothic metal scene from the Netherlands. The country that sprouted so many high quality acts like WITHIN TEMPTATION, EPICA, KARMA and THE WOUNDED, over the last few years. But it is without any doubt, that AFTER FOREVER is one of the bands that we have to keep an eye out for!

Tonight’s show will be a different one; not only will this be the actual release party, where the band stages their highly acclaimed new concept album “Invisible Circles”, front to back. This will also be graduation night for vocalist extraordinaire Floor Jansen, from the Dutch rock academy (much like the US G.I.T). Starting off, will be a half our performance (entitled: “GET FLOORED”) of Floor showcasing her many talents as a vocalist as well as a musician being judged by her teachers.

Kicking off with “Exordium/My Choice”, Floor and the members of After Forever play acoustic for the very first time with a spotlight on Floor playing flute. Although some minor mistakes because of the nerves, it is a true treat for the ears! But the real surprises are surely a piano accompanied version of a Puccini aria, giving a true insight on the range of Floor’s powerful and emotional voice, and the duets with her sister Irene (Karma & Ayreon’s Star One) and Dark Moor’s Alfred Romero. The acoustic version of the Ayreon classic “Valley of the Queens” also featured a guest slot from the master himself--Arjen ‘Ayreon’ Lucassen on guitars. It was a remarkable performance the Jansen sisters staged together with the gifted songwriter, crystal clear and very emotional. The huge crowd celebrated and absorbed it all, and many tears were shed by Floor who clearly had not expected this….

Half an hour long was the wait, until the stage was revealed: sober, yet very effective. A huge projection screen and several monitors on the stage-front play the storyline synchronised to the performance of the band. Piles of PC-monitors and spotlights, and two screens for shadow playing. The ‘en face’ lightning was dimmed and only one colour like the cover-art, where the flood lights in the back where colouring to reproduce an overall feel and the songs’ emotions. It was effective and very impressive to see. But above all; the band was giving their very best performance today!

The little girl’s story of the disrupted life was brought to live. The strong personality of After Forever onstage simply uplifted the songs. “Invisible Circles”, has brought a lot of new influences to the pompous and heavy sound. The open and more inviting sound of the new material bursts into heaviness during tonight’s performance. The duelling guitars are in fine tune and the massive classical keys are completing the dark and gloomy atmosphere. André and Luuk lay down a heavy grooving base for all of this awesome dark rock music. But it is clear that the music is uplifted by the mighty powerful vocal performance of Floor. Powerful, yet crystal clear and never out of tune.

Considering the energetic stage performance that is a true accomplishment! From the opening tunes of the well known Tetris game fading into the intro “Childhood in Minor”, the band synchronises the set to tell the complete story without any gaps or blanks: “Beautiful Emptiness”, “Between Love and Fire” which is very catchy with a stunning interaction between Floor and Sander’s deep roaring grunts. The band continues with the epical “Sins of Idealism”, leading us to an intimate and moving moment with their exceptional ballad “Eccentric”. “Digital Deceit” (heavy pompous with progressive elements) and the eastern sounding “Through Square Eyes” rush by and add some fuel to the fire again.

It is not until now that the band tells the audience how surprised they are with the massive turn out. It is just a brief interaction to not drift away from the story. Following are excellent version of “Blind Pain”, “Two Sides”, and “Victim of Choices” in a fast and furious performance that really rips! “Reflections” comes complete with the very first guitar solo in the history of After Forever, “Life's Vortex” closing the exceptional performance. The dialogues between the songs took the staging to a higher level, as did the movie on the screen. Without doubt, this was a special magical night, but it is not until the band gets screamed back for some classics, that the crowd will rest.

It seems to take forever, but finally Sander and his fellow musicians enter to build a perfect ending with the mighty “Emphasis”, “My Pledge” and the heavy and roaring “Yield to Temptation”. For the real encore, Alfred joins Floor again for a cover version of Maiden’s “The Evil that Men Do”, to leave the stage for tonight. The crowd is happy and the band members are smiling widely. What more can one dream off……

Edwin van Hoof (more pics availible upon request)

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