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013 Club, Tilbrug; The Netherlands - 03/06/2002

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

Surprisingly, Angra and Silent Force were to play the smaller of the two stages in the massive 013 Club. Although the bands attract big crowds all over Europe, this Wednesday they settled for a little less than usual. But the goods delivered were well worth waiting for.

The place was packed and, just when we walked in, Silent Force entered the stage to fire their melodic metal into the crowd. Well over 300 rockers enjoyed a full force entrance of D.C. Cooper and his men, when they kicked off with "Fall into Oblivion" and "Gladiator," from the band's brilliant new CD "Infatuator." "Saints and Sinners" and "We Must Use the Power" were welded together perfectly and led us right to their most melodic metal anthem "Empire of the Future." A true metal hymn and surely one of 2000’s best songs. 

With "Infatuator" again, Silent Force put the pedal to the metal. D.C. entertained the crowd and screamed as if there was no tomorrow, while Alex Beyroth shredded his ESP to bits and pieces. Brilliantly melodic with a blistering metal edge, furious enough to make the mighty Judas Priest step down from their throne. Another side of Silent Force was shown when the band led into "Promised Land," an epic metal song which strongly refers to Alex's German roots and fellow countrymen Helloween and Gamma Ray. Easy to sing along to. The audience loved it.

With the high speed Priest cover "All Guns Blazing," D.C. Cooper showed why he was second on the list to replace Halford in Priest. A loud and furious set of high speed power metal in the best possible vein. Use the Force!

Tonight also marked the triumphant return of the Brazilian maestros of metal, Angra! On "Rebirth," the band, around guitar twin Rafael Bittencourt and Kiko Loureiro, proved to be here to stay. With Eduardo Falashi they also widen their musical horizons. The man's voice is more flexible than that of his predecessor, André Matos, and this will enable the band to not only play their famous classical metal parts, but also discover new ground. All ingredients were there for a stunning night.

The set list was compiled from the best the Brazilians have to offer. "In Excelsis" led us into the massive "Nova Era" and "Acid Rain" from the new release to be followed by the older "Angels Cry" and "Metal Icarus." 

Falashi not only is blessed with a crystal clear voice, he also is a great performer and very charismatic, constantly seeking contact with the audience as if he's been with Angra from the very start. But it's the tracks from "Rebirth" on which he stole the thunder from Bittencourt and Loureiro, both smiling ear to ear because of the great response. "Heroes of Sand," "Millennium Sun" and "Unholy Wars" were sung along by the growing crowd. Andreoli and Priester provided a massive groove and base for the classical guitar parts. The duels fought by the two guitar heroes were brilliant and in the best imaginable harmony; simply astonishing. 

Then it was time for some oldies. When Kiko and Rafael led into "Make Believe" to relive the golden years with superb versions of "Time," "Crossing" and "Nothing to Say," interrupted only by the "Rebirth" title track and "Running Alone." The band left the stage for a short break to be called back for some well deserved encores. "Unfinished Allegro" and the mighty powerful "Carry On" wrapped up a 100-minute performance. 

Angra has reported back at the frontline of metal. The band is confirmed for this year's Prog Power III festival in the States; be there!

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Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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