Singer Alex Varkatzas To Sit Out Atreyu’s Upcoming Festival Dates In Europe

Tough news as Atreyu’s Alex Varkatzas has announced he won’t be taking part due to critical back pain issues and other health concerns. Alex long statement explaining the situation, the frontman has reassured fans that the rest of the band will still be playing the shows as planned, and that he should be making his return in time for their Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival run starting on June 21. Continue reading

Fortarock 2018 – Nijmegen, Netherlands

Having a thriving metal scene and more gigs on an area the size of a pinprick on a globe, it’s surprising that the Netherlands doesn’t really have any big outdoor summer metal festivals, like Wacken, Hellfest and Graspop, ever since Dynamo Metalfest called it quits and recently revived in super small-scale all we’ve had is Fortarock. With its three stages and two-day lineup, it’s still charmingly small for the big boys, but it manages to pull impressive headliners and after having taken a break for one year, it sure is back in 2018. Continue reading

Baroness Announces Summer European Tour

Baroness have announced a European tour for this summer, including headline dates and major festival appearances such as Rock in Park, FortaRock, Rock am Ring, Sweden Rock Festival, Download UK, Nova Rock, Download Paris, Dynamo, Graspop Metal Meeting, Hellfest, Be Prog! My Friend, and Download Madrid.  Continue reading

Fortarock: Part I Live at Nijmegen, NL

FortaRock 2015 A6 final 107x150mm_0

On a warm sunny day, with just enough breeze to make it a perfect festival day, we headed to Fortarock, a festival in Nijmegen that has gathered critical acclaim for good vibes and excellent acts. This years billing wasn’t as sweet as some they had before, which led to the organization lowering the entrance price, a credit to them. That didn’t mean it wasn’t worth the trip to the Netherland’s most eastern metal town.

Leprous, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Leprous, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

At midday the festival terrain is slowly getting busy as Leprous and Carach Angren take the two side stages. It was a coin toss which of the two to go see, as they started at the exact same time and both bands, while excellent in their own setting, aren’t really middle of the day outside in the bright sunshine bands. We opted to go see Leprous, who indeed suffer from less than optimal sound, and bright sunlight. Somehow for me they also suffered of a distinct lack of Ihsahn this day and just weren’t as excellent as I remembered them from Roadburn.

Opening on the main stage are Swedish heavy metal band Enforcer. These guys know how to start a party and the fact they’re the first band to play this stage doesn’t phase them at all. The showmanship is incredible, even if the sound is a bit bass and kick drum heavy even at the sound booth. They seem to know you rarely have optimal sound at an outdoor-fest and step it up a few in show, finally waking the milling crowd up.

Sylosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Sylosis, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Next we opt to go see Sylosis, a British modern trash outfit that turned out to be the surprise of the day. I’d not heard of them before or heard their music and the booklet description wasn’t something that tickled me, but opted to go see them over Converge. I’m glad I did, as they were excellent, with a progressive sense of timing and minor core influences, yet a straightforward honest brutality to it all that kept it well grounded.

Godsmack, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Godsmack, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Next on the mainstage are Godsmack, mostly known for their one hit ‘I Stand Alone’ used for the Scorpion king movie, their sound is pretty much a repeat of that one song, rehashed and reworked endlessly to the point of brittle weakness. A rather bored stage presence in the full sun doesn’t help the band and distinct feeling of has-been creeps up on me, even though musically they’re pretty solid.

Flotsam And Jetsam, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Flotsam And Jetsam, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Over on stage three, which seems to be my favorite this day, thrashers Flotsam And Jetsam are starting. The band so far have the best sound balance of the day and pull a pretty big crowd, as singer Eric AK’s almost flawless vocals fly over the solid and clear trash music. The show is slick and smooth, but not without heart. Like a well oiled machine the band effortlessly win over the crowd, aided by some clever banter between songs.

Papa Roach, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Papa Roach, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

After some initial confusion on the program, it appears a few weeks ago Papa Roach and Parkway Drive switched spots, but the booklets had already been printed. So instead we have Paparoach on the main stage. While they are clearly festival veterans and know exactly what they’re doing, this isn’t the best I’ve seen them. The show is captivating and every person in the crowd sings the hits along full swing. Sadly, their energetic and excellent front man Jacoby Shaddix couldn’t carry a stage this large today.

Crowd at Fortarock 2015,  by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Crowd at Fortarock 2015, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

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WORDS AND PHOTO BY SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS