Master of the Universe: Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon

Having spent more than two decades developing the Progressive Power Metal and conceptual universe of Ayreon, creator and visionary Arjen Lucassen recently celebrated the very best of his project by releasing a live album and DVD. The Dutch multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter spoke to Ghost Cult about the grandiose Ayreon Universe (Music Theories/Mascot Group).Continue reading

Def Leppard – And There Will Be A Next Time Live In Detroit


Riding the crest of the wave of positivity that 2015’s self-titled album (earMUSIC) garnered, Def Leppard’s subsequent tour was equally well received. To celebrate and mark the occasion And There Will Be A Next Time (Eagle Rock Entertainment) was conceived – a double CD live album accompanied by a DVD of the same performance.Continue reading

Katatonia – Sanctitude


Initially pulled together as a tour to promote Dethroned & Uncrowned (KScope), which reworked the bands 2012 album Dead End Kings (Peaceville), the Katatonia acoustic tour of 2014 took on more significance with the decisions to expand the set to a full career-retrospective, booked in cathedrals, churches and chapels, and documented via Sanctitude (KScope), a live DVD (plus audio CD version) filmed at London’s Union Chapel.

With the reverent gothic backdrop of the inside of the chapel, and accompanied on the stage only by candle light and music stands, it is not only in the re-arrangements of the music that this is a different Katatonia, with vocalist Jonas Renske and guitarist Anders “Blakkheim” Nystrom the only remaining members from the band’s “classic” line ups. Even the group for Dead End Kings has been torn apart, with Per Eriksson replaced by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) and Daniel Moilanen filling in on percussion, for the tour.

Unsurprisingly, the focus of the film is Renske and his world-weary croons and Nystrom’s and his reworked guitar lines. The addition of Soord is beneficial, as his supporting strums, softened backing vocals and supplementary keyboard work swell and embellish the Swedes delicate framing of a selection of their back catalogue.

With the bonus features of the DVD extending to an overlong and, sadly, boring interview only (which is a shame, as Nystrom in particular has a passion for the band that glimpses out of some of his answers that is untapped by the lack of interaction with a presenter), the focus of Sanctitude is the live performance. Unobtrusively filmed so as to feel as though the watcher was front row of the show, the band are sat throughout with Renske displaying dry self-deprecating wit during his low key exchanges with the audience.

While the minimal staging and direction match the stripped down songs, there is a nagging feeling that a shorter set would have made a more striking impact as several of the songs, shorn of their apparel and original guitar lines, sound too similar and at 80 minutes, attention does wander, particularly early on, and it is interesting that the set draws you in as it unfurls rather than impressing from the outset. Indeed, the opening five songs pass by pleasantly and prettily enough, nice renditions that blur together, until ‘One Year From Now’, the first real standout moment, is unveiled, showing just how well an acoustic Katatonia track can be done.

Other notable moments include ‘Sleeper’ and a dark, melancholic ‘Undo You’, while ‘Lethean’ spreads out into an introspective chorus as Renske’s Maynard-esque harmonies lilt and drift with the song. ‘Omerta’ carries a folky edge and ‘The One You Are Looking For’, complete with guest performance from Silje Wergeland (The Gathering), is an understated and sparse ending to the performance. However, the true show-stopping moment is a bare version of the rarely visited ‘Day’ from Brave Murder Day (Avantgarde), the track that first showcased the real template for the Katatonia sound.

Where Renske and Nystrom take the band next will be interesting to see, but one can’t help feeling Katatonia are better with some oomph to their songs. Not one for the casual observer, this is a release for the dedicated as Sanctitude draws a beautiful, if not fully encapsulating, end to another chapter of the bands career.


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Within Temptation Announce New Live DVD Details

Within Temptation, Let Us Burn, Live DVD 2014


Hot on the coat tails of being confirmed as the Saturday night headliner at next year’s Bloodstock 2015 Festival, symphonic heavyweights Within Temptation have announce details of their upcoming live DVD entitled Let Us Burn. The DVD will be released on the 14th November, containing two live shows.


Press Release:


Shot & recorded in front of 15,000 fans at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium in 2012 to commemorate their 15th anniversary and at the last show of their European Hydra arena tour at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Let Us Burn: Elements & Hydra Live In Concert are two dynamic evenings with Dutch symphonic rockers WITHIN TEMPTATION as they perform their most requested career-spanning compositions plus new music from their latest Billboard-/world-charting album, Hydra, to arena crowds.

Captured in high-definition with pro audio mixed in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, the formidable live reputation of WITHIN TEMPTATION’s stunning performances – complete with dazzling on-stage imagery and special effects (including fire-breathing dragons) – are showcased and brought to life.

With a total running time of 170 minutes, this 34-track live concert experience will be released in the U.S. this November 24th in the following three formats:

Let Us Burn DVD + 2 live audio CDs

Let Us Burn Blu-Ray + 2 live audio CDs

Let Us Burn 2 live audio CDs

All versions are available for pre-order now at the Nuclear Blast USA Webshop.

The track listing for Let Us Burn: Elements & Hydra Live In Concert is:

ELEMENTS – Live in Antwerp
01 – Intro
02 – Iron
03 – In The Middle Of The Night
04 – Faster
05 – Fire And Ice
06 – Our Solemn Hour
07 – Stand My Ground
08 – Angels
09 – Sanctuary Intro
10 – The Last Dance
11 – Say My Name
12 – Candles
13 – Sinéad
14 – The Promise
15 – Mother Earth
16 – Ice Queen
17 – Stairway To The Skies

HYDRA – Live in Amsterdam
01 – Intro
02 – Let Us Burn
03 – Paradise (What About Us?)
04 – Faster
05 – Iron
06 – Edge Of The World
07 – In The Middle Of The Night
08 – Dangerous
09 – And We Run
10 – Stand My Ground
11 – Covered By Roses
12 – Mother Earth
13 – What Have You Done
14 – Silver Moonlight
15 – Whole World Is Watching
16 – Sinéad
17 – Ice Queen

This past February, WITHIN TEMPTATION’s sixth studio album Hydra secured the band’s highest U.S. Billboard Top 20 chart entry to date with a debut at #16 in addition to landing more than ten European Top 10 chart positions plus a #2 debut in the iTunes World Charts. Hydra‘s 33-date European arena tour – witnessed by more than 120,000 fans – sold out notable venues such as the Wembley Arena in London, Le Zenith in Paris, and the legendary Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam (twice). Their “Hydra World Tour” is currently in full swing in North America with five sold-out shows. South America and Japan are next, and by the end of 2014, more than half a million fans around the world will have experienced WITHIN TEMPTATION’s live magic.

Fans are encouraged to purchase pre-sale tickets to the four remaining U.S. dates on WITHIN TEMPTATION’s trek through North America, which include:

10/07/14 Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore, MD
10/09/14 Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
10/10/14 Terminal 5 – New York, NY
10/11/14 The Palladium – Worcester, MA

Pre-sale ticket links are available at

Official WITHIN TEMPTATION music videos include:

• ‘And We Run’ featuring Xzibit –

• ‘Dangerous’ featuring Howard Jones

• ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ featuring Tarja Turunen

• ‘The Whole World Is Watching’ featuring Dave Pirner


Masters of elegance, melodrama, and symphonic grandeur, WITHIN TEMPTATION are not just one of the most distinctive and charismatic bands to emerge from the metal scene in recent times; they are also one of European metal’s greatest success stories of the last decade.

Formed in 1996 by guitarist Robert Westerholt & vocalist Sharon den Adel and ably assisted by bassist Jeroen van Veen, the Dutch quintet set out to create music that would strike a sublime balance between the bold, evocative sweep of cinema soundtracks and the brooding, gothic splendor of the finest dark-hued rock & metal of the modern age. A well-kept secret in the Netherlands for the first few years of their existence, the band exploded into the mainstream spotlight across Europe with the release of their second album, Mother Earth, in 2000. Within a few studio albums, WITHIN TEMPTATION experienced huge commercial success in their native country as well as around the world, with a discography that has sold an excess of three million albums to date.

Hydra – the follow-up album to 2011’s Billboard Top 200 album, The Unforgiving – debuted at #16 on the Billboard Top 200 chart this past February, marking WITHIN TEMPTATION’s first appearance in the Billboard Top 20. It also debuted at #12 on the Billboard Digital Albums chart, #1 on both the iTunes Rock & iTunes Metal charts, and #1 on Amazon’s Hard Rock & Metal chart for two consecutive weeks. At radio the week of release, Hydra had the highest chart debut and ranked in the Top 5 on the CMJ Loud Rock chart. In Europe, Hydra debuted at #1 in The Netherlands & The Czech Republic and secured the #2 position in Switzerland & Finland, #4 in Germany, #6 in the U.K., and #9 in France.



Ministry – Last Tangle In Paris (DVD)



In some circles, Ministry are spoken of in tones reserved elsewhere for Slayer. Reverence for their classic material combined with dissatisfaction over their current direction marks them as one of the “Untouchable Greats” in their field. This live DVD shows them touring their 2012 comeback album Relapse shortly before the death of guitarist Mike Scaccia, and is dedicated to his memory.


Having not paid serious attention to the band since 96’s Filthpig, my first observation about Last Tangle In Paris (UDR Music) was how the band have changed. Focussing heavily on tracks written without Paul Barker, we see a band operating comfortably somewhere between generic Groove Metal and mid-period Sepultura – crunchy, thrashy Metal built around repetitive grooves and simple choruses. Where Al Jourgensen once adopted a different vocal style for each song, he now employs the same angry sneer throughout, and their genre-defining “industrial” elements are now largely restricted to the use of samples and effects.


No band with their reputation can completely ignore the past, of course, and a barrage of four tracks finishes the set. Certainly crowd-pleasing, this section unfortunately raises its own problems; not only the contrast with the newer tracks, but also the authenticity of Jourgensen’s vocals. Put simply, the vocal performances on the classics are absolutely note-perfect imitations of the versions recorded two decades ago, and sometimes visibly out of synch with what Jourgensen appears to be singing.


A live DVD is about more than just the music, of course, and Last Tangle… aims to show us a band struggling to come to terms with their grief. Rehearsal footage featuring Scaccia is interesting for fans, but the poor sound quality reduces the value of these sections. Interviews with most of the current line-up cast light on their grieving process, and Jourgensen in particular speaks humbly and openly about the impact that Scaccia’s loss has had upon the band and his own life. Laudable and occasionally genuinely touching, but overall Last Tangle… is unlikely to be of much interest to anyone other than serious fans of their recent material.

Al Jourgensen, Ministry - 2013



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