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Manowar, Metalforce, Holyhell - Heavy Metal Daze, Manowar plays and kills
After the cancellation of Dio and Slayer, an evening of traditional metal in 013 is something that quite a few people have been looking forward to for a while. Words like battle, fight, metal, steel and glory being continuously shouted at you. Fists in the air, guitars everywhere and over the top machismo, what else can you expect if Manowar comes to town? A pretty rare occasion as their main market is Germany. Supported by two good opening acts it is definitely worthwhile to go to Tilburg tonight. Well, for those who are really into this of course? With a ticket price of 60 Euro‘s it isn’t exactly cheap.
When Metalforce kicks off, 013 is still half empty. Most people are still en route to the venue. For some reason they moved the start of the show to 7 pm. Yours truly was able to make it in time, but a lot of people have daytime jobs. Strange that this wasn’t taken into consideration when they planned this. Anyway the Germans plus one Dutchman bring us traditional sing-along metal and is greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. Provided with a lightshow, albeit quite modest, they turn out to be quite a good opener. Just like Airbourne is basically an AC/DC clone, Metalforce thrives on classic metal clichés but is quite enjoyable. A song like ‘Faster Louder Metalforce’   is easy to sing along anyway. After screaming the catchphrase for about 20 times, you do get it. Of course certain people will be appalled by the severe lack of originality and its extreme predictability.  Nevertheless they are good and tight metalband.
Holyhell indeed…being a total Nightwish clone Anette Olzon era, these Americans paid good attention to the Finnish superstars of metal. The only difference is that singer Maria Breon does know how to sing live. It isn’t that I’m dissing Holyhell, not at all. In fact they play pretty good and have an excellent sound. Their songs are pretty good too. It is just that it sounds too much like Nightwish. This being the case so obviously, it maybe even be too much for their own good. They got a good response from tonight’s crowd, even getting an encore request.
Then it is time for the self proclaimed Kings of Metal Manowar to come on stage. A Call to Arms for the fans and the big time sing-along starts with fists in the air. If they sing a line like: we got the biggest amps and man they blast, you sure tend to laugh at it. That said, the custom build amps they have onstage are pretty big and they are loud indeed. New songs like 'Sons of Odin' are chanted along next to oldies as ‘Blood Wind Fire and Steel’. The emphasis on the setlist is however on their most recent material. Very few songs of the eighties are included in tonight’s set. Personally I was hoping for songs like ‘Battle Hymns’ and ‘Wheels of Fire’. Then again it proves having a lot of balls for deliberately not playing anything from the first couple of albums. This way new songs like ‘Sleipnir’ are easily the highlight of the show instead of one of the old anthems.
Traditional elements where of course not omitted from the show. Like a ‘Fuck You’ speech of Joey DeMaio. He has got always something that pisses him off and wants to share it with the audience. This time he talked about some schoolteacher who apparently touched his girlfriends’ tits way back when he was 16. Apparently he told him to go fuck himself. Anyway, I found it quite positive that the number of these kind of speeches were reduced to a mere minimum giving enough room for the music.
During ‘The Gods Made Heavy Metal’ a fan was pulled on stage to play along with the band. The young chap who got the honour of coming on stage, proved to be quite skilled with the guitar. Supported by another fan on stage, a beautiful young woman, he definitely has something to tell to his grandchildren.
I very much understand why a lot of metalfans take Manowar far from serious and see them as the laughing-stock in the metal scene. True, the band does to tend to be a bit grotesque at what they do. And I consider them to be quite over the top from time to time. But they're good at what they do. And I’m not apologizing for liking it.