Jamrock 2003 - With Epica, Sun Caged, The ApersThe sun burnt away human flesh, but still there were enough people on the move for Jamrock 2003. A little festival on the Erkemederstrand in Flevoland, near Zeewolde. After a 2 hour drive we finally drove through the sand and the festival could begin for us. There were 2 stages, one rock stage and a metal stage. The program in the rockstage started around 2 o clock, while the metal stage opened at 18:30. Rock Stage: Umupop: When I entered the rock stage, Umupop was producing its melancholic tunes. It was a slight mixture of Nederrock and fusion. The music wasnít that bad either and the band was a nice opener for me. Luckily I only had to witness 20 minutes, because I think that more would be dangerous to the mood indicator. Marcel Coenen, Guitar Clinic: I never heard of Marcel Coenen before, and when someone told me he was the guitarist of Sun Caged, I still had no clue. But when he started his little presentation of his live album, which is soon to be brought out, my mouth stood open and stayed open. Damn, this is surely one of the best guitar players of The Netherlands. Amazing solo parts, combined with heavy riffs and the usage of a 7 string guitar made the sound groovy, yet tremendous. Iíve never had tears in my eyes before because of music, but when I heard the sublime chords I couldnít help wiping away a tear. Carrera: This band was extremely unlucky because of the beautiful weather and the lack of real hardcore fans. This band from Utrecht is a slight mixture of Biohazard and Peter Pan Speedrock with a heavy dose of old style Rock & Roll. The band sounded quite nice, and the show was quite nice. Too bad the crowd seemed to think otherwise. With only 4 enthusiastic fans Carrera had a hard time performing. But what I really liked was that their front man just pissed on those who sat outside, and continued with the set even more furious than before. Dennis Leeflang, Drum Clinic: Dennis Leeflang is the drummer of Sun Caged and had some time to show what he was doing, with all the explaining. He played some songs from Sun Caged and he did some freaked out things. Nice, but only for the real drummers among us. Trisomy: This band lies in line with bands like After Forever and Within Temptation, only with some more double bass work and some nicer riffs. The band didnít really entertain me. The Apers: The Apers played at 12 am at the rock stage. Apen and his crew entertained the crowd very well and the joy just sparked off from the band. Songs like Itís Okay To Hate Me, Sunshine and Giving Up/ Caving In sounded impressive, and this band from Rotterdam surely made some improvement since I saw them the last time in the 013. Because I didnít want to miss Sun Caged, I was forced back to the Metal Stage during the show, but damn, The Apers surely rocked the Rock Stage. Metal Stage: Xystus: Again Xystus had the honour of opening, this time for the metal stage on Jamrock. After a very long sound check they finally began to play. Opening with Prophecy again I believe they now had the luck of not being bothered by other business. The sparks really flew of the amps as Xystus now really kicked butts. Forgotten Years and Elements Of The Truth now sounded very professional, and with a good stage performance, Xystus was a nice opener for bands like Sun Caged and Epica. The Embodiment: The Embodiment began very promising with some ultra fast death metal. However, the drummer seemed not to keep up his extreme fast double bass work, and sometimes was completely out of line with the rest of the band. If you like very extreme fast Death Metal, and donít mind for technique, this is a band that surely will please you. I enjoyed the fat growls and uptempo songs. The amount of headbanging people said enough. Morgana-X: This progressive doommetal band didnít impress me as much as the previous 2 bands, but surely the sound had something. The sound was excellent for dreaming away, and just enjoy a beer or something else. Long tracks and a nice stage performance kept my attention, and I just watched the entire show. Says enough I think. Conquestador: This band from Tilburg played a very different style. Fat Trash metal with some association with Iron Maiden and Priest. The band seemed to enjoy the show as well as the crowd. The sound was a bit plain in the beginning, but with time, the sound grew somewhat more professional. As there wasnít anything noteworthy in the Rock Stage, I just stayed here and listened to some metal I have heard before a dozen times. To Elysium: If there was a band on Jamrock this year with the lest of luck, it surely is To Elysium. Because of a programming error, almost all bands had to start 30 till 45 minutes too late. The programmers just thought the same and told To Elysium to pack their stuff after 3 or 4 songs, which led to some not so nice reactions on stage. Luckily To Elysium was offered the chance to play 1 more song. The show itself was despite of the shit around it, ENORMOUS. Sjoerd Visch seemed not to stop his feet and the other band members played like they never played before it seemed. Very nice show, although a little short, thanks to the Jamrock programmers. Sun Caged: If there was a band this night I really wanted to see, it was Sun Caged. Never heard of it before, but when Bas (guitarist of Xystus) assured me it was the band of one of the best guitar players in Holland, I was tempted. Anyways, Sun Caged is one of the top leading bands of Europe regarding Progressive Metal. With usage of a 7 string bass guitar (or even 12 strings, with one song) the sound was diverse, groovy, melodic and extremely cool. Because I had a little preview earlier on the day, I knew what I could expect. But this show really exceeded my expectations and Sun Caged kept interesting, a fact that some bands lack. With the great guitar work from Marcel Coenen and the interesting keyboard work from the keyboard player Sun Caged performed very well on the late hour! Because of the fucked up programming I had to miss Epica, which I very regret because I had an interview with Koen from Epica earlier the day, and I really wanted to see them live again. But it was a 1 hour and a half drive back home and it already was half past 1, so I needed to go. Better luck next time, for there surely will be one! Pictures were made by Lucas Eikemans, and will added to this review later this week.