Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Sithu Aye
Label: InsideOut Records
Written By: Steven Stolper (copyright 2017) for PiercingMetal.com
Haken is a Progressive Metal band from England that has been steadily gaining popularity on this side of the pond. Last time around they packed Webster Hall’s Marlin Room and now it was onto bigger spaces. The Highline Ballroom is a bit larger in scope but I wonder if this show would have been held at Webster Hall if it was still open. Whatever the case, I do think Highline is a superior venue, with better stage, sound, and lighting. And no ceiling “thump” that The Marlin Room events often suffered from when The Grand Ballroom shows upstairs would get rowdy. As with Webster Hall though, there are late night events scheduled at Highline, so music, events can get pushed into early slots. This concert started earlier than posted, at around 7:10pm, not 7 30 as advertised. Sithu Aye, a proggy instrumental guitar shredder from Scotland opened. An enjoyable set, sort of what one might expect Joe Satriani to sound if he listened to a lot of modern Prog-Metal. I was disappointed to find the use of backing tracks for keyboards and some guitars. It kind of takes away from the live feel, and I don’t really see the point, considering that he actually brought a full band with him which included a second guitarist. Why not improvise, or play album keyboard parts on guitar?
Continue reading Haken @ Highline Ballroom (9/2/2017)
Contributor Steven Stolper was on point enjoying the findings at the annual ProgPower USA Festival that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Center Stage Atlanta theater. Historically speaking, PiercingMetal has NEVER been to the event but we’ve occasionally had interest in going based on the lineup for the year. I asked for a quick briefing of the acts that he saw and here are his transmissions to the High Command from the field about Day Three
ProgPowerUSA XVIII Day 3: Day 3 (or “Day 1” as it used to be known as until a couple of years ago) is when the ProgPower machine really revs into high gear. There are more bands (six versus four), longer sets performed, more autograph signing sessions, more merch and a whole lot more Prog. This year, almost all of the “Day 3” bands were heavy on the Progressive side with one notable exception being the visitors from Spain, Lords of Black. I assumed that this is due to different musical tastes of the booking teams of Days 1-2 vs 3-4. Although, as mentioned before, this seems to vary recently, probably based on touring schedules of non-exclusive bands. Speaking of exclusivity, all of the bands playing Friday, except Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, are flying in specifically for the ProgPower event and are NOT doing standard tours of the regions around the country. This is what makes this festival so unique and attractive to fans of the genre living in the Americas. It is often the only opportunity to see these bands live.
Daydream XI (Brazil):
Brazilian newcomers opened the main event on Friday in a very impressive fashion. Smooth progressive metal with thick dual guitars and nice vox is a recipe that has very broad appeal for the ProgPower crowd. I was not familiar with the band’s material beforehand. I suppose that was true for most attendees, but the band’s music was easy to connect with. A friend described it as a more mellow and sexy Symphony X. Sounds about right. No one really wants to have to be too analytical about music at 2PM on a Friday anyway, especially after 2 days of the festival. Most impressively, singer Tiago Masseti also handled the second guitar duties, including many of the solos. Highlight of the set was a beautiful piano and vocals only ballad, which really showcased singer’s lovely voice.
Continue reading ProgPower USA XVIII Day Three Musings (9/8/2017)
Contributor Steven Stolper was following up to some inquiries I had made of him recently and then shared that he was away for the weekend enjoying the findings at the annual ProgPower USA Festival that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Center Stage Atlanta theater. Historically speaking, PiercingMetal has NEVER been to the event but we’ve occasionally had interest in going based on the lineup for the year. With Steven on point, I asked for a quick briefing of the acts that he saw. Here are his transmissions to the High Command from the field.
ProgPower USA Musings. Day 1: It’s the end of summer. The time for the great annual Southern pilgrimage for fans of progressive and power metal. Every year fans of the genre from all over the world converge on Atlanta to feast their eyes and ears on the kind of music normally reserved for the big European metal fests. Following are some brief comments on the bands’ performances.
Power Quest (UK):
First North American appearance by this veteran British collective. Their guitar players could not make it over the pond so they recruited two Americans , including Bill Hudson (Jon Oliva, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Dirkschneider). The music was solid European style power metal, similar to Helloween. They were let down a bit by lackluster sound mix that did no favors to the vocals. Matt Smith of Theocracy, a great American power metal band, joined them on stage for a few songs.
Sound was much improved for Serenity. Vocals were a lot clearer and guitars really soared. Serenity’s brand of earnest symphonic metal was well received. Earlier material especially impressed with classy memorable songs.
Continue reading ProgPower USA XVIII Day One Musings (9/6/2017)
Haken returns to NYC to deliver a 10th Anniversary show to their fans. Support will come from Sithu Aye.
The Details: Considering that the band is celebrating their 10th Anniversary I must admit to being way behind on this one, but there is no time like the present to get into some new and exciting music. Haken is a very fascinating listen in the world of Progressive Metal and with their appearance at the intimate Highline Ballroom you are not going to want to miss out on it. Thanks to the fine folks in the Marketing Division of the venue, we are proud to be putting some of our ardent readers into this show for free. Check out the details on how to participate.
When and Where: Saturday, September 2nd @ Highline Ballroom (431 W 16th St, NYC)
To Participate: I’ve decided to keep this an easy one and by saying that I mean I will be sticking to my usual formula of you readers giving me “3” things that you like most about the band if you have heard them already and if you are a newbie just give me “3” things that you are most interested in about their performance. Perhaps there are albums that “spoke” to you or concert appearances that sent you to the music shop to snag some of the band members earlier works. Just give me three solid answers and how important it is to be at this show. I know I make you work but I work here too so whining will not win out at all LOL. Make this good reading because the stuff remains on the website and can likely inspire new fans as well on how our freebies work. Writing “because they rock dude” is just too un-original and boring. I’ll be responding to the comments that I like most right below their answer. Kindly review some guidelines before entering your submission.
Continue reading Win A Ticket To See Haken @ Highline Ballroom On 9/2/2017