After Forever, Nightmare
|Event:||After Forever, Nightmare|
Here we go for yet another After Forever/Nightmare French tour. With those bands co-touring in my country every six months, I really wonder where the hell I was during the past three years. I got no answer to this question, but still it's rather weird that I've not seen any of them live yet. Anyway, here I am. First thing I note: the venue is half full (or half empty depending on how you see life) only. That confirms my theory according to which metal is dead in Toulouse. There was even less attendance for Obituary and Samael two weeks before and even Opeth did not manage to fill the venue to the brim. Only Epica made it in an even bigger venue. Now I may getting old but there are some things I don't understand: aren't all those bands supposed to be more popular or at least better established than Epica? Anyway, I know that the audience in Toulouse is pretty much dead and/or asleep, so I was expecting it to be the same there.
Let's set the social problems of the audience aside and get to the bands. The Romanian Magica opened the festivities with their rather classical female-fronted keyboard-led power metal. I had heard a lot about this band, how they topped Nightwish "any time", how they otherwise didn't sound at all like Nightwish, how original they were etc... but I had never actually heard their music. So, I think they're not bad. They could even be good. Their music is quite classical but also very catchy, despite the tension perceptible in the band, who didn't look very comfortable on stage. I guess that is due to their youth. Anyway, nice show, nothing too outsatnding but nothing really boring either. I remember one song towards the end really stuck me, but since I have no idea what the title was, that's very useful to you hahaha. They ended their set with a cover of Nightwish's "Nemo". The song sounded exactly like NW, but it was a nice way to end a show. Now, those who don't hear any similarities between those two bands and who think Magica is original, well, first you're deaf and second think again. Magica is not bad but still sounds a tad bit like a clone. Honestly.
Then was Nightmare, and all was good. Let me tell you that Nightmare now definitely is one of the most charismatic bands I've even seen live. It's also the only band that has ever been able to wake the Toulouse audience up. The singer Jo Amore and the other band members spent their time picking on the crowd until they reacted, which was quite funny to see. And it worked, which was even more surprising.
Jo Amore (Nightmare)
Nightmare and their original brand of heavy/power metal totally set the venue afire, with such hymns as Cosmovision and Temple Of Tears. Jo Amore truly has an amazing voice, he sounds the same as in studio, which is quite a feat when you think of it. The sound was great, powerful enough but not brutal enough to lose all the subtleties of the symphonic and electronic arrangements. Nightmare is a great live band. They even got their sing-along song, "Mind Matrix Schizophrenia", on which they were joined by After Forever for a screamy chorus. My only complaint would be that they based their set on the - excellent - last album and only played one song off the - also excellent - Silent Room (incidentally my favourite album of theirs). But you can't have everything can you? Instead, they treated us with a lil' surprise: an excellent cover of Iron Maiden's "Aces High", with Jo Amore engaged in a vocal imitation of Dickinson, close to perfection (that speaks a lot for the talent of this little man).
And finally was After Forever. I've not really enjoyed their last two albums (another way to say that I've not really enjoyed anything they've done since Decipher) so I didn't really know what to expect. Basically I was here for Nightmare, you see? What I discovered blew me away. I have a big hesitation to define which of Nightmare and After Forever was the best band of the night. After Forever (led by the ever-beautiful Floor) are charismatic and professional but above all they seem happy to be on tour. That changes a lot from all those bands who tour because they have to and don't really share anything with their fans. After Forever chat with their fans, they play for their fans, they are fans of their fans.
How about we pose? say After Forever
They based their show on the last album Remagine and on Decipher. The songs off Remagine are pretty weak on the album if you ask me, but they definitely stand the test of the live. All the catchiness of these songs is enhanced by the heavy sounding of live instruments. And eventually, from dull these tracks become interesting and fetching. And what can I say about the songs of Decipher? Monolith Of Doubt, Forlorn Hope (my favourite), Intrinsic and My Pledge Of Allegiance. Do I need to say more? The bombastic arrangements, the catchy tunes and the angelic voice of Floor all concur in making this show a magical moment.
They even got a few surprises for us. Since it was a "cover's night", Floor left the stage for a magistral, impressive and thrashy as hell all-man version of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls". I don't think I've ever headbanged like this (well, maybe on Slayer but that does not count). Floor was back for an acoustic passage before the grand finale and another surprise that finally unleashed the audience: "The Final Countdown", basically one of the worst metal songs ever, when you think about it, but also one of the catchiest and most famous. At least everyone knew it, so you had a few hundreds long-haired metalheads screaming their lungs off on the chorus. Funny and decisive. After Forever was absolutely mindblowing this night, at least as good as Epica, and finally better than Nightmare. A great night and a great show.
One day she'll be mine. Oh yes. One day, she'll be mine.
Many thanks to Fred of Garmonbzia for the press accreditation
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| Jason W.
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