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Paradox, Mad Max, Zed Yago, Wizard @ An Club, Athens (GRE)

PARADOX, MAD MAX, ZED YAGO, WIZARD
in Saturday, 12 January 2008 at An Club
by Grigoris Chronis

Does Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music performed live have an expiry date? a) Yes, because newest acts are more vivid and - hence - enjoy the support of Rock/Metal fans. b) No, since the 'old' stuff always had (and always will have) enough balls to stand the test of time. Well, case 'a)' sees no truth, since (apart from really few new bands) it's a real struggle for a newly formed act to enjoy massive response to a gig. So, we're left with case 'b)'? Of course not (too), since you have to be in the IRON MAIDEN or METALLICA level to enjoy eternal triumph. The rest can go to hell (and back)? I'm surely not asking these (not more than)

150 faces that were present that evening, willing to obtain some thunderous…Deutsche assault, from the (maybe) most 'Metal' country nowadays. Whoever's been traveling to a German Metal festival the last 10+ years has surely witnessed the Germans' devotion to all-that's-Metal (new and old), 'genre free'. Such a scenario could be built in the (few) metalheads' minds, while they were entering An Club (Athens downtown) in order to enjoy an interesting 4-band billing at a more-than-reasonable price (thumbs up for promoters who are - first of all - real Metal maniacs!).

\[Grigoris]: As Teutonic/Speed/Heavy metallers WIZARD took command at the stage, they were not more than 80 faces in the venue. So what? A really honest 'band' the German quintet did break loose, firing us with thunderous tracks from their latest release, Goochan, plus a set of old favorites. Not many of the spectators were familiar with the Bocholt-based act, but everyone was willing to enjoy the band's massive energy show.

In the vein of (enough of) GRAVE DIGGER / BOOMERANG, (some of) SACRED STEEL (no, no high-pitched vocals here!) and (a little bit of) MANOWAR_MAJESTY, WIZARD performed an excellent 50' show with pure dignity and metallic madness. Hey, it's the German savagery here! Long hair, endless sweat, tight leather_jean pants, beer smell and pure Metal music. Meaning: EDGUY who? Ha ha!!! Vocalist Sven D'Anna did offer some majestic German Metal singing, while most credit would go to the band's bassist Volker Leson, who not only performed some excellent bass lines but also showed unlimited mood to react with the willing crowd for confirmation of everyone's Metal faith. But, generally, the whole band did expose a great temper in giving all they got to entertain the crowd. Audio highlights (personal faves, too) included Pale Rider, Betrayer and an early sonic holocaust entitled Hammer, Bow, Axe And Sword.

Thank you, WIZARD, thank you for your devotion.

WIZARD's setlist:

- Witch Of The Enchanted Forest
- Pale Rider
- Children Of The Night
- Betrayer
- Hall Of Odin
- Iron War
- Hammer, Bow, Axe And Sword
- Defenders Of Metal
 -Enemy Die

\[Grigoris]: Summing it up to 100 faces, it was not more than 15 minutes that a 'cult' act carried on the gig. ZED YAGO has always been a non-mainstream band. From the Jutta (original singer) late 80s days, this Hamburg-located outfit has achieved the acceptance of a respected number of Metal fans. Rather weird in their songwriting formulas and 'backfire' profile, ZED YAGO's fan base had always been loyal, while most cases show people that do mainly not even know the band's name, rather not liking its music.

To the core: ZED YAGO played for nearly an hour and - apart from a not-that-good cover on DEEP PURPLE's Burn in the end of their setlist - did perform a helluva show. Slow tempos, really heavy DIO-influenced songs with much of epos (but not Epic Metal as we know it!) and mystical_theatrical_dramatic approach, while current singer Yvonne Durand eventually was a nice surprise. Rarely would some witness such a 'Metal' performance by a woman of her age (sorry Yvonne!!!); the female Ronnie James Dio, as many summarized. Great vocals, great onstage performance, good reaction with the crowd and…what more do you need? Yeap, you need a solid instrumentation from the rest of the band (mainman Jimmy Durand was awesome on guitar leads) plus an interesting setlist (even if some other cuts were also expected!). Audio highlights this time included The Fear Of Death, Stay The Course and the band's 'old' hit Black Bone Song, of course! The mystical journey was completely successful.

ZED YAGO's setlist:

- The Spell Form Over Younder
- Merlin
- Custer
- Warrior Of Fantasy
- (N/A)
- Black Bone Song
- Stay The Course
- Valley Of The King
- The Fear Of  Death
- End Of The World
- Burn

Taking the time to chat a little bit with old and new buddies, two remarks were mainly confirmed: i) The Germans still respect the Metal ideals and, b) it would be nice if the 'Metal gigs' 'audience treated its (theoretically speaking) beloved music th same way. All these, while waiting for the next act, the older one on the billing.

\[Grigoris]: MAD MAX released their first album (the same-titled one) 25-26 years ago. More of an archetypal German Metal act in their first two LPs (1984's Rollin' Thunder is considered a 'classic' for 80s Metal followers), they did expose a more PRETTY MAIDS-like side in the rest of their 80s worx, while their last-ten-years deeds can even be considered as 'mellow' (Melodic Rock_AOR style, with enough of Christian lyrics approach) for the Metal likes. Hence, I was really curious if and how they'd gain some respect_acceptance from the evergrowing(?) crowd.

Michael Voss was in good mood from the beginning; with a big smile in his face, he guided MAD MAX to a (starting off) 'melodic' trip and I must say he finally won the battle (if there ever was one to be taken). Most of the tracklist was off the band's latest deeds, while old stuff delivered included Night Of Passion, Hearts On Fire, a take on Glam Rock godfathers SWEET's Fox On The Run and (fuckin' nice surprise!) Rollin' Thunder. The band was rather 'bonded' in chemistry, and - to cut a long story short - MAD MAX eventually was a fitting choice to cover the more 'melodic' side of this mini fest.

MAD MAX's setlist:

- Homeless
- Hope To See You
- Night Of Passion
- Family Of Rock
- Little Princess
- Rolling Thunder
- Open The Eyes Of My Heart
- Fox On The Run
- Hearts On Fire

(…think I missed one cut in this setist?…)

\[Yiannis DK.]: After the hard rocking show of MAD MAX the four members of PARADOX climbed onstage, ready for their first live appearance in Greece. Some thoughts came to mind for MAD MAX singer Michael Voss offering backing vocals in PARADOX's Product Of Imagination LP, while remembering me as a teenager listening for thousands times the Search For Perfection song, just before going to a boring schoolday, to gain power. Well, one of my dreams was becoming a reality but I couldn't imagine what would happen…

The gig starts and the first song is Paradox: total thrashing holocaust. Stagediving was constantly 'on' and all the time there were mad thrashers upon the stage ready to fall down. Same thing with the second cut, which was Death, Screaming And Pain and I don't believe my ears. The band's playing is bombastic, ballcrushing (although it was a difficult undertaking to play without mistakes with all this panic that was happening just next to them). Headbanging is endless, but now it was the Heresy album's time, by playing the self-titled track and immediately after it the hymn Search For Perfection. Not even in my dreams such a beginning: four of the best PARADOX songs just one after another. The whole madness is unstoppable. It's Collision Course CD's time with Path Of Denial and Collision Course.

Once again I believe that this album makes PARADOX a unique band because when they reunite they unleashed something equal to their previous masterpieces (at least, this is my opinion). But, please, think for a moment all this 'reunion' fashion and just compare it to them. Unfortunately the band had to stop after this glorious album, cause Charly Steinhauer had some serious health problems while he suffered of tragic losses of some of his closest people. Listening to their new song Electrify (from their 2008 self-titled) album, I can surely say that as phoenix rises from the ashes the band is alive and ass-kicking.

Because of the whole thrashing mayhem that were taking place I can't remember the exact order of the other songs but they played Kill The Beast, Pray To The Gods Of Wrath ( in which Kai Paseman plug out Charly's guitar with consequence to stop the song and play it again from the beginning, making the whole gig more thrash-y, crazy and more furious), Killtime, Crusaders Revenge and Overshadowed (the first song that they had written in their Collision Course comeback). Anyway, the band looked very happy, I guess the whole crowd madness made their playing more aggressive (despite the fact, I repeat, that because of the crowd presence on stage there were problems like microphone basements falling down etc). Charlie's playing is remarkable, Kai is a major chapter for PARADOX by doing endless headbanging, playing great guitar and writing great lyrics while the 'new blood' Olly Keller in bass and Ronald Jahoda in drums were perfect, making me believe that with this lineup PARADOX is here to stay. What can I say (ending here)? Bring them back as fast as you can! Thrashing like a maniac!

\[Grigoris and Yiannis DK.]: Thanks to the bands and the promoter for such a beautiful German Metal holocaust. Really, thanks!

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