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Outworld, Mindflow, Krucible, Prymary, Meyvn, Magistral, Six Minute Century, Eternity Black , Dark Empire @ Texas Madfest, Houston, TX (USA)

OUTWORLD, MINDFLOW, KRUCIBLE, PRYMARY, MEYVN, MAGISTRAL, SIX MINUTE CENTURY, ETERNITY BLACK , DARK EMPIRE
in Saturday, 14 July 2007 at Texas Madfest
by Ian Kaatz

Texas Madfest was my first concert out of the state that I wasn't attending with my immediate friends, not to say my ProgPower USA friends aren't friends; I do only see them once a year, though.  Anyway, I was a little nervous about plane terminal changes etc.  Although once I got there I got a huge surprise I was going to be working on the stage crew! I had never done anything like that before, so I was really excited for the new experience as well as the KICK ASS METAL I was getting ready to see.

ETERNITY BLACK was the first band up; as far as their back catalogue goes, I had only heard one or two tracks from their MySpace page.  They are a groove-oriented Thrash band, at least from what I can tell.  I thought they were pretty impressive, particularly the singer's overall presence on stage; it was early so there wasn't a whole lot of people there, but the ones that were Ryan held in the palm of this hand.  On the whole they were a strong band, but they definitely need some improvement. I could see them hopping any most Metal tours that are going on; I wish them the best.

Next on the bill was a band that is getting ready for their European debut at ProgPower Europe, MEYVN.  This band was one of the reasons that I wanted to attend and I was not disappointed at all.  They opened with my favorite track Answer Me, which really got me going as well as everyone else that was in the audience.  They continued to flow through their 'hits' like Seize and  How Far We Fall.  For those of who that have never heard MEVYN, they are a superior blend of Prog and Power.  They have a very unique style I honestly don't think I could put my finger on who their music sounds like, but I can tell you that their music is something for every fan of the genres.

MEYVN's setlist:
- Answer Me
- How Far We Fall
- Seize
- Revolution
- Future Untold
- Scarified (RACER X cover)
- Power of Fear
- Time Immemorial
- Disturbed

One of my favorite vocalists was making his debut performance in a new band dubbed KRUCIBLE.  The members are Lance King (ex-BALANCE OF POWER, PYRAMAZE) on vocals,  Don Lafon (SIX MINUTE CENTURY) on guitar, Shane Dubose (ex-Z-LOT-Z, OUTWORLD, STRIDE, CEA SERIN) on bass, Eric Halypern (ex-LEATHERWOLF Z-LOT-Z, HELSTAR), Adam Rawlings (VICTIM, ex-Z-LOT-Z) on keyboards and they are in need of a drummer but as a sit they had SIX MINUTE CENTURY drummer Derren Davis.  They had an explosive set with original material and covers.  Due to Lance's ultra distinctive voice I think comparisons to his other bands are inevitable, but this is some of the best Lance associated stuff.  In other bands I thought Lance's vocals didn't sound quite right, but here they fit majestically.  They complement everything so well from the tones of the keyboards and guitars to the rhythm section.  Tracks like Reborn and Intentions will be instant classics not to mention their rendition of Fire Dance from Lance's BALANCE OF POWER days.  To top it off they even played a QUEENSRYCHE cover of Take Hold The Flame, though I would have preferred something from Operation: Mindcrime it was still a flawless performance.

The headliner for the night was OUTWORLD who I had seen before at the ProgPower USA Pre-Party 2005 and they were outstanding and thus the reason I was there.  However, that performance was with Kelly Carpentar (ex-BEYOND TWILIGHT) and this one was going to be Carlos Zema a fairly new Brazilian singer.  Opening with Warcry, I would say it was their best possible move with that savage high note at the beginning of the song the Carlos pulled off flawlessly.  There was even a mosh pit and how often does that happen at a Power Metal concert?  Remember how I said I was stage crew; well, the entire evening was really easy: pull back the curtain, put guitars on the racks, move this amp here and this head here, and get some water for the vocalists.  This is when things got tricky I was giving Rusty Cooley his guitar and he said Do you have the nine volt battery? and of course I thought I am not a musician, I have no idea what he is talking about so I say, No.  He responds with I need a nine volt battery for my pick ups.  I ask around and not one to be found, so I have to save the day and run a few blocks in each direction to gas station to buy batteries.  It was a nice little first experience from behind the scenes per se.   Anyway, back to the concert, Rusty and Bobby were both astonishing on their respective instruments so awesome it called for some Jager.  They finished with The Never which once again I couldn't have asked for a better ending.  The first day was excellent full of booze, friends, and excellent Metal!!!

I was lucky enough to have a second day of Texas Madfest and it began with DARK EMPIRE, which features vocalist Jens Carlsson (PERSUADER, SAVAGE CIRCUS).  This was another band that I came specifically to see and they were possibly the highlight of the festival for me personally.  Although they left out my two favorite songs, they did play tracks like The Alchemist and Northern Sky from their first album Distant Tides.  Their phenomenal set also included new tracks from their soon-to-be-released album Humanity Dethroned, such as Salvation Denied and Possessed, the latter closing out the set.  The newer songs lean much more to the Thrash end of things rather than the Power end of the spectrum like their first album. Matt really surprised me with his backup death vocals as well as Andrew's constant guitar humping ala DECAPITATED.  Matt's surprise being very interesting while Andrew's was more bizarre, another side note being their drummer Samus rawked so hard he broke the drum pedal.  No other drummer played the drums like he did all weekend since he pounded the fuck out of them.  The drums were on a rack so everyone could see them and only during DARK EMPIRE's set did the bass drums look like they were going to fall of the riser.  Awesome set, guys, and look forward to hearing more from you.  

DARK EMPIRE's setlist:
- Intro (Hellraiser theme)
- Northern Sky
- No Sign Of Life
- Salvation Denied
- The Alchemist
- Eyes Of Defiance
- A Soul Divided
- Prelude_Haunted
- Possessed (We Are One)

Local Progressive metallers SIX MINUTE CENTURY were next on the list for the evening.  I saw a couple of members from this band the previous day in KRUCIBLE and I was impressed, but I was interested having only heard one track from them.  I will say that Derren really surprised me from the stuff that he was doing in KRUCIBLE.  I know he didn't write the stuff in KRUCIBLE, but I just thought that his drumming was much better in SMC.  The other cross-over member was Don and I thought his guitar in KRUCIBLE was better than in SMC, opposites, weird huh?  I just thought the styles of playing were more suited for the bands where they had the superior playing.  The highlight of their set was the one song I did know being Under The Moonlight.  Chuck's voice just totally owns this particular track and that's why I love it.  To quote Ace Venture: Like a glove!.

Another local band, MAGISTRAL, was on next.  I had never heard anything by these guys before so I was somewhat interested in hearing it.  I thought these guys did a pretty good job; I was really expecting to like them since I heard their were straight Power Metal.  I just thought they were generic sounding Power Metal, I could definitely hear that they had some talent.  However, I think that talent needs to be exposed in a different way.
PRYMARY, a Prog Rock band from California, was the next thing that my ears had the pleasure of encountering.  I wasn't really familiar with, but I definitely enjoyed.  While I couldn't tell you song names or anything like that, I can tell you they are really great players at what they do.  Highlights of their set I found to be Mike's enchanting vocals as well as Sean's sensational guitar playing.  I wish I had paid way more attention to their set, but 2 days in the Houston heat and humidity was taking its toll.  I also unfortunately had to miss out on MINDFLOW's U.S. debut, but I just couldn't stand it any longer.

PRYMARY's setlist:
- Choices
- Oceans Of Insolence
- Soul Deceiver
- Only Love
- W.L.G.A.F.
- Inflicted
- Running To A Standstill
- Running Away

I would like to say thanks to everyone that put on the concert, as well as the bands and sponsors.  I look forward to what the future holds for this festival.

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