Date: 11/21/09
Place: Ultra Violet Social Club, Los Angeles CA
Review by ~ Aniruddh 'Andrew' Bansal

The 'Heathenfest' tour made a stop in LA tonight at a new club venue, the Ultra Violet Social Club. A local band 'Hordes Of Hate' got the show going at around 7.30. I wasn't impressed with them and they never got any kind of response from the crowd. But, I would encourage them to keep at it and I'm sure they'll improve as they go on.

The next band was another local band named Statius. They were very, very impressive. I saw them open for Edguy earlier this year and they caught everyone's attention that time. They've certainly taken the right steps since then, getting on tour with a band like Eluveitie, who are totally different from Edguy, thus increasing their exposure and fan base. I am quite sure that bigger and brighter things are in the future for this band.

Here's their complete set list:

1. Storm Bracing
2. Deep into that Darkness
3. Wulf
4. Moonlight Tragedies
5. Forest Kin
6. Obsession with the Stars

Finnish folk metallers Kivimetsan Druidi hit the stage next. Their female singer Leeni-Maria had amazing stage presence and they did quite well with the amount of time they were being allotted as the first touring band on the bill. I heard that their regular vocalist Joni wasn't at this show and they changed the set list to accommodate the female singer. She did an excellent job of it I thought. Mosh pits did break out during their short set. I hope to see this band again on tour here sometime soon, with a better slot on the line-up.

Here's their complete set list:

1. Seawitch And The Sorcerer
2. JŠŠssŠ Varttunut
3. Pedon Loitsu
4. The Tyrant
5. Blacksmith

Vreid, a black metal band from Norway was next on this long line-up. Their music was pretty good but I didn't feel it due to their slightly dull stage presence. The lack of mosh pits proved that most people would agree with me on this. The front man also seemed quite agitated with the sound guy for not handling the monitors very well. I have to say this; whoever was handling the sound tonight had no idea about what he was being asked to do. They were taking forever to set up the sound after a band finished playing and the next band came on stage. This made for a very boring and long wait for each band. The ridiculously long line-up did not help matters either. I mean, I liked most of the bands who played tonight, but the show went on for an unbelievably long time!

Here's their complete set list:

1. Krig
2. Raped by Light
3. Speak Goddamnit
4. Svart
5. Milorg
6. BlŸcher
7. Pitch Black

The mighty pirate metallers from Scotland, Alestorm hit the stage after another long delay. Their music was beyond perfect for this really small place and crowd. They were easily the best band of the night in terms of their stage presence and the crowd response. Mosh pits during most of their songs were pretty intense, especially during 'Keelhauled'. I hadn't heard their music before this, and this was one song I felt addicted to as soon as I heard it! They did great justice to the number 3 slot and the time given to them for this show. In fact, they should have been above Belphegor in the line-up in my opinion. If ever I could use the expression 'tear it up', I would use it for this band! Amazing performance!! As far as the set list is concerned, they pretty much played all the songs that the fans would want to hear. I saw many people start leaving after they finished playing, so its pretty obvious that they had come mainly to see Alestorm. The excruciatingly slow progress by the venue in getting the next band on stage might have been a major reason for them to leave early too.

Here's their complete set list:

1. The Quest
2. Wenches & Mead
3. That Famous Ol' Spiced
4. Nancy The Tavern Wench
5. Keelhauled
6. Over The Seas
7. The Huntmaster
8. Captain Morgan's Revenge
9. Wolves Of The Sea

Belphegor were the main support band on this tour but even then they could start their set no earlier than half an hour past midnight! Well, I saw them with Kreator this spring and wasn't mightily impressed. Without offending any of their fans, I would just like to say that I did not find anything interesting in their music, nor did I find any difference between one song and the next. I also want to express what I truly feel about this 'black metal' gimmick that bands try to use on stage to attract people. The front man of this band poured 'blood' all over himself and wore some kind of goat mask before performing the last song in their set. Bands should do this kind of stuff only after they focus on making good music first. Complimenting good music with stage antics is acceptable, but when the quality in music is missing, I really don't see the point in it.

Here's their complete set list:

1. Bleeding Salvation
2. Seyn Todt In Schwartz
3. Hells Ambassador
4. Lucifer Incestus
5. Walpurgis Rites
6. Stigma Diabolicum
7. Justine Soaked In Blood
8. Reichswehr In Blood
9. Bondage Goat Zombie

Eluveitie finally appeared on the stage at around 1.15 AM. The stage was so small that all their members were barely even able to stand together and perform, leave alone room to move along! I wonder why they couldn't book a better venue like the House Of Blues or the Key Club where the stage, lights, sound and overall management is much, much better. Well at least this should serve as a lesson to the orgnizers and promoters of these 'festivals' to give it a thought or two before booking a 7-band show at an obscure place with a bad management in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, I'd better keep things positive here by talking about Eleveitie's amazing music.

They opened the show with 'Primordial Breath' from the Slania album and whatever was left of the crowd, tried their best to get involved in the music even though all of us were very, very tired. They continued with another song from the same album, 'Bloodstained Ground'. This song got some of the mosh pits going again. Some kids even tried to stage dive, failing to comprehend the simple fact that the stage was just not big enough for the band alone, forget stage diving. But I guess it was all in good fun and as long as that's the case, its not something I would complain about. The band went back to their debut album Spirit to bring out the next three songs 'Your Gaulish War', 'The Song Of Life' and 'Uis Elveti'. Their female members were head banging on stage and did a great job of raising the energy level that got bounced off into the crowd as well.

After this they played more songs from the Slania album including 'Inis Mona' and 'Gray Sublime Archon'. The lead vocalist Chrisgel Glanzmann told us that they wanted to do some of their acoustic songs but the stage was too small to even fit their acoustic instruments. We were of course very disappointed to hear that. It would have been great for sure to see those songs being performed by them. They played the song 'Dominion' after this, followed by 'Andro' from the first album. They closed out the night with 'The Somber Lay' and finally 'Tegernako'. Chrisgel's vocals were very powerful and he was definitely in command of his band mates as well as the crowd tonight. It was very interesting to see him play the different instruments like flute, Uilleann pipes and acoustic guitar too. The female musicians Anna and Meri did a tremendous job I thought, so did Ivo and Simone on guitars. Of course they had three other members, all of whom complimented their mates very well.

Overall, a very interesting mix of local bands and bands from many parts of Europe, but a strange selection of venue which might have been the reason why this show will be remembered as a 'very good' one and not a 'great' one.

Here's their complete set list:

1. Primordial Breath
2. Bloodstained Ground
3. Your Gaulish War
4. The Song Of Life
5. Uis Elveti
6. Inis Mona
7. Gray Sublime Archon
8. (Do)minion
9. AnDro
10. The Somber Lay
11. Tegernak™



Andrew: Enjoying your stay in North America?

Chrisgel: Yeah, so far it's been good.

Andrew: Your new album is coming out in February. How has the recording process been and what do you expect from it?

Chrisgel: We are really happy. Actually just this morning I received the last mixes of the album. So its done and its being mastered in a couple of days I think. So yeah its more or less finished. We are really happy with how it has turned out and personally I think its probably the best album that we did so far. It will be a metal album again. Its not Evocation Part 2. We'll do that later. This is a regular metal album again and I think all in all its probably the harshest and darkest album we have done so far. There are danceable tracks like Inis Mona and stuff like that on it, but overall its quite dark in a way. The recording has been really good. We've been recording with Tommy Vetterli in Switzerland. He's really an amazing engineer. It was great to work with him. For the mixing we were working together with Colin Richardson actually for the first time, and hopefully not the last time because that guy is amazing as well. He managed to, for the first time I think, to create a really transparent mix. I mean, it is difficult mixing a band like ours because in some songs we have 19 tracks. That's hell of a lot and its hard to bring out all the instruments actually. He managed to do that.

Andrew: So when will part 2 of Evocation come out?

Chrisgel: No idea. I mean, when I started writing the concept for Evocation it soon turned out to become a two-pieced concept and early this year we just released the first part of it and we could take our time for the second part. May be it will be the next album after this metal album again, may be we will wait a lot longer. We don't really know yet.

Andrew: I think the concept of Evocation is quite interesting and something very different.

Chrisgel: Yeah its almost like us without metal, you know. Doing something totally acoustic was actually an idea we had for years and it was just something that kind of challenged us and we wanted to try it out one day and well, now we did. Not all of the fans liked it. There were many people who got really pissed off because of this album and they just wanted metal. We knew that before and it was kind of a risk to release an album like that. In the end, you have to follow your own invention. It was just something we wanted to do and we did it.

Andrew: You said in an earlier interview that the upcoming album is the most metal album you've ever done.

Chrisgel: Absolutely. I mean, not in that sense that there is less folk in it. There is actually may be more folk in it, but the way the songs are structured and the way the riffing works and everything, its really metal.

Andrew: How do you summarize 2009 as a touring year?

Chrisgel: We did not do as much touring as last year. We had quite a huge tour at the beginning of the year. It was almost three months or something on the road. We were all over in Europe, almost in every European country. That was a good tour. It was kind of rough as well. It was a long time of touring without any breaks. Then we actually had kind of a break. I mean, we did a couple of summer festivals but not too much because we had to concentrate on the new album. Well now that the new album is done, we are on tour again here in the States. This tour has been pretty nice so far.

Andrew: How are your newest members Brem and Kistler mixing with the older members in the studio and on the stage?

Chrisgel: Actually really, really good. We are so happy with them. We are much happier than we have been before. They are like perfect members in a way and today it feels as if they have always been in the band. Its great to work with them.

Andrew: Can you tell a little bit about your upcoming tour commitments?

Chrisgel: When we get home from this tour we have a one or two-month break and then we will start touring Europe again, quite a lot actually. May be until April and the plan so far is we will come back to the States with the new album right after that, probably in May or something but its not confirmed yet. That's the plan at least.

Andrew: You guys play in festivals in Europe. How do you compare the response here in America, playing these small clubs?

Chrisgel: The response is probably similar I think. The difference is that the clubs here are really, really small, may be like 200-300 people or 500 if it's a big show. In Europe we easily play in front of 30,000 people. One thing we like about the small shows is we are really close to the people, which is a cool thing.

Andrew: What is your impresson of the other bands on this tour?

Chrisgel: I think this line up is a bit strange in a way, because its really mixed. We as a band actually appreciate that. We prefer to tour with different kinds of bands. Its cool, I mean, I don't like everything. All the bands are really nice people. I kind of became a Belphegor fan on this tour and I didn't exactly know them before. Now after seeing them live, I think they are a cool band.

Andrew: Chrisgel, thanks for your time and have a good show tonight!

Chrisgel: Thank you! We will!





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