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Rocktemple (Kerkrade - Netherlands)

Astral Travellers
On March 13th the Dutch bands Astral Travellers and PBII played at the Rocktemple in Kerkrade. Two prog rock bands in one evening should guarantee a nice evening. The bands did what they had to do; the audience didn’t. Unfortunately there were more events that evening; one can only be present on one occurence. The audience didn’t choose for the Rocktemple that night. Only about 40 people visited the show. A big complement to the bands that gave the few people where they came for; a solid show with good prog metal and prog rock.

At 21:30 Astral Travellers started their show; the music of this band varied from quiet to progressive metal. During the songs the tempo and atmosphere changes various times. The first song “Gathering Around” has a slow tempo intro, followed by progressive metal and psychedelic parts. During the more metal part Gerben van Oosterhout (vocals) sang with too much power; it was over the top. At “Dance with Death” he finally sang the way it should be; powerful but in control.
“As She goes Down” is a song that starts quiet, gets more progressive with jazzy influences to become a progressive metal song. The keyboard solo (Jochem Brok) was great and Maarten Vermeulen (6 string bass guitar) and Tristan de Rijk (drums) were the solid foundation of this progressive metal song.
The new song “Back From Hell” proves the upcoming album will be in line of the debut album. Heavy varied with quiet and jazzy moments with beautiful melodies. “Dance with death” had a false start; the samples and musicians weren’t simultaneous, the second times the performance was good. This last song took almost 15 minutes and was the best performance of the show.

Almost 45 minutes later PBII entered the stage and after a bombastic intro the band started their show with first song of their new album ‘Plastic Soup’ “Book of Changes”. The sound is great. Remarkable is the bass playing of Harry den Hartog. His technical and incredible way of playing guarantees a superb solid foundation the songs are based on; with Tom van der Meulen (drums) they form a strong carpet PBII can rely on. PBII played the whole album ‘Plastic Soup’; the only old song is “The Hunchback” from the album ‘After the Battle’.
The title song “Plastic Soup” is strengthened by video on a screen behind the drum kit. On the screen a huge polluted ocean was protected. This is what ‘Plastic Soup’ is about; the pollution of our earth especially the oceans; the threatening of the animal life within it and the little action the world shows against it. The title song is a great sympho rock song; keyboard oriented with a psychedelic guitar solo. After an uptempo part the song ends very psychedelic; it fits with the subject.
“The Hunchback” is a song from the past; one of the best sympho rock songs with psychedelic influences with lots of Genesis influences. “Fata Morgana” is the solo of den Hartog; a superb and very melodic solo. He conjures strange and special effects up from his bass guitar; sometimes even a flute is audible. “Living by the dice” is mix of slow tempo and mid tempo sympho rock song with jazzy influences. Ronald Brautigam played a heavy guitar solo supported by the keyboards of Michel van Wassem; the keyboards are very important for solo of PBII. “Cradle to the Cradle” was the last song of the set and also of the album a quite heavy song with a great psychedelic part with strong guitar and keyboard solos.

All in one it was a pity the number of people was so few; the bands did what they had to do. An evening with well performed prog metal and prog/sympho rock.


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