Masters Of Rock 2007
- 12.-15. July 2007 - Vizovice (CZ), Areál Likérky R. Jelínek -
Rage & Lingua Mortis Orchestra, Finntroll, Norther, Uriah Heep, Motörhead, After Forever, Epica, Thunder, Stratovarius, Children Of Bodom, Sabaton, Axxis, Pink Cream 69, HammerFall
Last year we were the first time at the Czech Masters Of Rock festival in Vizovice and it was such a great experience that we decided right away to come back!
Vizovice is in the South of Czech Republic and about 80 km from Brno and not too far from the Polish and Slovakian border. And even for metal fans from Austria it's interesting as Vienna is only 240 km for Zlín in the White Carpathian mountains.
It's the fifth time that Masters Of Rock takes place and with about 20,000 people its quite big already, but at the huge area of Jelínek Distilleries it don't get crowded. In a way Masters Of Rock is for Eastern Europe what Wacken Open-Air is for Western Europe, but I guess soon more people will come from other parts of the world. Especially as it's quite cheap compared to festivals like Wacken, even if it's still much money for fans of Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, etc. But already fans from places like Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc. are coming to be part of this event!
There is just one big stage, but due to quick changeovers there isn't much time to take a break. But there are many places where you can sit down and take a break like the big tent of Pilsner Urquell which has a huge screen or the Masters Of Rock Cafe. Thank God a festival were you get coffee - and very good one too!
Thursday, July 12th 2007
As usual everybody in the festival crew was really nice and the problem with the guest list was sorted out within minutes! Thanks again to Martina! We arrived at the festival when Die Happy played, but when we got near the stage, their set was over. But well, there will be another chance to see Marta Jandová and her band. Btw, from the audience it was almost impossible to do good live shots, so the band photos are taken at other shows!
A change in the running order... Czech band Vypsaná Fixa played first and then Rage with Lingua Mortis Orchestra, coz preparations for an orchestra with 32 members took longer then expected. The guys played an hour long set, but actually I can't tell much about them as I haven't heard anything of them before. We took a walk around. Beside many food booths and merchandise stuff there was also something to kill time... Some tabletop soccer, an electric bull - actually a Coca-Cola bottle -, miniature golf and also bungee jumping (the only attraction you have to pay for).
A quarter past 10 PM it was time for Rage & Lingua Mortis Orchestra to enter the stage for a special show! They kicked off with From The Cradle To The Grave - and the crowd went wild! City's Am Fenster - and another great solo of Mr. Smolski. The trio Peavy Wagner, Victor Smolski and new member André Hilgers were joined by about 30 orchestra musicians and a conductor on stage. The symbiosis of metal and classic isn't new, but Rage were one of the first who combined these genres. Before they continued with Alive But Dead Peavy welcomed the visitors of MOR and thanked them for being part of this special show. Peavy started introducing the band. And Victor also took the chance to talk to the fans, I guess in Russian... After a medley which included Sent By The Devil off In Vein Peavy asked to scream - and it got loud! He thanked the fans and announced a track from XIII - time for Turn The Page. But they also presented new songs like Innocent. During the song the power dropped out on stage, but the guys are professionals and so Peavy explained the situation and André played a short drum solo. When continuing the song Victor added a solo, too. But he could really show his skills with his adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach's Fuga. Higher Then The Sky was one of the last songs - and a real highlight! Especially the violin solo part - let me think of Too soon it was over, even if they played almost 100 min.! The show was really something special and hopefully there are more chances to see them live in future with this show!
Some fans left, but many stayed for some humppa metal. They waited for Finntroll! And like at Bang-Your-Head the trollish metal made the people move! Singer Matthias 'Vreth' Lillmåns did again a great job on the micro. The band enjoyed the stage and the fans celebrated songs like Ormhäxan, Jaktens Tid and their hymn Trollhammaren. As usual the guitarists switched sides and everybody tried to entertain the fans. They delivered a very tight performance and with the great light show it looked really good! Can't wait to see some more trollish metal!
And so at 2 AM the first day ended... And everybody expected a great Friday 13th!
Friday, July 13th 2007
We arrived late afternoon after a long night at the Irish Pub and to be honest I hadn't time to check out the Czech bands before the festival and then 6 bands you don't know at all is a lot. But next year I will try to be better prepared!
We arrived when Tleskč played their last songs and waited for Norther! The Finnish are friends of Children Of Bodom and with Petri Lindroos - singer / guitarist of Ensiferum - they kinda address their fans, too. In Norther Petri is playing guitar and adds the death growls. With songs like Midnight Walker and Day Zero they heat up the fans. At The Last Night guitarist and singer (clean parts) Kristian Ranta was a bit out of tune, but that's live! Afterwards they announced that an EP will be released later this year and that Frozen Angel will be on this EP. Frozen Angel is a very catchy song which lots of keyboards. Cool one. With Norther and Released they presented to old ones. "One more to go..." And with Death Unlimited they finished their set. Great live band and with a big label supporting them they could rattle the throne of Melodic Death Metal and give Children Of Bodom a tough time!
Another Czech artists entered the stage... Anna K. Musically more pop-rock... with a U2-ish touch. Musically quite solid, but nothing special and with Czech lyrics no way to tell for us, if the lyrics are worth listening. But it was well chosen to build a bridge for the English rockers Uriah Heep. While Anna K was on stage we walked around again and found a tent serving as a kind of Oriental tea room with shisha's. Not my cup of tea, but well...
With Mick Box and his Uriah Heep an old English rock band entered the stage. Singer Bernie Shaw entertained the fans with British understatement. They are around for almost 40 years! And so they offered a kind of best-of-set. With Cry Freedom, July Morning and Words In The Distance they played some known tracks, but their classics are Look At Yourself, The Wizard, Gypsy, Easy Livin and Lady In Black which they played semi-acoustic. Okay, the old rockers aren't known for their stage acting, but hey these guys are 50-60 years old! And they still rock!
After another change over it was time for another legend from England - Motörhead! Lemmy and his mates are also around for more then 3 decades and when they entered the stage a few minutes before 11 PM Mr. Kilmister started with a question... "Doing all right? We are Motörhead and we play rock'n'roll!" Just after the opening track - I think it was Snaggletooth - they presented Stay Clean and Be My Baby. Partly the vocals drowned a bit... Classics like Metropolis and Over The Top were expected, but One Track Mind they surprised their fans. Mikkey Dee's drum solo was embedded in Sacrifice. Going To Brazil, Killed By Death - including a guitar solo by Phil Campbell - and Iron Fist were no surprise, but when they returned to the stage for the encore they startled the fans with Bad Boys Blues where Mikkey Dee played the acoustic guitar and Lemmy added some harmonica parts. Really cool! Last, but not least Ace Of Spades and Overkill. Time to go....
But not for the fans! One more band, this time the Dutch rockers After Forever. And even if it was late the fans gave Floor Jansen and her band a warm welcome. At the beginning of their set the sound wasn't very good - at least where we were -, but I think they opened with Discord... Floor and the guys were surprised by the fan reactions and thanked everybody before they played Forever. Again the vocals drowned a bit. After a few more songs they offered a track from their latest album - Envision. No surprise that they focussed on After Forever, but doing Who Am I without a counter part who sings Doro's part isn't quite working. If they want to do this one live, they should come up with something else... After the single Energize Me Floor screamed "You definitely energized us!" One more from the new album and after Equally Destructive they thanked the fans again and left. Two more songs and Friday 13th was festival history. Btw, on After Forever's website is a video clip of their MOR experience with some off stage footage as well as brief live sequences.
(Short note: Martin aka Wres, in case you read this, get in touch with us! Thanks again to you and your friends for keeping a protecting eye on us.)
Time to get back to our hotel... It's past 2 AM and another night at the bar ahead of us. ;)
Saturday, July 14th 2007
We managed to arrive earlier... Okay, we wanted to see Epica again and so made sure we are there in time. Actually we arrived during the set of British punk legends Sham 69. After 30 years they are still celebrating punk! Beside their old classics they presented some songs of the coming album. And after If The Kids Are United it was over.
With Indigo as an intro the Dutch band Epica started off. Their new album will be out soon, so they played a mixture of old and new songs and even presented some brand-new track. After Obsessive, Quietus and Sensorium it was time for Cry Of The Moon. The band was obviously in a very good mood and impressed by the fan reactions. Simone thanked them and said "This is the first time in Czech Republic and hopefully not the last time!" And you believe the sympathetic red-haired singer. With The Obsessive Devotion and Menace Of Vanity they gave a brief outlook at the coming album The Divine Conspiracy. But fans have to wait a few more weeks until it gets into the stores. Former After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen added some growls here and there, but now it was time for him to step up front and do Death's Crystal Mountain which he dedicated to Chuck Schuldinger. And with Never Enough they finished their set... Too soon... But with the coming album they will extensively tour, even if there are no shows scheduled for Czech Republic so far.... We saw Epica several times and this was a good show, but they can do better! ;)
More Brits ahead! Hot and sunny, then thunder... With the sound of thunder the hard rockers walked on stage. I already saw them on their club tour and then at the BYH, but today they were in a splendid mood! After River Of Pain - incl. a guitar solo of Luke Morley - Danny Bowles asked "Can you sing? Do it now!" And they did sing along Higher Ground! Followed by another classic - Low Life In High Places. This time guitarist Luke Morley picked up the acoustic and they presented one of their hits in a semi-acoustic version. At the end the fans screamed and shouted, but actually too early... "No, you put me off. I'm not finished" Danny Bowles stated and when it got silent again sang the last line. Time for a new song, the title track of their current album Robert Johnson's Tombstone. And again Morley picked up the acoustic guitar and partly played harmonica during a short country-like parts. Never seen Danny Bowles talking that much on stage.. and so he asked the fans to sing along, kinda rehearsed the chorus with the audience and then introduced the song - The Devil Made Me Do It - as a song about sex. Towards the end of their set they made their long-time fans happy with Backstreet Symphony, Love Walked In and finally Dirty Love. Great band, great songs, lots of fun and it make you want more!
The musical journey now headed North and from hard rock to melodic speed metal. Stratovarius should enter the stage next. Timo Kotipelto and the band chose bands classic with Hunting High And Low - and the fans started singing along from the first note. For the Czech fans - and all others at Masters Of Rock - they played songs from 1994 album Dreamspace to their latest release Stratovarius incl. songs like Against The Wind, The Abyss Of Your Eyes, Freedom, Visions, Will My Soul Ever Rest In Peace, Hold On To Your Dream and Father Time. Not to mention the Jens Johansson's keyboard solo and Timo Tolkki's guitar solo. A good performance by the whole band, even if Kotipelto hit some wrong note during Father Time... But they came back for a few more... A citation of Freude, schöner Götterfunken led into Forever, then Eagleheart and Black Diamond and the show was over. But they promised to come back on tour in 2008!
A 30 min. change over gave the fans to take a break and get ready for one of the hottest live acts... for Children Of Bodom!
As their intro the Finnish chose Lard's They're Coming To Take Me Away - a very cool! And unusual, too. Alexi Laiho and his mates entered the stage and got right into the set. After the first 2 killer songs Alexi started talking... "After 2,5 years touring and drinking this is the last show and we are glad to be here! I see flags from Estonia, Bulgaria.... Thank you motherfuckers for coming!" Then they shred Needled 24/7 - but with a bit confusion on stage when guitarist Roope Latvala slipped and fall on his back. Still alive they asked Are You Dead Yet? and continued with songs like Hate Me!, Every Time I Die, Deadnight Warrior and Living Dead Beat. After Sixpounder mainman Alexi Laiho announced "Let's slow down for awhile..." and started off Angel's Don't Kill, but with Mask Of Sanity they sped up again. Especially the guitar duels between Laiho and Latvala been great, but Janne Wirman showed his skills in soloing, too. "Last song... You are such a fucking great audience, and I didn't just fucking say it!" were the last words of Alexi Laiho before Children Of Bodom played one more song. Too early the five Finns left the stage and while the fans screamed for more you got Hotel California from the P.A.! As it got obvious that CoB won't return for more. more fans gathered for the signing session. Anyway, Children Of Bodom thrashed the place! They were THE headliner of Masters Of Rock 2007!
One last band for Saturday night.... In Extremo. I know they have a lot fans, but I'm not one of them and after CoB it couldn't get any better. Back to the hotel!
Sunday, 15th July 2007
We arrived when Visions Of Atlantis left the stage, actually we though we will see at least a bit of their set, but parking was a problem and we had a 20 min. to the festival site. But okay, that can happen... And at least we were walking on streets and not like at the Magic Circle Festival on some dirt track.
With the Swedish Sabaton a true metal band came to make party! The guys seemed to enjoy every second on stage - as always. Singer Joakim Brodén and his mates offered a mixture of old and new songs incl. Rise Of Evil, Panzer Battalion, Metal Machine and Back In Control. It's fun to watch them and I think they made some new friends here.
Next some hard rock from Germany - Axxis. And for drummer André Hilgers his second show at Masters Of Rock after playing with Rage and the orchestra. They kicked off their set with Dance With The Devil of their last studio album Paradise In Flames. Singer and mainman Bernie Weiß was joined on stage for some songs by Lakonia. Beside new songs they took the fans on a musical journey through the bands history incl. old songs like Little War, Save Me, Little Look Back and Kingdom Of The Night! In the middle of their set they did a short acoustic part with the title track of their debut and Touch Of Rainbow. Cool idea. The Czech metal fans like melodic metal and hard rock, so I think that it won't be the last time for Axxis to play here...
The hottest day at this years Masters Of Rock and so time for a little break at the cafe while the Czech band Divokey Bill played.
More melodic metal to come... German-American band Pink Cream 69 were the next in line. Opening with Children Of The Dawn from their latest release In10sity. As usual they were delivering an energetic show including a lot old and new songs. And just after the opening track they turned to their past with songs from One Size Fits All like Do You Like It, Hell's Gone Crazy and later Talk To The Moon and Living My Life For You. To be honest I still prefer David Readman singing the old tunes and so it was great to hear them again. And they even got back to their debut with Welcome The Night. A few songs from more recent releases like Carnaby Road (Thunderdome) and Seas Of Madness from Sonic Dynamite. Songs from In10sity fit well into the set and so House Of Freedom and No Way Out were fun and fans appreciate every single song. After Electrified's Shame the band left, but came back for So Lonely from The Police. Wow, what a show! Can't wait to see them on tour in a few months!
Only 2 more bands and then MOR 2007 will be over... But not now! Now it was time for HammerFall! We just saw the Swedish warriors a few weeks ago at BYH and so we expected to hear more or less the same set... Again Anders Johansson had his 10 bass drums... It seems it was their dogs day, coz they had technical problems on stage which made Joakim Cans hit some wrong notes. It was again a best-of set with Hammerfall, Hearts On Fire, Renegade and Glory To The Brave, but even if they were headlining the last festival day the show was just average due to the technical problems, etc. Beside that it was a long hot day for the fans and it seems everybody was getting a bit tired.... Usually HammerFall deliver a good show, but even the best have a dogs day once in awhile.
The Brazilian band Sepultura were the ones to finish off Masters Of Rock 2007, but it was late on a Sunday night and the first fans were on their way home. And we were on our way back to our hotel, too. Later we heard they did a great show and played Roots, Bloody Roots as well as Dead Embryonic Cells of Arise and Dark Woods Of Error.
Masters Of Rock 2007 is history, but many will be back in 2008 to party at MOR. I've been at Wacken open-air for many years, but this is better!!! Thanks PragoKoncerts! Thanks to everybody working there, you did a great job! We will be back!!!! See you next year!!!