Lunatic's Serenade

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Kamelot/Dragon Force/Sicocis
House of Blues, Las Vegas
Dec 7, 2015

Photography: Torchwield photography (2015)

What happens when you put three metal groups together in one room? If your answer isn’t total and utter chaos, then you’re sadly mistaken. This night, I am submerged into the depths of melodic thrash, extreme power metal, and progressive orchestrated metal. Here in the House of Blues, the walls bleed with the sounds of tech knowledge brought forth by the local band from Las Vegas, Sicocis, the piercing power of Dragon Force, and the brutal melodies of Kamelot.

Sicocis broke out with a fist full of original songs that sounded like Queensryche’s Rage for Order, only with deeper tones and a heavier voice. With every note, guitarist Rafael created a whiplash effect with the crowd as the lead singer Ernie interacted with the front row. The rhythm section, Travis on bass and Rob the drummer, kept time like clockwork. Their energy was infectious and the songs and performance were mosh worthy. Ernie, an accomplished guitar player as well, and Rafael did their fair share of trading solos and shredding rhythms.

The lights went down and it was the moment I had been waiting for. Finally, I was going to see DragonForce and the guitar duo of Herman Li and Sam Totman and at last I could see for myself how the heck they do those crazy solos. The two manic gun slingers proceeded to put on a display of super technical leads and blistering rhythms. Their hands were sheer blurs as they moved up and down the necks of their guitars. They strummed vigorously keeping with the deafening beats played by drummer Gee Anzalone, as bassist Frédéric Leclercq kept up with equal insanity. Keyboardist, Vadim Pruzhanov, had his time in the spotlight playing his keytar and MIDI. Vocally, the performance was as flawless as the rest of the band. Marc Hudson hit the highs, sustained his notes, and sang as fast as everyone played.

They all interacted with each other on stage, making funny faces behind one another, drinking Guinness while playing and running amuck on stage. As serious and intense their music is, it was a party and everyone was invited. The highlight, for me, was when they introduced the last song as one written by Johnny Cash and I was the only one who yelled the title. Marc looked my way, smiled, and said, “Ring of Fire”!!

“Unleashing the power of fire and brimstone, they began their merciless performance.”

As I watched the crew set up for the headliner, I knew that it was going to be an experience. The drums were surrounded by a curved cage holding each tom and cymbal in place, the backdrop was the cover to their latest record, HAVEN, and fog machines were filling the stage with white smoke.

Kamelot walked onto the stage as their opera style intro blared. Unleashing the power of fire and brimstone, they began their merciless performance. The crushing rhythm section of Sean Tibbetts on bass (and out of control dreads) and the pounding percussion of Casey Grillo released a tsunami of sound that engulfed the crowd. Adding to this storm were the dark movements on keys played by Oliver Palotai, and the tumultuous tenor vocals of Tommy Karevik. Kamelot was joined by female backup singer Elize Ryd for the North American tour. Ryd and Palotai came forth in medieval cloaks which gave an eerie look to the performance.

Kamelot’s symphonic metal sound filled the venue and held its audience captive destroying any hope of being released from its grasp until the show was over. The music was as enchanting and mesmerizing live as the records are, but far faster and with greater intensity.

Sometimes a tour has a band whose genre or sound is out of place, but all three bands played their hearts out and left everything on the stage. Their sounds complimented each other, equaling a well balanced feel.

Special thanks go to Lola Rose at Live Nation for the continued support.

Tim Duran, HMS

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