An impossibly amazing set of performances by the female-fronted bands attending the second Flight of the Valkyries show at Station 4.
It seems that every time there’s an event at Station 4, I get to the event late. The only exception was the Jagged Spiral show a couple months ago, which is a good thing, because I was in it. Here, I thought the event started at 6PM, but it actually started at 3PM, and so I managed to miss Aria Sharp, Something to Fear, Earthen and Dendura. My loss.
However, I did get to meet Nathan Block, also known as ‘The SwordLord’ and the promoter of much of the harder edged music that comes to town. It was an honor to meet him and shake his hand. There was enough free stuff handed out by the bands that the $20 cover was well worth the price. I only wish I had gotten there sooner. Station 4 is a great venue for gigs like this, the only thing better would have been an outdoor show with awesome weather! Maybe next year???
Here are the bands from FotV I did get to experience:
Visideon played the First FotV in 2007, and were invited back for this year’s show. They’re a great band, definitely worth hearing, I especially liked the vocals. Many metal bands (especially female-fronted ones) push vocals down into dog-barking obscurity or up into piercingly high-pitched screams, both of these techniques are spices to me, best used sparingly, and Visideon understand that. They call their music, “Classical Chording meets Heavy Guitar”, add in some Angelic singing and synth-playing and you’ve got Visideon. Keep an eye on this band, and get out to see them while you can, they might not remain local for long!
The highlight of the evening, Benedictum (San Diego, CA) really stole the show for me. Their power and energy were set to ‘Uber’ and their lead singer, Victoria Freeman channelled and focused all of it. She really pulled the audience into the show, running into the crowd, even taking her wireless mic to the other side of Station 4 to make people watching from the “safe seats” feel like they were in the front row! And any band that can pull off a cover of Accept’s ‘Balls to the Wall’? Wow, these guys are really amazing!
South American Female Fronted Power Metal? Hell yeah! Shadowside was astonishing and beautiful onstage. Check out their myspace page to hear a band that pushes all the power, energy, and intensity of Iron Maiden into their music.
This year’s headliner was Unexpect, a seven-piece band from Montreal. Now lots of bands use the term ‘progressive’ in their band descriptions, and I’ve pretty much crossed that word out of my dictionary, since it’s been misused into meaninglessness. Everybody who writes a song with a bridge or a time-change in it calls themselves ‘progressive’. But I might have to pull that word back out, because Unexpect is really, truly avant-garde. The SwordLord had this to say about them:
“Think Cirque de Soleil goes black metal amidst an acid-trip version of The Dark Crystal”
I can’t think of a better description. The nine-string bass guitar was a trip! I have to admit, their music was a bit over the top for me, chaotic and hard to get ahold of, the same way I feel about ‘System of a Down’. Each member of the band is hyper-talented, but I think they are trying too hard to be different. For me, it was like listening to three bands at the same time, but check out their myspace and hear for yourself.
All in all a great festival, Minnesota is lucky to have an event like this here, and The SwordLord enjoys pointing out that it is the ONLY festival of this kind in the United States! Hopefully he will bring it back again, and it will grow in popularity.