Evergrey w. Seven Kingdoms, Need and Ascendia Calgary, Alberta May 22, 2017
Review by JP, photos by Jeff Baratelli
It was a hot long weekend on May 22nd, 2017 (celebrating Victoria Day) in Calgary, Canada when an international touring package came to town. Evergrey (Sweden) touring in support of their most recent release THE STORM WITHIN was supported by Seven Kingdoms (USA), Need (Greece) and Ascendia (Canada).
There were three other Metal shows in Calgary this long weekend and having a show on a Monday is tough but even right at the start of the night there were about 50 people to check out Ascendia from Toronto, Canada. I was really impressed by Ascendia. I reviewed their debut album here on Metal-Rules a while back and they were even heavier live. The immediate highlight was the killer voice and presentation of he has a big voice and a big sound that works well. The second song in the band dropped a heavy version of Holy Diver and did it great justice. The band ran through six songs and engaged the crowd very well. The progressive Power sounds were a perfect fit for this bill. They finished string with a song called ‘Remember Me’ from their debut and i’m sure many people will remember them as a hot and upcoming band.
Need from Athens,Greece the only band that I was not extremely familiar with, which is my loss! Taking a moment to chat with the singer Jannus at the merchandise table before the show, I discovered that he is the President of the Greek Savatage fan club. That makes sense because the kind of progressive Power Metal they play is right up the alley for fans of Savage. I bought their new album and settled in for the show. The quintet was pretty packed up on the smaller stage but made the best of it. Cool keyboard tones were a big part of their powerful sound and I really enjoyed what I heard. Watch for my review of their new album coming soon to Metal-Rules.com They finished the set with a song called ‘Orvam’, the title track of their third album and it is an epic prog Metal tour de force with big harmed vocals and sweeping sounds that ran about 15 minutes. I saw lots of nods of approval in the crowd that had grown to just under 100 Metal warriors.
Up next was Seven Kingdoms from Florida, USA. This is the second time they had been in town, the last was several years ago opening for Blind Guardian at a much bigger hall! Seven Kingdoms is touring in support of their 10th anniversary and their new album DECENNIUM. What was really cool is that they were selling the original, indie pressing of the new album at the merch table so I grabbed one. It has since been issued in the US by Nightmare Records and in Europe on Napalm Records. The band was the fastest and heaviest band on the bill. They were also the most traditional, playing a classic style of true Power Metal. The vocals of Sabrina Valentine were spot on, she can really hit some killer high notes. They all seemed to be having fun and engaged the crowd well. One of my favourite songs they played was ‘Faceless Heroes’ a song about Harry Potter and I’m not even a huge Harry Potter fan! I was disappointed they didn’t play ‘Thunder Of The Hammer’ but you can’t have it all! These guys would fit well on a tour with Hammerfall or other bands of that calibre.
The crowd started to thin out a little bit as it was getting late on a work night and the show had started late as the tour just got in from Vancouver, BC (a 12 hour drive) that day. It was the first time Evergrey had played in Calgary and the few loyalists who remained had a treat. When can you get that close to a massive band like Evergrey, except in Canada? I had seen the band, many years prior and had to travel to Vancouver to see them! Oddly enough the sound wasn’t perfect, it took a minute to get the mix right, it seemed a bit muddy to me, maybe it was just ‘ear fatigue’ after three other bands. There was a bit if a subdued light show which worked perfectly with the mood and temperament of the band, what did we expect, confetti cannons at show by a band called Evergrey? My photographer thought the lights made it hard to get good shots but I thought he did a great job (see below) Thanks Jeff!
The band played lots of their newer material, half the set was from the last two albums and even though I had heard both the last coupe of albums digitally, I was compelled to go buy the last two albums on hard copy. The band had great charisma and power, not the highest energy but they are not that sort of band for insane head-banging and stage antics. The encore was nice and long with a bit of a bass solo, a guitar solo and we were treated to a mini-piano solo before the encore where ‘Words Don’t Matter’ from SOLITUDE DOMINANCE TRAGEDY bled right into ‘Recreation Day’. I thought the encore was structured really well. I’ve been a fan for al own time and it was great to see the world-class top-notch performers in such an intimate setting. Catch this tour if you can!