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From Hell's Heart

"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the Metal-Rules.com team. Every other month or so we pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.

Check out past editorials



What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned? (January 2002)

"What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned?"
Michael De Los Muertos

The personal highlight of 2001 for me was, of course, Wacken. The yearly festival in northern Germany during the first week of August can rightfully be called the "world congress of metalheads," and such an event almost by definition must count as the highlight of the year. I won't rehash the highs and lows (far more of the former than the latter) because I already droned on for several pages about Wacken earlier in the year, and EvilG was nice enough to grace my text with Ice Maiden's stunning photos of the event. Check my review if you haven't read it!

For me 2001 was a year that was defined by metal, or by people and events that were connected with metal. From AVANTASIA at the beginning of the year to the release of the Lord of the Rings film at the end, metal was everywhere during my 2001, despite the fact that the year's triumphs (and tragedies) left me with much less time to listen to metal than in any previous year. 2001 brought me the opportunity to share metal with someone I love, someone whom I met precisely because of a mutual interest in metal. During 2001 I said goodbye to a dear friend of mine - a die-hard metalhead - whose untimely demise seemed best mourned by listening to metal. During 2001 I traveled thousands of miles, spent thousands of dollars, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times for reasons (including Wacken) inexorably intertwined with metal. 2001 showed me many memorable faces, and the vast majority of those faces belonged to fellow metalheads.

That being said it's intellectually dishonest, and even somewhat unfair, to narrow down the metallic experiences of the first year of the 21st century to one specific, finite event. Even if the choice is easy (and it is, given the magnitude of Wacken), analyzing that event out of context diminishes everything else that happened during the year for me. Clearly there is a summit to every mountain. But that summit does not, and cannot, stand there alone. That's how I look at 2001. On to 2002!


"What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned?"
Rick

With another new year in front of us it is time to take a look back at the year in metal that was 2001. As always we are doing our top CDs of the year but for this editorial Luxi came up with the great idea of choosing our personal highlight of the metal year that was 2001. For me that was easy. It was Metal Meltdown III in Asbury Park, New Jersey that myself and EvilG took in this past April. It was a great festival where I got to see some of my favourite past and present metal bands including Anvil, Exciter, Cathedral and Flotsam and Jetsam. Anvil and Exciter are metal legends and ripped through some of the most memorable metal tracks ever laid to vinyl. "Metal on Metal" and "Forged in Fire" by Anvil and "Violence and Force" by Exciter are some of my favourite songs ever bar none and to see then played by the these metal legends was spectacular. Cathedral put off a great set that, though unfortunately cut short by archaic noise bylaws, sent shivers down my spine with some of their most memorable tracks including "Hopkins: Witchfinder General" and "Midnight Mountain". I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Dorian and Leo Smee and they were really nice, down to earth guys. I also took in some bands that were new to me such as Pain, Mimic, Einherjer, Tempered Steel and Necrocide. Pain put one the most energetic sets of the festival. Peter Tatgren, encased in leather, was a whirling dervish as he ran and stomped around the stage like a mad man. If bands want to see a template of how a group is supposed to act in a live setting then they should take in a Pain show!

The high point of the whole festival and for my metal year was seeing the first North American performance from Primal Fear! They tore the place apart and put on one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. From the opening chords of "Angel in Black" to the closing strains of the encore "You've Got Another Thing Coming" , Primal Fear ripped through some of their best songs and showed why they are one of the premier metal bands on the scene today. Ralf Scheepers stalked the stage like a great cat and at every opportunity got the crowd into the show while at the same time showing why he is one of the best metal vocalists ever! He was awesome and wailed through great renditions of "Chainbreaker", "Nuclear Fire", "Final Embrace" and "Battalions of Hate". I had a goddamn sore neck after that set. Energetic, amazing and TOTALLY METAL!!!!! A spectacular show and a high point to see them for the first time in North America!


"What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned?"
Pete

It's great to see that old school bands (Saxon and Savatage for example) get better with age and turn out great CD's in 2001. Hat's off to Jeff Water's for taking a dark period of his life and turning it into one the best releases of the year, Annihilators, CARNIVAL DIABLOS. Another highlight was Primal Fear's NUCLEAR FIRE and a big thanx to Ralph Scheepers for showing the world that, yes, you can still kick peoples asses with an amazing voice!!! And last but not least, the contributions of the fellow Metal Rules staff, the readers, and the endless dedication to the cause, EvilG. Looking forward to a heavier 2002!!! Rock on!!!!


My Favorite Metal Moment in 2001---My Nuclear Fire
by Ice Maiden

I'm sure it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Wacken, this year or any other, serves as the metal pinnacle of the year of any metalhead who attends it. An entire town in Europe awash with true metalheads, long hair and leather everywhere you look, metal-related garb and paraphernalia of every form available for purchase, and metal of virtually every genre blasting out to an appreciative crowd. I miss more metal bands I want to see in a day at Wacken than are available for me to see all year in my hometown. It is hard to describe if you haven't been, but to have virtually every sight and sound for days straight be true metal-related is simply awesome. It just doesn't get much better than that.

In the midst of the metal bliss that is Wacken, I did, however, have one supreme metal moment for the year: Primal Fear's set. Imagine, if you will, that it is the first full day of Wacken-Friday, August 3, 2001. You've already experienced a relatively solid day of metal-Lacuna Coil, Holy Moses, Exciter, and Kamelot, to name a few. You've had a chance to reunite with metal friends from around the globe, and share some food and drink with them backstage surrounded by folks who are the backbone of the metal scene. You've purchased a few albums you've been looking for. Better yet, with the sun lowering on the horizon at 5 pm, you realize that you still have about 8 hours of metal listening pleasure that await you before you fall into your bed, including Overkill, Therion, Helloween, Desaster and Saxon.

By this point in the day, people have fallen into the groove of Wacken. They are happy, not yet tired, and ready for what will come. There is a vibrant buzz of energy in the air. This is when Primal Fear exploded onto the Double Mega-Stage-the largest stage of the venue. Ralf Scheepers and his gang seized and shook each note for all that it was worth, turning their trademark brand of classic/power metal into a finely tuned aural assault. Looking around, dancing to the music, packed in with my fellow fans, I see what had to be at least 15,000 faces all turned towards the stage, fists in the air, most singing along. And that is what created my supreme metal moment for the year-not just the incredible sounds I was hearing, not just the day I had already had and the night I was facing, not just being surrounded by friends who I care for, not just realizing that I was surrounded by strangers who share a common love-it was the confluence of all of these at the same time that lit this girl's nuclear fire and made her glow.


"What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned?"
CrashTest

This topic is a no-brainer for me. My metal highlight was Rocktoberfest, which took place on October 20th on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Let me be more specific, it wasn't the entire festival that did it for me, it was one particular band that played there ... ICED EARTH! The show featured a slew of "mallcore" bands whom I ignored for most of the day and the not-so-grand finale was Megadeth. Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of Mustaine & Co. for a long time and I still am, but Iced Earth flat-out stole the show nearly halfway into the festival.

So what specifically made this my year's highlight, especially considering that Iced Earth only played a 45 minute set? Well, besides seeing one of the greatest metal bands in the world, I also had the opportunity to talk to Jon Schaffer after the show. The man is a class act and very congenial to his fans. Jon spent at least two hours mixing it up with the crowd as the other bands played. I also learned from other fans who were standing in other parts of the festival grounds that Matt Barlow and other band members did the same thing.

While seeing the band play and then meeting some of them was killer, the icing on the cake was that the festival took place within a short drive of Camp Lejeune (Marines) and Fort Bragg (Army), which is where most of the US troops who were being deployed to Afghanistan were stationed. There were a ton of Marines there and they were indeed fired up for Iced Earth. Matt Barlow dedicated "Ghost of Freedom" to the soldiers and "Vengeance is Mine" to Osama bin Laden. Hell, even Mustaine sent a salute out to the guys, but then hypocritically followed it up later in the show by singing the words "military intelligence are two words combined that can't make sense." It was cool to hang out with these guys though, slapping each other five throughout the show and then going around embracing one another while screaming, "I can't believe I just saw Iced Earth" at the top of our raspy voices as the set ended. I made a few friends whom I have kept in touch with since then and we are making plans to trip to other metal shows in the future. Hey, I'll take all the metal friends I can get, because there aren't too many to be found around these parts.

On a non-metal note, my other highlight of 2001 was the birth of my third child and second son, Noah. Within a week of his birth I introduced him to Iced Earth!


Best thing in Metal 2001
Thiago

I'm going to talk about Brazil. This year seemed to be the best one for heavy metal here in a long time. Lots of gigs and heavy metal has proved to be alive out here, even without any support from the big media. Even MTV had canceled its heavy metal show to put a 'rock oriented' one instead -- it plays metal, but it's not a metal show.

In January, we had seen the third edition of Rock in Rio festival and one day was completely dedicated to heavy metal. There were about 150,000 people there to watch Iron Maiden, Halford, and Sepultura. It could have been even more people, if the promoters weren't afraid of the "metal rebel vandals" and had put more tickets to be sold (for Britney Spears, there were 250,000 tickets available). Anyway, the 'metal day', as it was called, was the one with the minor number of problems.

This year we had lots of great concerts over here, even with the problems in our currency (it has devalued about 50%. This fact made the international gigs a lot more expensive, so were the tickets). Bands like Dio, Judas Priest, Savatage, Overkill, Helloween, Rhapsody, HammerFall, Nevermore, Children of Bodom, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen played here, and they all had a very good attendance, even most of them without a reasonable promotion and a high ticket price. As a result, venue Via Funchal has announced that in 2002 they will put heavy metal as a top priority for scheduling gigs - at least one per month. This means that heavy metal bands will have a great venue to play here. And also there is the expectation for a new edition of the Monsters of Rock festival in 2002.

Our local heavy metal scene also had a great year. The release of HAMLET seemed to start a new age for heavy metal in this country, with the bands helping each other and starting truly to make a united metal scene. Sepultura did a great gig at Rock in Rio Festival and Brazilian media started to respect them again. After the split up, Angra proved to be strong with a successful new album -- more than 100,000 copies sold -- and a great Brazilian tour. Krisium has established their names as one of the biggest death metal bands in the world. Brazilian underground bands have released great albums, with a very good production -- the biggest problem around their releases in the past.

And now the big media is starting to notice it. Last Tuesday (January 2nd), Brazilian biggest newspaper had an article talking about how metal was becoming bigger again. Today (Jan 4th) I was interviewed at Galeria do Rock (our rock mall) for a report that will be broadcasted in the second biggest Brazilian TV channel. But the best fact out of it is that heavy metal is strong again not because of the media, but due to the fans, who really make it happen here. It's something that comes from the underground and it's rising again. We are making ourselves noticed by the big media. Step by step, metal is becoming strong here again.

2001 was really an year for Brazilians to remember. Well, it is still not perfect. There aren't good venues established for smaller Brazilian bands to play. We need to find this space, so Brazilian bands can become bigger. A good start was the second edition of Brasil Metal Union, which had a good attendance, meaning that the Brazilian fans are giving each year more recognition to Brazilian underground bands. But we need to find places where Brazilian bands can play more often, and the fans need to follow them.

I'm sure everything is going in the right direction. Maybe metal has never been so consistent as it is now in Brazil. It's time to keep up the pace and I hope that in the next year I'll write that 2002 was even better than 2001. And so on…

PS: Brazil is a country way too big. So everything I'm talking about is concerned mainly about São Paulo, the city where I live. I don't know exactly how the other cities are right now, I know that here in the south of the country everything is going fine - at least they can watch some international metal acts and there are some good bands coming out of there, but I can't say anything about the north. I hope that everything good that happens here in the south starts to spread to all the country.


"What was your personal highlight of 2001 as far as metal was concerned?"
EvilG

There is one event from 2001 which was not only a highlight for the year, but a personal metal highlight of all time. That was seeing Primal Fear live at Metal Meltdown III in Asbury Park, NJ, USA! This was the German band's first appearance in North America so as a result the band was also wondering what kind of a reaction they'd get. The reaction was total enthusiasm! I had thoroughly enjoyed many of the other bands at this two day festival, but seeing Primal Fear was almost indescribable. This performance was excellent with live renditions of all their best songs. I will never forget it!!! Nothing at all comes close to this concert as a personal metal highlight. Everything else pales in comparison. The remaining items worth mentioning are a few of the highlights. Getting to interview bands/people that I am a fan of is always a treat, but when it's for a band I've been into for well over a decade it becomes an event. For 2001 that would be Kreator's Mille Petrozza and the metal legend Ronnie James Dio. Seeing that there is hope for a local metal scene in my home town was also something that surprised me in 2001. Lastly, there is a new band that stood above others in 2001 providing me with a lot of hope for the future. That band is Lost Horizon with their first album AWAKENING THE WORLD. Lets hope 2002 is also full of memorable metal moments.



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