My PP XII Haul & Thoughts

Apr 3, 2004
Nashville, TN
Hey Gang,

Been a long time since i posted but that is because I have been busy listening to new music for PP XII. This was the first year that i did not own a any cd's from the bands playing this year at the main festival. Needless to say, I have been busy. Before I get started, I would like to say a few things about PP XI.

Bronze - Oceans of Sadness - They were fantastic, I loved their set and their energy. I loved these guys on cd and i thought the live show was even better. Sound was amazing, seemed like they had some of the best sound of the night. This is a band that I had never heard of before and I can not wait for the new one.

Silver - Delain - WOW, i love them on cd but thought they were even better live. Charolotte sounded amazing and in a live setting the music had a little more punch which was awesome. I do hope they get an invitation back. Fantastic show and a great set list.

Gold - Kamelot - Okay, two things, Glenn and Jen, great job for keeping your cool when things could have really gotten ugly and my hats off to Mike for NAILING IT!!! Mike outdid Khan himself. This is the best i have ever seen kamelot here at PP. WOW, i would love if Mike fronted Kamelot and Circus Maximus, know it won't happen but man he was good. While we are on Kamelot, count me in as disappointed with the new disc. Love the dark sound but khan just does not sound good to me on this one. Give me the fourth legacy any day where he actually sings. I find him doing more of a talk/sing with the new one and I just don't like it. Glenn, thanks for clearing it up for us what is going on in the kamelot camp. i wish roy the best and do hope he comes back and I wish nothing but success for the rest of the band and hope they find a good replacement.

Platinum - Seventh Wonder - TOMMY IS THE BEST VOCALIST TO HIT THE PP STAGE. He was absolutely amazing. Hell, the whole band was amazing and very nice guys. If you were not able to see the Sat morning show, i hate to rub it in but it was even better. Hearing 3 ballads in a row to start and then Tommy saying sorry for his voice(WHAT??? He sounded fantastic). Had never heard of this band before the the announcement last year and they are now my favorite band. Glenn and Jen - thank you!! Their new cd, The Great Escape, was my favorite in 2010. If you have not heard it, go get it. AWESOME BAND and I hope they are back VERY SOON!!!!

Okay, on to the PP XII music.

CREATION'S END - A New Beginning - I had never heard of the band. So upon first listen, i was not digging the dark vibe on this one. After a few more spins, this one really grew on me and i find that I enjoy this one a lot. Mike has a great mid range voice and has some serious power behind it. The production on this disc is awesome. Love the crunch of the guitar and love the solos. The first song on this disc is a total monster. Nice and crunchy with plenty of solos from the keys and guitar. My one complaint is that to me some of the songs are a tad bit too long. I find myself digging this one but not wanting to continue so my journey will end here with this band. With that being said, this is going to be an awesome live show, especially to start the main show. Looking forward to some tasty solos.

VOYAGER - I Am The Revolution - I had never heard of this band. HELL YES!! This one grabbed me from the first note. I must be getting old because this music is not the heaviest but I sure am loving it. I love the vibe of mid 90's Depeche Mode or even T42(what ever happened to them?) mixed in with some crunchy guitars and some outstanding vocals. LOVE THIS BAND!!! I find myself grabbing this one and singing along to every song. Very melodic and some great melodies. VERY FUN DISC and I WANT MORE. My journey will continue with this band. I ended up buying the previous two cd's as well. I do like the older stuff as well but i prefer the more dance/metal direction of the last cd. Daniel's voice is awesome and I am totally pumped ablout seeing them live.

ELDRITCH - Blackenday - I had heard of this band and heard a little bit of their stuff a long time ago. This is not what i remembered them sounding like when i firsdt heard them back in the 90's. At first listen, i was not digging this. I loved the thrash, simplistic song structure that hit you in the face but i had a hard time with the vocals. The more i listened to this disc, the vocals seemed to find their place and I enjoy this quite a lot. Love how they hit you in the face hard and heavy and don't let up. Songs are short and to the point. This is going to be a GREAT LIVE SHOW!! This type of music goes very well on the PP stage. However, i don't find myself craving more so my journey ends here with this band.

MOB RULES - Radical Peace - I had never heard of this band. WHOA, I LOVE THIS BAND. This disc smokes from beginning to end. The only way i know how to describe this is Epic hard rock. The music is crunchy and songs are a little on the longer side. What is awesome about this band, the amazing choruses. How can you not find yourself headbanging and singing those amazingly melodic choruses. Production is fantastic and the vocals are amazing. Just enough rasp and grit to satisfy me but tons of melody and emotion. I can't say enough good things about this band. GO GET THIS DISC. My journey will continue with this band. i can't wait to hear the new one. This is going to be an awesome show!!! Fantastic Band.

ARCTURUS - Sideshow Symphonies - Not sure where to begin on this one. I am sure that there are some followers here but i did not get it. This music is strange and i have a really hard time following it. i can't seem to find the melody or get exactly what they are trying to do. I am sure there guys are phenominal musicians but i don't understand this. I am looking forward to the live show b/c i would consider these guys the oddball this year. Every year the oddball is typically the band i struggle with most on cd but live they are one of the best shows(think DSO, hated them on disc but live they were AMAZING). I do think the singer has a great voice but i struggle with his delivery, hellhammer is an amazing drummer and i can't wait to see him live. tore is amazing on the guitar so i have a feeling they are going to be heavier live. I am looking forward to the live show as i feel i will be surprised but on cd, i just don't get it. Needless to say, my journey ends here with this band.

SANCTUARY - Refuge Denied/Into The Mirror Black - I had never heard this band. I remember seeing these discs back in the day but I was never much of a thrash fan. Listeneing to these discs, i did have a good time. Those simplistic metal riffs from back in the day are awesome. I know I am going to get killed here but i really don't see what the fuss is with Warrel. Sure he can hit the high notes but they sounded forced and hard to hit. I will take Midnight anyday. Not to say Warrel is bad, b/c he is not, i think i was expecting more from all the praise i had seen about him. Of the two discs i prefer ITMB due to less high pitched vocals and the songs are just better in my opinion. Overall a fun listen but my journey will end here with this band. I think the live show will be AWESOME. I checked out the live clips and they sounded AMAZING. This is going to be a kick ass live show and I am very much looking forward to it. Great way to close the fest on Friday.

HAKEN - Aquarius - Have never heard of this band. This by far was the biggest surprise for me of the lot. From the reviews i had read, this was not going to be my cup of tea. THIS DISC IS AMAZING!! I love this thing from start to finish and can't wait for more. I love how all over the place this is. i never know which direction this baby is going but all directions are amazing. If i could change anything it would be the growls, thankfully they are mimimal. Production on this disc is awesome, everything is clear and up front in the mix. This disc has some heavy moments but most of the time this is a very easy listening cd. Guitarist smokes and has some tasty solos all over this thing. Highlight is the vocalist, this guy has an amazing voice and an amazing range. His voice is perfect for this band. I can't wait to see these guys live and how they pull all of this off in a live setting. This will also be a great change of pace for the PP stage. My jounrey will continuie with this band. Can't wait for this one.

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - Vast Oceans Lachrymose - I have never heard of this band. this was the 2nd biggest surprise for me. When i heard this was a doom band, i knew i was probably not going to like this. This cd is not doom, may have some doom moments but it is not a doom cd. Production is fantstic. I love the harmony on the choruses on this disc. I do wish they would do more acoustic passages because they are amazing. Standout for me on this one is the vocalist. This guy can really sing and has a very strong voice. My journey will continue with this band. Can't wait to see them live.

RED CIRCUIT - Homeland - I have never heard of this band. This is exactly how i like my music, chunky and melodic. I love everything about this cd. I find myself going back to this cd regularly. The production is top notch with the guitars really up front in the mix. Standout again for me is the vocals. i have always been a chity fan but he has never sounded better. He does an outstanding job on this outing and I can't wait to hear him live. I think this band is going to win over a a lot of new fans. My journey will continue with this band. Can't wait for more from these guys.

LABYRINTH - Return To Heaven Denied Part II - Had heard of this band before but did not really pay much attention to them. This cd is very solid and very melodic. Production is a little muddy for my tastes but it did not take away from the warmth of the music. Plenty of solos from the guitars and keys. Vocals are outstanding. I do prefer when the vocalist sings the mid paced and slower songs as you can really hear just how smooth and strong his voice is. Very solid cd that i enjoy but it does not leave me wanting more. My journey ends here with this band. I do however feel this will be a great live show, especially in the vocal dept.

DREAM EVIL - In The Night - I have never heard of this band. HELL YES, this is what i am talking about. Solid, crunchy, in your face power metal. This cd is fun/fist pumping power metal from start to finish. Are they cheesy - yes - are they awesome - HELL YES!! I can't get enough of this band and think they will steal the fest this year. i sure hope they play the title track live, fantastic song. I loved this cd so much i also purchased UNITED and THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL. United to me is more of a hard rock album with great vocals and TBOHM is an absolute classic and is my favorite of the 3 albums. By far my favorite band of the lot and my journey will continue with this band. LOVE THESE GUYS and think they will OWN the PP stage.

THERION - Sitra Ahra - I have heard of this band. My only experience with them was from PP a few years back and I did not get it. I hate to say this but after listening to this cd, i still don't get what the fuss is about. I tried to like this because of all the positive feedback they received when the show was announced. I like the vocalists and the music is not bad, i think this is just a type/style of music that i just don't like. No doubt there is nothing out there doing this today and I appreciate that creativity but it is just not clicking with me. More thank likely i will be worn out from DREAM EVIL and will stay for a few songs but will call it in early. I hate to say that but i have to be honest here. So needless to say, my journey ends here with this band.

Thursday Night Show - I WAS PUMPED ABOUT VANDEN PLAS AND EVERGREY. GREAT JOB GLENN. Glenn, i will go ahead and ask if this is a format we could continue with? I don't make it to the Thursday night show very often because there are typically 4 bands and only 1 that i might want to see. I am one of the old school PP guys and there is something special about seeing bands like Symphony X, Evergrey, Kamelot, Edguy, Angra, Vanden Plas etc. you have said that to keep the main show going you have to expand the boundaries a little bit to gain fresh blood. I love that you do b/c every year i find new bands that i love. To me this year is an old school PP's wet dream with two bands that us old guys will love. I know nothing about budget costs but is this something that can/could continue in the future? Having two well known bands playing full sets is amazing. Just wondering and would love to hear your thoughts on this.

So gang, i will wrap up but as always i would love to hear your comments. I love to see where we agree and diagree.

Glenn and Jen - outstanding job and I can't wait to see you later this year. You two do so much for us fans and we love you for it. I can't thank you enough for all you do for us.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thank you,

Nothing really to say except you should've checked out Return to Heaven Denied and not the second one. It's their classic album and nothing they've done has even come close to the magic on that album.
I just got the Haken disc and absolutely love it. Kudos to Glenn for booking them, but I think the vast majority of the usual PP crowd is gonna hate this band (hope I'm wrong).
I expected very little from Haken, but the disc has gotten return visits to the player and is on fairly heavy rotation on the iPod.
I personally thought that Labyrinth RTHD pt II was stunningly good. I remember liking the first disc but it got cast aside sometime shortly after it came out, so I dug that back out also.
Sanctuary sold the show to me instantly. The wife and I keep discussing retiring from the PPUSA scene after every year, but somehow Glenn draws us back in. Someday we will call it a day and quit coming, but not quite yet...
Evergrey & Vandenplas...will be there definitely for this! Kudos to Glenn.
Once, not long ago, a band called Therion headlined ProgPowerUSA. This was the 1st show I missed since I started coming in year 3, and without Sanctuary headlining on Friday I'm pretty sure they would have kept me away again. I just don't get it. No redeeming qualities at all!
Mob Rules & Dream Evil...I can't take too much of this in my listening sessions at home, but both bands have their place, both have awesome new discs, and they will be fun to see live.

Everything else is gravy, baby!
Once, not long ago, a band called Therion headlined ProgPowerUSA. This was the 1st show I missed since I started coming in year 3, and without Sanctuary headlining on Friday I'm pretty sure they would have kept me away again. I just don't get it. No redeeming qualities at all!

Therion was just a #3 slotted band out of 5 the previous time they played. They did not headline like they will this year. Therion also kicked some serious ASS when they played the #3 slot that year too!! ;)
Perhaps you are correct. My memory says they were the reason I didn't attend that year, so I may just be assuming they were headlining. Regardless, I can't stand the band whether they are a 3 slot or a headliner.I heard that they kicked ass, but that doesn't mean I would have dug it. Diablo Swing Orchestra kicked ass also, but I didn't enjoy it. Same with Freak Kitchen. I'm assuming that it will be similar to Rage headlining on a Saturday. A certain % of the crowd will pack it in early.
I just got the Haken disc and absolutely love it. Kudos to Glenn for booking them, but I think the vast majority of the usual PP crowd is gonna hate this band (hope I'm wrong).

I love prog metal/prog rock but I've had found it hard to enjoy this disc...i like it instrumentally but i don't like the vocalist.. or the verses or something...its not all the time.. its just that sometimes it feels repetitive when he sings some times...its hard to describe.
A certain % of the crowd will pack it in early.

Therion had the place absolutely packed when they last performed. DSO did as well. Freak Kitchen were so popular that we had to invite them back to the Showcase the following year.

I can absolutely understand your dislike of non-traditional metal bands. However, do not underestimate their draw. I'll bet you a free ticket vs. you purchasing an extra in 2012 that you are wrong on your Rage comparison.

And btw...people did not leave early because it was Rage. People left early because of Tom Englund inviting the crowd out to an impromptu signing session and party at the Artmore. Evergrey were not popular enough to do that anywhere else in the world except ProgPower USA.
Glenn, I never commented on the mentioned bands not packing the house (other than Rage), just stating my dislike. Hell, we even stayed through both Freak Kitchen & DSO's sets. They both put on a great show! Just not my cuppa tea. I'm sure Therion will have the seats packed. I'm also sure that there are some people that will pack it in shortly after their show starts. The closing Saturday band of ProgPower is a tough one to make it through to the very end, with the abusive three or four day binge that we go on every September in Atlanta.An oddball band may very well draw people in, in this case maybe the "not your average variety progpowerusa attendees", but there will be a certain % that "doesn't get it" and will be leaning towards the doors a little early.
I thought 1/2 the Therion set was Fantastic the last time they played at Progpower....then a Death Metal Show broke out ...not my taste. I really like the 2 most recent releases by Therion though.
DSO and Freak Kitchen have been 2 most "Entertaining" shows I've ever seen.
I have been to every show since PPUSAIV, and I must say the Headline spot on Saturday seems to be the toughest. Midway through All the saturday headliners, that I can recall, the Crowd is down very noticably. With the exception of the all-star jam finally(which was AMAZING!) when it seemed just as crowded ALL NIGHT.
Getting back to this years upcoming show, I too have tried to listen to Arcturus. I too just don't get it. I hear basically nothing for my taste in them. However, I don't take issue with them playing the festival. Firstly, if this is what it takes to puts asses in the seats and keeps Glenn motivated to continue PPUSA then great! Second, it'll give me a break before I enjoy Nevermore....umm...I mean...Sanctuary kick some serious butt!

Bands I Knew and liked BEFORE they were announced...Mob Rules, Dream Evil, Labyrinth, Therion, Red Circuit.
Bands I like now that I have had time to get to know them since announcement...While Heaven Wept, Voyager, Creations End, Sanctuary.
I'm at Take it or leave it on Haken, and Eldritch. I'll will definitely sit in on their sets, maybe they'll win me over that way.
As far as the Wednesday and Thursday shows go, Evergrey is in my top 3 ALL TIME favorite bands. Vanden Plas is in the top 20. nuff said, other than THANK YOU, THANK YOU< THANK YOU GLENN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow! Glenn, did you miss that error?

No. I just don't get off on pointing out other's mistakes in public unless it has a negative impact on the festival. It happens a hell of a lot on this forum.

I have no desire to be an annoying forum moderator telling adults to keep their elbows off the table at dinner.
I knew about 4 of the bands on the roster, but only owned an album from 2 (Therion & Mob Rules). So I've picked up a few discs. My 2 cents on the bands playing this year:

CREATION'S END - Solid stuff. Nothing ground breaking going on here, but this disc has a good vibe and should be a great way to kick things off.

VOYAGER - I just got Univers and Element V a few days ago. After about 2 spins of each I don't have a solid opinion yet. Sounds promising, but nothing has grabbed me hard yet.

ELDRITCH - I downloaded some of their music in the late 90's and thought it was OK. Have not investigated further.

MOB RULES - I picked up one of their albums at a progpower maybe 5-6 years ago. They reminded me of Kamelot at the time, but not as good. Will revisit before the fest.

ARCTURUS - Watched some youtube clips so far. Sounds...interesting. I think I'll enjoy the show, but am not really interested in picking up a CD. Maybe their performance will change that opinion.

SANCTUARY - Don't like Nevermore, so I've been hesitant to check this out.

HAKEN - Pretty solid debut album, but they get a little too "off topic" musically a little too often for this to stay on regular rotation. I like prog, too. Should be a good show though.

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT - Wow. I haven't been able to stop spinning Vast Oceans Lachrymose since I picked it up just before Christmas. I'm looking forward to this performance more than any other.

RED CIRCUIT - I picked up two albums a few days ago along with the Voyager discs. This is my kind of music! The vocals don't do a whole lot for me, yet, but I've only spun each one once or twice so far.

LABYRINTH - Have not looked into yet.

DREAM EVIL - I've heard of them, and based on what I've read I'm sure I'll like them, but I haven't checked them out yet.

THERION - Not my cup of tea. I watched their performance last time, and enjoyed it, though.
I love how all the trad/power/prog/aor rock fans don't "get" Arcturus. They are going to be the coolest band of the fest. People will be talking about them.

This lineup is fucking killer, though. I don't think there's a bad band on the list.

To topic creator: finding the latest disc by bands isn't always the best way to taste them. I mean, Dragonslayer is easily Dream Evil's best, Blackenday is not the best introduction to Eldritch, Return to Heaven Denied Part II is not where to start with Labyrinth. Vast Oceans Lacrymose is a great album, but I think that Empires is the stronger album and a better starting point for WHW. So for some of your "My journey ends here" sucks that you tasted just their newer material.
Thanks Everyone for posting thoughts, i love reading where we may get along and where we don't. Always makes for a fun read.

Palabra - You know, you are probably right and I am sure that I may miss some great music due to my journey ending. I like to buy the newer cd's beccause i feel like that will be what I hear the most of on the PP stage. Sometimes that is not the case with the Headliner. I know that Therion will probably play a lot more of their older material. I don't mean it as the band is bad, it just means that it is not enough for me to want more. Does that make sense. There have been exceptions. Brainstorm was one where i liked them on cd but did not want to continue but after seeing them live, i was hooked. May happen again this year, i have a feeling Creation's End may win me over.

Glenn, i would love to know if the format for the Thursday night show may be something we see again? Again, I know nothing about budgets for this as opposed to how Thursday usually runs but I love having 2 headliners playing on THursday night.


To topic creator: finding the latest disc by bands isn't always the best way to taste them. I mean, Dragonslayer is easily Dream Evil's best, Blackenday is not the best introduction to Eldritch, Return to Heaven Denied Part II is not where to start with Labyrinth. Vast Oceans Lacrymose is a great album, but I think that Empires is the stronger album and a better starting point for WHW. So for some of your "My journey ends here" sucks that you tasted just their newer material.

True, but it's a matter of taste. Also, for the most part, the latest band DOES reflect what the band is all about currently. Again, it's mainly a matter of taste. For instance, I think VOL is by far the strongest WHW album and Dragonslayer a bucket of bore. Again, taste... :lol: