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Looking Back - 2013 - Part 1

2013 is drawing to an end and it's about time to write a recap for Dark Music Site of everything metal that happened during these past 12 months. Truth is, it's been a great year for metal, especially for festivals and live shows in general - I, personally had the opportunity of seeing lots of legendary and extraordinary bands, and yes, there were some very cool releases as well. Of course this summary is just based on my personal experiences and tastes - as I can't be everywhere (at once) and just will write about what I liked, many events which others might think important may not be mentioned here.

2013 started with an absolutely great concert in Madrid, the Screaming for Metal which is organised yearly by the Pounding Metal Union (Heavy Metal club from Madrid, Spain) - headlined by the mighty Attacker, who delivered a really perfect and amazing show, with Maniac and Skull Bastards supporting. What a blast! By the way, they've also released a cool album in 2013.

February proved to be a pretty intense month, with the Dutch Attack Part II in Madrid and Murcia - Dutch metal band Gloria Victis came to visit us and to play gigs with Wild. Both the Attacker gig and the Wild + Gloria Victis show in Madrid were co-produced by DMS Promotions and a lot of fun, as was the Wild + Gloria Victis show in Murcia, were Gloria Victis played an especially great set.

Later this year we got visitors from Venezuela - not the type of band you usually see in Madrid or Spain in general. The venue wasn't exactly packed, but Landsemk did a good show full of good old german-type power metal songs.

April in the metal world means Keeep it True, one of the most important heavy metal festivals in the world - at Keep it True XVI we saw unique bands such as Warlord, Liege Lord and Medieval Steel. Magnificent, unforgettable gigs and a great party! Right after an amazing Keep it True, back in Madrid we celebrated the Pounding Metal Fest VII with headliners Manilla Road and Vicious Rumors (with James Rivera on vocals), more than reason enough to include this event in the best-of list of the year 2013.

Shortly after that it was time for the summer festivals, among which the Headbangers Open Air stands out as one of the best of the traditional heavy/ speed/ thrash events. In the 2013 edition we saw excellent bands like Demon, Overkill, Metal Church, and again Vicious Rumors, this time with their regular vocalist Brian Allen, as well as Spanish speed metal legend Muro, for the first time in Germany. As always, all bands met high standards and were mostly very enjoyable, like for example Game Over, Forte and Midnight Priest. One of the absolute highlights in Summer, as always. Additionally, the Sunday after HOA Vicious Rumors played in Hamburg and Midnight Priest the day after at the Ballroom - so the trip to the North of Germany turned out really worthwhile.

After Summer Pounding Metal Union first organized the Black Metal Night III with Pagan Altar, Nigromante and Misty Grey. The opening bands (from Madrid) are clearly influenced by 70s metal, Misty Grey being outright doomy, and Pagan Altar are classic NWoBHM with also doomy influences - so it was an amazing package.
In October there were two festivals I absolutely couldn't miss - the first one was the Taken by Force in Hellendorn (The Netherlands), with Picture as headliner and various amazing more or less underground Dutch metal bands (and one Swiss band) playing. Under Siege, who played a one-time reunion show and aren't regularly together any more really surprised me - progressive outer-space thrash, and of course Emerald were totally first-rate, I just had to see them again live this year! Two weeks later there was the Heavy Metal Maniacs Fest in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), organized by the homonymous Dutch Heavy Metal Club, with none less than American cult band The Rods as headliner... plus an amazing set by English NWoBHM legend More (with new members and outstanding frontman Mike Freeland on vocals) as well as lots of other great bands... Black Knight and Vanderbuyst (replacing RAM at the very last moment)... and last not least Wild from Spain and at the pre-party Lizzies (also from Spain).

Back in Madrid the Pounding Metal Union brought Italian thrashers Ultraviolence to play at the Excalibur. Brutal and relentless thrash with an attitude, accompanied by a great show by Stillness and surprising newcomers Battering Ram.

Finally, at the beginning of December and during the long weekend (Dec 6 is a national holiday) Pounding Metal Union and DMS Promotions organized one of the heaviest weekends in Madrid - first Striker, Screamer and Evil Invaders, then Final Heiress, Percutor and Metal Legion.
Pounding Metal Union organized Striker for the second time at the Excalibur in Madrid, where they'd almost left people outside of the venue a few years ago. This time it wasn't that packed, but it was crowded and the fans had a lot of fun. The sound wasn't that good this time, but all the same Striker delivered a fast and furious gig.

Final Heiress, Percutor and Metal Legion was organized by DMS Promotions, and I think we can be very proud of the high quality bands performing at our concerts. Metal Legion have just released a very noteworthy EP, "Hymns of the Iron Warrior", which I love, but seeing them live was even better. Fortunately, this time, they appeared with the complete line-up. They play old school European power metal, a bit in the vein of old (old!!!) Helloween and the like... great gig!
Next up were Percutor, who I've see lots of times - but somehowe I like them better every time. Now they have an additional guitar player, which suits them very well and makes their sound more powerful. Their furious, angry speed metal with Spanish lyrics is as intense as it ever was. Makes you headbang to it whether you want to or not.
Finally, Final Heiress ... one of THE magic bands I've come across in my life, and therefore it was so much more special being able to organise the concert with DMS Promotions. An almost forgotten gem and some of the best 80s metal of the Netherlands, they made us time-travel back into the old days for a while. It was great listening again to songs like "The Omen" or "Look Around". Their performance was just awesome, and they had a perfect sound - thanks to the great job of sound technician Vasco Duran (for all 3 bands)!
A great evening for the bands and all the people who came out to see them, thank you all so much, especially Final Heiress for coming from The Netherlands! Thanks of course to everybody at Excalibur, to Pounding Metal Union and also to Metalmeria for the really big help! Without all of you all this underground metal stuff wouldn't be possible!