The first band of the evening was Synergy Protocol. Synergy Protocol is a progressive metal band from Utrecht in the Netherlands. The band consists of Maarten “Big M” Heeringa on guitar and backing vocals, Mark Roelofs on guitar and backing vocals, Wim Smits on the bass and Patrick van Mourik on the drums and percussion. The band is currently looking for a new singer, but during this show, it was Laura Guldemond on vocals. This band really surprised me in a positive way. They managed to bring progressive metal to a whole new level. The “weird” time signatures which are often very prominent in progressive metal really created a new dimension to their music. Even though their songs are very progressive, the choruses often had a catchy touch which made a very interesting combination. First of all the backline, the drums and bass performed by Wim and Patrick were really steady and provided a great basis for the rest of the music to lean upon. The bass even had some solo riffs which always means bonus points from me. The guitars were really balanced. Synergy Protocol does not have a rhythm and a lead guitar player but 2 lead/rhythm guitar players instead. The way Maarten and Mark managed to switch between the solo’s really impressed me. Since they both have their unique solo sound, it got extra special. The vocals really fit the genre as well, the high, female vocals are easy to listen to, however you could hear that it was done by an experienced singer. The way she put the lyrics over the music shows great potential. Besides the technical part of the music, the show was done very well as well. Each band member knows how to perform on stage and they even had some choreography. For example, during a song they would all stand next to each other and press the first fret on the instrument of the person on their right. Another thing they did to entertain the crowd was something I have never seen before. During the song Flight From Terra, they handed out paper planes to the crowd which were released during the chorus. This gave a very special effect to the show! Because of their excellent performance, I rate Synergy Protocol 8/10!
The second band to take the stage was Kingfisher Sky. Kingfisher Sky is a Dutch progressive metal band from The Hague, South Holland. Their debut album Hallway of Dreams, was released in October 2007 on Suburban Records. The band currently consists of Judith Rijnveld on vocals, Ivar de Graaf, on drums, Edo van der Kolk and Chris Henny on guitars, Maaike Peterse playing the cello, Nick Verschoor on the bass and David Gutierrez Rojas plays the keys. After Synergy Protocol, Kingfisher Sky was a band of an entirely different vibe. They are far more symphonic and gothic than Synergy Protocol, however they do keep the progressive touch in their songs. The backline did their job excellently and the guitars managed to get along with the keys very well. What is very interesting in this band is that they have both a keyboard player and a cellist. Usually you see a band letting the keys take over the cello parts as well, however the real life cello managed to add an extra dimension to the music, making it very pleasurable to listen to. The voice of Judith Rijnveld suits the genre like no-other. Her voice is the typical voice you would expect in a symphonic, gothic, progressive band. With Kingfisher Sky, the interaction with the audience was far less, making it a little bit less interesting to watch. This, however, does not change anything to the quality of the individual musicians and the band as a whole. I rate the performance of Kingfisher Sky 7/10.
The final act of the evening was Stream of Passion.
Stream of Passion is a Dutch progressive metal band with symphonic, latin and gothic influences founded by guitarist Arjen Anthony Lucassen and Mexican singer and violinist Marcela Bovio. The band’s line-up has consisted of Bovio, guitarists Eric Hazebroek and Stephan Schultz, bass guitarist Johan van Stratum, keyboardist Jeffrey Revet, and drummer Martijn Peters since 2009. Stream of Passion is another progressive band that sounds more symphonic and gothic than Synergy Protocol. Most songs, I would argue, are barely progressive at all. Their music is really interesting with the latin influences. This show was a very special show since the band celebrated their 10 year celebration of the release of their first album Embrace the Storm (2005). In order to celebrate this, they played the entire album front to back and this band knows how to put on a show. Each and every musician puts on a show by themselves. Immediately with their opening track Spellbound, the crowd got going. Even though the music is rather slow and beautiful, the audience managed to create an energetic ambience. The musicians individually know their way around their instruments very well as most of them also teach at the Metal Factory. For the song Broken, they even invited Laura Guldemond (Synergy Protocol) on stage to sing a duet. Marcela is the vocal teacher of Laura at the Metal Factory and they therefore work together a lot. The fact that Marcela also plays the violin gives that extra touch to the music which a keyboard cannot do, like the cello in Kingfisher Sky. My favorite tracks of the evening were Embrace the Storm, Passion and Wherever you Are. The way the band played these three tracks was even better than on the recordings. The whole ambience they created with their music on the record was present, if not more present. All these things combined, made a great evening. I therefore rate it 8/10!
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