Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Location: The Forum, London, England
16 April, 2013

 Helloween, Gamma Ray & Shadowside


Hellish Rock Tour – Part II


Conceptually, the ‘Hellish Rock Tour’ revolved around the idea of pairing off Helloween with Gamma Ray, the band guitarist/lead vocalist Kai Hansen formed after leaving Helloween. Once it was clear that all personal issues had been ironed out, it was only a matter of time before such a tour would become reality…..and fulfil the dreams of both bands’ armies of loyal fans. 

The first time it had happened was in 2007/2008 and this year the idea was reprised and dubbed ‘The Hellish Rock Tour – Part II’. Having very fond memories of Helloween’s early material, I couldn’t afford to give it a miss when the tour stopped over London. 

Strangely enough it was far from being a sold-out out event, to the extent that the balcony of the ‘Forum’ was closed off. On the positive side, this meant that the larger area in front of the stage was packed with rabid Metal fans.

Shadowside   (www.shadowside.ws/en/)

Opening a gig for 2 pioneers of Power Metal is a demanding challenge in itself. Shadowside, however, made a commendable effort to…er…not remain in the shadows, and gave a solid performance. The members had a dynamic stage presence and lead vocalist Dani Nolden seemed to have springs in her feet as she hopped all over the stage while inciting the audience to cheer on. 

Originating from Brazil, the band’s most recent album is “Inner Monster Out” on which almost all their set was based. Unfortunately their show was plagued by a muddled sound. For instance at times I could barely hear Dani’s voice.


The audience was all ears for Shadowside but for most of the time they remained oddly inactive. The impression I got was that they weren’t so familiar with Shadowside’s repertoire. I particularly enjoyed the band’s rendition of Motorhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’, which helped to oil the joints on several necks. Indeed, towards the very end of their set, the audience finally began to loosen up and become more vocal in their appreciation of Shadowside’s material. 

‘Angel With Horns’, which closed Shadowside’s set, was introduced as being one of the heaviest songs the band has ever written. Having heard it for the first time at the gig, I liked its dirty and groovy riffs that were well-complemented by Dani’s melodic but gritty singing. Despite the unbearable heat, the audience saluted the band with a loud applause as the members left the stage.

[While Shadowside cleared the stage to make way for Gamma Ray, I had a quick chat with Raphael Mattos, the band’s guitarist.] 

Fabio Carito (Shadowside bass player) was telling me that this is not the first time the band has played in England... 

Raphael: Yes, we’ve been here in 2010 when we were supporting W.A.S.P.. We had played venues in other U.K. cities but this is actually the first time we’ve played in London. 

I’m sure you’ve got good memories of England, then. 

Raphael: Yes, sure. 

What is it like hanging out with the members of Helloween and Gamma Ray? 

Raphael: Oh, they’re great guys. Pretty cool guys! We don’t spend a lot of time hanging out but we spend the whole day with them. 

Were Helloween and Gamma Ray of any influence on the music of Shadowside? 

Raphael: Yeah, sure. I mean I wasn’t one of the founding members but the band’s singer [Dani Nolden], who started the band, was a real big fan of Helloween back then when she started Shadowside. 

Your most recent album is “Inner Monster Out”. What do you recall about recording that album? 

Raphael: We recorded it in the studios of Fredrik Nordstrom [Dimmu Borgir, Septic Flesh, In Flames, Myrath, The Moor, and many others], in Sweden. 

It must have been quite an ordeal to go to Sweden from Brazil to record it. 

Raphael: Yeah, especially since we went in January and it was fuckin’ cold in Sweden. Not the sort of climate we’re used to in Brazil. It was hard but it was also an adventure for us. 

We locked ourselves in the studio for a whole month, during which time we didn’t hang out anywhere else. We didn’t see sunlight for a long time…only music was in our minds [laughs]. 

What does Shadowside have planned for after this Hellish Rock Tour? 

Raphael: We’re going back to Brazil. We’ve got some gigs scheduled in Brazil. Soon we’ve got a big show scheduled in Săo Paolo, our home town. It’s a huge venue too, so we’re really looking forward to that. Then we’ll continue our tour which we started before coming to Europe 

Do you think you’ll come to Europe again before the end of the year? 

Raphael: I sure hope so.

I'm Your Mind
Inner Monster Out
Ace Of Spades
Gag Order
Waste Of Life
Angel With Horns

RATING: 84/100

Gamma Ray   (www.gammaray.org)

The sound problems that afflicted Shadowside’s set hadn’t been sorted by the time Gamma Ray took to the stage. Not that it seemed to matter much for as soon as the band members appeared, the audience at the Forum reacted with a frenzied glee. 

Even if not entirely flawless, Gamma Ray’s show was excellent and will certainly live on in the memories of those who witnessed it. Their set featured material from almost all Gamma Ray’s albums and the audience lapped it all up. Even ‘Master of Confusion’ had a significant part of the audience singing along to its chorus despite being released only a few weeks ago.


Kai Hansen continuously interacted with the audience, thereby creating a solid rapport with them. At one point he went to the side of the stage, apparently to discuss some ongoing sound issue and after that the sound generally seemed to improve. About time, too. In ‘Empire of the Undead’ guitarist Henjo Richter made a few mistakes and his face reflected the ensuing frustration. Apart from that he gave his heart and soul into the performance, as did the rest of the band, and I think the audience reacted strongly to that. 

The familiar muted guitar riff that starts off ‘Future World’, a song Kai had written while with Helloween, sent the audience into a wild frenzy and was the peak of Gamma Ray’s set. Emotions ran high, in fact, when all the audience sang the lyrics to the song with one deafening but united voice. If anyone was still standing by the end of that song, ‘To The Metal!’ mercilessly mowed those punters down too. Finally, ‘Send Me A Sign’ proved to be the perfect cathartic release needed to close the band’s show.

Anywhere in the Galaxy
Men, Martians and Machines
The Spirit
Dethrone Tyranny
Master of Confusion
Empire of the Undead
Future World
To The Metal!
Send Me A Sign 

RATING: 87/100

Helloween   (www.helloween.org)

Unfortunately some unexpected schedule changes meant that my interview with Gamma Ray took place when Helloween took to the stage. Consequentially I missed almost half Helloween’s set. And yet, what I saw and heard was enough for me to give a valid assessment of how their show went. Awesomely, that’s how it went! 

Whichever way you looked at it, the Germans’ show was breathtaking. The sound was excellent and the stage was striking through a combination of props and lighting. As they delivered one Metal anthem after another I was particularly impressed by Andi Deris. Wearing his Gene Simmons shirt, Andi proved to be an impressive showman who had the audience in his grip…and never let go for one single moment. 

I was never a huge fan of Helloween’s post-Kai Hansen material, and yet all the band’s set tonight sounded incredibly good. Even the ballady ‘Hold Me In Your Arms’ fitted perfectly in the set and was devoured by the audience.

Helloween even managed to fit in a drum solo (courtesy of one talented Dani Löble) and a bass guitar solo (from founding member Markus Grosskopf). It felt very much like the 1980s again when extended solos from each band member were more commonplace at gigs. 

Guitarist Michael Weikath sometimes looked out of place when the members tried to entertain the audience by fooling about (Markus pretending to fiddle with Sasha’s tuning keys, Sacha slapping Dani’s cymbals, Kai Hansen singing some verses from ‘I Want Out’ and Deris feigning offence, etc..). There was no doubt, however, that Helloween gave a thoroughly entertaining show and were relentless from start to end. 

When, towards the end of the show, Kai Hansen joined Helloween on stage the crowd went bananas. There really was a great vibe at that point – the sort that can never be replicated, no matter how well-produced DVDs or live recordings may be. Kai seemed to be having great fun when other Gamma Ray members joined their singer and Helloween for the grand finale: ‘I Want Out’, a song originally written by Hansen. 

An all-round impressive show.

Wanna Be God
Eagle Fly Free
Straight Out Of Hell
Where The Sinners Go
Waiting For The Thunder
Burning Sun
Dani Löble drum solo
I’m Alive
Live Now!
Hold Me In Your Arms
If I Could Fly
Hell Was Made
Are U Metal
Dr Stein
I Want Out 

RATING: 98/100

Attending: Chris Galea