Sabaton/ReVamp/Void of Reason
(supporting Iced Earth)
April 23, 2014
Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade (Heaven)
Void of Reason
Swedish metal gods Sabaton and Dutch metalers ReVamp were here in Atlanta recently and they so kindly invited Iced Earth along as the after party band. I was really looking forward to seeing this show and when I heard that local metal act Void of Reason was on the bill I found myself really stoked to see them again. That band really made a full turn from being a band that pissed me off with their tone deaf Iron Maiden cover a few years ago to being a truly fantastic band with their new vocalist Reese Martin. The band played extremely well and in all honest sold me on the strength of their songs. Now if only these guys would just liven up a little bit and put some effort into their live performance. Void of Reason had a nearly full house when they went on stage and failed to truly engage them or make a lasting impression. Sometimes having a great songs and talent just isn’t enough. If you’re not going to put your all into your performance and make that impact, you might as well stay at home and just make albums. A band this good with songs this good and a singer this outstanding should be melting faces left and right and making sure that everyone in that room knew who they were. Unfortunately, to me, they were just a band with great songs and nothing more. I don’t even know that I would go see another live show by these guys. I’ll be the music and enjoy it but if I wanna watch people stand around and do nothing, I’ll go to Best Buy or something.
For the first time ever Dutch metal band ReVamp took the stage to a nearly packed room here in Atlanta on a Wednesday night. It’s pretty rare these days that opening acts fill a room and the room was a buzz about the Atlanta debut of this band led by former After Forever/current Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen. Having been a fan of the band since their 2010 debut release I was so glad to finally be getting the chance to see them live. It’s always exciting when I get to witness the maiden American voyage of a band and I couldn’t be more stoked for ReVamp and for myself as a fan.
As the house lights went down to a roar of the crowd, I suddenly found myself feeling nervous. How would this go over? I have never seen Floor Jansen live so what could I expect? Would she kick ass? Would she be using tracks? Would I like it? All my concerns were quickly jettisoned once the band kicked into the opening songs “Wild Card.” Wow. Just… wow! What a way to open the show. The crowd was going crazy at this point and that infections, melodic chorus kicked in and it literally sent a chill up my spine and a huge smile to my face. A sigh of relief was released as the band continued on through their massively face melting performance.
The excitement of their debut could be seen and heard loud and clear as Floor and Co. worked the crowd as they gave us every bit of energy and emotion that they had. The audience reciprocated and the push and pull between band and crowd was a really intense thing to see and feel. ReVamp’s setlist was heavy on material from the latest album Wild Card featuring three parts of “The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown” suite with “The Limbic System” being a highlight for me. Numerous times throughout the night Floor thanked everyone for coming out and just how appreciative she was for the support that everyone was showing them. The band closed out their intense 30 minute set with a powerful “Wolf and Dog” to a roar from the crowd and then bid everyone good night.
To say that ReVamp came, saw, and conquered would be an understatement. Their performance not only solidified their status as a great band but left me being a bigger fan than I was pre-show. If this performance was any indication of what the future holds for ReVamp in the US I can honestly say that we’ll be seeing them here as headliners before we know it. It was a powerful performance with equally powerful and passionate songs. ReVamp left it all out on the stage that night and left me wanting more.
Wild Card, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System, Head Up High, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: On the Sideline, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia, In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain, Wolf and Dog
Coming out of a really exciting ReVamp performance would be tough thing for any band… any band besides Sabaton that is. I literally felt like a fucking spastic teenage hopped up on Jolt Cola as I impatiently stood around waiting for the very reason I was so ecstatic about this show. Finally, the house lights went out and as “The March to War” filled the air I literally screamed like a 14 year old girl at a Beatles concert as I clapped with the crowed and chanted “SA-BA-TON! SA-BA-TON! SA-BA-TON!” The band kicked in and lead singer Joakim Broden announced, “Atlanta! We are Sabaton and this is “Ghost Division!” The place went absolutely ape shit and the band hit the stage like lions being let out of a cage. Joakim and his slap happy band of military metal men were not even trying to hide just how much fun they were having. I don’t think you could kick the smiles off of their faces just making the crowd feel their infections glee.
The small Masquerade could barely contain the massive talent and energy as Sabaton marched through their 45 minute set with a fine mix of fan favorites such as “Gott Mitt Uns”, “40:1”, and “The Art of War.” My personal highlight was “Carolus Rex” which totally blew my mind. This is a great example of how a song on an album might not make much of an impact but hearing it live is a whole different story. Hearing this live for the first time live truly blew my mind and had me knowing that I was seeing, without a doubt, one of the best bands in the fucking land.
Sabaton played one track off of the soon to be released album Heroes called “To Hell and Back” which totally brought the house down but, as usual, it was “Primo Victoria” that truly pulled out all the stops. Joakim addressed the crowd by saying, “Atlanta, we want you to sing with us. We also what you to jump!” and with that being said the room was bouncing like a European summer fest crowd. Sabaton really knows how to work a stage and it’s surprising at times that this band is a mere 14 years old. They perform and play with all the class of seasoned veterans twice their age. Joakim Broden definitely studied Bruce Dickinson. If Bruce ever decided to hand the crown down, Joakim Broden should serve as his most fitting successor for sure.
There is such a strong, intense, and passionate connection between Sabaton and their audience. There is a reason that this band is loved and held in such regard by their fans. At one point during the show, Joakim pointed out that there was a really young boy up front. He asked the boy how old he was and he replies with “11.” Joakim then says, “You must have awesome parents. I wish I saw metal shows at 11.” He then gave the ecstatic kid his sunglasses saying, “Put these one, grow a beard, and get a Mohawk. I may need a body double in ten years or so.” That kid’s day was absolutely made and again just showed that connection between band and audience. Sabaton then closed things out with their ode to all things metal with the song “Metal Crue.” As the band walked to the front of the stage to take their bow, the crowd roared and showed their appreciation to this amazing band that just gave us everything they had and then some.
Sabaton’s performance this night moved them up quite a few notches into the top tier of my favorite bands. Everything about this show was perfect and they did in 45 minutes more than most bands do in twice the time. Also, can you all take notice that not until this point did I even mention the new lineup? Do you know why? It’s because these guys owned shit so massively that they had ZERO problem stepping into the places of the original guys. Fuck filling their shoes. These guys moved in, threw out those guys’ old shoes and put on their own shit kicking boots. Sabaton as a band was tighter and even seemed to be more unified than ever so trust me on this one. These guys are not mere replacements. They are Sabaton through and through and as a band they will continue to prove to be a force to be reckoned with and a band that is impossible to follow. Isn’t that right Iced Earth? You know it is.
Intro: March to War, Ghost Division, Gott Mit Uns, Carolus Rex, Swedish Pagans, To Hell and Back, 40:1, The Art of War, Primo Victoria, Metal Crüe
Oh yeah, and apparently Iced Earth played.