The Power of Metal.dk Webzine was founded in the summer of 2003. With dedication and a fair amount of work, the site grew from idea to a site with a staff presently consisting of fourteen metal fans located in Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Bulgaria and the US and with a number of acclaimed metal labels and distribution companies as partners.
After a (too) long intro, TYGERS OF PAN TANG enters the stage at Amager Bio at approximately 8 PM. I am immidiately thrown right back into my teenage years when they start to play the song “Only the Brave”, and I get goosebumps all over and a huge smile on my face! For me it doesn’t get more old school than this! This is exactly the type of music I loved when I grew up during the...
At 7:15 PM Danish Symphonic Metal band ETHEREAL KINGDOMS enters the stage and my first thought is how “ordinary” and “normal” they look. A friend told me before the show that this was a band I needed to check out, and that I was going to be amazed by their performance. The singer, Sofia Schmidt, starts to sing in that beautiful opera type voice, and I think to myself:
Another exclusive DK premiere presented by yours truly The Power of Metal.dk webzine.
Althea // Away From Me (feat. Michele Guaitoli) [Lyrics Video] - YouTube
Althea formed in Milan from an idea of the guitarist Dario Bortot and bassist Fabrizio Zilio with the object of developing a free-of-schemes progressive metal rock project. With the entrance in the line up of the keyboardist Marco Zambardi the band produced a number of demo tapes and played live in many venues in northern Italy, also participating in several musical contests.
With Sergio Sampietro on drums and Alessio Accardo on vocals joining the band, the Althea line up stabilized and the group resumed live performances in several of the Milan clubs, including the LiveMi event in Piazza Duomo.
With this formation, the band composed and recorded new songs that after an intense amount of work in the recording studio, became part of the “Eleven” EP, released in February 2014.
Eleven received outstanding reviews from local and international press and the band played live extensively in iconic locations, including Colony club.
In 2016 the band went back into the studio to record the new full-length concept album “Memories Have No Name”, a 16 songs concept album spacing from progressive metal, rock and experimental ambient sections to be released in January 2017.
Battle Beast for me is Noora Louhimo, and it is easy to forget that Battle Beast is not a one woman show, but a band performance. This becomes even more obvious when front woman and vocalist Noora enters the stage at Pumpehuset. She is wearing heavy makeup and horns on her head, and when she opens her mouth and starts to sing the first notes, I understand why she is so popular amongst Battle Beast...
Even though I think I have pretty good knowledge about the Finnish metal scene, it is surprising I have never heard of the band Arion before. At 9 PM, the lights go down and the intro starts to play. It is an acoustic guitar that follows up with some strings, and my full attention is immediately caught. The band enters the stage and singer Lasse Vääränen jumps straight up on a speaker...
Some of you folks out there may not be as excited as I was when this one came across my desk (okay, my inbox). I can assure you, these fellows have not lost even a step, regardless of the fact that a few of them could be picking up retirement pension pay soon! Coverdale sounds comfortable in his own skin – it is an adulterous skin, no doubt. Oh, yes, the sexual innuendos are still there.
On the 4th of May, 2019, Gypsy’s Kiss gave a rare live performance at the ‘Cart & Horses’ pub in Stratford, North East London. This was the very first band with which a teenage schoolboy called Steve Harris played, back in 1972, before then joining Smiler. After Smiler, Harris then formed Iron Maiden and it was at the ‘Cart & Horses’ that Iron Maiden played their first gigs, in December 1975 and all through 1976. The rest, as they say, is history.
GYPSY’S KISS (1973), left to right: Paull Sears (d.), Bob Verschoyle (v.), David Smith (in the hat – v.), Steve Harris (b.). Photo taken in Steve Harris’ house in Leytonstone (NE London).
From the official family tree of Iron Maiden. Note the text alongside ‘GYPSY’S KISS’….“This is where the story starts!”
This month’s concert was a testament to the unique status of Iron Maiden as an institution where fans, ex-band members and associates are very much like an extended family of the band. Sharing the bill with Gypsy’s Kiss were Buffalo Fish and Airforce. Buffalo Fish feature guitarist Terry Wapram, who played with Iron Maiden in 1977. Airforce, who headlined the show, feature drummer Doug Sampson, who played in the first official recordings of Iron Maiden, besides also playing with Smiler before that.
Within the audience at the ‘Cart & Horses’ were ex-crew members of Iron Maiden, family members of Harris as well as the widow of Clive Burr, the drummer we can hear in Iron Maiden’s first 3 albums. The venue itself is a permanent shrine to Iron Maiden, as evidenced by its décor, the music played there and, most obviously, a sign above its entrance that boasts “The birthplace of Iron Maiden”.
(Also present in the audience was Steve ‘Loopy’ Newhouse, who recently published his memoirs as Iron Maiden’s roadie.)
So, who really were Gypsy’s Kiss? The band was co-formed by vocalist/guitarist Dave Smith, who told me how the band came to be:
“Steve Harris and I lived a short distance from each other but more importantly we went to the same School (Leyton County High School for Boys). I’m 18 months older than Steve (as is Paull Sears), so he was in a year below me but I knew him very well. We became close friends when we left school (1973), we both loved music and went to loads of gigs together and we decided to form a band and I helped him choose his first bass (a Fender Telecaster Bass copy and then a Danelectron Bass – like the bassist in Golden Earring). There were only two of us but we were still determined to form a rock band, we found and played with a number of drummers before finding the fantastic Paull Sears (who was a friend of a bloke I worked with). Bob Verschoyle was a friend of Steve. I was also the singer (as I am now) but developed a sore throat before a gig and asked Bob to help out – and he stayed with us.”
At the aforementioned ‘Cart & Horses’ gig, the set-list of Gypsy’s Kiss included both originals and covers, songs that the band used to play in the 1970s or that were of significant influence on Gypsy’s Kiss. Smith offered us some insight into Gypsy’s Kiss transition from Influence and described the band’s set-lists back then:
“We formed Influence in the winter of 1973 and rehearsed (famously in the living room of Steve’s grandma and Allan Gordon Studios in Leyton, NE London) and played to family for a few months before a gig/talent contest in Poplar. Our first paying gig was in the Cart and Horses (I think late April 1974). Influence became Gypsy’s Kiss in mid-1974 – it was essentially the same band playing the same material although we added Tim Nash as a second guitarist for GK (we had ditched a few second guitarists before finding Tim).
We had about 9 paying gigs mostly at the Bridge House, in Canning Town (London) and the Cart and Horses. GK came to its natural end in the middle of 1975, although we remained close friends for a good while after (Bob, Paull and I remain good friends to this day).
Our setlist from that first gig at the Cart (45 years ago) was something like this:
Original songs (written by David Smith and played at the 4th May gig):
Heat Crazed Vole
Gypsy’s Kiss (What Went Wrong)
…and covers of:
I am the Walrus
Strange Kind of Woman
I Don’t Need No Doctor
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Turn to Stone (Joe Walsh)
Smoke on the Water”
I asked Dave if he is still in contact with Steve Harris after all these years:
“Steve and I have, of course, met up since but are not close friends now as we once were. I’m still good friends with his sister (Linda) who I also see from time to time. I last saw Steve at the IM gig at the O2 Arena last summer. But in December 2013, he came to a Front Cover’s gig (one of my other current bands) in Gidea Park, Essex (and Bob and Paull were there too).”
Gypsy’s Kiss had reunited for Burrfest of March 2018. The festival was inspired by the late Clive Burr and features bands somehow linked with Iron Maiden. Bob Verschoyle was the singer of Gypsy’s Kiss at that event. Encouraged by the warm reception to that performance, Gypsy’s Kiss did a further 2 gigs later that year, both in London. Now, with a different line-up and with Dave Smith taking over lead vocal duties besides still playing guitar, the band is even working on an album, as Smith reveals:
“We are currently recording an album of original material (our first) which will include the 4 songs from 1974 and we hope that this will be out in August.”
Gypsy’s Kiss in 2019: David Smith
Gypsy’s Kiss in 2019: Robin Gatcum
Gypsy’s Kiss in 2019: Fraser Marr
The hereunder footage is being made available exclusively for The Power of Metal Webzine. It contains excerpts from Gypsy’s Kiss’ gig at the ‘Cart & Horses’ on 4th May, 2019 (the gig I described in this article). Of course the audio-visual qualities are far from perfect and in fact I would advise to keep volume controls close at hand. But this is as close as Iron Maiden fans might get to reliving the birth of their idols. And the same fans might even discover that this Gypsy’s Kiss has great material of its own. Gypsy’s Kiss is going to get you, wherever you are….
Those of you who are firmly ensconced in the Fates Warning camp will doubtless have heard of these fellows by now. Winter Ethereal is the more-than-worthy follow-up to Sympathetic Resonance. This slab is brought to us by the folks at Metal Blade, and normally I wouldn’t have served up a verdict so late in the day for these fellows, but I couldn’t STOP listening to it. In fact, I am listening to it as we speak! Even on a smart phone, or a stupid little PC with stupid little speakers, these guys really come through sounding incredibly powerful. Arch/Matheos are on a mission – they mean business, and are not mucking about. Listening to Winter Ethereal will melt your face off!
If you are not a fan of Fates Warning, then I suggest you get on board. Of course, the argument in most metal head camps when it comes to Fates is who is the best singer – Jon Arch or Ray Alder. In my opinion, they have been blessed with two beautifully capable vocalists. Nuff said. As I was saying, if you are not a Fates fan, then Queensryche, perhaps, or Savatage? Dream Theater also comes to mind – the focus, of course, is usually on the singer, who is normally somewhere up in the heavens. These prog metal stalwarts also employ plenty of heavy musicianship, including lots of solos and some incredibly powerful beats and rhythms. Check your heartbeat – if you’re not pumping a little extra, then maybe get up and bang your head or tap your toes a bit! You must get into this stuff, particularly if you are a prog metal head. Even if you are just a regular metal head!
As with all or most of these progressive metal outfits, there are shorter numbers and longer numbers. The shorter ones, believe it or not, are sometimes designed to fetch radio airplay. Of course, with many of your prog metallers, that simply does not work out. Ask Dream Theater or Iron Maiden sometime how much FM airplay they get. Of course, in your larger markets, you will most likely hear either of those bands on a regular basis. Not so with Arch/Matheos, or Fates Warning, for that matter. How ever, do not let that discourage you, dear reader! Dive right in, and enjoy the latest from what is clearly a band to be reckoned with!
Any of you who are up for the ride are in for some seriously classic prog here. First of all, you need to be aware of a couple of things; Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, if you couldn’t tell by the name, are an Italian rock band. There home is Rome. Therefore, it would be extremely helpful if a person – oh, say, a writer, a blogger, a critical, cynical old fart, like myself, would KNOW how to speak Italian!! Well, sad to say, I do not, but I do know a bit of Spanish, and I studied French in high school. Believe it or not, both of these languages have bearing on learning Italian. Needless to say, I WANT to learn Italian. Banco have been around forever (since 1968, if memory serves), and the only cohorts that I know of to speak of would be Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) and Le Orme.
Second, since we are dealing with an Italian band, there are Italian lyrics and vocals, natch. Don’t let that stop you from listening. Listening to the language is a thing of beauty, in my opinion, and we are stepping out of our comfort zone, so don’t be afraid. Also, the music is worth staying for. There is only one brief interlude (Lasciando alle spalle is only a minute and 45 seconds), but it is a lead piano interlude, if you will, and actually could develop into an entire song if allowed the opportunity.
Aside from the studio tracks, the two closers are definitely worth sticking around for, particularly Metamorfosi. That tune and Il ragno were both recorded at the Festival Prog di Veruno 2018. Sounds like a wonderful place to listen to some old school Italian prog! Any of you who are still questioning whether or not it would be worthwhile to check out an Italian prog act need only listen to Transiberiana for the answers!