ProgPowerUSA 2018 – Day Three

Each day will be listed in the order that the bands performed. And if you missed Day Two, you can find it here (opens in new tab).
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Manimal

(Power Metal from Sweden)

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I went in cold on this one. I had every intention of listening to every band before the festival to get to know them, but didn’t get a chance to do it. So this was all new to me. And they were really impressive. Every member was in top form and tore through their set. I heard many people afterwards who weren’t familiar with them say they were now fans. I do tend to hear this a lot at this festival.
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Their costumes took to heart their name sake. And the lead singer went the extra step with special contacts to alter his eye color. It was kind of creepy. Except when one kind of slid out of place, assuming by accident, and the color looked a little comical. See the bonus pictures at the bottom of this article for that one.
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Persefone

(Progressive Death Metal from Andorra)

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I have listened to Persefone off and on for the past couple of years. They can write some beautifully cinematic pieces into their music. But they also bring the metal and the growls too. So I was curious to see how they did live.
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Just a couple of weeks before ProgPower, their bassist, Toni, had a severe panic attack and he had to take some time. So the band worked hard on getting the bass parts recorded for the shows, even doing so while at the airport waiting to travel.
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Well, I can say the band didn’t miss a beat. They put on a great, energetic set, almost entirely made up of their last two albums, with Aathma getting the most representation. Think I’ll dig that one out this weekend and spin it again!
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Bloodbound

(Power Metal from Sweden)

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This one I did listen to prior to the festival and it really didn’t do anything for me. We went to grab a bite to eat after Persefone at the almighty Sausalitos and when we returned, the band was still on. So I caught the last twenty minutes of their set.
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They really get into the imagery they create with their artwork and music. The lead singer had small horns on his head and at one point, Death (maybe?) came out on stage and the singer bowed before him and sang something but not sure what (See bonus pictures at the bottom of this article for this). I may dig into the lyrics one day. Interesting band.
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Labyrinth

(Power Metal from Italy)

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This is a band that seemed to have a lot of hype around it. I wasn’t familiar with them at all when I heard them announced. I did give their music a listen through the year leading up to this fest and it was decent enough. This was another set of “album in its entirety”, which I do love when bands do this as I am an album guy. I don’t like just cherry picking songs from releases. (Though I do tend to use shuffle in the car).
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This set was for their album Return to Heaven Denied. It was a rocking set and the band was very animated on stage. The singer overly so. At times he didn’t seem to know what to do with himself and spent a lot of time pointing at the guitarist and making faces while playing air guitar. This kind of made me appreciate the singers who know when to step back and let the musicians get showcased.
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It was a good set. Though still not my cup of tea, really. But I did hear from my friend Brian that the acoustic set they performed early Saturday, before Day Four got started, was much more impressive. Again, had to miss it due to logistics (with me being the goods and services).
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https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/labyrinth/2018/center-stage-atlanta-ga-53e85335.html

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Redemption

(Progressive Metal from the US)

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One of the highlights of the festival for me. Was looking forward to see what Tom Englund brought to the table live with the band. I love the new Redemption album and figured it would be well represented and that was correct.
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This wasn’t the first time the new songs were played, though. As part of their live disc fundraiser, they had a reward level to be present for a private concert, which was held in the morning on Day Two. I didn’t contribute to this level so I didn’t attend. Doubt I could have anyway due to sleep.
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The band performed a blistering set and showed everyone they are still here for the long haul. A friend of mine, Vikram, whose band Lux Terminus I reviewed earlier this year here on PMP, is the most recent addition to the band and proved himself immensely on backup vocals and Keys.
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And the band had a couple of surprises for us too. Ray alder joins the guys on stage to perform Threads, while Tom stepped off stage. And when that was done, Tom came out and he and Ray hugged, showing there was nothing but love there.
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Their next surprise for us was to bring out Chris Poland of Megadeth fame. Chris joined them for Indulge in Color from the new album and then they tore through their rendition of Peace Sells with a giant display behind them of said albums cover. It was pretty darn incredible.
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A few months prior to the fest, the band launched a fundraiser to have this set recorded for a Blu-Ray/DVD release. So this will all be available soon for anyone that wants to see it. Definitely worth the purchase. Plus you can see my balding head up front for the first part (I’m assuming).
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Sons of Apollo

(Progressive Metal from the US)

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What can I say here. Some of the most talented players in the world decided to form a band. Really liked their debut album so I was looking forward to the set. They passed through Atlanta earlier in the year but I had to miss it at the time. So it was fortuitous that they wound up filling the spot that James Labrie was originally scheduled for.
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Oh yeah! Forgot to mention that the lead singer of Dream Theater was the slated headliner this year, but months before the fest, backed out due to recording the band’s new album. That was a bummer, as I really wanted to see some of his solo material live. But when a headliner slot opened, Portnoy and crew stepped up and filled it. Even though they were already scheduled to fly to Japan for their tour there. I will say this about Portnoy: he has a love for the festival and seems to do what he can to show support.
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They played through their album and included Just Let Me Breathe and Lines in the Sand from Falling into Infinity. As well as throwing in some Queen and Van Halen to boot.
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The band has a lot of energy and gave the players time to showcase their talents. And each were in top form. But I have to ask: does Derek ever smile?
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I’ve been a Soto fan for a long time. The dude is a powerhouse. And he threw a bit of humor into it as well. At one point, the lights went dark and he made his way into the audience. When the lights came back up a little, the band was playing and he was sitting next to someone a couple of rows back from us. Then proceeded to make his way around the venue tearing through their cover of And the Cradle Will Rock (Van Halen). At least I THINK that was the song when this happened…
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Very enjoyable show. I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Shattered Fortress performance last year, but it was great nonetheless.
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Coming Soon, Day Four.

But first, a few extra fun shots from Day Three (each image will open in a new window):
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This entry was posted in death metal, metal, power metal, progressive metal, symphonic metal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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