Fan-filmed video footage of the first two shows of this year's Christmas Metal Symphony European tour — which kicked off this past Friday night (December 13) in Trollhättan, Sweden and played again last night (Saturday, December 14) in Kristianstad, Sweden — can be seen below.
Magnum Opum Rockestra (under conductor Marcel Heijnen), a 32-strong orchestra accompanied by the METALFORCE 1 rock band and led by singers/vocalists which influenced the metal scene in recent years and decades, are taking part in the Christmas Metal Symphony European tour. Musical director of the production is Joost van den Broek. Singers taking part in the trek include Joey Belladonna (ANTHRAX), Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT), Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ex-ACCEPT), Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN, UNISONIC) and Floor Jansen (REVAMP, NIGHTWISH, AFTER FOREVER).
It is a well-known fact in the world of international metal fans that Tilburg in The Netherlands was host of this impressive metal show for two years. As a direct result of the succes of these shows, the requests for bringing it to the rest of Europe kept growing. Nowthe time is right to fulfill these wishes and bring this monster on the road.
Christmas Metal Symphony comes with six fantastic international metal vocalists, a six-piece metal band with musicians from bands like EPICA, AFTER FOREVER and STREAM OF PASSION and an impressive 32-piece symphonic orchestra.
The heavy backbone of the show is METALFORCE 1. These musicians were handpicked by Joost van den Broek and these Santa's Little Helpers contain some of the finest metal artists:
* Marcel Coenen (SUN CAGED) - Guitar
* Johan Van Stratum (STREAM OF PASSION) - Bass
* Abel Carnizales (LABIRINTHO) - Guitar
* Jeffrey Revet (STREAM OF PASSION) - Keyboards
* Koen Herfst (EPICA) - Drums
* Joost Van Den Broek (AFTER FOREVER) - Keyboards
Over the last 35 years of metalmusic, bands have written many concept albums and concept shows; great stories and fantastic songs. The team of Christmas Metal Symphony therefore decided that with the impressive heritage of all these great metal songs ever written, it would be a shame not to use them. So for this reason you can expect performances of your all time favorite metal songs, by some of the best international artists who are part of that great metal history themselves. All of this in a great Christmas and metal setting and brought to you as a full metal show; loud and extremely powerful… just like the doctor ordered!
Kristianstad fan-filmed video footage:
David E. Gehlke of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Weikath of German power metallers HELLOWEEN. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
DeadRhetoric.com: The thing a lot of people would like to see is a reunion with Michael[Kiske] and Kai [Hansen]. Is that a possibility?
Weikath: We will do that too. We've given thought to that and we've heard his [Kiske's] words that he doesn't like when people dream about those things in public in interviews. I've only merely been answering the questions of those wondering about [it], so I haven't been dreaming. I don't need that reunion as much as he wants it, or doesn't want it. If he ever gives in to any of that, then you can swear we'd probably try something like that. Maybe make some good money and have some fun on occasions where people are enjoying what we're doing then, as that particular strange outfit for the actual existing HELLOWEEN, with a few ex-members intertwined and you wouldn't know.
DeadRhetoric.com: It would probably be something where you just do shows, but not a new album.
Weikath: I don't know…you never know. I heard someone say something like this, but I don't know where I heard it. It's clearly not a suggestion from the inside of the band or management, but I've heard people say that.
DeadRhetoric.com: Your first time in North America. When was it?
DeadRhetoric.com: Was that with GRIM REAPER and ARMORED SAINT, right? What do you remember?
DeadRhetoric.com: Was that your first full-blown tour with Kiske?
Weikath: That was it. We started with OVERKILL and did the European tour, like London, Hammersmith, the U.K. tour, then the American leg of it.
DeadRhetoric.com: Was Karl [Walterbach, ex-Noise Records head] with you on this tour?
Weikath: I'm not sure which occasions he was there. He might have been in L.A. or Japan. He didn't have anything to do with the general touring or whatever. He was basically sitting at home collecting money, and when there was something interesting, he would show up.
DeadRhetoric.com: I talked to him a few weeks ago.
Weikath: Oh yeah? I loved how he always said "I'm the HELLOWEEN manager." [laughs]
DeadRhetoric.com: He seems to be in a good spot right now, probably better than when you guys were working together. We talked about the whole Sanctuary debacle, which I'm sure you'd like to forget. [HELLOWEEN were sidelined for nearly two years in the early '90s due to a legal battle with Noise Records over Sanctuary Management doing a direct deal with Germany EMI, which was ruled as breach of their contract with Noise — Ed.]
Weikath: If he would have been any cool, he would have said, "Okay, we'll do contract renegotiations." No freakin' problem, just act cool, Karl. I actually expected that out of him, but somehow he disappointed me for being so freakin' uncool. He got all the trouble he went through with the lawyers; he's got a pacemaker and stuff, I don't. He still, I think, manages to drive women who are actually interested in him away. Whatever, you just have to consider these things and see how happy is somebody.
DeadRhetoric.com: You made it through that rough period, though, after "Pink Bubbles" and"Chameleon".
Weikath: I would have liked 36 million marks, too.
DeadRhetoric.com: Was that the settlement?
Weikath: No, it wasn't the settlement — it's what he made on the band HELLOWEEN — he made 45 million marks. That's what our ideas and musical concepts were good for at that time.
DeadRhetoric.com: He said one thing to me that stuck out: That you, Michael, and Kai each approached him about doing your own solo albums. Is that true?
Weikath: There was simply no way to do that, because he wasn't interested in that. That could have prevented stuff, like for instance the "Chameleon" record. If everyone would have been able to try like a solo record, we wouldn't have needed to do something like the"Chameleon" album.
Read the entire interview at DeadRhetoric.com.