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ProgPower USA X Showcase

Venue: Center Stage, Atlanta, GA
Date: 9/10/09
Reviewed By: Connie Payton

Newly-formed progressive band Futures End made their debut appearance as the first band of the Showcase. This convergence of experienced musicians impressed many in attendance with strong vocals and great stage presence. The set included a duet ('Restless Chaos') with Zero Hour/Mindcrime vocalist Chris Salinas and another duet with Lance King.

I was most impressed by the bassist, Steve DiGiorgio, whose 5-string fretless guitar abilities were mesmerizing. Their debut album "Memoirs Of A Broken Man" was available at the show, one month before the street date.

This performance was literally the first time Futures End has played together onstage and one would never have guessed it. Futures End seemed to be the buzz of the evening, surprising many with their excellent performance and gaining many new fans.

New Jersey prog band Suspyre took the stage next. Melodies are elusive in Suspyre’s music, making it difficult for some to click with their style. Lack of good stage presence and interaction with the audience made this set feel a little dull compared to the previous band. Technically, they played well and vocals were in good form. A few of the songs performed were ‘The Singer’, ‘A World With No Measures’ and ‘Possession’.

Opening with five minutes of jamming and riffing set the stage by Enchant, a prog band that has been around for awhile, yet new to some. Vocals were well-done by Ted Leonard, who did double duty with rhythm guitar on and off during the set. The guitar soloing of Doug Ott was especially notable, evidenced with the melodic solo with nice tone on 'Under Fire'. Their musical style brings to mind Seventh Wonder, though with more instrumental parts.

Enchant had good stage presence and interaction with audience. The highlight of their set for me was the guitar solos and the music overall – good prog music with lots to hold your interest. The audience seemed to like the show with quite a few standing ovations at the conclusion of their set.

Have you noticed anything so far? All three bands are US-based and all three are progressive. So now, it’s about time to kick it with some power metal from Primal Fear. Already primed and ready to go with being in the process of a tour, Primal Fear had many fists pounding the air to their traditional style metal. Scheepers’ awesome voice was hitting those high notes once again as he worked the crowd. There is no doubt the man loves what he does.

The title track off the latest CD "16.6 Before The Devil Knows Your Dead" was played and 'Fighting The Darkness' featured a duet with Pamela Moore. Moore performed 'Suite Sister Mary' with Houston-based Queensryche cover band Mindcrime the previous night during their performance of the entire "Operation: Mindcrime" album. There was a guitar "face-off" between guitarists Wolter and Beyrodt (filling in for Magnus Karlsson). Part of the encore had Wolter on acoustic guitar for ‘Hands Of Time' with Scheepers, Sinner and Wolter alternating vocals.

Primal Fear did not disappoint their many fans tonight as they put on a great show as always.

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