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On stage: Power Quest

- Power Quest, Neonfly & Afterdown - May 2011 - Manchester (GB) -
- Freedom Call, Power Quest & In Legend - Mar. 2012 - Bochum (D) -

- Power Quest, Neonfly & Afterdown -
- May 9th 2011 - Manchester (GB), Satan's Hollow -

Following the release of Blood Alliance, undoubtedly my favorite Power Quest album to date and an early contender for best power metal album of the year, I was really looking forward to seeing the new line-up live. Even better was the news that they were bringing Neonfly with them! I strode to Satan's Hollow, the strangest venue in Manchester, in hopes of a stunning display of melodic power metal.

Afterdown (c) Nikki RyanFirst up though was Manchester locals Afterdown. I'd last seen these guys as one of the support acts for Fury UK back in March and enjoyed the set then. This evening they actually seemed on even better form! They had a decent crowd in and given the unusual setup of the Satan's Hollow stage everyone was packed in close. Afterdown's blend of classic rock and metal went down pretty well, especially the pure headbanger Brothers In Arms. Although I'm not convinced the band are of a suitable caliber to make it bigger, they served as a good opener for the other bands.

Neonfly (c) Nikki RyanUp next Neonfly! Last time I saw Neonfly was in this very venue supporting Freedom Call and I have to tell you that the energy of the band combined with the high class, catchy power metal had me hooked from the outset and I was really looking forward to seeing them again. They didn't disappoint!
Throwing themselves into a truly uplifting performance from the get-go, Neonfly brought the small but enthusiastic Manchester crowd to life. Singer Willy Norton's range impressed me the first time I heard him back in March but he seemed in even better form tonight. The frontman was unable to remain still and at one point was even hanging from the lights!
Last time around the only thing I could really criticize was the tendency of the guys to bump into each other. They seemed a lot more polished this time and put on an awesome show that covered some old songs as well as a few from the upcoming debut album. Can't wait for that!

Power Quest (c) Nikki RyanPower Quest had a lot to do to top Neonfly but somehow they managed it without even seeming to try! The energetic performance of the previous band was met with precision musicianship and a performance from a bunch of guys that just seemed to belong together. Each and every member looked to really enjoy playing this evening!
The band stormed through a load of songs, concentrating mainly on the latest release Blood Alliance. They opened with the instrumental Battle Stations, which was simply amazing to hear live, before ploughing on with Rising Anew. This was the first chance for new Power Quest singer Chity Somapala to flex his vocal chords and show us what he was capable of. The veteran frontman did a stirling job, hitting all the right notes and putting paid to any detractors' criticisms that I'd heard.
Power Quest (c) Nikki RyanNext up they revisited the much-maligned Master Of Illusion album for the only time this evening with Human Machine before continuing with the Blood Alliance material in the shape of Sacrifice. Two great songs! Up next Find My Heaven from 2005's opus Magic Never Dies. Crunching The Numbers followed and this was probably the highlight of the show for me. One of my favorite songs from the new album and it was played with such verve that even the most stoic metal fan could not help but bang their head! The sound was fantastic; rich and full with every instrument audible.
And so it continued. Power Quest (Part 1) gave way to Better Days, Survive and Blood Alliance. The songs just kept coming and the band just got better. Already we'd heard cries of Far Away but the Power Quest anthem had been sidelined for this show, allowing some other tracks to get an airing. Power Quest (c) Nikki RyanThe performance ended with Another World, Wings Of Forever and a stunning encore of Glory Tonight.
It was so good to see Power Quest back even better than ever. I hope this remains a stable lineup as the vision of Steve William's combined with such talented musicians should allow Power Quest to ascend to the ranks of the elite of the European power metal scene.

The crowd at Satan's Hollow maxed out at around 50-60 people tonight which was a shame but not unexpected. Melodic power metal still has a long way to go to establish itself in the UK where the metal population tends to focus on the extreme sub genres or cling tenaciously to the eighties. With Anaal Nathrakh playing in a different venue on the same night it was obvious where most of the metal fans would be. Unfortunately if this situation keeps up then the UK will continue to be left out of most power metal band's touring schedules. In the meantime I'll look forward to seeing Afterdown and Neonfly at SOS Fest and Power Quest at the mighty Bloodstock Open Air!

Mike Thompson
photos by: Nikki Ryan, NCLR Photography


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