Live Review – Trick Or Treat First Japan Tour day 2 @ Palooza
I still have no idea where I should start writing about the unforgettable evening with Trick Or Treat as my highlight of the year. That was just overwhelming with a huge fun of the show plus very nice talking with them about their brilliant music and funny cultural differences between Italy and Japan. Anyway, I'd love to tell you about their show, about their live performance and the audience at that night.
When I passed through the entrance of Palooza with the band, a Japanese support act was still playing there. I met up with a couple of my friends quickly and took up our stand in the pit when the setup for Trick Or Treat had started, but the hall was packed with the audience already and we couldn’t reach to the front row. Suddenly, the hall became dark and the people there started yelling eagerly to Trick Or Treat for their enter on stage. After the sound of rolling thunder broke the darkness, finally members of the band showed up on stage and the people became more crazy coz it was just Trick Or Treat's very first Japan Tour and all of us knew the first song of the show at that evening was Inlé (the black rabbit of death). It couldn't had been better than any other song for the opener of the show cos it’s the killer first track from their latest masterpiece “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” and the brilliant album art was exuding its existence as a backdrop on the stage. I was singing the entire song together and was enjoying their passionate performance. I still have very special feelings for “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2”, so when Alle shouted out about the second song Cloudrider, I went hyper again… or I should say the audience went crazy for the hopeful song about Kehaar and the Watership rabbits. Such a positive song, such a brilliant band! My mind was already filled with joyful feelings at that moment.
Premonition from Rabbits’ Hill pt.1 was the third song they played. Everything of the enormous adventure started with the Fiver’s vision. My mind was floated between Sandleford Warren and the show, shouted the chorus part “Escape from here…” like the in-trance Fiver. Since their second full-length Tin Soldiers was their major debuted album in Japan, Loser Song they played as the fourth song at that night made us feeling great. And I already got Trick Or Treat are such brilliant live performers with the precise and energetic playing and the amazing vocals. The whole band looked joyful on stage and it made me happy enough to be a part of the unity for a big metal party. And I know I was not singing alone. (That's cord words for all Trick-nerds, haha)
A decade of my love for Trick Or Treat paid off with the next song – Evil Needs Candy Too. How could I imagine that the time for Trick Or Treat show in Japan come true until the couple of months ago? It was just fun to sing together the evil and funny chorus part with full force. I’m totally familiar to get some pain in my neck and body via metal shows but I found out that muscles of my face started weary already cos I was smiling all the time through the show so far. All hail happy metal.
Well, the next song was the band’s playtime pt.1 – Let It Go from the Disney movie “Frozen” but a metal version. I actually had some obvious feelings from two different aspects about it. It was simply fun to see how my beloved band arranged and played the world famous hit song for a joyful metal party. On the other hand (and it’s an important thing for me), it was very first time ToT Japan Tour, so the 60 minutes of their setlist was too short for me. I wanted to hear more songs from their fabulous albums. It's not murmur to the band. I have such a strong love for their original songs and a huge excitement for the first experience of their show :)
Leone’s bass solo refreshed my complicated feelings, and then the time for rabbits is back! Alle asked to a fan in the front row to get a rabbit beret for the next song - Rabbits’ Hill. The song is one of my 3-top-fave in the pt.1 (Wrong Turn and The Tale of Rowsby Woof are the rest of them), so I went crazy and of course the whole audience as well. I was singing the song along with the band and was closing my eyes for a while to feel the Watership breeze brought by the beloved guys with their killer performance. And, Alle’s vocals were just amazing!
The next one was their very early time’s song - Like Donald Duck. This cartoonish song was fun to hear in their show cos the whole members looked absolutely enjoyable. I didn’t miss that Alle dropped some lines from the song actually but that’s live. You should take it pleasure that you could experience many small differences as special memories at every single show. *grin*
Cartoon out, anime in, and it was time for boys. Alle asked to the audience for help for the next song - Saint Seiya’s theme. Our applause goes to Alle for his perfect singing with whole Japanese lyrics, and I was happy to see their love for Japan stuff, woot! Nuff said.
It’s time for a prison break, time for freedom! With the following song The Great Escape, I was really blissful and was singing the song along with the band again. I love guitar solos in the song. Guido and Luca have beautiful forms each other through their great guitar performance and it made me more into their show. All hail guitar heroes. Well, I’m very familiar with overwhelming drumming (I love blast beats) since I’m a big fan of extreme metal, but Luca’s drums were good enough to satisfy me at the show.
What a fancy evening. Michele Luppi from Secret Sphere joined on stage for the next song Take Your Chance. This is one of my fave in Tin Soldiers along with Freedom. It was kinda magic to be one of the witnesses for the original duet :D
Too sad to know the next song was the final song but United, hell yeah! Alle toled us Tony from Sonata Arctica was too busy to join the show tonight, so he needs to sing it alone, haha. His jokes made us smiling a lot and wiped out my gonna-miss feeling. Now we should be united for the finale of the big party. All of the audience there kept jumping with the band and was singing the epic chorus part. Trick Or Treat were Hazels and we were Bigwig, Fiver, Dandelion, Blackberry, Pipkin.... at that moment. “It’s the time for deliverance now! United we’ll be strong!”
The blissful time was over… all we could do was keep applauding and yelling to the band for the unforgettable time with their brilliant performance. That was a blast, real blast! I’ll never forget about the evening forever.
As far as I could see, there were a couple small sound problems attacked them but it could happen often at that class venues. So the blame should not go to the band, and who cares? That’s live. Spirit is the matter! Their energetic and happy performance covered all troubles at that evening!
After the show, I met up with Guido again and talked about the show, about their music and more. In our conversation, I confessed my dream to him: I’d love to see complete “Rabbits’ Hill pt1 & 2” show one day, using a big screen on the back on stage reflecting Alle’s art work and some scenes from Watership Down novel would be perfect. Adding choirs would be great too. It’s just a dream, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Like Alice says “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”
I had a real blast at that evening, got unforgettable memories from the great Italian band! I can’t thank enough to these guys: Alle, Luca(V), Leone, Luca(S) and especially to Guido. We love you! Hope to see you guys very soon.
Until the next time... May the trick be with you!
Sorry for my blur live photos. I was busy myself to enjoy the show at that time :)
Beautiful picks: Luca's pick, Special pick for Japan, Guido's signed pick.
I gave them those El-ahrairah trophies as "Rabbits' Hill pt.2" album of the year + Inlé.
Interview with Trick Or Treat – Rabbits’ Hill pt.2 and The Upcoming Japan Tour
It could be a quite long interview cos I have too many feelings and thoughts to Trick Or Treat since I got an imported copy of their debut album “Evil Needs Candy Too” in 2006 via a CD store in Tokyo. However they have been one of my all-time favorites, they became an absolutely special band for me after the decade with the incredible album “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2”. I couldn't stop my passion to write down my review for the album quickly. Check it out here. So, I had an interview with Guido Benedetti from the band and asked a couple of my interests about them but I tried to focus on the latest and biggest masterpiece and the upcoming Japan tour to make it short.
To Japanese readers: 日本語版はこちらからご覧いただけます
We all Japanese fans are absolutely excited for your upcoming Japan Tour. Finally it comes true! How are you feeling about the fact you’re going to strike the land of the rising sun for the first time? Are you excited as well?
Guido: Yeah, we are really excited. Japan is a country we love and we are very happy finally to play there. And of course we hope you will like our show. We have some surprise for these gigs…so why not be there?
Why did it take such a long time to make the first Japan Tour comes true even you are signed with a major record label in Japan? Have you ever known you have a bunch of fans in Japan from your early era?
Guido: With our second album “Tin Soldiers” in 2009 we had the chance to be published by King Records in Japan, and results were very good. From that point we started a collaboration and we are very glad to visit this country for the first time! And we hope to meet all our fans of early era, a lot of things to talk!
Well, I’d love to shout this out loud over again that your latest record “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” is such an amazing masterpiece! I’m very thankful to you for the super brilliant music! Actually I love both of the pt.1 & 2 but strongly feel pt.2 is much more advanced than pt.1 and it’s just perfect! In fact, you have been keeping on evolving so much from your first album. Every time you release a new album, it has more depth, various colors and professionalism than past ones but you never drop off your direction of what Trick Or Treat is. That’s really awesome! One of your original members Luca Cabri’s withdrawal affected for your musical progress this time?
Guido: Oh, thank you!!! We are very happy you liked it.
Luca was an important member of the band, and wrote a lot of songs in the past. We shared a lot of gigs, tours, recording sessions, and we are still friends, but you know sometimes things changes, especially for an “underground band” like us. In fact after his departure we simply write our ideas like in the past and we liked the results as well. I think we are changing a little our sound year after year cause we are growing up every year a little bit…it’s hard to say, but we are growing old…ahahah
Did that member-change actually make you force to take such a long time to release the pt.2?
Guido: Not really, we had to wait a long time for the release of “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” due to label change. The album was recorded in the first part of 2015, but waiting was worth to have the right time to promote the album properly.
So, could you introduce us your latest new Tricker, Luca Venturelli?
Guido: Luca Venturelli is our friend from the early first steps of the band, so for us was the natural choice to ask him to join the band 2 years ago.
For me especially is a brother and I feel really “complete” when I play with him on stage.
It’s a pleasure to see him play, it’s a very talented guy and also a good composer.
What else? ….he pay me a lot of money to say that! …ahahahah
Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams and you guys Guido Benedetti and Alle Conti are my most venerable artists who have the super excellent expressive ability for legendary sagas. As a big fan of “Watership Down”, I could be very picky against releases related with the story but you just blew me away with the bunch of perfect songs! Why did you choose the famous adventurous story for the concept of your latest two albums?
Guido: Really thank you, I'm not worthy, I‘m really blushing! ahah
In 2005, during the recording of our first album “Evil Needs Candy Too”, we saw the movie(Watership Down) together and we wanted to make a concept album, cause in the past (when we were kids) everyone of us saw the movie and the story were really “intense and impressive” for us to remind our childhood emotions. So we tried to bring them into the songs.
Did you plan to divide the whole story in two from the start?
Guido: Yes , cause it was very difficult to describe all chapters, characters, and story in one album.
There are many wonderful guitar riffs and solos in the album. So, could you tell us which guitar part is the most favorite highlight for you?
Guido: Thank you again! For me “The Showdown” is one of my favorite of the album, but also the final part of “Last Breath” have a special “mood” for me.
Your technics for the lyrics are so amazing as well with the emphersized emotions and the magnified and expanded adventures. You used many tricks in those lyrics, for example the first track “Inlé”: the first half goes objective by written in the third person, and it becomes subjective through the eyes of the black rabbit itself in the second half. That’s a pretty good idea to increase its frightfulness. How did you manage those interesting lyrics? Do you basically compose music first?
Guido: Really good question, very careful.
I wanted to change person to describe better the scare of rabbits about Inlé, cause I found similarities when humans try to describe death, the fear of the unknown, and self belief that death (in this case the rabbit of death) is always evil. In fact in the end of “Last Breath”, Hazel discover that Inlé is a part of El-ahrairah myth. It depends, I usually write music first with vocal melody. Then I write lyrics and arrangements.
Actually I can’t drop every single song of the album from my favorite but I can say “The Showdown” is the greatest piece ever. Music and the lyrics are perfectly combined and it formed as an epic verse. It gives me huge goose-bumps always. Perfect! Why did you make the song as such a long length?
Guido: Cause I like long songs! But I wanted to show all the feels of the rabbits during the battle, sometimes scared, sometimes desperate, but also brave and resolute.
I also want to mention about “Last Breath”. It is the most beautiful and sensitive song I’ve ever listened to in my metal life. Umm, did you think about your children when you were making the lyrics? I feel so with the very touchy part: ”If they could learn from our life and take it all to save them from hell, to let live them free, they are still young.”
Guido: Touchè! Yes I was thinking about them, but also to future generations.
It was like they have to learn from the past mistake to make a better way to live together in peace and awareness. (yes it sounds a bit peaceful message, but I think is the only way to follow)
Could you leave some message to Japanese fans?
Guido: Hey, we are gonna coming to Japan, we can’t wait. Hope to see all of you in the front row. It’s time for having fun!!! OK?
Thank you Kumi for this amazing interview. See you there!!!
Thank you so much for your time for my interview. See you around!
May the trick be with you!
Trick Or Treat – “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” – Insight of the concept
I’m an indie extreme metal supporter and my site stands just for it, but I’d love to write my feelings for the incredible concept album “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” created by my favorite Italian power metal band Trick Or Treat.
It was more than a decade ago when I was totally into “Watership Down” by Richard Adams for the first time. I read it as Japanese edition “ウォータシップダウンのウサギたち” at that time. Time passed by, Trick Or Treat pulled the trigger for my passion for the epic adventure again with their two concept albums.
So I finally read the book as the original English edition lately. The story never gets old and blew me away over again! And I also found out once again, such a talented band Trick Or Treat is. The tunes and lyrics perfectly describe the Watership Down universe in their way, that’s just incredible!
If you are a fan of both of Watership Down and metal, I bet you’ll never be disappointed with the album, so please try it.
Trick Or Treat drew the first half of Watership Down in Rabbits’ Hill pt.I (covers “The Journey” and “On Watership Down” in the book) about 4 years ago and finally the second half of the story: Rabbits’ Hill pt.II (covers “Efrafa” and “Hazel-rah” in the book) came out this summer with more sophisticated sounds.
Here’s my very personal review for Rabbits’ Hill pt.II about the great collaboration between “Watership Down” and metal. I rarely write album reviews for my site cos everybody has different feelings and tastes about music and you can get what you feel only by listening to it with your own ears, not from other people’s words, never. You even can start it with YouTube. And if you feel good with it, you can buy it wherever as long as it’s a regal way and can support metal. I never want to act like a judge for any music, so this review covers some insight of the concept with my love for the story and the album without rating. I hope you enjoy it.
Note: It could be spoilers for the story of Watership Down. So if you don't know the story so far and want to read the book, please remember the following review could show you some detail of the story especially second half of it.
Watership Down is an enormous adventure about “fight for freedom” through a bunch of brave wild rabbits and the book contents stories from two different rabbit’s worlds. One of them is the main story drew up a chronology of events as adventures of the wild rabbits, and the other one stands as “traditional story” a kind of rabbit’s bible told by the rabbits and it often gives them some bravery and hits for how to cope with their struggles for life with their enemies. So, Trick Or Treat dealt with both of them in the album and the opener Inlé(the black rabbit of death) is just about the most dreadful existence(the black rabbit of Inlé) in the rabbits’ myth. As an extreme metal lover, I’m happy to hear some growl part in the song honestly. The word “Inlé” comes from the rabbits’s original language Lapine and it means literally “moon”, and second meaning of it is “darkness”, “fear” and “death”. So, it could be some death metal song, *grin*. Anyway, the song is edgy and aggressive, and it’s just appropriate for the opener of the album. Great piece! It’s a contrasting pair with Prince with a 1000 enemies the opening track of Rabbits’ Hill pt.I pointed the rabbit folk hero(in their myth) El-ahrairah. It’s just like darkness and light. You can find them in both of cover arts.
I also should mention the fact that all those fabulous arts through Rabbits’ Hill pt.I & II are done by Alessandro Conti the amazing singer of the band.
Well, in the ending of the first half of the story, Hazel (the protagonist rabbit) shot down by a farmer at Nuthanger Farm right after the raid for hutch-rabbits there in the name of freedom. Together Again is the song about Hazel’s return from his chasm of death (related songs: I’ll come back for you and Bright eyes from pt.I) and the reunion with his buddies especially his young brother Fiver who didn't give up his existence. The short, calm and gentle song gives a new hope for the story.
Cloudrider is a song about Kehaar the sea gull saved by the rabbits, and it’s definitely one of my favorite songs from the album. Like Bigwig (Thlayli) says “You know, he made me feel I could fly too. That Big Water! I wish I could see it.”, Kehaar is wings of hope for the rabbits, and Trick Or Treat is my Kehaar setting me free (at heart) like a bird in the blue sky. Such a brilliant song with full of positivity they created!
The Hazel’s give-and-take idea through the rescue of Kehaar and a mouse reminds me the famous quote from Confucius ‘the good you do for others is good you do yourself’, by the way.
The epic adventure heads toward the merciless rabbits empire - Efrafa with the almost impossible mission organized by Team Hazel-rah. The intro of Efrafa shows you a creepy and cruel mood enough already. It’s a song about Blackavar imprisoned by Efrafan officers because he tried to run away from Efrafa once before. No matter he is imprisoned in a dark hole or not, Efrafa itself is just a big prison for him and many simple rabbits there. The song starts with Blackavar’s grief but it leads to a light in the dark brought by Bigwig. I’m always moved by Bigwig’s everlasting strength built on friendship, charity and justice. The chorus part shows you there’s a hope for escape from the hell.
Never Say Goodbye is another song of hope between Bigwig and Hyzenthlay. It’s a song about Hyzenthlay‘s longing for freedom and Bigwig’s conviction for escape. With a relationship built on trust, freedom’s not a dream anymore. The mission-impossible of Team Hazel-rah stands on the brighter future of Watership Down warren. They made through the crisis of their home warren at Sandleford (related songs: Spring in the warren, Premonition and Wrong Turn from pt.I) and the sham nation of Cowslip’s warren (related songs: False paradise and Between anger and tears from pt.I) and finally found their new promise land Watership Down (related song: Rabbits’ hill from pt.I), but without female rabbits like Hyzenthlay, there’s no hope for their future. I always love the story of “freedom call” or “freedom fighters”. Sara Squadrani did a great job as Hyzenthlay to express her long time eagerness for freedom. It’s just soulful and beautiful.
Trick Or Treat is often described as Happy Metal. The Great Escape is just a party piece in that way. The story for the escape from Efrafa stands extremely critical but the song itself has very positive tones and that’s why I’m into the song. The lyrics start from the courageous determination between Bigwig and Efrafan rabbits right before the escape from Efrafa into the storm and it covers along the way towards Watership Down warren including the breathtaking scene with the rabbit’s trick: using a men’s boat arranged by Hazel and Blackberry. With the exhilarating chorus part, the song is filled with an exciting mood and positive energies. That’s just brilliant!
Here comes General Woundwort the fierce Efrafan emperor. The regime of terror is the the only way to rule the world for him and he got frantically mad with the bunch of death-defying prison-breakers leading by Bigwig. So They Must Die is very aggressive metal piece with the edgy sound and Tim Owens’s charismatic vocals. It describes very well for General Woundwort’s extreme ferocity and such a twisted obsessiveness.
Well, The tale of Rowsby Woof is one of my favorite songs in pt.I with some Celtic folk song atmosphere. It’s taken from rabbits’ myths with an El-ahrirar’s trick. It’s told by Dandelion as usual before the following Efrafans’ attack. So, in order of the book, the song should be stood between Beware The Train (instrumental) and United but as long as the tale could sync with Nuthanger Farm’s watchdog, I think the band found a good position for the song. So, United shows you the determination for being brave under the flag of brotherhood and freedom, and the preparation for the upcoming final battle. The song has a good vibe and stands as a booster for the following highlight: The Showdown.
Team Hazel-rah has been saved over again by Fiver’s visions, Bigwig’s strength and Hazel’s wisdom inspired by El-ahrirah’s tricks. The Showdown is a song for their showdown literally via the final battle at Watership Down warren and it’s my most favorite song in the album. The tunes and lyrics are absolutely brilliant and I almost forget about the fact it has 10:47 as running time. I want to shout this out that my hat goes off to genius Guido Benedetti for the full deck of amazing songs! In the middle of the song, once the hope almost dies down with the Bigwig’s defeat through the epic fight with General Woundwort, but Lord Frith didn’t reprobate Bigwig, Hazel and his all buddies and gave them another trick for the demise of the battle. I have huge goose-bumps every time with the epic final lines: “We see the rising sun, we feel the rising sun, WE ARE THE RISING SUN.” Just a perfect song for me.
The grand finale of their adventure is filled with hope and brighter future, but every life has its ending. Last Breath is the most beautiful and emotional song I’ve ever listened to in my whole metal life. It’s just like touching to the softest part of my heart and I can’t resist tears every time listening to the song. I really love the epilogue of the story and this amazing song as well cos both of them are extremely pure and peaceful. Now Hazel is going to accept his final journey towards another paradise in bliss with his body behind. Alle’s vocals are just overwhelming and beyond perfect to describe that sensitive moment. With his final shout: “Farewell my land”, I even have to catch back a sob every time. I have to say any words can’t be enough to describe how fantastic this song is. All you can do is to experience it with your own heart and ears.
Trick Or Treat’s “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” got an epic victory with their incredible songwriting ability and technical play, plus endless positive energies and passion for what they do. The album is definitely one of the best releases of the year for me.
Last of all...
I love readings. It’s much better than movies and TV programs in many ways. But I just shout this out MUSIC IS A MIRACLE! I’d love to pay my endless respects for all genius metal musicians. I just want to say thanks a lot for them from the bottom of my heart.
My thankfulness goes to every single reader of my blog as well.
To metal brothers and sisters united under the metal flag,
Pay for music, support metal bands!
Trick Or Treat are:
Guido Benedetti (Guitar)
Leone Villani Conti (Bass)
Luca Setti (Drums)