70000 TONS OF METAL 2019 HIGHLIGHT : TWILIGHT FORCE
I want to talk about Twilight Force for a moment; a divisive subject in the metal community, I know. The Swedish band is breathing life into a new breed of fantasy metal with their epic layered orchestrations, extravagant lore, and theatrical performances. Twilight Force has the power to make every one of their song paint a mental picture and conjure up feelings of joy in the listener, the same way a really good Disney song sticks with you years after you first witness it — there is a fantastical element to that. To me, seeing this band perform live is always a delight and a privilege.
Their first stint on 70,000 Tons of Metal in 2016 didn’t turn out to their advantage, as they were forced to cancel their pool deck show due to inclement weather, but they did gather a lot of new fans then, so in 2019 they were invited to join us again. After first playing the minuscule Star Lounge, their second performance was scheduled at 5AM on the pool deck, after our shore day in Haiti and a full night of debauchery. But if you think that this kind of scheduling would deter a horde of half-drunk, half-sunburnt, inflatable-sword-wielding powermetal fans, you would be mistaken.
Then, in the early hours of the morning before dawn, there was magic in the air that everyone in attendance could feel. The pool deck was buzzing with excitement when Twilight Force’s epic entrance music was heard. The night was pitch black and it was windy on the deck, but bathed in bright light out came the band members like a parade of life-size D&D characters, their new singer Alessandro Conti (Trick or Treat, Lione/Conti, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody) taking center stage.
To change vocalists is always a huge risk — and I heard through the grapevines that Conti initially was concerned about how the very loyal Twilight Force fans would react — but he is a perfect addition to the band. With his beautiful crisp high vocals and regal stage presence, he truly made an impression. He has proven his worth in his other musical ventures indeed, but if anyone was unsure of how he would perform in this setting, this definitely put their minds at ease. Alessandro Conti belongs in Twilight Force without a doubt.
It may have been late, and we may have been initially tired, but the sextet’s epic music revived us, their positive energy and their joyous antics energized everyone present; the crowd was ecstatic. Everyone was smiling ear to ear, singing along to every word about sapphire dragons and riders of the dawn, and unsheathing their air swords in unison during “Gates of Glory”.
To my great disappointment the band finished playing before the sun started to rise, and altogether too soon for me — I could have gone for 2 more hours of Twilight Force, at least! That performance in particular brings up such fireworks of emotions in me while I’m just writing about it, I crack a smile sitting here alone. A band that can make me this happy has such a special place in my heart. Anyone who came to this show not a fan and still and wasn’t turned on to Twilight Force by the end of this performance certainly has a heart of stone.