On the Road with the Metal Warriors of Hysterica: “European Tour, October 2015”
We all have at least one of those bands… a band we’ve totally fallen in love with, but, for one reason or another, have never been able to see them live. For me, the band that topped that list was Hysterica, a group of four talented women from Sweden that played a hard driving brand of old school heavy metal. I first discovered them surfing YouTube four years ago, when I came across a video of them playing at the Sweden Rock Festival. Although I listen to many different types of rock and metal (as well as several other genres of music), my roots go back to the 70s when heavy metal meant a heavy rhythm section, great guitar solos, powerful vocals, and lots of leather and spikes. The music was heavy with no need for other adjectives in front of it to classify it…. And that was what Hysterica was all about. I bought their album, “MetalWar” immediately, and from there totally fell in love with the band. But being from Scandinavia, Hysterica had never toured beyond Europe and Russia, so seeing them live was not going to be the easiest thing. When they released their second album, “The Art of Metal” in 2012, I thought it was the best heavy metal album released that year. I was actually invited to the album release party in Stockholm, but was unable to go due to prior commitments. There was always going to be another chance to see them live… right? Well… maybe not….
After the second album release, fans were expecting a big year for Hysterica. But after only a handful of shows, the band went silent, and many fans assumed that they had broken up. I definitely regretted not making the album release show as I thought I had missed my only opportunity to ever see them play. But fortunately for fans, that band had not broken up… and was only on a prolonged break due to personal reasons. After two years of silence, we began to hear rumblings from the Hysterica crypt late last year and by spring of this year the band had released a stunning five song EP of new music entitled “All In”. About that same time, a European headlining tour was announced for the fall… and I wasted no time in planning the trans- Atlantic trip! I was finally going to see them play!
The European tour was scheduled to blaze a path of metal destruction through Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. I was actually able to catch the band at four shows in the Netherlands including the final night of the tour on Halloween. They had different opening bands every night. When Hysterica finally hit the stage it was a bit of a surreal experience for me. I had wanted to see them play for so long… it was hard to believe it was finally happening. I expected them to be great… but they totally exceeded my expectations. Each and every show I attended was awesome… the band was on fire! The musical production was good and the band was very interactive with each other and the audiences. The audiences were a mixed bunch… some tried and true Hysterica fans and some locals that had just shown up at their local rock club to see who was playing that night. But regardless of who they were, Hysterica had the audience enslaved by their second song. The audience was active each and every night with lots of cheering, headbanging, fist pumping, and horns in the air!
Anni De Vil’s vocals were stunning, regardless of whether she was singing a melody, growling, or unleashing a blood curdling scream. Bitchie Blackwhore gave us some great guitar solos and the driving rhythm provided by Satanica (bass) and Hell’n (drums) made the package complete. Hysterica is a very active band on stage with constant headbanging and other heavy metal mayhem. It is very obvious watching this band that they enjoy playing just as much as the audience enjoys seeing them play. Despite playing heavy music, the bands mood is very light, with lots of smiles, funny faces (mostly Satanica), and other non-verbal communication… both with the audience and each other. It is always a joy to watch a band that is obviously having fun doing what they do. On the final night of the tour, they all got matching tattoos that said “Sisters of Steel” in various places on their bodies… I was able to see… some of them… But I think the tattoo says it all… this band is a very close knit family!
Hysterica played a 12- 14 song set each night. The set list did vary from night to night and usually included 2-3 songs from the most recent EP. I heard “Lock Up Your Son” and “You’ll Remember My Name” every night. I only heard the title track “All In” on the final night. The remainder of the songs were a good mix from their first 2 albums, including such classics as “We Are The Undertakers”, “Girls Made Of Heavy Metal”, “Heels of Steel” and the crowd sing-a-long, “Heavy Metal Man”. It was a great set, but it definitely left me wanting more!
You can always tell a lot about a band by the way they interact with their fans… and Hysterica is an extremely fan friendly group of musicians. They spent a lot of time with their fans after each and every show to sign albums, take pictures, have conversations, and even have drinks at the bar with those stragglers that remained after the crowds cleared out. Not only did they take the time for their fans… they really seemed to enjoy the time they could spend with them. They are not only great musicians, they are a great bunch of people!… and I wish them every success in life!
The European tour is now finished, but Hysterica has big plans for 2016 including new music, more touring, and hitting the festival circuit next summer. If you’ve never heard of this band before, check out their albums… they are all fantastic. If you’ve never seen them perform before, do it. It’s a great show!