Lord of the Lost, The Raven Age, Blitz Union @ Z7 Pratteln

26.03.2024 Konzertfabrik Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland

The 15th anniversary of Lord Dark Helmet, as I affectionately call Lord of the Lost, has to be celebrated. And the guys do it with two bands that could become competitors, because musically they are in no way inferior to the headliners. Respect for taking these two on tour anyway – because it’s simply about mutual support and friendship. There’s no bitching over success levels, and that’s nice to see in a world full of resentment and jealousy.

Well, the fact that Z7 is getting more crowded is certainly not caused by those two opening acts only, but also by LOTL’s Eurovision performance last year. Such wide exposure always attracts new fans from age 7 to 80, regardless of the results at the ESC. That’s why every level of fandom is present at Z7 today: many have never been here before, others have seen every LOTL show in Switzerland so far.


Tonight’s opener is the lesser-known Blitz Union from the Czech Republic. The band formed in 2019 in a world on the brink of a pandemic, yet their whole show, their music, their videos and their message is so well thought out and it just works. “The new Rammstein for Generation Z & Y” they are called by the press; I would say their music is far more interesting with many more facets than Rammstein. How are they doing live? Yes, that’s something I have been asking myself, too, and get pleasantly surprised. The four gentlemen deliver a professional, well-done show from start to finish. Their songs focus on messaging and revolve around recent, hot topics: climate change, social media, abuse of power, homophobia etc. So, clearly, they have something to say, and with their music – a wild mix of industrial, goth and electro-pop – they do it really well. The audience is quickly convinced of Blitz Union’s qualities and is all the more pleased with the Mr. Blitz masks handed out by the band and their mentor Mr. Blitz (the mysterious masked gentleman). This is a band to keep an eye on. The songs are infectious, get you into dance mood and Mark Blitz’s vocals are 100% spot on. A strong beginning that will be hard to top.

The reason why I’m here is actually The Raven Age. I only became aware of the band last year when they played with Monster Magnet at Z7. Their very own style simply makes them stand out from other bands. Great riffs, great vocals, cool guys who present their own individual styles, songs that aren’t quite so simple, but still carry you away. Somehow you can’t really put your finger on what it is that makes them tick, but they’re just totally convincing live. We know that music from England is always a bit more special, and that’s exactly what makes it so amazing here. Since their debut in 2017, the guys have been lucky enough to be on the road with big-name bands (Volbeat, Iron Maiden), so you quickly learn the ropes. The two Matts, George, Tommy and Jai have sold themselves well right from the start and you can tell that again tonight. Every riff is spot on, the vocals are convincing and the new and old fans as well are catered to by the musicians. There’s not much you can say about The Raven Age, except that they simply come across as highly professional – hopefully the gentlemen from London will be on a headlining tour soon.

15 years of Lord of the Lost: Would I have expected that this band will last this long when I saw them for the first time in the Dynamo basement, together with Stoneman? I hardly think so. Even though I didn’t like Chris Harms’ style much in the past, I have to say that in recent years I’ve come to appreciate the driving force behind Lord of the Lost. One thing you have to appreciate this man and his crew for is that they know what they’re doing and even when things don’t work out, such as last year’s unjustified ESC failure, they get back up and carry on. They believe in themselves and their skills and simply do what they feel like doing, and that’s exactly what you can see and hear at tonight’s show. The songs are played in chronological order and it is noticeable that Lord of the Lost are simply never predictable. They have their own style, their strengths and perhaps also their weaknesses, but these guys from Hamburg are by no means boring. Because their drummer Nik dropped out shortly before the tour for health reasons, Nico Vaeen and Jörn Schwarzburger agreed to fill in without further ado – the latter is playing tonight’s show based solely on notes he took at last night’s concert when Nico Vaeen was holding the sticks. It’s unbelievable that something like this is even possible without weeks of rehearsals. And the gentleman did a great job. Chapeau, here you can see the qualities of a good musician, he can simply play everything. In addition to Jörn, there is another rather unknown face on stage, Benjamin Mundigler on second guitar. This leaves Harms free for pulling off the show, but he doesn’t miss the opportunity to pick up his guitar for a short acoustic version of “Lighthouse”, for which he calls on the audience to switch on their cell phone flashlights. This song with hundreds of lights in the crowd creates a wonderful gooseflesh atmosphere. He also thanks the Z7 crew and says, he hopes the venue will be around for a long time to come, even though they have to deal with difficulties.

Unfortunately, many other bands only play in Zurich, because of booking companies or the bands themselves decide so, probably believing that they can get more exposure and bigger crowds in Zurich. Yes, it’s a bigger city, but unfortunately not one filled with Rock and Metal fans. What the decision makers simply don’t realize is that the great familial atmosphere at Z7, the catering, the crew and the interaction is unique, according to several bands that have played here, and it can’t be matched in the whole of Switzerland. The border triangle attracts a huge potential of customers who travel to Z7 from Germany, France and from all over Switzerland.

Anyway, Lord of the Lost famously don’t play an encore, but at some point Chris simply says quite dryly: “If you hadn’t wanted to hear an encore, you would have had to leave two songs ago!” A good attitude, in my opinion, and always makes for a good laugh. The final songs are covers of Billy Idol, Sia and Lady Gaga, and with “One Last Song” the Germans end their 15th anniversary show here in Switzerland, to huge applause from the biggest audience they ever had at Z7.

Three great bands, of which Blitz Union were probably the highlight of the evening. Actually still quite unknown, the Czech band delivered a great show and winning them many new fans. And that The Raven Age and Lord of the Lost are great, well, we’ve all known that for a long time. Here’s to another 15 years, Lords, to Blood & Glitter and everything else it takes to be the band you are.

Sandy Mahrer

Fresh Act editor, reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Pop-Rock etc. Less Death, Black, Grind Core