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Review: Hanker - Chalet des Loisirs, September 11, 1999
Hanker
Chalet des Loisirs, September 11, 1999
Venue: Chalet des Loisirs
City: Beaupré, Québec, Canada

Show date: September 11, 1999
Guests: Destiny

Rating: 5/5

Review online: September 21, 1999
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
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Chalet des Loisirs, September 11, 1999

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Review


This requires a bit of history before the actual review.  One day I was reading the alt.rock-n-roll.heavy.megadeth newsgroup, sharing with others my frustration about the newly-released Risk album.  I came across a post by someone mentioning Iced Earth, Hammerfall, Gamma Ray and Hanker as alternatives to the now radio-friendly Megadeth.  Not knowing any of these bands, I e-mailed him for more information.  It turned out he was the webmaster for The Official HANKER Web Site.  This is where I found out that Hanker was from Beaupré, near my hometown of Quebec City.  Cool.  I ended up browsing through their web site, checked out the sound bytes and just loved what I heard.  I then found out that Hanker was performing in Beaupré the following weekend.  Cool, that's only a 5 hours drive from Ottawa! :)  So I contacted Pierre Bégin (Hanker's webmaster) and we agreed to meet there.

The show was held at the Chalet des loisirs in Beaupré and was for the benefit of l'Énigme, the local youth centre (so Hanker did this show for free.)  The show started with a local band, Destiny.  They do mostly covers (lots of Maiden) and also some of their own material.  They were surprisingly good and the crowd seemed to enjoy the show.  I hope these guys decide to push their band farther, as I think there might just be a good future for that band.  The performance lasted over one hour, which I found unusual for a first act, but they were so good that it didn't seem long enough.  The crowd sang a lot during the Maiden covers, which impressed me as it was mostly a crowd of teenagers.  I thought all teenagers these days were lost listening to such crap as Korn and Limp Bizkit and other similar bands dressed like a bunch of idiots.  Cool!! I thought, maybe there's some hope for humanity after all. :)

Then came Hanker.  Their third album, Snakes and Ladders will be released sometime in November, and they decided to treat us with most of their new songs.  Wow.  From what I've heard, this new album will be a must-have for any true metal fan.  The crowd was a bit bigger than during the first act, and you could feel some complicity between the band and the fans (well, it's their hometown after all!)  This made for a very unique ambiance which made the show even more enjoyable.  Despite a very small stage, the band members managed to move around quite a bit, adding even more life to their already energetic set of songs.  This was the first live performance of Hanker's new bassist, Denis Cossette, and from what I've seen and heard, they chose the right guy.  The guys were having fun on stage and there's no question that they gave their 100%+ for their home crowd.  They played for about two and a half hours.  We don't even get that from well-established bands for which we have to pay the big bucks.  I'm just running out of words here (happens a lot when I talk about Hanker :))  This show was excellent, there's no question about it.  One thing worth mentioning, Hanker didn't need a large venue with special effects to give us a good show.  As long as you have those four guys on stage, you just get into the music (I could even say "the magic") and don't care about fireworks and other visual effects.  Hanker won me as a new, enthusiastic fan, not only because their music is incredibly good (among the best melodic heavy metal you can get), but also because they are such down-to-earth guys (their webmaster introduced me to them before the show.)

If you don't have their albums, well, what are you waiting for?  Their first album, In Our World, is not available on CD, but should be re-issued soon.  Both albums are excellent.  And watch for Snakes and Ladders later this year, as it follows in the tradition of the first two: excellent material.  If you get a chance to see Hanker live, go for it even if you have to drive for a few hours, I guarantee you will not regret it.  I know I did not, after a total of 10-11 driving hours (including "Finding my damned motel" (TM)) :-)

I have another review of the show which I posted to alt.rock-n-roll.heavy.metal the day after the show.  You can read it on The Official HANKER Web Site.


Other related information on the site
Review: Aréna de Beaupré, May 27, 2001 (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Conspiracy of Mass Extinction (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: In Our World - Revisited (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: L'Arlequin, November 20, 1999 (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Le Kashmir, February 2, 2002 (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: Snakes and Ladders (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Snakes and Ladders (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: The Dead Ringer (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Dead Ringer (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Web Of Faith (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Web Of Faith (reviewed by Pierre Bégin)
Review: Web Of Faith (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with singer/guitarist Pascal Cliche on April 21, 2001 (Interviewed by Michel Renaud)
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