Dutch drummer Koen Herfst has built quite up a resume in the past years. You may know him from his work with one of the most renowned DJ’s in the world, Armin van Buuren or from metal bands such as Dew Scented, I Chaos, Epica and After Forever. This year, Herfst was also chosen as BeNeLux’ best drummer by the Dutch magazine Slagwerkkrant. In his apparent busy schedule the musician also found some time to release a debut solo record, called Back to Balance.
For this album, Koen Herfst cooperated with many of the artists that he has work over in the past 18 years. This results in a list of 25 guest musicians (see the list below). If you keep that in mind and consider this record as a project rather than a band, the biggest ‘complaint’ against this album, is one that can be overlooked.
As you can read above, Koen Herfst is above all a versatile drummer and that aspect shines through in these songs and collaborations. While metal as a music style is the beating heart of every track, Koen Herfst goes through an entire musical palette on Back to Balance. The songs are often heavily inspired by the guest that perform on it.
For example Total Hate features the vocals of rapper Tai Stamph (Splendid) and thus the track ends up being a crossover rap/metal piece. The title track Back to Balance is a layered and complex musical piece, not the most easy listening track on the entire effort. While this certainly boosts the variety on the record, it does not contribute to the unity of Back to Balance.
Other than that, this record oozes technicality and professionalism of all the parties involved and really excellent, pounding metal, sometimes with a modern edge. Just one example is the opening track Here I Am or Erase and Rewind. Let’s hope Koen Herfst finds some time to make a follow up at some point!
01 Here I Am
02 Erase Or Rewind
03 The Kramer
04 I Don’t Need To Tell You
05 Total Hate
06 Back To Balance
09 Social Junkie
10 Ghetto Cornetto
11 Now Is The Time
12 Siamese Support
13 Never Been So Wrong
14 Attitude Of An Astronaut
Vocals: Mats Levén (Krux, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen), Daniël de Jongh (Textures), Valerio Recenti (My Propane), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Tai Stamph (Splendid), Rodney Blaze (ex- Xenobia), Claudia Soumeru (Bagga Bownz), Ward Palmen (Gunz N’ Rozes) and Eva Kathryn (US solo artist). Guitars: Marcel Singor, Marvin Vriesde (Dew-Scented), Eef van Riet (ex-My Favorite Scar), Daan Janzing (ex-My Favorite Scar), Eller van Buuren (Bagga Bownz), Mendel Bij de Leij (Aborted), Remko van der Spek (ex- Orphanage, ex- Cilice), Leif de Leeuw and Wim den Herder. Bass: Michiel Eilbracht (Bagga Bownz), Joost van der Graaf (I CHAOS, Dew-Scented), Johan van Stratum (Stream Of Passion) and Robin Zielhorst (Exivious, ex- Cynic). Keys: Joost van den Broek (ex-After Forever, The Gentle Storm), Coen Janssen (Epica). Violin: Judith van der Klip (ex-Blaudzun)
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As founder of Metal-Exposure, I'm a bit of a jack of all trades: first and foremost I'm a writer/freelance journalist. I also run this blog and I do some concert photography. You can find me at a lot of metal festivals/gigs, where I show off my disco moves, sing Monty Python songs and proclaim my faith in the number 42.