It’s the end of February and already my second date with Chats Noirs Asso. The year 2024 is shaping up to be a feline one! My last visit to the Brat Cave was at the end of January for the Treola Winter Fest and once again I noticed that Kévin and his team had added some new equipment to improve the comfort of the bands and the audience. So I start this report with a huge BIG UP for La Brat Cave! What’s more, I’m delighted to see as soon as I arrive that hypocras is still on the bar menu. The evening is off to a flying start!

Now that the groundwork has been laid, let’s get down to the music. The Symphonic Ace’s Tour is a combination of two concerts: the first in Belgium at the Ragnarok Live Club in Bree on Friday 23 February, and the second on Saturday 24 February at La Brat Cave in Lille. I went along to this second date. On the bill were three bands of three different nationalities: Epinikion, Cathubodua and Alwaid.


Epinikion is an Epic Symphonic Metal band from the Netherlands. The project is fairly recent, with a first single released in February 2021 and a debut album entitled “Inquisition” released in April 2022.

The band will perform on stage for the first time in October 2022, then play a dozen dates across Belgium, France and the Netherlands in 2023. 2024 is shaping up to be a productive year for Epinikion, with a number of dates already announced for the coming months.

Tonight, the sound is very good from the outset, and we appreciate the complicity that reigns on stage between the six musicians. Despite a line-up that changes from gig to gig with a few session musicians, Epinikion have managed to create a solid, reliable base. I was quickly drawn in by the smiling keyboardist who, despite being in a dimly-lit corner of the stage, never lets herself be forgotten. Her superb piano parts give an almost cinematic dimension to the compositions. The bass stands out perfectly in the mix and, with the support of precise drums, gives the rest of the band an excellent foundation. All that’s left for the guitarists and singer to do is to add a bewitching melody, almost danceable at times.


The second band to perform this evening, Cathubodua hail from Belgium and also describe themselves as an Epic Symphonic Metal band.

Their second album, ‘Interbellum’, was released the day before the concert, on 23 February, by Massacre Records. So it’s fresh stuff that awaits us at the merch stand.

This new opus already occupies a large part of the setlist, alongside tracks from the first album, ‘Continuum’, released in 2019.

Just like their predecessors, Cathubodua find themselves a little cramped with six musicians on the Brat Cave stage. A few extra square metres wouldn’t have gone amiss, but the show was guaranteed to go on, and the violinist’s repetitive headbanging didn’t get in the way. On the drums, despite a make-up in keeping with his acolytes, we recognise Harald, who was behind the drums for Epinikion just before.

Cathubodua‘s vocals are delivered by an expressive and charismatic singer, with sounds that remind me of a certain Floor Jansen.

I’m particularly taken with ‘Foretelling’, which was the subject of a video earlier this year. It’s a powerful, energetic track with a heady melody that you find yourself singing over and over again (it seems the drummer likes it too, as he tried to play it a second time! ha ha!). The set went by quickly, Cathubodua not faltering. By the end of their forty minutes, the audience were asking for more. After obtaining the blessing of the drummer, who had just completed two sets, the band went ahead and played one last track.

Cathubodua were my favourites of the evening, and I’ll be going back to see them on 8 March at the DVG Club in Kortrijk for a release show. If you want to join me, info is over here .


The last band to take to the stage this evening are Lille’s Alwaid. A well-known melodic metal band from the region, they are the doyens of this Symphonic Ace’s Tour, with three albums to their credit in almost fifteen years of existence. The latest, ‘Twelve Daemons’, was released in May 2023 on the Valkyrie Rising label.

It’s hard to move on from the storm that was Cathubodua, but the band from Lille are still going strong. After more than a decade of scouring the concert halls, Alwaid seem to have found their cruising speed. This new album has breathed new life into the band, who are now a quartet with a single guitarist, Max, who delivers both melodic solos and heavy riffs. The irreducible Robin (regularly seen on the Lille scene with multiple projects) and the irreplaceable Deniz form the rhythm section on drums and bass respectively. Long-time accomplices Marie and Max take charge of the vocal parts, playing a question-and-answer game of clean vocals and growls.

After a rather quick set change, it took a few minutes to stabilise the sound, which sputtered a little on the vocals and bass. Alwaid are defending their third album this evening. Alghavil Altannin” from “Lacus Somniorum” and “When Giants Wake” from “The Machine And The Beast” are the only surviving tracks from previous albums. The Lille-based band have also included an Epica cover, which I have to say is well performed. Dare I confess that I can’t remember the title of this song? Well, if you want to know which one it is, I invite you to go and see Alwaid on one of his next shows (did you see that roll worthy of the greatest stuntmen?). Back to the point, the crowd are hot tonight and they don’t want to see this epic evening come to an end. An encore was requested and granted. Alwaid then began his masterpiece “The Whale”, the second extract from “The Machine And The Beast” in the setlist.

In short, it was another excellent evening made by Chats Noirs Asso at La Brat Cave. It’s a shame there weren’t a few more people in attendance for this top-quality bill, with the venue barely half full. Nevertheless, the audience gave 200% to make up for those who couldn’t make it.

Thanks to Chats Noirs Asso for the accreditation. We look forward to seeing you on another date!

For more information:

Chats Noirs Asso :

Epinikion :

Cathubodua :

Alwaid :

La Brat Cave :