Abattoir's Concert Hunt - Round 19 & 20 (Concert Review)


Event: Vienna Metal Meeting 2019
Written by: Abattoir
Published: 05.07.2019


Rounds 19 & 20 : Vienna Metal Meeting 2019 (11.05.2019 - Vienna/Austria) --> Venue: Arena

CONCERT REVIEW:

Vienna Metal Meeting is an annual one-day festival in May held at the infamous venue Arena. Arena is actually the biggest cultural place of alternative music in Austria. More appropriate to say, it's a closed complex of many smaller buildings with various rooms/halls. Between all these buildings there is also a lot of open space, where an open-air stage is set. That's also one of the reasons that this place hosts a fair dose of different kinds of gigs throughout the whole year, along with the fact that everything seems to be very well-organized, which is a normal and expected thing when you come to Austria.

I've been familiar with the existence of this fest for the past couple of years. This was the third edition of it and hosted 16 groups, separated on two stages: a smaller one indoors, which is actually the 'big hall' (capacity around 900) of the Arena venue, and the bigger one outside, the open-air stage (capacity around 3000). A time schedule can be seen below as well as the separation of the bands by the stages they were performing on. There were many factors that made the decision easier for me to attend this event, but the main one was of course to see and listen to lots of interesting, diverse bands (especially for one day) coming from all sorts of metal genres and subgenres. It's much more bearable after seeing such an amount of bands in one day, not coming only from one or two different genres. I can't imagine seeing 10+ death metal bands in a single day, for example. A system overload for me. Talking about the quantity of the bands, I've simplified this article a bit, combining two 'rounds' into one, since there is way more stuff to review and talk about than just the usual gig day. Also, as you can see via event flyer, time schedules were overlapping between the performances on both stages, but only for 15-20 minutes max.




Timetable



CHAPEL OF DISEASE (inside small stage)

I skipped, actually missed, the first four bands that were scheduled (two on each stage), so the first act I started my day with at Vienna Metal Meeting was death metal quartet Chapel Of Disease. The Germans were actually added to the line-up just a couple of days prior to the festival, performing as a second replacement to Darkspace's cancellation when Agent Steel pulled out afterwards. I was looking forward to Darkspace in the first place, not so much to Agent Steel; however, the third option had to do it. Nevertheless, Chapel Of Disease came on strong and unladen with their uncompromising old-school death metal. Their set list (below) consisted only of tracks appearing on their latest effort, ...And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye. The gig was solid, not such a breakthrough, but Chapel Of Disease were still an appropriate act as the introduction to the whole day ahead. I was able to see almost the entire set, peeking out a little bit to the main stage in between to see what was happening there.


Setlist:

01. Void Of Word
02. Oblivious - Obnoxious - Defiant
03. Song Of The Gods
04. Null
05. The Sound Of Shallow Grey



MEAN MAN (outside main stage)

While Chapel Of Disease were still bashing inside, Chris Holmes' Mean Man project had begun with its show at the outside stage. Chris Holmes is better-known as one of the cofounding members and guitarists of well-known heavy metal act W.A.S.P., which started its route in the metal scene in the early '80s. Mean Man was formed in 2012 and since then the band has released three full-length records. They are basically playing heavy metal in a very bland, uninspired way, with Chris also singing on some parts, which additionally worsened the whole thing that was going on at the stage. Yeah, it was not happening for me, not even close - so I quickly decided to go inside and see the finish of Chapel Of Disease's performance and afterwards checked out some merchandise rather than seeing the rest of the Mean Man business.


OUR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON US (inside small stage)

Our Survival Depends On Us is an Austrian band playing basically doom metal accompanied by some special-sounding epic vocals. The (literally) "smoky" overture led directly to the pretty damn hard-hitting and slow-paced ritual, creating a colossal, unapologetically powerful sound through the whole set. In a fully packed hall during the band's appearance, the audience was gently swarming in front of the stage. One thing that I could detect at this inside stage at the early stages of a festival day was the loudly tuned and rough overall sound, which I actually prefer while listening to the slow-paced metal genres or subgenres, like in this case. Stronger effect. This factor had even more impact during the Amenra show, which is described a bit later. Our Survival Depends On Us certainly did not disappoint, and those 45 minutes went by quite fast. From my perspective, the show left a positive impression on me, but without any 'superlatives' speaking here.





Setlist:

01. My Sons And Daughters
02. Gold And Silver
03. Song Of The Lower Classes
04. We Are Children Od The Dawn
05. Angel Ranger



ROTTING CHRIST (outside main stage)

The next performers were already bringing up more enthusiasts in front of the main stage while there was still time yet for Rotting Christ. The Greek black metal quartet never impressed me significantly with their music, nor with their live performances in the past, which I've already mentioned somewhere and sometime before. Still, there was no need to be resistant to seeing them again and having that in my mind. That's why attending concerts is special in some way: you might get (not completely) a different impression from the group's performance on another occasion. Might be better, or even worse for that matter. Rotting Christ served (mainly) a set list of songs that are part of their last three records. Aside from those, they also played one of their old classics, "Forest Of N'Gai", from 1991. Rotting Christ is one of those bands that I would classify somewhere in the middle regarding their overall live performance evaluation, if that makes any sense.





Setlist:

01. Hallowed Be Thy Name
02. Kata Ton Demona Eautou
03. Fire, God And Fear
04. Elthe Kyrie
05. Apage Satana
06. Dies Irae
07. Forest Of N'Gai
08. Societas Satanas (Thou Art Lord cover)
09. In Yumen - Xibalba
10. Grandis Spiritus Diavolos







AMENRA (inside small stage)

Belgium-based post-metal bringers Amenra were the first band this day I was looking forward to, and they were one of the bands I wanted to see at this festival the most. This was also the first time I'd seen them live. My expectations of seeing something special had started to be justifiably fulfilled from the very beginning of this performance. Amenra's sound interprets quite opposite parts of intensity within the music itself, and since one of those parts is a heavy-striking, sludgy-driven post-metal, it felt like being smashed by an avalanche of boundless noise. Loud as fuck. This was contradicted at the other end with much more softened, post-rock-sounding, melting vibes. It's sometimes a risky, predictable decision to merge the two, though in this case I sensed that all had worked out to be more than just "good enough". The whole show was accompanied by a colorful collage of video projections. All in all, Amenra delivered greatly, with grand applause in my notebook.





Setlist:

01. Boden
02. Razoreater
03. Plus Près De Toi
04. Dearborn And Buried
05. Am Kreuz
06. Diaken



UNLEASHED (outside main stage)

Dinnertime with classic bratwurst and Swedish death metal on the side? Sure, bring it on; I was starving. Unleashed is a strongly rooted act in the death metal scene. This year, they've reached an unbreakable full three decades of career. With a steady, long-living line-up and a respectable discography under their belt, they've certainly built themselves up to play an important role in the Scandinavian metal scene. Unleashed did a solid job on stage, presenting themselves with their strong charisma, sovereign attitude, and anger pouring out of their instruments. Still, at the end, it was not such an extraordinary appearance for me, which led to the conclusion that I should leave the 'dinner' a bit sooner. I couldn't manage to pull off complete coverage of their gig, since they were playing right between Amenra, who were having one hell of a performance inside, and Benighted, who are one of my favorite live acts in general.






BENIGHTED (inside small stage)

I saw Benighted about two years ago for the first time. Since then, I've been attending their gigs on a regular basis. And, as I have already emphasized before, Benighted are and will always be welcome on my watch. They've became one of those acts, and rare are those, that cannot and won't disappoint me. So yeah, I will be predictable with their performance review, for sure.

Benighted have been touring quite a lot lately, especially with supporting Aborted on their headlining European and North American runs. In general, their sets are always pumped with adrenaline and other uplifting hormones. Fully intense with fast-twitching beats all over the place. Vocalist Julien and the other guys are stomping and raging on the stage like a pack of unchained wild animals. Maybe it's unusual to say this, but with the music they offer, and this kind of appearance and attitude on stage, it really doesn't matter what songs the band will choose to perform live. Just bring it, grind the fuck out, and tear everything apart. It's an addictive experience. That's why I'm always drooling from excitement and hunger when I know I'll be fed with their violent approach.


SÓLSTAFIR (outside main stage)

Up next outside were Icelanders Sólstafir. I had already seen (also reviewed) them couple of weeks ago in our main city, while they were on their solo European tour. On that occasion the group had performed with a strong touch of strings and piano as a special addition to their music and sound. This time, the band made their appearance with a "classic" set, which was also shorter, of course, and without any special instrument/sample additions whatsoever. Although I did not pay full attention, meaning I did not see their set here in its entirety, I actually preferred the first one to this one. Listening to Sólstafir on the albums doesn't bring much sympathy from my side, but with that first, more focused appearance, they created much more uplifting moments and a more captivating atmosphere compared to this one.


URFAUST (inside small stage)

Cutting short my presence at the Sólstafir gig to catch the next performers inside was my next move. Dutch black metal duo Urfaust was on the menu, when the warm day was turning slowly into the cloudy and rainy evening. To clarify at the beginning, I'm not familiar with Urfaust's music at all and haven't checked out anything from their career except for their latest studio album, The Constellatory Practice. I really did not know what to expect from this gig; musically, Urfaust's black metal is not the type I would be strongly connected to. Nevertheless, in the moments prior to the kickoff, the inside stage hall barely left enough space to stand comfortably. As the show was slowly progressing in its motion from the beginning, it kind of started growing on me gradually with more and more positive vibes and responses throughout their deviant, experimental black metal approach. I kind of took my time on this one, to be honest; at certain gigs you have to be persistent so you can develop at least some 'sympathy' for the performer(s).


OPETH (outside main stage)

The time was closing in for the last appearance on the main stage, the much-anticipated headliners of this year's 'Vienna Metal Meeting' edition: Opeth. The band, which every metalhead is familiar with, operating for almost 30 years now, was up to deliver a 75-minute diverse set of songs from their rich discography. This was the third time I was seeing them, and it had been around 8-9 years since the last time. Prior the beginning of their performance, we were stuck for almost half an hour due to some technical issues. As it turned out, those were crucial ones in the end.

That being said, Opeth started with almost a 30-minute delay, and on top of it the clouds couldn't hold the rain anymore. Nevertheless, it had finally begun. Opeth opened with the track "Sorceress", coming from their eponymous latest full-length. It's one of those songs that certainly did not tick my aural senses and was not the crucial one for me to absorb. They then switched their palette to something more exciting, continuing with "Ghost Of Perdition," one of my favorites from their repertoire. The following batch of songs was some of the band's "classic" tunes that have marked and built up their name and career to the point of being one of the most recognizable bands in the metal scene for quite some time now. "Demon Of The Fall" from My Arms, Your Hearse, "The Drapery Falls" from Blackwater Park, and "Deliverance" from the same-titled album. Well, the last one was actually only a partial execution. The reason lies in the fact of that 30-minute delay i was talking about before. Opeth's scheduled time was 21:45 - 23:00. Since the delay occurred, however, the band had to finish the gig earlier into their set because of the "city curfew", which is exactly 23:00 and not a minute over. At first I thought it was a joke (and probably most of the crowd did); being in Mikael's nature, he still uses some humorous talk from time time, so I thought that it was just one of his "pranks". Unfortunately, it wasn't. It seems that the guys from Opeth and others, the technical support around them, were not aware of the strict rule regarding Vienna's curfew, which is actually a normal thing in lots of cities. Definitely a bummer, but what can you do? Even though we were all ready for much more, I did enjoy most of the tracks played and the way they delivered their performance.





Setlist:

01. Sorceress
02. Ghost Of Perdition
03. Demon Of The Fall
04. Cusp Of Eternity
05. The Drapery Falls
06. Deliverance (final instrumental part only)



NECROPHOBIC (inside small stage)

Another group of Swedes was coming up. This time, it was blackened death metal veterans Necrophobic, who are, as well as their fellow countrymen Unleashed, celebrating their 30th anniversary of existence this year. My year. Necrophobic were also the last band I saw at this year's Vienna Metal Meeting, which meant I was leaving the festival a bit early, with still two bands left on the bill (afterwards). Nevertheless, because Opeth's set had to be shortened for the aforementioned reasons, I was able to catch the whole Necrophobic gig, which was actually a good thing for me, as I was already planning to see them as much as I could manage. Their productivity and creativity in music has been very consistent throughout the major part of their career. And when they put out their latest album in 2018, Mark Of The Necrogram, they broke new ground once more. Necrophobic were not prepared to spare anyone from the moment they hit the stage and started their engines to the fullest. Throughout the entire show, all the members were very energetic, spreading the Satan-worshiping tendencies among all of us. Luckily, I'm immune to all this. I was seeing Necrophobic for the first time, and I can assure you that they are certainly worth seeing live. Besides sounding solid-strong with overlapping darkened atmosphere and shredding tirelessly on a high-spinning level, they were all over the stage, encouraging the crowd to participate during the songs, giving a whole lot of experience. A great and smashing finish.





CONCLUSION:

So that was it. The Vienna Metal Meeting had ended for me with a striking performance of experienced Swedish back/death metal masters Necrophobic, which was 1.5 hours earlier than the actual conclusion of the festival was. Nevertheless, I did not hesitate nor later regret this decision to leave a bit earlier. It was more than enough for me. To sum up, I can easily say and confirm that attending this festival was a good choice and in many aspects a positive experience for me. It's one of those places/venues that every regular and enthusiastic concertgoer would love to have around the corner. It was very well-organized, with many quality, exciting bands performing, coming from a very diverse palette of metal subgenres, and with rare downsides and negative surprises - referring to Opeth's unfortunate gig as the main one. I would maybe recommend expanding the choices regarding the food offerings, and the merchandise place was also parsimoniously stocked. In the end, these are just little bits that don't make any big difference regarding the overall impression and experience for me on this day. I will definitely seriously consider attending the next year's edition of VMM. Cheers!



 



Written on 05.07.2019 by Unsuccessfully treated addict. Attending music events is my thing.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 21 users
06.07.2019 - 10:57
Bad English
Masterchief
Nice list 2 bands stands out here , guess whitch one hheehehe
Will you continue same thing next year write a revievs
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06.07.2019 - 17:20
Darkside Momo
Retired
Sweet bill on that fest, mate!

Also, we definitely agree about Benighted. An awesome live band if there ever was one!
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06.07.2019 - 23:52
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Been waiting for this, seems like you had a lot of fun with a great lineup.

Wasnt there supposed to be a Metallica gig as well included or that's for another article?
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07.07.2019 - 09:51
Abattoir
Written by RaduP on 06.07.2019 at 23:52

Been waiting for this, seems like you had a lot of fun with a great lineup.

Wasnt there supposed to be a Metallica gig as well included or that's for another article?

It will be in the next issue (this coming week), Metallica gig and Black Tusk one. Like I said in the beginning of this article, this festival offered a lot of material to write about, that's why "only" this one
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09.07.2019 - 22:15
musclassia
God I'd be pissed if I missed out on 30 minutes of a headliner! Was the whole stage running late or did Opeth just come on late?

But looks like a solid line-up, Amenra in particular.
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10.07.2019 - 00:27
Abattoir
Written by musclassia on 09.07.2019 at 22:15

God I'd be pissed if I missed out on 30 minutes of a headliner! Was the whole stage running late or did Opeth just come on late?

But looks like a solid line-up, Amenra in particular.

No. It all seemed to be ready for them to start the show on time, like with every other band on the bill. But then, while waiting, there was always someone correcting/adjusting different things on the stage. Åkerfeldt said in the beginning of their show that it was about technical issues. True or not, I wouldn't know.

If you're in fond of Amenra's music, seeing them live is bombastic experience.
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10.07.2019 - 10:56
musclassia
Written by Abattoir on 10.07.2019 at 00:27


If you're in fond of Amenra's music, seeing them live is bombastic experience.


Oh I know, seen them a few times now, Hellfest 2018 and Roadburn 2016 were both epic shows.
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