Metal Gates Festival 2019


Event: Metal Gates Festival 2019
Written by: RaduP
Published: 28.10.2019

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Metal Gates Festival 2019 - Day 2 by RaduP (63)
Metal Gates Festival 2019 - Day 1 by RaduP (59)


Whenever I think of festivals in my country, I usually think of big summer outdoor festivals like ArtMania Festival or Rockstadt Extreme Festival, but there's another festival that I've been attending quite regularly since it first started a few years ago. But it was only this year that I felt like Metal Gates Festival actually reached a new status. Before it did have bands that I wanted to see each day but those were usually one or two a day with plenty of filler in between, but take a look at this year's schedule:


The schedule


This year it seemed like things were turned completely around, with the bands I wasn't that interested in being the minority instead of the bulk of the lineup. Even the ones I wasn't that interested in, I kind of wanted to see, so much so that even if I only missed each day's opening band, I actually felt regret for doing so. Metal Gates really hit the jackpot with this one.

The organizers also had the great idea of having each performance professionally filmed and live streamed, so I will link those as well.




As with previous years' editions, 2019's one also took place in Bucharest's Quantic Pub a place all too familiar for me. Not only have I seen most of my Bucharest concerts there, but it being non-stop and having plenty of power outlets and being relatively close to the train station, it is my place of choice when I have to kill time in between my train trips when these take me to the obvious central train node in our capital. Walk there on foot, buy a beer, plug in your laptop and just wait until you have to go.

As a concert venue, it works well because it is clearly divided between the concert area and the pub area, with two doors in between these, usually each being assigned as an entrance and an exit to and from the concert area. The concert area also has an exit to an outside yard, so you can easily get some fresh air in between performances (or during ones, but that's up to you), and that's also where the merch stand was this year. The concert area didn't have any tables, all of these having been moved to the yard or the pub area, but there was a bar in there too, so you didn't necessarily have to go to the pub area if you wanted a drink. The festival also thankfully didn't bother with any of those card or token nonsense, so you could pay with cash or personal cards. The drinks were fairly varied, a bit on the expected expensive side, and the pub also served stuff like pizza and burgers that I had to stop myself from looking at, to avoid the temptation.




METAL GATES FESTIVAL DAY 1: SATURDAY, 19th OCTOBER

Me and my girlfriend arrived separately by train in the morning, got some train station KFC and found out that our accommodation would only allow check ins after 15, so we had a lot of time to kill in the meantime. Thankfully we met up with Schimodie for a few drinks before we could go and finally leave our luggage and take a shower. This did end up costing us Molybaron's performance (watch here), but we arrived just in time for Marche Funèbre.


MARCHE FUNÈBRE

Watch here

Marche Funèbre is one of the bands that I haven't heard of before they got announced, and hearing Into The Arms Of Darkness instantly won me over. What I enjoyed most about their music and what I think sets it apart is how well they blended the usual melodic death doom sound with some sections with traditional heavy metal vocals that don't really reach into epic doom metal territories but remind me more of something like Manilla Road, maybe not exactly but along those lines. Those were sporadically used but they did extend the range of the music quite pleasantly.




TAINE

Watch here

Taine is one of those Romanian bands that released one classic album and couldn't properly follow it up, whether due to financial reasons or due to lineup tensions. Whether the case for Taine, they would perform their classic (and so far only full length) 1999 album Cealaltă Parte. What I don't like about that era of Romanian metal and rock is that most bands were just trying to do our version of whatever the westerners were doing, in Taine's case, they really really like later era Death, which is admittedly not the worst thing to emulate. But no matter how good the performance is, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off, even though Taine didn't really blatantly plagiarize their idols the way other bands did, the emulation felt way too close. And with the lead singer / guitarist stating that he's the only one on stage who recorded the album they were performing, it made me hope that they would move into a new phase and find their own sound and the means to properly follow their one album up.




HAMFERÐ

Watch here

It wasn't the first time I saw Hamferð this month, as I had seen them opening for Omnium Gatherum a few weeks beforehand, so their performance wasn't anything new to me. What was new to me, was that they brought Costin Chioreanu to do live painting during their set, and also that I didn't eat polenta with them before the set. I couldn't find the actual finished painting, but it was really interesting seeing someone find inspiration to paint from a performance happening in front of them. And indeed if there was a performance to get inspired by, it would be Hamferð's, from their solemn look to Jon's expressive vocals, they did everything to transmit their grief and sorrow.




ANCIENT

Watch here

I have heard of Ancient before, but it was only now that I gave them their fair shot, and knowing that they would perform their debut album, 1994's Svartalvheim meant that I didn't have to ponder on which albums would have songs which would be performed. I did listen to a few other albums, with Back To The Land Of The Dead being the one I enjoyed most. Svartalvheim did translate quite well to a live setting, but I didn't find that their performance was entertaining enough to be that interesting or anything more than decent.




A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH

Watch here

Obviously advertised as having ex-Type O Negative members, it was something that was really felt within their sound, which is both a blessing and a curse. For one, it's a sound that works really well and being somewhat of a continuation of the band it doesn't feel wrong to emulate that sound, but at the same time I couldn't shake the feeling that it was a lesser version of the original, so it was hard to see A Pale Horse Named Death's sound stand on its own feet. So during the performance, my feeling oscillated from enjoying the great sound to feeling disappointed by it not reaching the heights it used to, especially regarding the vocals (though I have to agree it's much better than he doesn't try to emulate Peter's vocals as well). A few of the sections felt drawn out too long and some of the stage banter was really cringy, but their performance still did enough good to justify the bad.




DARK TRANQUILLITY

Watch here

Coming to stage a bit later than scheduled, even if this was the biggest pause between bands, I would've expected that their sound would be spotless, but it felt like they should've spent a bit more time doing the soundcheck. I was more concerned with taking pics, but the lack of proper lights and them so energetically moving around the stage made it so frustratingly hard. Finishing those and hoping I did get at least a few decent ones, I found it a bit hard to enjoy their performance, but I noticed the crowd going absolutely nuts for them. I regret not being into their music as much as I was five years ago, so with that and already being tired from the train and having to carry luggage all day, I left halfway through their performance.






METAL GATES FESTIVAL DAY 2: SUNDAY, 20th OCTOBER

With a full morning and afternoon to ourselves, we watched Ghostbusters (the original one, not the shitty remake), went to eat at pretty much the only Burger King in the country, and visited the art museum. Our planning seemed to be off once again as we missed Pilgrimage (watch here) and the first part of Descend Into Despair's set, enough that I couldn't take pics from the photographer's pit.


DESCEND INTO DESPAIR

Watch here

A band I've seen live a few times at this very festival, and also one that I discovered thanks to this website, Descend Into Despair did mix things up a bit by performing songs from their upcoming record, Opium, which seemed really interesting live to get me hyped up for when that gets released eventually. Alexander really seems to have improved significantly after playing with Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and Pantheist so it was interesting to see what he'd do once back at the helm of his own project, doing just enough right to keep the funeral doom sound from sounding stale.




OFFICIUM TRISTE

Watch here

It was certainly weird seeing a band so old and of a relatively high caliber perform so early in the festival, but I guess this should be a compliment to this year's edition strength of lineup. It was the perfect time for me to see Officium Triste as they performed a lot of songs from my favorite album of theirs, The Death Of Gaia, which really showed the strength of their melodic death/doom sound where before I felt that they should've put a bit more death and less doom in it. I still think this should be a path they should consider, but as old as they are, they felt like a band at its best.




CLOUDS

Watch here

Far from the first time I've seen Clouds, but I was glad to see the band return to perform my favorite album of theirs, Doliu, having seen them during their first ever performance doing songs from it, so I was curious to see how it would compare now that it became basically Daniel Neagoe's project. It was weird seeing Irina Movileanu doing violin and Andrei Oltean doing flute on an album which didn't have any of those instruments, so more often than not their presence felt weird rather than it adding something, and that's when they were audible. But other than that, the performance was pretty spotless. I was hoping that the band would perform the entire album and that Hamferð's Jon would join the band to perform "If These Walls Could Speak", but after Officium Triste's Pim joined the band for "A Glimpse Of Sorrow, the band instead performed their new song "Death Of A Father", and "Dor". I really wish I would've heard "The Deep Vast Emptiness", since that's the only Doliu song I never heard live.




ANTIMATTER

Watch here

Already the second time seeing Antimatter this year, the first being in Timisoara, this one was also more focused on songs from the latest three albums. Even though I would've loved some more older songs, I like the newer album well enough to enjoy them without complaining. It was funny seeing the band perform such sultry and melancholic songs with such a full-of-swagger live presence and seeing Mick complain about the heat when he's wearing that big coat. Great performance and really fun to watch, so much so that it almost felt like the festival ended with their performance.




DAGOBA

[For some reason I couldn't find a stream of Dagoba's performance]

After Antimatter, Dagoba felt like a big change of pace. I have never heard a Dagoba album before they got announced and I wasn't that impressed after listening to What Hell Is About, though I did recognize that it's likely the type of music I'd prefer in a live setting. I was right, and Dagoba were among the most energetic and fun to watch bands of the festival. I left the festival a bigger Dagoba fan than I came in, but I still can't say I'm anxious to get into more of their music.




TAAKE

Watch here

Also another band that I had previously seen, I was keen to check them out again, but not enough to actually stay their whole performance, unless they were to play that track with the banjo. They didn't. But it was an entertaining performance through and through, even if they were really really late after their supposed schedule and Hoest didn't seem really sober, though the latter thing was probably to the show's advantage. So I was really grateful to be able to see this from much much closer than I previously did.






CONCLUSIONS AND SUCH

This was definitely the best edition of Metal Gates Festival, mostly due to the lineup. I can't say that the organisation itself is any better than in previous year, nor that it needed any improving. The sound quality was great a lot more often than it was not and there's not much I could say that I wish was different. Other than I wish I had more money left, but that's on me.

It was great to get media creds again and to learn the lessons I learned after my previous attempts at concert photography. I did get some feedback from a few valuable people, one of which is our own Ivor, who you should thank for teaching me to edit my photos and get me out of my black & white obsession. Still a long way to go.

Oh, and they also got my name on the tag:




And by the way you should totally check out the full resolution gallery.



 



Written on 28.10.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 14   Visited by: 43 users
28.10.2019 - 17:21
Bad English
Masterchief
So far your best review when line up mattes, only one band sucks here. Its dagoba.
I am surprised you did not know mf... Ancient is great, great line up and reviev, more stores about venue and what did you did Between, Nice to read....
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28.10.2019 - 17:25
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 28.10.2019 at 17:21

So far your best review when line up mattes, only one band sucks here. Its dagoba.
I am surprised you did not know mf... Ancient is great, great line up and reviev, more stores about venue and what did you did Between, Nice to read....

Yeah this whole festival was a lot of fun, glad you like the review
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28.10.2019 - 18:42
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Officium Triste old? wtf? That's like calling me old when only one of their band members (guitarist Gerard, the opne that performs barefooted) is is older than me (if I am not mistaken he is about 55 now) and all the rest of the band is younger
Okay, okay since the band celbrated its 25th anniversary this year you could say that the band is old. hahahaha
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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28.10.2019 - 18:44
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.10.2019 at 18:42

Officium Triste old? wtf? That's like calling me old when only one of their band members (guitarist Gerard, the opne that performs barefooted) is is older than me (if I am not mistaken he is about 55 now) and all the rest of the band is younger
Okay, okay since the band celebrated its 25th anniversary this year you could say that the band is old. hahahaha

Well I'm not really calling them young either
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28.10.2019 - 18:46
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by RaduP on 28.10.2019 at 18:44


Well I'm not really calling them young either


----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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28.10.2019 - 18:48
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Btw, I agree with you that Officium Triste are currently at their best. They have never been better live and on album. This "new" line-up works really well with William and Theo in the fold now. They exude so much joy, fun and pleasure live.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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28.10.2019 - 18:53
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.10.2019 at 18:48

Btw, I agree with you that Officium Triste are currently at their best. They have never been better live and on album. This "new" line-up works really well with William and Theo in the fold now. They exude so much joy, fun and pleasure live.

I'm glad you agree. I've only recently gotten into them.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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28.10.2019 - 18:55
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by RaduP on 28.10.2019 at 18:53


I'm glad you agree. I've only recently gotten into them.


As you probably know I have seen them live loads and loads of times since 2007 (somehow I never saw them before that year), so with a couple of different line-ups, and know the guys in the band pretty well. And also off stage they exude fun and such and have a good time with each other.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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28.10.2019 - 19:08
nikarg
Old Nick
I have to agree with BE about Marche Funèbre. Great band and when I saw them live (I think last year it was) they were very good. Officium Triste is the band I want to watch, their new album is death/doom bliss. Interesting and varied line-up overall, I cannot believe you actually left while DT were on stage

Nice photos, great write-up, cool t-shirt.
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28.10.2019 - 19:21
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 28.10.2019 at 19:08

I have to agree with BE about Marche Funèbre. Great band and when I saw them live (I think last year it was) they were very good. Officium Triste is the band I want to watch, their new album is death/doom bliss. Interesting and varied line-up overall, I cannot believe you actually left while DT were on stage

Nice photos, great write-up, cool t-shirt.

I wouldn't have minded staying, but I didn't like the sound quality, I was tired as fuck, and I wasn't alone. Given the choice to watch a set I wasn't into and snuggling in bed with my lover, I think I made the right choice.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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28.10.2019 - 21:20
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by nikarg on 28.10.2019 at 19:08

I have to agree with BE about Marche Funèbre. Great band and when I saw them live (I think last year it was) they were very good. Officium Triste is the band I want to watch, their new album is death/doom bliss. Interesting and varied line-up overall, I cannot believe you actually left while DT were on stage

Nice photos, great write-up, cool t-shirt.
i think its whit his age, no offense radu. We are older and had
Chance hear a bit more older bands
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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28.10.2019 - 22:03
Abattoir
Lots of great, intriguing bands to see for sure. I love this kinds of festivals, featuring such a diverse and quite "underground" line-up.

Great work on the whole article!
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28.10.2019 - 22:10
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Abattoir on 28.10.2019 at 22:03

Lots of great, intriguing bands to see for sure. I love this kinds of festivals, featuring such a diverse and quite "underground" line-up.

Great work on the whole article!

Yeah it was great being quite the middle of the road between mainsteam metal and underground stuff.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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29.10.2019 - 20:46
MetalDoomMaster
I'm really sad that Hoest shaved his head. Skullets are a dying breed.
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