No Mercy Festival, z7, 13.04.2007
|Event:||No Mercy Festival Tour|
Having heard both Behemoth and Moonspell's latest albums, and loving both of them, I was naturally extremely looking forward to this gig. I had also listened to Napalm Death's newest and really wasn't so impressed by that one, but it's not all as it seems as we'll see later on in this review. The two supporting acts, Root and Dew-Scented, were fully unknown to me, but this would change soon. So on the night of Friday the 13th (tr00, eh?) I set out towards the z7 in Pratteln. Arriving there, I found that the first band had already started their set, so I quickly hurried inside to see the concert I will relate to you now.
Root was the first band of this year's No Mercy festival. They played some sort of black metal or dark metal if you prefer. I must say that I was absolutely unimpressed by this band, as was almost the whole rest of the crowd. This was mirrored by the fact that absolutely no one, save some drunken guy near the stage, was headbanging. There were a few nodding heads amongst the concert visitors but no real headbanging as was seen during the sets of the other four bands. There is a thin line between evil and ridiculous and the vocalist of the band was definitely on the wrong side of it. Sticking to the vocalist; he alternated between growls and clean vocals, the bassist and guitarist backing him up with occasional harsh vocals. The bassist actually growled way better then the vocalist, his clean vocals were 'not bad' though, although they didn't fit with the music. Perhaps they would have been good in a Viking metal band, but not here. Overall the music was like plain noise to me and the guitar solo hurt my ears. Their (boring) set was way too long in my humble opinion and I was glad when it ended, I wasn't the only one with this opinion either…
Next up were Dew-Scented from Germany. It's funny that the vocalist spoke English with us though, despite the fact that Pratteln is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and probably around 90% of the concert visitors spoke German. Anyway, musically this was an amazingly big improvement compared to Root. With tunes graced with names like "That's why I despise you" this band surely made our necks go mad. While Root only made the heads of the boldest ones of us nod up and down, Dew-Scented had our necks circling and our hair flying. Their death/thrash metal was, aside from being 100% bangable, a real treat for the ears. Despite being unknown to most of the crowd before the show, they were loved by the crowd after it. With their catchy tunes, their enjoyable solos and their own headbanging setting a good example, they definitely outplayed Behemoth in my opinion, who performed after them.
The death metallers Behemoth were a huge disappointment to me. I've listened to their newest album and I was expecting a show to equal that great CD. I didn't get one though. I wouldn't say that it was 'bad', but well, it really didn't live up to my expectations. The music sounded as if it were played half-heartedly and there wasn't a lot of power behind it. I have to exclude the drumming here though. The drumming sounded great, maybe even better then on the albums. Yet, generally the high quality death metal songs from albums like demigod only sounded like songs of second class local acts tonight. I was also greatly annoyed by their vocalist, who made an extremely arrogant impression on stage. Still most people in the crowd seemed to enjoy their show, however the headbanging wasn't nearly as extreme as it was during Dew-Scented's set. After their show while talking with some people I was told that they were much better last time they were in Switzerland, so maybe they just had a bad day or something like that, or they were getting tired from the touring, seeing that there were only two No Mercy shows left after this one. Whatever the cause, this was an unsatisfying concert experience for me.
It was grindcore's turn next. I must honestly admit that I was expecting Napalm Death to be bad. Mainly because I didn't like their last CD. Yet from the first song onwards I realised that I had been wrong all along. Their show actually turned out to be very enjoyable. It was fun to listen to because it had a very 'chaotic' spirit. Also worth mentioning is the huge mosh pit that formed in front of the stage during Napalm Death's show. I frequently see little mosh pits at shows but this was the biggest I've seen till now. The band made a very sympathetic expression on stage, which was a great improvement to the very arrogant behaviour of Behemoth, which I mentioned earlier. While the music was entertaining for about half an hour, it quickly became boring. All songs sounded exactly the same and it was sometimes impossible to tell if they were playing a certain song or if they had already gone to the next one. The lighting also disturbed me a lot. It was almost solely kept in red, with the occasional blue lights in between. Apart from being very boring when being the same throughout the whole show, it was also very hard to make pictures with this light. While I greatly enjoyed Napalm Death for some time, I left the hall with a few friends after about three quarters of an hour and listened to the music from outside the venue, waiting for Moonspell's appearance. Overall it was very good for a while, but later it just got too repetitive.
So now it had come, the moment I had waited for for so long. Moonspell were greeted by a euphoric crowd. And after four other bands the audience was really heated up. Moonspell had quite an impressive stage background. It seemed to be some sort of graveyard with a few big trees on the left. At the top there was a yellowish moon which probably had a light behind it, seeing as it frequently glowed, giving the whole thing an eerie atmosphere. On the sides of the stage there were wind machines, making the hair of the keyboarder and the guitarist floating behind their heads. After a short intro the band started off with Finisterra, my favourite song from the new album Memorial. This first song was slightly disappointing to me though, especially since it sounded weaker than on the CD and I liked it so much because it sounds so strong. Luckily this was the only singular complaint of the whole show! Playing a set of old favourites and new hits, the band was certainly able to cast their spell over us. With a solid and powerful instrumental execution and the great vocal capabilities of Fernando Ribeiro the band was able to send shivers done my spine on more than only one occasion. The whole crowd was captivated by the band, devils horns went up and shouts of "Hey! Hey! Hey!" were constantly heard, even without Ribeiro asking us for it! (Although he did that frequently too.) This was one of the shows with the best crowd participation I have seen, and that's definitely not without reason. Moonspell were by far the climax of the evening for me. With their extremely powerful music they were able to create an awesome atmosphere, and with their great stage presence and sympathetic frontman, this was definitely one of the best shows I have witnessed.
Ok so let's round up the concert experience of No Mercy 2007. Of the two previously unknown bands, Root and Dew-Scented, the former was very bad for my ears while the latter was a great new discovery, which I will have to check out a bit more. Behemoth, for whom I had very high expectations, disappointed me greatly. They didn't exactly play bad but it wasn't nearly the same quality as on their CDs. Napalm Death surprised me by being much more enjoyable then I had imagined. Their show was very entertaining for a while, but then became too repetitive. Moonspell, for whom I already had high expectations, were absolutely fantastic. The spirits in the z7 were, as usual, very high and all bands were honoured with loud clapping, devils' horns and the eager destruction of our own necks. So that was No Mercy 2007… not only was the name fitting, it was a great concert experience as well, if that was 2007 I'll be looking forward to 2008 for another round.
All pictures made by me, please ask before using.
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