Dutch Doom Days VIII, Baroeg, 24th October 2009
|Event:||Dutch Doom Days 2009|
|Written by:||Lucas, Jason W., Marcel Hubregtse|
Dutch Doom Days 2009 - Baroeg, Rotterdam, NL (Day 2) by Jason W. (43)
Dutch Doom Days 2009 - Baroeg, Rotterdam, NL (Day 1) by Jason W. (42)
Marcel: The last weekend of October saw edition number eight of one of the most revered doom festivals upon a three-man-strong Metal Storm delegation. Instead of Frenchman Collin, this year Lucas and I were accompanied by the American Jason, who decided to stay a week longer in Europe after having attended the Female Metal Voices Fest in Belgium a week earlier, thus proving he does have good taste in metal as well ;-) What would edition eight bring? Comparing the line-up with last year's phenomenal line-up of course wasn't fair. But looking at the eventual line-up there once again was something for everyone: sludge, death/doom, classic doom, epic doom, viking doom, psychedelic doom. Day one being headlined by doom supergroup Lord Vicar and day two by cult favourites Count Raven. Once again Dutch Doom Days managed to get a band that played outside of their home country for the first time (Unsilence) and also the first official gig by a new band (The 11th Hour). Quality guaranteed once again. But why oh why were there 150 people present max per day? Was it the financial crisis? Promotional reasons? Line-up consisting of too many not so well-known bands? Well, we can only guess. But as it turned out the people that had stayed at home were once again proved wrong.
Lucas: Openers Tekhton, Dutch Sludgers, were unfortunately rather average. They delivered a pretty static performance and did little that hasn't been done before in Sludgeworld. Yeah, the riffs were heavy and racy, but rarely captivating or stirring. Certainly no match for last year's overwhelming opening act Faal.
Marcel: Kicking off proceedings at four p.m. sharp were Dutch sludgers Tekhton (formerly known as Lahar). What they they delivered was a set full of energy, loads of conviction and proficient. But somehow they didn't captivate me as much as they had on their debut Summon The Core. Maybe it was due to the fact a lot of songs were played off their upcoming album? Not too bad, but certainly not comparable in the intensity and surprises department to 2007's opening act Heavy Lord and last year's Faal. Today I got eased into the proceedings a bit more gradually.
Lucas: My Lament after that were better. Awkwardly dressed (never seen a top hat on stage before) but delivering the goods, which is the only thing that matters after all. Their brand of Doom/Death is nothing unique but their dynamic songs and enthusiastic stage presence made up for that. What really struck me watching this band, and that goes for a lot of Doom bands, is that even if they're not of Skepticism-level, dynamics hugely increases the impact for almost any band. When you're suddenly subjected to fast and intense drumming and growling, you're very likely to have your socks blown off. Nice.
Marcel: Up next were a band I was really looking forward to. During the summer My Lament had released their blistering debut Broken Leaf. The question now, of course, was: How will they hold up live? Armed with a guitar player who wore a top hat, the visual aspect wasn't forgotten. But it is about the music and not the visuals, right? I needn't have worried since what we got was great set carried by tight playing and great vocals by singer Bert. The band showcased why Russian quality label Solitude Productions have signed them. Death/doom as it is supposed to be played with a nod to the old school and some newer bands as well. Loads of variation, going from subdued to extreme and back. First band of the day that captivated me entirely and kept me away from the bar (and that's no mean feat).
Jason: After getting acquainted with some beer at the Baroeg, My Lament was the first band I was anticipating, as their debut is a mainstay on my CD rotation, and I was not disappointed. Their mix of gloom and aggressive doom/death parts sounded just as powerful live. I was pleased to hear the drumming sounding crisper, and the vocal delivery was a straightforward shot of emotion, just like I'd thought it would be. My first ever weekend of doom was young and I was still sober, yet already I was impressed.
Lucas: After that the stage was for Unsilence and Unsilence only. The vocalist performed the fragile clean vocals surprisingly and the band played a tight gig. I hadn't heard of them before and they do not really play my type of Doom, but they entertained me nonetheless. Good stuff.
Marcel: Now, the band I feared seeing live the most. Not because I don't like the music, but because I feard that the fragile vocals would get drowned out by the music in a live setting. Unsilence, although having been around for quite some time and having released two ep's and having recorded an album which was never released finally got to release a proper debut album a couple of weeks earlier through Psychedoomelic and now for the first time ever left the British isles to play abroad. Under A Torn Sky had totally blown me away due to the extremely fragile and emotional vocals by James Kilmurray and great classic doom on offer on it. Apparently I was way too sceptical about how the vocals would come across live, cause also in the live setting I was once again blown away. What of course helps is the intimate setting of a small club such as Baroeg. But even then... wow, wow, wow. All in all some 45 odd minutes of classic doom which at times reminded me of Solstice and which carried me into another plane of existence when I closed my eyes. The first true highlight of the day.
Process Of Guilt:
Lucas: Although I hadn't heard any music of Process Of Guilt before my expectations were quite high, mostly because Marcel is so fond of them and doesn't keep that a secret. And they delivered. Despite a false start where the musicians sounded a bit disconnected from each other they turned out to be one of the best bands of the weekend. Their doomy soundscapes were elaborate, intense and captivating, grabbing you by the throat until the very last seconds. Surely a must-check for everyone that likes Doom & Post metal. It's bands like Process Of Guilt that make you realize how embracing music can be.
Marcel: Process Of Guilt, anybody here at Metal Storm knows how I feel about this band on album and since last September also live. Am I somehow biased? Judge for yourselves by reading what Lucas and Jason had to say on this set. This was actually only the band's second time outside of Portugal, the first time being at the Madrid Is The Dark Fest last September. The start of the gig was somewhat wishy washy and lacking a little in tightness. But after a couple of minutes the machine that is Process Of Guilt got rolling like a motherfucking steamroller. Pummelling the entire crowd into submission with their mix of death/doom with Godflesh and Neurosis-like soundscapes. Just like on Erosion the set unrolled as one long song leaving no breathing space for both the band, and then especially guitarist/vocalist Hugo, and the audience. Fifty minutes of pure quality doom by the most promising new act around left everyone gasping for air. Three pure gems of sets in a row already and we're only four bands into the weekend. Wow, what else will this edition have in store?
Jason: Yes, the mix was a bit off the first few minutes during their set, but wow did they make up for it as they played on. It takes a lot for even the deepest music, vocal delivery, and stage presence to affect me, but I even I was exhausted after this set. In fact, I recall Marcel reminding me to start taking some pictures as I'd already become entranced by it. Their performance was polished yet emotionally raw, and nearly a continuous group of songs, as, like on their latest release, the set erupted from one song into another. With Hugo drenched in sweat by the end and Custódio leaning backwards yelling the words nearly all the time, it was the ideal set for me.
Lucas: After that Saturnalia Temple weren't really exactly more 'down to earth' than PoG, but they were definitely not in the same universe either. With their brand of seventies Doom with a good dose of psychedelia and their raging enthusiasm they simply rocked the shit out of us and themselves, mostly. Highlight of their set were the echoing solos in particular, or perhaps the bass player smashing his bass on the floor after the final track. Not sure if he really thought that one through till the end, but it suited their rock 'n' roll attitude.
Marcel: Apparently more true greatness, as was proved by the Swedish Saturnalia Temple. Heavily inspired by the Seventies, retro psychedelic doom of the highest order was poured forth. Heavy as a heavy thing can be. This band, already impressive on their UR demo (also released on cd and vinyl recently) and their self-titled 7", took me over mountains and made me travel through astral planes riding shooting stars for the duration of the set. This, like Process Of Guilt, is music as it is supposed to be played. Taking me to another plane of existence, moving the core of my being. A headtrip of the highest order.
Jason: There's always a band that I come across while seeing live that I didn't think would interest me that I end up with only praise for. I'd briefly listened to some of the band's new disc, and I thought it was great music but not much my style. However, in the spirit of the band's music, it was another world for me, and I really wanted to hear more after they were done. I loved the solos as well, and this is music that to me is best heard loud and live.
Lucas: Unfortunately I missed most of UK Doomsters The Prophecy because I was hanging outside. I'm not really sure if I missed anything. The good ten minutes that I saw were enjoyable, but also more than enough. Their vocalist, with his dramatic antics and quality growls and clean vocals was a sight to behold, but that was about it. A bit of a disappointment.
Marcel: Unfortunately the quality of the performances wasn't to be maintained. The Prophecy of course had an immense task ahead of them following up four great sets. And, alas, for the cordial guys, they didn't manage. To be honest, there is not a single album by The Prophecy that I can listen to in one sitting, due to the Gothic tendencies in their cleaner parts. So, I was hoping to be proved here in a live setting. But live the came across even more powerless than on album. Maybe due to the intensity of both previous bands? The death/doom parts weren't aggressive enough and the clean gothicy parts not emotional enough. Thus coming across as a half-finished product. And it wasn't for the lack of trying by the band members. A shame, really. Looking around me it was quite clear I wasn't the only person who though this.
Jason: A band best appreciated if you have accustomed yourself to the slightly off-putting transitions musically and the switching from growls to gothic style clean vocals. I think I was standing the right place, directly near Greg's forceful guitar work, who gave a fully-charged performance. Probably the only band that could appeal to gothic fans as well as the doom fan of the weekend, and a solid set to me.
Lucas: Not really dramatic, but really drunk instead were the closer of the first day Lord Vicar. I guess that's what you get when you play last and spent the day hanging by the bar. It resulted in a sloppy, but energetic set particularly due to vocalist Chritus would simply couldn't stop the hand gestures and doomed poses and whatnot. The crowd loved it just as much too. A more than worthy closer, I'd say.
Marcel: Headliner of the day, doom supergroup, of sorts, Lord Vicar, consisting of ex-Count Raven, ex-Saint Vitus, ex-Reverend Bizarre and Centurions Ghost. And they truly know how to party, both off and on stage. Peter Vicar going mental playing his guitar, Chritus twisting his face into all sort of grimaces and doing the perfect doom poses whilst Jussi just keeps plucking away at his bass being supercool. A great set, though with loads of minor mistakes, showing that doom can be about entertainment and fun as well. Highlight of the set, for me personally, was "Funeral Pyre" with its acoustic intro. All in all a worthy headliner to a brilliant first day.
Marcel: Although the first day didn't have any big names on the bill it was of a quality that was higher than last year's first day. The trend that was today could that be followed the previous day?
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