Dutch Doom Days IX (Day 1) - Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Nov.6.2010
|Event:||Dutch Doom Days IX|
|Written by:||Jason W., Marcel Hubregtse, Deadsoulman|
Dutch Doom Days IX (Day 2) - Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Nov.7.2010 by Jason W. (39)
Dutch Doom Days IX (Day 1) - Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Nov.6.2010 by Jason W. (50)
Doom All Over The World, Eternal Will Be Our Mission.
Or: How Lucas turned out to be a wuss.
Marcel: The yearly gathering of doomed souls in The Netherlands was upon us once again. While the Metal Storm delegation in 2008 consisted of Collin, Lucas and Marcel, and in 2009 of Jason, Lucas and Marcel, the plans for the 2010 edition were to see the two merge into a four man delegation consisting of Collin, Jason, Lucas and Marcel, or so we thought. Having two people on the guest list and two separate tickets purchased, the idea was that Lucas would meet up with Casa Marcel's party at 2 p.m. in front of Baroeg. Come 2.30 still no Lucas. Apparently the wuss had decided not to go due to school work or some other lame ass excuse. Ah well, his loss, no hard feelings, we just don't think as highly of him now as we used to . The remaining three of us were in a good doomy mood after having seen Hail Of Bullets, Houwitser, and Bodyfarm the previous night. And if there was one thing certain... not a single band this weekend could be as boring as Houwitser the previous night.
Once again, the Dutch Doom Days organizers had compiled an appetizing list of doom bands from all across the doom board. So, hopefully more people would show up this year than last. For one there would be a strong Irish contingent coming over with Mourning Beloveth, a few Englanders coming over with Grimpen Mire and of course the usual doomsters from Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and an American going by the name of dismaleuphony who specifically flew over from the USA for a couple of days. A gathering of like minded souls once again.
Jason: This is what a weekend of metal for an American traveling to The Netherlands should be about. Complete with respectable amounts of wind and rain, let's just say I was getting a nice Dutch autumn welcome to my second year in a row to Dutch Doom Days. After meeting up with Marcel and then Collin on Friday to enjoy a solid performance of Hail Of Bullets and the accompanying boring set of Houwitser, I was more than ready to start off the Saturday on the almost familiar train ride to Rotterdam and the Baroeg.
In one of the few disappointments of my five days in The Netherlands, we soon found out that Lucas had more important things to do and would no longer be joining us. No matter, as for me, I was in the right mindset to start with some beers early, and calmly eager to see an entire weekend of bands for the first time. After walking in and even recognizing a few faces from last year, I realized again that the Baroeg still has one of the best atmospheres of any venue I've been in.
Marcel: About half an hour late Spain's Evadne kicked off proceedings with their brand of Paradise Lost and Anathema inspired death/doom with some gothicy touches. Not being familiar with the band's music I had to give them a fair chance up close. Though they played very competently and tight the music just didn't hit home for me. Could it be my total unfamiliarity with their music or that I have heard this brand of death/doom done to death by now? Or was it the gothic touches to their music. I am not certain. The venue sound was very good and the band seemed to enjoy themselves a lot on stage as did quite a few people watching Evadne. So they must have done something right. Well, I can't like every doom band around, now can I?
Jason: A great way to start off a weekend, as I had a strong feeling any new songs they played would eclipse the few tracks I'd heard online from earlier recordings. Albert's vocals were solidly impressive, touched with an effective amount of pain and depth, and musically it felt like a much more mature sound than previous efforts. I'd have promptly purchased a new album, so hopefully its release will be in the not so distant future. One thing was now certain as well: the sound of this year's Dutch Doom Days was already equal to last year's.
Collin: First band of the festival, first pleasant surprise. While this typical brand of melodic doom/death metal does not usually flabbergast me with awesomeness, the Spanish band played tight and managed to establish a nice flow, so that the melodic aspect of the music was well complemented by an almost dreamlike atmosphere. No ground broken there, but good enough to have me wait 45 minutes for my next beer.
My Silent Wake:
Marcel: Although only being familiar with My Silent Wake's full length A Garland Of Tears I was looking forward to seeing them live. Especially due to the fact they remind me a lot of old My Dying Bride so, the time when the band was still good and relevant. And to be honest, musically they didn't disappoint, but visually it was a bit awkward with the vocalist standing apart from the band to the side of the stage a lot of the time. Once again a great sound and tightly played. And the people that were familiar with their songs clearly enjoyed the set.
Jason: One of the bands I was looking forward to the most, particularly after loving their contributions to the split with The Drowning, Black Lights & Silent Roads, earlier this year. And starting right off with "Bleak Endless Winter" was already enough to sell me on their set, and later adding in a crisp rendition of "Death Becomes Us" off the new album had me searching out their just-released full-length as well (the first of several worthwhile purchases for the weekend). There was not only a defined individuality in each members' performances, but a sense of camaraderie bled through, even leading to a few smiles toward the end. Easily one of my choices for the weekend, and a band I hope to cross paths with again at a future gig.
Collin: Yeah, ok, I see what they did there. I'm not impressed though, to be honest. Despite having two pretty good vocalists, My Silent Wake struck me as being quite an average gothic-y doom band, i.e. featuring the usual growls, shrieks, romantic acoustic interludes, melodic leads and bursts of anger. Kind of like Evadne you say? Yeah, but somehow Evadne, while using the same formula, managed to sound interesting and to show character. My Silent Wake sometimes sounded like a poor man's MDB to my ears. Altogether a rather forgettable show, neither good nor bad.
Marcel: Up next were a local Dutch band whom I have been following ever since their very first ever live gig (which was, incidentally, at Dutch Doom Days in 2007). At the time they came across as promising though very nervous and inexperienced. Their 2008 demo already showed growth compared to that gig. Between that day in 2007 and now I think I must have seen them live at least eight times. And to be honest they grew from gig to gig and seeing this was the release party of their debut full-length album De Zwaarte Van Het Doorstane it wasn't surprising the band members were once again quite nervous beforehand. This nervousness showed a bit during the opening of the set, but quickly gave way to what would become one of the highlights of this doom weekend for me. Their brand of melodic doom with post rock influences came across great, helped by a great stage sound. Where one would expect a keyboard player with this sort of doom, there wasn't one present. What Akelei did have was a third guitarist who more less played the parts one would expect the keyboard to produce. Akelei managed to mesmerize the crowd during their forty minute set, this being no mean feat since all lyrics are sung in Dutch and about half the crowd present were non-Dutch.
Jason: After being familiar with their demo, and getting a chance to say hello to Pascal during my attendance at last year's edition, my anticipation was high as well for their set. A very calming set, full of introspection, and devoid of many of the stereotypical metal gig clichés, getting the chance to see them live has surely enhanced my current listening of their debut. Their songs built in subtle layers, and by the end of their four songs, I found myself in a solitary state of remembrance needing a few minutes alone to reflect on the state of mind their music had me in.
Collin: No, I'm not a grumpy person. But seeing how some of my fellow staffers are all over this band I was really looking forward to them. And of course, I was disappointed by both the performance and the songs themselves. I understand this was their first show in over a year so I'm ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. I also did enjoy the singing in Dutch because it sounded unusual and a bit weird to these ears. Other than that, the band seemed a little awkward and uncomfortable on stage, the vocals were not impressive at all and the songs sometimes seemed unnecessarily stretched and intricate. At that point, I was starting to nurture some dark feelings about the rest of the day. Fortunately the next band would cast a shiny smile on my face.
The Bottle Doom Lazy Band:
Marcel: The band with probably the weirdest name in doom hails from France and play an amalgamate of stoner and traditional doom. Whoever thinks doom is always about being as static as possible on stage should surely see this band live. Wow, what an energy. Going at it as furious as possible, hence missing a beat or two. But that didn't matter cause they came to entertain and entertain they did. This is one of those bands that work a lot better live than on album. So, if they're ever in your neighbourhood go check them out.
Jason: A band like this is meant to be seen live first and foremost. Bringing some serious energy that ended up being what I feel was the most exciting band to watch all weekend. With vocalist Ben involving himself with the crowd like it was his mission, it more than made up for my only middling interest in the music itself. I found myself strongly disappointed when they announced their last song, yet quite inspired for a few beers afterward. Another reason why it's always worth the effort to see a band live and not just stick with studio recordings.
Marcel: A band I never understood why people are all full of praise about. Neither their old works or their new albums do it for me. And if ever their was a band with a name that is totally off the mark it's Funeral. They have nothing, whatsoever, to do with funeral doom (also not their early demos). Last time I saw them was two years earlier when they played this same venue with Saturnus, Mar De Grises, and In Age And Sadness. Well, that was one of the worst shows I had ever seen, and that is saying something coming from someone who has seen thousands of bands live since the early Eighties. So, time for a chance to redeem themselves. Alas, although much better than the previous time, still not good at all. Okay, the band played a lot tighter and the new vocalist is much better, but musically still as yawn inducing as ever. The first, and hopefully last, disappointment of the weekend. Although I have to say that I seemed to be in a minority in that respect.
Jason: One of the main curiosities for me this weekend was to see if Funeral's set would change my mind on their studio albums, which I primarily am of the opinion that I want to like their songs, but something had yet to win me over. The band took the stage with a classy feel, with several of the guys wearing ties and offering a somber presence. The sound was passable, but a few things seemed a bit too high or thick, and they ended up being the only band of which I had sound quality complaints. By the end, I strangely found myself having the same thoughts I did before, wanting to like them but inexplicably unable to hear that special touch that turns music from mere sound to something deeply personal. Perhaps a new release with their new vocalist will change my mind in the future, as I certainly enjoyed his style.
Marcel: Hooded Menace, a name which has been singing around in the doom underground for quite some time now and has garnered a cult following almost bordering on a hype. But then again the word hype and doom underground in one sentence reads as a contradiction in terms. Let's put it this way: This was a gig highly anticipated by all those present. Could these Finnish masters of doomed death live up to the anticipation? First noticeable difference between Hooded Menace live and Hooded Menace on album is that Lasse Pyykkö doesn't handle the vocals any more but that Oula Kerkelä does them now hereby allowing Lasse to concentrate on his guitar duties. Hooded this menace was and deliver, they more or less, did. Although all was played well and tight and Oula fit in well there was something missing, something magical a lot of us had hoped for. Was it that this was live actually more slowed down death metal than on album? Don't think so since this sort of death metal rightly has a place on the billing of a broad doom festival such as Dutch Doom Days. What it boiled down to, I think, was the fact that the expectations were most probably set too high.
Looking back at the gig a couple of weeks later I am a lot milder than initially. Sometimes time does wonders when it allows you to step back and look at it more objectively (read: sitting behind a computer screen totally sober at work).
Jason: Shrouded in hooded sweatshirts and massive amounts of smoke, I found them to be a firm rendition of their latest studio effort, giving a thick foundation of death metal slowed down to a doom metal tempo. Not many pleasantries here, Hooded Menace were all business, with an often gripping and painful vocal performance, complete with screams into mic directed straight up at the ceiling. Even if I found their songs a bit too long personally, it was quite satisfying to watch.
Marcel: Some bands are pure cult and immensely overlooked by the masses. Revelation is such a band. This is a band that should not only appeal to doomsters but also to all other fans of well played soulful bluesy melodic metal. Because what this trio achieves live is just astounding. Here is a band that proves that even with one guitar you can give a great live performance as long as you have an ace rhythm section.
Damn, flawless musicianship, further enhanced by a great sound. In the hour they played the people present got a good cross section of their entire catalogue. After having been blown away by them at Doom Shall Rise 2009 they managed to repeat that feat here as well. A rightful headliner to this first day of varied doom. When music can be simple and beautiful.
Jason: Listening to their studio albums only, I'd developed a mildly relaxed feel to the band's music, something I'd put on while doing some writing or reading that could center my mind. Seeing the guys live though, added some serious weight to the music, something that grabbed my attention. Sure, yeah, the band playing several songs off the Release album, which I am most familiar with, did bring me to the same state of mind as well, but Revelation reminded me that some music is just meant to be heard loud. Everything had a newfound power mixed with the classy strength I find on the studio recordings, and overall I came away in great spirits for the first night's closer, ready for at least a few more hours of post-performance beers!
Conclusion Day 1:
Marcel: A great day of doom was once again delivered by the organization of Dutch Doom Days. Proceedings ended quite on time thus leaving some time to enjoy some more beers at the always welcoming Baroeg club before heading back to Utrecht. Well, the couple of beers escalated into a lot and saw our beloved Metal Storm team stagger out of the place at 03.30 too late to get a good night's rest in if we were to return to Utrecht. Thanks to Marcel Op 't Land (better known as MoL) we stayed over only about a hundred or so metres from the venue. How come so late, I hear many a person ask? Well, simple, once the bands had finished playing the DJ decided to play many a doom anthem to sing (the case for some of the artists still present) or shout (the case for yours truly) along to. Doom karaoke it was with songs such as "Doom All Over The World", "Voice In The Wind", "Solitude" amongst others. And a doom after party was born. Damn, how doomed I would feel the next day, hahahaha.
Jason: Again, despite what those unfamiliar with what a solid day of doom can do, my mood remained as upbeat as ever as the entire post-Day 1 crowd began chanting along to a well-timed set of doom songs by the bar. A few hours of laughing and more than a few more beers, and I think at about 3am my brain shut down completely . But thanks to some very well appreciated hospitality within walking distance, we had that rare opportunity to pass out without having to worry much about oversleeping and recover for Day 2.
For the second day of doom over the world, click here:
Dutch Doom Days IX (Day 2) - Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Nov.7.2010
Disclaimer: All band photographs in this article are property of and ©Jason Wiesenbach, published for Metal Storm, released under for use under Creative Commons, "cc by-nc-sa."
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