Aces High and FreeFall took on the renovated Quadrangle stage and gave us a show which they entitled “The Resurrection”.
The night everyone was waiting for: The Swedish metal band in Dubai! JoScene announced it earlier in December 2016 and everyone went crazy. It was hosted again in the almighty The Music Room. This is not the first visit for Katatonia to the Middle East as they took part in Beirut Rock Fest in 2011 at the stage of the Roman Amphitheater in Zouk Mikael, but it surely is the first time in the Emirates. Without further ado, let’s jump in the review you’ve been waiting for.
Benevolent, the extreme metal Dubai band, went on first. The room was already packed and since these guys have been around, the audience knew them by heart, to the extent that people showed up earlier just for them. The band played seven tracks; most of them were from their album The Covenant, such as ‘Void’, ‘Asphyxia’, and the highlight of their night: ‘The Seeker’. It’s important to mention how professional they were in their sound system. I don’t know if the sound quality was unusually good that night in the Music Room, but overall, they gave an amazing performance and had every element of professionalism.
Next in line was Bilocate, a Jordanian band with a history of rejection in their home country and other Middle Eastern countries, but were welcome with open arms in Dubai, performing 2 years ago with Metal East Records in the Music Room – read about it here.
The band is a blend of multiple genres of metal; the mixture of doom, melodic, and death/doom, unique vocal ranges, complex rhythm, and overall loudness are what make Bilocate. The stage performance was wild and it felt like a union between the beauty of Opeth and the aggression of death metal blended together to create a balance of beauty and power of the metal genre. However, the audience engagement wasn’t as good. Maybe they were saving their energy to Katatonia? Most people went back and chilled after Benevolent although these guys gave their all. They played six tracks ranging from all albums, such as ‘The Tragedy Within’, ‘A Desire to Leave’, plus one cover by Paradise Lost, ‘Dead Emotion’, which was also recorded in their latest album, Summoning the Bygones, in 2012. Honestly, I’m waiting for something from these guys soon.
Finally, the band everyone in Dubai was waiting for, Katatonia, which I don’t think needs to be introduced. The Doom/Death Metal band have been around since 1993 and have 10 albums, the last released in 2016: The Fall of Hearts.
Now, before digging into the review, it’s worth mentioning that in past live performances, they were characterized by a lack of strength in Jonas’ live vocals in contrast to his recorded versions, so I was a bit worried that their live shows were not as good as the recorded versions. But that day changed my mind; they were 100 times better than I expected. The sound quality and vocals were so good that it felt like listening to their recorded versions. Katatonia’s stage performance was intense and didn’t leave out any aspect of Doom and Melodic Metal unvisited, it was magical to be honest and gave the dark atmosphere of the club a majestic light. They played 15 tracks, which was a good long list to have, mostly ranging from their last four albums since 2006 till their latest in 2016. They started their setlist with ‘Last Song before the Fade’ and ended with ‘Forsaker’. Check out the whole list here:
The band had an extremely energetic presence, which was met by a powerful crowd who knew the songs by heart.
That night was definitely a night to be looking forward to and whoever missed it, oh you missed a lot. Kudos to JoScene for their efforts in bringing these bands and growing out the metal scene in the Middle East.
Check out upcoming events in Dubai:
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BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear – (9.2/10)
We’ve come a long way from the competent but uninteresting ‘Lord of the Night’. Where the debut draws heavily from every outside influence, ‘Line of Fear’ draws inspiration from within, meaning Lebanese history, culture, and mythos. Where the traditional percussion of the ‘derbakke’ was mostly filler in the debut, it is now a major contributor to the overall mood of ‘Line of Fear’. The overall mood is now enhanced manifold, not just due to the addition of this oriental instrument, but by the perfected alchemy of all instruments with the vocals, providing a solid structure and form, fused with meaningful folk lyrics.
‘Line of Fear’ tackles a schizophrenic society in the grips of an identity and political crisis, religion, rebirth and the ancient origins of Lebanon, namely its pagan patron god. It frenziedly claws to uncover the buried identity of a slumbering, lethargic people who need to wake up and reconnect with their roots.
For 40 minutes, Blaakyum doesn’t let up, and despite the thrashing heaviness and speed of the genre, manages to deliver an intricately crafted beast that also sounds elegant. Not brutal. ELEGANT; speed, strength, and power are dealt effortlessly, yet passionately. Each of the album’s 8 slabs displays surprising variation, be it in the shifting vocal performance of Bassem Deaibess or the oriental intros that make way for the arsenal of riffs that will unmistakably show up. The cadence alternates between atmospheric oriental breaks and relentless guitar assaults that feel like waves of armies assaulting the citadel of your senses. Baal-Adon is pleased and smiles from his shiny pantheon as Blaakyum wails and roars sonic adoration into his divine ears.
This is, arguably, the first folk-oriented Lebanese metal album that really matters. It easily avoids the stigma of linearity attributed to the thrash genre, by offering a stunning musical, rhythmic, and instrumental variation without ever sounding trite; every arrangement and each break was carefully thought out and planned, resulting into a living, breathing, organic, muscled, world class performance. It is a giant leap in musicianship and content, that comparing the first album to this one, is literally comparing 2 different bands. Get this album, not because it has an exotic percussion instrument. Not because it has great vocals and spotless guitar/bass/drum work, but because it has a soul and for that reason, it will continue to please and impress you for many more listens.
You can buy BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear album from:
Or from our Merchandise Stand during local events \m//
– Josef ‘Baal Moloch’ Haddad
Article originally published by our contributor writer Josef ‘Baal Moloch’ Haddad on Metal-Archive.
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Every year in June Clisson becomes the destination for all metalheads around the globe, located in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France. Since its last year’s 10th anniversary celebration Hellfest started with a blast and all the credit goes to the incredible team behind the festival. the line-up of bands and the variety of the program was outstanding as always, over the three days over 150,000 fans gathered for Hellfest 2016.
The first day started with the Dutch female-fronted band Delain on the main stage, the charismatic Charlotte Wessels and Delain deliver a set of their best hits.
And over 6 stages, the usual 2 main stages joined by The Temple, Altar, Warzone and The Valley hosted a variety of bands such as MONOLORD, MOONREICH, AUDREY HORNE and NASHVILLE PUSSY which all delivered an awesome performance for the fans.
By midday the line-up started to heat up as HALESTORM stormed the main stage 1 with an intense show and next on the same stage ANTHRAX delivered a great show with so many classics that made the fans entertained all the way
On the other side of the festival fans enjoyed a great performances by VADER, OVERKILL, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, ABBATH and TESTAMENT
The main headliners on the two main stages were THE OFFSPRING who closed the night for the first day but the main highlight was RAMMSTEIN, thousands of people started to gather an hour before the show just to get a good view for probably one of the best shows on earth, as the show was about to start it was hardly to move between the crowds, RAMMSTEIN started with the song RAMM 4 and finished with a Depeche Mode cover of their classic Stripped just to return for an encore which consisted of their classics Sonne, Amerika and Engel.
The spectacle of the show was as usual, intense and full of heat, incredible design theme that wowed the fans through out the whole setlist.
Day two of HELLFEST started as early as 10:30 AM, it was a hot day and the line-up was even hotter, the four side stages hosted shows for variety of genres including bands MOONSORROW, TERRORIZER, NAPALM DEATH, DARK FUNERAL, ENTOMBED A.D. and FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE
And on the main stages the heat started around lunchtime when GLENN HUGHES delivered an awesome show full of his incredible high-pitched screams, and right after on the same stage SIXX AM lead by NIKKI SIXX and DJ ASHBA delivered an incredible show promoting their new album Prayers for the damned and also playing classics such as Life Is Beautiful.
FOREIGNER was up next on the main stage 1 who also performed a setlist full of their classics over 40 years career, the band ended their show with a great gesture by their frontman Kelly Hansen who said: with all this hatred around the world today let us celebrate the music who brought us all together, I want each person to put his right hand on the shoulder of the person next to them. All the fans embraced and signed their heart out to classic ballad I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS.
As we were approaching the night JOE SATRIANI deliver a show from another planet, the fans were indeed surfing with an alien and on the main stage 2 DISTURBED performed a show that took the fans by surprise when the band performed Shout At The Devile, a MOTLEY CRUE cover joined by SIXX: AM on stage and right after they performed BABA O’RILEY by THE WHO also joined by another guest on stage, GLENN HUGHES
The highlight of the second night was of course TWISTED SISTER, it’s the band’s farewell show in France, no more TWISTED SISTER Which Dee Snider had a funny speech when he told the fans that’s it, 40 years and Fuck it, unlike Scorpions or Ozzy, that’s it for us, It’s the end of TWISTED SISTER, their show was entertaining and the fans shared the mic with Dee for classics such as (You Can’t Stop Rock n’Roll and We’re Not Gonna Take It, the show surprise was the tribute to LEMMY where Dee invited Phil Campbell on stage and performed MOTORHEAD’s Born To Raise Hell
Another highlight of the night was the night closure, HELLFEST had prepared a surprise end to the second night and we were al informed just shortly before it start’s through the HELLFEST mobile app, an incredible firework display in honor of the late LEMMY KILMISTER who passed earlier this year (RIP LEMMY) at the end the entire festival clapped and shouted for LEMMY.
The third and last day of HELLFEST hosted a great list of bands on THE TEMPLE stage DEICIDE, ENSLAVED and TAKKE entertained the crowed while on the ALTAR Stage bands such as PARADISE LOST, KATATONIA and INSOMNIUM delivered a great performances and on the VALLEY AND WARZONE stages a different genres of bands such as PUCIFER, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, JANE’S ADDICTION and WALLS OF JERICHO burned their stages and gave the fans entertainment all day long
On the main stages it was busy the last day, very busy, I myself was running from stage one to stage two none stop just to catch what I can, there was really no time to breath, take break or go eat, the French band NIGHTMARE on the main stage 2 delivered a great performance with their new lead singer MAGALI LUYTEN.
DRAGONFORCE had a bad day and specially their new singer, a lot of problems and pauses during the show.
GOJIRA on the main stage 1 were on fire as usual, a great performance which was followed on the main stage two by BLIND GUARDIAN who delivered as usual one of the best power metal shows anyone can see, a lot of classic song such as THE BARD’S SONG where the entire crowd were singing along to it.
Up next was SLAYER on the main stage 1, the band looked a great shape with their new guitar player GARY HOLT and played a great set included South Of Heaven, Angel Of Death, Raining Blood and Mandatory Suicide.
On the main stage 2 Viking metal band AMON AMARTH delivered a fantastic and energetic show full of smoke, fire and dragons and as well as the biggest mosh pits anyone can think of.
Thrash metal giants MEGADETH deliver an incredible performance with the new line-up and promoting the new album DYSTOPIA and also playing classics hits such as HOLY WARS, HANGER 18 and Dave Mustaine dedicated TRUST to his former band mate drummer NICK MENZA who passed earlier this year.
Swedish heavy metal band GHOST were up next just before the fans witness another emotional moment where it was time for BLACK SABBATH to hit the stage, another legends, the father’s of heavy metal are bidding farewell with their THE END tour is the last thing we will ever see from BLACK SABBATH, the band was in great shape, OZZY, IOMMI and BUTLER were on fire, delivered a performance that the fans will always remember.
The closure of the third night and HELLFEST was lead by the almighty KING DIAMOND, what a show! The stage was incredibly decorated and with an unbelievable performance by KING DIAMOND as he was in a great shape and he sounded better than ever, I was entertained from the first minutes till the last with classics such as ABIGAIL, Sleepless Nights, Halloween, A Mansion In Darkness and The Possession, it was a great choice to conclude the festival.
As the lights were going down slowly people started marching to the camp sight where the party there will continue until morning, this is a HELLFEST tradition.
– Sharbel Kanoun
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The famous Bourbon maker Jim Beam strikes again with its annual rock concerts JIM BEAM ROCKS featuring multiple local bands and an international guest.
The 16th of July was a great night for the band FILTER HAPPIER (previously known as Banana Elephant), as not only did they give their audience a wonderful performance, but their first appearance as a new band was made, and their first EP, released.
Although entering the event was a long wait, the atmosphere of the venue was very soothing, as people moved their feet to the flashing lights of the dance floor, while others drank and conversed to the refreshing breeze of the refurbished upper floor of The Grand Factory. The sound system was clearly audible throughout the whole venue, and still allowed people to carry on a decent conversation. With that, the Grand Factory proved to be a very convenient location that complemented both the vibes of FILTER HAPPIER and the musical style of “Trying To Rush Everything“, the newly released EP.
Before Filter Happier punctually made their way to the stage, people grabbed their drinks from the bar, while some danced to the DJ’s great set-list, and others socialized for the sake of a good night. With a decent venue, also came a great performance. The only thing that needs to be worked on is the band’s transitions from song to song and their tension on stage (which will inevitably subside and improve with time), as it was a slight setback to the atmosphere of the music. Regardless, most of the audience swayed to the sound of the music and found it quite difficult to wipe the smile they had off of their faces. And considering the band’s transition from Banana Elephant to Filter Happier, that is an excellent sign.
The musical genre of the EP is also very compatible with the name of the band, as it touches at dream pop, shoegaze, and post-rock, and gives off quite the euphoric feel (we will post a full review about the EP soon, so stay tuned). The microphone seemed to give the band some trouble towards the beginning of the show, but that didn’t stop them from giving a killer performance, as the technical difficulty was hard to notice. The show was crowned by the band’s exceptional energy and magical connection with the crowd, and was followed by C U NXT SAT’s exhilarating DJ line-up .
The feedback from the audience was also very great, and everyone seemed to be having an ecstatic Saturday night. With that, your fans are surely awaiting your next gig and what is yet to come. The Metal Bell team wishes you the best of luck on the rest of your musical journey!
Filter Happier will be performing at WICKERPARK Music Festival Saturday September 10, 2016.
Ada Harb (Vocals)
Camille Cabbabé (Guitar)
Elie Abdelnour (Bass and Vocals)
Elie El Khoury (Drums)
Georgy Flouty (Guitar and Vocals)
Read more by: Dany Ayyash
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