I’m not going to write a classic review like everyone always does, and certainly like we do here too. Instead, I’m gonna write you a short story, probably me talking gibberish but… this is what you get.
I’m writing you a brief description of another dimension where you can have the time of your life. The goal is for these words to move you and make you join us next year in HELL.
Have you ever felt like you need to break out of this world? Your daily routine and all the horrible things that are happening around you.
Have you ever wished to have the portal gun of Rick and the liberty to teleport away from all of this?
This is me and my portal is the gates of Hellfest…
This is the place where people from around the globe gather to break out, be ourselves and forget about whatever is outside the gates of music. We gather for the same passion… MUSIC.
We forget where we came from, our differences, and our colors with everything else that divides us. None of that matters because we are in another dimension, remember! A dimension where hate doesn’t exist. Doesn’t that make Music the only God that should be worshiped?
The Imagination: Existence
As soon as you’re inside the gates of Hell, you realise that this recurring dream actually exists, and you’re just in it.
As it is your first visit, you start wandering around like someone completely lost, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite, you’re observing what’s going around you.
It’d take you a few moments before you stop, you smile and you’re awake to this reality and it is happening.
One show after another, running from one stage to another, trying to catch the train of photographers.
So many childhood heroes are now in front of your lens, such a heavy pressure to make sure the shot will kick-fucking-ass.
Crossing paths with all the beautiful freaks who are exactly just like you, you feel that we belong but not only that, we should be ruling too!
One stage and you’re in the fame, the huge set-up, the rock stars’ presence, the place where the huge acts play.
Then you move to another stage and you’re in a completely different atmosphere, you’re a Viking fighter, fighting to keep the music alive, swimming on the backs of your fellow fighters.
Your next adventure is more intimate, up close, and personal with your favorite artists, under the tents of HELL.
When The Crowds Are Gone
When we used to pass three days in (let’s call it) dimension Hellfest, we enter the phase of so many officially calls today: “post-Hellfest depression”
This year that phase was longer. The seven days of Hellest were just incredible, we are lucky to be part of such an EPIC event that’d never be forgotten. We did survive seven days in Hellfest but not only that, I’m sure that so many of us wished for Hellfest to go on.
Now we cannot wait for the news to come and what kind of surprise the team of Hellfest is preparing for us, we are used to BIG FAT HEAVY news so… Bring It On
I hope those experiences will encourage you to join me, join us next year, and if you do, don’t hesitate to contact me, I promise we will share a beer together
I’ll leave you now with some bad-ass shots taken by the team of Metal Bell Magazine.
And don’t hesitate to share if you liked what you read
Now that Hellfest Open Air part one is done, It was time to take a small break, edit some photos and reflect on how it all went down.
Hellfest never really fails to surprise the fans, both intentionally and unintentionally and this edition was a true demonstration on how does it feel to be in Hell…
The festival opened its doors on Friday with a level of Heat Wave that is really rare in this part of the world. But this didn’t stop all the Hellbangers from having the time of their life.
Over two years without live music and being locked down in our rooms, a tiny heat wave won’t stop us from doing what we love the most, MUSIC.
Friday and Saturday felt like HELL… literally, the peak passed over 40° during both days and we all struggled, cause at the end, we all know that we would say: It was all worth it.
Fireworks were canceled in the first day, the organizers decided that because of the extreme heat and they feared for starting a fire, smart decision, this shows how much they value safety.
Here are some images taken by me, this is just a sneak peak, we will publish a full story after Part Two, where we will talk more about this historical edition and publish more photos to try and give you a small taste of Hellfest.
Next, are photos taken by Mayaz, great shots to have any idea what to expect in Hellfest and maybe, makes you go like, Fuck, I wanna be there too, next year.
A huge shoutout to everyone at Hellfest Headquarters, the management of this first edition was epic, safety was greatly prioritized and first aid teams were all over the site, a job well done on keeping everyone safe.
Keep an eye here and throughout our social accounts for Live Photos of Part Two.
I did not know Kimaera before hearing about their new album “Imperivm” and boy am I mad that I did not. I will give my tl;dr now and say this album is so freaking good, it made me raise my standards for other death metal albums. With the OCD personality I have, I had to dig up everything about the band and listen to everything they recorded, and this was such a fun ride, that ended in me finding out that the vocalist Jean Pierre Haddad had passed away in February of 2022 and I genuinely felt sad, because it reminded me of Chuck Schuldiner and how I was depressed for almost a year when he passed away (coincidentally, Chuck’s birthday is today or the day I’m writing this article.) Jean Pierre’s passing was a huge loss to the death metal scene locally and internationally as he was a pioneer in the Lebanese metal scene from early on (early 2000s) and this album and all the other things he recorded will keep his memory alive.
The album starts with De Amare Et Bellvm which is one of the best intros to a death metal album I have heard in a while, a perfect orchestral arrangement which is shattered by guitar chugs and double bass kicks, while keeping the choirs in the background giving a very dark ambiance to the song. JP’s vocals are one of the best guttural growls and shrieks in recent years. Midway through the song, the music is blessed with some lute (the Arabic Oud) riffs and some Arabic style vocalization which makes this song such an intense journey and, again, one of the best starts to an album.
The Die is Cast follows with a strong start of guitars alongside a sample of an impassioned speech that I unfortunately could not trace but it definitely fits the mood as this is a war song. The music and the lyrics flow perfectly together, and you can hear a lot of middle eastern influences in the music and the vocalization in the background, which is a signature Kimaera trope that will repeat in all the songs. Following is what I think is the highlight of the album, VVV, another warsong that makes you want to carry your pitchfork and just go out and protest something. This song has probably one of the best mixing and mastering of any death metal song I have heard in a long time. As a musician, this is one of the main things I listen for, and Kimaera have hit it out of the park. You have piano parts, orchestrals, strings, vocalization, blast beats, breakdowns, this song has everything and I just wish it was longer than 7 minutes.
Following the masterpiece that is VVV, is The Ides of March which was released as a lyric video and is my second favorite in the album, mainly because of the amazing intro and guitar riffs in the first half and the piano and guitar solos that are quiet yet fit perfectly with the tone of the song. The next couple of songs, are not really my favorites as they rehash some ideas and feel a bit repetitive, but should definitely not be discarded as great productions, Imperator has a wonderful creepy piano part followed by an epic guitar solo, Vi Divina continues the creepy vibes with a superb piano intro mixed in with blast snare beats leading to the main part of the song, and Capvt Mvndi (no idea how that is pronounced) is the perfect outro to the album with it’s folk-y intro into an orchestral grand opening and around the halfway mark it goes full middle east folk (I can imagine a belly dancer in a king’s guest room.) and then goes back to the metal mood with two harmonizing guitars, and finally an ending that feels like a proper end to an adventure that took a lot of energy off you and you can see the finish line.
The bonus track Ya Beirut, a cover of the Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi’s song, which for an Arabic metalhead is an amazing transformation of a pretty famous song into metal with amazing clean vocals of Cheryl Khayrallah and ends with the soul crushing growls of JP. But the original singer was not so happy with this and sued the band for using her copyright without permission and she called the song a disgrace and racist (huh?), but then again, death metal is not for everyone and there are still people in the Arab world that immediately link growl vocals to satanism (but this is a topic for another article.)
As a final verdict and to summarize the above, I’d say this album/band is a must listen for any death metal fan, while not pure death metal (I’d say it walks between folk, orchestral, gothic and melodic sub genres of death.) It still has a lot of themes that will please any metal fan. One of the highlights of this album is the superior quality of the production which some death metal bands don’t pay a lot of attention to. I’d give this album a 9/10 and I recommend it for anybody.
I started listening to Kalandra a little over 2 years ago, when Mr. Spotify Algorithm decided to give me their song Brave New World in my weekly playlist, and boy was I hooked. Katrine’s vocals on this song were phenomenal and the music was very well done. At that time, they had not released any full album yet, but had just a couple of songs on an EP. They later on released a cover for Warduna’s Helvegen which blew me away. I listened to this song on repeat for months. I’ve been following them and hoping for more ever since that fateful day.
Their first album was more than just some songs gathered together on a CD. It was a trip into a new world that amazes you from the first second of Borders to the last second in It Gets Easier. I don’t know what it is with Norwegian bands, but the ambiance that bands with a folk influence create is so mesmerizing (I will be using this word a lot throughout this review, so buckle up.)
When Kalandra released the song My Kingdom back in 2021, I was shocked with how good it was, the ambiance and atmosphere in it were just crazy good. They mentioned this was a soundtrack to the indie game Kingdom which was released back in 2015-2016. I did not know back then that this was going to lead to a full soundtrack album, and then, BAM! All of a sudden they release a full 12 track album with music for the game.
The album is a concept album with sounds and music that plays in the game. It is mostly made up of ambient music, choir harmonies and folk sounds. While a bit different from their previous album, it is still a masterpiece in its own right. The first time I listened to it, I played it twice, because one time was absolutely not enough and I wanted to stay immersed in the world that the music created. Katrine’s vocals are what I imagine angels sound like, they take you to different places and guide your heart and soul to a different plane of existence.
We start with Eikthyrnir (meaning: a stag which stands upon Valhalla) which is a combination of strings and vocal humming, and is an excellent start to the album as it sets the tone for what’s to come. I felt like I was taken to a huge green field and was slowly dissolving and becoming one with nature. Ferden (meaning: journey) comes after that and the calm keyboard playing throughout the song has your heart racing a bit but the flute calms you down. After that trip is finished, Drømmefanger (meaning: dream catcher) takes you back to where Eikthyrnir was and you feel peaceful and safe. Be ready for sadness and melancholy, because Veiviseren (meaning: the wizard) pulls no punches and the bagpipes immediately play with your heartstrings.
The next song dips into Norwegian folklore and is the theme of Skogtroll (meaning: the forest troll) which is a bit upbeat and feels like you are in the forest dancing around a campfire, only to be led to Katrine’s mesmerizing vocals again in Mørke Skoger (meaning: dark forest) and back into a world of mystery and a bit of fear. With tense emotions we start Synnavind (meaning: southern wind) which has a more calming effect with the choir and the percussion.
The highlight of the album is of course Helheim (meaning: the realm of the dead,) a song that is a signature Kalandra song. Katrine’s superb performance along with the ambiance, strings, bagpipes, percussion and harmonies. It is a mixture of feelings, you feel scared, you feel excited and anxious. You want to run and fight. I literally felt like a viking in a battle (even though I was sitting on my comfy chair at home sipping on some hot tea.) I was full of Norwegian pride and went to amazon to buy a viking axe.
After all that tension, we are hit with Nordlys (meaning: northern lights) which is a short set of horns being blown in the air to signify the end of a battle and tell the warriors that everything is over, and after your heartbeat calms down and you feel at ease, the warning horns ring in the air and your village gets raided. Greed makes you feel just that. After all is lost, you go to your trusted steed and run away with the feelings of loss crushing you, Hrimfaxi (meaning: the shining mane) explores feelings of loss and defeat. We end the album with the best finale to this journey, Valkyrja (meaning: Chooser of the Slain) is one of the most atmospheric songs I have ever listened to, you feel calm but still excited, you feel at ease but fearful, like you are finally rested but the shadows of the past still follow you, I doubt there could have ever been a finale that fits the whole album better than this.
Kalandra have created a masterpiece that befits a survival game set in Norse history. It literally took me on a ride where I felt happiness and sadness, defeat and victory, love and loss without a single word being spoken. This is a talent that few bands nowadays have and the Norwegians absolutely excel at it (Wardruna comes to mind.) I give this album an 8 out of 10, the only reason it’s not a 10 is that it is only 35 minutes long, I would have loved to stay in this world for way longer. Whether you’re a fan of Kalandra or not, this album is a must-listen, believe me, you don’t want to miss it.
You can stream the album here and let us know your thoughts
As someone who is a fan of djent, I never really got into Meshuggah, and when I decided to listen to this album I was expecting the famous 0-0-0-0 guitar chugs, and I was not surprised when this is what I got. Starting from the first riff in the first song “Broken Cog”, I realized that this album will not be surprising me with any genre defying music.
While this album did not change the usual tone of Meshuggah as a band when it comes to their playstyle, it was also not even remotely bad, even for a person like me who is not that into the band. I actually enjoyed it! The technicality of their riffs, the blast beats by the beast Tomas Haake and Jens’s vocals are top notch. I usually judge an album by how many of its riffs get stuck in my head after I’m done with it and at least 5 riffs and sections have stuck with me here, which is more than some of my favorite bands’ new albums (looking at you Dream Theater.)
We start off with Broken Cog that sets the tone for the whole album, while not as complex and fast as the other songs, it still fits perfectly as a first track that eases the listener and grabs their hand leading them to the pits of hell that is the next track. The Abysmal Eye comes next starting with an immediate blast beat after the whispering outro of the previous track. I immediately fell in love with the guitar solo here, it made me feel entranced with how it fits wonderfully with the ominous vibe the whole song gives off. The same could be said about the next song on the list, Light The Shortening Fuse, which slows down a bit in the middle adding a tone of melancholy before Jens growls his way out of that vibe back to the general ominous tone the album has built up until now.
While the songs so far have been a bit on the extreme/djent side, the next song Phantoms adds some groovy riffs to the mix while maintaining the feeling of extremity and power. Going to a complete halt half way through with a nasty breakdown (I can already feel myself getting injured in the mosh pit at this exact moment.) Ligature Marks returns to the djenty vibes but adds some lead riffs that add a terrifying mood to the song before the vocals assert the fear. The next track, God He Sees In Mirrors, sounded the most Meshuggah to me, with a super complex solo line, deadly blast beats and overall harsh vocals.
Almost halfway through the album, we are welcomed with a calming clean guitar intro in the longest song on the album, They Move Below. This is in my opinion the crown jewel of the whole album, although it’s an instrumental. A lot of feelings get invoked throughout the song and the genius arrangement just gets better every minute as it gets heavier and heavier and more technical. Following that amazing trip, we are grabbed by the throat and pulled back down to the heavy riffs and vocals of Kaleidoscope, the highlight of this song is the technical solo around halfway through. Black Cathedral is 2 minutes of scary guitar riffs. I can imagine a 15th century church burning in the background, which culminates into the next track.
Unfortunately, this is where the album starts feeling repetitive and boring, the songs quickly become very familiar and very predictive. While generally not a bad thing because they maintain the same theme throughout the album, it still feels like the album ended and is repeating the previous songs again. Up until the last track Past Tense which begins with a clean riff that takes you out of the repetitiveness and into a confusing and ominous feel for about 3 minutes then back to the “how long is left in this song still?” feeling.
Overall, I’d say the album is not a masterpiece, but it is also not bad. It is worth a listen if you’re not a fan, but you’ll love it if you are. The mixing and mastering is of high quality and the band is excellent in their instruments. I would give this album a 7 out of 10.
Here we go, it’s that time of the year where all Metal enthusiasts from France and all over the world gathers in the beautiful Clisson, to visit their own version of Disney Land for a full weekend, HELLFEST.
The special bonus this year was a fourth day, the weekend kicked of on Thursday this year with Knotfest embracing the French meal world.
I personally stopped talking about how big Hellfest is each year, Ben and his team got enough creativity to surprise us each year.
Come Hellfest 2020, I can only guarantee you, it’ll be your best Metal experience.
The lineup this year was massive, maybe too massive.
This edition of Hellfest was probably the 1969 Woodstock of our time.
It had everything, legends bidding farewell to their fans, old school rock stars, new emerging bands, Tool after 13 years away from their fans.
So many highlights that would go down in the history,
Only this year there were stories to tell, on a positive notes and a negative one.
The opening day of Hellfest was busy, really busy, Hellfest dedicated a main stage just for French bands which was really awesome.
Imagine, in one day, you have the chance to see, Gojira, King Diamond, Mass Hysteria, Dagoba, SUM41, Godsmack, Demons & Wizards, and Dream Theater… etc.
And finally, to close out the day, the almighty Manowar was set to headline.
Remember our story from last year? Where after the last band on the third day, Hellfest came up with a huge surprise, Lights were out for few minutes, then Joey from MANOWAR was live on stage to announce the return of MANOWAR to Hellfest after 10 years, their last performance was back in 2009. I was there.
People were looking forward to this, but don’t get too attached, this story does not have a happy ending.
In the afternoon of Friday, around 80,000 people were notified that MANOWAR wouldn’t be playing tonight anymore, no further explanations.
Few hours later, the story started to go out, MANOWAR were on site the night before, as per Hellfest, they just decided to leave the site and not to play the show.
Then an official statement from MANOWAR blaming Hellfest for this cancelation, I mean it’s MANOWAR, of course they’re gonna blame Hellfest.
The fans were really disappointed and furious, a band like MANOWAR should care and respect their fans.
No matter the reason that led to an argument between the band and the organizer, your MANOWAR, you were on site and ready to play, you deliver to your fans, the show must go on, you perform, then you go to solve your issues with the promoter.
Let’s not give MANOWAR too much attention here, they let down their fans, Hellfest were proactive and on the spot, replaced them by Sabaton.
Long story short, it was a dramatic day, but nobody cared, Hellfest ruled and people had a blast.
Day tow was no less, it was the day where you go on a trip back in time, the real legends of rock and metal ruled, not MANOWAR!
The biggest act that everyone was waiting for was KISS, another legends bidding farewell to the world.
We also had, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, ZZ Top, Within Temptation and many others.
But for me, the highlight of this year was without a doubt KISS.
These guys, after all this years, they put on a show that bands in there twenties wouldn’t have the stamina to do.
They gave it all, a rock show on the highest level, they had raisers on the stage for each musician, at some point, Paul surfed over the crowd with a zip-line and plaid two songs in the middle of the ground, not to mention the flames, the smoke, the explosions and finally the fireworks.
KISS presents the real meaning of the term ROCK STARS.
Days three is usually sad, because you come to realize that it is almost the end for this year, but was way more emotional as SLAYER were also bidding farewell to the world, Tom said few touching words at the end and had tears in his eyes.
On the bill were also, Lamb Of God, Slash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Anthrax, Trivium, Testament, Death Angel and Philip Anselmo who plaid so many Pantera hits and many other bands.
I will leave with our photo gallery so you can live or re-live some of the best moments of Hellfest 14
Keep an eye on our page and also Hellfest pages, as tickets will go out on sale very soon.
Next year Hellfest celebrates 15 years of greatness, be ready to get blasted as I guess something really extraordinary is in the works…
The second installation of Metal United Worldwide presents new bands on the horizon, and a well-known one, all while expanding the Metal genre. This year, we heard symphonies, Heavy Metal and Punk riffs, and it all ended with some Thrash Metal.
The show started with Sane Sirens, a Heavy Metal band that covered classic Heavy Metal songs and showed us a few originals. The band seemed to put out a great show as the members weren’t stage-shy at all, everyone seemed to exchange smiles whilst playing the songs tightly, and they called for a lot of crowd interaction when they covered Fear of the Dark and The trooper (although the intro had no bass) by Iron Maiden which the attendees seemed to cheer along the melodies and sing the lyrics with the vocalist. Speaking of which, the vocalist did an amazing job with her stage presence in hyping the crowd up for each song they played.
They also had Anis Mouawad sing 2 covers, which were Killing in the Name Of and Warriors of the World, and no doubt he did a great job as well, and even started the show with an anecdote.
Overall, a few mistakes here and there such as a small solo slipup and a bit of timing issues on bass weren’t that noticeable because they pulled off a great show, but unfortunately they had to backpedal on playing their last song because of time restrictions. Also, having an original named after The Riders of Rohan brings in bonus points.
The band stated: “We’ve enjoyed the concert very much from start to end and the organization was on point. The sound and lighting were amazing and the people behind the show were very professional, not to mention that Phenomy blew the place away”.
Sane Sirens are:
Tatiana Metri: Vocals
Anis mouawad: Vocals
Majd Jadam: Guitar
Bassam Rifi: Guitar
Hassan Ibrahim: Drums
Mohamad Fakhreddine: Bass
And their setlist was:
Light awaits (original) The Trooper (Iron Maiden) Killing in the name (Rage against the Machine) Riders of Rohan (original) Warriors of the World (Manowar) Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden)
Next up, we had Armian on the stage and it was… Flawless. The way this band was able to have such breathtaking, shifting atmospheres all while some heaviness from the guitars and drums that made its way through the symphonies and melodies flawlessly was just perfect. Every single instrument on stage had its own moment (and there were a lot) and it all flowed together in a beautiful manner.
They had symphonies and atmospheres that would leave you breathless, and in just a second they shift it to another, as if a huge boulder just left your chest, all while demanding more and more. They were successful in mixing a few dark and gritty elements with its more lighthearted counterpart. The vocals were amazing, the violin was magnificent and the keyboard player was responsible for all those amazing symphonies we listened to. Also, their drummer Sam (who is in many bands in the Metal scene) gave his all in his last show in Lebanon, and it was fantastic. It is noteworthy to mention that they didn’t do any mistakes during their show, and they left me wanting for more, because they only played 4 songs.
The band stated: “All the people were kind and easygoing and all in all, amazing.” And they also said that they weren’t prepared. Although after putting such an amazing show, they seem fairly prepared and ready.
Armen Mardirian: Guitar and Vocals
Christopher Vartanian: Bass & Backing Vocals
Sevag Katerjian : Keyboards & Piano
Marian Artinian: Violin
Sam Baghdo: Drums
Undefiled Leveling What if, what is That fades away
The event continued with another new band, Angry Farmers, a Punk band. The band just released their debut album, and it was their first performance, which also means it’s the biggest opportunity for first impressions, and they couldn’t nail it.
Ignoring the cigarette in mouth and alcohol bottles on stage, they really couldn’t work together as a band, and that’s why everyone was working on his own pace. Random tempo issues, inaudible guitars and bass, the general idea of being a band was clearly misunderstood. However, they did have a good riff here and there ,some grooves were pleasurable, the buildup was nice but alas the execution missed it. Everything was pretty stale up until the 3rd song, which they had to replay a few times because their frontman rudely pointed out that there were sounds issues, so they had to take a long break to fix the problems, even though a few sources indicate the sound wasn’t the issue, alcohol was.
Anyway, even a small buildup can turn into a crash since they took a while to finalize their EQ after finishing their unlikely encore. That being said, we can’t judge too quickly and claim that there is no room for progress, this is still their first performance, although they should’ve known drinking and performing don’t mix well. That being said, they were still being cheered for and even had a person jump on stage and dive in the crowd again. I hope to see them again and surprise me with how good they should’ve been in the first place. Hope they come back with a blast.
The band stated: “No comments brother, we had a fun night although that technical thing that happened was bad but yeah shit happens, Rock n’ Roll.”
Angry Farmers are:
Dr. H: Bass
Joe A: Drums
Witches’ Brew Feminazis Beer for Breakfast Witch Doctor Magick Soup
Last, but definitely not least, Phenomy closed the event with a stellar performance. Everyone in the Metal scene already knows Phenomy, and the way how they incorporate sweet melodies in Thrash riffs, how the bassist adds a lot of flavor to their songs, and the amazing crowd control by their vocalist.
You can easily see the love for their craft through their expressions, and it’s safe to say that they are on the top of scene today. Through their performance, it’s clear that they have formed their own identity and have made something really unique, and that’s what made them so lovable by the scene. As usual, they put on an amazing show, and I think they are always the best option for a closing band because everyone waits for them to dominate the stage in an impatient manner, as well as they have a powerful start and a really heavy finish. Their breakdowns never ceased to amaze the audience, as they always headbanged every time. Their tribal theme is well noticed with their signature mic stand, the hanging “bodies” and the thrown voodoo dolls at the end of each show. One thing that they always do is hype up the crowd with Sealing Fate, so they added something new to it for a change; the members Loic and Sam went to the crowd and headbanged with them to the music, and that’s a great representation of their crowd interactions.
The band stated: “It was an amazing night for us, the crowd was amazing. We would like to thank Metal Bell and Skull Session for having us united for metal United WorldWide. We would also like to thank our wonderful crew, our fans and everyone that showed up. You guys are the best. Stay tuned for more stuff from Phenomy. See y’all soon.”
Rudy Bejjani: Drums
Loic El Haddad: Guitar
Dany Arfan : Guitar
Peter Aoun: Bass
Chaos Within Day of Reckoning The haunting Under These Ruins The Mute The Deaf The Blind Sacrifice Sealing fate Dance of The Wounded Souls Electrified (Encore)
Now before concluding our review, we would like to thank Skull Session with whom this is our first collaboration. We were honored to have one of the biggest organizers and, undoubtedly, most experienced in the scene to handle the organization duty of one of Metal Bell events, and hopefully more to come.
Also on the list of people and organizations who have always been present in support of the scene, we would like to thank the generosity of Instruments Garage for providing us with the drum-set with no charge at all.
In conclusion, this was another successful event and all the bands and organizers did their best to make Lebanon appear on the Metal compass. New faces are making their way into the metal scene and that means that Metal has truly United us.
After the latest event- Loud N’ Heavy – that took place at the Palace, Metro Al Madina was once again host to a metal event. The scene “scored” a second event within a span of 6 days, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. This however was no ordinary local event. Including S.O.D, Kimaera, Nocturna and Khavar, the lineup featured non other than the legend Derek Roddy on drum duties with Khavar. This event brought the full package, everything from Heavy Metal to brutal Death Metal!
Starting off the night, and representing good ol’ Heavy Metal, were S.O.D. The band combines elements of the 80s’ Glam Metal scene with the 70s’ Heavy Metal. And while the attendance wasn’t yet at its fullest, old school metal heads made it clear they weren’t going to miss it. Even though S.O.D had previously performed at an event six days earlier, they certainly delivered a pleasant dosage of Classic Metal. The band members clearly knew what they were doing, as they had the crowd interacting with them at all times. Ossy Mash’s crazy guitar action and electrifying solos were certainly a huge part of the show. But, personally, the icing on the cake was Nigol Ozz’s artistic sense of theatricals.
Changing attire between songs certainly helped set up different moods between songs. Towards the end of the show they invited a fan up on stage to sing along to they rendition of Motley Crue’s Looks That Kill, which I thought was a really nice touch. Overall their performance was really engagable.
Looks That Kill (Motley Crue cover)
Up next were Melodic Death metal band Nocturna. At around this time the venue became bursting in people. Nocturna definitely has a unique sound going on, they incorporate melodic elements to a pretty brutal genre thus creating a cool atmosphere.
People went from twisting their necks to Death Metal riffs to swaying around to the beautiful keyboard sections. Other than their awesome originals, which (I) think are amazing, the band did a pretty sick twist on Iron Maiden’s Fear Of The Dark. One minute the crowd was singing along to the classic Maiden melody, next thing you know it they’re moshingto its brutal rendition.
And as the Lebanese Metal scene has come to learn, you can’t finish a Nocturna show without the classic Amon Amarth cover of Twilight Of The Thunder God. The crowd always goes insane during this song, and this time was not different.
Whispers of a sleepless Night
Herald of my Happiness
The Gates of Periah
A Cannibal Rose
Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden Cover)
Twilight Of The Thunder God (Amon Amarth Cover)
Following Nocturna were newcomers/not so newcomers, Khavar. Even though this was Khavar’s first show, nearly all the members were metal veterans one way or another. Whether its ex Weeping Willow or Element 26 members, or the man himself Derek Roddy, this lineup was not to be messed with. The show was comprised of a mix of Khavar and Weeping Willow originals. And while it may have been a little short, it was nothing short of spectacular.
The band’s chemistry was definitely there, and the performance was tight. It was everything you’d want from a Death Metal band, from the filthy riffage to the tense drumming. Derek Roddy certainly has to be one of the greatest drummers I’ve watched live.
Death Card Dealer
Craving Whore (The Weeping Willow)
Last Mourn (The Weeping Willow)
And ending the night was the almighty Kimaera. This band is one of the oldest in the lebanese metal scene, dating back to almost 20 years ago! To anyone that’s been hiding under a rock for the entire existence of the scene, Kimaera plays a distinct combination of Doom Metal with elements of Oriental Metal.
Jp, the band’s front man, had a special way of engaging the crowd. And despite some major technical difficulties that took place during their set list, Kimaera managed to put on the perfect ending. Playing a wide array of originals that spans overa huge era, whether it’s 2004’s God Wrath or their new upcoming single Vi Divina, the show was incredible!
The professionalism was clearly shown when the drummer, Erce Arslan, played a drum solo while the band was switching gear, thus the transition was so smooth it seemed like a part of the show. The drum solo was so astonishing that even Derek Roddy popped up backstage once in a while to show admiration.
Among the Dead
Harbinger of Doom
The Day Innocence Died / In a Dying Embrace
Lost Control (Anathema)
The Die Is Cast
Overall I thought the organization was pretty good, despite the minor hiccups here and there. I still, however, preferred The Palace for major metal gigs such as this one. The smaller venue, and the fact that the bar is outside certainly don’t help. One thing I certainly preferred in Metro Al Madina over The Palace though was the strict No Smoking rule, which made the show much more enjoyable. But Kudos to the organizers for managing to organize a successful metal event on a Tuesday night!
Where to begin? To describe one of the most amazing and effort putting events, given that there was a few mishaps but the work that everyone did pulled through.
People were really excited to see ZIX perform that night, however we were really sad to know that they had to cancel at the last minute due to some personal matters regarding one of the members, but it’s never over cause they say the end is the beginning. Well this isn’t the end, but if we know ZIX, then we do know that what we’ve seen from them in the past, is only the beginning to what they have in mind for the future. Same goes for Into The Void, we were informed after stage preparation that they painfully had to excuse themselves from performing due to some difficulties. We hope all the problems be solved, and we will be waiting for your next show, hopefully soon.
Now that we got that covered, let us begin by introducing the first band in the lineup and how “Reigen” fired it up with their Heavy Metal smack and their goal at making the scene wanting to come back for more.
Now before we do that, I myself was a little concerned regarding the attendance that day, before the band started, the place was almost empty, until “Reigen” started the show and the place was packed, the band started off with their very own original “Behind The Curtains”. Presence wise, these guys ain’t no joke, they pulled of one hell of a performance.
As the show went on, the crowd’s cheers got bigger, and louder. Fast forwarding to the middle of the show, the band performed their 4th original “Fall Of An Empire” which left the crowd almost voiceless, but not yet cause Reigen wasn’t even close to being finished. In between sets, the band took a little time to bring the fucking house down by performing the always crowd pleasing “wherever I may roam”, driving everybody nuts and stoked about the rest of the set. As time passed and vocal cords were being spit all over the crowd, the guys sealed the deal with their final original for the night “Rivers Run Red” leaving the crowd hyped and excited with an adrenaline rush.
Nice job guys, keep the good work, looking forward to seeing you kick ass very soon.
Next up for a Loud n’ Heavy night was new commers “Black Maiden”.
Stage presence, authentic, the guys did an awesome job being alive at 1.21 gigawatts. It’s not every day you see a Heavy Metal band with a thirst for a proper guitar shred and a decent bloodshed with an acoustic touch, in just the right places.
I mostly felt respect towards these guys for asking the crowd for a moment of silence in loving memory and respect for our beloved members from the metal scene who parted from us far sooner than they should have (thank you for reminding us of the people that we love and carry in our hearts and will till the end of time) may they forever rest in peace. In conclusion, the band was nothing less than impressive and touching & heartwarming. Thank you for a night to remember and thank you for your message, rock on my brothers.
In between acts, the event organizers and gig saviours, Rabih and Bassem Deaibess, who jumed into the line up at the last moment to cover up for both bands who couldn’t make it. Rabih and Bassem are the lead and rhythm guitarists from the phenomenal “Blaakyum” didn’t like the idea of the attendees being let down due to ZIX and Into The Void not being able to perform that night, so Rabih picked up his guitar and Bassem picked up his mic and destruction had begun.
They kicked off by starting with a couple Led Zeppelin classics, my personal favorite was “Whole Lotta Love” and the way Bassem added his personal touch actually made the song sound even better than it actually does. The guys closed up by performing “Rapture Of The Deep” by Deep Purple, resulting in a full house standing ovation.
That performance was one of the best thing I’ve seen from the Deaibess brothers and that’s saying a lot given the fact that I’ve been to almost every show they’ve performed at for the past 5 years. Thank you for an unforgettable performance and the generosity of constantly thinking about the scene.
Last and certainly not nor will they ever be the least, is the one and only Sound Of Degeneration (S.O.D) formerly known as Rebellion. Stage presence, on a scale of one to ten, 87.
As the band started with their own original “Sorry”, we could hear the vocalist but we just couldn’t see him, then we looked up and there he was, standing one story above and behind the band (nice touch brother).
As the set list went on, so did the screams for an epic performance, I personally enjoyed the vocalist’s touch of having a different costume on in almost every song, other than the fact that S.O.D. stole the show with their great music and choice of lyrics, I particularly liked the idea that their 3rd song was named after them, just like how their 7th song was named after their former band name “Rebellion”, talk about a tongue twister.
We also enjoyed how the members would vacate the stage and join the crowd as they play their instruments, one of which that the vocalist jumped off stage twice and at the second time when he almost fell back first to the ground, I caught him and placed him on my shoulder where he sang most the song before I placed him back on stage. Finally the band sealed the deal with their final song “looks that kill”, and as the song reached it’s final chorus, the vocalist did his signature move of standing on the kick drums as the drummer delivered a destructive drum solo to wrapping up the show (nicely done guys).
In conclusion, the concert was a huge success and a huge inspiration thanks to Skull Session’s Rabih Deaibess and Bassem Deaibess for making it a night of perfection and for not letting the audience down with ZIX and Into The Void being absent that night, thank you Reigen, Black Maiden and Sound Of Degeneration (S.O.D.) for one hell of a night, and thank you for all of who were there and supporting the Metal scene and making it what it is today.
It’s no surprise if I start this off by saying that the show was extremely wicked. It was great how many people were in support of Homesick’s album release, and who can blame them? These guys have come a long way.
Before I entered to observe the show, I had a hard time entering in the first place, the place was absolutely packed, no place to move whatsoever, barely any place to breathe, I personally heard someone backstage saying, “there’s already over 250 people present!!”.
First up was Vik in a Tutu, and don’t let the name fool you, these guys ain’t no joke. Stage presence, they really brought it, now I don’t know what was better, the performance or the chemistry these guys share, cause it was absolutely awesome.
The band started off the show by playing hunting for witches by bloc party and by the time they reached the second chorus people were already going nuts, later on the band performed their own original song, leaving the audience speechless and impressed.
Finally the band wrapped it up with “the killers’ ” very own “when we were young”. In conclusion, Vik in a Tutu were nothing less than amazing and they really put on a great show “way to go guys”.
Coming up next was the band that needs no introduction cause they’re the reason 250+ attended the concert, it’s none other than Homesick. People were really super excited to see Homesick perform, before the show I went backstage and sat with them for a bit, wish it could’ve been longer but there were people out there waiting for them to bring the fucking house down.
Stage presence, they were phenomenal, the band kicked off the performance with an intro, including their newest original “euphoria”, I would just like to point out that the band had a hard time starting the show with the audience constantly screaming at seeing their beloved band members, anyway as the show went on, the band reached their 3rd song for the evening “the confession”, with it came a surprise of the band mellowing down except for the drummer who gave a tremendous everlasting drum solo that made me personally put my camera down and start screaming my lungs out.
As the show went on, the band sealed the deal with their final original for the evening, “Homesick” which led to the audience sending Homesick off the stage with a shout out.
Congratulations on your debut album release and great job on a show well done.
Last but never the least was the closing band Pelikel. Stage presence, they were great. The guys kicked it off with their original “She’s Backstage” leading to massive and utter chaos.
Later on, they performed their other original “in a way” which was a real attention seizer, and finally closed up with their final original for the night “the sun”.
Nicely done guys, keep up the good work.
In conclusion, the homesick album release concert was a complete success, I personally give it two thumbs up, then again so were 500 other thumbs in the air, not to mention 1,000 horns.
Special thanks to the sound engineer Lara Nassar whom without most of this wouldn’t even be possible, and the stage technicians Farah Khodor and Iyad El Sheikh for a flawless stage performance and special thanks to Metro Al Madina for being a part of making the metal community what it is today.
Reviewed by Tarek Sekkar.
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