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:
- Last Song Before the Fade
- Dead Letters
- Day and then the Shade
- New Night
- Soils Song
- Old Heart Falls
- For My Demons
- In the White
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:
Some photos in the article are reserved by: Jeffrey Pabroquez
Check out all photos of the event here.
Written by: Reem Jay
Edited by: NJ Bakr and Davina (Metal Bell)
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