In the title of this article, we are simply stating that Hellfest is finally happening again after two years being left-out without our precious HELL. Two years without Hellfest, no thanks to you Covid and all your ugly relatives.
In four months we’ll be back in our favorite spot in the world, Hellfest Open Air.
We have so much to look forward to, two years is way too long and since Hellfest started in 2006, it has been a nonstop roller coster and getting bigger each year. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that this amazing festival is not going anywhere no matter the circumstances.
Ben and his team never fail to impress their loyal fans, and I say loyal fans because they never fail when the festival needs them, they kept their tickets for two years without asking for a refund and the moment has come to enjoy this ride one more time.
Fans held onto their tickets like they were lottery tickets, that’s how important they are to each of us
This only demonstrates the love and support the heavy-metal community and fans of Hellfest have for this haven
Not only is this anniversary special because it’s happening again, but:
It’s a return after two years, which is why I titled it “it is happening again” Two years seems so very long, and also, it’s a nice reference. Let us know if you catch it.
It is going to be massive, like real massive not just like every other year because usually Hellfest is expanding year after another, but this year it’s gonna be a double bill, Hellfest is set to return and run throughout two consecutive weekends , a complete 7 days of HELL with over 350 bans, isn’t that beyond amazing?
For Ben and his team to pull-off such an organization after two years of no income, no government support, and being turned down by their insurer, is just beyond incredible. It’ll be a 15th anniversary edition to go down in history and we are fortunate to be a part of Hellfest. It sounds crazy when we say 15th anniversary. In truth, it should have been the 17th, but time surely stood still for us.
Here are the complete line-up wit the official running order:
In the midst of all the hype of the international bands set to tread Lebanon, it is important to remember to support the local metal scene. And as it usually goes, Rock InSight has organized yet another event dedicated to supporting home territory, That One Night IV.
While the original lineup consisted of Nocturna, Hatecrowned, Apathia, and FreeFall, Nocturna had to apologize due to a car collision that guitarist Michel Kammouj was a part of. But fortunately they were directly replaced by DeathTone.
Starting off the event were FreeFall, a unique band in the event due to their clean vocals and relatively newer type of metal. With covers ranging from Killswitch Engage’s rendition of Holy Diver to Bullet For My Valentine, Metallica and Ozzy. The vocals were very well executed and the performance was relatively tight other than a couple of mistakes here and there.
Up next were Tripoli-based Groove Metallers Apathia. Announcing this was their last performance together, the band shook the crowd with covers of Lamb Of God, Sepultura and many more. Apathia’s final show was emotional as they featured for the last time as well their first vocalist as a guest. Unfortunately, their show didn’t pass without problems, as the rhythm guitarist broke a string mid song and had to switch guitars. Nevertheless the moshing and headbanging didn’t stop!
As Black Metal band HateCrowned stepped the stage, it was clear that the mood got darker. Kicking off the show with Mayhem’s Freezing Moon, the performance was reasonably flawless with a couple of minor mistakes. The vocals were hauntingly screeching and instrumentally the sound was creepy. Everything you’d expect from a Black Metal band.
Ending the show were Melodic Death Metal band DeathTone. However, the vocalist and lead guitarist dislocated his shoulder and there was a bit of delay. But the delay was worth it as DeathTone put on the finest performance of the evening with everything from originals to Children Of Bodom Covers. The vocalist and main axeman was highly energetic and his shredding was spot on. This performance also included the first Wall Of Death of the night, consisting only of females due to the band’s request. Prominence guitarist Matt also participated on a couple of songs.
The entire show was hosted by the highly sarcastic Charbel Haddad of Eden. And many prizes were announced varying from Beirut Metal Fest tickets to free tattoos from Saturn Tattoo shop. The sound and lights were great with no major issues. The only problem with the venue (Metro Al-Madina) is the lack of space for moshpits, otherwise the bar prices aren’t too bad and the location is remotely accessible.
Review by our reporter: Mohammad Yatim
Photos by our photographer: Hashem Ismail
During Hellfest, we had the chance to sit down and talk to Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from Sons Of Apollo about the current tour, the new album, and so many other things, you can read the whole conversation below and view the photos from their performance.
Metal Bell: Thank you so much for this opportunity to chat during the first show in Europe, it was a great show, congratulations.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Thank you so much.
Metal Bell: So how does it feel to play your first show at Hellfest?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Oh it is a great way to start a European tour, that’s for sure, no better way to start so we are very happy, to start a tour in front of 30,000 people I guess it’s ok (laughs).
Metal Bell: Have you ever played Hellfest before?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Yeah six years ago with Guns, we headlined it, it is nice to be here doing it with people that are close to you, friends with whom we wrote together, we recorded together, and it’s great.
Metal Bell: Your tour started in February, how is the reception so far?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Oh it is wonderful, this is our 42nd show I believe, it’s been great. We started off on the cruise to the edge, and then from there we went to the east coast and did like a week and a half of shows. And then April and May we did a big US tour, actually, we did South America, Mexico, Canada, and all around in the US. Nothing beats getting on the road, that’s what every band used to do to become who they are, being together every night and do it.
Metal Bell: How do I put this question, tell me how did
you come up or assemble The Avengers of Prog?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: (laughs) That was very easy, we all knew each other and played together over the years.
Me and Billy were playing for years doing these jams with Ray Luzier from KORN and with Mike. Me, Mike, and Billy would be this core band and we’d play like big events in New York, with guys from Anthrax and Kiss joining us. I laid guest solos on Metal Allegiance’s first album with Mike and another album that Billy produced for Madame Mayhem, a great artist that I laid 4 guitar solos for her album.
Me, Mike, Derek, and Billy played together at Prog Nation 4 years ago, so we all have this background and we’ve done things together, so it was a no-brainer. When Mike wanted to do this band, he sent me an email, it was January 2017, he said: hey, how we always talked about putting a band together! Well me and Derek have this idea and we want to go into the studio in March and just write on the spot, record on the spot, we all play together and mark it, record it the way bands used to do it, the right way, it’s the real thing. And we’ve written spontaneously, we did that, we spent 10 days at the studio, we wrote, recorded and made the album in 10 days.
So it was me, Mike, and Derek in the studio, and then Billy cut off his Mr. Big’s tour halfway through and joined us, then we all just recorded. Jeff finished his touring, then he recorded his vocals at my studio where I laid my
guitar solos on everything, and that was it. And then we just waited for the right moment to go out and announce the band and put out the album. The label is wonderful (Inside Out), they’ve been a fantastic record label, so supportive and really a good team.
Metal Bell: So basically You, Mike, and Derek wrote the majority of the album?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Yeah it started with us and then Billy joined, then Jeff wrote everything you hear sung, that’s Jeff, he was really the key ingredient to turn it from a cold prog album to songs, things you can sing along you know, melodies that stick, that’s what Jeff does, he’s the guy.
Metal Bell: Today the band is less than a year old, considering all of your projects and involvements, will Sons Of Apollo be a long-term project?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: That’s the question everyone has, is this another quick project or is it a band that’s gonna be around.
Our intentions are for it to be a band that’s gonna be around, but at the same time, we can’t completely neglect everything else we have, we can’t do that. It is also not fair for the other people in our life that are waiting for us so we still have to do other things. This year we’ll do a lot of Sons Of Apollo, next year we’re gonna have to do some other things, but you know we are already writing for the second album, it really goes down to business, not amongst each other, but we can’t just afford to be in a start-up band, put everything else aside, and get this off the ground. We are not 20-year old kids in a van you know, so it’s tough, but we are giving it our best and our intentions are to be a band that puts out a lot of albums and keeps on going and going. So as long as everyone on our team does the right thing, you know we are depending on managers, the label and on each other, all it takes is one person to fuck it all up and then we are all screwed, it could be anybody that we are depending on if they don’t do the right thing.
What we want for this band is to continue and we are doing everything possible to keep that going even when odds are against us, we want to keep going, we do.
Metal Bell: We do hope so too, you know how prog fans are so attached.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Sure yeah, and we made a pact with them, we said this is a band, we are obligated to keep our words to them and to ourselves.
Metal Bell: The history between Derek, Mike, and Dream Theater, would you ever consider a tour with them?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: I would love to do it, I have such tremendous respect for Dream Theater as a band and individuals. I love John Petrucci, we’ve met before, we’ve chatted, he’s a wonderful guy. I also played on Jordan’s solo record in 2009, he was just incredible. That would be a wonderful thing.
And honestly I feel like there would be no Sons Of Apollo if there was no Dream Theater, you know you have to respect where this came from and everything that leads up to it, the influences and the history, and I do, I tremendously do.
It’d be wonderful to play together, I doubt it would ever happen, that would be really something interesting to the fans to see that. I would love it to be taken not as a competition in any way, we are all branches of Dream Theater’s tree and I’m grateful to them, I respect and admire them.
Metal Bell: Your second album is called Sophomore, is there already a date in mind?
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Well I mean Derek has written things, he sends me videos and things like hey check out this riff I came up with, and we’ve talked to the label about it but nothing is definite yet. Right now, it’s just let us finish up what we have here and once it’s all clear and done, everything goes ok, we will then think about the next step. Even though now is the time to think about it, we are just staying focused and looking ahead, so we are thinking about this leg of the tour, then the next leg, and the leg after that so there’s no definitive time. We’ve talked about November going into the studio but I know Mike has something to do in November so it might be January, but hopefully not too far too long.
Metal Bell: Well thank you very much for the chat, it’s been wonderful talking to you and the best of luck for the rest of the tour.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal: Thank you very much. It was an absolute pleasure.
On February 8, Brick Floyd did one last show in Lebanon at Quadrangle – Hazmieh, before flying to the United States, for some shows and to start recording their debut album. The venue was packed, just like their previous show at Beirut Open Stage – Mar Mkhayel. If you would like to know how good or bad Brick Floyd are, you can check out our latest review of their show >here<. Continue reading
For the third year in a row, N-Jam Music School brings you the “N-Jam THIRD Annual Concert”, an annual celebration of talents.
N-Jam THIRD Annual Concert Details:
Mainly, this project is set to be a starting point for every student in the school, giving them the opportunity to experience a stage performance and preparing them to rock out in the future. This will also be an evaluation to test their progress over the year, rewarding them for their hard work by letting them play the music they created and exposing them to a fan base where they could promote their future work whether as solo artists or when forming a band. Another exposure will be to their families who are supporting them to attend and take lessons, and in return, would like to see what their beloved have achieved.
More than 120 students from all divisions (Guitar – Bass – Piano – Drums – Violin – Percussion sections) performing all kinds of styles (Rock – Blues – Metal – Prog – Jazz – Funk – Classic – Acoustic, etc…) for a colorful & joyful night.
So book your tickets from now, to witness one of the best music concerts of the year!
Tickets are available at NJAM MUSIC SCHOOL and at Quadrangle Hazmieh.
For more info: +961 3 933 155
Arriving a few minutes before the show started, I was struck by the size of the crowd and how hyped people were in Metro that night. The venue was packed to the point that we couldn’t even elbow our way past the crowd to get a bit closer to the stage.
We have all fantasized about a reunion of the mega rock band Guns N’ Roses with its original members. They have definitely been a part of many rockers’ childhood at some point. This is not the first stop for the band in the Middle East, as they came to Lebanon a few years ago, but this time, it’s double the heat! GnR, 23 years later, reunited some of the original members into the line up and they will be rocking the “Autism Rocks Arena” in Dubai on March 3rd, 2017. Guns N’ Roses Coming to DUBAI In This Lifetime!
The new guys in the scene “Rock In Sight” organized their second multi-band concert, “That One Night 2”. The organizers have previously given us “That One Night 1” and helped in organizing “Break The Cycle”, so I was guessing that by their third event, they should have an idea of how things go.