Dutch Doom Days VIII, Baroeg, 25th October 2009
|Event:||Dutch Doom Days 2009|
|Written by:||Lucas, Jason W., Marcel Hubregtse|
Dutch Doom Days 2009 - Baroeg, Rotterdam, NL (Day 2) by Jason W. (43)
Dutch Doom Days 2009 - Baroeg, Rotterdam, NL (Day 1) by Jason W. (42)
Marcel: Atypical of your Metal Storm delegation we almost got to the venue too late. I shouldn't have turned back the clock on my phone manually the previous night. As it turned out my phone does that automatically, so the clock was set back two hours instead of one. Hurrying getting money from the ATM and my first beer of the day Fatum Elisum kicked off.
Lucas: One of the bands I was really looking forward to was the French Fatum Elisum. Some time ago their re-released debut album Fatum Elisum found its way to my doormat for reviewing purposes and the aggressive Doom/Death took me by surprise. Not so much live, though. They weren't exactly bad, rather a bit thin and incoherent. They came on stage with good intentions and a singer dressed in priest's clothes, but couldn't live up to the expectations. They were still better than what would follow though...
Marcel: Fatum Elisum had their demo re-released by Aesthetic Death a couple of months earlier. Judging from the extreme form of death/doom on offer on it I could see this band as a good opener for the second day, waking everyone up. Visually the vocalist was the attention-seeker with his priest robes. Unfortunately the rest of the band were extremely static and totally glued to their spots. But like I said earlier it is about the music and not visual aspect. And, damn, unfortunately, live they didn't come across as good as on album. A competent opener but nothing more. I will put on the album once again, instead.
Jason: A band new to me, so I really had nothing to expect. I'm a sucker for any kind of acting on stage, so the priestly clothes and tears of pain the vocalist brought quickly impressed me. Lots of My Dying Bride touches which I liked, and the sound was thick in a good way. I picked up the disc afterward, but unfortunately for me, while I'd check them out live again, the CD likely won't get many spins, as I found it a bit boring without the vocalist acting out the ideas in front of me.
Lucas: What would follow was the Belgian Möse, the German word for 'cunt'. As generic as the name is, so was the music. Swampy sludge with pained vocals, yeah, but not of the impressive kind. Just like Tekhton the day before the static poses of the band members and the lack of convincing riffs killed their good intentions.
Marcel: Belgian's Möse were the second of a total of three Belgian bands to play this weekend. Unfortunately they were the worst of the three and also the worst band of the weekend. Musically their sludge is actually pretty enjoyable but it was all spoiled by the vocals. Which were way too hysterical without any variation whatsoever, thus taking away from the music in general. Shame, next please.
Lucas: After the disappointment that was Möse it was Sardonis' turn to show everyone how to do Sludge. Their attitude was purely 'no frills, no bullshit', proven by their set-up consisting solely of drums and guitar. Two guys, heavy drums and scorching guitarwork, pure instrumental power. It was a shame I only saw part of their set as hunger issues were messing with my mood, for Sardonis were a real treat during their last two tracks or so.
Marcel: Another Belgian band and also another sludge band, instrumental two-piece Sardonis. Not having heard any of their material before I was quite curious. But unfortunately also this band didn't do it for me, although they did come across a lot better than previous act Möse.
The second day of Dutch Doom Days had got of with a false start for me. But seeing who were to follow I could hardly believe this trend to continue.
The 11th Hour:
Lucas: Perhaps the most anticipated band of the entire Dutch Doom Days VIII was The 11th Hour, the new project by Gorefest-drummer (among others) Ed Warby. The first official gig of The 11th Hour would see Warby on guitar and vocals though. Unfortunately for Warby they had a bit of a rough start. The regular growler of the band, the Swede Rogga Johansson, was struck by an ear-infection and couldn't fly because of that. And during the gig, Warby's amp decided to call it a night after only the first song. In the end the issues with the amp were solved somehow and Pim (Officium Triste) proved to be a more than worthy replacement for the Swedish growler. And the main man of the night, Ed Warby obviously, turned out to be a can-do-it-all with his good clean vocals, tight guitarwork and charismatic fronting of the band.
Marcel: And luckily the trend didn't continue with The 11th Hour. This would be their first ever official gig (so discounting the try-out two days earlier). Live Ed Warby (vocals and guitar) would be helped out by Dirk Bruinenberg (drums), Kristoffer Gildenlöw (bass), Bram Bijlhout (guitar), Petra Guijt (guitar) and Pim Blankenstein (grunt). Pim handled the grunts here because Rogga Johansson couldn't make it. A little nervous the band was, because it was apparent that most people had showed up to see this live debut. Disaster struck after the first song when Ed's amplifier decided to call it a day. So, fifteen minutes later everything was fixed and off we went again. It took a bit of time for the band to start flowing properly again but once it was in full swing it was quite impressive. Highly emotional classic doom with touches of Candlemass. Ed proving not only to be a great drummer but also a great song-writer, guitar player, and vocalist (slightly reminiscent of Buddy Lackey/Devon Graves of Psychotic Waltz/Deadsoul Tribe). It seems that some people do possess all the talent in the world. Although the material was very unknown to the ones present it all went down extremely well. After the set everyone, and especially Ed, was totally emotionally drained. Great performance with great songs.
Jason: A really cool honor for me, having traveled so far, was to be there for the first "official" gig. Even though I'd only heard samples of the music, I was sure I'd enjoy it. Despite the equipment issues, the only thing I was thinking was how long it would be before I'd get a chance to hear the studio version afterward. Ed's vocals were pensive and even atypical, a great match for the oftentimes hard-to-guess song structures upon first listens. Now that I've heard the studio release several times, I would love to compare it again to Pim's harsh vocals during the live set; they seemed to flow great, in a different way, than Rogga's studio growls.
Lucas: Fifth band of the day was Spiritus Mortis, a Finnish traditional Doom act. The Award for 'Most Active Vocalist' surely belonged to Sami Hynninen. He already caught me off-guard by soundchecking with "fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck you all, fuck you all" and later he was spotted crawling on the floor, rolling around, and stepping off-stage to watch his own band continue the gig and observing the guitarist soloing from our point of view, all the while keeping the microphone close and delivering his parts. A very entertaining gig.
Marcel: Spiritus Mortis are the longest running Finnish doom band and have somehow always gone under appreciated compared to loads of other Finnish doom bands. This year's The God Behind The God album saw the inclusion of Sami of Reverend Bizarre fame on vocals. Sami's typical voice adding something unique to the band's sound. Live it was apparent that they have been going along for so long. Sounding extremely tight and rolling along like a well-oiled machine. Sami's histrionics on, and also, off stage whil singing added a great entertainment factor. Personal highlight would be a blistering rendition of Death Bride. After a slow start to the day with the first three it was all turning for the best.
Jason: Giving the microphone's cord a run for it's money, Sami contorted it all around himself in just as many ways as places he decided to sing his parts across the Baroeg. I'd already decided that "Death Bride" was my favorite studio track from these guys beforehand, and that's right when he decided to go all out into the crowd. Add to this some impressive attitude and facial expressions by guitarist Jussi, and I was sold.
Lucas: Ereb Altor, the 'Viking Doom metal' side-project consisting almost solely of Isole members. Despite their tight playing they didn't really convince me, the songs just weren't interesting enough. This was made painfully clear by the band themselves when they played "Home Of The Once Brave" as a tribute to Bathory and Quorthon. What a burst of energy and awesomeness, from both the band and the audience! When they returned to playing their own stuff again both the energy and the awesomeness seeped away again...
Marcel: Bathory have never been my thing musically, both their black metal and viking metal era just didn't cut it for me. That's probably also the reason Ereb Altor's music has left me cold thus far. Hopefully a live set could change the way I viewed it all, since of course Ereb Altor consists of two members of Isole on album and even three live. But, no, to be honest I was bored quite a bit by the music. The cover they played of a Bathory song was received best by the crowd but left me totally cold as well. Concluding, it is safe to stated that viking metal is just not my thing.
Jason: After downing a few beers in the 20 minutes between sets, I was ready for some Viking-inspired metal, and while I did enjoy the renditions of "Awakening" and "By Honour," I also found that the Bathory cover was the highlight of the set. In the end, I think that if the band had another release in the books to add to the setlist, it would have gone from good to great.
Lucas: Surprisingly, what seeped away too in the last hours of the fest was the audience. Seriously, where the fuck was everyone? When Count Raven started their set only about fifty people remained, if not less. There were less people than during any band of the entire weekend, including the openingacts. It wasn't like they played at an extremely late hour either, the second day only saw about twenty to thirty minutes delay and ended around 22:30 PM. Most people probably came for The 11th Hour as after that band's final tunes the audience seemed to be getting thinner... Anyway, Count Raven didn't really seem to mind this at all as they were -I've said this countless times already- full of enthusiasm. The few remaining members of the audience all enjoyed the gig thoroughly as well which made Count Raven a more than worthy closer of the eight edition of the Dutch Doom Days.
Marcel: Cult band Count Raven had released what quite a few people regard as their best work to date, Mammons War, earlier this year, after a hiatus of 13 years. The sole original member is main composer Dan Fondelius. Kicking off with the title track of the latest album Count Raven immediately came into a flow and what was to follow was an hour of superb classic doom, with loads of crowd favourites, but alas, no "Leaving The Warzone". Dan still sounds like Ozzy in his best days and that probably is the reason the band never broke away from their cult status. Count Raven was tight and rocked. And proved to be the appropriate headline for the Sunday. But, what had happened to the crowd? When Count Raven finished it was about ten fifteen p.m. and the corwd had dwindled to a pathetic size of about 35 people. Those 35 were proved right by the band and all early leavers were proved totally wrong. Thus ending two days of doom on both a high and low point.
Jason: Marcel had already enlightened me to some Count Raven classics like "Leaving The Warzone," and while they didn't play it despite Marcel's and another's requests, they did play the album's title track in "Destruction Of The Void" which was just killer by me. And yeah, where did everyone go during the final set of the weekend? This was a great finish for me, and a shame so many left early. It's bands like Count Raven that are yet another reason why seeing a band live can change the way I think of music. The albums are catchy, but hell, the live set was addicting.
A few closing words
Lucas: While this year's edition was certainly a good one musically, it should be noted that it wasn't as good as last year. Of course last year saw much more extreme Doom bands and a couple of bigger bands as headliners (bigger being a very relative term here) in the form of Forgotten Tomb, Worship and Skepticism, but it was a promotional issue as well. The Doomball started rolling really late this year and I suspect that was an important reason for most people not really picking up on it. But who knows, perhaps it was more of a financial issue than anything else. A lot of foreigners that were regular visitors the last few years weren't there. But what happened happened and I'm sure everyone that was there was more than pleased with the bands present. See ya there next year!
Marcel: In conclusion: Day two just couldn't live up to the sheer quality of performances on day one, but after a slow start still came into its own with some mighty fine sets. Over two days the most impressive bands were My Lament, Unsilence, Process Of Guilt, Saturnalia Temple, The 11th Hour, and Count Raven and proving all the home stayers wrong. Maximum turn-out of 150 people per day culminating in only 35 during Sunday's headliner is, of course, a disgrace. Actually proving that most metallers don't support their music in any way whatsoever (but that's another story). To all the people that showed up I just wanna say, thanks for making it once again a very enjoyable experience for me.
Jason: Many thanks to Marcel for suggesting I should plan my second half of my trip to the Benelux area with Dutch Doom Days in mind, and of course for the hospitality and getting to reconnect with Lucas again. I know I'd never been to a metal weekend like this in the US, and the doom crowd is not so far from my ideal crew to enjoy a gig with. Lots of moderately priced beers, and numerous opportunities to chat with musicians with a down-to-earth atmosphere. Oh, and did I mention seeing 14 bands I'd never once seen previously that may or may not make it to my area of the US any time soon? My appreciation for doom surely increased this October, and I can only hope to make another appearance to a weekend of doom in the future.
Lucas: Thanks go out to all the bands that played there, the organisation of Dutch Doom Days and Marcel for the hospitality.
Marcel: Thanks go out to my fellow Metal Stormers Lucas and Jason, and Felix, Cindy and the rest of Baroeg club.
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