Remembering Marcel: A Tribute From Metal Storm
|ScreamingSteelUS, X-Ray Rod, Troy Killjoy, Forged Soul, Nefarious, Auntie Sahar, Baz Anderson, Deadsoulman, Darkside Momo
A few weeks have passed since we learned of the death of Marcel Hubregtse, a man we knew as one of Metal Storm's most devoted stalwarts for the vast majority of the site's existence. In that time, we have had the chance to reflect on the man we knew, listen to some of his favorite albums, and relive time spent in Marcel's company. Many of us never met Marcel, some only once, but he made his mark on our lives through his indelible presence on this site. As the year draws to a close, we wish to offer our own thoughts about and memories of Marcel. BitterCOld has already offered a very heartfelt tribute to Marcel's memory; this comes from Metal Storm as a whole.
Mr. Doctor: At the end of 2007, I made an account on Metal Storm. Even during the initial lurking period I started to develop respect for this way older, very opinionated fellow with a massive post count. There was a combination of respect and healthy envy for all his experiences within a genre I was starting to love more and more. Just like with your average n00b, I began my journey through more accessible styles; some of them would be the kind Marcel actually despised, but later on I began to acquire a taste for the slow and dark tunes he was in love with.
If there is one word I would describe Marcel Hubregtse with... that would be "generosity". Even before you asked for recommendations he would be the first to give you tips and information on the hottest underground bands you could imagine. And yes... always serving the underground, the underdogs that are fighting with claws and teeth to make ends meet for their art. Marcel saw that and he was a man who took action. Just look it up yourselves on social media: Ahab, Mourning Beloveth, Saturnus, Clouds, Iron Void, Ataraxie, Bodyfarm, Chaos Ech?s, Façade, Officium Triste, Ortega, Procession... and those are just the ones I've personally seen on Facebook. All bands are mourning and remembering him for his kindness and massive generosity. From being a rabid merch-buyer to straight up offering a roof over the heads of bands touring that completely lacked the economy for other options... his generosity was immense.
How sure am I about this man's kindness and unlimited generosity? Well, fellow Metal Stormers, let me rewind a few years...
I was 18 years old at the time. Like we would say in Sweden, I had "more meat on my bones" as a Metal Stormer, starting to write some reviews here and there, then getting promoted to elite and joining in for the Metal Storm Awards. It was a golden period for my music development as we kept breaking records on amount of votes compared to the years before, and I kept wondering where the hell Marcel discovered so many bands each year to recommend.
At some point during one of our music discussions, he mentioned this Dutch metal festival devoted to the underground.
Roadburn Festival. 14th-17th April 2011. I'd finally met Marcel for the first time the day before, on Wednesday, April 13th. I remember how the days before the date he told me about the weather so I could pack safely and asked what my favorite soft drinks and favorite snacks were so he could get me something... I was 18 years old. I was just a kid and I was far from fearless. This was the first time I had traveled abroad alone. Fun fact: my mother was so worried that she made me memorize a code phrase in case this journey resulted in my kidnapping. And no, I won't tell you my code phrase!
Now I remember the posters, inspired from the works of Hunter S. Thompson, on one of his walls. Like Hunter would have wanted: I bought the ticket, and I took the ride. I arrived at his doorstep and he welcomed me with open arms for 5 nights.
It was a life-changing moment. I discovered music and new people I never would have discovered if it weren't for Marcel. I was in so much awe after my first experience at Roadburn Festival that I made a silent vow to go each year. I've been keeping that promise for almost a decade now. During the first years, I tried to figure out how the hell I could finance this vow, since I was just finishing high school with no work experience... but Marcel shrugged it off. "My place is open for you," he said.
And it was open. And you welcomed me each time. For 7 years. I remember the year I got way too high and passed out in your bathroom for what it seemed hours, while you and my sister laughed your asses off. Never touched weed since. I remember the last time we met for Roadburn in 2017; I even got to celebrate your birthday. Unfortunately, you couldn't attend the following two years. But your big, joyful persona next to a small cupcake with a sparkler on top. That will be my last memory of you, dear friend.
Marcel: You left a footprint on my life that I can never shake off. You helped me so much each one of those 7 springs I arrived at your doorstep. Seven fucking years on top of the other years I've known you for. I will never forget that and I will think of you each time I return to Roadburn. I promise.
Marcel, amigo mio... Muchas gracias.
You will be remembered.
Mr. Doctor and Marcel
Troy Killjoy: I remember lurking in the forums and browsing the front page of Metal Storm back in my first year of high school. And like anyone who spent even a remote amount of time navigating their way through this neck of the woods, one thing was ever constant: the presence of Marcel. He was seemingly omnipotent in the way he patrolled the site, targeting unsuspecting prey with unsolicited doom metal recommendations and harassing ill-informed passersby with first-hand knowledge and experience of things most of us keyboard warriors were too ashamed to admit we simply lacked.
It's been about 15 years since then, and a lot has changed on this site and in life. It took almost the first five years of my existence on the site, dating back to my previous account, to fully understand and appreciate who and what Marcel was. Initially, my judgment of him was incredibly negative. He had a massive ego, he was pedantic, he was obnoxious, he was a bitter old man with nothing better to do than attack people with different tastes in music.
But then I got to know him on a more meaningful level.
I won't use his passing as a means to pretend we were close friends or there was some deeper connection than there was, but I learned throughout my time communicating with him and trying to understand his perspective, that deep down, Marcel was really just a kindhearted, passionate person. And he fucking loved the metal scene so much. The outpouring of comments by bands that knew him is testament to that. Imagine being such a well-respected fan that bands go out of their way to mention you by name as a result of your passing. That's the kind of man he was. For myself, I grew to respect him and looked up to him as a mentor, someone whose presence on the site I wanted to mirror eventually. That adoration is probably best summed up by the 10 pages of comments of mine where I mention him by name -- mostly in a facetiously insulting context. I liked to poke the bear, and he was always willing to fulfill that role.
He was like a big brother of sorts, though I never took the time to express to him just how much he meant to me. I never even met him in person, never spoke with him over the phone or on video calls, rarely messaged him on here or social media about personal life matters. But as I watched from a distance, I learned many valuable lessons that I still apply to this day. And now, sadly, it's his turn to watch us. May his memory live on forever here, immortalized in a place he helped make feel like home to so many, myself included. Rest easy, Marcel.
ScreamingSteelUS: When I joined Metal Storm back in 2010, I already knew who Marcel was - I'd been lurking for a year or two before that and you can't go anywhere on this site without running into one of his posts. Once I had my own account, it wasn't long before I got to know him; some of my earliest memories of Metal Storm are of being corrected by Marcel (and rightfully so, as I spent an entire review talking about a Finnish band as if they were Russian). We had longstanding debates over the merits of some particular bands and albums, and I admit that when I found myself on the receiving end of his characteristic peremptory judgments I was not always able to receive it with good humor. But as much of a laconic blowhard as I found him sometimes, I always respected his dedication to the music he lived for, and when he gave my fledgling doom list a thumbs-up, it made me proud; it was a simple thing, just a click of a button for a paltry skeleton of a list that didn't even have Epicus Doomicus Metallicus at the time, but Marcel always seemed to be someone who knew everything, and I admired him. Who could observe his limitless knowledge, his passion for music, and fail to be inspired by it?
Like many of us, I owe Marcel for the discovery of some great albums. He pushed me to listen to the aforementioned EDM, made me wonder why I still hadn't listened to Melissa so many years after buying Don't Break The Oath, got me curious about Doomsday For The Deceiver, and introduced me to Warning's Watching From A Distance, which shortly became one of my favorite albums. My appreciation for "cut-rate Katatonia worship" and "extremely average doom" meant there was very little I could offer Marcel in return, but the man was an endless wellspring of recommendations, from Chapel Of Disease to Procession to Venenum.
I wish I could say I knew him better. If there is one thing I've learned from the stories that people have shared since his passing, it's that I never got to see the best side of Marcel from behind my screen. I always imagined that I'd finally make it out to Roadburn some day and buy him a drink (if nothing else, to apologize for my taste in doom), but I never made it happen. When I finally attend, it'll be in his honor. Metal Storm is going to feel a lot emptier without him.
Forged Soul: Marcel -- Hard to believe I've been talking with you since 2003. Before I could legally drink in my country. For a young, long-haired, die-hard metalhead, you were so full of such amazing knowledge and tales and experiences. I loved our conversations about beer, music, life, everything, and was so appreciative that you'd take your time and talk with some kid halfway around the world. I always promised myself I would make it out there, but life doesn't always work out that way. Rest in peace, my friend. You are loved by so many around the world. I'll have many beers in your honor tonight - high abv of course, as you would have wanted. Still have some Darklords saved for you.
Not pictured: vinyl
Nefarious: Marcel was one of the first people I interacted with when I joined Metal Storm 16 years ago. It was hard not to interact with him, to be honest; the dude was everywhere! As a fresh-faced 20-year-old who was discovering his love for all things doom, I found Marcel a wealth of infinite knowledge & inspiration when it came to expanding my horizons & diving headfirst into the obscurest parts of the genre. The fact his tastes closely mirrored mine, just with waaaaay more knowledge & experience, meant he was someone I quickly learnt to pay close attention to & follow the recommendations of. If Marcel liked a band or album, there was a damn big chance I would like it, too.
Marcel was the first person to welcome me when I joined the MS Towers, first as an elite in around 2006 & then later on as a staff member. It was during my time in MS Towers that I really got to know the man. We talked regularly about our shared love of music, vinyl collecting & craft beer. Despite his public persona as a grumpy old man, he actually had a heart of gold & would go out of his way to help you however he could, whenever you needed it. In 2017, I experienced that generosity firsthand when he offered for me to crash at his place when I was attending Roadburn for the first time. I must admit that I had slight apprehensions before meeting him in person. Would this person I meet be the same as the "online" friend I'd gotten to know over the last decade & a half? Or would there be some awkwardness like I was suddenly meeting a complete stranger for the first time? I needn't have worried... Marcel was so friendly, laid-back & approachable that he made me feel right at home. He really helped make my first Roadburn experience a truly memorable one.
I actually have a trip to the Netherlands planned in 2020 & had arranged to spend a few days in Utrecht during my visit, purely to meet up with my old friend. Little did I know when planning this trip that i'd never get that opportunity to meet him again.
Marcel, you will be missed my friend. Thank you for everything.
Apothecary: We have lost a true titan of the Metal Storm community, and indeed, the international metal community in general. Marcel Hubregtse was many things: a friend, a mentor, a giver, but above all a passionate metal enthusiast whose occasional smugness and abrasiveness were backed up by a large firsthand knowledge of the genre gained through literally decades of dedication to it. If he told you that something was out of place style tag-wise or that a band's new release was rather mediocre, you better have sat up and paid attention, because the man's commentary was developed through years of listening, concert attendance, and knowing which bands were and weren't the real deal. With a fiery online personality but a genuinely warm and affectionate teddy bear-like demeanor in the real world, I will most remember Marcel as the generous host who took me in at his flat in Utrecht for three consecutive years during the Netherlands' Roadburn Festival, thus introducing me to an experience that quite frankly changed my life and understanding of the metal genre. He will deeply be missed, and I'll always have fond memories of him now whenever listening to Chaos Ech?s, one of his favorite bands.
Marcel, Mr. Doctor, and Apothecary hanging out in Marcel's backyard
Baz Anderson: Marcel was a lot of things - he was certainly a force online, and the amount of tributes that have been posted show how many people's lives this man reached. He will be dearly missed.
I first met Marcel back in France at the fairly disastrous 2007 Hellfest/mudfest - I was really still a 19-year-old boy back then and it was my first festival. Marcel let me stay with him in his tent... I still remember having a good chat with him as we were walking back to the campsite in the rain after Emperor on the last day. He really was a good guy beneath his forum reputation.
I'm not even a doom fan, yet I still have the Watching From A Distance album - probably because of him!
Deadsoulman: I'm still at a loss for words... Counting out the French guys, Marcel's the Metal Stormer I have met the most in real life, through many Hellfests and when he let me crash at his place with the impossible stairs (those who went there know how impossible they were to climb after too many beers) for Dutch Doom Days 2008, Dutch Doom Days 2010, and Roadburn 2012.
His contribution to my knowledge of all sorts of metal has been pretty much invaluable. But even though we hadn't met again after 2012 and hadn't really talked much outside a couple of Facebook conversations since I sort of left MS, what I'll miss the most is his kindness, his cheerfulness, his sheer interest in others, and his pure, unadulterated passion for a vast range of topics. Truly the "teddy bear with a heart of gold" Craig mentioned in his article. I mean, here's a guy who called me at 4 a.m. once after I had been away from MS for a couple of months just to check out if I was still alive. I think that's what friends do.
I'll miss his annual Marcel Moment(TM), too. Anyway, I could ramble on all day, but I'm not gonna do that.
So long, buddy.
Darkside Momo was unable to prepare a written statement, but did direct my attention to the following photos of Marcel from Hellfests 2007 and 2009:
And of course everyone else in Metal Storm Towers and in the broader Metal Storm community wishes to remember Marcel in their own way. Some of us didn't know him that well; some prefer to mourn him privately; but by virtue of being here on Metal Storm at all, we were all affected by Marcel in one way or another, and it was our great honor to share this space with him for so many years. From all of us here at Metal Storm, Marcel: so long, and thanks for all the doom.
|Written on 01.01.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.
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