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Blikfest IV - Beveren-Waas, Belgium 03.11.07


Event: Blikfest IV
Written by: Thryce
Published: 15.11.2007


Written by Thryce.
Pictures by Thorein.
All right reserved, do not use without permission.

Introduction

November is the year of time when rotten leaves are falling of deciduous trees and when the grim and dark coldness is upon us. But the beginning of November marks also a happy time, for it's the time of year when the Blikfest Festival is being held. For the second time in a row I could be there and for the second time in a row I had a great night. The Blikfest line up always tries to come up a varied offer of different bands and genres, so everybody can find something they like on the bill. And on top of that, the metal mommy and daddy bringing their two pre-schoolers with them on a nice family day out proved that Blikfest is also a child friendly festival. And for the record, those two kiddies enjoyed themselves as much as we did

Click on the thumbnail to see the full size flyer.




Apocryph

Imagine you're a concert organizer. It's five in the afternoon and the venue is far from being packed to say the least. Though people are slowly trickling in and the one's who are already there are not yet in the right mood, still pretty "shy" - in the sense that there is a six meter gap between the stage and the audience - and desperately in search for a good metal warming up. What do you do? Well, the Blikfest organization sure found a good answer to solve this brain-teasing vital question. First band on the bill that afternoon was Apocryph, a very energetic, talented outfit who play bone shredding catchy Melodic Death Metal. These guys were an awesome kick-off of the night as they really did everything to get us along. Not only were they very audience-friendly and humoristic, they also played one hell of a show, and that's what we all came for of course. The things I will remember the most from this rough diamond band are the powerful vocals, the nice riffs and great guitar solos and the tight drumming. On a last note, I want to mention that Apocryph has a very high Amon Amarth calibre, if you absolutely want to compare them with another band. Or maybe it was just because the frontman had quite a Johan Hegg resemblance, who knows.


Gwyllion

As you probably won't know, Gwyllion are one of the very few female-fronted bands in the Belgian metal scene. And believe it or not, they are surprisingly one of the many female-fronted bands playing Symphonic Metal. Before you stop appreciating the cynicism of these remarks, I must admit that, although I was a bit sceptical at first, Gwyllion are a very decent band with a lot of potential actually. Especially Annelore Vantomme seemed to be in a really good and clear voice that night. It was somewhat pitiable the male background vocals on the other hand, didn't really come out that well, probably because of some technical sound issues. Despite the fact the show was relatively short, the songs were far from boring and repetitive, as is in my opinion often the case in this genre. But although the enjoyableness and variation of the song structure, they still sounded quite familiar in the end. Don't get me wrong, I don't argue Gwyllion were ordinary or simple, as they seem to be a nice band. It's just that I find that the genre they play sounds easily recognizable and is all in all quite easy to get used to.


Crusader

Crusader have been around in the Belgian metal scene for over a decade now, playing their interpretation of Traditional Heavy Metal. Unfortunately the band's keyboardist had to sit out that night, leaving only one (!) guitarist - who apparently was playing one of his lasts shows with the band - to take care of the rhythms and melodic parts. This was highly regrettable of course because that didn't really help Crusader's performance; all the more, this guy's play wasn't really that impeccable to be honest. The set was clearly lacking some energy and possibly some rhythm too. I was really looking forward to see Crusader live, but frankly they were the low point of the night. For the completeness of this review I must add that they also played a WASP cover. Not being too familiar with the works of WASP it is entirely possible I didn't recognize the cover song, chances are higher though we already had left to get some food.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pictures.


Crusader



Axamenta

Axamenta are a band that already has had a turbulent history. Not only did they have to deal with a lot of line up changes, their sound has also varied a lot through the years. When guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Yves Huts decided to join Epica in 2003, Axamenta dramatically changed their music sound for the last time. From a Symphonic Black inspired Death Metal approach they now went playing a more technical and somewhat progressive type of Death Metal. This very successful change resulted in the highly acclaimed 2006 album "Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture", catapulting them to the top in the Belgian metal scene, where they belong by the way. The band also already appeared twice on the Graspop Metal Meeting stages. Although Axamenta are doing a lot of gigs in Belgium, this was only the first time I saw them live, and I truly enjoyed it. And apparently I was not the only one. The venue was not far from being chock-full during this gig, and the crowd went berserk. For the biggest part of the audience this was literally the hottest band on the bill. And of course, I couldn't really blame them. Axamenta really know how to play their Death Metal: the sound was quite technical, with some tight solos and riffs but also with a lot of breakdowns and difficult melodic parts, which make them in a way also a bit progressive. That's a good thing of course, as it all totally fits in the contemporary Axamenta picture. Also vocal wise this band has a lot to offer: Peter Meynckens switches masterly from clean vocals to solid screams or deep robust grunts. It was a shame actually this was only my first live experience with this grant Belgian band, but I'm quite sure it won't be my last. Bottom line: Axamenta are a top-class band in many ways.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pictures.



Axamenta



Diablo Swing Orchestra

As you might have guessed, the Diablo Swing Orchestra is really a fantastic experience to witness live. Not only because they are extravagant in many ways, but also because they don't use samples and sound effect and so play everything live on stage. Of course this sometimes has a slightly different effect than the sounds on their album. It's just like the innovating energy and creativity D:S:O stand for have no boundaries or limits. And so the show took of with the didgeridoo of "Gunpowder Chant" followed by the majestic "Infralove". The band then went on playing about every song of their debut album, which are all little masterpieces on their own. Really, this original cocktail of metal, swing, jazz, tango, female opera vocals and what else more, works even more contagious and sounds even more amazing when played live than on the album. Now you can also see the band rocking in their costumes, and you can feel the D:S:O spirit now, even with a broken guitar. There was really a lot of energy coming from this band that seems to be filled with inspiration. Also the biggest part of the audience clearly enjoyed this wonderful and colourful outfit. Although the band has a lot of "contact" with their audience by showing a lot of empathy, they are actually very sparing with their interaction. Only after a few songs guitarist Daniel Håkansson finally said something: "Hay! We are Diablo Swing Orchestra from Switzerland". D:S:O wouldn't be D:S:O if there wasn't any humour in the set, right?
As said the band played about the whole "Butcher's Ballroom" album except for one song and an interlude, and the concert was over in no time. Seeing Diablo Swing Orchestra was really an adventure. Be sure not to miss them when they are around your place!

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pictures.



Diablo Swing Orchestra


Diablo Swing Orchestra setlist:

Gunpowder Chant
Infralove
Poetic Pitbull Revolutions
Wedding March For A Bullet
Ragdoll Physics
d'Angelo
Velvet Embracer
Pink Noise Waltz
Heroïnes
Porcelain Judas
Ballrog Boogie



Oceans Of Sadness

Another mentionable band in the Belgian metal scene is Oceans Of Sadness. The band released their fifth studio album this year and is a welcome guest on many metal events in Belgium. And they already played on Graspop Metal Meeting four times! But it's obvious the band is still in a good and raging shape. Because we had an interview appointment with Diablo Swing Orchestra after their show, we missed a part of the Oceans Of Sadness show. The part we did see was really heavy, good and solid. It's quite hard to label Oceans under only one single genre as they have influences from many metal genres. The band also played a very self-willed (one of the most characteristic traits of this band) but well-tasted cover of Alice In Chains' "Them Bones" and also a small part of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" in the song afterwards. It was a good show for sure, but in fact I didn't find them that astonishing. So I don't know if they were the right headliner of this evening.

Click on the thumbnails to see the full size pictures.


Oceans Of Sadness



Conclusion

There's not much left to say except that this was once again a great edition of the well-tasted Blikfest festival. I really keep enjoying this successful concept of a line up full with homeland bands next to one international headliner, who all more or less represent a different genre. This festival really deserves a lot more attention than it actually gets. Let's hope that the support Metal Storm gives, can contribute to bringing Blikfest into the spotlights. A last thing I want to mention, what I found to be an improvement on last year, is definitely the quality of the sound. Agreed, it was a bit loud, but all shows sounded good and clear. Tip-top!


Acknowledgements

Special thanks once again goes out to Ruben Delanghe and the rest of the Blikfest organization for making this concert review possible. Thanks for all your support guys!! Rock on. And see you on Blikfest V!


Links

Apocryph: | website | MySpace |
Gwyllion: | website | MySpace |
Crusader: | website | MySpace |
Axamenta: | website | MySpace |
Diablo Swing Orchestra: | website | MySpace |
Oceans Of Sadness: | website | MySpace |





Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 11 users
15.11.2007 - 22:02
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Quote:
November is the year of time when rotten leaves are falling of deciduous trees and when the grim and dark coldness is upon us


Its time for doomed lovers my friebd, time when leaves are falling, firts snow are falling down and doomed artists compose best works, and candles in window makes us smile
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.11.2007 - 22:09
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Damn checking all band sin MA I coppy past Conclusion and No results found. ...
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
16.11.2007 - 05:59
Bararey
Winter is Coming
It is really sad when a band messes up in a festival, as in the case of Crusader, I mean band members work hard to get some recognition and try to reach a wider audience, and not being able to give it 100% in a festival does not help them at all,

and what's the story with the broken guitar in D:S:O?
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"Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died."
Ser Jorah Mormont
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17.11.2007 - 22:32
Thryce
Retired Staff
Written by Bararey on 16.11.2007 at 05:59

It is really sad when a band messes up in a festival, as in the case of Crusader, I mean band members work hard to get some recognition and try to reach a wider audience, and not being able to give it 100% in a festival does not help them at all,

Ya, I know. On the other hand it was very noble of them to come anyway and not to saddle up the organization with a cancellation at the very last minute. Would love to see Crusader again some time though, I heard a lot of positive things from these guys.

Quote:

and what's the story with the broken guitar in D:S:O?

Pontus broke a string of his guitar and had to borrow another one from Axamenta I think. In the meantime Johannes started playing a cello interlude to keep the show going and to keep the audience entertained. It was pretty nice and amusing because it was all totally improvised of course.

Anyway, a live video of Diablo Swing Orchestra kicking it live on Blikfest IV has been put online!!! Check out "Balrog Boogie" here.
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Your favorite band sucks.
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18.11.2007 - 01:04
Bararey
Winter is Coming
Written by Thryce on 17.11.2007 at 22:32

Anyway, a live video of Diablo Swing Orchestra kicking it live on Blikfest IV has been put online!!! Check out "Balrog Boogie" here.


The crowd was was really having fun especially the drunken guy with the ear piercing , so much space between people at the front of the stage, how packed was it?

And I noticed he dropped the borrowed guitar at the end of the set, now you know who not to lend your guitar to
----
"Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died."
Ser Jorah Mormont
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18.11.2007 - 12:49
Thryce
Retired Staff
Written by Bararey on 18.11.2007 at 01:04

The crowd was was really having fun especially the drunken guy with the ear piercing , so much space between people at the front of the stage, how packed was it?

You're right, I didn't really focus on describing the venue. However I already did that in my concert review of last year's edition. The thing is, this is a little festival. You have to know that the Belgian metal scene isn't really that big, relatively spoken, and it's apparently very hard to mobilize the metalheads. This festival is being held at a youth centre actually. I think there were maximally 200 people at that time. So yeah, we really had a lot of space.

On another note, we were standing close behind that "camera" man. Too bad you can't see us, it goes too fast. And I don't think the Metal Storm t-shirt is recognizable enough. At first we were standing at the front row, but because the sound wasn't really that good there (you were standing between the musicians and their amplifiers and the loud-speakers), we moved a few meters more to the back.

Quote:

And I noticed he dropped the borrowed guitar at the end of the set, now you know who not to lend your guitar to

Haha, no you are talking about Daniel. Pontus is the second guitarist, the one on the right with his dreadlocks. But the video is only shot at one angle, so Pontus and Andy, the bassist, aren't that often in the picture.
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Your favorite band sucks.
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18.11.2007 - 18:12
Bararey
Winter is Coming
Yeah saw it again, it was not clear at all, the only time that there was a semi clear shot of the people in the back there was an elbow in the way.

damn, it would have been funny if it were
----
"Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died."
Ser Jorah Mormont
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