Location: Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
By: Elvira Visser
As the days grow darker and we are reaching the end of the year it is time for Eindhoven Metal Meeting. This year the second edition. As the music keeps evolving and new artist keep appearing beside those that reached a cult status over the years it was also time for EMM to evolve to a two day experience. Inviting 34 bands to the known Effenaar Club in Eindhoven. A two day indoor festival which was visited by many people from the Netherlands and beyond. Just like last year snow was falling out of the sky, but both days people did seem to make their way to the festival. Sadly when arriving at the venue The Vision Bleak had cancelled, due to snowfall. DAY 1:
The first band to play was the Dutch band Mortal Form, they were opening the Jägerstage which was the smaller stage. On the main stage it was the German Varg who opened the festival. This band plays a mixture between death and black metal while mixing it with folk elements. Best to say it is a brutal version of the Finnish Turisas, as they do look the same with red and black paint on their faces and the costumes. However as said this Viking band sounds more extreme and that is exactly what they brought on stage. While people were still arriving the first were already building a little pit. The first beers were thrown in the air and the tone of this festival was set. Seeing how the crowd responded to the entertaining show from Varg, this day was going be a great metal day.
The Vision Bleak had cancelled and people just took this for granted, I mean what can you do, but there were no sad faces or screaming people. It was the time to gather with friends, walk around and to find your way to the smaller stage downstairs where Helstar busy play their tunes. Helstar is a band hailing from Houston, Texas and they have been around for many years as the band was founded back in the year 1981. However they have a long history they do not come across as a band with that much experience. The sound was good and singer James Rivera knows how to move around on the stage, but there was something missing. That little extra to stand out, maybe it was a bit of aggressiveness that was missing. The sound of the drums might have been a little weak. However the band got the crowd going and delivered a very steady performance.
Another band with oldies on stage is Saint Vitus. The band started out back in 1979 under the name Tyrant with Scott Reagers on vocals. A year later they changed their name to Saint Vitus. Scott Weinrich took over the singing as well as Christian Lindersson for a while. The band finally split up in 1996 and made a comeback in 2003 again with Scott Weinrich as the vocalist of the band. Saint Vitus is a band that plays doom metal and has clearly been influenced by Black Sabbath. I guess this was more a band to listen to then to mosh on although it had its faster moments. I was really nice to just close your eyes and nod your head while listening to the great guitar riffs of these guys. The bass was very nice and present. There is no other way then admitting these men are skilled musicians, they were not running around like young dogs on the stage but they really were not in the need of some extra entertaining level. For me it was the surprise of the day.
The German Endstille was roaming the stage when arriving at the smaller stage, the room was crowded and it was hard to find a spot while they were already playing. I have seen Endstille before and back then they did not made a good impression. They were on stage with Hollenthon that night and I believe the singer just joined the band. Which seemed to copy their previous singer a little too hard. Tonight on stage the band seemed more as one. Zingultus, the singer, clearly had seemed to find his way with this band. Endstille was founded in 2000 and bring you aggressive black metal. Aggressive it was, only the times when Zingultus needed some air or when he sat down to throw some water over the people on the first row it calmed down. The filled up hall was sweaty and full of moshing and screaming fans. This time around Endstille did leave a very good impression. Great energy on stage, the music sounded perfect and they entertained.
It was time for both Pestilence and The 11th Hour to roam the stage, exactly at the same time. I decided to watch the first 3 tracks of Pestilence in order to go downstairs and seeing The 11th Hour doing their thing. Pestilence is a Dutch band that ended back in 1994 but reunited in 2008. With their performance from Tuska 2009 in my head, expecting some roughness and pounding drums. Sadly they were not so convincing the first numbers. The response from the audience was rather tame which resulted in Pestilence not giving their all I guess. The drums sounded a bit dull, not sure if this was a technical thing or the drummer was not hitting as hard as he normally did. It sure contributed to the rather weak performance. Pestilence can do much better! Although I have only seen the first couple of songs, they could have taken it to a whole other level. Building a nice climax to burst at the end of the set.
So running to the other stage, The 11th Hour was a bit late and they were still doing a quick line check when arriving. The 11th Hour is “the wretched spawn of two kindred spirits’ love for good old fashioned doom metal.” The two kindred spirits are the multi instrumentalist Ed Warby who you might know from Gorefest, Ayreon or Hail of Bullets together with the Swedish Rogga Johansson who you might know from Edge of Sanity, Paganizer and Ribspreader. The doom of their music was very nice in comparison to all the fast pacing metal around. Building nice guitar melodies and creating a melancholic atmosphere in the venue. However they sounded a bit better on CD then live. On their album “Burden of Griel” you can hear Ed taking care of the clean vocals and Rogga takes care of the more sharp growls.
Mayhem was a little earlier then expected and not everyone was aware of Moonspell and Mayhem swapping places. Mayhem is a well-known Norwegian metal band that hat set foot on earth in 1984 and play black metal. The type of Black metal where Norway is famous for. After the first song they played, most people noticed and in front of the main stage it was very crowded in a couple of minutes. First the guys that play an instrument appear on stage, a lot of smoke and then after building up the tension singer Atilla joined them on stage. The Mayhem party was about to start. Atilla wearing special outfit and crosses upside down knows how to create not only a gig but also a show. Musically the band sounded good as well but half way during the set it kind of started to sound the same. The band has a cult status because their extras during shows, but today it was just the band and the little crosses in Atilla’s hand.
The Portuguese band Moonspell supposed to play before mayhem but they had some traffic problems due to the snow. Luckily they were on their way and by switching the bands on the schedule Moonspell could also play a lot later then expected. Around 01:00 it was time for them to play and when they entered the stage there was quite some cheering. The band had a very good sound, together with Saint Vitus and Varg. I guess Moonspell was the best band in creating an atmosphere this evening. While Varg and Mayhem had the better show. Moonspell really basted on stage and played their set in a fast pace. Front man Fernando Ribeiro makes sure you keep watching at him while he sings with his sort of penetrating eyes. Because Moonspell was quite late, there were 3 bands playing at Dynamo Club where the after party was held. Everyone with a wristband could go to this after party for free. There were three bands playing there; Stratex, The Graviators and The Mentors. As a surprise Martin Schirenc from Hollenthon joined The Mentors at the end of their set. The metal fan really had the chance to party till early in the morning.
The second day started at a nice time, somewhere in the afternoon so all the metal heads could sleep a bit. When I arrived at the venue Death Angel just entered the stage and were playing their first or second song. There was already a moshing crowd and it was great to pick up the energy from the band instantly. Death Angel was founded by singer Mark Osegueda back in 1980 in San Francisco and shared and important part in the thrash metal. The band split up after a serious accident where drummer Andy Gaillon got serious wounded. The band reunited around 2004. Luckily they were in good shape on this stage at Eindhoven Metal Meeting. As said there was this energy on stage that people could feel in the audience and created a good atmosphere. Bass player Damien Sisson and Ted Aguilar where like Mark very active on the stage, running around from side to side. This band definitely got people to forget their hangovers and made them applaud when the band left the stage. This performance was good, perfect to keep us awake and get ready for the rest of the day. Personally I would not minded if they would have played again later on this day.
Nothnegal is a Maldivian heavy metal band from Malé, which was formed back in the year 2006.
Guitarist Hilarl was the one who formed the band after he had left his previous band The Mortuary. He left this band together with guitar player Fufu, whom is his cousin. In 2009 there was a change in the line up as drummer Kevin Talley ((Dååth, ex-Chimaira, ex-Dying Fetus, ex-Misery Index) and Finnish keyboard player Marco Sneck (Kalmah, Poisonblack) joined Nothnegal as official members. There were not so many people watching this band probably because Death Angel was still playing on the main stage. However this band should get some credits. It is quite a young band and you can maybe trace the sound of the band a bit back to lets say a mix between guitar work from powermetalbands and the roughness from Kalmah. The show is not the best though. It are drummer Kevin and keyboard player Marco who make the show. The others are a little too focused on what they are doing, which made the quality of the music good. If the others loosen up a little I think it will be more interesting.
Talking earlier about bands that had seen daylight way earlier then me, there is also Exodus. Founded back in 1980 in San Francisco. Exodus has released a total of thirteen albums since their debut in 1985. It was probably Exodus task to get the crowd go nuts. People started stage diving and even a wall of death was there when Exodus played. The band seemed to be ready to show the crowd that these men from San Francisco would still be brutal, raw and metal enough. The Bay area thrash metal veterans Exodus were an energetic bunch on stage that saw guys from the crowd climbing over the fens, the photopit until they were standing next to vocalist Rob Dukes. The madness had started and you could see the band members enjoy the response from the audience. The band performed an energetic and good gig at Eindhoven.
Tempelores had heard the local band Scenario II some months before when they were the support act of Insomnium and Dark Tranquillity. At that gig the stage was a little bit too small for them and I was curious how their stage presentation would be today. Remarkable about Scenario II is that the line up has completely changed. There is only one person present from the beginning days of this band until now. The music of the band has been evolving since then. The third singer is introduced and also a female vocalist. Which is not trying to be the next female vocalist in a band (like Simone Simmons) but is really used as a contribution to the tracks. She is the power that gives some tracks that little extra, at other tracks she is an equal singer. Today she showed she can sing, even when she had a throat infection. The main growls are still the most important, although compared to the sound of the band some years ago this is way better. The overall sound of the band is still a bit raw even when they have a lady in the band. Today their stage presentation was better, they were moving around and interacted with each other and the audience. not only in between songs.
Besides Varg there was another band that can be linked to the pagan/viking metal style. Finntroll was founded back in the year 1997. “The namesake came from an old Finnish legend where Swedish priests coming to Finland had an encounter with a wild-looking man who killed most of their party. The survivors came back bearing the tale of the Finntroll”. The band already gained success but since Vreth (vocals) joined the band and the sudden fame around pagan bands, The band had found numerous fans. It is quite unusual for a band that a member who has left the band still write the lyrics. Founding member Katla still writes these lyrics in Swedish. They started off with some of the harder tracks by them and the power from this band was found back in the many moshing people. A big cheering went up from the crowd as they started the first tones of Trollhammaren. This band is known to be able to build a party and they sure did. They lived up to the expectation and together with a great light show they delivered a great show to be proud of. They really swept the people off their feet to start dancing and clapping around.
Not everyone was waiting to see the metal-turned-industrial act, especially when most people where waiting for Immortal. The big backdrop from Samael showed it was not yet Immortal time and that those waiting for Immortal had to wait a little longer. Samael was about to perform. Not everyone seemed to like the metal from this band from Switzerland as their metal gained a lot of electronic and industrial sounds in the music. Vorph was for this evening totally dressed in a red trouser/skirt type of thing. The sound of the music was very good and the show from these guys as well. But there were also a lot of people trying to find their way to the smoking area of to grab some food. Samael did not seem to bother and played a good set. Also the band has changed their drum kit for a drum computer. They keyboard player has something to play with but it is not that amazing as there would have a been a real drummer. In my opinion even industrial music should have live drums. Samael had chosen this, which made the drums sound good obviously.
Finally there was someone on stage, saying it was the manger from Immortal and that well due to the snow and weather that all of their baggage and instruments had been lost by the airlines. BUT not to worry as the band was buys to borrow equipment from other bands and also for the costumes they were working on it and not much later…..it was dark and silent. People were waiting in front of the main stage for Immortal to start. A lot of smoke was blown on stage and then finally there were Abbath and Apollyon with their guitars. Immortal started with some new work, and despite their unique situation the audience seemed to love it. Not much could go wrong as long as they would just play. That is what they did. The crowd cheered many times and Immortals performance was one of those to remember, them playing with borrowed equipment. Meanwhile on the small stage Trail of Tears had announced that some of their band members were stuck at the airport and couldn’t make it. Trident, Gorath and Rotting Christ were the bands to end this evening and this festival. People seemed tired after two days of metal. Two days of party. This festival clearly has a great atmosphere and the days were over before you knew it.