Last weekend on March 5th I went to see Army of Metal in StudioGonz in Gouda, the Netherlands. I was made aware of the event by a friend of mine who plays in one of the 10 local bands that performed throughout the day, and I must say: I was not disappointed. The venue is quite small, but it’s big enough for an event such as this. The stage looked good and provided enough space for most bands. The event kicked off at 16:00 and ended sometime around midnight. Every band had about half an hour of play time. Eventually, I was able to see 6 bands. I had to miss out on 4 due to being veeeeery hungry and my ride leaving earlier. So to the guys I wasn’t able to see: hopefully there’ll be a next time!
Opening act of the day was Blind Justice, a 3 piece ‘’metal fueled rock’’ machine that has been around for twenty-something years and has produced several CD’s and EP’s. The show started off very noisy, maybe it was just me, but I could hardly hear any guitars over the sound of the bass and drums, except for some lead riffs here and there. It took some time to get used to the type of vocals these guys use, it’s not something you’d expect from a band this loud and heavy, but eventually I could appreciate it. After a few songs, I noticed the sound got properly adjusted and I was able to hear some more of their axeman. Every song they played was heavier than the one before, and despite the fact that these guys are a few years older than most of the audience, they managed to put down a performance you’d expect from a young punk band. Very energetic, very enthousiastic! Highlight of their show for me was when the singer announced a song we might recognize. It took me until half of the song had passed until I realized they were doing a kickass cover of The Prodigy’s Breathe.
Drive By Suicide
Drive By Suicide is a 4 piece formation that has been around for over 10 years, but was only fully completed and charged in 2011 with the addition of their new, young bassist. The band is currently in the process of recording their first full length. This was actually the 3d time I got to see them play and probably the best performance I have experienced with these guys. They played a shorter set than most of the other bands, but damn, it was chaotic. The influences these guys have are quite obvious: there’s a lot of Slipknot/Lamb of God (and obviously more) going on in their music, this is especially well portrayed by their crazy ass singer. The crowd wasn’t generally that wild throughout the evening, maybe it was because of the size of the venue, but these guys sure managed to warm us up for the rest of the night. At some point they even invited a fellow musician on stage for some guest vocals. What I like most about these guys is their energy, their band dynamics and the complete randomness of their frontman.
3rd band of the day was a 5 headed beast by the name of Malignity, a name I wasn’t unfamiliar with. I saw them for the first time in the summer of ’15 and I remembered being very impressed with them back then. That performance was actually at the same venue and one thing hasn’t changed: these guys need a bigger stage! This was the first band to bring their own stage props, they had this sick, custom built mic stand. Cool stuff! So, about the show: as I said, this stage was just too small to handle 5 people. It’s a shame, because this made their stage presence kind of static, since there is so little space for them to move. However, the bass player in particular managed to go wild, regardless of this. The music was very enjoyable as always, they showed great musicianship, the singer really knows how to interact with the audience and the band as a whole delivered a great show. I learned from a conversation with one of their guitarists that they are all about local myths and folklore in their lyrics and that they want to create an experience rather than just plain performing. Well, they certainly pulled it off!
This was definitely the craziest performance of the day. Disminded is a quartet hailing from Germany, formed in 2009. The band combines the relentlessness of death metal with harsh, fast thrash riffs, infused with hints of melody here and there. I had never heard of these guys before, but I’m glad I had the pleasure of enjoying their wildly energetic, highly interactive show. I didn’t know what to expect when they brought in their custom mic stand: a voodoo-like skull with dreads hanging out. They called her Lucy (if I remember correctly). The crowd literally went wild during the show, but the band did too. From the moment they started playing, there were metalheads flying all over the place, hair waving around, circle pits, mosh pits, it was insane. At one point, the singer just jumped in the audience and started the pit himself. There was even some ‘’crowd surfing’’ if you can call it that, because the part of the audience that took part in this was quite small. Near the end of the show, the guitarist took over the mic stand and had his little story, which ended in an EPIC tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister when they played Bomber. If you have a chance to see these guys, make sure that you do!
Another pleasant surprise of the night: Bloid, a power trio from the Netherlands. They have been going strong since 2006 and have since released 3 EP’s. The band differentiates itself by its friendly image, rather than the standard badass metal attitude. This was strongly reflected in the way they announced themselves and how they interacted with the audience. The eyecatcher at this show for me was the transparent B.C. Rich guitar, which I didn’t expect to sound anywhere near as brutal as it did. I was blown away by their music, it was very tight, very heavy and there was just the right level of melodic riffing going on here. Again, the guitarist seemed like a very friendly guy, reacted to what the audience was saying in a fun way, and there was just a really great atmosphere. Great musicianship, great showmanship, great show! The pinnacle of their performance when they suddenly started playing a lengthy fragment of Sepultura’s Roots, followed by a full cover of Pantera’s Strength Beyond Strength. Both were executed perfectly. Go see these guys live! Seriously.
Did I just spot a group of people with corpse paint? Oh hell yes! Finally some black metal representatives! I was kind of unsure what to expect, because black metal is quite diverse (and maybe I was hoping for something satanic), but when I saw a keyboard entering the stage, I knew what I could expect. Lycaon is a 5-piece black metal band, formed by members of the Rotterdam band ‘’Proditor’’. You might not be surprised to learn that their name is inspired by a mythological werewolf. Unfortunately, the performance was different from what I had expected. The sound wasn’t properly mixed at the start, I could hardly hear vocals (the same thing happened later with the backing vocalist), but luckily, this was adjusted soon enough. Their sound is pretty raw and true to the spirit of black metal, and as far as instrumentals are concerned, I was pretty satisfied. However, I found their show to be kind of boring. There was no interaction with the crowd, little band dynamic and also very little stage presence (although the available space might have had something to do with it). Also, the guy behind the keyboard was sort of the odd-one-out, because he hadn’t put as much effort into his appearance as his fellow bandmates. Nevertheless, musically it was quite nice. I just hope they’ll put a little more effort into creating a real show in the future.