Monterrey Metal Fest III
November 17-18, 2006. Monterrey, México.
By Chico Migraña and Jacobo
Pics by German “Gallo” Garcia
So being able to land in the beautiful city of Monterrey, Mexico one one day before the Fest, gave me the opportunity to catch the pre-party event. I arrived at the Café Iguana, where it was held, just in time to catch VainGlory. At first I thought that Kate French, VainGlory´s vocalist, was actually Liv Kristine (Ex-Theater of Tragedy, Leave´s Eyes), because they could be twin sisters. But as soon as Kate opened her mouth, I realized how wrong I was. Her powerful voice has nothing to do with Liv´s angelical one. Kate sings in the old fashioned raspy Metal way, beautifully hard. I was really blown away by her charisma. And also having never heard of VainGlory before I was blown away by the powerful American hard hitting Metal, even if the sound was pretty shitty. This was something that kept on going throughout the night. VainGlory´s performance left a lot of the attendees with grins on their faces, they liked what the band offered. So now it was time to start pumping beers into my body, so just before Herenwen, I decided to go to the bar again, and grab another brewski.
So Herenwen took the stage, and to my surprise, this Mexico´s City Heavy Metal band, was compromised of 5 women. Many people in the audience knew them, but very few had heard of them, so there was a lot of expectation towards the music. Unfortunately, and as I expected, they just didn´t deliver. I mean it is very interesting and cool seeing an all girls Metal band, but if their music is cool. Not even all the poses, attitude and will to Metal, made me give Herenwen approval. The vocals were extremely bad and out of tune, and the biggest problem of all, is that the girls delivery was not tight at all. They surely have the potential, it is just a matter of time, but tonight was not their night. To close they played the awesome Alone In The Dark but Testament, but even if it was fun listening to it, it was also sad seeing such a classic being destroyed.
JOE STUMP’S REIGN OF TERROR
Joe Stump´s Reign of Terror was up next. And this man was impressive as always behind his axe. He gave everyone a lesson in shredding. One funny thing, is that when I first saw Joe Stump in the audience while watching Herenwen, I actually thought he was David Vincent. He and David could be brothers man!!! Ok, back to the performance. Jay Rigney, the bass player, was also very impressive in his four string, and that is exactly what Joe´s playing need´s. A tight bottom end player. One thing that really annoyed me, was Michael Vescera´s performance as vocalist. He tried to be funny but he just wasn’t, and he really annoyed the audience even if he spoke Spanish, a very goon one by the way. He doesn´t have what it takes to be a frontman, and I know that this is Stump´s show, but this man was a joke, and also didn´t stop ass-kissing Stump. But all in all, it was an interesting virtuoso performance.
Bludgeon´s blend of Thrash, Death Metal and Hardcore is a very powerful one. They may not play the most technical metal, but they don´t want anyway. They focus on the bulldozer type. Having liked their first release Crucify The Priest, I was looking forward to watching this New Yorker´s and my final impression was a good one. Not the best of them, but they certainly delivered to the very few people left. I am talking maybe about 15 or 20 persons watching them, it was that few. The rest were in the now crowded bar doing shots and all kind of crazy shit. If you ever have a chance of watching this band live do it, they know how to pump adrenaline.
More Beer, why not? Now was the turn to what in my opinion is Mexico´s best Death Metal/Metal band, Souls On Fire. Coming from the ashes of the also impressive Agony Lords, Souls On Fire energy behind the stage was matched by no other. This guys ran, rolled, jumped and delivered every single Metal cliché Manowar would be proud of. They played songs from their 2005 release Fire Demons, and proved that Mexico´s Metal is as good as anywhere in the world. The only bad aspect, and as you may have already imagined by now, is that the people watching the band were no more than 10. But still, the band gave their best, and that is something to be thankful for. Beer, more beer, another and what? I´m in bed I guess, who knows? (Jacobo)
The day was here. The third installation of Mexico´s premier Metal fest was going to nuke Monterrey into pieces.
I arrived to the concert hall very early and unfortunately things didn´t go smooth. I had to wait by the entrance door, with all the other press member for about 45 minutes. It seems the person in charge of the press had not arrived and was still in his house, go figure. We finally entered and headed straight to a tent, where the organization had no clue on how they were going to manage press and photo passes. So in the end it practically became a nightmare to work in the fest. I ended up leaving my camera in the tent, cause if I took it with me, I would have this security guy following me everywhere. And I mean everywhere, I even went to the bathroom with the camera, and when I came out there was the security guy. Tried to sneak on him between the crowd, thought I had made it and couldn´t, he was behind me. So in the end I decided that I was not going to take pictures, since the organization didn´t give us the facilites to work. A shame cause besides this problems many of us at the press had, the festival was quite fun by the many Metal genres presented in it.(Jacobo)
The second stage was compromised mostly of Mexican bands. But it also included some international acts like VainGlory, which were extremely good and played the same set as the night before, Reign of Fire, who did exactly the same and delivered with Joe Stumps skills. And Bludgeon, the New Yorkers which this time had a much bigger audience, but unfortunately had a tired audience in front of them and few were really paying attention.
Now, I will just talk about the Mexican bands of the second stage that really stood out, because unfortunately some of them were pretty pathetic. And I mean in the live sense of the word, maybe not the music (which the sound sucked by the way), but in the delivery. Man!! Why can´t you fucking rock out when you are playing in front of thousands of people dammit!!! Spill your guts out!!!(Jacobo)
SOULS OF FIRE
Once again Souls On Fire was fucking awesome. And for me, they were the most entertaining band of the second stage. Awesome aggressive music, mixed with every cliche Metal pose you can think of is what these guys from Irapuato, Mexico gave to the audience, which although it was tired, received this Modern Thrash/Melodeath holocaust with open arms. I highly recommend everyone tracking their Firedemons release.(Jacobo)
All I knew about these guys, and which I found out that day. Is that this Guadalajara, Mexico based outfit, had the current drummer of Genitallica (A fucking shitty trendy commercial music ska punk puke) on their ranks. This made me wonder if the band was worth checking out. But after hearing a lot from friends and so on, I decided to give them a try, and man, without a doubt this was the surprise of the festival.
Doom Metal at it´s best. I am talking Black Sabbath, Cathedral and even some Candlemass thrown in there. The vocalist sounded so much like Ozzy, that I had goosebumps all over (I am a big Ozzy fan). All I can say is that if this band is not heard and doesn´t receive the credit it deserves, I am going to cut my veins. I encourage you to check them out. Their music is heavy and extremely dark. I guess that Genitallica is now called, lica, all the genitals are now in Maligno. And in what way!!!(Jacobo)
So, while on second stage was ripping it out Mr Joe Stump. Sadus was supposed to take the main stage at 1pm sharp. The majority of us there thought since the second stage was running a bit late, Sadus wouldn´t start at 1pm. Big mistake, Stump was just finishing to play his guitar with his elbows, and somebody yelled at me “Sadus is playing now, mother fucker” haha. So we all ran to main stage and yes, DiGiorgio and company were already playing to a handful of metalheads. Can´t tell what song it was, what i remember is it was the first one on their set. Bay then i had only got a regular press pass, which meant i couln´t be on the general admittance front area, but instead had to see the show from the seats part, which is somehow far away from the stage. The sound was good, loud and clear.
DiGiorgio took the microphone and screamed in fancy spanish “Qué pasó!” (What’s up), and as always happens here, people react pretty damn well to that. So, everyone was cheering the band while Steve was saying “it´s fucking great to be here. Thanks for getting up early with us. We will keep on playing shit of our new album”. And, sorry but, if not shit, some of the tunes they played to us as part of Out for blood are quiet frankly, strange. The song was presented as “The Kill team”, although there are no songs under that name on the new album!
The trio was really tight and they were delivering the goods, don´t get me Wrong. But they then played “Lost it all” and you could tell the new direction of the band, while still brutaly well done thrash, it leans towards modern elements that maybe us, old schoolers are not very fond with. Next came another new one, “we want to dedicate this one to a friend of us. You may know him, Chuck Schuldiner. In the end, we all have to go, but that’s our ultimate freedom”. And “Freedom” was played. Then we were treated to a good drum solo. The chorus was very easy to remember and everyone was singing along, specially since Death was a huge thing here. Then it was “In your face” and then traditional old fucking Sadus with “Good rid’nz”. The new album tracks came back with “In the name of…” and the strange, futuristic, R2D2 written “No more”.
And maybe that was what for me made their show a good one, but not a great one:most of the new songs had this electronic keyboard intro and a slight nu metal overall feel to them. Maybe i am wrong and stupid, but that’s what i felt. “We’re gonna play the last song for today, thank you very much for coming. Let’s go back to the old days” and they played “Sadus attack”, great, and without losing any more time they linked it with “Through the eyes of greed”. Problem was, all of a sudden the PA system went out, and it was done deliberately by someone on the organization. Now, when they were playing the last song, i was heading to the press tent to try and get a better place, so i didn’t see that happening, although i have the bootleg and it is very eloquent on that matter.
They were supposed to play 45 minutes, and they played like 47!! Fucking sinners, how dare they? Haha. So, I guess that has to be the wrong note for the Monterrey Metal fest. You just don´t pull the plug to any band. And you know what? They had a big cronometer stage side for every band, so yes, the Sadus guys should’ve known better, but it was very disrespectful to make them go through that situation. After that, I left the venue trying to get some food, because as anywhere else, festival food was too expensive. So, I missed Leaves Eyes (well, I wasn´t dying to see them either) but the report was that they also were thrown out of the stage by pulling off the power on them.(Luis)
The second band to play in the main stage was going to be the Norweigan/German outfit known as Leaves Eyes. This band includes the members of veterans Atrocity and ex-Theater Of Tragedy´s Liv Kristine.
Many people were really looking forward to seeing this Goth/Doom outfit. You ought to know that in Mexico this movement is very big and gets bigger by the second, so the expectations were high.
The band played songs from their 2 albums, Vinland Saga and Lovelorn. The audience seemed quite pleased with the band. But to tell you the truth, I didn´t get to excited watching the band, even if Krull is one hell of a frontman. Nevertheless people were having fun and singing with the band, so they really enjoyed it.
In the end, and just as it happened to Sadus, the bands power was cut off. So you could only listen to the drums being battered but very, very far away. In this moment, Krull started chanting the – ole, ole, ole, ole- chant, which got many singing until getting tired of it, because it kept on going. Overall, the bands was ok and made their fans happy. (Jacobo)
This one is fucking long, but deserves to be so. So, as i already said, I couldn’t catch Saduis form the beginning, therefore I didn’t know that one of my all time fantasies was about to come true. Since I can remember i’ve been fascinated by those live recordings that feature a presenter. I still get chills when i listen to the Absolutely live from the Doors. The presentator is talking people out of the stage and back to their seats, and a few minutes later he goes: “ladies and gentleman, the Doors”. Well, Deicide was the third band on the line up. I missed Sadus beginning, didn’t stay to see Leaves Eyes, so when i arrived to main stage 2 or 3 minutes prior to the determined hour, it was really a huge surprise to see spanish journalist (and somehow part of the promoters staff) Rafa Basa present the band. “How’s the heavy metal party going? Well, i leave you with this tremendous band, the enemies of God, deicide” hahahaha. How strange, funny and rewarding it became to have someone presenting each band from then on.
Well, i have never seen Deicide live before. And to be honest, if it wasn’t because they were part of a line up in a festival, maybe i wouldn’t see them.
But anyway, my expectations were high since the band brought Jack Owen and Ralph Santolla on guitars. The night before i was hanging with a great and friendly local couple, Tavo Metal and Yaya Maiden, and they were absolutely looking forward to see Deicide, so i was hoping for a good show for them and for me.
They started brutally well with the classic “Dead by dawn”. Benton is a really good frontman. I had my doubts because he has a fame for being an asshole. Well, he wasn´t, he was actually great, hilarious and very talkative. “Whats up motherfuckers…Ok, title track of the new album” was his first hello to everyone, and immediately after that they blew us apart with .”The Stench of redemption”. People were getting really crazy, as always in Mexico, and so he seemed very pleased: “what’s up Monterrey motherfucking Mexicoooo” hahaha. But right after that, he stares at some kid on the very front and says “wait man, don’t you look at me like that motherfucker. Don´t you look at me like my mom does, you son of a bitch” hahaha. And so, here it was, one frontman with a bad reputation giving us a hilarious performance. And after the rant he presented “Death to Jesus”. Awesome.
By then one could see the Sadus and Obituary guys side stage. And Benton kept making it happen to everyone, including the other bands. He stared at someone and said “hey, is that your wife? You make my lizard very angry…When Satan rules his world”. And off they went with another classic, very well performed.
By then, Santolla was experiencing some monitor problems, but everyone at that time seemed to be cool enough to not make any drama, he turned to the Obituary guys and said “it is what it is”, smiled and continued. Then it was “Serpents in the light”. After that they waited a few seconds to help the Santolla’s monitor problem, and someone on the audience was screaming for a song, but Benton was on a good mood and instead of ignoring it, he grabbed the mic and said “don´t you tell me what to do motherfucker, this boots have more fucking kicks than you can handle bitch…this one’s called ‘Bastards of Christ’”. So there you have it, he was giving us a great performance, great classic Deicide tunes with a lot of in betweens to chill and enjoy. By then the crowd was big enough to look fine – Maybe some 3,000 guys. After Bastards he presented “this one’s called Kill the monitor guy” hahaha. He spat and kept going verbal towards him, until he finally decided to keep on playing, and then came “Children of the underworld”. But technical problems kept going on. Benton changed the cable that goes from the bass guitar to the amplifier, only problem was, when he plugged in and walked to the front of the stage, the fucking cable was too damn short and he was pulled back by it. So, he left the bass, grabbed the mic stand, pulled it back a couple
of steps, got his bass and said “fucking Japanese, fuck them goddamn japs man, this chord is a s big as your godamned dick (then he makes a short signal) this big, mine is this big, your’s (he points at someone) is this big (really short).
After that he presented “Desecration”. Then he went against the people that were on the outside part of the venue. Let me try to describe the Coca Cola Auditorium. It looks like an amphitheater, but it has a very tall roof, and no walls. The first part is a huge patio, or a place that has a slight run upwards, with no seats. Then there’s a part with seats as any amphitheater anywhere. Where the eats end, so does the roof. But after that you have a small kind of hill with no seats, usually used to relax. From there you get a good although distant view of the stage. If you got the picture, then imagine something like 400 people lying there. So Benton goes on the mic and says “if you motherfuckers up there would come down here, this place would look full. Get off your fat asses and come here”. Nobody did, basically because that place has one price ticket that is cheaper than those of the patio. Anyway, he then remembers the lady of the beginning, the one of the husband and goes “weeeell, the things I could do to you. Yeah, ‘Dead but dreaming’”. So far i was having a blast. This man is not only a good frontman, but he was keeping everyone of us smiling and having a great time. After that he presented the band and then played “Walk with the devil in dreams you behold”. Then Benton announced they got six minutes left and said “so let’s go with a couple of old ones”. The first one was “Sacrificial suicide” and to be honest, i can´t figure out the last one. All in all a great performance. It was the first real highlight of the day, and still ahead were waiting Obituary, Cathedral, Edguy, UDO and Blind Guardian. It was just beginning to get good. (Luis)
Coincidence in having Sadus, Deicide and Obituary in the festival? I don´t think so. I guess the organization got a really good price from Tampa to Monterrey and flew the bands, say a special package with hotel and everything jajajaja. Nah, just joking. But still, it was interesting having this old school Death Metal maniacs from the same place, in the same festival which didn´t have that too many international bands.
In the Obituary stage you could see this huge Frozen in Time picture behind. It looked awesome. I personally was very enthusiastic about watching Obituar for the first time. I wanted to hear classics like Slowly We Rot, Chopped in Half, and anything from The End Complete, and fortunately I got it all. The sound was awesome, and you could feel those simple and extremely heavy guitar riffs everywhere. Hearing John´s voice was awesome, I still think of his voice as one of the most original an energetic voices ever in Death Metal. The only negative aspect, is that he would leave the stage a lot and then come back. So many times, and for long periods of time you would see the band playing, but without a frontman and that was a weak point in the bands performance. Besides that everything went well.
It was funny watching Glen Benton behind Donald Tardy´s kit laughing his ass off. He was having one hell of a time. Now it was getting dark, and many of us knew that the day was going to get even better.(Jacobo)
I had seen Edguy live in 2002 down at the Wacken Open Air. At that time I was very excited about watching them. But now it was different, I still love their classic albums, but I think that after Theater of Salvation, the band has just released crap, so I wasn´t that eager on listening to the band. Fortunately this turned out better than expected.
Tobias Sammet has got to be one of the most charismatic and funny frontmen ever. He is full of energy and even runs more than the mighty Bruce Dickinson on stage. There is no wondering why he has been compared to the Maiden frontman so many times. Between songs he would make all kinds jokes, and he actually made me life a couple of times. Especially when he read this letter from a fan who was really in love with him, but it turned out to be a man named Pedro. Pretty stupid.
Another good thing is that they played a lot from Theater of Salvation and Vain Glory Opera, as well as some stuff from Mandrake which came out pretty cool in the mix. The crowd was happy and Edguy proved that no other band on stage has as many fun as they do.(Jacobo)
So yes, for me it was Cathedral and no one else who stole the night. What an amazingly great, doomy, splendorous and decadent deliver!
Basa presented them as “Now a huge legend by the name of Lee Dorrian. He is a great fighter of a musical style that some people say it’s not trendy. The fact is that you, and you and me we love doom metal and we love this piece of magic, this great band called Cathedral”. And off they went. First song
was “Utopian blaster”. Lee was all dressed in black with a big cross pending through his neck. The night before i saw him at the pre party. He walked in to everyone’s amazement as if he was your regular neighbor haha. And i saw him that night enjoying the show of mexican doomsters, Maligno. He was wearing glasses and seemed very introspective. So, when he took the stage it was a radical change. I had only seen them once, at Wacken 2004 and since that day swore i would see them at least one more time. And that time arrived with Monterrey Metal Fest.
So, before the beginning he screamed “Que pasó cabrones” (What’s up motherfuckers) and started the slaughter. “Are you ready for some
soul…sacrifice?” And what i’m going to write is meant to be a compliment, but only one time before Cathedral had i witnessed how someone can impact the audience with mere gestures and stares, and that was Nina Hagen. So, every time Lee Dorrian stared at the audience and then opened wide his eyes, he captivated everyone.
He might not be running and jumping all around, but he doesn’t need to. That’s the fact, he stands there, does some headbanging and acts every song in a way that only a few times we can witness. And the Soul sacrifice was really worthy. Doom has never been and will never be huge in Mexico, but the audience was really ecstatic, to say the least. “Let me see some fucking heads banging over there, Viva Mexico and Viva Monterrey!!” Next they performed “North Berwick witch trials” and it was water clear that most of the people didn´t know the band, as their faces were full of awe. And there was the band, delivering old school doom without compromise.
“Its a pleasure to us to be back in Mexico after all this years, thank you very much, we appreciate the support”. Then they moved towards “Twilight autumn”. After that the audience was bigger and more giving with the band. Even some asshole threw a cup of beer to Lee’s face, a stupid and vandalic act for what he responded with a smile. A true gentleman and a true warrior who knows how to react to a stupid thing like that!
Then came “Skullflower”. “Are we gonna see all fucking heads in this place banging?” And it happened indeed. He was going half through the song and all of a sudden he swallows his microphone. And this is not a metaphor, it is meant to be taken literally. He took the mic and drove it through his mouth and then started making some mourn noises in what became a great damn performance! He was singing lines like “Hollow skull emotionless grin, Arcane tunnels sucking me in, Black vortex in her eyes, reminds me of a love that died, Lady death evolves from a flower, growing upon my own tomb, Into her ground i’m sinking lower…” And it was fantastic. As i said before, you don’t
get to see every day such a wird, strong and great performance.
“This one comes off our first album, this one goes for all the fans of old doom in Mexico. It’s a song entitled ‘Ebony tears’””. So by now you can figure what a great set list they delivered. Next was “Corpsecycle”, dedicated “to our friend Frank, from Obituary”. And yeah, the Obituary guys were there all the time, amazed as many of us of the show. And it’s been a lot of Lee Dorrian’s talk, but here i must make a recognition to the rest of the band because they fucking ruled. They are a strange band, though. Lee was dressed all in black, Garry Jennings was waering a more day to day outfit, Leo Smee was looking like a hippy, with a bandana on his head and Brian Dixon, well, he was barely seen since he kept banging and his big hair and beard barely left room for watching something else haha.
“Upon Azrael’s wings” followed and the time was running short, so after that, they just went through a couple classics: “We’ve seen you bang your heads, now it’s time to bang your fists. Let’s see everybody bang their fists”. The it was “Ride”, “we’re going on a Ride, are you gonna join us or what?”. After a heartfelt “Thank you very fucking much, you fucking rule”, Lee presented what was to be the last song of that magical and esoterical performance. “Last song of the evening, and this one goes to all the beautiful witches here, scattered around the place. All I can say is, beware on your way home because I am Mathew Hopkins, Witchhunter”.
And just like that, they finished the song, left the stage and without saying anything else, they also left a sensation of fulfillment, a challenge if you want to see if some other band could deliver such an energetic and magical set. And I must say that UDO went close, but close only. (Luis)
After Cathedral in the main stage, almost everyone was about to commit suicide. Cathedral impressive live set left everyone knowing how worthless we all are. Fortunately, later came UDO and man, I thought that Cathedral´s concert was going to be the most powerful of the day, but I was wrong, UDO definitely stole the night with if power and awesome Heavy Metal. (I know Luis thinks it was Cathedral´s night, but now way man).
UDO was presenting their last record Mission NºX, but it were not the songs from this album, nor the incredible Man and Machine song, or the even better Animal House, which I never thought they would play, what captivated the audience. It was, and as it surely is in most places, the Accept songs. Man they were killer. Metal Heart, Princess of the Dawn, Restless and Wild, Balls to the Wall, man it was awesome. And what was even better, is that UDO cracked the P.A. System to a point were the ears actually hurted, so it was fucking awesome.
It was awesome watching UDO at his old age, giving everything to the audience. He still has what it takes to be a great front man, and as it seems he will keep on going for some more years.(Jacobo)
The main headliner in this years Monterrey Metal Fest was the mighty Blind Guardian. The last time they had been in Mexico, if I am not mistaken was in 1998 or 99, after releasing Nightfall in Middle Earth. In that occasion they played two shows, and one of them was an acoustic one, which sounded pretty cool in paper, but turned out to suck. They didn´t prepare it well and ended up doing an electric one after just 6 songs. But still it was Blind Guardian, so I guess there was nothing wrong.
Expectations were high on how their latest two releases, which somehow departed from the bands classic sounding material, were going to do live. But the real concern of almost everyone there, was to hear classics, classics and more classics. It should be hard for the band to pick up a proper setlist that has something for everyone, especially having so many great options.
Hansi´s voice was good and he delivered as the great vocalist he is. Unfortunately he is extremely boring to watch live. He doesn´t headbang, doesn´t move, I mean he could be my father standing in front of thousands of people, and I don´t go to a concert to watch a static band. What´s the point. The other members, although being a bit more expressive, were still pretty stiff and this didn´t help much.
The sound also was a bit muddy, which was very strange, especially after UDO sounded awesome, as well as Edguy, Cathedral and almost every band in the main stage.
But after all this trashing and so on, I still had a great time hearing classics, tons of them. And without a doubt, the most awesome moment, at least for me was The Bard´s Song, I fucking love that tune. Now let´s hope that Blind Guarding don´t go even more Mature with their next release and focus on their classic speed and feeling. Or not, I guess now we have Savage Circus.
The Final words :
Flying from Dallas, USA, to Monterrey was a blast. It was cool for me to experience for the first time a Metal Fest in Mexico. As always, Mexico delivered one hell of an audience and the bands gave all they had. It was fun going back to my country and seeing a professional festival the way it should be done. Now I just wish death to those fucking security guys following me everywhere. I hope they die and rot in hell. In second though, I hope SLOWLY THEY ROOOTTTTTT¡¡¡ (Jacobo)
The Official Site Of Monterrey Metal Fest :