DAY OF DARKNESS 2007
July 6th and 7th 2007,
Pedigree Corner, Ballylinan, Co Laois, Ireland.
By Herr Nabel
First band I saw thanks to the Dublin traffic was Gorilla Monsoon. This german band play heavy metal influenced strongly by 70’s music, wahwah guitars etc but something just does not click with them. You have to be really good to make this kind of stuff work, and I’m sorry to say that Gorilla Monsoon were not. Good riffs here and there but the complete package was boring.
Mael Mordha was in good form. Their Gaelic doom metal (as they consider themselves) works much better in live situation than on record and stage show with facepaints and dresses make them stand out of grey masses. Don’t know about that doom metal in their music but Mael Mordha is really heavy stuff mixed with more folkish parts, pipes etc and lyrical themes about Gaelic culture and and history of their ancestors.
One could say that Skyforger was more like a baltic version of Mael Mordha. From 1997 this Latvian group has delivered deadly folkish heavy metal to the metal hungry massess. Their gig was maybe the higlight of the weekend, I have always high doubts about heavy metal mixed with folk but Skyforger is a truly killer band on stage (and on records). They can mix different kind of folk instruments into their music but still sound like real metal. Crowd enjoyd them, they seemed to enjoy themselves and that is always a good combination. Go and check them out if they come town.
Headliners on friday were Candlemass who played their first gig ever in Ireland. As everybody should know, Messiah Marcolin is out of the game and Robert Lowe (Solitued Aeternus) is the new vocalist of Candlemass. Lowe at least seemed to be a little nervous but after few songs he seemed to be relaxed. The rest of the Candlemass troopers played their part without problems so one could say it was very good gig. It did not take long to get used to Lowe’s stagepresent and as known, he is one of the best metal vocalists of all time. The set was good, it had old Candlemass classics like Well Of Souls/At The Gallows End medley, Solitude (killer), Samaritan, A Sorcerer’s Pledge, Mirror Mirror and Under The oak. Few new songs were also played, I have not heard their latest album but they sounded quite good actually, maybe more the vein other Edlings band Krux than classic Candlemass. Little bit strangely last song was one of fastest songs Candlemass has ever written, Black Dwarf.
The German band Hatred played a set of thrashing metal, aggressive songs. It was good stuff but nothing so special that it would stand out in todays market of thrash. Enjoyable though.
The English group Spearhed also has nothing new to offer death metal but they had something that got people to stay inside the venue instead of drinking in the parking lot. Especially lead guitar work makes them stand out of endless rows of new death metal bands. Anyway, these guys should have future in head of them, if they manage to get that final personal touch in their music. Now it’s just very good tribute to past death metal gods.
Also from England, The Prophecy played kind melancholic metal like Paradise Lost, MY Dying Bride etc. And sadly, they did that very poorly . Songs went in from left ear and come out the right one. Too bad for the band that other people seemed to have same feelings as most of the audience were drinking in the parking lot during their set.
Conquest of Steel
After the break, biggest egos of the festival conquested the stage. Conquest Of Steel declared that they are making heavy metal history with their records, live shows and probably with haircuts and everything else. Saddest, or funniest thing is that their music is nothing spectacular. Traditional heavy metal with all the cliches, good riffs here and there, some catchy choruses but nothing to get excited about. In the end they even had balls to cover Holy Diver, which did not work out so fine. Few pieces are missing from they’re puzzle to make them rise from the swamp of the so called retrobands.
Cruachan is said to be one of the oldest heavy metal group with strong celtic influences (formed in ’92 and first full lenght out in 95). Their approach to folk metal is not so doomy and gloomy as Mael Mordhas and by eye the biggest difference is that they have female vocalist (Karen Gilligan). Anyway, I’m not much of an expert in this kind of metal but they played a really fine set. Experience shows in their stage presence, songs ranging from heavier and more blackish side of metal to ballad like songs with female vocals really made everyone enjoy Cruachan’s music.
To get things going on after Cruachan’s folky celtic metal, Irish death-grind whatever veterans Abaddon Incarnate came on the stage next. And they basicly ripped of heads and chopped of legs with same strike! Deathly set of violent metal was delivered by them, and as with Cruachan experience (Abaddon Incarnate was formed in 1989) showed and they definetely played best set so far of saturday. Top class grinding metal madness!
Sabbat’s first gig ever in Ireland seemed to be maybe the most anticipated event of the weekend.
Bass player Frasier Craske was missing from their lineup due to personal reasons (I did not catch name of his replacement), otherwise it was same Dreamweaver-era lineup as in every other reunion gig. Sabbat seemed truly enjoy playing in Ireland, atleast vocalist Martin Walkyier who had long speeches about that between songs. SOunds were good (unlike in Keep It True VIII, where I could not hear almost anything from vocals) and overall it was a very good gig. The Clerical Conspiracy, Wildfire, Behind The Crooked Cross, Hosanna In Excelsis, The Best Of Enemies and other classic were played.
Still something is missing from their performances, they are good, but not something you remember afterwards with cold shivers running down your spine.
The final band to appear in front of the now wildly drunken metal crowd was Entombed from Sweden. Everyone knows them, one the most famous death metal bands of alltime and still going on strong (well that is something to argue about). Promoting their latest full length “Serpent Saints” they stormed the stage and delivered a strong and tight set just like Entombed is expected to. Vocalist L-G petrov dominated the stage with backup help from other guys and audience (crowd surfing, diving, pits). Again, I’m not familiar with their new material (few exceptions), but they seemed to blend in nicely with old Entombed classics. These guys have recorded so many full lenghts during the years that you just can’t except them to play only songs like Revel In Flesh, But Life Goes On, Sinners Bleed, Wolverine Blues, Crawl and Severe Burns. Anyway, classic were heard, maybe future classics also, time will tell! After these swedish chief rebel angels left the stage it was time to drink last few pints of Guinnes and find someplace to sleep…
Overall Day Of Darkness is good place to go if overcrowded festivals in middle-europe are getting on your nerves. But in the end, festivals are all the same, most important thing is that beer is cold and there is enough of it.
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