An overview of the 2003 edition of the festival.
Phew! This is quite the extensive package put together by the masterminds behind the annual Metal Mania festival, featuring 27 songs spread out across 11 bands that graced the main stage of the festival in 2003. As if that weren’t enough, a CD is also included with 10 bands that played the side stage of the festival. Talk about bang for your buck!
The great thing is that the quality is there to match the quantity. Though things get off to a rough start with the average death metal of Lost Soul, the symphonic metal wannabe nonsense of Delight, and the Arch Enemy rip-offs Enter Chaos (They even have a girl vocalist! She reminded me a lot of WWE wrestler-babe Lita). Though none of these bands is actively bad (though Delight test the patience), things really kick into high gear with the three God Dethroned songs. These guys are one of the best death metal acts going, and they certainly prove it here, with an absolutely venomous version of “Poison Apple”. Marduk clutters up the proceedings with four songs the sound exactly the same, but they do appear to work hard on stage. The Exploited stand out like a sore thumb with their angry punk noise not exactly blending well with the black and death metal on offer. Still, the fans seemed overwhelmingly in their favor, so they must be doing something right. Anathema is up next, and they proceed to get all atmospheric on “Release” before doing a blistering cover of “Phantom of the Opera”, their brief set concluding with an amazing version of my favorite Anathema song, “A Dying Wish”. VERY appreciative crowd for these guys.
After the performance by Anathema, Vader fails to impress. I’ve just never been into these guys. Opeth is their usual shoe-gazing selves on “Deliverance”, but the almighty Saxon make up for it with a coked-up “Princess of the Night”. Finishing things up is the seizure-inducing performance by Samael, who apparently love their strobe lights. Great stuff.
Not only is the lineup first-rate, but the production is equally top-notch with clear, professional camera work, and pristine sound (for a live show). All in all, this is a great DVD, topped off with interviews and biographies of all bands involved. Another nice touch is the inclusion of all past Metal Mania lineups.
If you’re still hungry, the side stage CD will more than satiate your appetite for metal. In fact, some of the bands on here, like Elysium and Crionics are better than some of the main stage offerings, and it would have been cool to see some footage of their performances. Overall, the disc leans more to the extreme end of metal, with a ton of death and black metal on offer. This is just a great mix CD in its own right. You cannot go wrong with this package. Some of the bands or their performances may be questionable, but in the end this is just a magnificent package. For those with eclectic metal tastes, you will be more than satisfied.
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